Could Air Stones Be Doing More Harm Than Good?

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I decided to make this thread since I see a lot of people over think hydro. A lot of times "adding more" or "going bigger" is a solution to hopes of achieving those big tree dreams. In reality , could everything they are doing be setting them further back?

Halfway thru my last run I was doing some cleaning and/or general maintenance around my air pumps (still same size that came with my UC Double barrel 16) when I accidentally knocked off the hose that connected to the air stones. Now , I've felt this air before and knew it was hot. That was why Last year I replaced my metal air Manifolds that came from current culture with white plastic ones from the grow store. The plastic didn't heat up like the metal ones. I also replaced all the airline with blue aquatic airline to keep heat away.

This time I really thought about this super hot air. What good could air that is hot enough to be uncomfortable on my skin be for my roots . Skin is a protective layer that has been weathered by dirt, oxygen, sunlight, etc. If this air could do that to my thick skin l, what would it do to gentle sensitive sterile roots that have lived in water their entire lives which are more like our veins or organs rather than our skin.

I unplugged the air pump and left it off the rest of the entire run. Plants still thrived and produced the most fire flowers I've ever been able to accomplish. I feel the quality increase is mostly due to my switching to 600s from 1000s however not having any air stones roaring didn't hinder my success.

After every harvest I always toss my baskets, grow rocks, and airstones and replace them with new ones. Since I switched to 600s and lost yield I decided to cut costs and reuse my baskets and grow rocks and simply wash them. As for the air stones, i tossed them and decided to not replace them. I went ahead and removed all the airlines, air manifolds, and put the pump away into storage.

I made an educated hypothesis that the hot air blowing into my root mass was not only physically damaging from the force of the bubbles but also from the temperature. I also guessed that the hot air that comes up thru the water on its way to the surface is also exchanging heat with the water its directly in contact with this heating the system and being counter productive to a water chiller.

We know air bubbles don't oxygenate water unlike what most of us believed when we first got into hydro . Water takes in air from its surface area. The bubbles simply break up the waters surface exposing more of it to the air allowing more oxygen to be absorbed. So a standing calm glass of water will still take in oxygen just fine, and if you stir the water up it'll increase the surface area and take in more. You don't need roaring bubbles.

I figured with the AL15 still going in the Epi center and the waterfall effect in the epicenter from recirculating, id have plenty of DO.

So I took a batch of clones from my ez cloner and threw them into the system with no airstones.

IMG_1139.JPG


I did water thru the top for first 3 days which also had me thinking that I plan to turn the rerun pvc into a feed and recirculate each bucket individually the way the epi center does. I'll just put the pump into the epi center and suck from the epi center and push thru the small pvc feed line and create a waterfall effect in each site.

Here they are 5 days into veg

IMG_1140.JPG


Lights went out and here's a size comparison for you. 15 inches tall after only 5 days in the UC with no air stones.

IMG_1132.JPG


And here are the roots after 5 days. Healthy and white. Lots of those little finger side growth where the bubbles would normally damage or rip those off. However, as you'll be able to notice there is a film starting to form at the top of the water from lack of agitation .

IMG_1138.JPG


I only use RO and A+B so the water doesn't smell and it's not hurting my roots. I plan to change the system out every week until I can modify it for next run to waterfall in every bucket.

Hopefully this can help people cut costs and grow bigger , healthier plants.
 
I've always ran my air pumps from a lung room, but agree that they add substantial heat. My buckets are well insulated and I notice that the chilling circuit kicks on roughly at the same intervals with the lights off vs. on.

For my next setup I was considering using ozone for DO; not entirely sure if you can get enough without the ORP being too high. But I still would want some form of agitation. Considering building troughs vs. the costs associated with individual sites. Fractionating pumps could be placed strategically along the runs.

A piece of plastic across the bottom of the 13s to disturb the flow through each site might help with clearing up the surface.

Why the switch to smaller lights?
 
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I have used various hydro methods for 5+ years, including HPA. I first started out with DWC, but soon learned it was not the answer, although I find it extremely useful to start seedlings and clones.

Learning to dial in HPA for the all illusive root hair cotton candy root balls, helped me to understand the importance of the root/nute interaction.

I find that plants benefit from their roots hanging in the air between floods/feed cycles, which increases root hair development, if you get the on/off time dialed in

Moving DO to the rez makes perfect sense, as it keeps circulating between feed cycles. Depending on the rez size, you could put a ~ 300 lpg low pressure pump in it with a riser to recirculate the rez 24/7. Should the water flow too high you can put a cap on it and drill a bunch of side holes

hth
 
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I decided to make this thread since I see a lot of people over think hydro. A lot of times "adding more" or "going bigger" is a solution to hopes of achieving those big tree dreams. In reality , could everything they are doing be setting them further back?

Halfway thru my last run I was doing some cleaning and/or general maintenance around my air pumps (still same size that came with my UC Double barrel 16) when I accidentally knocked off the hose that connected to the air stones. Now , I've felt this air before and knew it was hot. That was why Last year I replaced my metal air Manifolds that came from current culture with white plastic ones from the grow store. The plastic didn't heat up like the metal ones. I also replaced all the airline with blue aquatic airline to keep heat away.

This time I really thought about this super hot air. What good could air that is hot enough to be uncomfortable on my skin be for my roots . Skin is a protective layer that has been weathered by dirt, oxygen, sunlight, etc. If this air could do that to my thick skin l, what would it do to gentle sensitive sterile roots that have lived in water their entire lives which are more like our veins or organs rather than our skin.

I unplugged the air pump and left it off the rest of the entire run. Plants still thrived and produced the most fire flowers I've ever been able to accomplish. I feel the quality increase is mostly due to my switching to 600s from 1000s however not having any air stones roaring didn't hinder my success.

After every harvest I always toss my baskets, grow rocks, and airstones and replace them with new ones. Since I switched to 600s and lost yield I decided to cut costs and reuse my baskets and grow rocks and simply wash them. As for the air stones, i tossed them and decided to not replace them. I went ahead and removed all the airlines, air manifolds, and put the pump away into storage.

I made an educated hypothesis that the hot air blowing into my root mass was not only physically damaging from the force of the bubbles but also from the temperature. I also guessed that the hot air that comes up thru the water on its way to the surface is also exchanging heat with the water its directly in contact with this heating the system and being counter productive to a water chiller.

We know air bubbles don't oxygenate water unlike what most of us believed when we first got into hydro . Water takes in air from its surface area. The bubbles simply break up the waters surface exposing more of it to the air allowing more oxygen to be absorbed. So a standing calm glass of water will still take in oxygen just fine, and if you stir the water up it'll increase the surface area and take in more. You don't need roaring bubbles.

I figured with the AL15 still going in the Epi center and the waterfall effect in the epicenter from recirculating, id have plenty of DO.

So I took a batch of clones from my ez cloner and threw them into the system with no airstones.

View attachment 657059

I did water thru the top for first 3 days which also had me thinking that I plan to turn the rerun pvc into a feed and recirculate each bucket individually the way the epi center does. I'll just put the pump into the epi center and suck from the epi center and push thru the small pvc feed line and create a waterfall effect in each site.

Here they are 5 days into veg

View attachment 657060

Lights went out and here's a size comparison for you. 15 inches tall after only 5 days in the UC with no air stones.

View attachment 657061

And here are the roots after 5 days. Healthy and white. Lots of those little finger side growth where the bubbles would normally damage or rip those off. However, as you'll be able to notice there is a film starting to form at the top of the water from lack of agitation .

View attachment 657062

I only use RO and A+B so the water doesn't smell and it's not hurting my roots. I plan to change the system out every week until I can modify it for next run to waterfall in every bucket.

Hopefully this can help people cut costs and grow bigger , healthier plants.
I have also done away with air pumps in my res and replaced with a water pump for a water fall effect the biggest gain imho is no more messing with ph once it's set it doesn't need touching again I noticed with airstones the ph raises daily
 
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View attachment 657078 Concur, air stones are over rated! Let them roots hang in the air for maximum oxygen uptake!
Those roots look amazing. I always got roots that massive in my dinky homemade rdwc but never in the UC and I presume that's from the air stones damaging my root zones. I know I would drop the water level after modifying the system to a waterfall but wasn't sure if I should keep it high this test run or not, however after seeing your picture I plan to drop the water level slightly each week over the next few weeks until it's a few inches below the net pot.

Interested. I'll love to see u finish it up too.. I like to see innovation..
I Have never started a grow that had to get scraped so don't worry you will see this finish out.

Pulling up a chair and following along :)
Welcome. Enjoy the show lol

I've always ran my air pumps from a lung room, but agree that they add substantial heat. My buckets are well insulated and I notice that the chilling circuit kicks on roughly at the same intervals with the lights off vs. on.

For my next setup I was considering using ozone for DO; not entirely sure if you can get enough without the ORP being too high. But I still would want some form of agitation. Considering building troughs vs. the costs associated with individual sites. Fractionating pumps could be placed strategically along the runs.

A piece of plastic across the bottom of the 13s to disturb the flow through each site might help with clearing up the surface.

Why the switch to smaller lights?
I have to remind myself to not over think things and to keep it simple stupid. Personally I wouldn't use ozone or concern myself with DO. As long as you know there's some basic oxygenation going on there's other more important factors to monitor. I removed all my air stones and don't waste a single minute of my days deciding how to get them back in or what to replace them with. Removed. End of story. Moved on with my life. Just documenting the experience for others who believe they NEED air bubbles

I switched to 600s because 1000s are for warehouses. 1000s need to be around 12 feet off the ground to grow non heat stressed buds. I was running them in a room with 8 foot ceilings and they caused massive yields but heat stressed the heck outta my flowers which brought down potency and made them foxtail like crazy. With my 600s I don't get heat stress, quality is thru the roof. I crack a nug and it looks like micheal Jordan throwing chalk into the air. My AC runs less. My humidity stays higher. Just easier to control and makes far better end product. Btw I don't use hoods or cool my bulbs. Bulbs are meant to run optimal at a specific temperature and when you cool it you are taking away power and output from your bulbs

Question?
Has anyone tried this out...
http://www.o2grow.com/
Looks better than air stones but again, nothing extra or special is needed for oxygen. This is just another item to spend money on, another item to spend money to operate, and another item that could potentially malfunction in the future. Plus hydro and all that wiring and electrical isn't a great idea to mix
 
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A lot of money just for O2. My aquariums run fine with just a waterfall as a using air stones.
Good point on expensive too. People always so quick to open their wallet but close the mind. When someone truly masters a task they do it by making it as simple as possible with the least amount of parts as possible. One should strive to grow well by taking things away... not adding them in.
 
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Day 1 of week 2 in veg. Decided to do a nutrient change so I snapped a pic of the roots in fresh water.

IMG_1149.JPG


After this week I'll flip them into flower.
 
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interesting :)

For starters, the metal manifold is hot because it is absorbing heat from the compressed air exiting the pump and radiating it into the grow room. Therefore, when you take the metal out, you are letting ALL the heat into the root zone . . if that makes sense.

It would be great have an intercooler for the compressed air . . like an air\water. .

But anyway, at a certain root ball size . . like giant . . you need hyper aeration to drive air deep to the core of the root mass to prevent rot .. im talking violent blasting.
 
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Everything is butter. Controlling PH is difficult however since there arent any bubbles mixing The buckets. it seems only the bottoms recirculate into the pvc and the tops stay stagnant. This issue will be fixed once I easily modify the system into a waterfall but this thread is about "do we need airstones". The answer is clearly no.

IMG_1154.JPG


IMG_1162.JPG


Day 10 veg.

IMG_1167.JPG


IMG_1169.JPG


21 inches. I'd usually flip when they are this big but I'm waiting for my pheno hunt cuts to catch up a little more
 
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I'll update the thread Before harvest but other than that there's nothing else I can add to this discussion. You do not need air stones period.

I snapped some quick pics before lights came on (I veg 18/6).

IMG_1171.JPG


You can see how massive the growth is because this is the same girl from my post two days ago.

Here are the roots of a girl closer to my reach

IMG_1173.JPG


They are pearly white and massive. I never had a root mass this thick this early when running air stones.

Also, I run my water at 72 degrees. My chiller kicks on and takes it down to 70 then it climbs back to 72.

IMG_1172.JPG


That's another good debate. My hypothesis is all the guys running 65 degree water are doing more harm than good to their roots. The fact that colder water holds more oxygen has everyone focused on that one fact and they forget to ask how cold is too cold for root health. In my hours of googling I came across a post stating they read a scientific study that said 78 degrees was the best root temp but didn't site a reference. we still have to take root rot into consideration since I can only presume that study was soil temperature so I decided to see how close I can get to that optimal 78 degrees without causing root rot in my system. My chiller is running less and my roots are staying white and the growth above and below water is explosive.
 

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