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Tomato Plants are not producing....


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  #1  
Old 05-20-2011, 08:35 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Default Tomato Plants are not producing....

Hello all, the wife and i decided we'd give growing our tomato plants indoors this year and up till now i thought things were going great.

Our problem is they don't seem to be producing, just growing. And the PH has been coming up instead of going down.

The plant's are Burpee Beefsteak Organic Tomato plants. We have 12 plant's 24-36+inches tall. In a top drip recirculating system. They are at least 90+day's old. So i think they are mature enough. Since it was our first time we just went with the FLora Series and used a typical feeding regiment. For this last batch of nutrients i didn't add the FloraGrow, but did add the Koolbloom, cause i figured i was getting to much Nitrogen. I have also noticed that the leave's seem to be undercurling a little not to bad and were a tad dark on there green color. Another reason i dropped the Flora Grow. Temp's run around 60's at night and mid 70's at day. I feed them an hour on and an hour off. And i just swiched lighting back to 17hrs it had been 12hrs.



Any help would be very very appreciated.

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Old 05-21-2011, 12:22 AM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
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I am only responding because I LOVE your user name!!! LOL

OK, and I grow tomatoes using a top drip system with great results, but...outdoors. I also use a G.H. Flora product...FloraMato for flowering not for vegetative. FloraGrow is Veg only right?

What Flora series are (or where) you using? And/or what are your Veg. nutrients, what are your flower nutrients?

I am not familiar with KoolBloom, is that your flowering nutrient?

What P.H. are you running? My P.h. I try and keep 5.8-6.5, I am constantly pushing it down...daily almost.

What substrate are you using? An hour on, hour off seams a bit much unless you are running a Less-absorbent media. Are you running Hydroton (sp?) The clay pellet thingies?

Personally I run Perlite, 3 minutes on every hour, during daylight hours only, the commercial growers run on the half hour. (My buckets also contain a small res. on the bottom to whick up to the roots ((pretty sure that keeps them alive at night ;-)))

What are we looking at with your lighting? Watts? Type? Spectrum? Age of bulbs? Oh, and light height. Do your plants look leggy at all?

Any flowers yet? You should have flowers by now. I am running outdoors pure vegetative nutrients (supercharged) with about 14 hours of light, and not only flowering but producing fruit as well. I need to switch to my flowering nutrient but I am waiting for my pepper plants to catch up.

Fill in some of those blanks, and some of us might get a better idea of what might be going on. Pictures?

Todd
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:56 AM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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I'm using FloraMicro,FlorGro,FLoraBloom. I added the Liquid KoolBloom, say's it's supposed to help with giving you more blooms.

PH wise i keep it under 6.5, usually once it get's above that i tend to lower it down to about 6.2 and let it work it's way back up.

Substrate wise i'm using Sure To Grow, since it was new on the market and i was new at this. So far i love the product, it's nuetral and i figured the less i have to worry about anything adding to my water the better off i was.

Light wise is where i think i'm having problem's, mainly cause i don't fully understand it and partly cause i'm trying to stay on the cheaper end.

The bulbs i'm using are Sylvania Daylight 6500K, 32w bulbs,2700 Lumens and roughly 2months old not sure about the spectrum how do i find that out? They are Fluorescent bulbs. I keep them roughly 6-12"s from the tops of the plant's.

I have absolutely no flower's. I think they started off a bit leggy and now the main vines are starting to get thick. I dont think when i first started i was watering them enough or with enough nute's, i just started the 1hr on/1hr off program about 3weeks ago. Which only seem to push them to grow.

I have 3 plants that are only about 24"s tall the rest are ever bit of 3'.

I noticed you said you are having to push your PH down, i was under the understanding that when a plant is in it's flowering stage it's supposed to lower the PH, not raise it. Or is that something else i'm confused on? I will try to get picture's ASAP

Last edited by T'Mater; 05-21-2011 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 05-21-2011, 04:12 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello T'Mater,
Deciding to stop using the "flora-Gro" was a mistake. Unlike in soil where mixing different brands, and/or lines of nutrients and additives is common. Growing hydroponically dosen't have the same buffer of nutrients in the soil to make up for compensations, thus is not nearly s forgiving. Use 10mL (2 Tsp) per gallon of all three (Gro, Bloom, and Micro) for your nutrient solution. Give your plants about 2 weeks to to show recovery. Keep the ratios basically even, but you can add a few mL more per gallon of flora bloom, and/or drop a few mL per gallon of gro if desired. But you need all 3 parts of the nutrient solution to work properly. Cutting any part out of the mix will result in deficiency.

Your lighting may be an issue too, but tomato's have been known to be successfully grown using florescence's with 'enough light," (keywords "enough light"). I need to look up the info again but I believe 6500K is on the high end of the blue spectrum (6700k the very top, and better for foliage), and the lower the "K" number, the more on the red end of the spectrum (better for flowering plants). But with enough light your plants should flower with either spectrum of florescent lights.


P.S.
60 on/off may also be an issue. The Sure To Grow growing medium holds moisture easily (just like rockwool), and may be limiting oxygen to the roots.
You can get the same amount of water time by using a 30 on/off cycle, or even better 15 on/off cycle time. But may only need 15 on, and 30 off cycles. Do you have any pictures of your setup? You may also be able to get more oxygen to the roots with better drainage (regardless of cycle times).
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 05-21-2011 at 04:24 AM.
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  #5  
Old 05-21-2011, 08:36 AM
halfway halfway is offline
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I am a rank amateur, but I will add this if it helps.

I decided I could NOT grow tomtatoes or peppers indoors because of lighting constraints. Since I did not want to use HPS or MH, I felt I could not get even red spectrum flouros to penetrate deep enough to fully bloom the flowers and set fruit.

Maybe with High Output T5's, but not with my T8s.

Good luck with your grow...sounds like the plants are thriving minus the blooms.
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:49 AM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halfway View Post
I am a rank amateur,
...and I'm a higher ranking Amateur! (or is it lower ranking!)

Either way halfway probably knows a bit more about it than I do, but I do know about growing vegetative only plants with High Output T5 lights underwater ;-) Figure that one out...

You need to figure out how many watts total you are running above your plants, add all the lightbulbs up multiply by 32 and you will get your total wattage for the system, now guesstimate how much wattage each plant is getting. T8's don't put out that many lumens (I think that's the term), or rather the amount of light they can direct at an object. We spend boatloads of money on bulbs and the housings which direct the light to maximize plant growth. A couple hardware store shop lights just waste over 50% of the light they create.

Trust me I understand the not wanting to invest in an expensive lighting system. Consider how much you have invested so far, for non-fruit producing plants. All is not lost though...you can supplement the light you have using additional spectrum. Now I am not sold on the LED panels quite yet myself, I think they need a few more years until they really get good. Though I have heard some running the red spectrum LED light to add the beneficial spectrum of light. Quite recently in fact...though not for tomatoes ;-)

I would guess you might have to double your lighting, add additional spectrum of bulbs, Add some reflectors, take GPS's advice on your nutrient program, and plant some basil to go with the yummy tomatoes you will be eating later this season.

FYI, I use the G.H. FloraMato nutrient for flowering and it may be used as a single part nutrient mix. I have had great results. That said, I still add additional supplements on top of that.

Good luck, and let us know if you get a picture of your setup.

Todd
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Old 05-21-2011, 02:17 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Ok, since i just swapped out my nutes the night before i posted this i went and added the FlorGro. Shouldn't be much of an issue i wouldn't think, they might have gone half a day with out the FloraGro.

Atm i have 4 bulbs all together giving me 128w.

So you think i should feed them for 15min's and then off for 30min's might help? I just started the 1hr on/1hr off about 3weeks ago, just trying to come up with something to help the plant's start to produce.

Here are a few pic's of my set up. I def. appreciate everyones input and am not taking any of it lightly. We want Mater's badly. If i have to eat another store boughten tomato i'm going to puke.











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Old 05-21-2011, 05:54 PM
PaulF PaulF is offline
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Hey T'Mater-

I don't think your problem is with your nutrients.

I think your lights are way, way too high. Your plants have grown up in an effort to reach the light source. I will bet if you get those lights right down on top of the plants you will have a great deal more success.

However, I'm not sure you will have enough wattage there to really make those tomatoes grow, you may need to add some supplemental lighting, the more the better.

I too have used the General Hydroponics Flora series of nutrients and have had simply amazing growth on my Roma tomato plants. Mine are at the 90 day mark as well. Although the plants are only about 3 feet tall they are incredibly bushy and covered with blossoms, many of which are now bearing pea sized tomatoes.

Beautiful setup by the way. I am really impressed with how you did your system.

Good luck, keep up the good work!
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Old 05-21-2011, 06:38 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Ya i'm really beginning to think the light set up is my problem to after reading everyone's thought's on it. Nother mishap of reading on my part. Since that pic i've lowered them to about 2inches or so from the plant's and am looking at just over all better/more lighting. Also thinking about covering the side wall's with reflective material to help with bouncing the light around.
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:43 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
figure out how many watts total you are running above your plants, add all the lightbulbs up multiply by 32 and you will get your total wattage for the system,
This is a bit unclear to me because the actual wattage (not replacement equivalent) of the florescent bulb is the wattage (amount of electricity) that's being used. So I don't understand why you would multiply it by anything.

Hello T'Mater,
Good to hear the plants only went a day with the unbalanced nutrients, and you shouldn't see any ill effects from just one day with them. I don't grow under lights myself, because I use the sun (natural lighting). But I have seen online where florescent lighting will grow all kinds of fruiting plants. However, the amount of florescent lighting in the pictures wont even close to enough. As well as the light placement is inadequate for tall plants. The usable light drops off much quicker the farther away the bulb is from the foliage with florescent lighting, than it would with HID lighting. Even with more bulbs the tops of the plant may get enough of light, but that would be it the way the lights are positioned. The leaves a few inches down wont get enough light for proper photosynthesis, thus the tall spindly plants. That's why florescent's aren't typically used for taller plants (though it can be done).

Here are a few videos of florescent (T 8's or 12's I forget which) being used to grow a variety of fruiting plants (even a pineapple). Notice the vertical placement of the florescent tubes, and the amount of tubes (with spacing every couple feet) being used.

YouTube - ‪2/2/2010 grow room update‬‏
YouTube - ‪Video 6.wmv‬‏
YouTube - ‪Video 7.wmv‬‏
YouTube - ‪Growing floral flowers with hydroponics‬‏

But before you make any additional purchases, you'll want to compare the costs, as well as the pro's and cons between florescent and HID lighting. Find out your local costs. But here I can get 4 foot shop light fixtures (twin T 8's) for $18 (without bulbs) new at Lowe's. And a contractors pack of 12, 4 foot T'8 bulbs for $30. Or I can get 4 foot long twin T 5 shop lights for $35 at Home Depot (with the bulbs included), not sure about replacement bulb prices though.

Either way you'll want to add up the equipment costs, as well as materials needed to support the lights. Then compare that to the equipment costs for HID lighting, as well as fans for venting heat from that grow tent. That many florescent light fixtures will heat up the tent as well. Then you'll want to compare electrical costs to run both. Figure the wattage of each light fixture, multiply that by the total fixtures planed, and run it through this Electricity Cost Calculator (get the cost you pay per kilowatt from your electric bill). If the package dosen't have the total watts, you can calculate it by multiplying the amperage with voltage (actual voltage of the fixture 110V-115V-120V-125V etc., not the outlet voltage). My guess is in the end it would probably be more economical, and/or simpler to go with HID, or at least about the same.


P.S.
You can easily add pictures directly from your computer with the "manage Attachments button below the box where you type the text of the post (about the middle of the page). It makes viewing the pictures easier, as well as dosen't make the page so long Also very nice hydro setup you have going, look forward to seeing more of it.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 05-21-2011 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 05-21-2011, 08:36 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Def. appreciate the info. thinking about possibly moving my tent outside and just using natural light. Atm i've opened up my garage door to let any/all of the sun's natural light come in.

Guess it's time to figure out what's the best solution.

How do i need to figure how much lighting i actually need?

And would adding reflective material to the sides of the tent help much?
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:15 PM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshwater View Post
You need to figure out how many watts total you are running above your plants, add all the lightbulbs up multiply by 32 and you will get your total wattage for the system,
This is a bit unclear to me because the actual wattage (not replacement equivalent) of the florescent bulb is the wattage (amount of electricity) that's being used. So I don't understand why you would multiply it by anything.
Hey GPS, How you doing? I was trying to figure out how much light he had in his system, as he did not mention it in his first two posts...didn't know if he had 2 fixtures with 2 bulbs each, multiplied by 32 watts per bulb with a system wattage of 128 watts of florescent lighting , or 8 fixtures with 4 bulbs each at 32 watts a bulb, with a system total of 1024 watts.

That and my brain knows florescent wattage in T5ho's and how that relates to T8's. There are some people who are able to flower medicinal plants under florescent lighting but the quality and quantity are not ideal. Not sure if it is possible with tomato plants using 6500k bulbs regardless of the photo period.

Unless you are growing under florescent lighting on CRACK! Jeez nice videos you posted there, but I have to think he is almost using more wattage (draw) than he would be running MH and or HPS.


************************************************** *************

Yo T 'Mater (<<<----Still love that name)

Sweet setup man, Looks like you really looked into and/or got some sound advice on setting up your system. You a Crop King customer by any chance?

Ok, so I see you are running Bato Buckets. As you noticed in my post you just commented on, I run them as well. They do have a nice little 1/2 gallon-ish reservoir in the bottom to help if you miss a water cycle or something fails or you accidentally turn your timer to manual for 24 hrs...yes I did that...doh

It looks like you are figuring out your nutrients a little bit now, don't worry...at some point it begins to become second nature...so I am told...hehe

This year I really don't stress on my nutrient like I did last year. Some may disagree with me here, but you might want to drop your P.H. down to the 5.8 range and let it work up to 6.3 -6.4-ish range and then slam it back down...my 2-cents.

You look like you have thought out your build nicely, I am impressed...with the exception of your lighting. I am almost surprised you have such nice Vegetative growth with 128 watts of T8's at that height...Good Job.

I have to ask, where is your grow tent located? I can't help but notice the one end of your tent has more light coming into it than your florescent light appear to be putting out. Are the plants on that end growing better?

Thanks for putting up the pic's, as they say..."A picture is worth a thousand word!"

Todd
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:40 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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LOL, now that you asked me the ? the whole set up is in the garage. And yes at first the end plant's being closest to the door were growing the best. Didn't even think about the extra little light they were getting when opening and closing the door.

Atm tho, the plant's kind of in the middle of the system are growing the best. But yes those farthest from the door are smaller.

Ya, Crop King gave me the best deal on the buckets.

I will start leaving the garage door open while i'm at home to help with any xtra light.

Do you use the powder Ph Down or liquid?

You said you use the FloraMato dry, do you use that with the Maxigro and Maxibloom dry to?

Would it do any damage if i swapped from the FloraSeries liquid to the dry stuff.
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Old 05-22-2011, 01:40 AM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
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Lol...I missed your 5:36 post...ok so it's in the garage, you don't have sufficient lighting at the moment... Just move the whole thing out....HOLY CRAP!!!

10 Day Weather Forecast for Nixa, MO - weather.com

I just checked your weather forecast...man I wouldn't even leave the house....If it drizzles outside this California Boy doesn't go out...THUNDER STORMS!

Quote:
Originally Posted by T'Mater View Post
the plant's kind of in the middle of the system are growing the best. But yes those farthest from the door are smaller.
My guess is they are getting light from both fixtures...the ones in the middle.

Hey, I started my plants indoors this year... we actually got hit by some pretty credible weather this year...ended the California drought...and mandatory water restrictions have been lifted.

I pulled one of my 96 watt T5HO lights off my tank...24" by I dunno 8" and seeded all my tomato plants during the storms...I think you are going to have a great head start on everyone else... if you move those into natural sunlight (slowly to harden them off first) you will have a great harvest.



And a little 48 watt fixture one the left...
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Old 05-22-2011, 02:22 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
Hey GPS, How you doing? I was trying to figure out how much light he had in his system, as he did not mention it in his first two posts...didn't know if he had 2 fixtures with 2 bulbs each, multiplied by 32 watts per bulb with a system wattage of 128 watts of florescent lighting , or 8 fixtures with 4 bulbs each at 32 watts a bulb, with a system total of 1024 watts.

That and my brain knows florescent wattage in T5ho's and how that relates to T8's. There are some people who are able to flower medicinal plants under florescent lighting but the quality and quantity are not ideal. Not sure if it is possible with tomato plants using 6500k bulbs regardless of the photo period.
Oh, I see you were figuring the bulbs were 32 watts, and multiplying that by how many bulbs there were, for a total wattage used figure. That makes sense, but I'm sure not all florescent bulbs are 32 watts. Those videos are nice, they were done by a member of this forum (watercatwn6535nd) a while back, and rather than try to explain it, it was easier to post the links. I'm sure also that just going with HID lighting would be simpler, and cheaper when comparing the equipment needs for something like that. And the electrical cost would probably wind up being a wash as well, I would bet. But never the less it can be done if you wanted to. I may even try something similar in the future.

Quote:
How do i need to figure how much lighting i actually need?
I don't really know of any charts, and I don't use artificial light, but for that space I'm sure you 1 400-600 watt MH or HPS would work fine for that space. Or even 2, 200-300 watt MH or HPS would be fine as well. Having two smaller wattage's will allow you to spread the light more evenly, and still supply the same amount of light. But I would call a few hydroponic shops, and compare what they suggest, but keep in mind their job is to sell you stuff, even if you don't really need it. That's why I would call a at least 3-5 hydroponic shops to see what the common thread of the advice they gave was, to use as a guide or starting point.

Reflective surfaces will help any type of lighting, but how much depends on how well you construct it, and how reflective the materials you use are. And as long as you already have them you could even use the HID light/s above, and the florescent on the sides or below for even better coverage. As for figuring out how much florescent lighting to use for using just florescent? Well, I would fallow the setup in the videos pretty closely if going that direction, especially+ for tall plants like tomatoes.

P.S.
I use earth juice dry crystal pH adjusters myself. You can easily switch from using one nutrient mix, to another. Just make sure you flush the system really good to get as much residual out of the system before switching. And don't try to mix two different lines of nutrients together.
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:43 AM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Do you guy's have any online suggestion's as to where to buy nutes and stuff from?

I tend to buy from Amazon cause the closest Hydroponic store is 3-4hrs away. And i drive an '05 Ford Excursion V10. So it's still cheaper to have stuff shipped to me. LOL

That's how i got all my tomato plant's started and they came out like rocket's. It wasn't till i transplanted them into the main system where i started going wrong. Think i moved the light's up to quick...live and learn. Just glad i found this awesome site.

And yes, that's why we've been trying to figure out how to grow them indoor's till we can afford a real greenhouse stable enough to take the storm's. The saying around here is "If you don't like the weather right now, just wait 5min's"

It's 9:45am and already 73 outside, but we're supposed to have storms moving in, then it will cool for about 15min's and then get back up to around 80.

Last edited by T'Mater; 05-22-2011 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:47 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Went out and changed the light's to a 3000k, lowest i could find atm. I know it's just a bandaid. Have some great idea's for lighting up the tent. Now it's just time to weigh in the pro's and con's. But i think i'm going to do it now just to see the result's.

Def. appreciate everyone chiming in and helping me realise what is most likely the problem. If it wasn't for you all i'd def. be mater less and highly upset.
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Old 05-23-2011, 04:28 AM
jjames jjames is offline
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Default Flourescent Lighting

I'm just starting to grow indoors again (had a mini lemon tree... it made a good margarita). Anyway, flourescent lighting is usually recommended 1/2 and 1/2 for flowering/fruiting plants. Basically, if you use a 4 parallel tube system (which you kind of need for any plant), you would put 2 "plant" bulbs in and 2 soft white tubes. And since they're flourescent they need to stay about 6-8"" from the plants.

My advice... make friends with people in the construction industry that redo office buildings... they always just throw their light fixtures out, so just rewire them to plug in an outlet. You can get a $60 fixture for free. Inside your little tent, you'd probably need about 4 for the four fixture flourescents (16 total tubes) for tomatoes... they're little buggers that love sun.
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:50 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Have another set of ?'s for you all.

Label on the Floramato say's to use with Maxigro or Bloom depending on the stage the plant is or do you tend to just use Floramato?

Also when do you switch nute's from grow to bloom? I switched to bloom thinking that would make my plant's want to start to produce. Was i supposed to wait till i actually seen flower's starting to form then start moving the nutes?

Besides the lighting, i've never been 100% sure when to increase and shift the nutes. That's why i'm amazed at how well my plants have done considering there caretaker is a tad bit impatient LOL.

And if i were to switch from the FloraSeries to the FloraMato,Maxi dry stuff. Do i just need to of course rinse out the holding tank. Do that every nute change anyway's. And then just let it run clean water for awhile to try and dilute/clean out the bottom of my bato bucket's?
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:55 PM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
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When I switch to the Flowering nutrient, I run 100% Floramato, or rather I did last year. I also put a bunch of other stuff in too, Silica, Kelp, and H202 off the top of my head.

Rinse out your res, then add the new. I aim for about 1100 ppm myself. Do you "flush" your plants regularly?

Todd

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