Indoor Hydro/Fogponic grow - first grow diary - need advice.

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CruelSun

CruelSun

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Greetings,
I am a long term gardener and cannabis enthusiast. I have grown cannabis outdoors the past 2 summers here in downstate NY with some success and I have decided to do an indoor hydro grow this winter.

I found this forum while searching for info on the use of nutrient fog in cannabis cultivation.

Fifteen years ago I did an indoor hydro grow as a project with my teenage son. We grew leaf lettuce and other salad greens under a borrowed 400 watt HPS (Hortiux Eye) growlight. We started with a DWC raft, then a few DWC tubs with net pots hanging from holes in the lid. On several trips to the hydro store, I was awed by their side-by-side display of two DWC grows. One was standard DWC and the other had much lower water volume with the resulting air gap pumped full of nutrient fog. The difference in the growth rates was stark!
I purchased a 6 disk fogger and made a DIY fog box to emulate the hydro store's display. Within a few weeks, the growth rate of our greens had exploded exponentially. I tried to lift a net pot out of it's hole and found that the root system had grown into a gigantic cottony mass of roots and root hairs that would no longer fit through the hole. The production of our little grow far outstretched my small family's appetite for salad... several times, my wife went door to door to neighbors, giving away salad greens from a packed 5-gallon bucket.

I want to try to use a similar system in my upcoming cannabis grow.

I am cleaning out a basement room to accommodate a grow tent and inventorying what I have and need to make this grow happen.
This will be a casual/fun grow, I have grown more flower this past two summers than I expect to ever consume in my lifetime. But variety is the spice (Herb?) of life. And I do love this plant and I love to grow things!​

The following are my thoughts and musings, kind of thinking-aloud if you will... Please weigh in on whatever seems right or wrong in the below ideas.
  • Grow tent?
    • Is 5'x5'x6' (Basement ceiling height limitation) right for 1000W MH/HPS?​
  • Lighting
    • The lighting fixture I have (Sun Systems) 1000Watt switchable MH/HPS with reflector hood.
      • used, unknown history..​
      • Bulb replacement?
        • should I get a light strength meter or app to determine light output and distribution across the proposed 25Sq' SCROG?​
        • What MH bulb? Brand, model?​
        • What HPS bulb? Brand, model?​
  • Ventilation
    • the grow room has a window within 3 feet of proposed tent location that I can remove and use the opening to pass ducts through.​
    • I have a ~400 CFM variable speed ducted fan (on the way) with app enabled WiFi temp/RH control.
      • Will 400CFM be sufficient to cool this beast of a light and the 150 cubic foot growspace?​
      • Will two 4" ducts be sufficient to carry 400CFM or would that be limiting the fan infeed flow?
        • I found an adapter that has 6" round duct on one side and two 4" round flanges on the other.​
    • Reflector has two 4" duct flanges that I can use to pull heat away from the lamp/reflector
      • top 4"x5" rectangular grill that I can mount a 4" duct flange to​
      • side 4" round grill/duct flange opposite end from bulb connector.​
      • there is an optionally removable reflector panel to allow air intake from the bulb connector end but no duct flange attachment possible on that end.​
    • The reflector has a slot for a pane of glass across the bottom to enclose the fixture
      • but I do not have the glass pane.​
      • must the reflector be enclosed to promote active cooling across the lamp?
        • can I use any pane of glass to enclose the fixture or must it be special glass?
          • If special, is it source-able from a local glass shop?​
          • available from Sun Systems or aftermarket?​
    • No Carbon filter needed - exhausting direct to the outside
      • This should limit back-pressure on fan to ensure full available CFM for cooling and RH control.​
    • separate 6"? duct allowing outdoor fresh air to flow into grow tent, prompted by the negative tent pressure.
      • varying outdoor air Temp/RH will cause grow environment to be somewhat variable​
      • should I restrict flow of outdoor air into tent to create some negative pressure in tent and thereby the grow room, to ensure smell reduction in house?​
      • reduce flow of indoor heated air from being pumped outdoors​
      • Should air intake duct have some kind of filter beyond a mouse screen?
        • I could run the intake through a box containing a standard HVAC filter to eliminate any insects/mites/spores etc..​
    • Air movement will require oscillating fans above and below the canopy​
  • Nutes/PH:
    • I have some 15 yr old GH flora series nutes that have been stored in the basement, protected from temp swings and light.
      • I do not plan on changing nutes, except to replace what I have if the consensus is that these are non-viable.​
    • I have GH and Aquarium type PH test kits.
      • Aside from my natural inclination to buy tools, is there a real need to buy PH and or other water test equipment?
        • What PH test tech is generally accepted as sufficiently accurate and economical for casual growers
      • My tap water is chlorinated (not Chloramine)
  • Plants
    • 4 clones of the same mother in 5Gal buckets - SCROG In 5x5 tent?
      • too many plants, or not enough?​
    • Not sure of variety yet. I have several options
      • for first run, I would like to have somewhat of an Indica growth pattern so I can get some experience with dialing in the scrog without explosive pre-flower stretch...​
  • Fogponics
    • Does anyone here use Fogponics for cannabis?
      • My cursory search did not return much info on Fog use in cannabis beyond @Moe.Red 's great thread (which is what brought me to this forum)
      • Is this a bad idea? I felt sure, after my very positive experience with fogponics 15 years ago, that it would be a "thing" by now...??
    • I plan on doing standard DWC at first
      • until the clones are established in their netpots/hydroton​
      • until the roots are long enough so that I can drop the water level and fill the air gap with Nute Fog.
        • or lower water level by degrees as the roots get longer
No, I am not expecting answers to all of these questions here and now. Any help would be appreciated. As I come by solutions and answers through my own research, I will try to post them here.

Thank you to anyone who has read this far!
CruelSun
 
Last edited:
Moe.Red

Moe.Red

5,044
313
Welcome to the farm.

I think the issue with using fogponics in cannabis is that it requires a level of control most people do not have.

I'm at work so I'll get back to you later when I have more time.
 
CruelSun

CruelSun

40
18
Welcome to the farm.

I think the issue with using fogponics in cannabis is that it requires a level of control most people do not have.

I'm at work so I'll get back to you later when I have more time.
I found my six disc fogger today and luckily, the six spare discs and tool that I got with it because only two of the discs were functioning when I tested it.
I replaced the non-functional discs and the results are not stellar...
Two of the replaced discs are still not functioning. One new disc seems to be functioning very weakly, one has much more output than the original two that are still working.
I never replaced any discs on this unit. When I used it previously (15 years ago). It ran for a few months in nutrient solution and I never noticed any degradation in fog volume. But it is certainly possible that I just didn't notice that some of the discs had failed to participate...

I am still clearing the basement and trying to wrap my head around things that I need before I can get started. I expect to have access to some clones (preferably four from the same mother) in a month or so. That is when I'll be getting itchy to turn on the light and have a go at this. So there is plenty of time.
The first question I need an answer to is the viability of my nutrients.
Will general hydroponic nutrients be viable after 15 years properly stored (original containers stored inside dark tote in a dark temperature controlled room)?
 
Moe.Red

Moe.Red

5,044
313
6 disks running 24x7 will make the water get in the triple digits F

You got a way to turn them on and off? A fan to stir the fog?

What size res and grow space you thinking?

Sounds like this is a budget experiment but if you need parts house of hydro has everything foggers.
 
CruelSun

CruelSun

40
18
6 disks running 24x7 will make the water get in the triple digits F

You got a way to turn them on and off? A fan to stir the fog?

What size res and grow space you thinking?

Sounds like this is a budget experiment but if you need parts house of hydro has everything foggers.
Budget is not super tight, just trying not to spend unnecessary $s. I'll look at that supplier but if this fogger is unreliable I may do the conservative thing and wait for a second grow before I buy a new fogger. I was just going that route because I thought I had everything I needed already.
The system I used last time was a shoe-box sized fog box with float valve and fogger inside, a fan pushing cool air in and a tube carrying fog out, branched out to 4 totes. It worked super for 2 dozen leafy plants. This sits on the floor of a cool basement and even if the mix in the fogger gets quite warm, by the time the fog got to the totes it didn't seem significantly warm. Of course I did no data collection on Temp or anything else for that matter. It just worked so well that I had all I could do to keep the plants harvested...
 
Arkitct

Arkitct

20
3
Budget is not super tight, just trying not to spend unnecessary $s. I'll look at that supplier but if this fogger is unreliable I may do the conservative thing and wait for a second grow before I buy a new fogger. I was just going that route because I thought I had everything I needed already.
The system I used last time was a shoe-box sized fog box with float valve and fogger inside, a fan pushing cool air in and a tube carrying fog out, branched out to 4 totes. It worked super for 2 dozen leafy plants. This sits on the floor of a cool basement and even if the mix in the fogger gets quite warm, by the time the fog got to the totes it didn't seem significantly warm. Of course I did no data collection on Temp or anything else for that matter. It just worked so well that I had all I could do to keep the plants harvested...
@CruelSun This sounds exciting! Eager to see how it all goes and will be following along. (Old timer, recent new grower/new to forum).
 
Moe.Red

Moe.Red

5,044
313
Budget is not super tight, just trying not to spend unnecessary $s. I'll look at that supplier but if this fogger is unreliable I may do the conservative thing and wait for a second grow before I buy a new fogger. I was just going that route because I thought I had everything I needed already.
The system I used last time was a shoe-box sized fog box with float valve and fogger inside, a fan pushing cool air in and a tube carrying fog out, branched out to 4 totes. It worked super for 2 dozen leafy plants. This sits on the floor of a cool basement and even if the mix in the fogger gets quite warm, by the time the fog got to the totes it didn't seem significantly warm. Of course I did no data collection on Temp or anything else for that matter. It just worked so well that I had all I could do to keep the plants harvested...
I think that would work. Keeps the heat outside the root zone.

Looking forward to what you come up with. Lmk if ya need anything
 
CruelSun

CruelSun

40
18
I think I'm going to build an RDWC with 4 grow totes (15g or 27g) in a 5x5x6' tent and a 27g or larger reservoir outside the tent. Goal grow is a 4 clone, 5x5 SCROG.

  • What is a cost effective solution for PH and PPM testing?
    • I don't want to buy cheap tools and need to replace them later...
    • Once the system is running and stable, how often do I need to check PH and PPM? Does remote monitoring have much real value?
 
Moe.Red

Moe.Red

5,044
313
First step is a ph and ppm test pen set.


If you want to upgrade I suggest bluelab for continual monitoring.

If you seriously have things dialed in once a week check and adjust each if ya just hate growing. Most people are not that dialed in until they are several runs deep with a system. Personally I'd check daily at minimum.
 
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CruelSun

CruelSun

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18
First step is a ph and ppm test pen set.


If you want to upgrade I suggest bluelab for continual monitoring.

If you seriously have things dialed in once a week check and adjust each if ya just hate growing. Most people are not that dialed in until they are several runs deep with a system. Personally I'd check daily at minimum
Thank you.
$20 will have to do for a while. I'm surprised to be able to get away that inexpensively.
I'm sure I will be checking at least daily until I start to feel that the system has some stability.

I tested PH with an Aquarium test kit during my lettuce grow years ago but had no equipment to test PPM. I also do not remember doing any water/nutrient drain/replace but it was a long time ago... I'm sure I used tap water and seem to remember having gotten PPM info from the water service company website?

I'm ordering the PH and PPM testers today to get an idea what my tap water is like.
I guess I should look at RO filters also..
 
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CruelSun

CruelSun

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pH and PPM pens will be here tomorrow.

In prepping seedlings or clones for a scrog, my buddy and I have traditionally topped or pinched off the tops several times to branch out the plant. In my reading here, I saw that there is a technique with a similar purpose by bending the plant and tying it down. What is that technique called on? Looking to read more about it but I haven't come up with search terms to find a thread so far.
 
Moe.Red

Moe.Red

5,044
313
pH and PPM pens will be here tomorrow.

In prepping seedlings or clones for a scrog, my buddy and I have traditionally topped or pinched off the tops several times to branch out the plant. In my reading here, I saw that there is a technique with a similar purpose by bending the plant and tying it down. What is that technique called on? Looking to read more about it but I haven't come up with search terms to find a thread so far.
I think what you are looking for is lst or low stress training. It’s a good way to get an even canopy for good light efficiency.
 
CruelSun

CruelSun

40
18
I think what you are looking for is lst or low stress training. It’s a good way to get an even canopy for good light efficiency.
Thanks,
I dug up some references to LST and Supercropping, still looking for a good thread or three that explains these techs.
 
Moe.Red

Moe.Red

5,044
313
CruelSun

CruelSun

40
18
I don’t know of a good thread dedicated to lst it’s in a lot of people grow journals tho.

I really like this and do this method most of the time

Thank you for the link. I did some reading on supercropping, LST, HST, etc. Seems that everybody has their own fancy name for what seems similar to what I've been doing for years...

I have received the TDS /EC and pH pen kit. Watched a couple videos on how to calibrate. Unanswered question is: can I keep the pH calibration solutions for some period of time (stored properly in separate pint mason jars)? I feel that I would be much more likely to calibrate occasionally if I had ready-made solutions to perform the task.
That said, how often does the pH Pen really need to be calibrated if it is rinsed and dried after each use and stored with it's cap on?
 
Smokey0418

Smokey0418

661
143
I personally use an apera all in one unit that does ph , ec and a few other things.

I find the ph part does not move much , couple points out over a few weeks

Now the ec on the other could swing a few hundred .

Ultimately when you get a balanced nutrient thing going , for me anyways then numbers say very close and the water just falls.
 
Moe.Red

Moe.Red

5,044
313
Thank you for the link. I did some reading on supercropping, LST, HST, etc. Seems that everybody has their own fancy name for what seems similar to what I've been doing for years...

I have received the TDS /EC and pH pen kit. Watched a couple videos on how to calibrate. Unanswered question is: can I keep the pH calibration solutions for some period of time (stored properly in separate pint mason jars)? I feel that I would be much more likely to calibrate occasionally if I had ready-made solutions to perform the task.
That said, how often does the pH Pen really need to be calibrated if it is rinsed and dried after each use and stored with it's cap on?
I've tried them all, and often it just comes down to what the plant gives me, I train accordingly. After a while it becomes second nature and you kinda do it without thinking. The only one I do not do on a regular basis is FIM.

Calibrating PH pens is really easy and fast. You can buy the solutions ready made, or make them yourself. I can grab you some pics if you need it, but just buy the stuff in a large enough qty to last you a year, and then get 2 50ml beakers.


Pour out enough of each solution into a "bar clean" beaker, meaning you washed it with water then dried it with a paper towel. Don't stick your PH pen in the bottles of solution or you will contaminate them. Perform your calibrations and then dump out the beakers. 20mL at a time is probably enough to cover your probe sensor.

Probes are almost all 2 point cal, some are 3. If 2 point, use 7 and 4. If 3 point, use 7, 4, 10.

Repeat about every 2 months, or when you suspect something is off.

If you get yourself set up with the right tools, cal should take no more than 5 minutes.

Here is how to make your own solution.


Keep a tite lid on your solution bottles, out of direct light and room temp. That's it.
 
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CruelSun

CruelSun

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Thank you both for the replies.

My tap water tests at around:
pH 6.5
95 PPM

Is that a good starting point?
 
Moe.Red

Moe.Red

5,044
313
Thank you both for the replies.

My tap water tests at around:
pH 6.5
95 PPM

Is that a good starting point?
Does not scare me at all. If you have a water report the only thing to look for would be sodium.

It will presumably have some chlorine in it so just let it sit for a day if you care about that. Some do not and are successful.

If you decide to go with automation and RO, you can do auto topoffs at close to 0 ppm with a cheap RO and a float valve like this


$13 for the float, and you can get RO under $100. Something to consider, because you need RO for fog anyhow. You run ultrasonics in straight tap water at a high rate and you will have issues with the minerals in the water.

For now, that tap water will need some downwards PH correction, but probably has adequate buffering to make running silica optional.

With GH trio, I'd just add the 95 on top of the chart numbers to start with. So if you are trying to hit 300ppm according to the chart, you will shoot for 400ppm because of the starting point.
 
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