How to Lower PPM in Hydroponics? (An Accurate Guide)

With the increasing rate of soil pollution, which has concerned most geologists, scientists are continuously trying to reach the levels that can ignore its usage.

Hydroponics, by and large, is the process of using sand, gravel, or nutritional fluid to cultivate vegetables instead of using soil. Contemporary times have seen much growth and popularity of the hydroponic system in organic farming.

Ppm is the way to measure the number of nutrients soluble in the solution where the plants are grown. Nutrients are essential for plants to grow healthily but also in the amount needed. Higher ppm can cause nutrient burn in the plants grown in a hydroponic system. That’s why it’s important to know how to lower ppm in hydroponics if need be.

Here we have mentioned our detailed research on this subject matter of lowering the ppm level, which ranges from diagnosis of the problem to using carbon filters. To know more, keep reading!

How to Lower ppm in hydroponics
How to Lower ppm in hydroponics

What does ppm stand for?

The term ppm means ‘ parts per million. It measures the density of water and is a US unit of water chemistry.

This measures the accurate amount of soluble mixed in the solution of your hydroponic system. 

This provides a simple way to conduct some essential calculations while developing your system.

This method can determine if the plants are fed too much or too little.

What does ppm stand for
What does ppm stand for?

It is essentially denoted by TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) or nutrients in the nutritional solution. When you have a hydroponic setup, you need to purchase a TDS meter to measure the total dissolved solids at each ‘part per million of your base, i.e., water.

This will ensure proper circulation of required nutrients to the plants.

What is a good water ppm for hydroponics?

You need to maintain different ppm levels as per changes in the seasons because of the change in the weather conditions and requirements of the plants. 

What is a good water ppm for hydroponics
What is a good water ppm for hydroponics

The ppm level required during each season is mentioned below in detail:

Seedings (100-250 ppm)

Seeding is the preliminary stage for plants when it does not require many nutrients. You must wrap the seed in cotton soaked in the nutrient solution during this stage. Usually, kelp water is used in such cases.

Keep in mind that the cotton should not sit in water. You should drain the excess water before wrapping it over the seed. Because of its low content, you need not measure the ppm level during this time.

First Phase of Vegging Cycle (300-500 ppm)

First Vegging Cycle includes the transfer of saplings into the hydroponic system. The best time to move them is when you can see the roots coming out from the seeds.

This is a crucial time when you need to look after the number of nutrients you provide to the plants. They still require minerals in low quantities, but the list must include nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and Nitrogen.

Second Phase of Vegging Cycle (500-900 ppm)

During this period, you just need to increase the number of nutrients to meet their growing requirements.


During the first half of the flowering season, the ppm levels in your hydroponic system should be between 900-1500. This is the blooming season, where a daily check on the ppm levels is required. 

The second half of the flowering season should have ppm levels between 1500-2200 in the hydroponic system. Plants bearing juicy fruits like tomatoes and cucumbers will need ppm levels up to 3000 units as they require a large amount of water and nutrients for their growth.

What is a good water ppm for hydroponics
What is a good water ppm for hydroponics?

Harvesting Season

This is when you need to change the solution from the hydroponic system. The system should run only on fresh water for some hours before adding nutrients. This will help the plants release the excess nutrients in the liquid, also called the process of ‘flush.’ 

What ppm is too high for hydroponics?

The Hydroponic System is an advanced way to cultivate plants; therefore, certain things should be kept in mind. Maintaining a proper level of ppm in the nutrient solution of your hydroponic system is one such need.

Ideally, a ppm level between 900-1500 units is ideal for your mechanized system and should be kept in check through the TDS meter. The ppm level above 1500 is dangerous for the plants and may cause harmful effects like nutrient burn, root rot, and salt buildup around the roots.

How to lower ppm in hydroponics?

Overfeeding your plants with nutrients will require you to balance the flow of the solution in the later stage. If a proper monetization of the ppm levels is not done, it can impact the entire hydroponic system. The type of water used in the system and the high pH level may result in a high ppm level.

Now, let’s try to learn how to lower ppm in hydroponics in right manner.

How to lower ppm in hydroponics
How to lower ppm in hydroponics?

Diagnose the root cause

Before taking the initiative to lower the ppm levels, you must understand the major cause of such conditions. Using tap water instead of distilled water can be one of them.

Tap water generally consists of additional nutrients which can be excess for the plants and have a high pH level. Also, nutrient accumulation around the root and inadequate oxygenation can be other reasons for such a situation.

Use a Carbon Filter

Carbon filters can be essentially useful to remove excess nutrients from a large hydroponic system. This system traps excess sediments from the water, therefore, filtering organic chemicals from the water.

Add some freshwater

Adding fresh water to the solution will help to lessen the number of nutrients in it. It will dilute the fluid and give some extra space for the excess nutrients to cover.

Add more plants to the system

If you see the ppm level high in your hydroponic system, there is a way out, which includes zero wastage. You may add some extra plants to the system, which will help you to balance the nutrient count.

How to measure ppm in hydroponics?

The hydroponics system has made possible the plants’ high yield and fast growth using concentrated nutrients. But it is essential to keep the required amount per million parts in the hydroponic system. 

The best way to measure ppm in hydroponics is through TDS (Totally Dissolved Solids) and EC (Electrical Conductivity). TDS = ke*EC (where KE is the conversion factor) is the basic formulae of measuring ppm in hydroponics through a TDS meter.

How do we identify if the ppm is high in hydroponics?

If you want to detect if the ppm in your hydroponic system is too high, there are some basic symptoms to look at. Accumulation of salt around the root, yellowing of the leaves, root rot, and nutrient burn are some alarming symptoms that are enough for you to direct high ppm levels in the system.

How to maintain an ideal ppm in hydroponics?

To maintain ideal ppm in hydroponics, you must first keep in mind that you are using distilled water. Tap water has sediments, adding additional nutrient content to the system.

How to maintain an ideal ppm in hydroponics
How to maintain an ideal ppm in hydroponics?

Next, you should calculate and then add nutrients to your solution. Try to add 1 milligram of nutrients in 1 liter of water at each point when the ppm is low. Also, check the ppm levels through the TDS meter regularly and provide optimal environmental conditions for your plants.

Frequently Asked Questions (fAQs)

Is Will boiling water lower ppm?

Boiling water can only kill the existing bacteria and germs from the solution but will not remove any nutrients. Even if the water is heated to boiling, it will not remove any minerals or nutrients.

How often should hydroponic water be changed?

Ideally, hydroponic water should be changed every two to three weeks. However, changing water more often can shock the endangered plants in the system.

 Is 2000 ppm too high?

Usually, your hydroponic system should have a ppm level between 900-1500 units. However, during the flowering period, the ppm levels can be increased to 2200 units as the juicy plants during this season can slurp in more nutrients.


The Hydroponic system, by and large, has emerged to become one of the most chosen ways to grow plants if one wants to ignore the use of soil. But every coin has a flip side too. This system may include problems such as root rot and overfeeding nutrients. 

Thus, ppm is the term that can be used to overcome such difficulties and is also simple enough to understand.

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