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ribbit ribbit

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 599
Loc: FL, USA
Last seen: 8 years, 7 months
DWC - Tips, Tricks & Gimmicks. * 1
    #126242 - 09/28/08 08:53 PM (9 years, 8 months ago)

Hello all,  I wanted to post a thread devoted to DWC style HYDRPNC setups.  I figured that if we all chimed in together, we can come up with some sort tips & tricks to get better results using this inexpensive alternative.

define: DEEP WATER CULTURE {DWC} - A passive hydroponics system that allows for the rooting system to be submerged completely in a 100% humid, oxygen filled environment meant as a low cost alternative to more complex hydroponic grow system.


Basic Items
1.) Rubber-Maid container of a depth generally allowing around 14"+ for the root system to develop healthy over maturity of plant.
2.) Rock Wool Cube or Jiffy Tabs {for starting the seeds and easy transplanting}
3.) 6"-8" Net Pots {you can fit at least {2} 8" pot per large  35+ gallon container.}
4.) Coconut fiber Net-Pot Cups {must fit net pot used}
5.) Aquarium Air Pump ($6-$11 - walmart) w/ Plastic Hosing (addtnl.)
7.) Air Stone {makes more bubbles = more oxygenation inside the water = more oxygen for the roots to absorb = ideal}
9.) Reservoir tank {a separate container filled w/ nutrients & water mix}

(favorite mix of nutes!)


Using the Jiffy tabs or rock wool cube, germ your seedlings & allow to sprout.  Cut out room on the lid of the rubber-maid container to allow to set the pots into the container from the top. Using 8" pots I just use each corner w/ about 2"-3 1/2" from the lip of the container lid.

Place the Coco-Fiber cubs in the nets & some Rock Wool shredded up to act as a "bedding" inside the cup.  Eventually, the roots will grow through all this & be inside the nutrient filled resevoir.  Until the roots have been given time to grow through (would check every other week w/ a green light in a dark room during night time) you can just poor the necessary water through the top of the fiber until the plant is ready for nutrients.

Setup a drip system on the top for ease of use esp. when the plant begins to allow for roots to grow into the humid environment you can simply drip water/nutes until then. Or check the rock-wool often to see if it seems dry.

As the plant ages and matures the roots would eventually grow into the nutes below, which this is the usefulness of having an outside reservoir, no real need to open the container unless you are checking to see if you need to fill the DWC-Container or are concerned of root rot.

The reservoir is usually made by drilling a hole 3"-4.5" above the base of the rubber-maid container w/ a larger clear-plastic hose entering into the DWC and the same goes for the Reservoir.

Use a bead of silicone/caulk on both inside & outside to ensure no leakage of the nutes.

You can set it right next to the other container, and if the hose is somewhat straight, you can simply lift the lid of the reservoir to see when it is getting low.  Bigger plants are thirstier, remember!  Because of pressure/gravity, the reservoir will always show you what the other tubs level at as long as the hose is not higher/lower, or else the pressure system changes to a fill/empty situation which is more hassle then its work.

This provides an environment, like previously stated, that when sealed provides a 100% Humid oxygen-rich environment for roots to grow into and provide an incredible plant.

I have produced some pretty plants with this method!

Roots should not be allowed to experience long or normal exposure to light. If there are "light leaks"  the roots will turn Green and become useless, and will not absorb nutrients and the plant dies.  The DWC keeps the roots in a dark, humid environment.

Using a green light (or a flashlight w/ green paper/plastic cover) will not hurt the roots.    If your roots are turning green, this is the issue.  a quick open of the container and a peak doesn't hurt every once & a while, but never make a habit of doing it daily.

As always, organic nutes turn roots a dark color, so don't get fooled by this.

*I like using a double-air pump $10 from wally world and just place two air stones in the tub, can never go wrong w/ too much oxygen and this ensures there is enough for the plant.

*If allowing for large plants instead of small bushy ones, I like to take a piece of wood (1"-1 1/2") to create support beams across the underside of the lid w/ screws from the top into the wood. . . this is for when the plant gets heavier it doesn't crack the plastic and break the container.  Not fun to come home to a retarded looking plant lopsided w/ a huge crack {o0r hell, floating in nutes} allowing light to destroy the roots!

*Having a separate reservoir is very handy, when switching nutes just detach, rinse out w/ standard water till it is sucked up & switch over to the bloom stuff.  Provides a nice clean up w/ clean water for the plant to disperse all the excess veggie nutes.

Now, that the BASICS are listed, has anyone had any great stories or have any kind of tips/tricks or things they use in these systems that ensures higher-quality product?

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Saturn Ascends

Registered: 04/20/08
Posts: 1,540
Loc: The Milky Way
Last seen: 2 years, 2 months
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Re: DWC - Tips, Tricks & Gimmicks. [Re: t0ad]
    #126439 - 09/29/08 07:15 AM (9 years, 8 months ago)

Hey buddy, welcome to the Growery, and thanks for this contribution! :bigweed: :toke:

No experience with DWC yet, but we'll probably begin experimenting with it in a couple months, once we are more familiar with growing in general and have mastered coco. I don't feel compelled to give up coco completely, because I just love the stuff too much, but DWC sounds really fun too. :grin:

After reading through a couple times, I thought I might suggest the possibility of installing a drain with a plug at the bottom of all the DWC buckets, in case a real problem occurs with the chemistry of the water and it is necessary to quickly drain out the bucket in preparation of a total change in the nutrient solution. This way, it wouldn't be necessary to try to lift the plant and roots up and tip the bucket over or something... This is simply a thought that popped into mind, so I'm wondering if this would make sense?

A question I have is regarding pH of nutrient solutions that are being aerated, like at the level of what would be occurring in a DWC. I've read that aeration will affect measuring pH pretty well, so if it is necessary to check the pH level of the bucket itself, one could simply stop the air for a little while and then check that water, and that would be the intended pH as far as the plant is concerned, right?

Hopefully that will help get discussion going. :wink:

Also, to step away from the topic itself a bit, what is your personal experience with DWC, and growing in general? Do you have an operation in progress as we speak? :smile:


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ribbit ribbit

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 599
Loc: FL, USA
Last seen: 8 years, 7 months
Re: DWC - Tips, Tricks & Gimmicks. [Re: Sirius]
    #126643 - 09/29/08 08:15 PM (9 years, 8 months ago)

I've had some experience w/ DWC, no pictures though, dog ate the digital camera... german shepherd w/ an overactive chew pattern. . . grumble grumble. . . --- Nothing going right now, as awkward as this will sound, simply not enough room! haha. :smile:

Had some good bagseed produce some really nice bud.  Nothing you'd expect to see on cannabis cup, it had decent resin output but the calyxes weren't as tight as I would have liked, maybe just the strain itself? had a 400w HPS... *shrug*

No access to clones

If you add the drain, it would make be a good addition.  The water you put in the Reservoir would be the same pH of the water in the tank I would say, it just travels a plastic tube over. Not sure what you'd use for the drain plug but this is where fun & home depot runs come handy :laugh:

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/hypnotoad.gif" alt="" />

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Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 8
Last seen: 8 years, 8 months
Re: DWC - Tips, Tricks & Gimmicks. [Re: t0ad]
    #284756 - 09/22/09 05:09 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

this is awesome it answers som e questions for me

grasscity is full of jerks dont go there

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Registered: 10/09/09
Posts: 1
Last seen: 8 years, 7 months
Re: DWC - Tips, Tricks & Gimmicks. [Re: RaGnArOkYoShI]
    #294651 - 10/09/09 11:34 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

i am about to start a dwc and i hope it turns out alright just have some question, what if we dont have a hydro store what nuts should i start with

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Free yourself from yourself
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Registered: 04/20/08
Posts: 12,038
Loc: Carpal Tunnel
Trusted Cultivator
Re: DWC - Tips, Tricks & Gimmicks. [Re: paulpierce09]
    #294722 - 10/10/09 02:25 AM (8 years, 8 months ago)

is ordering from the internet an option paulp?  Welcome to the growery!


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ribbit ribbit

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 599
Loc: FL, USA
Last seen: 8 years, 7 months
Re: DWC - Tips, Tricks & Gimmicks. [Re: FurrowedBrow]
    #295089 - 10/10/09 10:34 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

Yes, furrowed brow hit it on the noodle... shop online-  you can get comparable prices online (bad side is shipping charges) - its imperative on DWCs from my experience to be equipped with a few handy meters (ec/tds meter) or you will run into so many headaches.

ebay has good deals on tri-pak of fox-farm stuff...  I'm a big fan of fox farm.

<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/hypnotoad.gif" alt="" />

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