How to build and maintain your own custom bubbler DWC grow

Discussion in 'Grow Log' started by deftdrummer, May 22, 2007.

  1. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    INTRODUCTION

    Hi all, I've been a member of the forums for a while now and I'm ready to contribute something hopefully many new growers can benefit from. This is technically my 3rd grow. The first was soil and failed miserably and the next was an ebb and flow hydro system. After much research, myself and my grow partner have decided to abandon the ebb and flow and go for higher yields while staying with hydroponics. The ebb and flow managed to yield 6 oz from three plants (strain ICE 2000) grown organically off 400W. We are shooting for somewhere around 7 oz from three plants in hydroponic bubbler / bucket systems. We are estimating conservatively given the fact that the last grow was grown from seed therefore producing higher yield than clones. It is never a good idea to estimate yield before the harvest but we feel confident. Here I will chronicle the grow from start to finish hopefully with as little setbacks as possible. All the materials were primarily obtained at a local hydro store but a few select materials came from the internet due to availability and selection. Remember folks, you don't have to go expensive if you have a good general understanding of how to grow marijuana and how hydroponics work to achieve successful yields. Don’t be afraid to be creative! That being said, our mission was to keep costs down without cutting corners. This is certainly not a DIY bargain basement grow. We primarily tried to save money wherever there was any way possible but it was not our primary concern. We wanted to help give new growers ideas for their own setups and also to show that growing is not as hard as many think. Obviously lighting and conditions are of critical importance in any grow setup and can vary greatly, so that will also be documented here also, but will differ depending on your individual needs.
     
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  2. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    GROWROOM CONSTRUCTION

    We decided to construct our grow room in the garage portion of our house. This gives us maximum space for a custom build and also easy access to air inlets / outlets - not to mention it will enable us to work on our garden at all hours of the night!

    The space we chose was a pre-existing work bench table that was already secured to the wall and since our bucket systems will be self contained, all we needed was a flat surface. The black square you see against a wall is plastic covering a window. Below the table there was already a hole in the drywall to the outside making it perfect for a new grow setup. Remember, where you decide to grow is just as important as how you decide to grow. The table measured 3.25 ft in width and 4.33 ft in length making the total square footage: 14.07 sq ft. This will be important for us to remember when we add a carbon scrubber and exhaust venting in the near future. Because the table was so close to the wall we knew we would need to extend the width a little to accommodate the spread of the light. We also seized this opportunity to create an air inlet hole that will vent directly into the grow tent since the hole was already located under the table. Once this was done, we constructed the grow tent based on the footprint of the table. Using heavy duty duct tape and a staple gun we affixed black landscaping plastic first to the ceiling then the table. Once stapled up, the duct tape was used to seal all light and air leakage. The distance to the ceiling from the table is 6 ft and provides more than enough space for tree sized plants and also provides easy access to the plants from the ground for trimming, etc. The top of the table was also lined with the same black plastic to prevent spills from penetrating the wood underneath. Inside the tent mylar was taped up also using duct tape. - Duct tape can save your life! Our 400W HPS light generates too much heat to be left un-vented for such a small space and so, 4” ducting from the light out of the top of the plastic was installed to extract heat all the way out of the grow chamber to the garage.
     

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  3. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    GROWROOM CONSTRUCTION

    These pictures shows the construction of the grow tent and the mylar inside.
     

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  4. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    AIR INLET INSTALLATION

    These pictures show the top and bottom of the table extension with the 4" air inlet cut also.
     

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  5. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    BUCKET SYSTEM OVERVIEW

    The setup will consist of three separate 5 gal. buckets for a combination of bubbler / drip system. This is because we wanted the benefits of a bubbler system with its large root capacity and also drip system so that the roots are constantly getting supplied with nutrients. The bubbler feature ensures roots will always be able to intake oxygen rich nutrients throughout the crucial stages of later growth when the roots are developed enough to drop down into the bucket. Of utmost importance to us was being able to keep each individual system (and plant) separate so that the plants would not compete for nutrients or space (something indicative of ebb & flow). This will enable us to monitor each plant individually and make adjustments accordingly to pH, PPM, nutrients etc even space issues are resolved by having movable buckets. As the plants get bigger, move them further apart, its that simple.
     

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  6. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    BUCKET SYSTEM COMPONENTS

    - 3x Black 5 gallon buckets (five for $26 from Boxes, Shipping Boxes, Shipping Supplies, Packaging Materials, Cardboard Boxes - ULINE) Black will ensure no light gets through from the outside - which is not the case with many other bucket colors commonly found (ie: white, blue).
    - 3x mesh pots which nestle to the tops of the buckets can be found at a hydro shop or online ($4 each)
    - 3x Parts kit which contained the halo, tubing, refrigerator hose (for air), reservoir level tubing (not necessary) $15 total. all of these parts can be obtained at a hydro shop or an appliance store for around the same price or less.
    - Silicon sealant (plastic flexible bonding type) $5 at Home Depot. This will be used for sealing the hole where the bottom bubbling air line will connect. (This is optional as you can route the bubble line through the top, but through the bottom of the bucket ultimately cleans things up and makes maintenance and nutrient changes easier.
    - 3x 4.5" air stone bubble disc, $2.99 apiece at Bubble Disc 3 inch - Aquar Airstones at Arcata Pet Supplies
    - 3x Dual outlet air pumps $10 at walmart. (Each pump needs to be able to deliver enough pressure to supply air to both the drip system and the bubbler line.)

    Total Price per Bucket unit:
    $42.19
     

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  7. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    BUCKET SYSTEM CONTRUCTION

    Here are some more pics from the bucket construction showing the installation of the air bubbler to the bottom and also the air tubing through the bottom of the bucket and the sealing of the hose.
     

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  8. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    Here are some final shots of the complete setup with everything in place.
     

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  9. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    NECESSARY TOOLS AND SUPPLIES

    NECESSARY TOOLS & SUPPLIES
    Here is a list of the necessary tools and supplies for this grow in its entirety with prices and where to obtain them.

    - Temperature humidity gauge ($8 Wal-Mart)
    - pH / EC / TDS pen tester (obtained from Ebay for around $100)
    - extra containers or reservoirs (for nutrient changes, fresh mixed nutrient supply, etc.
    -magnifying glass (10x or more preferably with built in light $10 at radio shack)
    -mixing cup with fluid oz. and cup measurements ($4 Wal-Mart)
    -mixing tool
    - plenty of rags or towels for spills ($10)
    - pH UP / DOWN (liquid solution or crystal based $10)
    - good pair of garden clippers ($15)
    - lots of Hydroton expanded clay pebbles. ($20)
    - PLENTY of black duct tape ($15)
    *nutrients are not included in pricing due to a large # of variables.
    Total: $182

    LIGHTING
    For lighting we are using a Sunlight Supply 400W MH mini plant grow light from Buy 400W Econogro Mini Plant Grow Light System Here!
    We also purchased a 400W conversion bulb to emulate the blue light spectrum required for vegetative growth. There is a 4" outlet hookup for active extraction of heat using a squirrel cage style fan. This enables us (and the plants) to literally touch the glass underneath if we were so inclined. The fan was $100 and is rated at 256cfm - more than enough for adequate light venting.

    Total: $293 shipped.

    GRAND TOTAL FOR ALL PARTS AND SUPPLIES: $604.57 - Sounds pricey, but split right down the middle between two people and construction spread out over the span of three months made it possible.
     

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  10. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    Keeping potency and yield in mind we decided to go with three clones of the strain Grandaddy Purple from our local cannabis collective. We have our cannabis license here in CA so this was just a trip to our local store. Given the design of the bucket systems, we will be able to use different types of nutrients on different plants. We will be using a brand called sugar peak which is all organic since we are familiar with these nutrients from the last grow and also the General Hydro Flora line. Two plants will receive the GH nutrients while the third will receive Sugar Peak. We will be following the nutrient chart on the label of the General Hydro nutrients which is:

    1 ml per gal Micro
    1 ml per gal Grow
    1 ml per gal Bloom
    The total reservoir size is 2.4 gallons
     

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  11. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    5-22-07 Day #1 of Veg.
    Cab Temp: 80f
    RH: 40%
    Nutrient Temp: 75f
    PPM: 250
    pH: 5.8

    I will be posting once a week with new pictures and updates but keeping track of the daily events on my computer to share with you guys at the end of the week. Here are the clones planted in the buckets and inside the chamber.
     

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  12. xcrispi

    xcrispi Registered+

    Looks nice Deft ,
    Cpl. q's for ya , cpl. comments too .
    Where did you find the cool airstones at ?

    Be careful w/o running a res and interconnecting them , Im in 2nd week of 12/12 same set up but w/ res -n- recurculating and 2 girls are currently going through almost 5 gal. of water / nutes every 36 hrs . Pigs I say !!!!
    Peace
    Crispi :jointsmile:
     
  13. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

  14. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    5.23.07 Wednesday

    5-23-07 Day #2 of Veg.
    Cab Temp: 81
    RH: 58%
    Nutrient Temp: 75
    PPM: 256
    pH: 5.6

    the plants are looking fine for this stage. Topped off the reservoirs and brought the pH down from 8. We are using very mild GH nutrients for the time being until we can get the other 2 parts which will probably be today or tomorrow. Anyways, at this stage it doesn't hurt to have very mild nutrients until the roots get deeper into the rocks.
     
  15. reality0

    reality0 Banned

    best of luck! will be checkin in again soon.. :jointsmile:
     
  16. Markass

    Markass Registered+

    looks like a cool setup dude
     
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  17. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    thanks guys for the kind words. The rest of the nutrient line was purchased today and we have all 3 parts now and everything looks good. I'll keep everyone updated every few days.
     
  18. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    5.25.07 Friday

    5-25-07 Day #4 of Veg.
    Cab Temp: 79F
    RH: 58%
    Nutrient Temp: 70F
    PPM: 300
    pH: 5.4

    We ran into a little issue yesterday when one of the buckets started leaking out of the bottom where the air line goes into the bucket. Apparently while mixing the mixing tool bumped the silicon and broke the seal. So, we woke up yesterday morning with a big puddle of water in the grow chamber in addition to all the pH readings rising to 8. This is way too high for MJ so it was quickly brought back down to 5.4. The PPM is pretty low at the point in growth but we haven't seen too much positive growth yet so it can't hurt to have the PPM a little lower still. We plan on doing a full nutrient change once a week so in just a few days all the buckets will be re sealed and we shouldn't have any more issues. A reminder to anyone new to growing: pH must be read and adjusted at the very minimum of twice a day. Another tip: if you plan on building any type of halo drip system I strongly recommend burying the halo under the rocks by about 1/2 inch. This will ensure that there is not a lot of splash from the holes out onto EVERYTHING ie: walls, hoses etc. Apparently these things like to spit water! Here are some more pics for yall even though nothing has really changed very much. Never mind, apparently the photo upload is temporarily disabled.
     
  19. deftdrummer

    deftdrummer Registered+

    5-30-07 Day #9 of Veg.
    Cab Temp:
    RH: 60%
    Nutrient Temp: 80F
    PPM: 425
    pH: 5.7

    Ok, sorry its been a few days but we have run into some issues. Since this grow will follow everything that happens I will let you guys know what to avoid with these systems.

    FIRST: if you are using a halo system be sure to bury to the halo itself somewhat under the clay rocks. This will ensure that there will be no splash up from the halos onto nearby electrical outlets and / or mylar which will cause spotting. Not too big a deal but just a tip

    SECOND: With these particular systems continuous watering is not a good idea. Combined with the splashing of nutrients onto the tiny clones, continuous watering is something to be avoided in the beginning stages of growth. The high intensity from the light caused some leaf burn and wilting, while also causing stunted growth from day 1. Now it is day 9 and growth should be a little further along but there's nothing we can do about it now!

    The important thing is that we changed the watering cycle to 15 minutes on every two hours. The plants showed almost immediate signs of improvement by perking up. In addition, solid green growth has appeared at the tops. Once the roots have expanded a little into the clay and can handle more nutrients at a higher rate we will switch to 24 hour watering. I will keep you posted in the following days to track growth
     

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  20. xcrispi

    xcrispi Registered+

    Hey deftdrummer ,
    If you bury the dripring in the hydroton you wont know when holes in dripring are plugged by salts , residue etc... Every grow I've done so far w/ the dripring setup = the roots in the res. grow up the 1/2" dia. pump col. and into the bottom of the lil 1/8" air feed line that actually pressurises the col. so it cant drip . A cpl. of us on here use raincoats on smaller plants to subdue the spitting and splashing too - heres a pic .
    Peace
    Crispi :jointsmile:
     

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