Root problems Help please. Need answers and advice

jpeg667July 11, 2012

Alright so I set up an aeroponic system and it works okay. My plants can stay alive and can grow roots. Only 1 problem, I have a brown algae problem. So I went to my local hydro store and he advised me to throw a very small amount of physan 20 into water only and let it flush my plants and system over night and it would rid the algae and and what not .

Well I did that and it turned my roots a gross brown color and now they look unpleasant as if they were dying but the plants are still growing and haven't died.

Why did the physan turn my roots brown??

Also I don't get large root masses I get like a string of rights straight down and that's it why is that. when I see other people grow hydro roots come out everywhere, when I grow they come out in 1 spot only.

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jpeg667

Here is after the physan 20

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 1:55AM
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homehydro

There is something wrong with your water temps, or in/from your water supply (and/or the nutrients your using). You may also very well have a pathogen in your system as well. Even more than one issue is very possibly. From personal experience, the pictures of the roots look like a result of water/root zone temps that are too high.

The pathogen may easily be a result of high water temps, and have snowballed.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 5:53AM
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homehydro

I also suspect high water temps because in the first picture it shows some new white roots growing. Witch is typical when water temps cool down. But turn brown as soon as the temps rise again.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 6:08AM
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cole_robbie(6)

I typically find that the people who work in hydro stores are usually very ignorant.

What are you calling "aeroponic?" Are you blowing bubbles in water with an aquarium pump? The only people who call that aeroponics are the ones selling you an overpriced system.

Brown roots are dead, dying and/or rotten. Roots are supposed to be white. The healthier they are, the thicker they are.

The air pump systems only aerate the very top of the water, and do a pretty bad job of that. I think your system just doesn't work very well, rather than it being anything specific that you have done wrong.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 11:17AM
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jpeg667

I am callin it aeroponic because thats what the system is. I made it myself. Thanks for the advice guys. It has sprayers that spray the roots in mid air.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 12:05PM
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jpeg667

Sorry for the short response I was running out the door. Ya I have trouble controlling the temps but keep it between 75 and 65. The system I made was straight how of the how to hydroponics book. They call it an Aeroponic system. I was told to flush with physan 20 to kill that dark brown building up in the roots and kill the algae in my tank. But it turned em all Brown in the second pick even at low temps

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 12:13PM
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jpeg667

When I get home I will post pictures of my system so you can tell me if.it sucks. But it's straight out of how to hydroponics book and the guy had amazing results

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 12:17PM
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jpeg667

When I get home I will post pictures of my system so you can tell me if.it sucks. But it's straight out of how to hydroponics book and the guy had amazing results

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 12:20PM
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jpeg667

That's what I built

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 12:28PM
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fusion94

i have a setup similar to that. I would get rid of the sprinkler fittings and put in some 360 sprayers, i get much smaller water particles with the 360's.
and yes that is technically aeroponics... although aeroponics usually involves misting but close enough.
Also my roots will have that same brownish tinge to them. always relates back to water temp being way to hot... like mid 80s
I have my setup on a back patio and cant really avoid the heat here in NE FL without buying a water chiller

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 1:48PM
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jpeg667

Fusion94 I am going to take your advice and throw the 360 sprayers I have on there. The system works with the sprinklers everything I put in there grows at least 3 times faster than what I have in soil and foliage gets at least 3-4 times bigger that what I have in soil. So the sprinklers work Hopefully these 360 sprayers give even better results!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 4:29PM
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grizzman

are you running the sprinklers 24/7? also, are the plants centered over the horizontal pvc or off the each side?
It looks to me like the roots need some air.
Also, what is in physan20?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 4:35PM
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fusion94

i will try to post up a few pics later tonight but i do have this one of a Butch T leave... never grew even close to this size in the ground or in 5 gal buckets.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 4:42PM
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jpeg667

O -:- O
O -:- O
O -:- O

0= netted pots

Line down middle is my spray line.

That is how it is set up. Pipe down middle with 360 degree sprayers hitting all pots down both sides of the sprayers

It does run 24/7 and I have a bubble in there connected to a 2 line air pump.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 5:58PM
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jpeg667

Now that I am home I can post more pics

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 6:00PM
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jpeg667

I need to rebuild the internals of the system to accommodate the 360 sprayers. They seems to spray weird. like more at an angle like this \./ instead of like _ _
\./ that in a nice arced 360 if you can understand my diagram.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 6:05PM
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jpeg667

Bah the diagram wont show up right in this forum I'll just post pics. Can someone shine some light on what sprayers I should get. Brand name part #?? I have an OSH Lowes Home Depot and other all at my disposal so i am sure I can find any spray you name off

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 6:10PM
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grizzman

The ones I use are shown on this page. I believe rainbird is the brand name at lowe's. And yes they definitely have an upward trajectory.
could you possibly run your sprinkler on a timer? we affectionately call the system you've created "soakaponics" because the particle sizes are way bigger than those in proper aeroponics. But that system will work really well. though in my systems I had better success running them on a timer. it was something like 45 minutes on 1hr45min off. something along those lines (it was what worked with my timer)gives the roots a break from being continually saturated.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:51PM
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jpeg667

Aight so I made a trip to my local Hydro store and the dude felt bad for frying my plants with the physan and gave me like 6 free sample bottles of x nutrients and some halo drippers he needed to get rid of and I got some extra 360 sprayers after that I headed over to lowes and got an 18 gallon tote to replace the 14gal I have to give me more head room for the sprayers. I'll post a pic of the sprayers I bought

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 10:26PM
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cole_robbie(6)

What you have is low-pressure aeroponics, if you could call it aeroponics. The problem with using a mag-drive pump is that the pressure is low. You can spray the roots with water, but the individual droplets of water are very big.

What I call "real" aeroponics is a pump that delivers high pressure, 30 or so psi. Then you can use mister heads with tiny openings. A very narrow stream of water comes out under high pressure, hits the cover of the mister head, and the water splits into very small droplets. It makes a very fine mist that roots like. An alternative is one of the new ultrasonic fogger devices.

My advice with your setup would be to lose the misters and make a new manifold that is the same thing, but just drill holes on the bottom of the pvc so that it streams down into the reservoir. Drill 4-6 holes on either side to spray down water at about a 45 degree angle each way. Then raise the water level in the reservoir to be just under the net pot. Then you have 'recirculating deep water culture.' The roots will be pretty and white without the rot you have now.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 11:43PM
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grizzman

That's an awful lot of work. just use the sprayers and run them on a timer.
the picture below are roots on a tomato with a single 360° sprayer head in a 32 gallon trashcan on a timer.

this next picture is the system assemblied:

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 10:22AM
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cole_robbie(6)

That's about the nicest roots I've ever seen in a system like that. Good for you.

fwiw, they would like it more if they had a little platform under the bottom of the net pot to sit on instead of hanging that far. Notice how they are skinny until they hit bottom? Hanging by their own weight does that. Roots in soil don't have to support their own weight, so plants never evolved to do so.

And I didn't realize he was running the pump all the time. That's a small amount of water, and the pump might be heating it up. Yes, a timer would help, even a cheap one. But of course, an expensive cycle timer would work even better. That would allow him to run something like one minute on and five minutes off. But cycle timers are about a hundred bucks, which is probably cost-prohibitive.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:22AM
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grizzman

and that much cycling would kill a mag pump. they're not made with that kind of duty cycle.
I was using a $30USD one that had, I believe, 14 settings a day. that's how I always came up with my cycle times. I was looking for about 1.1/2 hrs off and had to work it out with longer run times.

about my roots: where they get larger is where they sit in the nutrient at the bottom of the tank. I think that is why they spread like that. Though what you suggest may be correct. I don't know? they still need to have some tensile strength to hold up the upper parts against wind and what not. Anyway, I never had any difficulties with them hanging down.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 1:47PM
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jpeg667

Yea these mag pumps produce 1-3 psi tops. I would love to get a high pressure pump but I am on a budget

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 3:02PM
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jpeg667

I have gotten good results from my setup here is an example

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 3:04PM
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fusion94

here is what i have going on in 1 of my pepper setups
but like i said in an earlier post... mid 80 water temps aren't the ideal situation as you can see by the brown roots
I have 8 plants in this tub running 15 gallons and normally have 2-4 5" airstones.
I leave the pump on 24/7
when the temps arent hotter then hell i usually have pure white roots...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 3:44PM
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fusion94

But even with my crap temps i still get pretty decent plants.
just changed out the nutes last night to start the transition to blooming.and if they do the same as my last crop... i will have more peppers than i will know what to do with

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 3:48PM
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cole_robbie(6)

that much cycling would kill a mag pump. they're not made with that kind of duty cycle.

Probably so. Mag-drives seem to get worse in quality the bigger and more expensive they get. The biggest ones still have the same ceramic internal parts, and that design seems to love to break as it gets bigger. I always had the best luck with the smaller mag drives.

fwiw, I think you guys with the temp problems would do a lot better with some recirculating deep water instead of the misters. The roots won't get nearly as hot during the day. People tend to think that being submerged in water means that roots will rot; that's only true if you don't aerate the water enough. Hanging in hot air will rot roots, and that is a big weakness of any kind of aeroponics, cheap or expensive.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 1:48AM
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jpeg667

Well I revamped my system if anyone is still monitoring this thread. I got rid of the sprinklers and put 360 misters.

I manages to save the pepper plant and basil I actually have pure white roots coming off the basil again after the roots dying off brown from the physan.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 6:42PM
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grizzman

that's great. plants are pretty resilient like that. you probably just slowed their growth by a few months.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 7:01AM
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homehydro

The only mag pump that has caused problems for me is about 15 years old. Even then all it took was a good cleaning (clogged with gunk from sitting). I have yet to have any pump problems, even with my high volume pond/fountain pumps. As long as their cleaned regularly, not just the filters but the whole pump taken apart and cleaned, they work great for me. When cleaned with every nutrient change, it takes no time at all to do (10 min). I get mine from Home Depot/ and Lowe's in the garden department (look for fountain and pond pumps).

jpeg667
Did you ever narrow down your problem?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 8:00AM
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jpeg667

@homehydro I think so. It was most likely High temps and left over organic material from other nutes. Ever since I switched to 360 sprayers The roots now come out from everywhere not just the bottom of the net pot. It's pretty exciting.

I'll post some pictures of the plants that I saved. You can compare the pics at the beginning of the post to the ones I post it's a night and day world of a difference it's amazing how well the pepper and basil came back

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 5:03PM
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jpeg667

Here are the plants they are really growing since the nozzle change and nute change

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 5:34PM
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jpeg667

Here are the roots you can see they no longer just grow out the bottom

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 5:35PM
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jpeg667

The only problems I am having now is this darn pepper plant wont grow taller but it keeps spittin out leaves and the leaves get bigger and bigger but no height gain

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 5:36PM
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grizzman

That's probably a good thing. It means they're getting enough light. you don't want them all leggy. they won't be able to hold up the fruits.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 7:57AM
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jpeg667

CHECK THIS STUFF OUT! I just went to the maximum yield hydro convention in San Francisco and got all this stuff for free!!!! :D So happy!! Happy days!! Now you guys have to teach me how to use half of it O_o Like I got all kinds of bene bacteria stuff and all kinds of stuff I've never seen

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 3:14PM
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cole_robbie(6)

wow. good job.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 5:43PM
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jpeg667

So I am giving an update since I revamped the sprayers and saved a couple of my plants from the start of this thread.

My plants are thriving now. I get roots everywhere instead of one big mass straight down from the net pots.

One thing that is concerning me is that the plants seem to thrive on warmer reservoir temps?? Whats with that? I added some Beneficial bacteria to the mix just to try it out since I got an ass load of free stuff from the hydro show.

I added Cash crop cobra to the mix. Really expensive stuff, Could that be why they love the warmer temps? The bene bacteria thrives more on the warmer temps to in turn making the plants uptake more nutrients?

I'll post some pics of the roots Since I saved them. I put 2 tomato plants in since some of the plants didn't make it too.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 6:24PM
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jpeg667

I feel so stupid. Now that I recall, I actually threw a bunch of frozen 2 liters in the res and got the temps down to about 50 degrees for like a whole day and I think that's when the roots really exploded in growth, not the warmer temps they are in now.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 6:51PM
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cole_robbie(6)

Absolutely. High temps rot roots. I think it is the growth of the pythium bacteria that makes the high temps the problem, which is why beneficial bacteria work so well. The ground is nice and cool, about 57-60 degrees, and that is what roots like. It's not easy to make it 80 degrees for the plant and 60 degrees for the roots. That is a big challenge of hydroponics. It's the hardest part of designing a greenhouse system - keeping the sun from cooking your roots.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 2:32AM
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homehydro

jpeg667
Glad to hear your having better luck now. Those roots in the first pics looked very much like the result of high water temps to me. High water temps also aid in the growth of pathogens as well. I have dealt with high water temp problems extensively myself (here in the desert). Also your observation of new white roots growing out is also very typical when they receive cooler water temps.

I'm not sure what you mean for sure about the plants not getting taller. But I tend to agree with grizz, and feel that darker green thicker stalks and leaves are much better. You want plants that can support the weight of lots of fruit. Not tall spindly plants that will just tip over. Thick stems and leaves are a sign of a healthy plant.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 5:40AM
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jpeg667

@ Cole_robbie Yea it is hard maintaining temps. I have to throw 2 frozen 2 liters in there twice a day. The question though is if I have bene bacteria in there with the roots will higher temps be less of a problem than if I didn't have the bene bacteria. My understanding is the benes eat the bad stuff so I can at least not worry about bad bacteria growing in higher temps?

@homehydro I will take a picture for you of the plant I am talking about that wont grow taller. It is turning into quite the cluster f**k of leaves right off the main stem and next to all the other leaves

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:16PM
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jpeg667

How do I post multiple pictures in one post?? Is it possible or do I have to just make one post for each picture?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:20PM
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jpeg667

Side view

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:22PM
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jpeg667

See how it's as if it doesn't want to grow up at all but wants to turn into a bush??

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:23PM
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jpeg667

I did throw some of this ridiculously strong stuff into the tank for sh*ts and giggles.

This stuff guarantees doubled plant size in 5-7 days or your money back.

It is crazy strong, Contains sulfuric acid. Dunno how that makes plant grow.....but it does they started taking off after like 4 days of it being in the reservoir.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:26PM
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jpeg667

Are you guys familiar with this stuff?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:28PM
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jpeg667

Okay last post and pic until you guys respond. Sorry for the explosion of posts.

Here is the label on the side for a description

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:29PM
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grizzman

you use the html tag to add multiple images in a single post.
you plants looks like the main stem was cut off. This causes the plant to develop lateral growth until a new stem becomes the dominant stem.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 1:58PM
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jpeg667

It wanted to flower and it's way too early so I picked them off I very well might have clipped the main stem on accident

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 4:34PM
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homehydro

jpeg667
You caused Your own problem/question. Just how do you expect it to grow taller if you cut off the top/head??? You leave it no choice but to grow wider. Fact is, it looks like it's recovering extremely well under the conditions you have given it.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 7:46AM
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jpeg667

I was thinking and i did not cut off the head. It started flowering at that tall! I picked off 3 flowers and thats it. It's not like I broke off the 5/8 Inch main stem. It almost looks deformed at the tippy top

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 7:52PM
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homehydro

I could be wrong, but I think you plucked the main stem thinking you were only getting the flowers. It's not uncommon for continuously flowering plants to bloom after they reach a few inches tall. Actually that's what their supposed to do. The flowers on pepper plants come out from the junction between the leaves and main stem (not top), and the stem continues to grow up. If you get any part of the leaves or the small tender top stem, you damage the plant. That's what it looks like happened to me, and the plants are responding exactly the they should with that type of damage.

Looking at the picture of the plant from straight above it, there is a brown spot where the stem should be. That's the point where it appears the stem was cut off. Once that happens the plant has no choice but to grow out from the sides. Now all those leaves (bunches) are the new stems growing out from the same junction the flowers do. Your plants will now be much more bushy because it will have many vertical stems instead of just one.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 4:50AM
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grizzman

If you really want the plant upright instead of bushy, cut off all but the highest of the new lateral stems (the stem tips only). The one you leave will become the dominant stem and suppress the growth of the other lateral stems and you plant will grow more upright (vs spreading out)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:51AM
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jpeg667

Thanks for all the help guys. I am leaving this thread be for now. You all helped me out of my problem.

for anyone with the same problem there were a couple factors

1.High water temps
2.Darker reservoir or paint it to keep out light
3.Switched from sprinklers to 360 sprayers, made a world of a difference.

****Take a look at my plants now thanks to everyones help. COMPARE IT TO THE PIC FROM JULY 22nd****

They are getting to big lol

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:47PM
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buster1234

im sorry.. i didnt read every post, but i read atleast half

temp is likely 1 of a combo of issues

its an eco system so theres variables

high temp breads bad pathogens requiring more vigorious work sterilzing the water

so if your temps are high try adding hydrogen peroxide, you could also try using sm90 in the res or dutchmaster zone, hygrozyme.. some use chlorine but its tricky!

if you could keep the temps at 65 you would need less of these sterilizers but likely still need them marginally

as for lack of air...not likely since the roots are suspended in air.. or are the sitting in the water 24/7 like a DWC cuz then ya it could be loss of air inn the water but with it spraying around consently i dont think so

i use an areo but only for cloning so my roots dont sit in the water

personally i would use the hydrogen peroxide every 3 days at 11ml /gallon using the 3% stuff from the grocery store .. or if you use the food grade 35% 1 ml/gln

the roots you have are pretty bad so im not sure theyre gonna ever look good but you might be able to spring new healthy roots...
the hygrozyme i mention cuz it will also help with removing the dead roots

they say (the manufacturer) you can use hygrozyme along with the peroxide but im not positive the peroxide doesnt have an effect on the hygrozyme.. supposably its an enzyme (not a beneficial bacteria) thus the peroxide doesnt harmm it

if you wanted to go thru the trouble to keep them seperate.. add the perxide on replacing the res contents and then add the hygrozyme the next day for the remainder of the week and repeat

the h202 (peroxide) will sterilze the roots and the water for a few hours,, killing the pathogens and it evaporates quick so the next day add the hygrozyme

sometime the water source can have pathogens,, well water hasnt been chlorinated nor is RO water that came from a well... you can use a UV light or h202 or bleach or dutchmaster zone which is similar to bleach...

the sm90 is a great product.. im not sure why theyy advertize the spreader/sticker aspect so much cuz its great for cleaning up roots and encouraging growth,, but not strong enough alone to fix your problem

i would consider the sm90 as a preventitive option.. its got oils in it that i assume disrupt the bad bacteria i also suspect it has some root enhancing hormones cuz the effect on root growth is wow

i have never actually used dutch master zone cuz i can by bleach much cheaper lmao
basicly its a longer lasting form of chlorine.. only benefit over chlorine is that chlorine disapates rapidly and this product doesnt

next issue will be bugs eating your dead roots and attacking your sickly plants so you might as well look at some serenade and maybe some biological misquito control (BMC same as gnatrol but liquid) if you get fungus gnats

as for your design.. i dont think it has anything to do with the root issues except perhaps the issue of stagnent water with low o2

i use

http://www.altgarden.com/hydroponics-testing/air-pumps/micro-pore-air-diffusers-4.html

and a high quality high output air pump

the above mention diffuser makes a big difference and lasts forever as long as you dont drop it and break it

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 5:36PM
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