pH’ing Your Water: After you’ve mixed all of your nutrients and supplements into your water, it’s important to ensure that the nutrient water is the correct pH so your plants are able to properly absorb nutrients.
Which Nutrients to Use: You can use any nutrients you prefer as long as they’re formulated for hydroponic systems (as opposed to soil) and are also specifically made for plants that have a vegetative and flowering stage (if you see tomatoes on the label, you’re golden!).
How to Make Your Bubbleponics System.
Temperature 75 degrees (+/- 5 degrees) is optimal. With this type of growing system, high temperature can be a huge problem (especially in warmer areas). Bacteria loves nutrients and warm water, so your reservoir will be the perfect place for them to reproduce if you can’t keep them out. There are two main ways to go about fighting bacteria/algae.
White, flour like substance appearing on leaves: Most likely white powdery mold. You can make a foliar spray with SM-90 that takes care of that pretty quickly. To prevent a re-occurrence of white powdery mold, increase circulation in the grow area by having a fan or two in the area, control high humidity, and ensure that the temperature of the grow area doesn’t climb above a comfortable room temperature.
The aim is generally to try to get your cannabis to grow wide and flat like a table. However, you don’t want the plants to get crowded and end up having them compete for space, so it’s a good idea to make sure that each cola (main stem) has a few inches of open space around it.
$5, and you can find it at Home Depot.
You will need to fully drain and replace your reservoir water once a week. The method you use to drain the water will be determined by your space/height/financial limitations. Here are some ideas for methods to drain the reservoir:
I love growing with General Hydroponics Trio because I don’t have to worry about nutrients and can focus on creating a great growing environment and harvesting my fat buds.
2700K will better for flowering, and a place like Home Depot will have CFLs in that color range (they’re usually labeled as ‘soft white’ colored). If you went for HPS/MH, now’s the time for that HPS bulb.
How to Setup Your Bubbleponics System – Device Setup:
Water Check your reservoir water to make sure there are no odd smells or objects floating in it. Check your tubes for brownish buildup which could be bacteria.
LEDs are a popular alternative to using a HID system (MH/HPS). Although they tend to yield slightly less than HIDs, the technology they use is still improving and the current models are much more promising than their older counterparts. Learn more about growing cannabis with LEDs.
Keeping the tank water cool and using something like SM90 to stop bacteria can help ensure your reservoir is a sterile growing environment.
Plants drinking less water than normal: Plant may be in shock from pH being off. Drain/Replace water and pay close attention to pH level. Your plants will also start drinking less water when they start developing root problems, which brings me to the next point…
Nutrients: Seedlings and Clones: Add 1/4 of the recommended nutrients after 1 week (during your first reservoir change), then work your way up to 1/2 over the next few weeks. Watch the tips of your leaves and back off if they start to appear yellow, brown or crispy. Giving plants too much nutrients is a common mistake and if you do notice signs of nutrient burn, you will want to drain their water and replace it with water that contains lower amounts of nutrients. However, if they seem pale and the pH is in the correct range, they might need more nutrients instead.
Replenishing Reservoir Water:
557W PlatinumLED grow light hanging in my tent.
Nutrients: Continue with the same schedule as recommended by your nutrients. Most nutrients will have you change to some sort of “flowering” schedule which contains the nutrients a plant needs during flowering. A lot of people will add more nutrients at this stage thinking that the plant will take it in and grow bigger buds, but too many nutrients will only burn your plant so you’ll just want to keep doing things the way you have been.
Mixing Nutrients: You can use an old five-gallon water jug as a container to mix your nutrients. You can use tap water, rain water or well water. Some growers use RO (Reverse Osmosis) water to grow cannabis since it has the least amount of extra ‘stuff’ in the water, though with RO you may want to supply your plants with a CaliMagic supplement to make up for the calcium and magnesium that’s normally found in most regular water sources. Either way, always make sure to “pH” your nutrient water before you pour it into the reservoir (see below).
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Nutrients: Since your plants are their sturdiest now, this is the best time to learn how much nutrients they like. You can move closer to giving them the maximum recommended dose and back off whenever you see the tips of their leaves starting to turn brown or yellow. If this happens, empty your reservoir and fill it back with water and nutrients at the previous safe level. With that being said, it’s a good idea to grow by the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” principle if you have some happy looking plants.
Answers to a few questions we get a lot:
The main attractions of growing DWC cannabis are the fast growth rates and huge yields that are potentially on offer when DWC is done well. For those that delight in the joy of growing their own cannabis, there is an undeniable satisfaction that comes from seeing a successful DWC grow really push the cannabis plant right to it’s limits.
But for someone that has only grown in soil before there are some undeniable added new complexities to consider. You will need a, perhaps slightly noisy, air pump to feed the DWC air stone and you may need to discover the joy of owning and calibrating pH and EC meters for the first time.
The container is often simply a deep bucket (hence the name, DWC) which is often black in colour. The absence of light keeps dreaded slime and algae to a minimum. One plant can comfortably fill the typical 15-20 litre DWC bucket full of cannabis roots by the end of the grow. A healthy root ball is a huge white mass of roots.
Growing cannabis in DWC system.
Above the root-zone the plant grows normally, though with enhanced speed and yield thanks to the optimised conditions in the root area. The nutrient bath will need replacing frequently, especially as the plants mature. As with other grow methods, the nutrients tend to slowly increase in strength as the plant develops.
Many serious growers change the nutrient bath at fixed schedules, often weekly. You may be able to leave your nutrient bath 1-2 weeks between changes in veg. But in bloom, with hungry plants you should aim for complete weekly nutrient bath changes at a minimum. Pro growers may change baths even more frequently than that. They will check their baths once or twice a day in late bloom, topping up with nutrients.
Deep Water Culture (DWC) is the technique of growing cannabis plants with their roots growing in a bubbling (aerated) nutrient bath. Growing cannabis in a DWC system is claimed by many to be the fastest way to grow heavy yielding cannabis plants. However, the technical complexity of correctly maintaining the pH and concentration of the nutrients does place certain requirements on the grower. DWC cannabis growing offers great rewards, but it is far from the easiest grow technique to master.
Growing in a DWC cannabis system isn’t for everyone. But for those that do it well, dry yields of several hundred grams per plant are quite routine. Deep water culture cannabis growing pushes hydroponics (soil-free) cultivation to it’s limits. As such, it’s the ultimate thrill and ultimate challenge for many indoor growers. For those that truly enjoy their cannabis cultivation there are few more satisfying feelings than seeing a crop grow from seed to harvest. When you harvest your first DWC monster the joy and satisfaction will be remembered forever.
A DWC cannabis grow comes in many different styles and adaptations. However the common theme is that the roots are immersed in a bath of nutrients at an optimum pH, often around pH 5.8. Normally cannabis roots left in water/nutrients would eventually rot. But the presence of bubbling air (e.g. from a DWC air stone, connected to an external air pump) provides the roots the oxygen they need to grow with great vigour.
The most obsessive DWC cannabis growers change the water daily towards the end of bloom, though this would be considered excessive by many. However one primary reason why growers like to keep a fresh bath is because the cannabis roots may not use up all the nutrients and NPK minerals in your DWC nutrient line up at exactly the same rate. That means your nutrient bath could suffer an unhealthy accumulation of certain minerals. This can slow down the uptake of other nutrients. The result is a plant that struggles to grow with the nutrition it needs.
The benefits of growing cannabis with DWC.
Nutrient management in DWC cannabis growing.
In addition, the space between the pellets provides optimal airflow to prevent root rot when there’s not enough oxygen. Finally, hydroton exchanges cations (positive ions) with plants to improve nutrient uptake and pH regulation.
CTU gives you plenty of access time to the course material throughout the growing season and beyond. Become a cannabis growing expert today!
This method is particularly effective due to the constant pumping of fresh nutrient solution. In addition, the lateral flow of this system can increase your roots’ health, growth rate, and yield.
Easy DWC Grow Start to Finish Set Up.
If you want to learn about more ways to grow in soil and soilless systems, enroll in Cannabis Training University. CTU offers jam-packed courses on cannabis cultivation, cannabis law, cannabis medicine, cannabis extraction, cannabis cooking, and so much more.
In the beginning, you won’t need to replace the nutrient solution as frequently compared to when the plant has matured. How often you replace the nutrient solution depends. It could be every one to two weeks or longer.
If you’re new to growing cannabis and don’t want to build your own system, there are plenty of DWC ready-made systems kits online with everything you need. If you want to go build your own, a DWC system has the following components:
Hydroton clay pebbles are derived from an orange-red clay and look like brown balls with black spots. They are pH neutral (inert) and come in a variety of sizes to fit your specific needs. They are also pretty cheap and can be washed, dried, and reused for your next crop.
Hydroponics, and DWC in particular, is a super effective way to grow weed, but there are many pitfalls. Learn to avoid them all with our DWC cannabis grow guide.
Invest in a pH meter to regularly check the pH level of your DWC system. Ideally, keep this level between 5.5 to 6.5. If your pH goes beyond this level, consider adjusting the pH using pH kits found online.
Become a Cannabis Grow Expert.
A major benefit of hydroponic growing is that the plant is being continually watered. However, it’s up to you to add the missing macro and micronutrients to give your plants a fighting chance. In addition, you must regulate the pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature of your solution throughout the plant’s life cycle.
We recommend using organic nutrients for the best results. If you’re a beginner, consider investing in complete grow systems that include solutions for every stage of growth. Some of the most popular ready-made nutrient options include General Hydroponics’ Flora Grow Series or FoxFarm’s Trio formula.
In a DWC system, the cannabis plant’s roots are submerged in a hydroponic nutrient solution/water. The plant’s root system is kept in place in a mesh bucket/net pot with hydroton pellets. The plants are usually housed in a self-contained and opaque container such as a bucket (at least 5-gallon).
For the best indoor grow system, refer to the greatest DWC grow start to finish guide for growers of all skill levels. Deep water culture (DWC) systems are popular types of hydroponic systems that use only water, nutrients, and a growing medium to produce stronger roots and better buds.
What Is Recirculating Deep Water Culture?
When the plants are young, their roots won’t be long enough to reach the bottom of your reservoir. During this initial period of growth, it’s important to water your plants from the top.
Cannabis DWC systems range in size. Some growers may place multiple plants in a single reservoir, while others may pump nutrients and oxygen into several small DWC reservoirs that hold one plant each.
Advanced top-feeding/dripping systems continuously trickle water over the young plant’s roots. After the plants’ roots have grown enough, some growers switch back to the original DWC set-up.
Hydroton clay pebbles are a good choice due to the clay’s water retention characteristics. Hydroton is capable of absorbing moisture to prevent the roots from drying out, especially in the case of a pump breaking.
Recirculating deep water culture is an advanced form of the DWC system. Everything is pretty much the same except for a central main reservoir that connects to multiple bucket distribution lines and the air volume pump that recirculates and aerates the nutrient solution.