Any hydroponic system with intense aeration will typically have a steady rise in pH levels
The skinny on hydroponics systems…so a guy walks into a hydroponics store…
CJF-How come your plants in what you are calling the Hybrid system look so much better than mine? During my last grow, my pH was all over the place, and the guy I was just speaking with who works here was commenting on how stable the pH in this Hybrid system really is.
Customer-I do prefer my Hybrid Buckets over standard DWC buckets, but the pH would only be a bit more stable than in your system. Any hydroponic system with intense aeration will typically have a steady rise in pH levels.
When I harvested, it wasn’t bad quality or anything. I still wished it could have been better though, for example firmer fruits and flowers. Why are your blooms so dense compared to mine?
CJF-If you are hoping to grow dense blooms, DWC can be tricky. I’ve seen it work wonders with leaf crops, but fruits and flowers don’t always do so well sitting in water. In some basic DWC gardens, the plants bulk up with water, which goes away later. Leaves and stems get big, but the fruits and flowers are lightweight. However, I’ve also seen growers get top-notch yields and quality with well-designed (recirculating) DWC systems.
Customer-Those growers that are getting the top notch results-what are they doing different? Do you have any special recommendations for better results in DWC?
CJF-To get the best possible results with DWC, I recommend major aeration and circulation with a sterile nutrient solution. Too much microbiology will increase that upward pH drift. Use a big pump to move water through the containers. For aeration I prefer the Venturi method over air stones, because of the higher levels of dissolved oxygen, and less maintenance.
Water temps should stay BELOW 72 degrees F. Get a good chiller. Finally, use a sterilizing product in your nutrient solution. I would use Water Max or Clear Rez, or any Hypochlorous acid product. Do not use peroxide on living plants, if you can avoid it. Even with all of that, you should check and maintain pH at least every other day.
Adjust the pH to 5.6 and don’t worry about it until it reaches 6.6. Think of it as a pH range, not a exact number.
Customer-I’ll probably re-vamp my approach. Even though I have gotten a few good crops out of this inexpensive DWC system, I know for sure I can do better. Your Hybrid system is totalling rawking man! Is there any other kinds of systems that you think might fit the bill for me, so to speak?
CJF-If you want to see an amazing DWC system, check out the Under Current from Current Culture. The Under Current is possibly the best DWC system for indoor gardens. Use a very clean nutrient line, such as General Hydroponics or Black Label. Avoid any nutrients or supplements that make the solution look thick, chunky, or dark. With DWC, clean roots are key!
If you follow these steps, your crops will thank you. And FYI, I don’t work for any of the manufacturers mentioned here. I just know their products grow amazing gardens.
Erik Biksa has been writing about and discussing hydroponics growing, related technologies and cropping methods since 1999 in a variety of professional publications and platforms globally Erik has travelled the world learning and teaching modern growing techniques and technologies and is appreciated by many growers for his informative yet hands on approaches. Presently, he is the Editor at Grozine Hydroponics Mag.