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HOME + GROW INFORMATION + root zone FAQ

FAQ: HEALTHY ROOTS

Root trouble in DWC (deep water culture)
Help, White Slime and Jelly
My pH keeps going really really high
White Fuzzy Growth
Benefical Microbes
Multiplying Beneficials
What Not To Do With Beneficials
When to Inoculate Soil
When to Inoculate a Hydro Res
BioFilters
 

I have a 10 gallon reservoir (dwc) and ultrasonic fogger with well controlled temps (now that I've been using a chiller!), but unfortunately developed a nasty case of a goo that looks like uncooked egg whites or snot on the roots of my plants. I originally tried SM-90 along with some additional H2O2 after sterilizing my system, but that didn't seem to help and I eventually lost 4 plants. We found Hygrozyme on your site and I've been trying this for two days now. Again I completely cleaned my system out and tried removing as much gunk from the roots as possible. I added 80 ml of hygrozyme to clean water only and I've been running this for 48 hours, planning on 72 hours before reintroducing some B vitamins and nutrients again. My problem is that it doesn't look like this stuff is working at all. The gunk keeps coming back, more than ever. What am I doing wrong?

I am sorry to hear about your problems. First and foremost I would advise you to get off of Deep Water Culture (DWC) as soon as humanly possible.

Next I would monitor your water temperatures, which play a large role in maintaining a healthy root zone. Lower water temps carry and hold larger amounts of oxygen which is precious to the health of your root zone. An air stone and pump is not enough. Ideal water temp is between 66-68 deg. F. I know you have a chiller – but what is it set to? Also, if battling root rot – like you surely are (run of the mill pythium I believe) – you can lower your res temps to 60 degrees until the problem goes away.

Stop using H202. It is NOT a good oxidizer (unless at pH of 2.0 which is not advisable for good plant health) and is NOT killing the pathogen organisms that are alive and thriving in your DWC system(s) and thus killing your root systems (and your plants). H202 also strips nutrients out of solution (forming unusable precipitates).

Hygrozyme is good at performing a variety of different functions for plants. Battling a root rot fungi (like what you have) is not one of them. It will fight bacterial rot really well, and it will increase newly formed roots, as well as increase your yield significantly.

The good news is that there have been some REALLY GOOD products released on the market lately.

ZONE – This product will kill most microbes. It utilizes essential oils and monochloramine to effectively create an environment that is harsh for microbes to live and reproduce in, yet is still gentle and nourishing for plant roots systems. It is the cheaper of the two options I am going to suggest. The bad news: you cannot use this product with any beneficial organisms (like subculture, voodoo juice, piranha, root growth enhancer, tarantula, etc.) as well as any enzyme solution (such as Hygrozyme, Sensizym, Cannazym, etc.).

Regardless if you go with just Zone or with Roots EXCELURATOR, you will need to use Zone first to sterilize your root zone. You will use 1 tsp / gal. until the problem goes away, then you can lower it down to 1 tsp. / 2.5 gals.

NOTE: If Zone doesn’t work (combined with low reservoir temps) then you will need to start over. I don’t think this will be the case. . . just warning you.

ROOTS EXCELURATOR – This stuff is oh! so expensive and oh! so equally good. It grows new roots like you wouldn’t believe. Fast acting (average time is 3 days to blow new roots out.) and keeps roots very healthy! Creates abundant amounts of fuzzy micro hairs. It is not the best (although it is good) at bringing roots back to health and battling off a pathogen like the one you have in your res and root zone right now. That is why I suggest using Zone first. In fact these two products are great to have in your tool box. When used properly they will keep roots ultra healthy from germination all the way up to harvest.

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I am noticing a slimy white buildup in my reservoir, on my pump and tubing and on the plant roots. What is this and is it a problem?
This is most likely a bacterial infection. Other symptoms are a high pH and jelly -like substances. Other growers have described an oily slick in the reservoir water, which might also be cloudy. These pathogens feed on decaying organic matter in the reservoir. They can use up just about all the oxygen in the nutrient solution and suffocate the roots. These bacteria also release toxic compounds into the nutrient as they grow, breed, die, and decompose, and many of these are harmful to plants. These bad guys also suppress the good bacteria in the root zone, slow down nutrient uptake and growth, and can encourage other plant pathogens, such as Pythium, which could also be affecting your plants.
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My pH usually hovers around 6.0 or so. It is suddenly spiking to way over 7.0 to 7.5. It takes a lot of pH down.
This can be sign of a bacterial infection, see above.
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My reservoir is cloudy and there are fuzzy growths floating on it. This doesn't seem right. What is it?
Sounds like you have fungal infection of some sort in your reservoir, and not the good kind. They are bad for all the same reasons that bacterial infections are bad.
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What inputs are necessary for beneficials to keep their numbers high and thriving? (sugars, carbs, etc..) other food sources? PH important?
Beneficial Microbes come in all sizes, shapes, and configurations. Fungi, Bacteria, Protozoa, Ciliates, Nematodes, etc. Each of these Microbes have a different food source and conditions that allow them to thrive. Some eat simple sugars (such as glucose and maltose) others feed on more complex carbs (or polysaccharides), while others still feed on an assortment of Humic substances as well as sugars. And stranger still to conceptualize, many microbes feed on other microbes – producing chelated mineral(s) as a byproduct. In general a sugar source such as molasses will suffice. And, since we are trying to grow aerobic (oxygen loving microbes) we will want to provide great aeration as well as cooler water temps (below 68 degrees).
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Can you actually help them multiply somehow or when you inoculate is the population pre-determined and it only goes down from there with time?
You can help them multiply by providing aeration, cool water temps (below 68 deg.) as well as a food source of Humic Acid, simple sugars and more complex carbs.
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What are definite no no's for the health of your beneficials (besides H2O2, chlorine, and chloramines)? Magnetic pumps, water temp., water heaters/chillers/aeration?

Aside from adding oxidizing agents such as the ones above or more caustic ones such as bleach,  warm water temps,  or lack of O2 will be catastrophic to most aerobic microbes and will most likely allow the pathogenic (anaerobic ones) to outcompete the “good” aerobic ones.

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How often to inoculate? Soil, soiless, hydro? Rockwool (this is a big one as people seem to think using beneficials with rockwool is useless.)
This depends on the media used. Coco and Soil are both great for colonizing and growing microbes. With these mediums you do not have to inoculate as consistently. You can use them every other week in Veg. and into early Bloom (week 2) and then let them grow on their own. For Rockwool colonization is a little more difficult. You will need to be more consistent with inoculation and I recommend every week in Veg. up til week 4 of Bloom. This is because Humic material exists in Soil already, it binds well to Coco and flushes out very easily in Rockwool. Along with everything else, Hydroton is the most difficult for many organisms to colonize in. Most bacteria and some fungi will still colonize in Hydroton (as well as every other Grow Media) without any problems, but mychorizzae will have problems taking hold to the root zone and living in this medium. More constant inoculation will be needed in Hydroton. Lastly, it should be noted that if you are trying to maintain a balance of microbes within a medium and you do not want certain microbes to greatly out-compete others a more consistent inoculation schedule may be necessary. (This would be the case with products such as Vermi-T that contain 30,000+ Microbes – that will loose their diversity unless weekly or at the very least bi-weekly inoculations are introduced.)
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What are some specific differences when inoculating an aqueous environment like hydro (ebb/flow, drip, drain to waste, nft) or container (soil, soiless, peat, coco)?
Well some environments are much better than others. A drip system (or hand watering) over an organic medium (such as coco / or soil) is going to produce the best results because it will have the greatest amount of aeration available to the root zone. Drip systems, when feeding, pull air down with the water into the medium. They trickle water and air to the root zone. This is in sharp contrast to ebb / flow systems that completely submerge the root system in water for extended periods of time (and even if the water is “aerated” it is still at best like 2% which is absolute shit compared to a soft trickling of air and water slowly saturating the medium within. The grow medium should be well aerated as well using perlite, coco, pumice, rocks, etc. NFT and Aero systems have tons of aeration but again will have trouble growing a variety of microbes because the medium (if there is any at all) is inert. A medium that is inert will not hold organic food sources such as sugars or Humic Acids. Bacillus subtilis, a champion in the bacterial kingdom for example will do just fine in an aero or NFT environment. Many others will not!
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Biofilters? What are they and are they important?
The aquatic (aquarium / fish) industry has known about these suckers for a long time. They come in many shapes and sizes each touting their own specific benefits. Most will use “BioBalls” or other such mediums which are held within the BioFilter itself to allow for the growth of bacteria (and again mainly bacteria – as well as some protozoa, and ciliates). As water tumbles down through the biofilter it is aerated across the media within and allows for the rapid growth and spread of the beneficial microbes within. This will not work for many of the beneficials that “Plants” want. Works great for Nitrifying Bacteria (one specific type of Microbe fish peoples love!)
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