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Old 09-01-2005, 05:33 AM #1
petemoss
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Petemoss' Bio Buckets

Hello! I'm petemoss and this will be a description of my Bio Bucket setup. BigToke asked me to write a short grow journal of my last Bio Bucket grow, which was a modular SCROG with each bucket under its own screen. I started using bio buckets while Hurtback was writing his bio threads several years back. Although I didn't know BigToke then, I've since seen and admired the work he's done to keep bio buckets alive. So here goes..

For those of you who don't know what a bio system is: My setup is a six bucket Bio system originally designed by Hurtback. Bio buckets are fast recirculating DWC buckets that drain from the very top into a common reservoir from where nutes are pumped back into the buckets. Each bucket gets changed out 5x-15x per hour. A protein skimmer or powerhead in the res provides additional aeration. These buckets grow big healthy plants with minimal maintenance. The theory behind the Bio buckets involves using beneficial bacteria to keep the water clean, the same way that nature keeps flowing water masses clean.



This first set of pics shows my basic system as designed by Hurtback complete with a protein skimmer for aeration and the reservoir sitting in the middle. I later moved the res outside the bucket area and out from under the hot lights. Due to a hot summer, I had to buy a fairly expensive aquarium chiller to keep water temps to a steady 68-69F. The chiller required a separate pump of at least 300 gph at one foot lift. I used a Mag-drive 500 gph located outside the res. In the res, a 350 gph pump fed the buckets with about a 12x turnover.

For lighting I used a 400 watt MH during veg and a 1000 watt hps during flower. Circulation of air was done with a 265 cfm squirrel cage blower that sucked the air through a Can33 carbon scrubber, through a large air-cooled hood and then out the window. My grow space was a 8x8' corner of a spare bedroom I sectioned off with panda film floor to ceiling.





Last edited by petemoss; 10-11-2008 at 01:41 AM..
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Old 09-01-2005, 05:54 AM #2
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Nice clean setup Peatmoss!Looks very efficient!Keep it up!
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Old 09-01-2005, 06:00 AM #3
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What attacted me to the Bio Buckets was the naturalness and simplicity of the system. In addition, it was a low maintenance system requiring no res change outs and no PH adjustments. The res was topped off via a float valve fed by a separate topping res. I used the Lucas ratio of 0-8-16 for both veg and flower, adding the nutes weekly through the res. The nute solution was kept at 1200 ppm during veg and increased to 1500 during flower. No flushing was done, as I believe that it is the curing, not flushing that smooths the smoke. By the time I chop, my ppm is about 1800.

The incredible rate of vegetative growth can be seen in the pics below, showing my plants at two, four and six weeks. As you can see, Bio Buckets produce large plants with thick stems and vigorous root growth. My roots were stained by the GH Micro but they were firm and fresh smelling.


Last edited by petemoss; 09-02-2005 at 02:40 AM..
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Old 09-01-2005, 06:18 AM #4
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Let's try a SCROG with modular screens!

The advantage of having individual or modular screens is that I could take one bucket out of the canopy and work on it on the side to push new shoots under the screen into the next hole. I started with clones from two mother plants: Purple Lightning (BCSC/Emory) and Northern Lights (Sensi). As soon as the clones were rooted and hardened off, they were put into their buckets. I hand watered for a few days until the roots reached the water.

Instead of building my own screens, I used ready made screens from Scrog Solutions. Each bucket sat under a 18"x18" screen about 7 inches high. When snapped together, the four screens covered a 3x3 ft area. I could have used the 400 MH for flower for light intensity of 44 watts per sf, but decided to use my big 1000 watt HPS to get the biggest buds I could. My goal was 4 oz per plant, something I had accomplished with my previous "tree" type or "jungle style" grow.

I knew very little about scrogging, but knew that I wanted to use my lights more efficiently than in my last jungle grow, where the light didn't reach many of the side buds. So I just started posting pics of my screens in a SCROG forum on another site and asking the more experienced growers to tell me when to flip the lights and when to stop training. Fortunately, two SCROG experts (el Duque and realhigh) stumbled across my thread and started giving me invaluable tips and general guidlines.



Last edited by petemoss; 09-07-2005 at 10:23 PM..
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Old 09-01-2005, 06:30 AM #5
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Very nice. Clean, organised and well constructed. It's obvious Petemoss that you paid careful attention to detail!
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Old 09-01-2005, 06:54 AM #6
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My new mentors explained that I need to make two key timing decisions: (1)when to stop vegging and flip the lights to 12/12, and (2) how long into the stretch to train before letting the plants grow straight up above the screen. My goal here was to fill the screens with at least one bud per hole and have enough stretch left to grow a canopy of buds about 5 inches above the screen - a "carpet" SCROG.

My plan was to veg and train until the screens were half to 2/3 full and then flip the lights. Hopefully, the rapid vertical growth phase (stretch) would fill the remainder of the screen. Then I stopped training and let the plants go straight up for the last five days of the expected stretch. In my last grow, my Northern Lights #5 stretched for 21 inches in 21 days, so this was my benchmark.

The first pic is at 30 days of veg. Not yet ready to flip. Second pic 32 days of veg. I couldn't wait any longer and flipped with the screens about half full.

The last two pics are at one week flower and two weeks flower. Although the screens weren't completely filled at the corners, I stopped training after 16 days of flower, as per my original plan and an estimated 21-day stretch. Now my work was done and I had nothing to do but watch and take pics.


Last edited by petemoss; 09-02-2005 at 06:51 AM..
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Old 09-01-2005, 06:54 AM #7
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Great job pete ~ thanks for posting your exhalant Bio-Bucket Modular SCROG Grow here at IC, I have had so many folks that have ask me if it could be done ~ your setup is unique and one of a kind in the Bio-Bucket world and should shed some light on the subject for those interested ~ there are many differences between yours and my setup but they both do one thing that is a must Grow Beautiful Plants!!

Last edited by BigToke; 09-02-2005 at 06:38 PM..
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Old 09-01-2005, 07:15 AM #8
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The beauty of this system is that the plants practically grow themselves. With no change outs and automatic topping with tap water, all I had to do was add in nutes once a week. If I had to, I could have left for two weeks and return to a flourishing canopy of buds.


Last edited by petemoss; 09-02-2005 at 03:03 AM..
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Old 09-01-2005, 07:18 AM #9
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The finish...here I was able to snap the screens apart and rotate them to even out the light.




Last edited by petemoss; 09-02-2005 at 02:26 AM..
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Old 09-01-2005, 07:19 AM #10
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Harvest time! I actually had to harvest twice because the buds were growing below the screen! I think the intense lighting (111 watts psf) shortened the stretch and the buds ended up half above and half below the screen. So I wacked off all the tops in the first harvest and let the lower light green buds get a few more days of light. It all turned out well in the end but I narrowly missed my yield goal. A fun grow and plenty of quality time playing around with my plants!


Last edited by petemoss; 09-02-2005 at 03:15 AM..
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