What am I dealing with? Frustrated with RDWC.

  • Thread starter Hazyboy
  • Start date
  • Tagged users None
Hazyboy

Hazyboy

21
3
Okay.. so I'll do my best to break this down and supply all relevant info and background.

I have finished a few RDWC runs now, and have not had very much success, yields and quality has been disappointing when compared to my dirt grows. Most of my previous runs I think had some nutrient imbalances but my root balls never got massive either, and roots were never bright white, always a dull beige (which I thought might be staining but wasn't sure)..

I was previously using beneficial microbes, microbial mass or green planet root builder. However this run I decided to try a sterile res instead, and started using UC Roots.

I cleaned my loops extremely well between crops, I use home made water chillers (dehumidifier/AC with cooling coil placed in res) and I have water fall recirculation with 2x airstones in each 10gallon bucket which holds 2x plants. All water used in my loops is RO filtered water. My tap water is 520ppm but after RO it's about 12ppm.

From day 1 on this round, I ditched the beneficial microbes and have been dosing the UC roots at 3ml/gallon every 4 days. My water temps have been 66-68f. I have tried to block out as much light as possible but I believe some is still leaking in through my net pots in the cracks of hydroton, despite trying to cover them up with black and white.

Within 7 days of running my loop like this I could start to see a red build up on the roots. By day 11 they are clearly having a major issue, the red build up has gotten thicker and darker. I can see tiny pieces of this reddish material floating in the res and building up on my chiller element and fittings on the loop.

I thought the chlorine in UC roots would prevent algae or bacteria? It seems my sterile res didn't even last 1 week before being over run... how is this possible?

At first i thought the chlorine might be causing my chiller element or brass fittings on the waterfall manifold to corrode and rust and this is spreading around the res but I'm not so sure. It looks too slimy to be rust and I doubt it would build up on roots like this.

Could my water source be contaminated with something despite going through RO? My sediment filter always turns a gross reddish/yellow color similar to this.

I just can't seem to get it right with RDWC, I'm beyond frustrated and have spent a lot of time + money trying to make this work.

Any help is appreciated

Cheers
 
Nate_in_AK

Nate_in_AK

731
93
Does the res water come in direct contact with the cooling coil? Could it be leaching something off into the water that is causing trouble, I wonder?
 
Ponky

Ponky

1,486
163
Well I've been filling my bucket in the bathtub with water at 70 F using my handheld thermometer. And then I PH it and add the food. Either 3 part PH perfect. Or maxi series. And if it's going to be hot. Hydrogen peroxide. When I didn't use the peroxide and it got really hot one plant died of root rot over night 2 days before expected harvest. From healthy to roots falling off. Had to be less than 12 hours. I had been using a concoction. But so far using less I'd working better.
And tap water and food seem to work really well for me with out adding anything but peroxide.
 
Hazyboy

Hazyboy

21
3
Does the res water come in direct contact with the cooling coil? Could it be leaching something off into the water that is causing trouble, I wonder?
Yes it does, I am wondering this myself. I mentioned in the original post I thought maybe the chlorine was causing my cooling coil, or the brass fittings in my waterfall manifold to corrode and rust.
 
Goblinkiller

Goblinkiller

535
93
Maybe you can wrap the cooler coil in a plastic material and put back in water ?

If plastic is not suitable then something Else, to separate water from metal. Dont know if it helps you but then you have excluded that possibility i guess.
Not an rdwc grower
 
Hazyboy

Hazyboy

21
3
Maybe you can wrap the cooler coil in a plastic material and put back in water ?

If plastic is not suitable then something Else, to separate water from metal. Dont know if it helps you but then you have excluded that possibility i guess.
Not an rdwc grower
Yeah I've been thinking of a few ways to do this. Just seems so odd I have ran this setup without this happening in the past.

I've done 2 runs without an issue like this using the exact same setup, the only change I made was switching from beneficial microbes to UC roots (chlorine).
 
Frankster

Frankster

Seshat; Goddess of Wisdom, Knowledge, and writing.
Supporter
3,427
263
Might be leaching more than adequate amounts of copper into your run, or even lead possibly? I wouldn't be using an old radiator with salts, that's going to corrode for sure....

Aside from that, sounds like light might be an issue, and the two could actually be related. I suspect the copper might be influencing your root biome possibly, by killing off your good species.

Because copper and its alloys exhibit impressive antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Copper has been exploited for health purposes since ancient times. ie. But in this particular case, probably an unhealthy microbe biome...

The normal coolants run in those devices such as Ethylene glycol have anticorrosive qualities to them, in addition to raising the boiling point, and lowering the cooling point.. antifreeze remains chemically inert, meaning that it doesn't interact with the surfaces of the system. Salts do not...
 
Last edited:
Hazyboy

Hazyboy

21
3
Might be leaching more than adequate amounts of copper into your run, or even lead possibly? I wouldn't be using an old radiator with salts, that's going to corrode for sure....

Aside from that, sounds like light might be an issue, and the two could actually be related. I suspect the copper might be influencing your root biome possibly, by killing off your good species.

Because copper and its alloys exhibit impressive antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Copper has been exploited for health purposes since ancient times. ie. But in this particular case, probably an unhealthy microbe biome...

The normal coolants run in those devices such as Ethylene glycol have anticorrosive qualities to them, in addition to raising the boiling point, and lowering the cooling point.. antifreeze remains chemically inert, meaning that it doesn't interact with the surfaces of the system. Salts do not...

I'm trying to run a "sterile" res using UC Roots (chlorine) so my beneficial biome should be toast either way.

The waterfall manifold for recirculation also has brass T fittings and 90 degree elbows, so between those fittings and the cooling coil (it's not exactly a radiator, it's a cooling coil from a dehumidifier) I'm thinking the chlorine in UC roots is having a bad reaction with the exposed metals in my loop.

I never experienced anything like this while using microbes, but as soon as I switched to chlorine, the problem quickly attacked.
 
stltoed

stltoed

167
43
How did you clean the cooling element from the dehumidifier?

The Copper theory is a good one.

Curious if you ever got over it. I have another easy/cheap way to cool your water if you're interested
 

Similar threads

Lynch_Ironside
Replies
21
Views
490
Lynch_Ironside
Lynch_Ironside
Murfburger
Replies
1
Views
372
Oldguy71
Oldguy71
Lynch_Ironside
Replies
14
Views
300
Brotofsky
Brotofsky
Top Bottom