Brown Algae/slime Root Rot Hydro Cure!!

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OG99

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First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone who’s posted here to help others out. That’s one thing that has helped me so much and in truth, inspired me to give back to a community that has given me so much advice. That being said, I’ve never actually posted a question HA!! But there’s enough info here in these forums to cover any questions I had. I wanted to write this article to help others out who have, or will, go through the same trouble that I have. I will not be breaking any molds here. Everything I will mentioned has in some way been mentioned on any one of the popular growing forums. I will however, hopefully be clearing up any confusion people may have processing and pulling together all the information out there. Problem is, people say so many different things to fix the same problem which leaves people questioning what’s the best (not right or wrong for all you trolls) solution to any particular growing pains… This story is about DWC..no drip system, simply bubbleponics and the biggest issue that plagues hydroponics style of growing… ALGAE. So I shall begin..


I’ve always been a soil grower but was intrigued by the power and growth potential of hydroponics. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to grow. However, it’s also one of the most difficult to those who are new to it. If you’ve never had an issue using this method, count yourself lucky but believe me, one day you will. There’s only 3 certainties in life…. Death, taxes and algae in your hydro bucket.My first grow using this system went over extremely well, as did quite a few others. However,my current grow has been riddled with problems from the start. I will admit, I did a lot of experimentation with this one which lead to a whole host of issues. It did however, teach me so many things about how to properly fix problems in the tank. Here is my current setup…


3x3 grow tent (7 feet tall)

600 MH ballast with an air cooled 6” hood.

2, 5 gallon buckets with 6 inch net pots filled with clay pellets

One plant in rockwool, the other in rapid rooters

3 fans, one inline 400 cfm sucking air out, one blowing around inside the tent, the other blowing in (to help bring in cool air since the inline fan is quite powerful.

I have 1 200 watt air pump attached to two large airstones in each bucket

Tent is around 22 degrees lights on, 19 lights off. Res temps are probably 68-75 ish. Highish, I know.


On to my problems.. (I am not an expert as you will see.. so yes, I made mistakes and will continue to do so)


Chapter 1: The village idiot

I always grow from seed when using hydroponics, I use soil for clones. Just a preference is all. This particular grow I started having slow growth at the seedling stage (both buckets), very slow. I decided to raise water levels up to just below the rockwool/rapid rooters. This did help accelerate the growth rate considerably, however, the problems it caused within a few days made me instantly regret that decision. Was it wrong to raise the water level to the roots, instead of letting them slowly grow to the water? No, I don’t think it was. What I did do wrong was not cover the top of the net pots. Because it was still a seedling with only its first set of serrated leaves, ALL the light from the 600 watts (light was 3 feet up, but didn’t matter) was hitting the now saturated rockwool and rapid rooters. Some people may argue that having soaked medium can promote rotting of the stem and roots. I don’t find that to be true. There’s enough oxygen to in the water and air above to negate the rotting. However, if you don’t get enough oxygen to them, I believe they will rot eventually. I lower the water levels as the roots grow so within a week or so the cubes tend to start to dry outanyways... Anywho..within a few days to a week I had green algae starting to grow all over the tops of the pebbles and rockwool/rapid rooters. This in and of itself isn’t a HUGE problem.. IF that’s the worst it gets. That’s wasn’t the case for me. It got worse. Much worse. So, because I smoke a lot of OG… I decided to NOT cover the tops still, and instead hit the algae with H2O2, hydrogen peroxide. For starters, that was stupid.. BUT you don’t think like that when you’re shit ripped, you think, I got this.. Stupid algae can suck my sac… not so happy now are you bitch!!.. Well, it still was cause I ended up mixing too much H2O2 per gallon of water and I believe killed some of the algae, but did horrible things in the form of burning to my small root base. I was a complete moron. When I opened the tent the next morning I discovered just how bad of a decision that was. Parts of my leaves were burnt at the tips and curled up. I spent the next hour choking on my pride…


Chapter 2: The great algae bloom..

After a week or so, the plants continued to grow, albeit at a much slower pace. They now had 4 nodes, but began to droop more and more each day. When I looked at the roots one morning, I discovered worst case scenario… root rot. Not only was my ¼ inch airline tubing covered in brown algae, but so was the roots, air stones, buckets walls, cover, net pots etc. Worst of all, many of the roots were ruined… falling off and looked like slimey spaghetti noodles. There was no horrible smell, but there was an immanent feel of pending doom coming my plants way. Now, there are many many products out there that are used to treat tanks in hydroponics. Many include Dutch Master Zone, SM-90, Hydroguard, etc etc. All have one goal in mind..keeproots healthy. I always see people argue back and forth about whether its better to have a sterile environment, where there are no bacteria growing in the tank, which would eliminate fungi as well (or so you hope) or to have bennies, good bacteria, whatever you wanna call it in there to out compete the bad stuff. To me, the best way is the way that works for you. I’ve had success with both. No one way is better as long as the final product is what you wanted. Back to story, so I decided I had better prevent this from getting worse cause right now it’s BAD… So I hit the tank with 3ml per gallon of SM-90 on top of the dutch master zone I already had in the tanks. I was hoping the sm-90 would kick up the anti bacteria/fungi fight and win. Well, it worked and it smelled fantastic too. SM-90 smells so clean. Problem is, it only worked for a day or so. Then it came back. So I decided to start treating the tanks with H2O2 at a rate of 15 mL per 4 gallons. That also seemed to work, for a day. So for the next few days I kept hitting with H2O2 and added in extra dutch master and sm-90. There was still new growth on the roots, but it was very very slow. I thought I was finally winning the battle, but this was short lived. I started to notice this grey/brown slime showing up all over the roots, the bottom of the net pots etc. The brown algae was mostly gone at this point, but the slime had taken over. Algae you can get rid of, but the slime guys, the slime is a completely different problem all together. Dutch master zone and sm-90 and H2O2 got rid of the brown algae without too much trouble, but the slime that replaced it was something completely different.

Chapter 3: The great slime depression

Keep in mind my plants had begun to rebound, new roots were slowly growing, they weren’t drooping as much and had begun to look 100x better. But..the slime had started to take over the root zone. Every day I was hitting it with peroxide and small amounts of sm-90 and zone. This kept the slimes growth to a minimum, but it was pretty clear that none of these things was gonna fix my problem. They were simply bandaides on a severed artery. Could I have had a harvest if I had continued to fight the slime this way..maybe, with a shit ton of luck. But it would have been a shitty harvest. Now I read and read and read so many things about what to do to fix it. 90% of it didn’t work. People said more airstones, lowered your res temps, block the light from getting into the resovoir, and so on. Here’s the problem with that… SLIME thrives on high oxygen, low light environment. It’s the worst shit to get IMO. Every morning there would be more slime covering the roots… net pots etc. Didn’t matter how much peroxide or zone or sm-90 I put in. It would come back the next day. Problem was, the roots from before were rotting, falling into the tank and even the good roots were starting to rot again and decompose. Nothing could kill the crap fast enough to prevent the slime from feasting. To me, those products are great if you have a relatively healthy environment and will usually prevent bad things from going on IF you don’t have any major problems to begin with. However, they will not fix more severe problems. In truth, I really love the smell of SM-90, but it’s NOT a good idea to use it in the tank on a weekly basis, or as a treatment to anything in the water. I know people have had success using it, I understand, I just don’t think it’s a good product to use. It leaves an oily coating on everything and to me, that’s not good. You’re asking for trouble. At this point I was starting to think I was going to lose both plants because I just didn’t have a solution to this problem. I know people had also suggested products like hydroguard. Adding good bacteria to out compete the bad. But with so much slime, I really honestly felt it wouldn’t have had a chance. I had read the same thing as well, people said it didn’t work to cure their horrible root rot.


Chapter 4: The solution…

So after some thought, and more research, I decided enough of thoughtlessly doing what others have tried and actually think of something that might work. So here’s what I did. I bought some bleach..emptied the bucket and let it sit in a bleach bath for 5 minutes. 5 minutes in bleach is long enough to kill most crap. I’m not aiming to get rid of EVERYTHING..it won’t happen. The net pots can’t be cleaned that way because of the live plants, so I knew there would be bad bacteria still after I put it back together. But that wasn’t the point, to be 100% clean, it was to give my solution a fighting chance. So I emptied the buckets of the bleach, rinsed with hot water and scrubbed them clean, and rinsed with water again and filled them with a lower nutrient solution, (I use HG 3 part nutes), but this time I put in a small amount of HYDROGUARD. I gave the airline tubing and airstones the same bleach bath, cleaned them and rinsed them. Now I knew there would be some bleach left in the airstonesand possibly in the buckets, but I counted on this. Sure there was a chance that the hydroguard would be killed by the left over bleach, but it didn’t matter because I was planning on adding in more hydrogaurd (2.5 ml a day) for 3 days. Any bleach that was left in the buckets would be gone in 24 hours. So by adding in bennies every day, I would gain a stronger foothold of the conditions in the water before the bad shit could take over. I rinsed cold water over the net pots, down through the clay stones and wiped off any crap I could find on the sides. I then rinsed the roots, pulling off any dead roots or slime from the healthier roots. Once all that was done for both buckets, I duct taped the top of the open area of the net pots leaving only a small ½ inch by ½ inch gap around the stem for air to escape since the air stones were adding air, it needs to go somewhere. I raised the water level to just above the bottom of the net pots for 1 day to get all the crap outta there. Then I lowered it to around and inch or so below it. Then for 3 days I added the 2ml of bennies once a day. Well, shit… if it didn’t work eh?? New roots, in those 3 days, have exploded. The slime is gone, the roots look healthy again. Still brown, but new white growth is ALL over now. The water is CLEAR..not a milking white color from all the zone and sm-90. If it wasn’t for my fear of getting bubble guts from drinking the bacteria filled water, I wouldn’t hesitate to down that shit.


Chapter5: Conclusion…

So all in all, I have become a HUGE fan of beneficial bacteria. Would a tea have worked… yes it’s the same principle basically. But Hydroguard was easier. In order for it to work and get rid of root rot, you have to get rid of most of the rot first. Bleach works wonders, and it’s cheap and disappears from your water after a short period. Now this was a worst case scenario… normally you would lose the plants. But this solution REALLY does work. So here’s some tricks to help you keep your tank healthy.


Beneficial bacteria, prevent light from getting into your buckets/tub from the VERY beginning to prevent any algae, make sure no light gets in from your airlines either… cooler water helps, but IMO, not a must. That should for the most part keep your tank in a healthy state.

I know many of you probably have better ways, or other magical methods for solving root rot, but this is my post, and this is what worked for me. I hope I helped some of you fight this slime, algae, root rot shit…


Thanks
 
FreeRadical

FreeRadical

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I really enjoyed this post. It was informative and entertaining. Thanks man for sharing your experience with the rest of us. Have you ever played with pine oil for cleaning up or as a preventative measure for root rot and stuff like that. I just love how you talked about the whole process of you fighting.
 
Midwestjay

Midwestjay

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Hydroguard for the win. Ask anybody in here that knows me I'm a broken record about that shit. But you only need to add it once a change. It's more than capable of overtaking/maintaining control of the res. And it like to work at warmer temps. I run at least mid 70s. But it can do great at 68-70 also. It just performs better up to like 80℉
 
O

OG99

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Hydroguard for the win. Ask anybody in here that knows me I'm a broken record about that shit. But you only need to add it once a change. It's more than capable of overtaking/maintaining control of the res. And it like to work at warmer temps. I run at least mid 70s. But it can do great at 68-70 also. It just performs better up to like 80℉


Thank you! That's good to know since my temps are mid 70's.
 
Midwestjay

Midwestjay

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Proof in the puddin, that ball was the size of a 5gal water jug. That's inside of my 10gal brute
received_1194196610604570.jpeg
 
FreeRadical

FreeRadical

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I love it when you get to look under the hood on an awesome car. It's even more incredible to see your lover naked for the first time. And then for me seeing inside how cannabis roots are structured all woven into massive tangles of little living tissues pointing out in every direction they can. I just want to shrink down like on "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" or a Pixar or Disney flick. So I can go climb around in those roots and build a Jungle stilt house up in the canopy. Hopefully not getting eaten by scary bugs or cool ones like lady bugs and preying mantis.
 
J

Jsheeze

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Proof in the puddin, that ball was the size of a 5gal water jug. That's inside of my 10gal brute View attachment 612334

I wonder if people spread out their root balls or built trellis structures for their roots like their tops, how much more oxygen or nutes could the plant get or how much bigger could the plant get?
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Nice pic
 
Lemon_Hazed_And_Confused

Lemon_Hazed_And_Confused

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4 years later, I just wanna say you're still helping people. Thanks so much man, I'm gonna try this all. Loved the story behind it all too.
 
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