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Root problems and slime balls


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  #1  
Old 07-30-2016, 06:35 AM
AstroDon AstroDon is offline
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Default Root problems and slime balls

I recently built my first hydroponics set up, an NFT system growing strawberries. I had a problem when I first put the bare root strawberry plants in the system, all the roots turned black. I'm not entirely sure of what caused the roots to turn black but I had a large air stone in the reservoir and later added some H2O2. I also changed the water/nutes and flushed the system with new water. I use my well water which measures only 49ppm on a TDS meter (900ppm after nutes), and I maintain a 6.0pH and water stays right around 75.6F. I have been using nutrients for strawberries that I bought on ebay, there isn't much info about them online but the bag says "Urban-Hydroponic Strawberry 24-12-32" and gives directions for how much to use for seedlings and mature plants (800ppm and 1200ppm). Heres the Amazon link for the nutes- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

When I ordered the bare root strawberry plants (3 different day-neutral strains- Albion, Seascape and Mara De Bois) I was still building the NFT system and getting the room ready. When they arrived I wasn't ready to put the plants in the system yet, so I put them in the refrigerator for about 6 days until I had everything working. I'm thinking that the roots turning black was because of their stay in the fridge, I kept close watch on them making sure they didn't dry out and got enough air to prevent mold. Anyway, after about a week in the system all the plants roots turned black, but now they are starting to grow new roots that look healthy. I'm using 2 300W Apollo led full spec lights (2" above plants).

Another root issue that just started in the last 3 days is they are either growing or collecting light brown slime balls. I'll post a picture below. Can anyone tell me what it is and how to get rid off it? And also, since I'm new to this stuff, can someone give me some tips before I do something or don't do something that could harm my plants?

-Jamee

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  #2  
Old 07-30-2016, 07:27 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Jamee,


1. Did you wash off the the excess dirt/soil off of the roots before you transplanted them into the hydro system? It looks like a dirt glob.
2. What is the large gray blob at the bottom of the roots?
3. What does the water look like? Is it clowdy or clear/translucent?
4. Does the water have a moldy or musty smell to it.
5. Does the water have a foam on top?
6. How do the plants look other than the color of the roots?
7. What is the total water volume of the reservoir, and how much H2O2 did you use. Was the H2O2 3%?
8. Do you filter your well water? Do you sanitize your well water (chlorine. UV light etc.)?
9. How long has it been since you transplanted them into the hydro system?


I don't know what kind of tips your looking for, or what your thinking of doing to your plants, but my website has a lot of information in it, including specific articles you will find useful.
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Old 07-30-2016, 02:11 PM
AstroDon AstroDon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello Jamee,


1. Did you wash off the the excess dirt/soil off of the roots before you transplanted them into the hydro system? It looks like a dirt glob.
2. What is the large gray blob at the bottom of the roots?
3. What does the water look like? Is it clowdy or clear/translucent?
4. Does the water have a moldy or musty smell to it.
5. Does the water have a foam on top?
6. How do the plants look other than the color of the roots?
7. What is the total water volume of the reservoir, and how much H2O2 did you use. Was the H2O2 3%?
8. Do you filter your well water? Do you sanitize your well water (chlorine. UV light etc.)?
9. How long has it been since you transplanted them into the hydro system?


I don't know what kind of tips your looking for, or what your thinking of doing to your plants, but my website has a lot of information in it, including specific articles you will find useful.
1. Yes I did wash off the soil before putting the plants in the hydro system.
2. The gray blob is the slime ball I'm talking about. That's the part of the roots that remain under water and where the slime blobs form.
3-5. The water is clear and has no scent and no foam.
6. The plants are growing, some varieties better than others. Looking at them above the surface, you wouldn't suspect them to have root issues.
7. The H2O2 is 29% and my reservoir is 15 gallons. I went by the directions on the back of the bottle, "add 3ml of H2O2 per 4 liters of reservoir water", I used just under recommended dose and used 40ml.
8. The well water goes through a simple little Whirlpool filter, nothing fancy. No uv light or chlorine added.
9. Plants entered hydro system 7-11.

I also cut a runner from a strawberry plant growing in my outside garden and rooted it in some kind of soil/peat moss medium in a net pot, and now it's in a bubble bucket separate from the NFT. I use the same water/nutes mix that I use in the NFT and the plant's roots are white and healthy, so that makes me think that the water/nutes are fine and that the roots turned black because of shock from shipping across the country/being in refrigerator. Also, no slime blobs on the bubble bucket plant.

-Jamee
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Old 07-30-2016, 10:10 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Jamee,
I'm not really concerned with the black roots unless the new roots are doing the same thing. The soil/dirt the plants were grown in color and stain the roots, and they also turn dark through dormancy. Some of those roots may die as well. So as long as the new roots are coming out normal I wouldn't really be concerned with the color of the roots much.

The slime thing on the other hand may be a problem, and could be because of pathogens in your system. I have seen a lot of slime buildup in systems, but never as big a blob as attached to those roots. Considering your reply's that your water has no smell, is clear/translucent, and no foam, I'm not entirely sure you have a pathogen in the system either. For your roots to have such a large blob like that attached to the roots, there should be some sure signs of pathogens in the water. However your not experiencing clowdy water, moldy/musty smelling water, or even foam on top of your water. Considering you don't have any sure signs of pathogens in the water and your plants are looking healthy otherwise, I'm going to say it may be a type of algae. Now you may say if it were an algae it would be green, not necessarily. Algae comes in many colors. Some algae even give off a red, green, or blue glow. So it just depends on the type of algae.

Here's what I would do. Take the plants out one by one and wash the slimy blobs off the roots thoroughly. Set the plants in some water temporarily (half way up the baskets). Possibly even H2O2 water (at the same dilution rate you used), and even let them soak in it for a few hours. While the plants are all out of the system, give the inside of the tubing a quick scrubbing and rinse them out. Put it all back together, and wrap the tubing in a light proof material to block any light from getting in the root zone. If it is an algae, all you need to do is block light. I would also change the nutrient solution to a fresh batch, clean out and rinse the reservoir, and if the reservoir isn't light proof, I would light proof that as well.

Now, you have 2 possible sources of pathogens. One from the plants roots themselves because they were grown in dirt. Soil born pathogens attach themselves to the roots, and you cant wash them off no mater how well you wash off all the dirt/soil. The other is from your water source itself. Since your using ground water and not sanitizing it before use, it can contain soil born pathogens.

Even if your not seeing pathogen issues right now, and the gray blob is just algae, you should still take precautions ageist pathogens in the future. Especially since your water source can contain soil born pathogens. The easiest and safest way to do that would be using an aquarium UV light sterilizer. UV light treatment systems come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and are used for everything from sanitizing household well water, to aquariums and ponds. Some are submersible, and some are external.

Just make sure you get one that is rated for the total amount of water volume you have or more. Here are a few links to some so you know what I'm talking about. The UV lights will also help keep algae down if your system isn't 100% light proof.

Green Killing Machine Internal UV Sterilizer with Power Head
Aqua Medic Helix Max UV Water Sterilizer, 5 Watt
aquarium uv light sterilizer (Amazon)

Now with all that said, you could be experiencing biofilm buildup as well. Which is like algae in the scene it's a slimy film, however it can thrive even withough't light. Using the UV light filter will kill the microorganisms in the water that collect on surfaces to form the slimy biofilm substance.
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  #5  
Old 07-31-2016, 09:15 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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Jamee, is the hydroton new and did you thoroughly rinse it?
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Old 08-04-2016, 03:38 AM
AstroDon AstroDon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan View Post
Jamee, is the hydroton new and did you thoroughly rinse it?
The Hydroton is new and no, I did not wash it. So from the tone of your question, it sounds like I messed up?
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:55 AM
Stan Stan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroDon View Post
The Hydroton is new and no, I did not wash it. So from the tone of your question, it sounds like I messed up?
I wouldn't say the hydroton was the cause of your problem but it more than likely added to the problem.

You have to always rinse off and clean hydroton. Brand new hydroton will have a lot of powdery clay on them.

With brand new hydroton fill a laundry bag with the amount of hydroton you will be using. Take the bag put it in a 5 gallon bucket or larger if needed turn on garden hose full blast and fill the bucket with water and let it sit for a few hours. You will see brand new hydroton is pretty dirty. Pull out the bag and really rinse them down really good with the garden hose, hang bag in direct sun and let dry. They are now ready to use.

When reusing hydroton you should always sterilize them first as to not pass on anything to your new plants. Put hydroton in a laundry bag with a rope attached, pour 1 cup of clorox bleach in bucket (don't use scented type) and fill the rest with water. Sit bag in bucket for an hour or 2, empty bucket. Now use H202 if you have the 29% 3 teaspoons per gallon if you use the 3% type bought at any pharmacy pour the whole bottle in and fill with water. Important: make sure the laundry bag rope is on the outside of the bucket. Do not put your hand in the solution as the hydroton might still have had some bleach on them. The water should fizz wait 10 -30 minutes pull bag out and rinse with fresh water. You now have sterilized hydroton.

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