With so many systems and methods for hydroponic gardening, there can be a lot to manage. From nutrient solution levels to humidity and temperature, there is a lot going on.
One of the most important aspects that any hydroponic gardener needs to monitor closely is pH level - if your water does not have the proper balance it can damage or even kill plants.
In certain systems, such as ebb & flow gardens, monitoring pH levels is especially important. The nutrient solution should be monitored and balanced throughout the entire system because if one plant becomes affected it could quickly spread to other plants in the same area.
There are multiple ways that you can bring your pH levels back into balance: adding water with a proper PH level is just one option. It may take some trial and error to figure out the best solution for your system.
- Why does pH change in hydroponics?
- Why does pH keep dropping?
- How do I raise the pH in my hydroponic water system?
- Final Word on pH Levels
Also Read: Best pH Meters For Hydroponic Gardening
Why does pH change in hydroponics?
This is because there are various chemical reactions occurring simultaneously. It's perfectly normal for pH levels to change periodically, but you should try your best to keep them within a specific range.
Why does pH keep dropping?
Ok, so let's explore the most common reasons why your pH levels keep dropping with your hydroponics system:
Dirty Hydroponic Systems
Dirt particles are the most common cause of pH changes. These can be introduced into your system by misting or adding nutrients to it, and they will begin to settle onto the plant's roots as well as any other surface in your hydroponic system including grow beds, tubing, pumps - you name it!
Dreaded Root Rot
Root rot is one of the most common types of plant disease, and it will cause your ph levels to lower. Root rot affects plants in hydroponics systems when there is too much moisture available for the roots - this encourages pathogens like Pythium ultimum, Fusarium oxysporum, Rhizoctonia solani etc.
Nutrient Solution is Poorly Mixed
If the nutrient solution has been poorly mixed, then that can cause your ph levels to drop. The general rule of thumb is to use a high-quality mixture specifically designed for hydroponics systems to get the best results and change it regularly.
Reverse Osmosis Water
If you are using water that has been treated by reverse osmosis, then this too will impact your ph levels. Reverse Osmosis is a great way to strip impurities from water for use in hydroponics systems - but it strips out all of the essential minerals which plants need to thrive and grow.
How do I raise the pH in my hydroponic water system?
There are a few ways you can go about raising the ph levels in your hydroponics water system:
Adding Phosphorus to Your Solution
When adding phosphorus, remember that it should be added before any nutrients. However, over-watering and poor nutrient solution mixing may result in an excess of phosphorus being introduced into your system which will lead to algae growth.
Adding Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)
You can also add potassium hydroxide - this will raise the pH levels of your nutrient solution without having too much impact on other elements such as oxygen and carbon dioxide which are vital for keeping your plants healthy. Adding a small amount at a time is recommended until you reach your desired ph levels.
Adding Lime to the Solution
It is possible to raise pH by adding lime directly to water - it works in a similar way as phosphorus where you need to add this before any nutrients are added because over-watering and poor mixing can result in an excess being introduced into your system which will impact algae growth. This is a good way to raise the ph levels in your system if you are experiencing root rot.
Adding Phosphoric Acid to the Solution
This is another effective way of increasing pH levels - it works by neutralizing hydrogen ions which can be harmful to both plants and humans alike. The recommended amount that should be added per gallon is between 0.05 to 0.25 mL - again, it is added before any nutrients are introduced into the solution.
The best way of preventing these problems from occurring in your hydroponics system? Ensure that you have a clean, well-mixed nutrient solution with high-quality chemicals and minerals specifically designed for use in hydro systems!
Keeping your pH levels stable throughout the grow cycle is important for healthy plant growth, so you should monitor it regularly and replace your nutrient solution when needed.
Final Word on pH Levels
Both seasoned hydro-growers and beginners have problems with keeping pH levels stable - but with a little bit of knowledge and practice, you will be able to get the perfect ph level every time.
As long as you follow the advice above, you should have no more problems with your ph levels dropping, and that is the key to successful growth!