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ph problems, filmy water, green mold


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Old 08-25-2010, 05:13 PM
dlove dlove is offline
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Default ph problems, filmy water, green mold

Hi, this is my first post and my first attempt at hydroponics. I built the 11 plant system and started it up a week or so ago. I am having a terrible time maintaining my ph (which goes up every day) and two of my rockwool cubes have a something green growing on the top (should i throw these away?). Today when i checked the water there was all this filmy crap which showed on the outside of my ph testing vial. I'm wondering if this is a result of the white vinegar i've been adding everyday to lower my ph or if its a result of the green stuff growing on my two rockwool cubes. The next time I change the solution/water I'm planning on buying distilled water from the supermarket. I am using hydroton, which I rinsed/cleaned with tap water a few times. I see some others used a bleach solution, is my hydroton throwing off my ph? Any ideas, any help will be greatly appreciated, thank - dashiell

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Old 08-25-2010, 05:26 PM
NorEastFla NorEastFla is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlove View Post
Hi, this is my first post and my first attempt at hydroponics. I built the 11 plant system and started it up a week or so ago. I am having a terrible time maintaining my ph (which goes up every day) and two of my rockwool cubes have a something green growing on the top (should i throw these away?). Today when i checked the water there was all this filmy crap which showed on the outside of my ph testing vial. I'm wondering if this is a result of the white vinegar i've been adding everyday to lower my ph or if its a result of the green stuff growing on my two rockwool cubes. The next time I change the solution/water I'm planning on buying distilled water from the supermarket. I am using hydroton, which I rinsed/cleaned with tap water a few times. I see some others used a bleach solution, is my hydroton throwing off my ph? Any ideas, any help will be greatly appreciated, thank - dashiell
Hi Dashiell, the green stuff is algae that is growing because your nutrient solution is being exposed to light. The rockwool needs to be buried beneath the surface of your growing media about 2 inches. This will keep it out of the light and prevent any more algae from growing.

The bottles you used for your eleven grow chambers also need to be light proof. Algae will grow on the inside surface of each of them for the same reason; light is hitting your nutrient solution.

Your High-Water mark in your bottles should be 2 inches below the top of your media. This will prevent algae growth on it as well.

The algae growth is part of your pH problem, I'm sure. Once you've fixed that problem, see if your pH balances out.

Vinegar is not a good pH adjustment method. I would suggest that you buy some "pH down" that is Phosphoric Acid Based, like that which is sold by "Green Air Products" or any other company that sells that type of solution at a reasonable cost.

You should strive to maintain a pH between 5.8 and 6.2 for the best results with most veggies.

Good luck! Post more if you need help.
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:01 PM
dlove dlove is offline
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it turns out the film was a result of my pump not working overnight. apparently the hose was pinched by some duct tape, seems to be working ok now. i bought some distilled water and intend to change the solution when i get a chance. meanwhile, i topped off the cups with more hydroton. I'm not sure if it's two inches but hopefully it will be enough to block the light. i need to wash some more. my bottles are spray painted black as well as the basin. even the the hoses are taped over to prevent light. its possible some light is getting through where some of the paint seems to have come off on one or two of the bottles. its also possible some light is coming in from the top around the cups, but hopefully less now that there is more hydroton. a couple pebbles may have fallen through down into the garden framework, im hoping is not going to be a big problem. I'd like to buy some of that ph up and down stuff can you recommend somewhere to buy online? Right now I'm using the Recipe for Success Starter Kit from Technaflora Plant Productions LTD. I can't remember where I bought it. there are ten bottles but i only really know how to use the first three (main nutrient solution; B.C. Grow(1-3-6)/B.C. Boost(3-0-2), then B.C. Boost/B.C. Bloom(1-4-7). The next largest bottles are: 'Sugar Daddy' (0-0-0) and Root 66 (1-1-1). There are four small bottles: 'Thrive Alive B-1(organic)' and 'Thrive Alive B-1(not organic?)'(both 1-1-1); 'Awesome Blossoms' (2-11-11); and Magical (Calcium, Magnesium, Iron) (2-0-0), there is also a small thing of cloning gel. Can I use any of these to adjust ph?
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:23 PM
NorEastFla NorEastFla is offline
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Hey dlove, you can buy the pH down at almost any garden center and save on the shipping it would cost online. Home depot carries the one I mentioned:

Green Air Products 32 fluid ounces pH Down, for Adjusting pH in Hydroponic Systems Model # 93302 Internet # 202020504

***
Each product you use will move your pH. It would be wise to adjust your pH in a separate container to the proper pH *before* adding it to your main system.

I do mine in easy to carry 2 gallon jugs. Once you have the measurements for one container, (like 15ml of this, or maybe only 10ml...), per/container, then it speeds up the mixing by allowing you to just measure each one without testing every container.

I do this where I test the first jug of each batch for the proper amounts to add and then just put that amount in each jug with a graduated beaker.

The extra hydroton will keep that light out for you. The algae will disappear once it has no light.

Good luck!
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:44 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello dlove,
I use Earth juice granular (dry) pH adjusters. It's not that expensive, and a little goes a long way. One, 1 pound container of each (up and down) has lasted me over a year now (although I should get more). It usually runs between $7-$10 for one pound, though I am seeing that most places are selling it in 2 pound containers. Here is a link to a place I found that sells it in one pound containers. But a lot of other online hydroponic supply stores carry it.


Earth Juice Natural pH up & pH down - Plant It Earth

Earth juice does make liquid pH adjusters, but then you pay to ship all that water it's mixed in. The dry (granular, also sometimes called crystals) is a better deal as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:24 AM
NorEastFla NorEastFla is offline
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Thanks GpsFrontier, I didn't even know the dry adjusters were available. After doing some web research on them, I've read no bad reviews, only good ones. Every comment I've found says that the dry adjusters are much more cost effective.

I still have a full bottle of the liquid, but when it gets close to being used up, I'll order some of the dry.

Very cool.

Thanks again!

(Now if someone would sell Hydroton with *free* shipping...I love the stuff, but the shipping is killing me.)

Last edited by NorEastFla; 08-28-2010 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:07 PM
TheBigTomato TheBigTomato is offline
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Hey dlove,
buying distilled water is not really necessary, tap water should be just fine. keep in mind that adding nutrients to plain water will affect the pH so do all your adjusting after you have added your nutrients to your reservoir. also, your pH will fluctuate more depending on your res size(the smaller the res the the more pH movement you will see) and plant metabolism has a lot to do with pH, a little movement thru-out the day is fairly normal. try testing your pH at the same times of day. i will agree with the others that vinegar is not the best pH adjuster. liquid or powder which ever you prefer just not vinegar.

one other thing i will suggest for your unwanted algae growth is Hygrozyme. it is enzymes that help break down organic matter making nutrients more available to your plants and will help keep algae growth in your system to a minimum and is comparable with most nutrient lines.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:19 PM
thomjarl thomjarl is offline
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I will vouch for Hygrozyme. It's done wonder for many of my friends!

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