New 24 light coco drip and waste setup -- input welcome!

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Mandelbr0t

Mandelbr0t

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Hey everyone, this will be my first grow. Or at least the first one I have built and done myself. I've been friends with 8-10+ commercial growers over the last 15-20 years, and helped them numerous times/worked with them as business partners on a granular level. It's always been with soil up until this point, however. I feel like the hydro coco and drip and waste is a more ideal, streamlined, and efficient way to go though, so that's what I decided to go with. Here's what my setup is:

Lighting/Environment (24) total lights:
  • (4)Phantom Photobio MX LED 680w for veg -- Roughly 200sq.ft.
    • Controlled from Autopilot PX2 lighting controller
    • 24k BTU mini split with heat pump, low ambient temp model (works 100% efficiently for cooling down to 5*F outside temp)
      • Controlled and connected to the other units by controllers/app from the manufacturer
      • Way over-sized because I was originally planning on doing all Gavita's
    • Quest 105 dehumidifier
    • Room + plugs for 2 more lights/1 more 4x8 table if needed.
  • (6)Phantom Photobio MX LED 680w for "from seed" room (I've spent years collecting genetics all over LA, SF, and all my contacts) -- Roughly 200sq.ft.
    • Controlled from Autopilot PX2 lighting controller
    • 36k BTU mini split with heat pump, low ambient temp model
      • Controlled/connected to the other units by controllers/app from the manufacturer
      • Again, way oversized because I was originally planning on all Gavita's
    • Quest 165 dehumidifier
  • (14)Gavita DE 1000w for main flower room -- Roughly 500sq.ft.
    • Controlled from Gavita Master Controller EL2
    • (2) 36k BTU mini splits with heat pump, low ambient temp models
    • (1) 18k BTU mini split with heat pump, low ambient temp model
    • Total of 90,000 available cooling BTU's
      • All of these also controlled/connected to other units by app from manufacturer
    • Quest 225 dehumidifier
  • Insulation:
    • 2" closed cell spray foam on all exterior walls
      • 3" closed cell spray foam on roof
    • R-15 roll insulation in between interior walls
    • 16" of cellulose insulation on top of ceilings, for roughly an R-50 value
  • Paint:
    • Thinking of going with "High Reflective White" from Sherwin-Williams, which has a LRV (Light Reflective Value) of 93.
      • Originally was planning on going with flat white, but think this may work better for the much higher LRV?
  • Tables/Trays:
    • I am looking at the Botanicare slide bench systems, but have not firmly decided yet. Would love any input anyone has for tables/benches.
  • Fans:
    • Would love input from people on what fans/how many (size/cfm's etc) you recommend. I put plenty of plugs all over the walls in every room, so that I can re-configure the fans as necessary.
  • Carbon scrubbers:
    • I forget the size of each off the top of my head, but I calculated the CFM's needed for each room, then sized the scrubbers accordingly when used in recirculation mode.
  • Walls:
    • Moisture-resistant drywall
Watering/Feeding:
  • Dosatron, using the recommended configuration from Athena for their Pro line
    • Well water, running through an RO system into the main reservoir, before it goes to the Dosatron.
      • In between the main reservoir and Dosatron, I have a DAB E.sybox Mini 3 water booster system to ensure precise, constant pressure through Dosatron and downline drip emitters.
    • Feeding 3.0 EC
  • Co2 bottle tanks in each room
    • Controlled by Autopilot APC8200 monitor and controllers
  • One thing that is still up in the air is what to do with the wastewater from the drain and waste system. I don't have an existing drain. Since I've never done a drain and waste system, I don't have any clue exactly how much waste will come from 130-150 plants per week/month? Would love any input on this from people doing similar size setups.
Substrate:
  • Coco, thinking of going with Pro-Mix HPCC, as a friend has had good results with it.
    • I will be pre-charging the coco in 4.0 EC before the clones are transplanted into coco, then feeding 3.0 EC, as recommended to me by Ryan at Athena.

The drywall mud should all be done in the next couple of days, then it is full steam ahead. I already have all the equipment ready to go. We will be using angle iron to hang lights/dehumidifers etc from. I added 2x6x14 and 2x8x14 supports, spanning 3-4 rafters/bottom chords each, to support the weight of the LED's and dehumidifiers hanging from the ceiling. It was my understanding from talking to an inspector that unless they are engineered specifically otherwise, most bottom chords aren't designed to support more than 5lb's per sq.ft. of dead/hanging load. Either way, I now have plenty of support to hang anything I want anywhere I want in any of the rooms.

Would love anyone input/advice/feedback any of you guys have. My friend/former business partner will be helping me. He has some experience with hydro setups, but not much. I believe the largest setup he has done previously is 8 lights, and it was not closed environment like this. He has a ton of experience on the hill in Mendo though, doing the outdoor thing.
 
Observationist

Observationist

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Unfortunately, until the drywall mud has fully dried, I can't start painting, and until I do that I can't hang and plumb everything. The drywall should be all finished up hopefully by Wednesday at the latest. Here's pics up until now though. There's a hole in the wall in first pic where 18k mini split will go.
thats awesome, wish i had that much space to work with, nice!
 
Dirtbag

Dirtbag

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For circulation fans I'd have a 16" hurricane fan about every 6-8' along the walls, positioned between the canopy and the lights, and directed ever so slightly upwards. And I'd also have ducting recirculate the room air by blowing air from just above canopy level to below the plants, to create an upward air current in the room.

As for your runoff I'd recommend utilizing a holding tank that you can pump all the runoff into, and also dump all the dehumidifier and AC wastewater into. The runoff combines with the other plain water and can be reused by pumping it through a canister filter and UV sterilizer and then mixing it 50/50 with fresh nutrient solution and adjusting from there. It saves a TON on wasted water and nutrients. Everything gets used. You would only need a decent UV sterilizer and 3 stage canister filter setup so that you could sterilize the runoff and dehu water before reusing. I use this type of setup and wouldn't do it any other way. Especially on a large scale.

I would be careful with your ec, especially in coco. Personally I would start young plants around 1ec, then slowly increase to about 1.5-1.8ec by early flower using Co2. Closer to 1.3-1.5 max without gas.

Best of luck!
If you want more info about anything shoot me a PM. I've run many rooms this size and am happy to offer some advice.
 
Last edited:
DarkCoast

DarkCoast

26
13
For a setup that big, I would definitely consider a trolmaster Hydro X Pro. If not, for CO2, id go with Greenair CDMC-6 controllers.

As far as the plumbing goes, are you saying the building has no plumbing at all? No bathrooms? Thats a bit of an issue as far as waste water goes.

Ive seen great results with the 3.0 EC Athena schedule but it gets pretty expensive.

For substrate, have you considered Coco bags? Floraflex Quick fill bags, Dutch Plantin, RioCoco, etc.

Whatever you decide, this is going to be a sick fucking setup. Congrats dude.
 
mikeross

mikeross

443
43
OP you should size up minimum to an Anden v320 or get 2 smaller units. I'm running a 15 light DE room and my V320 isn't able to keep up at all during lights off. I have to exhaust the room the entire time the lights are off. I actually prefer to purge the room during lights off as I burn Co2.

I have a floor drain my tables drain into so not 100% sure how much waste I'm getting. Plants go through about 600 gals a week during peak flower. 144 sites with (2) 0.5gph emitters per site. If I'd have to estimate I'd say about 50 gals go to waste a week. I'm watering anywhere from 6-9 times a day during flower.

Dependant on the width of your room its pretty hard to beat 16" hurricane fans. I've got 12 for a 12x24' canopy. Properly clean them, blow out the motor between runs and they will last a long time.

I'm running a single Can-Filter 150 with a 12" Maxfan scrubbing the room and it's doing a great job... room is 15x28' but has a lot of circulation.

Promix is good stuff but if I had a auto watering system like you're proposing I'd be multi-feeding coco and crop steering for sure.

Any reason you want to run bottled co2 and not just a gas or propane generator? I'd hate to be swapping co2 bottles for that many rooms/SF.
 
Mandelbr0t

Mandelbr0t

8
3
For circulation fans I'd have a 16" hurricane fan about every 6-8' along the walls, positioned between the canopy and the lights, and directed ever so slightly upwards. And I'd also have ducting recirculate the room air by blowing air from just above canopy level to below the plants, to create an upward air current in the room.

As for your runoff I'd recommend utilizing a holding tank that you can pump all the runoff into, and also dump all the dehumidifier and AC wastewater into. The runoff combines with the other plain water and can be reused by pumping it through a canister filter and UV sterilizer and then mixing it 50/50 with fresh nutrient solution and adjusting from there. It saves a TON on wasted water and nutrients. Everything gets used. You would only need a decent UV sterilizer and 3 stage canister filter setup so that you could sterilize the runoff and dehu water before reusing. I use this type of setup and wouldn't do it any other way. Especially on a large scale.

I would be careful with your ec, especially in coco. Personally I would start young plants around 1ec, then slowly increase to about 1.5-1.8ec by early flower using Co2. Closer to 1.3-1.5 max without gas.

Best of luck!
If you want more info about anything shoot me a PM. I've run many rooms this size and am happy to offer some advice.
The 16" were what I was thinking of going with, with roughly that same spacing. I don't have any ducting though, only using mini splits; which was mainly so I could have controlled environments not affected by adjacent rooms. The extra holding tank for wastewater was also what I was thinking of going with (versus draining it all outside/into the ground/new septic.) I wondered (still wonder) if putting an RO system to/before the input of the wastewater tank would work? The UV sterilizer is a good idea. As for mixing it with the nutrient solution, wouldn't the nutrients only be mixed via automatically at the Dosatron? I've included a ghetto MS Paint diagram I just made of how I plan to have it setup/flowing. Blue arrows are clean water, gray arrows are the waste/runoff. The "return" clean blue arrows only go directly across to the first RO system because MS Paint doesn't have diagonal arrows to use, otherwise I would have the RO'ed runoff/wastewater flowing directly back to the main 400 gallon reservoir, right?
For a setup that big, I would definitely consider a trolmaster Hydro X Pro. If not, for CO2, id go with Greenair CDMC-6 controllers.

As far as the plumbing goes, are you saying the building has no plumbing at all? No bathrooms? Thats a bit of an issue as far as waste water goes.

Ive seen great results with the 3.0 EC Athena schedule but it gets pretty expensive.

For substrate, have you considered Coco bags? Floraflex Quick fill bags, Dutch Plantin, RioCoco, etc.

Whatever you decide, this is going to be a sick fucking setup. Congrats dude.
I was looking at the Hydro-X Pro, but the only problem is it's not compatible with the mini splits I have. Big bummer, because I would have otherwise loved to have used the Hydro-X Pro.

That's correct, there is no plumbing or bathrooms. It was just a pole barn with sheet metal walls and posts when I arrived. Originally, I was planning on running soil, where drains aren't as big of a deal in my experience. Then, my buddy convinced me of the benefits of the hydro, and everything got switched in the 11th hour. So now I'm having to go backwards and start figuring out the drain situation on the back end rather than the front end. If you read the comment, and my reply I quoted above yours, you can see where my thinking is at on that. Ideally I'd love to reuse everything I can; not only for the environmental reasons, but also because I'm not in a hurry to spend $15,000-$20,000 on a new septic and drain field just for this purpose.

As for coco bags, I haven't done a lot of research on them. I'll look into them, thanks for the suggestion. And thank you, I like to think it's a pretty good setup too :) If I hadn't had so much hands-on involvement with commercial growers for so long, I would have been a lot more intimidated starting my first ever solo grow with so many lights and moving parts. I'm sure there will be mistakes I make and adjustments to make, but I'm confident I can figure them all out. Thankfully I know lots of people I can ask for advice in person and on here.
OP you should size up minimum to an Anden v320 or get 2 smaller units. I'm running a 15 light DE room and my V320 isn't able to keep up at all during lights off. I have to exhaust the room the entire time the lights are off. I actually prefer to purge the room during lights off as I burn Co2.

I have a floor drain my tables drain into so not 100% sure how much waste I'm getting. Plants go through about 600 gals a week during peak flower. 144 sites with (2) 0.5gph emitters per site. If I'd have to estimate I'd say about 50 gals go to waste a week. I'm watering anywhere from 6-9 times a day during flower.

Dependant on the width of your room its pretty hard to beat 16" hurricane fans. I've got 12 for a 12x24' canopy. Properly clean them, blow out the motor between runs and they will last a long time.

I'm running a single Can-Filter 150 with a 12" Maxfan scrubbing the room and it's doing a great job... room is 15x28' but has a lot of circulation.

Promix is good stuff but if I had a auto watering system like you're proposing I'd be multi-feeding coco and crop steering for sure.

Any reason you want to run bottled co2 and not just a gas or propane generator? I'd hate to be swapping co2 bottles for that many rooms/SF.
I was worried the 225 might not be able to handle the humidity completely. The mini splits naturally dehumidify too, but I guess since they won't necessarily be running in cooling mode when the lights are off, they won't help to dehumidify then, so humidity could increase at lights off. Once I switched the plans from soil to drip hydro, I was kind of hoping that with the lower amount of water being provided in the environment, that maybe I could squeak by? Do you run soil or hydro?

50 gallons a week runoff wouldn't be too bad to deal with, especially if I'm able to RO or otherwise filter/clean the runoff for reuse (see above comments.)

My main room is 39x12, basically a long rectangle. The reason I was wanting to go with bottled Co2 was less heat generation, don't have to worry about ethylene byproduct etc, and also because I had a friend who used to run bottles in his warehouse in CO, but now is using burners again at his spot in MI, and says he prefers the bottles and would go with them if he hadn't already setup the burners. I think he also said that the bottles are easier to control.
 
Design
Dirtbag

Dirtbag

Supporter
9,075
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The 16" were what I was thinking of going with, with roughly that same spacing. I don't have any ducting though, only using mini splits; which was mainly so I could have controlled environments not affected by adjacent rooms. The extra holding tank for wastewater was also what I was thinking of going with (versus draining it all outside/into the ground/new septic.) I wondered (still wonder) if putting an RO system to/before the input of the wastewater tank would work? The UV sterilizer is a good idea. As for mixing it with the nutrient solution, wouldn't the nutrients only be mixed via automatically at the Dosatron? I've included a ghetto MS Paint diagram I just made of how I plan to have it setup/flowing. Blue arrows are clean water, gray arrows are the waste/runoff. The "return" clean blue arrows only go directly across to the first RO system because MS Paint doesn't have diagonal arrows to use, otherwise I would have the RO'ed runoff/wastewater flowing directly back to the main 400 gallon reservoir, right?
I wouldn't bother to RO the runoff, why waste nutrients. Just sterilize it and add it to the main holding tank before it hits the dosatron.

I will say when I ran rooms this big it was quite a while ago and we managed it analog and old school hands on. Didn't have a lot of the fancy automation used today.
 
mikeross

mikeross

443
43
I was worried the 225 might not be able to handle the humidity completely. The mini splits naturally dehumidify too, but I guess since they won't necessarily be running in cooling mode when the lights are off, they won't help to dehumidify then, so humidity could increase at lights off. Once I switched the plans from soil to drip hydro, I was kind of hoping that with the lower amount of water being provided in the environment, that maybe I could squeak by? Do you run soil or hydro?

50 gallons a week runoff wouldn't be too bad to deal with, especially if I'm able to RO or otherwise filter/clean the runoff for reuse (see above comments.)

My main room is 39x12, basically a long rectangle. The reason I was wanting to go with bottled Co2 was less heat generation, don't have to worry about ethylene byproduct etc, and also because I had a friend who used to run bottles in his warehouse in CO, but now is using burners again at his spot in MI, and says he prefers the bottles and would go with them if he hadn't already setup the burners. I think he also said that the bottles are easier to control.

I'm running (2) 3 ton mini splits in the room. I can see them pulling a lot of water out of the air during lights on but its still not enough even with the Anden v320. I may be watering 6-9 times per day but I'm only seeing runoff once per day so definitely not draining to waste to much.

I've got my burners plumbed into a natural gas line so I never have to do anything, just pay the gas bill. One pro to purging your room at lights off is it helps take the load off the dehum and also gets rid of any possible off gasses from the burner although I've run propane burners in sealed rooms, never purged and never had an issue.

I run coco, about 1.5gal of medium in 2gal fabric pots, 9 per light. You for sure can use your irrigation system and moisture content in the medium to help control the humidity. I do a leaf strip during week 6 and at week 8 I cut back on the watering and slowly lower all parameters in the room, cut off co2 as well. The lower moisture content in the pots and bigger/longer drybacks get my humidity in check.

You don't have to go all fancy with your watering system too. I run an a nearpow dual timer, 1 side triggers a mondi pump to circulate the nutes, that shuts off, then the other side triggers my Leader pump. Can do you to 9 cycles per day, cheap and reliable.

 
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Wellrooted

Wellrooted

88
33
For circulation fans I'd have a 16" hurricane fan about every 6-8' along the walls, positioned between the canopy and the lights, and directed ever so slightly upwards. And I'd also have ducting recirculate the room air by blowing air from just above canopy level to below the plants, to create an upward air current in the room.

As for your runoff I'd recommend utilizing a holding tank that you can pump all the runoff into, and also dump all the dehumidifier and AC wastewater into. The runoff combines with the other plain water and can be reused by pumping it through a canister filter and UV sterilizer and then mixing it 50/50 with fresh nutrient solution and adjusting from there. It saves a TON on wasted water and nutrients. Everything gets used. You would only need a decent UV sterilizer and 3 stage canister filter setup so that you could sterilize the runoff and dehu water before reusing. I use this type of setup and wouldn't do it any other way. Especially on a large scale.

I would be careful with your ec, especially in coco. Personally I would start young plants around 1ec, then slowly increase to about 1.5-1.8ec by early flower using Co2. Closer to 1.3-1.5 max without gas.

Best of luck!
If you want more info about anything shoot me a PM. I've run many rooms this size and am happy to offer some advice.
You can see @Dirtbag ’s wastewater recycling system on his unislab thread. It’s pro, genius and straight legendary! But his is from rockwool, what are your thoughts about an accessible screen pre-filter for catching any coco fibers that wash out that can be easily removed and rinsed off? Also the ductwork circulating low air to the top of the room is a genius idea, especially for those of us running sealed with co2! I just have a few fans on the floor to keep it moving below with the hopes of it being stirred back up
 
Mandelbr0t

Mandelbr0t

8
3
What size pipe do you use to supply everything? 3/4"?
OP you should size up minimum to an Anden v320 or get 2 smaller units. I'm running a 15 light DE room and my V320 isn't able to keep up at all during lights off. I have to exhaust the room the entire time the lights are off. I actually prefer to purge the room during lights off as I burn Co2.

I have a floor drain my tables drain into so not 100% sure how much waste I'm getting. Plants go through about 600 gals a week during peak flower. 144 sites with (2) 0.5gph emitters per site. If I'd have to estimate I'd say about 50 gals go to waste a week. I'm watering anywhere from 6-9 times a day during flower.

Dependant on the width of your room its pretty hard to beat 16" hurricane fans. I've got 12 for a 12x24' canopy. Properly clean them, blow out the motor between runs and they will last a long time.

I'm running a single Can-Filter 150 with a 12" Maxfan scrubbing the room and it's doing a great job... room is 15x28' but has a lot of circulation.

Promix is good stuff but if I had a auto watering system like you're proposing I'd be multi-feeding coco and crop steering for sure.

Any reason you want to run bottled co2 and not just a gas or propane generator? I'd hate to be swapping co2 bottles for that many rooms/SFs
 
Clearbluesky

Clearbluesky

277
63
I wouldn't spend big money on expensive nutrients, you can use master blend 3 parts and grow big plants with big bud's, I got pictures to prove it and also you can get it for around $50.00 for 25 lbs of nutrients. Keep it simple.
 

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