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EC or PPM Meter


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  #1  
Old 08-07-2010, 12:16 AM
Hawaiianhydro Hawaiianhydro is offline
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Default EC or PPM Meter

Hi everyone,

I'm into my second attempt at Hydroponics. This time I did more research and hopefully produce better quality vegetables.

My Questions:
Do I really need a meter to test the EC or PPM of my solution?


This is my setup:
NFT (lettuce and tomatoes)
15 gal reservoir
Maxigro and Maxibloom
PH 5.5 - 6

After I add my Maxigro to my reservoir, I test the PH and it's about 5.5/6.0
I guess I'm fortunate that I don't need to mess with the PH

I realize it has nothing to do with EC or PPM but is it really a necessity?
If so, which one...EC or PPM?
What brand is recommended?


Thank You for you help,
HH

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Old 08-07-2010, 05:27 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I have been growing hydro plants for about a year and half now and I don't have any EC, TDS or PPM meters. I just use pH drops from general hydroponics to test pH with. I just fallow the manufactures mixing directions (amount per gallon) to start with, then adjust the mix as I think it needs (if at all).
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:37 PM
Hawaiianhydro Hawaiianhydro is offline
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Thank you for the reply.

Another question re: PH

In my 15 gal reservoir. If I need to top it off with another 5 gals of water.

Do I add nutrients only for the added amount (5 gals) or for the total amount (15 gals)?

Thank you
HH
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:40 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Sorry for the delay in reply, I read the post before but was going to reply later. Then when I had the chance, just forgot.


When adding water to top off the reservoir, normally you'll want to just use plain water. Depending on how long you go in-between nutrient changes (the whole reservoir), you may want to top it off with a light nutrient solution instead of just plane water. Not at first, but the longer it goes in-between changes, like at the end of the first week or going into the second week.

Also how big the plants and root systems get, the more nutrients they will use up. So the size of the plants would play a part in deciding to top it off with a light nutrient solution instead of just plain water. Especially in relation to the plant size compared to reservoir size.

Just because the plants use up 5 gallons of water from the reservoir, doesn't mean that they absorbed 5 gallons worth of the nutrients that were in it, and in proportionally even amounts. The plants will absorb the nutrients they need, and leave the rest. But as mentioned not in proportionally even amounts. The elements that they don't use up as fast as others will remain in the solution. That is why although helpful in some ways, EC/TDS PPM meters are not necessary to grow hydroponically. They can give you the relative strength of the nutrient solution, but cant tell you what elements are in it, and/or in what proportions. Over time as the the plants use up the elements they need, and new nutrients are added to the reservoir, the elements that the plants don't take up as fast as others will wind up in very unbalanced amounts (possibly even toxic amounts). Even if you have the the right numbers on the meter. When you change the nutrient solution, you can be sure you are back to a balanced nutrient solution (meter or no meter).
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:55 AM
Hawaiianhydro Hawaiianhydro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
The elements that they don't use up as fast as others will remain in the solution. That is why although helpful in some ways, EC/TDS PPM meters are not necessary to grow hydroponically. They can give you the relative strength of the nutrient solution, but cant tell you what elements are in it, and/or in what proportions.
Thank You for the reply

Your quote makes a lot of sense. I guess the more experienced I get, the better understanding I'll have for my system.

The biggest draw back is "Time". lol

Thanks
HH

I'm taking pictures every week and will post them once this cycle has finished.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:21 AM
watercatwn6535nd watercatwn6535nd is offline
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If you use a meter and a note pad you'll find you'll be a even better gardener. with out a pen how do you know how much food your babys at yesterday and how much to feed them today. best investment you'll ever make except maybe buying the pin for the hand grenade. but then if your real lucky and carefull you'll be fine with out either.
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:08 PM
Hawaiianhydro Hawaiianhydro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watercatwn6535nd View Post
with out a pen how do you know how much food your babys at yesterday and how much to feed them today. if your real lucky and carefull you'll be fine with out either.
I guess I'm hoping to get luck on my side. lol

Basically I'm filling my reservoir (15gal) with fresh water every 7 days and adding Maxigro (15tsp) to that. I'm NOT adding anymore Maxigro or water throughout the week. I am checking the PH

As I read through the forums available, this is where it gets confusing:

1. Should I just top off the reservoir weekly and ONLY do a "fresh change" as recommended by the manufacture?
2. If I do top it off, doesn't GpsFrontier's statement come into play re: nutrient strength?
3. I was leaning towards that concept but I didn't have a EC meter
4. The only way I can tell if my lettuce are doing ok is by "visual" inspection. I assume green leaves is the way to go
5. Since I only have a 15 gal reservoir should I even bother with the EC/PH at all?

Sorry for so many questions....My appreciation to all of you

Aloha
HH
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:33 PM
TheBigTomato TheBigTomato is offline
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Hey HawaiianHydro,
here are a few pointers to help you be a little less confussed.


1) pH is far more important then ec/ppm and should never be disregarded in any size reservoir.

2) visual inspection of your plants is HUGE! your plants will tell you more then what a ec/ppm meter can.

3) top off your reservoir with plain fresh water, between regular reservoir changes, every 10 to 14 days depending on plant stage and metabolism.

4) yes, with experience comes knowledge. available to all

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