Media-less ebb n flow

So decided next grow I do going to try for minimal media usage. I’ve been using perlite and lava rock for awhile. I’m generally tired of dumping it. I’ve been filling 2.5 gal buckets but going to switch to 6" net pot lids. Then once I’m out of lava n perlite switch to easily reused plastic bio balls. Can I do it with just n ebb n flow? Or should I go with recirculating drip or dwc? Any input is appreciated.

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this can be be done with e+f buckets no problem. just make sure youve got a good bit of root development before you put them in. fwiw i think if youre running buckets and feel like converting, dwc or rdwc is definitely worth trying out if you havent done so already

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Ya I’ve never done dwc. I know it’d prob give a better results. Cooling I feel would be lit more of a pita. Also just another timer for the air pumps n prob 4 loud air pumps etc. The ebb n flow is 99% siphoning so less heat electricity etc. Any idea what a good flood cycle would be? Was thinking evey hr.

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I’ve done dwc for years. Reusing the hydroton isn’t really an issue. You loose some in the mass of root, but they’ll get used many times over before having to buy more. Those bioballs look like they would get snagged in roots and be a bitch to get out, so just tossed…I would rather be throwing out hydroton with my roots rather than plastic.
I’ll sit down now…lol

Edit. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong bioballs…I just looked at google images

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The timing depends mostly on how fast your medium dries out. If your using no medium at all, or a medium like bio balls that doesnt hold any water, you will need to cycle far more often.

Perlite, hydroton, rockwool, lava rock, and even smooth gravel, all have small holes and pores that hold water for quite a while after the flood table drains. Bio balls are hard plastic that only hold what little water clings to the surface as relatively large drops.

Bio balls work great in fish tanks because they provide lots of surface area for bacteria to grow on. I dont see them working all that well in our grows.

Yeah, cooling is important. With a flood table, you can sometimes keep it outside the grow tent - which makes it a lot easier to keep cool.

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Oh and was thinking about using 2 valve solenoids on the bottom of the Rez to fill with. I keep having issues with starting a run away syphon cycle. Once I start filling the Rez back up. If my tubes move just a lit I’m boned. Better ideas out there?

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Come on Larry we been talking hydro for yrs now bud… I know. Just not how fast do bear roots dry out?

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I dunno man…dwc has a lot less moving parts. All you need is an aquarium pump running 24/7 and that’s it. I bought a second pump to add to my next dwc run in case 1 fails (and to add extra oxygen). Bungee it/them from the ceiling and all you’ll hear are bubbles…kinda…lol.
Simplicity at its finest though…and effective!!

Lots of variables come into play. Lights on or off, humidity, temps, etcetera, etcetera

Sorry, man…I feel like I’m being such a wet blanket.

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I’m sorry everybody I should have explained I’m looking for someone to play devil’s advocate with me. I mean I have the ebb n flow already. Wouldn’t give that up just bc of ease of adding nutes/water evenly between 26 pots. 52 air stones sounds like a lot of parts moving or not.

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Try rockwool blocks set into rockwool croutons in the net pots. Feed 6-8 times/day. You can use much less media that way, and the rockwool croutons aren’t messy like coco/perlite.

You’re not gonna want to clean a bunch of cheap plastic balls every cycle, something you can cut and toss will save so much time.

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I kinda thought that too yet I’d prob stick to lava rock then just easier to get. But also cleaning I don’t think would be to hard with these. Toss em in the tub hit with the power washer or dump em in the washing machine lol.


I just can’t build anymore flower beds to dump stuff in lol.

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@Skiball I just throw away used media, it’s cheap enough. With 6 floods/day an entire 4x8 2K watt flood table could use less than 10 gallons of rockwool per 60 day cycle. 4" rockwool blocks set into rockwool croutons in a 1 gallon fabric pot, 10 plants per table. How much media do you have to dispose of every cycle?

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Sorry. Didnt mean to insult you. I was just trying to point out that different mediums hold more or less water and will dry out at different rates - which will require different timing schedules.

Rock wool holds the most water, followed by perlite, hydroton, lava rock, then other rocks then, much further down is plastic.

Ive never timed how long it takes bare roots to dry out, but I bet plastic dries out faster. :slight_smile:

Well, I know how long it takes roots to dry out in my aero chambers, but thats a different story that we dont need to get into! :wink:

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Right now 24 2.5 gal pots works out to about a giant 55 gal Rubbermaid. I’ll use 4-6 sq ft of perlite and 10 bags of larva rock. Going down to just 6" net pots will cut that down to 1/10 I’d guess. That’s manageable but I’m still tired of dumping n to scared to just put it in the trash. Avoiding the fear of dumping stuff over a bridge hoping not to get caught is equally important as saving some $. N thanks everyone I know I’m being a pita your patience is appreciated

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Flood 8-10 times/day, you could be using 0.5 gallon pots, tossing 12-15 gallons of media is so much more manageable than 55. I toss about 30-40 gallons per cycle, black contractor bags on garbage day morning. Sometimes it takes me 2 separate garbage days but no worries.

Security is always #1 though, I’m talking as a guy in a legal state with a compliant grow. One of the reasons why DWC was so popular once, no media to toss. Either way, you’re still tossing branches and root mass, unless you’re burning those onsite.

Guy dumping stuff off a bridge in the middle of the night is top-shelf suspicious haha.

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I’d love to be compliant if only I could be 5-6 people’s caregiver. Ya I burn everything by the time it all gets alcohol wash fills a couple grocery bags.

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Mapito , flood every 2 -3 days , just rinse mapito after every grow and use cannazym at the start and end of every grow Been useing the same mapito now for a few years , just needs topped up every now and then , simple : )

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Hard to get mapito stateside! We use our rubber chips for kid’s playgrounds haha.

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Never even heard of mapito have to look it up sure I’ll find it on alibaba

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i’ve never heard of mapito either, looks interesting

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