Root zone protection additives?

I’m dipping my toe into hydro (not literally of course) and was hoping you fine folks here could save me hours…I’m trying it on tomatoes first before risking it all lol. So its a vivsun dwc 5 gallon single bucket. Nutes seem pretty straightforward. My biggest question is what in addition to nutes? I see some using peroxide others using hydrogard or other biotics to enhance root growth. Obviously you can’t effectively use biotics and h2o2 together. So far tomato is doing well. But I’d imagine that could change rather quickly if I miss something…

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Hey @Rockdog62 I use DWC Hydroguard and try and keep my water below 68F. Once you get your beneficial microbes active they will protect root zone. Additionally calcium, magnesium and silica.


Any particular brand of cal mag for hydro? And whats the deal with silica?

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Bucket hydro is tough. You will find that you will be messing with the buckets daily without having a standing reservoir. The rez does a couple of things: renders nutrient solution more stable (PH) and allows for minimal maintenance for days. Having your nutrient solution below 70F is critical as it helps with dissolved O and reduces the incidence of root rot. Trying to keep everything cool with things like frozen water bottles is not very effective either.

Beneficial microbes like found in Hydroguard are helpful. Peroxide is used for cleaning purposes as is white vinegar. Silica is a necessary micronutrient that strengthens plant stems and provides needed silica for trichome production. Silica is not present in base nutrients and must be added first when mixing.

I recommend using a product called “Jack’s” for your nutrients and you’ll find a ton of data here on the forum.

You need good instruments for measuring/adjusting PH and TDS. Don’t stint on them. Bluelab and Apera both make good devices for doing this.

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I’ve been using the General Hydroponics line of nutrients. They’ve around for quite awhile.
Cannabis uses a lot of Calcium and Magnesium especially once they get to around week 2 of vegetation.

When using Hydroponics your plant can’t get any silica because it is only found in the soil. I’ve grown without it and had ok results.
Silica improves plant structure and foliar development, increases yield and improves flower and fruit production. Your plants will additionally experience improved heat and cold tolerance, stress resistance, improved light absorption which leads to greater plant stature.

Additional information

Deep Water Culture (DWC) is a hydroponic system that suspends the roots of cannabis plants in a highly oxygenated and nutrient-rich water solution¹. To grow cannabis in DWC, you will need the following additives:

  • Water/nutrient reservoir: This is where you store the water and nutrients that feed your plants. You can use a shared reservoir for multiple plants or individual buckets for each plant¹.
  • DWC net pots: These are the containers that hold your plants and growing medium. They have holes or slits that allow the roots to grow through and reach the water solution¹.
  • Hydroponic nutrients: These are the essential minerals and elements that your plants need to grow and thrive. You can use liquid or powder nutrients that are specially formulated for hydroponic systems¹²³⁴⁵. Some common brands are General Hydroponics, Advanced Nutrients, and Jack’s Nutrients.
  • Air pump and air stone: These are the devices that provide oxygen to the water solution and prevent it from becoming stagnant. The air pump pushes air through a tube that connects to the air stone, which creates bubbles that aerate the water¹.

These are the basic additives that you need to grow cannabis in DWC. However, you may also want to use some optional additives to enhance your results, such as:

  • pH and EC meter: These are the tools that help you monitor and adjust the pH and electrical conductivity of your water solution. The pH affects the availability of nutrients to your plants, while the EC measures the strength of the nutrient solution¹.
  • Beneficial bacteria: These are the microorganisms that help break down organic matter and improve the health of your roots. They can also prevent root rot and other diseases that may affect your plants in DWC. Some examples are Hydroguard, Mammoth P, and Garden Friendly Fungicide² .
  • Silica: This is an additive that strengthens the cell walls and stems of your plants, making them more resistant to stress and pests. It also helps regulate the pH and EC of your water solution. Some examples are Armor Si, Rhino Skin, and Silica Blast² .

I hope this information helps you grow cannabis in DWC successfully. Happy growing! :blush:

Source: Conversation with Bing, 11/6/2023

Removed unauthorized links


Great information! Thanks!


I’m having trouble understanding how to incorporate a reservoir into this. I suppose that I’d need a small water pump? I can see the wisdom of keeping the rez outside the tent.
Found a water chiller for under $300 on amazon. Probably have to wait for now
But just learning the ropes using a tomato cutting till i get the jist. Can afford to lose a tomato or 2.
Have looked at the ebb and flow systems. Ultimately i might wind up there, but i figure building up my knowledge and skill beforehand will ultimately save me money on purchase mistakes. The $40 this vivosun rig cost is well worth the lessons i will no doubt learn🙂

I’d suggest combing the internet for the acronym RDWC. There’s more ways of plumbing buckets and totes together than you’d imagine. Tons of you tube vids, and even companies that sell prebuilt and DIY kits.

Why do people bother even adding a post “just look it up”?!
I have. It was over my head. Got a product that i can learn on and i came here hoping but not demanding for some nugget of info that will hopefully guide me down the right path.
I work full time 60+ hours! I have spent several weeks worth of searching online and books, and while I realize that this info exist “somewhere” if i had the answer and someone asked id gladly give it! But if i did not, I would hold my peace.

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I never said “just look it up”. Since you seemed unfamiliar with it, I just said the term for adding a res to a DWC is RDWC, and that might help you in your quest for how to plumb something together if you’re trying to convert from a DWC to an RDWC type system.

What I did say, was that there are tons of ways to do it, so, growers choice. Not sure what other help there is to offer. Is there a particular step that’s hanging you up? Out of all the systems you’ve seen over your research, which type are you trying to replicate?


It really depends on how many buckets you want to grow and if you are ok with risk of water leaking. In the Recirculating Deep Water Culture (RDWC) you could have 20 or more gallons of water as risk of a gasket blowout or leaky pipe ruining your day. I grow upstairs right about in the middle of my house. I can’t afford something going wrong. I also am retired and can do a little water changeout every 2-3 weeks.

Recirculating Deep Water Culture. It is a hydroponic system that is used to grow plants, including cannabis, in a nutrient-rich water solution. In this system, the roots of the plants are submerged in the water solution, which is then recirculated through the system to provide the plants with the necessary nutrients and oxygen ¹⁴.

Here are some basic steps to set up an RDWC system for cannabis cultivation:

  1. Build the system: You can either purchase a pre-made RDWC system or build one yourself. The system consists of multiple containers connected by pipes, with a water pump and air stones to provide oxygenation ¹².

  2. Add nutrients: Once the system is set up, you will need to add nutrients to the water solution. There are many different nutrient solutions available on the market, but it’s important to choose one that is specifically formulated for cannabis plants ¹.

  3. Monitor pH and EC: It’s important to monitor the pH and electrical conductivity (EC) of the water solution regularly. The pH should be between 5.5 and 6.5, and the EC should be between 1.2 and 2.0 ¹.

  4. Maintain the system: You will need to maintain the system by checking the water levels, cleaning the containers and pipes, and replacing the water solution regularly ¹.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Very informative. Thanks for the education. :+1:


Very informative indeed!
I’ve looked at some premade products like that. But never saw a break down like that.
I mean, i think i could pipe in a reservoir and pump…i have the skills, just not the knowledge.

All I’ve seen for rdwc rigs are 4+ buckets and a reservoir. But when i grow weed there will be only one grow bucket. So the ignorant question of the day is how to regulate the flow with a single grow bucket? It just feels like a pump for 4 would be too much for 1.
I’m not above buying something as long as i understand that it will meet my needs. But could be fun building it! But I don’t want to have ANOTHER pile of useless purchased done in ignorance :joy:

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You right, it would be overkill. I use multiple 5 gallon buckets and just check pH and TDS every couple of days. Then I’ll top off with adjusted solution.
The. I’ll do a change out every couple of weeks.
I do no change out for the first 4 weeks starting out. Nutrient solution is very low and not much happening. I do keep an eye on the pH and TDS.
Once you get the hang of it and use the same water source it is pretty constant as far as the drift in the pH and TDS.

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Just took these pics for another thread this morn, thought I’d post here too. Simplest way I’ve found so far to plumb 2 buckets together with the least root problems. I used this last grow and it worked great. Even gave me a way to ice the water when the summer temps got too much. Icing is a pita, but at least it’s an option this way.

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Hmm! So if I’m seeing correctly, the pump on the rez pulls water from the rootzone and it gravity feeds back into the plant? I’m guessing you built it, so i see the one pump is pretty small. You have a recommendation for a pump?

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Actually, other way around. The pump sits in the res and pushes water into the root zone bucket. Then it overflows through the basket filter back into the res at the predrilled, preset water level height. And yeh, all DIY stuff.
Pumps come in all sizes. This is a little 160GPH job. Many on the market to choose from, I think it’s an Aquaneat one in this pic? I’ve got a few pumps of various sizes around.

Here’s with it running, has a different valve is all.

I had one of those little pumps out today for mixing up some solution, so I took a pic.
And like I say, there’s an almost endless variety of ways to make these things, this is just the most direct way that I’ve found that works for me. Experimentation is highly encouraged! :grin:

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Thanks man! This is the only 1 bucket rdwc rig I’ve seen. So at least now I know that it can be done. I found that pump on amazon for pretty cheap. I may start there. Once i get it worked out for my ‘maters I’ll be willing to risk a $20 seed lol!

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Good Luck! It does take some minimal DIY skills, but cutting holes is probably the worst of it. I’ve seen several smaller RDWC’s with just a couple grow sites, but they usually involve bigger totes and larger plumbing. Probably the trickiest hurdle is water temp. Running a pump, even a tiny one, in a small volume like this will add a few degrees, so it’s something to be mindful of.

My permanent-for-now system is the same as the dual bucket, but is a triple and has a chiller. Chillers are $$$, but I put together something that works for my situation.