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250W Top-fed DWC aka Bubbleponic Grow Journal

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    250W Top-fed DWC aka Bubbleponic Grow Journal

    Hello everyone,

    I am new on this website and came with a purpose, I would like to share with you the next few month of my 3 friend's life.
    As I am writing this, they are turning 15 days old ! This will be my first grow, but I have been preparing it for a while. A great deal of good infos came from GrowWeedEasy and I thought it would only be fair to give something back, to share what I experiment and discover during this grow, and I’m sure I will learn a lot from you guys in the process. So here it is, I will try to keep this journal as updated (updated as I will edit the main post, not post new picture as comments) as possible and will stay at your disposition if you have any questions.

    Let's get started

    General Info:

    Strain: Unknown
    Medium: Hydroponic, Top-fed Deep Water Culture.
    Grow Light: 250W HPS, Ballast up to 400W With 6’ cool tube.
    Air: Active exhaust, passive intake, none connected to outside air.
    Grow Space: 1.7m height, 57cm width, 53cm depth
    Nutrients: General Hydroponics Flora Nutrient, using schedule from GWE.
    Suplement: Hydroguard and CalMag.

    A little bit of background info to help you picture the thing. I am situated at a latitude of 23°S, Hot and mildly humid climate in summer, colder and dry in winter, its currently summer.
    I live in a small room with a thatch roof. Decent insulation. And the magic is… I have A/C.
    On the downside I have a lot of power cut, A LOT, luckily there is a generator that kicks in a few minutes after each outage.

    The idea behind the grow is to build a good enough grow room as discret as possible, so that someone standing next to it would have no clue of what is happening inside, and all of this with a small budget. Quite the challenge I tell you.
    I opted for building a wooden cupboard instead of a tent for discretion.
    Dimensions 2000x600x500, so 2m high, 60cm width, 50cm depth.

    Drilled a hole in the top of the cupboard that aligns with another hole on the shelf below, to put my extractor. The shelf also allows me to put most of my electrical stuff in it. I’ve had to add 3 small hole on the top of the cupboard because the ballast was heating the space too much.

    The grow area was painted white and an opening was made at the bottom for my air intake with stockings to act as a “filter”

    I also added a lock to keep intruders out.
    On top of the cupboard there is a cooler box, this is still a project and is not finished but for now it connects to the air outlet by a hole made at the bottom, inside the cooler box I’ve put ducting connecting the bottom to another hole on top of the cooler box. It basically acts as a noise reducer for the extractor.

    That’s about it for the cupboard. If you want to know more let me know.

    As for the Bubbleponic system, I used the tutorial from GWE but only went with 3 pots.
    I added a few modifications such as an elbow, pipe and rubber seal to allow me to check my water level easily, top it up and drain it.

    As I started I had big problem keeping my temperatures down, air and water.
    I had to do a few modification to the system. I added a piece of ducting to redirect the flow of air which helped.

    For the tank, I added a plank of wood where I drilled 3 holes aligned to the net pots and layed it on top of my tank, covered it with aluminium foil, and that helped lowering the radiant heat that was raising my tank’s temperature.

    That still didn’t do the trick, I still had to add frozen water bottle to manage, but it was not a permanent solution.
    I bought a temperature controller that I connected to 2 small computer fans blowing air in my tank, resulting in evaporative cooling, it keeps my tank at a temperature of 20-21°C with an evaporative lose of 1L a day

    I am using a 6’ cool tube, but it was too long when I bought it, so I had to cut it to the right size. It is connected to my extractor, which constitute my air exhaust. It isn’t connected to outside air nor is the intake, everything stays in the room, I do leave windows open to exchange and circulate air, but that’s it. Resulting in heating up my room a little. A/C does fixes that nicely.

    In the end, with the A/C’s and temp. controller’s help, my temp in the grow room stay between 23-30°c with 30-50% humidity and my tank stays at 20-21°c.

    Since I am in a small room I turn on the hot water of my shower 3-4 times a day for 2-3min to raise my humidity, it works perfectly, better than anything else I’ve tried. Without that my humidity drops to 20-25%...

    And regarding my water, it comes out the tap at a pH of around 5.9, and comes straight from a borehole. The rock formation around is mostly sandstone, which I believe makes water quite hard, I’m not entirely sure though. I do not have any other info regarding the water. I cannot measure the ppm or anything else… I am not even sure if I should be adding CalMag or not, I am currently adding half the recommended dose, and I already have some deposit in my tank.
    Not sure yet what I should do regarding CalMag… any suggestions ?

    That’s pretty much it for the set up. Again if you want more detail on anything or have suggestion or critique please, send away.

    Okay, let’s look at how those beauties are growing.

    Vegetative stage:

    25/10/16 – 3 Unknown seeds sprouted

    Air Temp : D: 28-31°c(82-88) N: 23-25°c(73-77) Hot,hot,hot, lots of fine tuning to do, cooler temp can be achieved.
    Tank Temp : 22-24°c(71-74) That temp was even higher before I put that wooden plank on top of the tank to reduce the effect of radiant heat on the reservoir.
    RH : 25-35% Humidity is not so great I am trying different solution but so far nothing great..
    pH : Horrible start, huge fluctuation, was adding ml of ph up and down !! had no idea it was so strong and efficient! between 3 to 8 ph haha, but average of 6.3.
    Nutes : 1.25ml/gal each, 35L
    Top-ups : Plain pH'd water

    05/11/16 – Got all sizes

    Air Temp : D: 28-30°c(80-86) N: 22-24°c(71-75) Got slightly cooler, rearranged ducting and fan placement.
    Tank Temp : 20-21°c(68-70) This is when I added the two computer fan blowing air in the tank.
    RH : 30-40% My Shower !! I can use my shower, let it run 5 in on hot, creates a lot of mist, seems to work. Waste of water I agree but this is temporary maybe one more week.
    pH : 5,8-6.2
    Nutes : 2.5ml/gal each, 30L
    Top-ups : Plain pH'd water

    They have been under quite a lot of stress due to all the change I made and the temperature fluctuation, I was expecting some stunned growth, but the middle one is a great surprise ! I thought maybe they were getting bored listening to the sound of my fan the whole day, so decided to put a phone in there and play them some tunes during the day, They have been listening to Bob for the past 2 days.

    10/11/16 - Left Plant Training Session 1 - Make base

    Here we are! First day of training for my plant as well as me... Hopefully I'll get it right the first time.
    Since the last update I haven't really done anything except feeding them and playing them some tunes, they seem to love it !!
    I am only training one of them today as the other one is still a bit young. I will eventually have to remove one of them as I plan to keep only one
    Until then I am waiting to be able to sex them.

    Air Temp : D: 28-30°c(80-86) N: 22-24°c(71-75)
    Tank Temp : 20-21°c(68-70)
    RH : 30-50%
    pH : 5,8-6.2
    Nutes : 3ml/gal each, 30L
    Top-ups : Plain pH'd water

    Here they are before :

    Next step is topping of to the 3rd node

    And finally remove all growth but don't touch the 3rd node. I am amazed and a bit shocked at how much was removed...

    Let's see how quickly my plant will recover.

    13/11/16 - Left Plant Training session 2 - LST + Right Plant training session 1 - Make base

    After topping my first plant the growth wasn't stunned so much but I've noticed a slight curling of the bigger fan leaves, apart from that she is growing strong and the sex is starting to show slowly. Here 'she' is 2 days after being topped. Picture of before and after bending and securing.
    You can see on the last picture, I've modified my wooden plank.. I had to cut some piece so I can remove the plank if need be. I've also added staples as my anchor point for twisty ties. Not very pretty, but its only a temporary solution, I will make a new one with lightly thinner wood, more precisely drilled hole, painted in white etc.. Need to look neat

    Air Temp : D: 28-30°c(80-86) N: 21-23°c(70-74)
    Tank Temp : 20-21°c(68-70) The tank is still going great with those 2 fans, the temp controller does magic. Adds plenty of air in the reservoir, although drops RH inside the tank, making some roots dry up, new small ones especially if not properly irrigated.
    RH : 30-50% Stopped using shower long ago, They simply raise humidity themselves, and we had lots of rain and will still have lots to come so great RH everywhere.
    pH : 5,8-6.2
    Nutes : 4ml/gal each, 30L
    Top-ups : Plain pH'd water

    As for the second, It is time for some slaughtering...
    Once again same as the other plant, topping to 3rd node and removing all extra growth except for 3rd node. She looks so naked...

    17/11/16 - Left Plant Training session 3 - Create 8 colas + LST

    Right after the last step I was away for a few days. A little worried as to how my system and plants will do without any care for 4 days...
    I just returned and saw this. I am thrilled about them but I will let you be the judge of that.
    I did find that one of the net pot wasn't irrigated anymore, not sure for how long but the side of the net pot exposed to the fan blowing air in the tank has dried up a little, nothing major just a small section...Hopefully the damage isn't too bad... But here they are now.

    Air Temp : D: 27-30°c(80-86) N: 22-24°c(71-75)
    Tank Temp : 20-21°c(68-70)
    RH : 30-50%
    pH : 5,8-6.2
    Nutes : 4ml/gal each, 30L
    Top-ups : Plain pH'd water

    This plant has now grown 4 nodes on each side, now, apparently, comes the last step of training: Creating the 8 colas by topping to the 3rd node and removing any growth from the 2nd node. Leaving 1st and 3rd intact. There it is after all that has been done. You can see the arms of the plant, they look FAT ! Love it.
    The right plant is slowly catching up and should be ready in a day or two for topping.

    20/11/16 - Left Plant Training-LST - Right plant Create 8 colas

    The one on the right is ready to be topped again. The left one is doing well, she is growing back slowly.

    Air Temp : D: 27-30°c(80-86) N: 22-24°c(71-75) The whole system has pretty much stabilised, all the stats are always constant.
    Tank Temp : 20-21°c(68-70)
    RH : 30-50%
    pH : 5,8-6.2
    Nutes : 4ml/gal each, 30L
    Top-ups : every first top up of the week was at 350% nutes.... Yeah... Only found out much later when I started doing my excel calculator thing. I got mixed up in my math and OVERfed my plants.. Luckily I always saw the tip getting brown and started giving them plain water for the rest of the week so it didn't have a negative effect, but I did that for a good 3 weeks..

    24-26/11/16 - LST, maintaining a flat canopy

    A lot has happened to those poor girls over the last week or so.. big electricity problem due to lightning, generator was running 15h a day for a 9-10 days since we didn't have electricity, now had to supply light for the remaining 3h...I gathered anything that I had that could produce light and threw it in the box...It was a mission, my tank was dead still for around 8-10h a day, but the plant did not seem to mind it too much, haven't had any problem related to that incident. Everything went back to normal now, its all good.

    They are growing vigorously, I am not doing much except removing some of the big fan leaves at the bottom and mainly bending away to keep everything nice and levelled.
    I will do the switch the 27th, before that I removed a lot of growth from the bottom, leaving up to 4 nodes intact on each branch.
    I would have loved to leave it to grow bigger but I do not have the time.

    Air Temp : D: 27-29°c(80-84) N: 21-24°c(70-75)
    Tank Temp : 20-21°c(68-70)
    RH : 35-60% The plants are slowly raising the humidity.
    pH : 5,8-6.2
    Nutes : 4ml/gal each, 30L
    Top-ups : 350% nutes...

    The plants were standing at 30cm(11.8inch) the day of the switch.

    Flowering stage:

    02/12/16 - Stretching !

    Here they are 5 days after the switch, they have been growing a lot !!

    Air Temp : D: 27-30°c(80-86) N: 22-24°c(71-75) Temperature raised slightly suddenly
    Tank Temp : 21-22°c(70-72) Same as the Tank temp..
    RH : 40-60%
    pH : 5,8-6.2
    Nutes : 5ml/gal each, 30L
    Top-ups : 25-50% nutes

    05/12/16 - Problem ?

    So... everything was running smoothly, I finally got the equipment that I was missing, Carbon filter and a new exhaust fan, the bearings of the previous one starting to click, making my discreet cupboard not so discreet anymore... Now this new extractor is just brilliant, incredibly quiet, 29db@3m, but int the cupboard with the cooler box it makes no sound unless standing next to it and still only a very slight humming.
    BUT due tour previously mentioned electricity problems my ballast left this world... No light again..This time it lasted around 36h, but I still had electricity so I made a plan..

    Air Temp : D: 24-25°c(75-77) N: 22-24°c(71-75) You can see the difference of with and without Lamp, even with the cool tube there is a good difference.
    Tank Temp : 20-21°c(68-70)
    RH : 50-70%
    pH : 5,8-6.2
    Nutes : 5ml/gal each, 30L
    Top-ups : 25-50% nutes

    09/12/16 - They need to start slowing down on the growth there, this is getting quite high !!

    Light was restablished, everything goes smoothly, the plant in the middle is growing insanely fast, I can't believe it, the one on the right unfortunately was not supposed to be there but decided to entangle her roots with her sister so I could not remove her, but she is getting slowly smothered by the left one...
    I have been removing a lot of growth at the bottom as a lot of the plant is in the shade, I still have some clearing to do I believe.
    I won't be able to go much higher than 20cm more than they are right now, hopefully they soon will be done with this massive stretch.. But this is super exiting, I constantly want to check up on them !

    Air Temp : D: 25-28°c(76-82) N: 22-24°c(71-75) Temp went down to normal again.
    Tank Temp : 21-22°c(70-72) The tank is getting slightly hotter than the earliest stage of growth, could be the root mass getting big enough to influence temp inside.
    RH : 40-60%
    pH : 5,8-6.2
    Nutes : 5ml/gal each, 30L
    Top-ups : 25-50% nutes

    To be continued....

    This is a list of most of the things I used to create this grow, it isn't complete yet, I will add more info's and links etc...
    That can give you an overview what I used.

    Set-up & Supplies:

    Grow Room (60x50x200cm)

    -Screws, lock, hinges, etc.
    -Paint & Other


    -Waiting to get the known

    Nutrients & Additives:

    -General Hydroponic Flora Trio


    -Digital Ballast 400W
    -Cool Tube 6’ + cutting
    -250W Bulb HOR

    DWC System:

    -45L Container
    -200 L/h Air pump (2 outlets)
    -100mm bubble disk
    -3x net pot 75mm
    -4 port Manifold
    -8x Rockwool
    -Expanded Clay 1L
    -White paint spray


    -2x computer fan
    -Temperature controller
    -pH meter
    -pH up, down, calibration
    -Digital timer


    -160-185 m3/h extractor 4’
    -Reducer 6’-4’
    -DIY Carbon filter
    -Ducting 6’ + clamps
    -Small usb fan 3W


    -25L jerrycan
    -10,20,60 ml syringues
    -Zip zies
    -Twisty Tie
    -Surge protector plug
    -Electrical and duct tape

    Cool, thanks for reading guys
    Last edited by Ingwe; 12-11-2016, 09:44 AM.

    What a clever setup. The cooler on the top was a great idea. I applaud you!

    I don't think you're going to need cal mag but keep an eye out for deficiencies. Since you have it though, I'd just supplement a low dosage of it. It's difficult to overfeed cal mag.

    I'm still taken aback by your ingenuity. Very macgyver of you.

    I welcome you and look forward to watching your babies grow!


      Genius setup man! You said your ballast goes to 400w. Will you be switching from 250w to 400w during flowering?


        Thanks guys ! Haha yeah internet is a gold mine, a bit of research and brain and you can come up with some pretty useful designs.

        Thanks Royal for the calmag, I had a hard time finding info on that.

        Pancake, I've ben asking myself that question swell... Not sure though, I am already sitting at 29°c in the box with A/C full blast and the days haven't been that hot just yet. I'm scared that will overheat everything...
        Also I am not sure how temperature evolve and change along the grow since this is my first...
        The globe is not that expensive, I might give it a bash at some point. Will let you know.
        What are your thoughts on the matter ?


          Great job Ingwe

          I have 12 day olds in hydro do you have hydroguard? I think it's very important in protecting roots!
          And be a ph first person and you came to the right place 1000 years of knowledge here!
          4x4 Gorilla Tent 600 watt hps and Veg Tent T5 Fluorescence
          4 Cures and a Life time gardener


            Thanks man.
            Yes using hydroguard, apparently works like a bomb !


              What a great setup, and write-up! Can't wait to see how it goes! I'm not sure if it's feasible, but you mentioned you keep the windows open to help exchange air from outside. Is it possible to put a window fan pointing out? They can be really effective, especially if you have an open window or door across the room to let in cool air. But I'm not sure if that would remove too much air from your AC. It can be a tough balance


                Hey Nebula ! Let me thank you on behalf of the whole growing community and myself for all the time and effort you have put in ! This is probably one of the most organised, clear and well structured website I've encountered. CONGRATS !!

                Great set-up great write up ? Thanks a lot but guess who I got my inspiration from
                I am going for your 250W Manifold Journal as my guideline, and a similar journal to yours as it is so well structured and clear.

                So yeah we'll see where it goes...

                I hear you, I did think of that and will be experimenting with the idea soon. My only worry is that the outside air damn hot, around 30. The cool air is in my room not outside unfortunately.
                BUT, I am running 4pm to 10am light on, which is during the night mostly so much cooler and humid. I thought of adding a connection to my cooler box, and during the night connect some ducting going to a window with a booster, that should work nicely.
                The only thing I am afraid of is insects, I live in the middle of nowhere in the bush, surrounded by undisturbed nature, So insects and pest are a BIG danger... I'm pooped scared everytime I open my box !
                Now I am going to start exchanging 185m3/h of air with fresh air drawn from the open windows... Should I worry about that or am I paranoid ?

                Otherwise, I have got a question regarding roots, I have a thing for roots, just fascinates me, and pure white ! Beautiful, so I love having a peek, am I going to get in trouble for that? Them getting small flashes of light, is that bad ?

                But they are doing great otherwise!


                  Awesome setup! and welcome! Ill be watching the progress, happy growing!
                  "Please don't throw your shit at me... unless that shit resembles a bag of marijuana"
                  - Les Claypool


                    This community is loaded with brilliant people!
                    gotta go back & re read
                    Indoor- Coco coir & Perlite - 5 gal Smart pots
                    Veg-T5s Flower- Platinum LEDS
                    GH Flora Trio Cali-mag, Terpinator Liquid Bloom
                    photoperiod feminized seeds

                    Testing for the_honeysticks genetics


                      Hey, it won't hurt your roots to get light for a second, but they don't like the light and too much can kill them!


                        Hey guys,

                        I need your help on something.

                        I just topped my plant yesterday, and now the fan leaves are curling and with newer leaves slightly, it happened at an earlier stage as well, it hasn't been hotter than 28°c lately and humidity is around 35-40%. Low humidity ? Could that be a stress response from the cutting ?

                        Also on my other baby, there are a few brown spots appearing, nothing bad only a very few and they tend to appear only on older leaves. From what I've gathered it could be a calcium deficiency, is that it ?
                        I have been giving calmag at a 40-50% dosage.

                        Thanks for the help !
                        Enjoy !
                        Last edited by Ingwe; 11-12-2016, 04:01 PM.


                          How high is your light...curling looks like light stress

                          Brown did not mention your ph #


                            Light is about 30cm from the plants and yes sorry my ph is 5.8-6.3


                              That's about a foot right? Maybe try to go a bit higher....when my light is to close i raise light wait to see if curling leaves went down over night....

                              Get some calmag....


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