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Old 04-17-2018, 03:33 AM #1

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Damaged roots in Hydro recirculating

Hey everyone! I'm concerned about these roots, I've been concerned for some time as this is a recurring issue and I'm trying to get to the bottom of it.

1. The pictured 6" rockwool cubes were recently moved from the veg room (ebb and flow) to the flower room (top drip). two different plants, different strains, from different trays, off different res's (there are four trays and two res's in this flower setup.)
2. the concern is this - in ebb and flow veg room the roots come out of the 6" cube white and furry and gorgeous. in just 5-7 days in the flower room with top drip, some roots begin the discoloration as seen in the pictures.
3. the roots lose their pearly white, and the discolored roots pictured here for example are easy to pull off - they are dead/dying.
4. the ebb and flow in veg is fed by a 40 gallon with GH nutes, 500-700ppm, 5.8ph.
5. the flower room top drip also has a res underneath, 10gal, GH nutes, 700-900ppm, 5.8
6. the past harvests have been decent but not stellar. every stellar heavy harvest has one thing in common - happy white roots! I'm using drip clean (house and garden) at recommended ml's 2x/ week. changing the res 1x / week.
7. between harvests i'm scrubbing trays and res's with little diluted h202 30% or 100% bleach. this time i used h202 and vinegar first. then i gave a heavy dose of bleach and rinsed the entire system thoroughly so no bleach or bubbles remained (i drank out of the res to make sure i didn't taste bleach).
8. i've been told drip clean will kill any bad pathogens and pythium. i don't believe it. i believe something is in or getting into this system to cause the roots to become rotten, discolored, etc. i'm tempted to go back to ebb and flow in the flower room! but all pro's point to top drip as preferred.

any insight, suggestions from pro's out there who have had experience with this type of situation is highly appreciated!

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Old 04-17-2018, 10:10 AM #2
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Try using SM90. 3 to 5 mills per gallon. I use 5 mil with every rez change. Keeps roots clean and white. And makes your rez happy and keep longer. And it smells amazing so that's a plus and well.

Cleaning with bleach is essential with ebb and flow so your doing good with that. I'd guess your rez water might be a little warm.? I never had good grows without a chiller. I used to do ebb and flow and I had this same issue. It was the rez water too warm and it grew the brown slime. It's cancer.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:02 PM #3

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Thanks Isaack, I'm conscious of res water temps, keeping them best as possible at 60 deg, but not over 70. the water temps aren't different between the veg and flower rooms. Where do you keep your res temps with the chiller? Have you done top drip and had similar problems? SM-90 looks good, I'll pick some up today.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:33 PM #4
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I have not done top drip and had those problems. I currently do top drip multi feed DTW coco, and I keep my rez at 64. Also room temps can play a role in the brown slime.
You will love sm90, it really makes a huge difference.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:20 AM #5

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I think what a lot of people wind up doing, is getting what's called a "Power Head" for aquariums.

Look up and read about aquarium filters, canister filters, undergravel filters, and look for people using the term "power head."

All these filters originally ran on air cause air's the cheapest way to move the most water.

But then some people discovered using a water pump and by poking a tiny pin hole in the tube, going out of the water pump, and positioning it accordingly, they make whatcha call a venturi -

What you'd LIKE to make is something called "nanobubbles" and people will peddle you a micro diffuser or whatever they call it, for a premium that is NOT free, but.. it is a real technology.

Something like that but - they're kind of expensive.

Having been for awhile as a kid, in the plants business, and the aquariums business both at the same time, I've seen a lot of people, press a lot of technologies together, to try to multiply their outputs beyond the nature of the science of the times.

Some guys online, have built a new form of Venturi called a CARMIN and I haven't checked how they're made, but a CARMIN - is what a hydroponic grower needs.

Here's a guy who knows one of the best tricks for making a power head: use a water pump and feed the input,
not the output,
with air.

These things are an experimenter's delight, and you can clearly see what kind of oxygenation will happen to your reservoir even if you use a very very small water pump, and just feed it a little air, with an aquarium air pump.

When the water is sitting there for several minutes at a time, to several hours at a time, there's not a lot of influx of oxygen consuming entities. You're literally charging the water with oxygen between cycles.

Since your water conditions are almost perfect temp-wise,

at this point you can see for yourself that you're right at the edge of what pythium or some bacteria - I'll bet it's pythium - can stand to live in.

You're right at the edge of driving conditions into those pythium can't make it in.

Old 04-18-2018, 04:07 AM #6

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You need more roots not just at the bottom but also check the sides under the wrapping.look into root pruning the rw blocks.
Here's 1 of mines in 4"RW Block hand watered with H+G coco nutes regen a root +great 450-600ppm

Look into products like silver bullet for roots and regen a root.
Also mammoth p and Great white, root benificials help alot imo.
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:23 AM #7

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Hi Ununionized,

Thanks for the info on bubble-producers. what about the good ol air stone? I'm using an air stone in one res, and a small aquarium pump in the other res agitating the res water. both res's have this issue.

Hi Azad,

Nice roots! yes I agree not having more roots is part of the problem. given these plants are young they don't have many roots but the issue is that the roots grow fast in the ebb and flow veg, and stop growing once they get to my top drip flower room. I haven't had gray snot in a while but when it comes up great white in hisenberg tea clears it up, so I know tea works.

It seems like there is a consensus that it is a pythium problem I'm having, no telling how it's present given the bleach i had running through the system just 10 days ago.

Question now is how to get rid of pythium, i already have air bubbles i suppose it couldn't hurt to add more. I could constantly run tea although i'd like not to - kind of a pain and messy in the res. I've added the SM90...
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Old 04-19-2018, 05:26 AM #8

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You need to put a lot of air in the water man.

If it's a matter of cost, get garage sale, and/or thrift store aquarium air pumps.

At that point you're talking about getting a hand full of 1/2 inch Tees, a stick of pipe, and push-fitting them together where the pipes pass right under your plants in several lines.

If you need to you can heat that other end of the pipe and squeeze it shut with pliers tightly It's sealed as far as air pressure's concerned.

If you push a little pvc glue into the crack at the end of the pipe, that'll hold household
water pressure
when done competently. You don't even have to pay for pipe caps if you don't want.

Go along the tops and drill out about 10 holes in a rectangle
along the top 1/3 of the pipe or so, centering them right where each plant's gonna sit.

Connect air pumps just drilling the pvc out and pushing the air tube in. Hit it with a little hot glue.

More than one grow, aquarium, aquaponic system has been saved, by having a couple of smaller thrift pumps - which do work just fine by the way - on one receptacle,

and the main pump, on another receptacle, in case something happens.

If you just keep coming across nearly free thrift pumps fret not.

Drill a new hole, snug in the hose and tag properly with glue or some kinda sensible clip.

It doesn't have to be complicated, at ALL.

BUT: in order to consistently get to the end of the road with really good growth,
you DO NEED - a lot of air.

Old 04-19-2018, 05:36 AM #9

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At first I mis-read and thought you were talking about the main grow being ebb & flow.

Get all that dead material out. Pull it off, and make sure it's all gone.

The sm90 has a real base for killing pathogens, sulfonated canola oil which puts sulfur on point, and the

(tri) ethanol- - alcohol
-amine - an ammonia molecule.

So that's real.

If you're going to bleach have to keep it up.

Bleach leaves the water as gas, and that's why the reservoir got pythium colonized.

You can use plain old laundry bleach too, but you can't overdo it. If you read about it, the pathogen suppression with bleach is about what you use for drinking water.

What this spells is that it's hard to put in so little,

unless you know to mix up a liter of already dilute bleach/water, maybe in a 1 liter coke bottle

then when you put it into your reservoir you won't choke the plants out. I haven't looked it up recently, I guess it's about 5 ppm for chlorine to suppress pathogens.

It's a very small amount, much less than you suspect you'll need.

Obviously you, and most pot people, already know about hydrogen peroxide should you bleach with that alone.

The above isn't all that hot a report but it's just another indicator to you that pythium only needs a SCANT couple of ppm free chlorine to kill it.

Remember that when you put the chlorine in as hypochlorite, you're also adding some sodium which has electrical conductivity, too. So.. I dunno somebody who knows more will come along but I'd dilute my bleach and then dose the dilute stuff in

till I saw about a 5 to 8 ppm range.

Basically you kinda look around and it amounts to about 2, 3, to 4 ppm to kill pathogens.

So - if part of your conductivity is the sodium and the other part is chlorine - I'm guessing at split the middle and shoot it at 8 ppm.

Last edited by Ununionized; 04-19-2018 at 06:14 AM..

Old 04-20-2018, 05:29 AM #10

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I dunno if you know it but you don't even need glue for those pvc air distribution schemes, you just push em together.

Once you get the Tees in hand I think I said it already, but for the opposite ends of the pipes, if you don't want to spend the money on it you can actually heat the pipe end up and squish it together with something, and you're golden.

Obviously there are other solutions too, like plugging the ends with a daub of silicone or something like that. If it's 1/2 inch pipe, it's so small in the first place.

Melting holes with a large paper clip, melting holes with a small nail, that's common.

Let us know how it all goes.

Whenever you've got point source aearation what always goes on is that the spread of roots through the water, slow local movement to a crawl.

Then you have roots lying still, being overlapped some, and bang: they'll get pythium.

You can distribute the air in a lotta ways, but you do have to have, enough.

Like I say, for me personally, - I'm not really gonna be too satisfied until I see bubbles starting to form on the insides of the root container... that's me personally and I certainly don't think that's some kinda agricultural standard but it's so easy to make happen with some personal ingenuity, and it solves problems on two ends of things: growth potential and pathogen suppression.

Where it opens a door to another thing to manage is if you're using tap water, it'll make the pH spike when you keep flipping the water vigorously, while it's exposed to air.

Filtered water is the answer for that, because there isn't significan't limestone dissolved in filtered water. Limestone carbonate drags pH up with considerable persistence, so the answer to it is filtered water that's not loaded up with those carbonates, just water, and a nutrition mix.

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