pH Issues NFT

ethnobotanyNovember 29, 2012

Hello all

I am baffled by my experience using general hydroponics flora three part series so far.

The reservoir I am using is 27 gallons, but I have it filled with 18 gallons of water. Only one plant has its roots to the bottom of the gully, all others are getting big leaves but havn't yet sent out larger tap roots yet.

About 4 days ago I made 1000ppm (1.6 EC) solution using my GH flora series nutrients mixing as directed on the directions from GH. Added 10mL grow per gallon, 7.5mL of micro, 2.5mL of bloom. The pH was about 6.6-6.7 after mixing these nutrients in the rez. I added 30, yes 30 mL of GH pH down to level it out at almost exactly 6.0 pH.

Now here is the important part. Two days later I check the pH and it drifted up and beyond where it was after adding nutes, all the way to 6.85 pH. Was pretty weirded out by this since I had to add 30 mL of pH down to get it to 6.0 pH and there is only one small tomato plant with roots in the solution....

The changes continue. Yesterday the pH went up to 6.5. I added 20 mL of pH down to try and counteract this issue and that brought it down to 5.65. Today I check the pH and it is up to 6.2!!


There is no way I should be adding this much pH down. At this rate I am adding at least 100 mL pH down per week into an 18 gallon rez with only 1 plant using nutrients.

Any ideas? Help? Why would this happen, especially with the general hydro nutrients. I thought they were supposed to be very stable?

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two possibilites:
your water has a high calcium level that's acting as a buffer and pulling the pH back up.
you plants (yes they're all consuming nutrients if they're growing) are depleting the more acidifying nutrients more quickly than the other nutrients. Nitrogen in particular.
In reality, it's probably a combination of both. while 6.7 is not ideal, nothing is blocked from the plants at that level. why don't you just let it be and monitor it for a few days. See how the pH fluctuates and how the plants look. so often with hydro, we see something out of whack from our expectations and are very quick to correct it. sometimes a wait and observe approach is more warranted.
what is the pH of the plain water and is it a well or municipal source? if municipal, your provider should be able to provide you with a water report that will tell you what is in the water.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:25AM
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I agree it's probably the water he started with that is moving the ph. An easy way to tell would be to use bottled water next time. It's about 60 cents a gallon near me, so I think the cost to do it once is worth the knowledge. If that solves the problem, he can start shopping for water filters.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:27AM
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I bought a reverse osmosis system to eliminate water issues. I live in southern california and the water is REALLY bad here. hardwater buildup on everything.
the system cost a few hundred bucks, but I don't have to lug water bottles and when the cost is averaged over the life of the system it will be pennies per gallon.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 7:14PM
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I am thinking about purchasing an RO system, but like Grizz said the pH is tending to rise a little less everyday now that I am leaving it be. We will see what tomorrow brings. If its still drifting I may put the HPA system on hold and invest in an RO system instead.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 2:44AM
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Are you on well or municipal water?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 8:57AM
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Municipal water. I live in the Ozarks, or in other words on top of the giant Ozark Plateau that is riddled with cave systems and limestone. Right out the tap, though, the water pH is about 7.3, I actually expected higher.

Here is the municipal water report in .pdf form

Here is a link that might be useful: CityUtilities Water Report

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 2:25PM
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ROs are great, but you still have to replace the sump filters as well as the RO membrane after enough use. Take a look at the prices and availability of those when you shop for RO filters. They are a highly profitable item for the store and the manufacturer. Replacing the three filters in a system will cost just about as much as buying a new system altogether.

One trick with a home RO - typically they have two carbon filters in separate in-line sumps. When your RO stops putting out water, the instructions will tell you to replace both carbon filters. They only come in 2-packs. What they don't tell you is that the first filter the tap water hits will clog up much faster than the second. You can just replace the first filter and it fixes the problem. I would still replace the second filter every other time.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:15PM
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