The Importance of Water
I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about how important water is to keeping your plants full of vitality, but I do want to stress that effective growing techniques take more than just a mindless fill-the-bucket-and-forget mentality.
Marijuana is a highly resilient plant, but it is extremely sensitive to big changes in its environment, especially its water source. These variations will hurt your overall yields, and, when it comes to water, potentially bring your yield to nothing.
Do not neglect the overall importance of water in your growing system. This is true in any growing system, but especially important in a hydroponics system. Hydro does mean water after all, so being careless when it comes to water supply is just asking for failure and disappointment.
Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to maintaining water levels. As I’ve discussed before, it is drastic changes in the environment which really shocks the plants and drastically reduces yields. By maintaining a steady water level in your tank, your marijuana plants grow accustomed to the amount of water they receive and will adapt accordingly.
The way I keep consistency in my water level is by keeping 5 gallons of water, or very close to it, in the water reservoir at all times. When I initially fill the tank, I simply fill a 5 gallon jug I bought for $3 from Walmart and then pour it in. This measures 5 gallons automatically for me.
Also, I have marked the inside of my tank with permanent marker for visual indication of where the 5 gallon fill line is. This is so that when I check my water level on a daily basis, I can see if I need to add in water or not.
When the water level is roughly 1 gallon below the 5 gallon level, I fill a standard gallon milk bottle with water, and bring it back up to the 5 gallon line. This becomes more and more important as your plants grow in size and start demanding more water on a daily basis. Often, towards the end with only 2-3 plants, I have to put in a gallon of water everyday just to keep it at the 5 gallon level. Thirsty plants!
Why Water Levels Matter
I learned about the importance of consistency in my second grow when I neglected it. I was allowing my water levels to get down to 1 or 2 gallons and my thinking was that because there was still water in there that the plants would be fine. For the most part they were OK because they were adapting to this shrinking water level by growing a massive root structure and compensating for the water shortage.
The problems came when I would clean out the tank and refill it to the 5 gallon level. The plants had developed so many roots that when I gave it 2-3x as much water as they were used to, the plants took a beating. They went from stiff and sturdy plants to rubbery greens that couldn’t even hold themselves up. This was because they were being exposed to more water than they were used to, and the plants were drinking way too much.
After a few days, the plants would stabilize themselves, but many of the fan leaves were destroyed in the process and I can only imagine what other damage was done that was beyond my ability to visually assess. Needless to say, by the time I got to the end of the grow, the plants yielded very little buds and I’m sure this was a major reason why.
Keeping water levels stable has completely eliminated this problem and really helped in the overall health of my plants.
Are you someone who believes that filtered water is much better for you than tap water? I know I am. The main reason I think this is because it is commonly accepted that tap water will have traces of heavy metals, bacteria, cysts, chlorine, fluoride, you name it. There have been many studies explaining that a lot of the elements found in municipal drinking water can be harmful in the long run and have been linked to certain types of cancers, developmental disorders, and various gastrointestinal diseases.
Luckily for us, we are equipped with strong immune systems that help us to combat a lot of these negative features. Plants are much more vulnerable though and they have a much harder time dealing with these adversities. Also, when they are forced to deal with potential hazards, they are spending less energy focused on what you really want out of them, growth and flowering.
My girlfriend and I wanted a filtration system because we were getting massive heartburn just from drinking the tap water. We first tried the cheap filter containers you buy for like $20 at the store, but frankly, they were piles of garbage and wasted money. I remember wondering if these water filters really actually worked because I was still getting the heartburn.
I did an experiment and put Top Ramen broth into the filter. After all, the broth is mostly water, so a filtration system should have no problem filtering out the broth particles, and I would be able to visually see it filter something out. Well, after it went through the “filter” (I use that term very loosely now), it was still a broth, and that is when I knew I needed something that actually did the job.
I did a lot of research into the subject of water filtration and made sure to look into what other people were saying about water filters. The filtration system I decided on was from a company called Aquasana. They seemed to provide a lot more value than other water filtration distributors both in information and customer satisfaction.
I also really like the way the system is set up. As you can see from the way it is installed, getting filtered water is as easy as using a faucet, and it keeps the filter and tubing out of sight underneath the sink. Replacing the filter is as easy as removing the connected tubing, putting a new filter in the holder, and reconnecting the tubing.
A solid filtration system that worked ended up being one of the best investments I have made for my grow (the heartburn has also disappeared). On my very first grow using the Aquasana filter, I harvested 30% more yield than I had ever gotten on any previous grow. There are a few factors that could have gone into this huge spike in yield, but I feel confident that the filtered water did play an important role in the upward trend.
- Have a clear plan on how you will maintain stable water levels. Use visual indicators.
- Find a way to get filtered water to your plants. Though it is possible to still be successful without filtered water, there is a good chance yields will be decreased as a result depending on the level of pollutants and toxins in your tap water. I use Aquasana to filter my water.