Got a problem plant

1 of 4 plants has dry looking (don’t feel dry) leaves. There is no curling, but they are half the width and about 2/3 the length of three other plants started at the same time.

The plants are about 4 weeks old and all in a recirculating DWC setup indoors with a grow tent and LED lighting.

the sick plant leaves are a darker green than the rest, but there is no yellowing or other color clues other than it being like a hunter green vs the bright green of reasonably healthy new plants.

There is almost no curling the leaves are simply shrunk down and looking dehydrated.

If I spin the plant, it will lean towards the light, so it’s not dead yet.

Since all 4 plants are eating the same water/nutrient mix, it’s unlikely to be a nutrient problem and if it is, I’m not sacrificing 3 plants to save 1.

Any guesses as to what’s wrong?

Found this:

Strain; Type, Bag seed, ILGM… name of strain: California Dream

Age from Sprout: 4 weeks

Soil in pots, Hydroponic, or Coco / Brand and type of Soil & Size of Pots: Hydroponic recirculating DWC

How often do you water and how do you determine when to do so? Hydro, so no.

PH of water and runoff or solution in reservoir:

What is strength of nutrient mix? EC, or TDS: 589 ppm in the resevoire, tap water is 189 ppm.

Indoor or Outdoor: Indoor, grow tent

Light system, size and height from plants: 1000 watt full spectrum Led, Currently 3 feet, there’s no dimmer, and it was having problems with the young plants.

Temps; Day, Night: 72 degrees if my window air conditioner is correct.

Humidity; Day, Night: Unknown.

Ventilation system; Yes, No, Size: Not yet.

AC, Humidifier, De-humidifier: Window AC, no dehumidifier

Co2; Yes, No: No. I am in the room with it over 20 hours a day, so only what it gets from me.

Yes… I would say that the water level is to high for that plant… trunk rot or overwatering or your air lines or stones are clogged to that plant…
Could also be water temps to that one plant…
Need pics of hour system and plants… :wink:


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when someone with a cell phone comes over, I can get pics. (don’t have one myself). The bubbling looks the same in all 4 pots.

It’s a 4 grow bucket, 5 total bucket recirculating dwc. all 4 plants share the same water so same temperature, there are air bubblers that are working at the bottom of each of the 4 grow buckets.

I just need to see what your using…
At this moment with all of the info I have… I’m really leaning towards hour water level being to high… what’s the air gap between the net basket and the water level…?

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there is no air gap, the roots are not hanging out of the basket yet. the bottom inch of the basket is covered in water to reach the stuff the seeds were started in. They were in a tray for seedlings in something that is not dirt and would not pull away from roots. (the plant I tried it with is one of the healthy ones minus a few roots where I tore them trying to remove the plants from the growing medium). I think it’s that coconut shell fuzz, it’s sorta rubbery and does not want to come off the roots or break apart, so I put the whole thing in the baskets when they were 3 weeks old.

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maybe spongy is better description than rubbery, it does crumble with enough force, but that’s way more than needed to tear a root.

You have a 4 week old plant that hasn’t developed roots yet in rdwc? That’s pretty wild! I’m guessing @peachfuzz has you covered with his suggestion.

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The roots are still in the starter medium (no clue what it is other than not dirt, crumbles when squeezed, rather spongey/rubbery). They are growing out of it, but when I transfered them the roots were along the sides of it contained by the plastic tray the medium was in.

It probably is too much water, maybe that plant’s roots are not wanting to leave the medium and get air…

I don’t want to pull it from the grow basket to look, but will if that’s what I’m supposed to do. leaving it alone as much as possible and spritzing the leaves several times a day.

Can you get a picture?
That would really help me , help you… :grin:


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working on it. no camera myself, but someone with a cell phone will be by later today, I can get pictures then.

What do you need pictures of? I know the sick plant and one of the healthy ones for size/color comparison.

Anything else you need to see?

Pic of your system and what your using as for media and a pic of what the plants are sitting in…


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Weird, in the very red looking led lighting, the sick plant looks significantly darker than the other 3, but in normal light, there’s barely a difference.

Plants don’t look that bad…
You must be talking about your rapid rooters… spongy thingies…
1st - Drop water level 1 inch below net baskets…
2nd - Top water twice a day until roots hit the water…
3rd - Fill the net baskets all the way up with more hydrotone… clay balls…
As long as nutrients and ph are in check everything should fall into place…
Make sure to grab the water from your control bucket when top watering , so your not actually adding more water to the system… :wink:

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  1. ok

  2. Top water is to pour water from the master bucket over the rapid rooters?

  3. I do plan on filling the baskets with the clay balls, but I didn’t want to cover any of the leaves and the plants and the rapid rooters are already 2-3 inches below the top of the clay balls. I figured it could wait till the plants grew a little taller, but if you tell me again to simply fill them now, I will.

Sorry about the low quality pictures, you can see the size difference easily enough, but the lack of resolution does not show how dry the sick plant looks (feels just like the rest, it is not brittle, it just looks like you could smoke it off the plant with maybe 10 more minutes of dry time).

Thank you very much for all your advice, will do it all.

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The reason I’m telling you to fill the baskets all the way up , is so that light isn’t getting in there because it will cause algae and you don’t want that… it will steal nutrients from your plants…

You really want to be able to see the top of the rapid rooters once the net baskets are filled to the top…
so basically what I’m saying is that your rapid rooters are sitting too low in the baskets…
hope that makes sense…
So when you go to fill them up , pull the rapid rooter up as you fill the basket …
You want to be able to see the top of the rapid rooter when your done filling the basket…
the rapid rooter needs to dry out or problems will insue… :wink:


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Now I understand. Thank you. moving rapid rooters to the top of the clay balls, and filling the buckets.

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You only want to see the top of the rapid rooters… that’s it… the rest needs to be covered with the clay balls…
Also what nutrients are you using and what’s your ppm and ph and water temps… your recirculating pump should only run 30 minutes every 4 hours or so… :wink:


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ppm is a little under 500 with nutrients (floral bloom set of 3, would have to look up the exact mixture I used). tap water starts at 200 ppm before nutrients are added. (501, 216, 054 set, used some of each according to a chart, added enough to add 300 ppm to the buckets using 1/3 of the recommended amount for 20 gallons of water). I do have a tds and a ph pen tester.

Ph is a little high at 7.00-7.15 (fluctuates)., got ph down ordered,but I’m fairly sure this is not the cause of 1 plant of the bunch having problems. Ph out of the tap is over 9.

There are chlorides? (the chlorine you can’t bubble off in 24 hours) in my tap water, slightly above recommended high amount, but I’m not going to get into reverse osmosis water filtration and putting back the other nutrients. The plants will have to cope and deal with it.

No clue what the water temperature is. I Have a window air conditioner set to kick on a 71 degrees or higher, and a wall heater if it drops much below 71, the grow tent is in my bedroom.

Is the limited re-circulation time to save pump life? this is a very cheap starter hydroponic set, almost disposable after one use cheap. (4 of the 5 seeds I bought cost more). I am seriously thinking about going to dirt after this grow, so far I’m not impressed with Hydroponics, but that could be my crappy setup, or general noobness, but those clay pellets are super light weight, and I’m foreseeing problems with the plants falling over once they start weighing more than a pound or two…

If anyone else is reading this, make sure that any hydroponic setup you get has ball valves or something in each grow bucket to limit/control water flow into them. An H setup would work too as long as the pump is pumping into the middle of an H with equal splits to each bucket. The cheap setup I have is a line coming out of the master that branches off to bucket 1 and the rest, then it branches into bucket 2 and the rest, then… so the last bucket was getting maybe 1/3 the water bucket 1 was. I patched this problem with fish tank silicone slightly filling the hole in buckets 1 and 2 to force more water into the last 2 buckets.

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