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Hello Everybody! Newbee here, got an algae question/concern


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  #1  
Old 01-03-2014, 11:53 PM
jseirio84 jseirio84 is offline
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Default Hello Everybody! Newbee here, got an algae question/concern

I just built/started a NFT abs pipe system. I have only been running it a week or so and my PH will not stay down. I know this is semi normal but not how fast it goes up in mine. I am using bio-thrive nutrients with CalMag. Got a good pump and air stone. I can't find any good pics of algae growth so am not 100% sure this is what is going on in my system.

The first pic is of the nutrient tank that I cleaned today. The second is of the entire system. I thought I got all the holes so not much light at all is getting in..i think. I am feeling like I am going to have to disassemble and clean it all out. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

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Old 01-04-2014, 02:20 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello jseirio84,
How much is your pH changing? nd how often do you change your nutrient solution?
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:30 AM
jseirio84 jseirio84 is offline
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Hey GPSFrontier,
I have to balance my PH one-two times a day. And it fluctuates quite a bit, say from 5.5 to 7-8.0. I just changed the solution today after about one week of operation. The algae does not appear to be green algae but I could be wrong. I can post a pic of the pipe under the net pot..kind of the same stuff.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:12 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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What are you using as a growing media?
What type of water are you using?
What is the pH of the water before you mix up the nutrients?
How much Calmag are you using?
What are you using to adjust your pH?

If there is algae growing in the nutrient solution you can block light to the reservoir by painting the outside black, or putting a dark blanket or box over it. It looks like you are using the black sewer tubing for the troughs. That is light proof so if you are getting the same growth inside the tubing that wouldn't be algae. My guess is it might be a byproduct of the nutrients. Such as residue from the mineral elements, or growth of the microorganisms in organic nutrients. I'm have never used those nutrients but you can find out by e-mailing General Hydroponics Tech support and asking them since it's there product.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:36 AM
jseirio84 jseirio84 is offline
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I am using earth stone as the medium with seeds started in rockwool cubes. The water is city water, my well is too irony for hydro I think. The PH of the water before anything added is around 7.0. CalMag I am using about 1/2 teaspoon per gallon. And Earth Juice as a PH increase and decrease. I have thought about it being a byproduct as well but not having much experience in hydro I second guess myself. I will send general hydroponics and email and ask. That is a good suggestion. The residue is slimy like algae but a brown color that flakes off very easily when touched. Smells like the nutrients but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

On a side note, I started my seeds in the rockwool in the net pots. I think I prematurely put them in the NFT system because their roots were not out the bottom of the pot yet. They look to be doing fine but I have a chance to clean it and not effect the plants that much if in fact it is algae. Thanks for the continued help!
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:02 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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First I would change your water supply. Try using RO or at least some type of good quality filtered water. Even if you need to buy bottled water once just to see if that changes the issues. Second, the cal mag I believe could also raise the pH. That combined with using city water could be a problem. Again you could ask GH about cal mag raising pH. Also If your water's pH is that high before adding the nutrients, you should adjust the pH before adding the nutrients, as well as checking it after. I'm not familiar with using earth stone growing media, but it may be recommended to be pH balanced before use. I would test it. Try adjusting the pH of about half a gallon of plan water to 6.0. Then taking some of the growing media and placing it in the water. Then check it a couple of times a day for a couple of days to see if it alters the pH, and if so how fast.

P.S.
You may ask GH if the nutrients you are using have pH stabilizers in it. If not it will naturaly fluctuate more than ones that do.
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:02 PM
jseirio84 jseirio84 is offline
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This morning there was an interesting development. So the city water that I used last night was at a starting PH of about 7.0. This morning I decided to do a test with the remaining 2 gal. of city water I did not use. The starting PH of the same water this morning was 4.5. So I balanced the PH and added the correct amount of Nutrients. Then balanced the PH again. All in a 5 gal. bucket and set it aside in a no light area. I am going to let it sit a couple days and check it periodically. I am still leaning towards breaking down my entire system and cleaning it as best I can and then get more city water..let it sit a day or so before I use it. I emailed GH and am waiting to hear what they say.

If I do break it down to clean it. What would be a good cleaner? Soap, Bleach, Hydrogen Peroxide or a mix of something?
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:14 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Just scrub with soap and water to clean. Then if you want to sanitize, use a spray bottle with about 1/3 parts bleach and 2/3 parts water and spray it down thoroughly, then let sit for about 30 min. But if it is a microbial buildup rather than algae or element buildup, you will want to use new plants and growing media after you cleaned it up. Otherwise the old contaminated plants and growing media will reintroduce the same microbes into the system after you cleaned it out.

P.S.
Regardless if pH issue is a tap water problem or not, I would suggest to use a good filtered water anyway. Unless your tap water is from a mountain stream rather than the typical reclaimed water. It likely has an abundance of chemicals and elements in it that will affect your nutrient solution balance.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-05-2014 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:39 PM
jseirio84 jseirio84 is offline
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I do I tell if it is microbial or algae? Where could it have come from? In my bucket with the test solution so far there is no build up or whatever is in my system. And I am using grow stone as a medium not earth stone..i get those mixed up. If the plants root's have not touched the solution i.e. grown out the bottom, do I still have to get rid of them?
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Old 01-05-2014, 02:23 PM
jseirio84 jseirio84 is offline
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Update:
So my PH in the NFT is still rising to 7-8 and my PH in the test bucket is holding at 5.5-6.0 which is what I want in the system. So I am going to clean it and try again..sucks but don't see any other way. I just don't want this to happen again. I just wonder where this stuff came from..? I don't really have the option of filtered water in large quantity. I will check around but at the grocery store there was nothing like that. Besides small gallons at 3-4$ each.

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