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  #21  
Old 08-05-2011, 11:26 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Glad to hear you were able to clear it up. But bacteria, fungi, and pathogens do have a way of recurring, so keep an eye out for any signs of it coming back. Also I haven't dabbled with them yet (though plan to), but if you wanted to you could introduce/inoculate your hydro system with beneficial microbes as well. Beneficial microbes basically feed on pathogens, keeping their numbers down, and thus from breading out of control. But any sanitizing treatments like H2O2, or UV light will kill beneficial microbes just as easy as pathogens (bad microbes). If your interested I could post a list of what to look for in a good quality beneficial microbe product for future reference. I have it on my computer in PDF, and would post it now but will take me a few minutes to find it because I forget the title of the PDF.

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  #22  
Old 08-05-2011, 11:36 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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Sure I would love any info you have. I think right now though sterilization is the best effort for me right now. I might try to use a biological system later.

I have also looked at the UV lights. I am thinking I might try to build an in res UV light. It is a tricky idea, but I think it is doable if I can find the right type of light. I have seen some T5 UV lights that only have a connection on one side.. I just wish I could fins a T5 ballast and connectors near by lol. I think the technology is still too new and isnt spread out in the market as much as I would like yet.
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  #23  
Old 08-06-2011, 12:40 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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OK, I'll start a thread for it when I get a chance. After a quick look I also have a lot of articles I can post too. As well as PDF files, I also save articles in text documents to my computer so I can print them out, but I also save the links to them in the text document so I can easily find it online again later.

Building a UV light system is also on my list of things to do. But it's not a new technology. They have been using UV light for sterilizing water since the 1940's at least. Their commonly used for sterilizing well water. If you look at Lowe's and Home Depot's pond pumps, some have UV lights built in too. They commonly use it in hydroponics as well, but generally only in commercial operations where they have a lot of money at stake. So it's not a common item in hydroponic shops. That's fine with me because they would just be overpriced, and I would much rather build my own anyway (I'm funny that way). The two main design aspects to keep in mind are the depth of the water for the light to go through, and the flow rate of the water. The flow rate needs to be slow enough to allow the light sufficient time to kill the microbes (contact time). And the water needs to be shallow enough for the light to penetrate all the way through it.

My plan for building a UV light system is fairly simple. It involves using a section of tubing (rain gutter, down spouts etc.). Laying it flat, cutting an opening large enough for the light. Hot gluing in a section of durable clear glass (to keep the light from getting wet accidentally). Then using a small pump to pump the water through the tube. I will probably use an ball cock valve inline from the pump to control water flow, and a short dam on the other end to control water depth. Basically setup like a NFT system, but using UV lights in place of the baskets with plants, and a section of clear glass to separate the water from the lights (for electrocution safety). I can add more lights or use one long fixture (increasing light contact time) to be able to increase water flow depending on how large the reservoir is.

I plan to build a few just like that for a 3 level commercial setup I'm planing. Ill have the overflow drain through the UV light on it's way back to the reservoir, and have the UV lights on a timer set the same as the timer for the water pump's. I also plan to use beneficial microbes in the system as well. I'll leave the UV lights off for a couple days for the beneficial microbes to become established. Then when I switch them on, the microbes traveling under the light will be killed, but the ones in the growing medium will be able to bread and help fend off any pathogens living in the growing medium at the roots.
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  #24  
Old 08-06-2011, 01:10 AM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I was also thinking about something like that... Or perhaps a larger tube with clear poly surrounding the UV light in the center to let multiple res's have their nutrients pumped through it on the way to the plant or on the side with a second pump.

I read that the UV light has trouble penetrating the glass and clear plastics... you would have to get a special glass or plastic to use from my understanding.

I have seen things where the UV light is actually set up in a way that the water is flowing over the light itself. (no splashing and constant contact prevents the fast temp change that cracks the glass)

I am still reading more into it, and will let you know what I find on that...
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  #25  
Old 08-07-2011, 07:39 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I figured I would do an update on the system and show a few plants.

The first (if everything uploaded like I told it) is a picture of the first lettuce to sprout a third leaf. It is still tiny, but there is a fourth leaf starting to develope and I am hoping for it to start taking off a little better.

The second picture is of the firs ttomato plant to start to show. It is a Roma VF determinate. Nothing spectacular, but I am hoping it will take off. It was completely germinated in the hydroponic system as a test to see how well they would do while letting me be lazy.

The third picture is of the res. I have 2 airstones in it and in the back you can see the line from the pump and the return line from the planter.

Some of the bubbles are not popping. I don't think there is still an infection. The water is very clear and I keep the H2O2 levels fairly high.
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  #26  
Old 08-08-2011, 08:05 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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Well I thought I would give a quick update. I am currently fighting the infection to my res again. It came back again. I have dumped about 64 ounces of 3% H2O2 in it and it has cut it down considerably.

The plants seem unaffected and are doing fine and growing well. I am going to let it run as is with the high levels of H2O2 for a couple more days and then resterilize the system again. This time I will make sure nothing can live in it lol... I will be rinsing the medium (and the plants) thuroughly and then the medium (and roots) will get some H2O2 baths while I am sterilizing the system with bleach, rinsing a few times, probably, another bleaching, some more rinsing, then a full once over with some isopropyl. Let it dry then probably repeat and rinse.

This is hopefully overkill and will hopefully be enough to prevent a reoccurance.

I am considering even doing an alcohol spray on the stand it is on. The system will also be placed in a different location to try to even further prevent infection :P

either way lol.. I just thought I would post an update and let you know my plans.

PS: I am also considering swapping to a chlorine sterilizer instead of H2O2 and trying that to see if it will keep the nasties down. I have read of a 2.5-3 ppm of chlorine nutrient mix that is none damaging to plants and seems to work better than H2O2 for sterilizing. It doesn't add oxygen to the system, and you can't use H2O2 with the chlorine because it will make salt :P

Last edited by jamromhem; 08-08-2011 at 08:10 PM.
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  #27  
Old 08-10-2011, 07:34 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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Well.. The infection in the system came back.... This time I went at it full force... To shock the system I dropped about 64 oz of 3%H2O2 into the system for about 24hours... It did a good job of clearing things up. To further shock it after the 24hours. I dropped about 5 ML of bleach into the system (Bleach and H2O2 react to make salt water lol.) So I tried to play a different medium on the infection to try to make in inhostitable.

After all that changing chemestry in the res to try to make the life of whatever was growing difficult. I disassembled the entire system, sprayed it and scrubbed it with a 20ppm bleach solution. Then reassembled and ran it with about a 50:50 bleach solution (extremely strong). Rinced and scrubbed. Then sprayed every inch down with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and let dry. (I sealed the room because it burned the nose bad) :P

With hope the airborn fumes I had trapped in the room helped calm anything in the air as well.

While all that was going on I moved the plants into a similarly sterilized germination tray with a tall dome. and they have gotten hourly sprays with about a 10ppm bleach solution. I thought it would killt eh baby plants, but they have held up to it very well. They actually seem to be handling it better than when I used H2O2 to try to flush it out. I got a drop of H2O2 on the leaves and it burned the leaves, but the bleach solution I am able to spray on then rinse off with water and the leaves seem unaffected by it. I am sure a stronger solution would do more damage though.

In addition to all that... I purchased a UV sterilizer from the pet store that is rated for 50 gallon tanks. So with hope that will help a lot lol.. With all this trouble the plants are still doing great, and growing well.. I have 5th tiny leaves on a lettuce plant and more forming. I can't wait for the leaves to start getting bigger though.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:25 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I would start new plants too. I know waiting for new seedlings isn't fun. But it's just about imposable to 100% kill bacteria, fungi, and/or pathogens on the plants roots without killing the plant first. By using the UV light, and/or regular doses of H2O2 you may actually be able to control it fairly well. However it will never really be out of the system when reintroducing the same infected plants to it.

P.S.
I'm interested in the UV light you got. I haven't looked for them at pet stores. Do you have a brand name, product number etc.? Does it have it's own water pump, or is that separate? What's the flow rate? how much was it? Are they used for fish tanks or something?
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  #29  
Old 08-11-2011, 04:01 AM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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It was about $50 and it came with a small pump that hooked up to it with a simple elboe that was included and it comes with another elbow that goes ont he exhaust to push the cleaned water away. it is a little 12V pump that pushes 180L/H according to the side of the pump. It comes with an electrical adapter and a little control box (no buttons on it, just an indicator LED)

I got it at petco

petsmart seems to have less of the interesting things :P

Here is the more specific information on the one I got

Brand : AA
website : www.aa-aquarium.com
model AAUV9W
it is a 9Watt UV bulb that is rated for a 50Gal tank. that is more than enough for my needs. and you can probably just use multiple/or a larger version for bigger tanks.

It really was an impulse buy, but I wanted it lol..

I was thinking about planting new plants as well. I just hate tossing things that are living lol.. Years in the army learning to kill and I have a soft spot for plants and small animals lol.

I might try to save the tomatoes in their own DWC buckets as a test to see if I can come up with a way to prevent infection even in a known infected medium. I have a few ideas that use a high strength bleach mix. I have been sprating the plants with the test mix since I pulled them from the system and they plants themselves are doing great and the medium is turning white again from the creamish color it was turning from the infection.

You might be right on not using the plants in the same system and restarting them fresh, but I think I will keep the tomatoes in their own system (I got the supplies for it yesterday) and see if I can keep it from comming back.

I figure a good test of a theory would be a great way to put some ideas to practice.

I am going to be using sulfuric acid and bleach to try to make the res a harsh environment and not kill the plants. If it works it will be a great way to use the lifetime supply of PH down (battery acid) that cost me $10. you have to delute the quart bottle 9:1 with distilled so I will have enough PH down to last a long while. The infected tomatoes will get the first dose of it to test it out. If it works out it might be my new way to resolve an infection in addition to the normal scrubbing.

I will keep you posted on that.

PS: I have to start some new plants anyway. I got my new seeds in a couple days ago and get to grow the plants I actually wanted to grow ;P
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  #30  
Old 08-12-2011, 01:46 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Thanks for the info jamromhem,
I like those as an option, especial for under $50
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  #31  
Old 08-12-2011, 03:01 AM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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another thing I got for an addition to the res is a new digital thermometer. It is one of those small oval ones for terreriums/aquariums. Most of those are crap, and do not work properly. The one I got was $8 and was made by ecozoo (I will double check the name later to verify) it actually works properly rather than flickering due to a cheap switch. I perhaps got lucky with the one I picked up, but I am happy with it. All of the other small oval aquarium thermometers have been very poorly made and had annoying problems.

I will probably be posting some new updates for my system later. There have been a lot of changes and I think I might have to make a new thread if I change much else lol.. It isn't quite the same system it used to be.
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  #32  
Old 08-14-2011, 05:40 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I thought I would post an update. After all of the troubles I had before all the plants were tossed, and new ones started.. Right now I have 10 lettuce plants all showing their leaves as of today. as well as 2 mammoth sweet basil plants at about the same size. 3 of the 4 varieties of tomato are rooting out of the seed. (brandywine, amish paste, and red currant) my fourth tomato variety is not showing yet, but it is still early (believe it or nots)

I have to get 2 more systems set up over the next couple weeks. 1 for tomatos and one for herbs. The herb will be an interesting system as it will be a few different designs built together to let all of the herbs grow in they most effective means for them, and will all be separated.

I will post some pictures later. I figured pictures of tiny leaves wouldn't be very interesting :P

and as a note.. The plants are tolerant to a decent chlorine level. The smell of the chlorine I added to my spray bottle is obvious when I open the germination dome for the daily spritzing. I haven't tested the chlorine levels. I will do that later to let you know where they are at, to let you know what the plants are tolerating.
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  #33  
Old 08-22-2011, 06:25 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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Ok. I haven't done an update in a while so I figured I would add some pics of my plants as they are right now.

First is the Basil in my hydroponic system (The only thing in it right now).
Once again I have that darned yellowish coloring on the growing medium, and I think it is the same infection. The difference is that this time it isnt spreading to the res since I have a UV light on 24/7. The res looks fine. I upped the Chlorine levels to try to kill it back before it gets too bad. I don't have a clue what to do with it lol. I might just have to live with it as my last attempt to kill it didnt work, and I haven't a clue what to do else other than trash it all and start over to try to get rid of it lol.... I steralized EVERYTHING.

Either way.

Second is the basil in the seedling tray. I pulled the dome off today and set the light right on top of the plants to try to promote their growth. The younger leaves (first true leaves) are still small and are curly... If anyone who has grown basil knows if that is normal or not let me know they are both doing it.

Next are my tomatoes. (left to right (front and back are the same))
Believe it or not, red currant, brandywine, amish paste.

Last are my lettuce. They are a little soft to the touch, but they are still young and I am not expecting them to be awesome crunchy lettuce yet :P

I have never grown vegies before so if anyone sees anything let me know. I also have oregano and cilantro in another container I will take pics of later. The cilantro is still too early to germinate (slow buggers) The oregano is looking like they are gonna take over though. (I tossed in a bunch of seeds and let them do their thing.)

Anyway. Please let me know what you might think from the pics. Any suggestions from experience is greatly appreciated.

I felt I should clarify I have grown plants before, just not edible ones. My past experience is with crepe mertles and privacy bushes and the like. I have a lot of experience with them. My crepe mertles were about 30 ft tall with just as large a spread. (the largest I have ever seen) I miss those dern mertles :P
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Last edited by jamromhem; 08-22-2011 at 06:29 PM.
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  #34  
Old 08-22-2011, 08:27 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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Well I have to do another sudden update... Since moving the hood and dropping the light lower my basil plants seem to be dieing off... I am not sure what is going on. They are both doing the same thing. The larger seedling leaves on the picture have almost completely wilted and are almost completely brown... The rest of the plant isn't showing any signs of anything yet, but they don't look good. I have no idea if this is normal or not. I will get some pics of them here in a few.
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  #35  
Old 08-22-2011, 10:12 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Your using Sure to grow, make sure your not over watering them, or giving them plenty of heat to evaporate. Those cubes hold water like no other. I had the same problem when i did my tomatoes.

By the size of those mine were already turning icky color'd.
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:52 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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jamromhem
Do you have any pictures of the yellowish growth? I can't see it the picture you posted. Also are you sure it's a growth, and not that the nutrient solution has dyed the growing medium (polyester batting)? If your sure it's something growing, I would try some tests to see if it's something airborne (like spores or bacteria) that gets on your growing medium, then grows with the access to water. It may even be something on the growing medium from the factory when you bought it (unless it was sterilized). If it isn't sterilized, you can sterilize it in boiling water for about 10 min. That way you can run a test with both sterilize growing medium, as well as unsterilized to see if you get the growth from both. If so, I would then run some tests to see if it was something airborne. That may be a bit harder depending on your resources and location.


You said your seedlings began to die when you took off the humidity dome and moved the light closer. That sounds like the plants got to warm and dried up. By removing the humidity dome, that just allows the seedlings to dry out that much faster. Seedlings are very delicate plants and they respond very quickly to changes in temperatures, as well as humidity levels. The roots cant get too wet or they suffocate from lack of oxygen, but at the same time the plants leaves cant dry out too fast either, or the seedling dries up. So the humidity dome keeps the leaves from transpiring to fast (holding moisture in the plant tissue), and without waterlogging the roots.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:39 AM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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ok, as promised here are the pictures of the basil and the discoloring of the grow medium.

The only medium that is showing the discoloration is the one in the actual system. It is getting a more regular spray of nutrients than the ones in the seedling tray (they get a couple spritzings a day from a spray bottle with a similar mix)

The res is still clear and clean. I noticed a small amount of "dust" collection on the filter for the UV light. Not a major amount, but noticeable.

The first is of the poor basil plant. The other looks similar. The decision to pull the cover off and let more light get to the plants was based on the other plants, not the basil. The tomatoes and lettuce seem to be enjoying the extra exposure.

The hydroponic system is on a 15 on off cycle (might try a 15:30 later)

Nutrients : GH Maxi Bloom
Temp around 80F
Res temp about the same. The house temp is stable about there and there are only fractional variations in the res temp
Sterilizing agent: chlorine bleach (the other plants don't seem to mind it at all)

Note: I also started to notice the leaves that died were acting odd before I made the change over. I think that it might have been damping off because I was watering the basil with the same pattern as the rest of my plants. I noticed some small discoloration under the leaves that died before they gave up. (hind sight 20:20) If the Basil makes it it makes it. If not there is always the next bit of seeds to grow lol.. I am learning about the different plants as I go lol.
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:17 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Ya, with the heavy marbling of that brownish stuff, it certainly looks like something is growing, rather than just staining from the nutrients.

Damping off
"Damping off is a term used to describe the death of small seedlings resulting from attacks by certain fungi, primary "Pythium Ultimum" and "Rhizoctonia Solani," although other fungi such as "Phytophthora ssp." may also be involved. Pythium and Phytophthora produce spores that are moved about in water. Damping off can occur at various stages and subsequent seedling stages."

"The environmental conditions prevailing during the germination period will affect the the growth of both the attacking fungi and the seedling. The optimum temperature for the growth of Pythium and Rhizoctonia is between 20 and 30 C (68 and 86 F) with a decrease in activity at both higher and lower temperatures. The moisture content of the germination medium is of great importance in determining the incidence of damping off. Conditions usually associated with damping off include over-watering, pour drainage, lack of ventilation, high density plantings (or sowing to deep), or damage to the roots or stem during transplanting." (End Quotes) Quotes taken from my new book "fresh Culinary Herb Production."

Though environmental conditions such as over-watering and/or temperature affect damping off, as well as how fast it takes over. Environmental conditions don't cause damping off, It's caused by pathogenic fungi that have gotten into the growing medium and/or water. The growing conditions just determine how fast the pathogenic fungi grow and spread.

Control of damping off
"The control of damping off involves two separate procedures - the complete elimination of the pathogens during propagation by use of sterile media and the control of plant growth and environmental conditions witch will minimize the effects of of damping off or give temporary control until the seedlings have passed their initial vulnerable stages of growth. Use of beneficial microbes such as Trichoderma in the seed raising media can give excellent control as the beneficial fungi out compete and suppress any pathogenic fungi present." (End quote) Again, quote taken from the book "fresh Culinary Herb Production."

The pathogenic fungi can be from any source, including in the air, or even in water supply, as well as from anything you touch or that touches your system. Filtering spores from the water supply, and or sterilization from UV light can eliminate it in the reservoir. But since the growing medium dosen't pass under the UV light, it can still grow there unimpeded. Household dust usually contains mostly things like dead skin cells, insect decay and faeces, fine dirt particles etc. etc., but also contain thousands of spores. So unless you use a air filtration system, and in an enclosed room, eliminating spores from the air is imposable. Therefor adding the Trichoderma fungi to your nutrient solution may be your best bet to keep it from continually recurring in your system. If you decide to introduce the beneficial fungi into your system. I would turn off the UV light for a day or two to allow the beneficial fungi to become fully established in the system (including the growing medium), because the UV light will kill beneficial microbes just as easy as it does pathogenic ones. Once the beneficial fungi is established in the growing medium it can effectively suppress the pathogenic fungi in it.

But your probably better off starting new seedlings and using the beneficial fungi from the very start as suggested in the Quotes. Diseased plants tend to not produce well, even if the disease was later eliminated. One suggestion in buying the Trichoderma fungi, don't buy a product made by advanced nutrients, they have pour customer service, and questionable products from all I have herd about them. This link is included in the post about beneficial microbes (as the online extra) what to look for in a High Quality Trichoderma Product and Low Quality Trichoderma Products (scroll to the bottom of the pdf. to see the list)

I posted this link earlier as well (in the beneficial microbe post)
http://ag.arizona.edu/ceac/pls-217-i...ponics-and-cea

I quote from page 10 of chapter 4:

"Pythium species:
*Usually non-host-specific, though some have host specificity.
*Infection is most often at the roots or crowns but can also be on the fruit.
*Optimum conditions: Most species prefer warmth (20-40C or 68-104F)
*General symptoms include brown roots, stunting or plant wilt/collapse; plants using the same water source will die simultaneously due to rapid spread by zoospores. Attack on seedlings (“damping off”) causes death.
*The disease is spread by motile zoospores that swim through the nutrient solution. This is especially dangerous in recirculating systems.
*CONTROL: Sanitation is very important, including disinfectant mats, cleaning of tools, hands and gloves, and removal of prunings. Surfactants in the nutrient solution have given 100% control over spread of disease." (End Quote)

It stated that "surfactants in the nutrient solution have given 100% control over spread of disease." I need to do some research as to what exactly is meant by "surfactants." I also assume by the term "spread" it's talking about spreading to other plants in the system, rather than eliminating the fungus that has already started. But I might e-mail Pat from the University of Arizona's department of Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEA) in the next few days for some clarification about it (she wrote the 15 chapter course). But I would be interested if anyone else has information about Surfactants as well, especially experience with using it.

P.S.
You may note that the optimum temperature range for the pathogenic fungi goes higher in the quote from Arizona's Controlled Environment department, than in Dr. Lynette Morgans book. Though I cant say for sure, I assume that's because it's likly including more overall species of pathetic fungi, and thus includes more species that prefer higher temperatures than Dr. Lynette Morgans book was referring to.
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  #39  
Old 08-24-2011, 09:42 AM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I am trying to figure out how anything can grow (even the plants some times) in my system lol.. If you smell anywhere in the system it just smeels like bleach lol.. I use more than a hospital does to do cleaning :P....

And the discoloring is centralized around where the nutrients are sprayed onto the medium... Though the color does drip off with excess water when I pick up the plant. I am not sure what is going on or what inexpensive methods I can take to try to get rid of everything other than the plants that are growing lol.. Regretfully the grow medium I am using makes it more obvious when something is happening. If I were using rockwool, or clay pellets, I probably wouldnt have noticed the coloring there..

I was thinking it could be damping off on one of my plants due to the way it is acting. One of the basil plants are getting browning in the stem and starting to lean a little. So I will see if I can convince that one to stay alive. If I can't the basil were not the plants I was focussing on to want to live, so I will not to be too upset.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:02 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I used a strong dose of bleach before to try and kill something growing in my systems as well, I did it as a last ditch effort to try and save some plants. if anyone remembers that was my last pepper plants. However in the end I think I did more harm than good. Even though the plants were still living, and the nutrient solution didn't have the bad smell anymore (but smelled like bleach). I believe the strong bleach wound up killing some of the roots. Then the dead (decaying) roots wound up feeding the pathogens even more. So in the long run, I think it just helped the pathogens by giving them plenty of food.

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