Clean Clones

Discussion in 'Hydroponics / Aeroponics' started by Rahz, Jan 1, 2018.


    Rahz Well-Known Member Rollitup Advertiser

    This is a thread for people who have root rot issues. Many people cannot simply use clean water and expect the 99% success rate that others experience. I will be playing with both beneficial microbes and sterilization agents. In saying that, I should also note that I have no desire to run a sterile reservoir beyond the clone phase. Successful innoculation of beneficial bacterial, and/or a fungal species like Trichoderma can protect the culture from pathogens while also forming a symbiotic relationship, increasing nutrient uptake by plants and decomposing dead organic matter.

    One product I'm interested in is called Banrot (etridiazole & thiophanate methyl). It's a wide spectrum fungicide that covers Pythium, Phytophthora and Fusarium among others. Anecdotal evidence I've found on the net indicate 25-50ppm is effective in hydroponics for sterilization purposes, though much higher rates have been used. Here's a link to a thread with several people taking about their experience with it.

    Another chemical fungicide I have is called Daconil Fungicide (Chlorothalonil). While it's something that can be found in hardware stores, it doesn't specifically list Pythium and is typically used as a foliar application. I'll be trialing it because it's easier to get and can be purchased in smaller amounts. Smallest bag of Banrot seems to be 2lb. of powder which is in the $80-90 range while Daconil Fungicide concentrate can be purchased for around $20.

    Other sterilizing agents I will use are sodium hypochlorite (bleach) (2-4ppm), and peroxide. I'm still unclear on the upper levels of peroxide as I have read accounts indicating ppms approaching 100 not being harmful to mature plants. I've already discovered that clones will root at 10ppm in a bucket cloner, water being changed every three days. I will probably try a spread of around 5-50ppm and see what the results are.

    Note on hypochlorite: this form of chlorine reacts with nitrogen to form chloramine. If used in a nutrient solution there will be no chlorine present and the amounts necessary to provide a benefit will change since chloramine isn't as toxic as chlorine. I will be culturing in plain water so not an issue for cloning, but I may introduce low ppm bloom nutrients several days prior to transplant. At that point I will likely rinse the media free of chlorine and inoculate with a beneficial of some kind (which one tbd) so still not an issue. And while this thread isn't about curing root rot in vegetative or flowering plants it's worth noting that large quantities of bleach in nutrient solution have proven unable to cure root rot. The chlorine is converted to chloramine within minutes and while high levels of chloramine may be effective in sterilizing the water, pathogens that have burrowed into roots can withstand those same sterilization levels. There is some preliminary evidence suggesting that soaking roots in plain water with 4ppm hypochlorite is effective at destroying established root rot, but that's a topic for another thread.

    I have two microbial products. One is a pure Trichoderma powder called Root Shield. Trichoderma will attack other bacteria and fungi and can be very aggressive in the right conditions. Trichoderma is noted to burrow into the cellular structure and feed off plant sugars while increasing elemental nutrient uptake to the plant. The other is a bacterial product called Hydroguard which contains Balillus Amyloliquefaciens. This species can also be found in higher concentration (better value) in a product from Southern AG called Garden Friendly Fungicide.

    So, those are the chemicals I have to play with. In addition to the active ingredients I'd also like to do some testing with tap water, boiled tap water, and purified drinking water (bottled). I'll update as I have results and observations. Other contributions are welcome. If you've had root rot issues and conquered them please share. Would be interesting to read about other chemicals, useful ppm concentrations for bleach and peroxide, worm casting tea in the clone stage, etc.

    Metasynth Well-Known Member

    Is there a clif notes version?

    Rahz Well-Known Member Rollitup Advertiser

    Yes. I'm going to chuck some chemicals and microbes in water to see if they keep clones from developing root rot ;)

    Metasynth Well-Known Member

    Word! Sounds great, sorry about being a dick...but I always say I’d rather be a dick than a pussy.

    You’re doing good work man, thanks.
    Howard Burn and Rahz like this.

    curious2garden Well-Known Member

    Yup use chlorinated water.
    projectinfo likes this.

    zypheruk Well-Known Member

    Testing Sm90 here in dwc atm and the plants seem to love it. I'm dosing at 0.5ml per litre.
    I have tried bleach, pool shock, dutch master zone,pythoff etc over the last few months.
    They all work, I'm finding the root structure to be much stronger and healthier using the SM90.
    Water temps 18c constant.
    Be interesting to see how your experiment turns out.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    coreywebster and Rahz like this.
    Sour Wreck

    Sour Wreck Well-Known Member


    Rahz Well-Known Member Rollitup Advertiser

    Interesting that all the products you listed are chlorine based products (I have read). Zone is also a mild nutrient, so I'm guessing it's chloramine (?). I'm not a chemist so I have no idea what other forms of chlorine would be stable in a nutrient solution. Unless there's something fancy about it, it seems like using bleach or pool shock would be a cheaper way to do the same thing.
    firsttimeARE likes this.

    Rahz Well-Known Member Rollitup Advertiser

    Meant to say those are all chlorine based, not sm-90.

    Did a little research and sm-90 is a plant oil based additive that can be sprayed on leaves and stems as well as added to a nutrient reservoir, treats and prevents pathogenic microbes as well as mites, aphids, etc. Sounds like some good stuff. I will try to pick some up and use it in the trials.

    Rahz Well-Known Member Rollitup Advertiser

    Wanted to do an update on the young plants with root rot I mentioned earlier, full recovery is underway so here are the steps.

    1- remove plants from hydro environment and transfer to a solution of 4ppm sodium hydroxide in plain water (can be tap water, but must be plain, no nutes). Keep solution oxygenated and let sit for 4-5 hours. Water level should be high enough that the hydroton is at least partly below the water line. Treated roots will go from dark brown to light tan.

    2- use a heavy bleach solution to scrub hydro container, run same solution through pump/chiller/tubing for around 1 hour. Rinse everything well and reassemble the system.

    3- prepare nutrient solution and add 2.5ml Daconil Fungicide per gallon. This is the diluted spray. You can use the concentrate. Chlorothalonil in solution should be about .6 ppm.

    Several days later and white roots are now busting out through the net cup. Would the sodium hydroxide treatment alone have been enough? Would the Daconil in the rez alone be enough? I don't know. Those are the steps I took. More testing would be necessary to reduce treatment to a more simple form if possible. This is the 2nd time I've successfully cured root rot. First time was with tea but using tea has been hit and miss for me.

    So, let's talk about Daconil. Seems to be some pretty nasty stuff, but it's not systemic. Any opinions on using it as a preventative throughout a grow? I don't really want to run sterile but I'm curious about it.

    Also, I'll be starting the trials sometime around this coming weekend and have been considering my options. I hope to do enough testing to determine whether a mild bloom solution or clone solution speeds up rooting. This isn't really an option with chlorine because it will convert to chloramine. I'm not opposed to chloramine but using bleach to produce it will tie up an unknown quantity of nitrogen. The chloramine will also end up in an unknown quantity, plus I don't know what levels of chloramine will be useful for preventing pathogens in the grow environment anyway. They are certainly higher than necessary levels of chlorine. The alternative would be a chloramine product like Zone or Pythoff so I might pick some up. I'll still be testing bleach in plain water.

    I suspect there will be several effective methods. Beyond the most effective (quickest root formation) I have an interest in the easiest as well because I'm lazy like that. I'm curious whether bleach will remain active in distilled water (?). Also would be nice to have a one time treatment, meaning that the initial clone water is treated and then rockwool is rehydrated with untreated tap water. This might not be possible with a peroxide treatment since it will dilute pretty quickly. Chlorine will also evaporate if not converted to chloramine. It might be worthwhile to try using bleach in a mild nutrient solution. While I wouldn't know what chloramine levels I was producing I could play around with amounts and judge by results. It would be a cheap alternative to Zone or Pythoff.

    Finally, doing some more looking around, I've seen more evidence of +100 ppm peroxide being used as a preventative. 15ml of 3% peroxide per gallon, comes out to about 120ppm. While it seems like a lot of peroxide ending up in the rez, it is a source of oxygen and peroxide is relatively cheap. This gives me more confidence to use higher ppms of peroxide in the clone trials. Will 100ppm peroxide kill a clone? We'll find out.

    There are so many options that I won't be able to run them all at once. This thread might get a bit messy so I'll probably start a new thread in a couple months with the results organized in a single post. If I had thought about it earlier I would have cultured the root rot. Producing clean clones is one thing, but being able to dose a clone with root rot and it still be viable is another. Hopefully one of the controls will get sick and I'll have another opportunity to culture a pathogen. Only concern here is that I won't be sure of the strain. Anyone know where to purchase pythium spores or live cultures? :)
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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    Victor6634 Well-Known Member

    What about using hydroguard or ur roots?

    Rahz Well-Known Member Rollitup Advertiser

    Yes, I have some Hydroguard and it's in the running. Use of a biological control from the start would be useful since I wouldn't need to dose with bennies prior to transfer. I also have AG Garden Friendly Fungicide (same species, more concentrated) that I will use as well. Funny though, the bottle it came in is tiny. When I get around to it I'll examine the volume and concentration to determine how much better a value it is.

    Is UC Roots a different bacterial species?

    Hydroguard/Garden Friendly Fungicide, suggested rates and higher rates
    Peroxide, 10, 50, 100 ppm
    Chlorine 2, 4 ppm
    Chloramine, Zone/Phthoff, DIY bleach/nutrient solution
    Daconil .6ppm, 2ppm
    Banrot ppms TBD
    Controls, tap water, boiled tap water, bottled water

    So that's around 20 subjects and will need at least a couple of each. A bit more than I planned, but WTH.

    Rahz Well-Known Member Rollitup Advertiser

    UC roots seems to be a chlorine/chloramine based product.

    chemphlegm Well-Known Member

    Why do you believe this?
    Why do you believe this is caused by a chemical deficiency and not grower habits?

    ANC Well-Known Member

    Please try to find a way of doing this without fungicides, nature needs fungi, we need fungi. those poisons do not discriminate and they find their way into our soil ecology again.

    Rahz Well-Known Member Rollitup Advertiser

    I don't know for sure, but a lot of people have varying levels of failure, often without any direct evidence of negligent practice. Depending on location the average RH will vary, pathogen concentration and species floating around in the air will vary, water quality will vary. It's quite possible for two people in different locations to use similar cultural practice and have different degrees of success. There are also conditions that may be desirable (such as growing clones beside other plants in an organic media) that will typically be considered bad practice. I'd like to be as dirty as possible and still achieve +99% success rates.

    ANC Well-Known Member

    Non-sterile practice has been found to be the most successful for cloning cannabis.
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    Rahz Well-Known Member Rollitup Advertiser

    My preference is a biological control so I'm hopeful the Hydroguard or trich will get the job done and root quickly. Hopefully I will show various ways of producing clean clones and the reader can decide what to use for themselves.

    At any rate, the amount of fungicides used for cloning purposes will be small. If I succeed with a chemical fungicide then I may attempt to test weaker concentrations to find the lowest effective dilution rate. Did you know, most rooting gel has a small amount of fungicide?

    Perhaps, but I'd like to find out first hand.
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    chemphlegm Well-Known Member

    I'm embarrassingly filthy. I use a dull scalpel, well water, a dirty cutting board, a squirt of old clonex, a couple scrapes and poked into some new wet promix, domed with a clear cup till rooted. Rh is the same as the grow room settings. cuts root under 485 watts t5 right next to the vegging plants.
    when I began I used sterile tools each time, new rockwool, same awesome success. I followed the directions in a grow bible.
    good luck
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    GroErr Well-Known Member

    I got some form of pythium a couple of years back and lost a few cuts. Laziness imo, hadn't been consistent with cleaning/replacing the water and reaped what I sowed.

    Long story short, h202 3% solution @150ppm into my normal chlorinated (tap) water saved a bunch of cuts for me. I watered a few times in 1gal pots with it as well, no issues, maybe even beneficial. Can't find the reference but while I was researching fixes I came across one reference to minimum 100ppm required for it to be effective.

    Now: 95+% success rate in my aero cloner, tap water, changed once/week.
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