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    HYDRO HELP! I've lost my ability to grow!

    After several years and a number of entirely satisfactory plants grown by me, I have lost my ability to keep plants alive.

    My last successful harvest was last November. Prior to that, everything was fine. I didn't change anything, the plants just started stunting and dying. The seeds have all been purchased from SOS Seeds and I don't think the seeds themselves are to blame. By way of detail, I'm propagating seeds in a shot glass of water and then moving them to a Rapid Rooter plug which goes into a paper cup with cling wrap attached over the top as they pop roots. I've tried moving them to the rooter plug immediately after they sprout and I've waited a couple of days - it makes no difference.

    That all goes well. until I move the rooter plug into the Hydroton in the net cups and put them in the tent. At that point, they either simply fall over dead after a couple of days or stunt and fail to do anything. I have bleached, washed and rinsed the Hydroton, the net cups and the buckets. I've replaced the air stones and wiped the tubing down with alcohol. I wiped the interior of the tent down with alcohol. I've checked the lights (on at 0600, off at 2400). I've turned the lights down to avoid frying the seedlings. I've watched the PH closely in the reservoir. It makes no difference - they just die. I suspect that it may be nutrutional but I'm not feeding them until they get at least 4 nodes up and I quit dusting the plugs with Great White out of fear that it was causing trouble.

    Here are some pics of my last two attempts (I've killed roughly a dozen plants, these are the last two). The dates on the labels are the dates the seeds went into the shot glass.

    I'd really appreciate some ideas. I've done everything I can think of.

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    I appreciate any help.

    Third grow - Northern Lights and Red Cheese (Southern Oregon Seeds) , ​​​​DWC hydro

    #2
    I got chased out of hydro this spring after an algae invasion nearly destroyed my two seed projects. I suspect my city water supply. You didn't mention any problems below the netpot lids, so I have to ask if you noticed root issues when you did your post-mortems on these two unfortunates and were you using RO water or tap water? They look a lot like something was interfering in nutrient uptake. I was faced with having to buy or MacGyver two nute chillers and/or buying a RO system to try and stop the crap from growing on my airstones. I'd kill it all off with peroxide over the week then have another bloom of it after changing nute water. I wound up growing in a coco/worm castings/perlite mix feeding once a week with my Aurora Soul nutrients that I used in hydro before. My plants love it. Another thing to investigate is how hydro-friendly these varieties are. Six of the plants I moved from hydro were Tangie which most sites advise that you don't grow in hydro.
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    Comment


    • UndergroundFarmer
      UndergroundFarmer commented
      Editing a comment
      Also, I never used to start plants in plain pHed water. I'd have the nutes no more than about .6 to .8 EC but I'd still give them something.

    • Tersky
      Tersky commented
      Editing a comment
      madams9 I had to switch to RO water because the city started putting something in the water supply that my plants didnt like. Possibly chloramine, but i also had a hell of a time changing the ph, like they added buffers or something to keep ph alkaline or something. I now use a 3:1 ratio of RO to tap which seems to work well. I also switched to coco from hydro because of issues with keeping res ph stable but thats another story lol. I killed many plants and tried everything from new rooters, to sanitizing to new nutes with no success until i started using a RO water mix.

    #3
    I didn't see where you tried different/new rapid rooters.
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    Comment


      #4
      Hey madams9 . I'm talking as a soil grower who has had similar issues.
      The bleaching. Alcohol dries as water. Bleach dries as a residue and can get caught in nooks and crannies as liquid bleach. Might you have a bleach issue? Maybe something in your rocks?
      In the blurple light, the lower leaves in your first picture look like mine when I'm at the end of harvest and the plant isn't taking any more nutes. I think that's a nute lockout?
      I checked what Great White is but not it's application instructions. You said you quit using the stuff because you didn't know what it might be a problem. If GW is a powder and you have been using too much, might you have simply dried out the plant?
      I suggest drying out because your lower seedling looks like it was just about to go crazy then lost what it needed. The leaves, I mean. Maybe it got too much GW?
      Your plants are different heights by several inches. What was your light height from the shortest plant?
      Weed is a gateway drug to people's hearts and minds.
      2x3x4.5
      3x3x6
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      (1) Zkittlez
      (1) 'Marigold'
      Mother Earth Coco and Perlite
      Dyna Gro Foliage
      Dyna Gro Bloom
      CalMag

      Comment


        #5
        Originally posted by UndergroundFarmer View Post
        I got chased out of hydro this spring after an algae invasion nearly destroyed my two seed projects. I suspect my city water supply. You didn't mention any problems below the netpot lids, so I have to ask if you noticed root issues when you did your post-mortems on these two unfortunates and were you using RO water or tap water?
        The two pictured are the two in the tent at the moment, still struggling (note the dates on the labels). The roots on previous specimens were short and not terribly well developed. The roots I've seen have never made their way through, or very far into, the Hydro. A previous plant was doing well until I had a bout of some illness and let the PH get out of hand. Those roots were well developed and had a kind of brownish/gray growth like algae on them, but I'm sure that was my fault for not watching the PH more closely.

        They look a lot like something was interfering in nutrient uptake. I was faced with having to buy or MacGyver two nute chillers and/or buying a RO system to try and stop the crap from growing on my airstones. I'd kill it all off with peroxide over the week then have another bloom of it after changing nute water. I wound up growing in a coco/worm castings/perlite mix feeding once a week with my Aurora Soul nutrients that I used in hydro before. My plants love it. Another thing to investigate is how hydro-friendly these varieties are. Six of the plants I moved from hydro were Tangie which most sites advise that you don't grow in hydro.
        I'm not aware of any suitability issues for these seeds and I've been through a half dozen or so varieties. I don't know but I'll start looking at the water. I'm on co-op water here and in a rural area and it's always been good. I appreciate your input.
        Third grow - Northern Lights and Red Cheese (Southern Oregon Seeds) , ​​​​DWC hydro

        Comment


          #6
          Originally posted by Catfish22 View Post
          I didn't see where you tried different/new rapid rooters.
          Right. I meant to mention it in my list of stuff I've done. I failed. I bought a brand new bag of rapid rooters about 90 days, 4 - 6 seeds, ago. The prior bag worked just fine for a couple of years (I don't use many of them). I detect nothing unusual about this batch of plugs.
          Third grow - Northern Lights and Red Cheese (Southern Oregon Seeds) , ​​​​DWC hydro

          Comment


            #7
            Originally posted by Gingerbeard View Post
            Hey madams9 . I'm talking as a soil grower who has had similar issues.
            The bleaching. Alcohol dries as water. Bleach dries as a residue and can get caught in nooks and crannies as liquid bleach. Might you have a bleach issue? Maybe something in your rocks?
            The "something in the rocks" issue is why I bleached them in the first place. I had been soaking them down in hydrogen peroxide. I can scrub the Hydro again and hit them with alcohol, or more likely back to the hydrogen peroxide.

            In the blurple light, the lower leaves in your first picture look like mine when I'm at the end of harvest and the plant isn't taking any more nutes. I think that's a nute lockout?
            I agree - starvation, but how do I fix it? What am I doing to cause it?

            I checked what Great White is but not it's application instructions. You said you quit using the stuff because you didn't know what it might be a problem. If GW is a powder and you have been using too much, might you have simply dried out the plant? I suggest drying out because your lower seedling looks like it was just about to go crazy then lost what it needed. The leaves, I mean. Maybe it got too much GW?
            Not likely. I don't use that much and when I gave up and pulled the plants, I saw no evidence of any trouble with the GW. In fact, I saw no GW. I think it just kind of migrates into the water as it percolates under it.

            Your plants are different heights by several inches. What was your light height from the shortest plant?
            The light is 22" from the top of the netcup. And that tiny plant has fallen totally over and is essentially dead. It doesn't take long.

            Thanks for the input. I'm open to suggestions. I just know that it wasn't the GW because I haven't tried to use it for months.

            Third grow - Northern Lights and Red Cheese (Southern Oregon Seeds) , ​​​​DWC hydro

            Comment


              #8
              I don't use things as caustic as bleach because I get all ginger about leaving stuff around. Not sure your practices.

              CalMag does me well when I have any sort of leaf issue show up, that isn't alive. WPM and aphids and such.

              Your plant looks about 6". If your light is 22" from the net cup, the top of your plant is 16" from the light. Check your manufacturers distances. It doesn't seem too bad. Personally, I keep my lights on 100% during all phases of growth. I change my distances, instead. Not typical but I've never had a problem with burning or heat wilting, even without air conditioning in a southern California summer. How about circulation and temperatures?

              Your discolored roots. That might be where your lockout is happening. I'm doing the cutting-in-a-jar hydro with ficas and other houseplant cuttings. In the same jar of, say, four cuttings, all will grow roots but some will get brown roots that fall off and the plants die. A buddy mentioned changing water because the plant uses up all the oxygen in the water. Then the leaves turn yellow and fall off. How are your air-stones?

              Other than seeds, in this grow, is there anything different in your setup? How about expired nutes?

              I'm getting a lot from this. I've been considering a few 5 gallon hydro pots. Cool I might learn how to solve hydro issues with soil experience.

              And I'm dabbing so it's fun to talk.
              Weed is a gateway drug to people's hearts and minds.
              2x3x4.5
              3x3x6
              HLG 360 Elite
              Vipar Spectra 350
              Sunlight
              In coco 10/01
              5 gal fabric
              (2) GDP
              (2) G13
              (1) Zkittlez
              (1) 'Marigold'
              Mother Earth Coco and Perlite
              Dyna Gro Foliage
              Dyna Gro Bloom
              CalMag

              Comment


                #9
                If you can rule out light burn then it is a nutrient problem. Potassium is my guess they way those leaves are burning. In hydro or coco coir, potassium is best absorbed by the roots in the 5.5 – 6.5 pH range. How about a dose of K and trying to get the pH down closer to 5.5.

                Comment


                  #10
                  Where is the water level at in relation to the net pot? Are you top feeding them with ph water until the roots are getting moisture from the bubbles? Your Rapid Rooters look like they are kinda high in the hydroton. I tried 1/2 RR and 1/2 rockwool this time, 3 out of 10 fell over and died. Those 3 were in RR. ? Great white is for soil I thought ,that's why I went with Orca. I'm staying away from bleach cleaning the system, seemed like I couldn't get rid of residue , strictly H2o2 from now on. What are you using to check the PH with? Has it been calibrated? I don't know? Just throwing things out there?
                  Last edited by Smoklahoma; 08-17-2021, 03:13 AM.
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                  Comment


                    #11
                    Howdy madams9, I'm about to start my eleventh grow in DWC (Bubbleponic style) and ,without all of the needed information of Your setup, the only thing that I can see from the photos is that the hydro-tron and rooter plug look to be very dry. Do You have a drip or irrigation line (at the bottom of the plugs) to bring the nutrient solution to the plant and encourage the roots to grow down into the reservoir?
                    Smoke weed,.....grow peace!

                    Comment


                      #12
                      In my hydro I start nutes from day one. First filling of my DWC is 1/2 strength seedling nutes. Works for me.

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Originally posted by Gingerbeard View Post
                        I don't use things as caustic as bleach because I get all ginger about leaving stuff around. Not sure your practices.

                        CalMag does me well when I have any sort of leaf issue show up, that isn't alive. WPM and aphids and such.
                        I have CalMag. Our water out here is not ideal for this kind of endeavor. A dash of CalMag is essential, but I've stopped using any nutrients at all because I was afraid that's what was doing all these plants in.

                        Your plant looks about 6". If your light is 22" from the net cup, the top of your plant is 16" from the light. Check your manufacturers distances. It doesn't seem too bad. Personally, I keep my lights on 100% during all phases of growth. I change my distances, instead. Not typical but I've never had a problem with burning or heat wilting, even without air conditioning in a southern California summer. How about circulation and temperatures?
                        The lights are almost as far away as I can get them. I've turned my primary light down. My secondary light is not nnearly as robust and I've experimented with setting it for veg, flower or both. That light is a Viraspectra light similar to this one: example. Changing the lighting has not helped. [/quote]

                        Your discolored roots. That might be where your lockout is happening. I'm doing the cutting-in-a-jar hydro with ficas and other houseplant cuttings. In the same jar of, say, four cuttings, all will grow roots but some will get brown roots that fall off and the plants die. A buddy mentioned changing water because the plant uses up all the oxygen in the water. Then the leaves turn yellow and fall off. How are your air-stones?
                        Air stones are new as of about a month ago. I'm seeing good percolation in the reservoir. The water is being aerated just as it was when I was able to grow these things with no trouble at all.

                        The brown roots I reported were in a res that I let get away from me. That was a PH issue. The PH issue is not a factor at this point. Currently, I'm not able to grow any roots more than a quarter inch or so below the rooter plug. Those tiny roots have good color and seem okay, but the plant just stunts, sits there and dies.

                        Other than seeds, in this grow, is there anything different in your setup? How about expired nutes?
                        Nothing new in the setup since just prior to the trouble starting and I haven't used nutrients, Fox Farms Trio, in months. I haven't added anything to the water because the plants never get big enough to access it. I am concerned about avoiding burning the poor little seedlings. At this point, I don't know how much I would feed a 5-gallon res safely. Nothing I learned about growing these things over the past five years is helping. I'm just spending money on seeds and killing them. Frankly, I'm getting really frustrated.

                        I'm getting a lot from this. I've been considering a few 5 gallon hydro pots. Cool I might learn how to solve hydro issues with soil experience.

                        And I'm dabbing so it's fun to talk.
                        Well, good luck with it and thanks for the attention.
                        Third grow - Northern Lights and Red Cheese (Southern Oregon Seeds) , ​​​​DWC hydro

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Originally posted by billyboy View Post
                          If you can rule out light burn then it is a nutrient problem. Potassium is my guess they way those leaves are burning. In hydro or coco coir, potassium is best absorbed by the roots in the 5.5 – 6.5 pH range. How about a dose of K and trying to get the pH down closer to 5.5.
                          I shoot for a PH of 6.0. It's hard to maintain, but a 5.5 - 6.5 has always been okay with me. How do I get nutrients to these tiny plants when their roots barely extend outside the plugs? How much Fox Farms Trio can I safely add to a 5-gallon res?
                          Third grow - Northern Lights and Red Cheese (Southern Oregon Seeds) , ​​​​DWC hydro

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Originally posted by Smoklahoma View Post
                            Where is the water level at in relation to the net pot?
                            I try to keep the water just at the bottom of the net cup.

                            Are you top feeding them with ph water until the roots are getting moisture from the bubbles?
                            No, I'm not top feeding them. I'm moving the net cups over and pouring directly into the res.

                            Your Rapid Rooters look like they are kinda high in the hydroton.
                            I'm trying to place the rooters closer to the top of the net cup. They do protrude above the Hydroton a bit, but this used to be okay. Is your suggestion that I bury the rooters deeper in the Hydro?

                            I tried 1/2 RR and 1/2 rockwool this time, 3 out of 10 fell over and died. Those 3 were in RR. ?
                            I've never used anything but Rapid Rooters.

                            Great white is for soil I thought ,that's why I went with Orca.
                            There are instructions on the container and in the promotional material about using them in hydroponic systems. I don't generally use it until there are roots to spread it on, but I tried dusting the bottom of the rooter plug in an attempt to keep things alive. That didn't work. I stopped doing it.

                            I'm staying away from bleach cleaning the system, seemed like I couldn't get rid of residue , strictly H2o2 from now on.
                            I resorted to bleach because dousing it in alcohol or hydrogen peroxide didn't fix the issue.

                            What are you using to check the PH with? Has it been calibrated?
                            I'm using this to check PH and yes, it's been calibrated recently.

                            I don't know? Just throwing things out there?
                            Okay, thanks for the attention.
                            Third grow - Northern Lights and Red Cheese (Southern Oregon Seeds) , ​​​​DWC hydro

                            Comment

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