Changing to Hydro: Drain to waste or a cycle?

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Danjiel

Danjiel

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Hello everyone.

I want to change my flower room from hand watering pots of soil to an automated hydro system. I've come to the conclusion that for me this is the way to go, to get more professional in terms of automation. I've been watching lots of episodes of "cannacribs" from "growers network" on YT to see how the professionals are doing it. But I couldn't figure out if those guys are using a cycle system or drain to waste. All of them have huge reservoirs. Is it because they prepare huge amounts of irrigation water in advance or because they are cycling a big amount of it?

I'm asking because I would like to learn their (probably easily scalable) method in case the law changes where I live and I will be allowed to have more than only a few plants.

Is there a difference in how long I can leave my girls to themselves in a cycle- opposed to a drain to waste-system? Will the PH fluctuate a lot in a drain to waste-system if I prepare a lot of nutrient solution and then leave it for a few days so the pumps can just feed the plants every now and then? It doesn't seems logical to me that it will fluctuate more than in a cycle-system, but then again the plants might be able to regulate it a bit if they get into contact with the same water all the time instead of having no chance to regulate if it goes to waste every time.

Will I have a hard time figuring out how often to activate the pumps on drain to waste, since they will need a different amount of water in every stage of the grow? In a cycle system I could probably just continuously let the pumps drip a little bit for the whole cycle, right?

So many questions... Thank you for helping!
 
Aqua Man

Aqua Man

Staff
Supporter
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Hello everyone.

I want to change my flower room from hand watering pots of soil to an automated hydro system. I've come to the conclusion that for me this is the way to go, to get more professional in terms of automation. I've been watching lots of episodes of "cannacribs" from "growers network" on YT to see how the professionals are doing it. But I couldn't figure out if those guys are using a cycle system or drain to waste. All of them have huge reservoirs. Is it because they prepare huge amounts of irrigation water in advance or because they are cycling a big amount of it?

I'm asking because I would like to learn their (probably easily scalable) method in case the law changes where I live and I will be allowed to have more than only a few plants.

Is there a difference in how long I can leave my girls to themselves in a cycle- opposed to a drain to waste-system? Will the PH fluctuate a lot in a drain to waste-system if I prepare a lot of nutrient solution and then leave it for a few days so the pumps can just feed the plants every now and then? It doesn't seems logical to me that it will fluctuate more than in a cycle-system, but then again the plants might be able to regulate it a bit if they get into contact with the same water all the time instead of having no chance to regulate if it goes to waste every time.

Will I have a hard time figuring out how often to activate the pumps on drain to waste, since they will need a different amount of water in every stage of the grow? In a cycle system I could probably just continuously let the pumps drip a little bit for the whole cycle, right?

So many questions... Thank you for helping!
Ok let's see what fits you because that's what's going to give you the best chance at being successful and not wanting to ditch the system after one run.

Experience level? And assuming that all in soil?

Space you have to use? Sq ft, the natural environment over the year, temp humidity etc.,

Time to spend in the grow or looking after it daily?

Budget? and depending on plant count any automation is going to cost a minimum of $500 and can be as high as several thousands even for a home grow and that just the feed and drains. NOT including testing or monitoring equipment.

Current equipment?

Recirculating dtw is very very similar to an RDWC system.

The larger the system the more stable and less frequent maintenance or tending needed.

How handy are you? Cause you can save yourself a shit ton if your will to get some glue on your hands and dirt under the fingernails.
 
Danjiel

Danjiel

2
3
Ok let's see what fits you because that's what's going to give you the best chance at being successful and not wanting to ditch the system after one run.

Experience level? And assuming that all in soil?

Space you have to use? Sq ft, the natural environment over the year, temp humidity etc.,

Time to spend in the grow or looking after it daily?

Budget? and depending on plant count any automation is going to cost a minimum of $500 and can be as high as several thousands even for a home grow and that just the feed and drains. NOT including testing or monitoring equipment.

Current equipment?

Recirculating dtw is very very similar to an RDWC system.

The larger the system the more stable and less frequent maintenance or tending needed.

How handy are you? Cause you can save yourself a shit ton if your will to get some glue on your hands and dirt under the fingernails.
Hello Aqua Man, thanks so much for taking the time to help me!

I've been growing for about a few years now. Almost all in soil. I did however experiment with a Wilma system in a tent for about a year already. It's this system: https://www.growimagine.com/Wilma 1...MIiLrXsNOm9AIVWe3tCh2G7A-kEAQYASABEgJJDfD_BwE

But I didn't like it, because there always was residue and bio film in it and it was a pain to keep it clean it. Also it is not a good system to scale since you will have lots of reservoirs and need to check/regulate PH/EC in every one separately.

The flower room is 8x18 ft with a rows of 4x16ft currently on a homemade wooden table which I will probably have to equip with two 4x8ft flood tables!? There is space outside of the room for a reservoir. In my area it is dry and hot most of the year, but I have ac, heating and dehumidification to keep the climate consistent inside.

I can look after it daily. But usually only once a day. The budget is not too important since I rather buy something proper once and then have it work for a long time. It would be nice if it is a scalable system though. My current equipment is only for lights and climate, not for irrigation. I've been hand watering pots of soil before.

I'm willing to get all the pipes, drippers and pumps and install everything myself. I don't have much experience with pluming though.
 
jadins_journey

jadins_journey

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Listen to what @Aqua Man is saying. He was my mentor 14 years ago here at the Farm
 
Dub_City405

Dub_City405

621
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Fuck no bro. Hydroponics provides the best quality buds for the grower or consumer. I don't think it produces as much as soil or coco it's roughly a little less but quality is day and night better.

I hand water 2 tents at the house and I have 1 drip hydro setup. Small setups and it works wonders. I also have 15000 Sq ft of grow warehouse where I grow 1000 plants and I water 100 at a time with a big hydro setup. Either way it works bro.

You have the ability to grow however you want. Just budget a setup and let the fun begin.
 
freezeland2

freezeland2

2,020
263
Fuck no bro. Hydroponics provides the best quality buds for the grower or consumer. I don't think it produces as much as soil or coco it's roughly a little less but quality is day and night better.

I hand water 2 tents at the house and I have 1 drip hydro setup. Small setups and it works wonders. I also have 15000 Sq ft of grow warehouse where I grow 1000 plants and I water 100 at a time with a big hydro setup. Either way it works bro.

You have the ability to grow however you want. Just budget a setup and let the fun begin.
My yields in hydro are always better than when I grow in soil. I just stick with soil now for its ease in growing.
 
Cashmeh

Cashmeh

1,456
163
Aero would be the best growth rates, but most prone system for failure.

I want to do it so bad, but I don't see a cost effecient way yet. Needs to have high pressure very thing which sucks. Anyways.. Im RDWC which I feel is second best in terms of growth rates.

I use 3 inch return lines, and have 80 gallons for 6 plants in my flower room and 30 gallons for 6plants in my veg room. I add ph down once a week, res change once every month and a half. Top offs every 2 weeks.. Harvest and transplant every 2 months.

72 water Temps, live system with microbes, airstones and Fallponics top feed flow, each bucket has two waterfalls, all plumbing ran inside my return lines.. Hydroguard means no root rot ever, and '' massive'' which is a natural pgr additive well.. Let's say I love my hydro system. I gotta few posts under the hydro forum check it out. You can private message me too. I've never done soil, only Dwc, and then rdwc.. And I see no need to change anything. System worked flawlessly first try lol.. Anyways.. Hit me up if I don't respond here,or Aquaman, most of what I say I learned from him.
 
Dirtbag

Dirtbag

Supporter
9,055
313
Drain to waste unless you have a way to sterilize the runoff before recirculating. I do a hybrid approach and dump my runoff into a holding tank of fresh water, which dilutes it greatly. Then it passes through a 2 stage canister filter and finally a UV chamber to sterilize it before going back into the res, and adding more nutrients to bring it up to target ec.
Without that UV sterilization, you are better off just setting up a direct drain for the runoff or having it pumped to a drain with an AC condensate pump in the runoff container.
 
jadins_journey

jadins_journey

610
63
That's the cool thing about hydroponic systems. They can be as complex and sophisticated as the grower can design and operate. Or they can be as simple as an Eco172 ($25) pump and a couple of plastic totes. My system has one pump ($25), cycle timer ($25), cattle trough and some rocks. It surely doesn't yield as well but Im really satisfied with them and no plans to change
 
clusterfucktuesday

clusterfucktuesday

5
3
I have about $150 into mine, and that includes the pump, drainage, and condensate pump. It would have been even less if I didn’t buy a $20 hose to run from the pump. Doesn’t include the air pump, but I had that laying around already. Lol

No need to spend $500 plus to automate.
 

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