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What is growing in my resevoirs?


matt79
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Hi. Long time grower. Been running a ebb n flow bucket system with rockwool for a couple years, nevee had any problems...until now.

When my plants are young i put them om a flood table and hand water the rockwool. The runoff drains to the controller which then gets pumped into the resevoirs. I generally purge tye resevoirs when the plants get put into the buckets and then fill the resevoirs with fresh nutes (home n garden aqua flakes) 

So i was getting ready to purge the res and refill it. I noticed the res is full of stringy slimy goop. I drained it and it clogged my pump. I added 1 cup bleach per gallon water and put about 5 gallons into the res. It seems like it slowed the growth of whatever this is but its still there. I need help ASAP!

20171125_233200.jpg

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Typically problems in the system you are using are related to the water being too warm.   That said I have dealt with high resv.  temps and never seen anything like what I see in your pic.  How do the roots look?    

Total shot in the dark here, but if the roots and plants look ok, I  would wonder about the rockwool.    The reason I say this is I recently saw that Grodan had changed the chemical binder that they use to hold the rockwool together and you no longer needed to pre-soak the rockwool in 5.5 ph water.   Given that the binder has changed, perhaps something is breaking down the rockwool into a slimy mess.   Like I said at the start, total shot in the dark and an assumption that you did not mention anything about the roots or plants looking bad.

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Assuming it is something biological, I would check the reservoir temp.   Going forward I would hand flush to drain each of your plants with clean no nutes water pehaps add 3 ml of peroxide per gallon of flush water before transfering to buckets,  then rinse out the reservoir, piping and pumps a second time with clorox or peroxide and as a last item buy a new batch of nutes.   I seriously doubt the nutes are the problem, but it would be the only variable left.    A added thought/question.   Is the rockwool cubes or loose?  Did you change brands recently?

Lastly I would try posting on other forums where there will probably be a entire subsection devoted to rockwool growing.  i.e. THC Farmer, Rollitup, Grasscity, etc

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I think the temps are ok? The room is 75 degrees, its nevee neen a problem before anyways. Idk. 

They are grodan 6" cubes sitting on top of 3"x8" slabs that i cut to fit the pot for added root space. 

The plants are 2 feet tall right now so bleach isnt an option. It looks like ill be hand watering run to waste style until i crop out and take the system apart. I can still use the resevoirs to catch the runoff and then pump that down the drain. 

Not sure why this is happening. Ive never had this issue before, its always ran flawlessly. Smh. 

I never have changed the 3/4" tubing that connects the 42 buckets and 4 resevoirs. I do run vinegar through them after each cycle to clean it out. Im thinking maybe ill need to start changing the lines every run. 

I will look into a chiller

Thanks people!

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Thanks for the added info.   Still baffled, but at the same time I think you should be able to eliminate the issue of water temp.   The grodan blocks should not be effected by reservoir temp like a DWC system.   I went from a DWC set up to 6" Hugo blocks in a drip irrigation set up specifically to make my system simpler as opposed to added the complication of a chiller.   As an aside you probably do not need the 3x8 piece,  my plants (gorilla, blue dream, og kush, chem dawg, etc) are 4+ feet high when harvested with just the 6" block.  

From your original post I was imagining a 5 gallon bucket filled with the small rockwool pieces that are popular these days with drain and fill type systems.   I was thinking that these small pieces could easily break up and form the base for the glop in the picture.  I do not see the large blocks breaking up.

How many harvest/cycles have you had with this system?

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I think ive ran maybe 6 cycles or so.

Ive found that running the additional block prevents the roots from getting into the fill/drain fitting, ive tried a bed of hydroton under the hugo and the roots end up plugging the drain halfway through the cycle and thats no fun to clear out when the thing is 4 feet tall and budding. Plus the buckets are 4 inches taller than the hugo block so the added block sorta evens it all out. 

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Your added info helps.  Reservoir temp. could be an issue.   Tell me if I am wrong, but your description of the roots growing beyond the rockwool suggests that you have roots that are left in standing water.  In this case the dissolved oxygen level will drop and allow root rot to develop.  Ideally you want the Hugo blocks to sit in an environment where the roots can not grow out and reach water.  In this type of set up the roots will air prune.   There is a nice simple youtube video that you can see at...

 

I would guess that you have just been lucky that the problem did not develop sooner.    As water temp. goes up, dissolved oxygen levels drop and the potential for root rot goes up exponentially.   With the big rockwool cube you can insure that the roots are not sitting in warm water and root rot problems are nearly non-existent.   

Using this sort of setup you eliminate the extra 3x8 block.   The only downside is supporting the large plant.   I use the drip trays shown in the video, they are approx 36" long.   I put two cubes in each tray.   To support the plants I made what amounts to a basket out of 36" wire fencing.    (sorry no photo)  Think of the basket as a box, 12" wide x 40" long and a 24" high side formed from a length of 36" high roll of wire fencing from home depot/lowes.    You can just drop the drip tray into the basket, drop the plants into the trays with their 6" cubes connect up your feed lines.     

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Well i spent about an hour on the phone with the house and garden tech support guy out in cali. Super nice guy, no real answers though. He said in 10 years hes never seen a case of slime mold so bad before. He did state that my rez temps are probably on the high side and recommended changing the way i mix my nutes, that the way im mixing them may be screwing up the bacteria count with the PH....however i followed his instructions and the PH was change was nominal. He did say that whatever that stuff is, that its feeding off the beneficial bacteria in the organic component of the H & G line (roots acceletator, algen, amino) and that for now i omit those additives and just use the A/B/Zen. Basically get anything organic out of the system.

So i bought some 34% peroxide and diluted it to 5%, took the plants out of he outer buckets, and flooded the system with that. I could literally see the mold oxidizing..it fizzed up and reduced to almost nothing. Ive been top feeding with just the A/B/Zen, havent seen anymore nasty stuff growing. Im gonns repeat the peroxide treatment in a couple days and if all is well i will fill the rez and start recirculating as hand watering SUCKS lol! 

Your right on the standing water though, those buckets never drain out completely. Idk what to do about it. Ive considered just top feeding with drip lines and using the controller buckets to collect and pumo the runoff back to the rez. I just dont know how i would rig a system of this size to water evenly. Its 42 sites, 2 controller buckets, and 4 55 gallon resevoirs. 

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13 hours ago, matt79 said:

I just dont know how i would rig a system of this size to water evenly. Its 42 sites, 2 controller buckets, and 4 55 gallon reservoirs. 

Break the system into four systems.  You already have 4 reservoirs, just need 2 more controller buckets.

Couple of other observations.  Sorry for not looking up the H&G nute system before responding earlier.  Can not run anything organic in your type of system.  The roots accelerator can be a real problem.  Back several years ago I used it in DWC with good success, then they changed the formula (went from a silver to gold bottle or vs a versa) the new formula was a disaster for hydro even though their instructions said you could use it.  

One of the downsides or perhaps advantages to rockwool blocks is you can flush them easily.  This fits with Resto's comment above.   I change the nutrient solution every ten days and fill with filtered water.  Detroit water seems to run 160 ppm in my part of town.   I then flush all the blocks with the clean water (add 3 mml /gallon of 34% peroxide to reservoir), takes no more than 15 minutes.    I run the runoff to drain and measure the ppm's until they come down to within 50 ppm, i.e. 210, of the clean water.  After that I top up the reservoir add nutes and top up the reservoir.  This process may seem like a downside, but it really does not take long and it insures that you are very, very unlikely to have the kind of problem you are experiencing.  At the same time it eliminates adding complications like a chiller to your system.

Over the years I have tried several different nute systems.  Currently settled on Veg + Bloom.  They are a bit pricy, but extremely stable ph wise and simple to use, just a base and a bloom additive Shine.  It is a dry powder, 5 gm/gallon on base and 1 gm/gallon on Shine.

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So after cleaning my system out and flushing and draining everything, 4 days later my water is getting nasty again.

Ph is below 4 (i use the color vial with the chemical drops)

Im draining and cleaning again and switching back to GH. Its gotta be a problem with the H&G line. Never had this problem before. Too bad i spent 500 bucks on that stuff.

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3 hours ago, matt79 said:

So after cleaning my system out and flushing and draining everything, 4 days later my water is getting nasty again.

Ph is below 4 (i use the color vial with the chemical drops)

Im draining and cleaning again and switching back to GH. Its gotta be a problem with the H&G line. Never had this problem before. Too bad i spent 500 bucks on that stuff.

How did the ph get so low? When it gets below 5.8 you force it back above that. 

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I just took a look at the H&G feed chart for the flakes....

https://www.planetnatural.com/wp-content/uploads/aqua-cocos-hydro-feed-chart.pdf

I would be real suspect of either the Roots Excellerator or the Allgen extract.    With regards to your current problem Resto is right just force the ph up with ph up.   Only downside is it will not really solve the problem.  The goop is organic and it is in your growing medium.  At this point you have two choices, a. start over with a different nute line, or b.  play it out until harvest and then switch over.  It will be a constant battle with ph if you play it out and I would guess your harvest at best will be 50% of your past average.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve been growing in flood tables with rockwool cubes for over twenty years. A couple of years ago I had a problem with slime in my reservoirs, tried peroxide, and zone from Dutch masters no luck, did some research and found out about a beneficial bacteria called pond zyme, it works wonders, it’s made from barley and used in the aquatic ponds and can be found at most tropical fish stores. Also use hydroguard and subculture in my reservoirs, no more slime.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Curious about your terminology.   You mention the problem of low ph was in your wastewater reservoir.  You also state that this low ph water never touched your plants, implying that the wastewater reservoir was holding runoff from your hand watering.   If you never reused the runoff, why are you saving it?

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