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Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Posted by hydromikevt Vt (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 23, 09 at 0:28

Over the Past week my Hydro peppers started showing some strange problems...They are between 8 and 10"s tall and starting to flower. However one plant has begun to turn a pale green to yellow color... Some leaves on another plant are cupped, with raised yellow areas between the veins. Ph is stable around 6- 6.5 and res. temps are always between 68 and 75 degrees. I need some help, this is my first run at hydro, lookin to learn from any and all mistakes. Thanks in advance for any help... Here's a link to some Photos...http://www.flickr.com/photos/24902357@N05/3652350647/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/24902357@N05/3652352083/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/24902357@N05/3652344043/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/24902357@N05/3653144338/ Also, I'm new to posting/linking to photos, so any help with that would be nice also....


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi hydromike,
Please specify your fertilizer compostion & how using.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi again, I'm using general hydroponics flora series in "growth" strength. I plan on changing the nutrient this week at some point and was wondering if i should just skip ahead to the blossom strength because of the flowering...Like i said before i'm totally new to this...thanks again...


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Are u doing a constant nutriant or are u doing on/off and times that it is on and off would be helpful.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Constant circulation...My System is an aerospring design. Everything seemed great until this week...


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

"Everything seemed great until this week..." which may be a clue to some other problem than nutrient related. Have you thought of a fungus or perhaps thrips?
Have you recently brought in some "new or foreign plants" or is their any other possibility your plants were infected by either?

Unfortunately the pics are not of a good quality (yellowish) and hence not that conclusive.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi hydromike,
Two things occur to me.
(1) You might be going too long between completely replacing your nutrient solution 100% new. This in itself can be mis-managed 2 ways.
((1a)) just topping up a reservoir with more water alone can give you deficiencies; nutrient deficiency is what your complaint would seem to be.
((1b)) always topping up a reservoir with more nutrient formulated water can give you excesses of major nutrients; which can lock out certain nutes & can also cause yellow
(2) Your growing medium may be retentive of the fertilizer residues (even if you are changing out the reservoir mix) and total dissolved solids (TDS) are accumulating in the root zone every time you fertigate; which is notorious recipe for nutrient uptake imbalances (like locking out trace minerals).
((2a)) If you are growing in rock wool or coir then consider elevated TDS (remedy is flush salts from medium with just water); if you are growing in perlite or sand then TDS residues are not your problem when you practice standard nutrient reservoir changes.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

jean-luc...i have no issues with thrips or any other insects, as for fungus, thats still a possibility.The plant have been growing from seed with no other foreign plants involved. The pictures are from a 10 mp camera and it's yellow because of the hps lighting. gringojay, as far as nutrients go, i try and change out nutes every two weeks. (thats going to change. I was flushing out the medium with clearex every other change but maybe i'm doing something wrong there also. i'm using hydroton for my medium. After this week i'll be using rainwater instead of the local spring water i've been using.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi hydromike,
General hydroponics flora series in growth strength needs examining - you would not be alone with undiagnosable problems.
I don't know the particular formula of the product you used, so see what you can add to clues.
GH "Grow" is 2-1-6 (correct?), but I don't know how (or if) it provides trace minerals
GH "Micro" is 5-0-1 (correct?) ; "Micro" comes in 2 types & one that is for "Hard Water Edition" includes Ca,Cu,Fe,Mn,Mo.
Which brings up the issue of your well water alkalinity (or not). High water alkalinity (over 60 ppm) in combination with a pre-set fertilizer containing Ca & Mg can itself lock out micro-nutrients' absorption.
Your plan to promptly switch water is a sensible 1st aid approach for reservoir & flushing medium. In case you are confused the nutrient solution pH & water alkalinity are not the same, so your satisfaction with the pH reading might be missing a trick.
You can also finesse the plant symptoms a little more & that may help identify a trace mineral uptake problem; which is your main suspect here.
Look at the leaf that is yellow & tell if problem started on the older leaves or new leaf.
Look at the curl or cupping & tell if problem started on the older leaves or new leaf.
Look at the curling leaf & tell if curl is happening downward or upward.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

hydroponic growing is all about balance and proportion

N:Ca ratio should be 1:1 for peppers, cukes and tmaters
N:K ratio should be 1:1.5

N 200ppm
P 55ppm
K 315ppm
Ca 200ppm
Mg 55ppm


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hello again, here's a bit of an update on my issues...I changed the reservoir with fresh nutrient. the ppm is around 1260, using rainwater. The plant that was yellowing came back a little but the lower, older leaves did this...Photobucket ...Any ideas?


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

From the picture, I would guess you are overfeeding.

1260 ppm is waaaaayyyyyy to high for chiles. Try 400-500 ppm.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi hydromike,
Manganese (Mn) deficiency will take about 2 months to show up.
The yellow at edge of older leaf patterned into a "V" indicates Mn.
What you need to consider is that Magnesium (Mg) can interfere with Mn uptake. It's an ion thing they get messed up over.
And when you elevate Calcium, at the same time as feed Mg, the effect of depressing Mn ion absorption is even greater still.
I suspect you are possibly dosing Mg & Ca in too high a percentage. They are commonly supplemented by well meaning pepper & tomato growers. Many use Epsom salts for Mg source & follow dirt growers' advice of "X" teaspoons/gallon, which hydroponics can't get away with doing.
The leaves also appear to be quite thick, so you may also have another trace mineral deficiency; but I won't confuse the Mn issue. Any induced thickening
will probably clear up too, if the Mg/Ca is controlled.
Please consider Willard's input to cut back the ppm.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

400- 500 ppm seems low. I'm growing 8 plants in my setup. I am using Flora series nutes, so what should i use as far as a mix? Should i move more towards a bloom mix because they are starting to flower? They also seem kinda short to be flowering. I would like them to stretch out more. My light is about 18 inches above them, should i go higher to get them to stretch a bit?


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

if you raise your light to 'stretch' the plants you'll just end up with leggy plants. they'll just have a harder time holding themselves up. my peppers are now (mostly) about 8"-10" tall. almost all have buds (even the smaller ones), several have open flowers, and one has set fruit. Don't worry about height. compact is really what you want.
as for the 400-500 ppm, that seems low to me too, though I don't think they'll mind much. mine were started at around 600ppm and I'm sure have fluctuated down to that range with heavy rains.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

I have been growing chiles successfully in hydro for 15 yrs and 400-500 ppm is the right concentration. I have lots of data.

Remember that chiles are native to and thrive in the high desert where it rains infrequently and the soil is lousy.

Also remember what those who recommend 1260 ppm manufacture and sell........


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi willard,

>>I have been growing chiles successfully in hydro for 15 yrs and 400-500 ppm is the right concentration. I have lots of data.<<

I also came to the conclusion that lowest possible concentration (in relation to all recommendations that are around) are best. I run a little higher though, some 550-600 PPM. Most data that are available are actually for Bell pepper and other huge pods, which is not the same thing at all. You say that you have lots of data, that sounds interesting - would you like to share some?! Especially data about nutrient requirements of different species would be greatly appreciated.

>>Remember that chiles are native to and thrive in the high desert where it rains infrequently and the soil is lousy.<<

No offence, but here I cannot agree. This is only true about Tepin and those varieties who are still native from northern Mexico and around that desert area. Many-, or lets rather say most species are actually native from the rain forest regions of middle and south america. Even if the mother of all chilis, is supposed to be the said Tepin, there are many other wild species as well as capsicum frutescens, chinese, baccatum and pubescens that have actually evolved in- and adopted to a humid climate with heavy rainfalls and even monsun season. Rich soils and heavy rainfalls. Baccatum species grow up to 4 meter and some have huge pods, those obviously need higher concentrations. Some of the hairy and 'arboles-like' Pubescens species have even evolved in hights of 2000 m and above. So all in all I guess that those species and varieties have become native to those regions, rather than still being "native" from any desert climate with lousy soil and little rainfall. They have indeed become tropical plants. Still, in my experience the general role: "the 'wilder' (and hence less domesticated) a pepper specie is, the less nutrient it requires" -can be applied.

>>Also remember what those who recommend 1260 ppm manufacture and sell........<< Not only manufacurers recommend such high concentrations, but maybe those are recommendations for bell peppers and well cultivated, high yield cultivars only. There is no interest for a manufacturer either, to advise to use more than the double of what is recommended,- eventually risking massive complaints and losses.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Thought I'd share my pepper problems here too.
I have three runs on my EnF system. the plants in the first and last run are generally fine, but the ones in the middle are mostly stunted and yellow between the veins. see pictures.


Funny thing is all three runs fill from and empty into the same reservoir. each section runs essentially N-S so the sun passes directly overhead. I could understand one stunted plant, but the whole row and only the one row. kinda weird. any ideas?


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi grizzman,

Looks too me like a magnesium deficiency by the book, even if such deficiency takes some time to show up. You were talking about kinda low nutrient concentration and heavy rainfalls lately. Have you checked your PH after the heavy rain. It may change considerably. And there is a unlucky gap for Mg-uptake between 5.5 and 6. If your PH unluckily hits that value, the uptake is minimized.

Anyway, what about actual Mg-content of your nutrients?
The reason why only the middle range is affected, could be (this is just a guess) that these pots are much more exposed (due to smaller leaves) to the rain, while the others are protected with larger leaves.

PS: In my opinion it's some interveinal clorosis anyway - due to deficiency, which can also be kinda idiopathic or have more than a single reason. Check that PH by all means.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Thanks for the input. I figured it was some kind of deficiency just hadn't looked into it yet. Its just strange to only affect one run as all three runs share a common reservoir.
Anywho, I just changed out the nutes Wednesday (1 July)with the pH at 5.9. the Mg is at 80 ppm in this batch.
In the last two weeks it has only rained once, albeit hard.
Of course that was only for about 20 minutes.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi grizzman,
Close to the deck it looks like eggplants are grown in that run.
Plants give off chemical "signals" & possibly there is some effect on the middle run's peppers.
The far run is likely to be at a great enough distance to not be influenced.
As for the peppers in the same run as the eggplants:
they may not be getting affected because of the predominant direction of air circulation &/or installations immediate micro-climate heat convection pattern (deck's proximity may be a feature that influences air/heat just enough to cause a micro-climate) .


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

yes there are two eggplants. are you saying they may be giving off airborne hormones or in the nutrients?
I could readjust the runs such as swith the middle and rear or front runs to see what impact that has?


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi grizzman,
Eggplant are in the Solanaceae (or Nightshade) family; along with tomatoes I find they are relatively less bug prone crops.
In your hydroponic system design it seems illogical the nutrient solution is affected by any particular eggplant root alleo-chemicals.
The phenolic acids are what would be more involved in above ground plant self-defense.
Being aromatic these are my suspect. There are, in popular eggplant varieties, over a dozen differently arranged phenyl ring based compounds. So their variable % concentrations may account for some other grower's eggplants being good neighbors to peppers.
The esters of caffeic acid are most suspect to me in this scenario. They would not function as a hormone wafting over through space, but as signal triggers.
A phenol ester picked up on the pepper's leaf surface might trigger a bio-chemical response in certain of the pepper's enzymes; which seems to be the catalyst for a chain of inhibitory re-programing of your middle row peppers.
Caffeine, which may share similar chemical structures with caffeic acid, is a well known alleopathic compound to plants.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

I don't know what to say here: Allelopathy between various plants is quite complex and I have to admit that I actually have too little knowledge of the topic to give a competitive opinion on this case.

I can only speak from my experience. As I am growing pepper, tomatoes, various eggplants, solanum integrifolium and even all sorts of basil (which is actually well known for agressive alleopathic behavior) all together in the same system. Actually much closer as in grizzman's setup. Not much was happening with all those deadly hormones and molecules floating and flying around- and this for very long time. Though over 2 years, I've observed some symptoms that looked like deficiencies and could be due to a bad hormonal (alleopathic) neighbourhood. But in fact, the basil and the eggplants were the losers in this battle if there was any. Also the solanum integrifolium seemed to have had a hard time with competing the peppers.

From my experience I haven't observed any allelopathy where peppers get attacked by eggplants. In case there was hormonal competition and territorial battle of that sort, I have actually observed the contrary: peppers winning against eggplants.

I will not exclude any sort of allelopathy here, as I said my knowledge is quite poor and only based on some experience. Still, I see a nutritional deficiency here that even may have caused the peppers to loose the battle if there was any.

It is illogical to me too that one run is affected only, and my guess with more rain penetrating to the root system of the smaller plants was perhaps the one of a desperate ;-)

But grizzman, do you have different varieties of peppers in both runs or are the ones in the middle just smaller and younger plants? If different, please describe the specie and the variety name. If they are from different species, as in frutescens versus annuum, one specie (actually frutescens) could be more sensitive to some deficiency or imbalance.

I still opt for first things first, even if you deal with some kind of allelopathy here - you should watch your nutrients and the PH-change due to havy rainfalls and rain water penetration into your system.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Thanks for everyones replies. I replaced the nutrient over last weekend and since then the yellowing has disappeared.
I think some of the plants are just runts as there are small ones in all three rows.
though still behind the front and rear rows, the peppers in the middle are a decent size and flowering. no fruit set yet, but the blooms are just now opening.
I now believe the middle row is not draining as quickly as the others and think this may be slowing them down a bit. maybe the roots stay submerged a bit longer and thus receive less oxygen than the other rows. That or genetics seems to me the most likely culprits.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

For tomatoes, cukes, and peppers, using GH Flora series, I use
16ml grow
5ml micro
6ml bloom
5ml cal-mag+
per gallon of tap water, pH 5.6-5.8

works fine in both recirculating and run to waste.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Hi, the only problem I can see is that eggplants nutrient intake is different from chilly, tomatos or bell pepper nutrients intake, thus creating an unbalanced medium. Provide plant nutrients to one plant type eggplants from one tank, pepper from other tank, and tomatos from other. Different plants requiere different nutrient supply than others, example tomatis need more nitrogen than pepper.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

I think you mean unbalanced nutrient solution instead of medium. the growing medium should not contain any nutrients at all. As soon as the plant starts taking up nutrients, any nutrient solution starts to become unbalanced. Even if you are only growing a total of one plant, the more plants (even the same type) the faster it becomes unbalanced.

Unless the nutrients are specifically designed for a particular plant, and the water is tested so the nutrients can be specifically designed to be used with that particular water, the plants wont take up the nutrients in the solution evenly. Not to mention the temperature, climate or pH, because their all factors in what nutrients the plants actually take up as well. So there is virtually way around a nutrient solution becoming unbalanced, one can only try to control the rate in how fast it goes out of balance.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

I believe the problem was simply shading. All three rows produced abundant fruit, including the two eggplant. Eventually I had some storm damage that caused me to reposition the middle run and those pepper plants ended up as large as the outer two runs.
Remember to check the original post date before commenting. This issue was from last year.


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

I started my first Hydroponic system about 2 months ago and everything has pretty much gone to plan and the results are better then expected...BUT...I planted a Green pepper plant and it has really flowered and produced alot of peppers a few or about half the peppers get a soft brown patch on the bottom and near the side. If left alone it rots in that area. Can anyone tell me why this happens and/or how to fix it? Thanks


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RE: Hydroponic Pepper Issues...

Nope. Not without pics and info on your system and solution. However, we can speculate. Is the reservoir temperature too high? Causes low oxygen content and decreases calcium uptake. Do you have enough calcium? Need to know the nutrient brand, concentration, temperature, and pH. Point is, it could be blossom end rot, which isn't always at the end like it usually is in tomatoes. Also, I think it would be better to start a fresh thread. This one is old and has a lot of posts before anyone will see your post. There are some pretty experienced pepper growers here that would be happy to help, I'm sure.


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