Adventures in Aero #4 - Sebring's Earth Lover (now Dragon Tongue)

I just started three of @Sebring Earth Lover CBD plants into my Air Atomized Aeroponic system - AAA for short.

I popped the seeds on 27 Nov, and put them in the AAA system today - 5 Dec.

There are now 4 nozzles shooting down from the top of the root chamber, which is also the floor of the plant grow tent.

Before, I only had two and they were shooting up from the bottom of the chamber. That worked very well - until the roots got down to the bottom of the chamber and over grew the nozzles. That forced me to move them to the top but caused some stress and was a lot of trouble in the middle of a grow.

The other big change is the water is now siphon fed to the nozzles. Before, I had positive pressure from the rez being elevated aprox 24" above the nozzles. That required me to use solenoids in the water side to prevent the rez from just draining out.

Now I have a separate small siphon tank situated in the root chamber ceiling. The siphon tank has a float valve to control the water level. The nozzle tips are positioned exactly even with the root chamber ceiling. The siphon tank holds the water level aprox 1/2" to 3/4" BELOW the nozzle tips. Thats just enough height difference to prevent siphoning all the water out of the rez.

When the air turns on, it creates a suction on the water side and lifts the water up to the nozzle pretty fast. In practice, the water actually has to travel aprox 8" (3" up and then a turn of 2", then 3" down. That only seems to take 1/10th of a second or so.

I played around with more siphon height, but the flow rates were too low and there were odd things going on with large droplets as the water had to get sucked up higher. Higher siphon heights might work better if I was running higher air pressure, but Im trying to save on air flow to reduce the number of cycles on the compressor.

So far, it looks like around 5 PSI is going to work well. Previously I had to run the two nozzles at 7 to 9 PSI, so this is a good bit less pressure. However, I doubled the number of nozzles, so the total flow may be more. Im still timing things to see how it compares.

Ive positioned the nozzles so that three of them form a triangle with the fourth dead center. The outer three are all angled to cause the mist to circulate in a clock wise direction to some degree. The center one is just straight down.

You cant really see any details from the top. I spent at least two hours hunting light leaks. Thats why all the aluminum foil tape covering everything. If I have to do any work on the nozzles, or siphon tank, its gonna be a bitch.

Here is what it looks like from below.

There is no direct mist hitting the net pots this time, other than a very small amount of side spray from the nozzles. That has me a little worried about the transition period while they try to adjust to the new system from the Dixie cups. The mist environment looks good to me, but its asking a lot to change from a hempy bucket environment to this misty chamber. I left as much perlite stuck to the roots as I could in the hope that will help keep them from drying out to drastically too fast.

Im starting out with a very aggressive timing cycle of 1.2 sec ON and only 15 sec OFF time. I’ll be checking very frequently and adjusting things a lot over the next several days trying to dial things in to what these babies want.

They look pretty droopy, but Im hoping they pull through.


My numbering system for which grow this is isnt perfect. This will actually be my 4th hydro grow or my 6th, depending on how you count the first one where I did three different types of hydro all in one tent. Then I did an HPA grow. The last grow was my first true AAA grow. Now this one. So its either my second AAA grow or my 4th hydro grow or my 6th hydro grow. If you are stoned - like me - just pick a number and its good :slight_smile:

One of my major goals with this grow is to NOT SCREW UP and leave the mist timers turned OFF for hours and hours. So far, I have done exactly that multiple times on the HPA grow and the last AAA grow. The plants and roots really dont like drying out unexpectedly.

Ive installed a warning buzzer that goes off every minute when I have the timer turned off, so hopefully that will keep me from screwing that up again.

IF I can actually get a clean grow, Im hoping to beat my last yield numbers or at least get close. On the last grow I managed aprox 7.9 grams(dry weight) /day of growing - counting from seed pop to harvest.

Previously, my best was around 7.4 gm/day on the HPA grow. The first hydro grow was in the 5 range and my soil grow netted me about 4.5 gm/day. So Ive been doing better each time - which is a miracle considering all my screw ups.

By the way, Im using grams/day to measure my grow success. Grams/watt is meaningless “stoner science”.

Gram/day isnt perfect. Its no good to compare my grows to anyone elses because someone else may be doing a much larger or smaller grow. It also doesnt take into account energy use, which some people like to track. But its perfect for tracking my personal grows to see how Im doing over time. My energy use is pretty constant and my tent never changes size, so Im good with this simple technique. KISS :slight_smile:


where are the actual nozzles? I see 4 valves at a manifold,a nd then the hoses go up? to the surface? What do you use for the timer control?


ok, I think i see the nozzles. you have them imbedded in the foam lid? What do you have to reinforce the lid? won’t the plants get pretty heavy and bend just foam?


:seat: :popcorn: :movie_camera:


This grow WILL be flawless. Looking forward to seeing the results of your new innovations.

Great idea on the alert system.


Yes, the four nozzles are in the foam lid which is the top of the root chamber and the floor of the tent.

The water lines come out of the siphon tank below the chamber lid, then they have to route up above the lid so they can go back down through the nozzle. I wish these nozzles were not built this way because it forces a longer lift distance for the water.

The lid is 1" thick blue construction foam. After I cut the circle out of the foam that covers the floor of the tent, I cut it into two pieces. Then I glued in a piece of aluminum 1/8" x 1" wide set on edge so that it acts like an embedded beam supporting the foam.

The circle itself is fairly strong being only 24" in diameter, but it would sag for sure over time with weight on it. The aluminum beam stiffens it up nicely. However, I think a lot of the support comes from the way I do my scrog screen. I do LST so that the main branches are forced to grow sideways UNDER the screen. This causes them to put out side branches, which I also force under the screen. Then after they are done stretching, I allow everything to grow vertically. The vertical branches and buds get tangled in the strings so the screen then helps hold up the weight of the canopy as it grows.

So far its working great. This is the third grow for this lid. I save the cutouts for the net pots and glue them back in when I move things around. This time I had to modify the access hatch to make room for the three net pots.


LOL!! You may have spoken too soon. :wink:

So far, the babies are not doing very well. They just are not getting enough water to get them through to making more roots.

The top of the root chamber is naturally the driest place in the chamber, and with the nozzles all pointing down, Im forced to way over mist trying to keep them wet. I should have started out even more aggressively than I did. Im now up to 1.5 sec ON and 10 sec OFF. Ive also increased the air pressure to 6 PSI.

Im using a LOT of air now, but the nute use is still reasonable. The flow rate of the nutes in siphon mode is a lot less than before.

However, the combination of more air flow and less water flow may be an issue. Its too soon to tell for sure, but I may have to go back to nozzles down low or at least not at the top - or come up with some way to keep the new transplants extra wet for a few days.


Grrrrr Im having all sorts of unintended bad consequences. I am almost ready to toss these babies and start over. If they dont start recovering soon, I wont have a choice.

At the same time, I cant keep running the system at this rate. At my current settings, the roots are still not wet enough, but the air compressor is cycling every 13 minutes and my siphon tank is running dry because the flow rate through the float valve isnt keeping up.

Im going to have to re-think this and see what I can come up with. So far, all of my brilliant ideas have major problems to solve to get them to work. These are the joys of designing/building a new system from scratch. Every design decision I make seems to result in unexpected side issues. Its especially difficult when I feel rushed and am on drugs.

Im going to wait until tomorrow to decide. I’ll be more sober in the morning and maybe the babies will all have died or gotten better…



Ok, thats it. Im having too many small and large issues with this iteration.

Just a couple of the major ones are - Im never going to be able to get to the siphon tank once the canopy gets going. Ive taken it in/out 3 times just today fiddling with it. The other biggie is the flow rate through the float valve is too low for early growth and might be too low for late in the grow. Ive already mentioned that the new roots just dont get enough mist even when I push the timing.

On the plus side, I really really like the quality of the mist when running on the siphon tank. Its just not getting to the top of the chamber well enough for the early stage growth when the roots are really small and still within the net pot.

Finally, the roots on two of these babies look like crap now. Very brown. One of them looks marginally ok, but I dont want to start the grow with damaged goods…so Im tossing this plan out and starting over. Not sure what IM going to do, but I have several issues to resolve. This time Im going to wait until Im sure the system is functioning like I want before I start new seeds. These guys stayed in the dixie cups too long and had too much LITFA.

More later…


Its taken several iterations, plenty of fiddling, fussing, adjusting, and lots of cussing and re-doing, but I think I have a workable system now.

I’ll post some pics and more notes later - too tired now. I literally pulled an all-niter. Its time for breakfast and a long nap.

Im down to three nozzles now. I really wanted the center nozzle, but I dont think I need it plus it uses a lot more air and I really want to keep compressor cycle times low.

The nozzles are positioned about 5" down from the top of the chamber and shoot sideways, across the chamber with a very slight downward angle. Ive angled them so they create the clockwise swirling action.

It turns out these nozzles work much better this way once you get the siphon height just right. In this case, having the water level as close as possible to the nozzle positions works best. That minimizes the delay between air on and water out.

Ive also been able to lower the air pressure down to the 4 to 5 PSI range with good quality of mist and outstanding hang times. The mist hangs in there for over 90 seconds at the top of the chamber, and is still swirling around pretty strongly at or near the bottom of the net pots. Im very happy with that part of it. I hope the plants agree!


The new round of seeds have popped and are in mini hempy dixie cups.

The chamber is pretty much done. I want to make some minor changes to how the siphon tank is positioned, but thats mainly for access reasons if I need to work on it down the road.

Here are some pics. @SuperiorBuds is not allowed to see these or I will be embarrassed :wink: I actually dont mind showing my dirty laundry. Im the kind of impatient builder who rushes to get something up and running, but then I lag on the esthetic details.

The three nozzles are mounted in PVC T’s that have been modified. The T’s are not glued to the vertical PVC pipe, so I can turn them as needed. Right now, they are all adjusted so that they point almost directly at the net pot on the opposite side of the chamber. Each net pot is now getting a small amount of semi-direct spray from one nozzle. Plus, the mist is hanging near the top of the chamber much better now.

This should allow the seedlings to make it through the transition period much better. Once they start throwing off new roots, I will change the angle so there is less and less direct spray.

Close up of the nozzle.

This is me looking for light leaks in the chamber lid. There were several.

After putting on some aluminum tape in various places. Still have some leaks around one net pot and the access hatch. Easy fixes.

I have some videos of the mist swirling around but they need processing and uploading and Im going to bed :slight_smile:


That stuff will fix anything, better than duct tape. Well technically, it is a duct tape.


Haha it looks fine man. Just a work in progress, right? :smiley:

The problems you’re experiencing (minus the pH/algae) are right along with the issues I was having with HPA. You’re spending the time to understand each issue and try and correct it – that all takes time, but I’m positive that you’ll knock through these and get it dialed in.


hehehe yup. This is one use Myth Busters didnt test :wink:

Thanks for the politely kind words :smiley: Yeah, its definitely a work in progress, but I think Im close to having a very workable system - finally!

Here are a few progress pics. Im still working on videos that I think look cool - if you’re into misty videos :wink:

The seedlings are starting to pop out of the perlite. One of them is kind of confused about which way is UP though! She is throwing a root up out of the perlite. On top of that - it has fuzzy hairs and I havent even put it in the system yet!!! Damn Im good!

While I work on videos, here is a pic shoting down through a net pot with the cat lazer shooting down into the chamber. You can see that the mist is well up into the net pot - actually above the foam lid.


Here is the first video. I thought it would be cool looing to put the cam in the bottom of the chamber looking UP while the system ran a few cycles. Well, it didnt turn out at all the way I pictured it would. Still interesting though.

The main take away from this one is that its obvious that at least 50-75% of the droplets are fairly large and go straight to the bottom of the chamber. Still kind of interesting though.


Here is a vid looking from the side. This one shows the swirling action and mist density better, but you still cant see the stream as it exits the nozzles. I thought I took a video before I put the top back on, but I didnt.


Minor up-date on the babies.

Miss Triple Header is doing ok and still has three leaves instead of two. I was going to toss this one as a mutant, but now Im curious to see what it does, so Im going to let it grow out - at least until Im ready to put them in the system.

Miss Upside Down finally got her head out of the ground, but her skivies are still showing. Have to give her credit for fuzzy skivies though. She is ahead of the pack in that regard :wink:

Just a few more days until I put them in The Chamber (evil laughter fading off into the background)…


This plant has what us called a whorled phyllotaxy. It will put out three branches instead of two. Usually they are very short and bush, but tend to have extra leaves when it comes time to harvest. Otherwise, they are perfectly healthy plants. I wouldnt toss it just yet.


Thats very interesting! In that case, Im going to give it some more time. If it looks even close to decent size when I transplant the babies, I will keep it.