People tend to forget how important it is to live a healthy life, especially in this fast-paced world. Hydroponics is one such way people combat this unhealthy lifestyle. Here, plants are made to grow mainly in water.
This method has been around for centuries now. However, the popularity of hydroponics has become visible only recently.
Now that you wish to start with your hydroponics system, certain important terminologies might sound incoherent initially. You must have researched light, space, and the nutrient requirements of your plants. Don’t forget about pH!
You must learn how to keep pH stable in hydroponic if you want to maintain your system properly.
To calculate the concentration of minerals in the water circulated in your hydroponic system, the unit ppm(parts per million) is important.
Even if all of your conditions are ideal, your plant will not thrive and absorb nutrients if the pH goes wrong. Nutrients affect the pH of your hydroponic system. We are here to make you understand the role of pH in hydroponics and how to keep it stable for the best outcomes.
What is ph? What pH should be maintained in hydroponics?
In simple words, pH is a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Every liquid finds reading on the scale determining if they are acidic or alkaline.
The pH level of your hydroponic system is very crucial for the survival of your plants. Even if you have provided the right amount of nutrients in your hydroponics, everything can go wrong due to the wrong pH.
It affects the availability of nutrients in the medium. Too high or too low a pH level can lead to severe nutrient deficiencies.
The process of hydroponics is intricate. The plants need different levels of pH than when grown in the soil. In a hydroponics system, the plants fail to benefit from organic matter which can regulate pH. Hence if you plan to grow hydroponics, constant monitoring and adjustment of pH are necessary.
Standard pH Ranges for Different types of crops grown in Hydroponics.
It has been recorded that the optimum pH level is 5.5 to 6. There are some exceptions to the above value. Some might require an acidic medium for their growth, while others want an alkaline medium.
Hence, separating plants in different reservoirs and grouping them based on similar pH levels is important and must be done.
How to Keep Ph stable in Hydroponic?
You have now understood the importance of pH in a hydroponics system. Now, let us delve into how to keep pH stable in hydroponic system. Attach your seatbelts!
Step 1: Diagnosing the Issue (Why do pH Levels change)
Failing to maintain the right pH of your hydroponics system can cause several problems for your plants. Pale or yellow leaves on your plant indicate iron deficiency. If the leaves are curling and have brown burnt tips, the plant suffers from calcium deficiency. Calcium might deposit and cause harm to your infrastructure too.
A drop in the number of nutrients changes the pH since the solution becomes more concentrated. Also, pH is affected by both inorganic and organic matter. Additionally, the algal or bacterial growth causes a fluctuating pH level in your hydroponics.
Why does my pH Keep Going Up in Hydroponics Systems?
There are several methods to counter if your pH keeps going up in your hydroponics system. One of the major causes of this is the nutrient absorption by plants from the media.
Why does my pH keep dropping in my hydroponics?
The pH of your medium keeps regularly dropping, a sign of bacterial or algal growth. It might also be due to a disease in the root system of plants. The last cause that cannot be struck off is if your hydroponics is malfunctioning.
Step 2: Test your pH levels
Now it’s time to test the pH level of your hydroponics system. Testing the pH level is not a one-time thing. Once you learn about every way of testing the pH, you must start doing the process daily. Mentioned are a few ways to test the pH.
This is one of the simplest and quickest methods of testing the pH of your hydroponics system. A litmus paper, when dipped in the liquid, changes color. To determine the value, you need to tally this color with the standard litmus color chart.
Hydroponic pH pens
This is a very reliable option that comes at a good cost. However, the expense is worth it. It is digitized, simple to use, and provides accurate readings.
Digital pH meter
A digital pH meter is another alternative that you can choose from. It also provides you with accurate digitized readings. One disadvantage that might include is it slows down over time and needs calibration.
Step 3: Maintaining pH levels
Now that you have your pH reading in your hands, it’s time to check if they are optimal or not. If your pH level is not optimal, you need to start maintaining the pH level of your hydroponics system. There are several ways in which you can do so.
Commercial pH up down product
This commercially available product can be used in your hydroponics system. It assures no harm to plants since it leaves no waste products or elements in the medium, making it safe for plants. It is mainly used to lower the pH of the nutrient solution.
Automatic ph controller
An automatic pH controller is implanted in your hydroponics system to set the pH right. The electrodes help measure the correct pH of the solution at a time. If fluctuations are detected, it ejects chemicals to maintain the pH level and take things to normal.
Reverse osmosis process: In case of hard water is used in your system
If you have to use hard water inside your hydroponics system as the nutrient medium, all you need to do is use the reverse osmosis method and reduce the pH of the water. Reverse osmosis purifies your water and helps it return to its original level of pH, which is optimum for plants.
Continual Water Treatment and pH Balancing
You must understand that different hydroponic systems will have different levels of pH. One of the simplest ways is to use an NFT(Nutrient Film Technique). This can be very effective since the water is directly in contact with the root system of your plants.
Another process in use is the media-based systems. However, they can have two varying readings. One from the nutrient reservoir and the other from the leachate. This is crucial since you will have separate readings before and after the rooting system.
Hence, when adjusting your pH, you must consider the reading from the chemical runoff or the leachate.
Frequently Asked Questions (fAQs)
How to prevent Overdosing with pH adjusters?
Overdosing pH adjusters is highly harmful to your plants. Hence it is necessary to avoid overdosing. Overdosing pH adjusters can be avoided by keeping your tank full while taking your pH reading.
This will ensure that you have enough water to be utilized throughout the day, and your adjusters will work fine without concentrating on the medium.
Do you adjust pH before or after nutrients?
You should always add the nutrients to the water first and then check the pH of your hydroponics system. Add the nutrients to the water and let it sit for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes. Then check the pH reading of your hydroponics system.
How often should I adjust the pH hydroponics?
Your hydroponics system’s pH must be checked daily and adjusted regularly. You must understand that it is important for your plant to adjust to the optimum pH levels. Once you ace the process with dedication and some hard work, some amazing crops at harvesting will bring a smile to your face.
You must have understood by now how important pH is for your hydroponics farm. It simply affects how plants absorb nutrients directly from the water. Specifically, it can also be responsible for barring or increasing the uptake of a particular nutrient, which can harm the plant.
All you need to do is to grab one of the best pH testing products, adjust it and maintain the same range for some healthy crops!