Hydroponics reservoir aeration and management can mean the difference between harvesting healthy and productive crops or suffering crop failure or seriously diminished yields. Yes, it’s true-that’s no exaggeration.
There is a very strong and direct relationship between the levels of Dissolved Oxygen (D.O.) available for plant roots with a number of area that affect plant performance including:
It’s a fact that cooler water temperatures have the potential to hold more oxygen in solution (D.O.). However, temperature must also be in balance for the metabolism of the plants root system. Temperatures below 65 Deg F while having the potential to hold more D.O. will typically start to slow nutrient absorption and growth potential.
| Hydroponics nutrient solutions that stay over 72 Deg F have less available D.O. for healthy plant growth and there is a greater potential for outbreaks of root diseases. |
If you can manage your reservoir temperature between 68-72 Deg F this will prove optimal for most plant types and strains in hydroponics cultivation. Some plant types may prefer cooler than this range, but few will do better if exceeding this nutrient solution temperature recommendation.
Root diseases, like the instance pictured above are more of a symptom of a problem, rather than the root of the problem itself, pardoning the term.
The organism (diseases are living things) that causes the symptoms is called a Pathogen. What makes the disease outbreak occur, the “entry point” if you will, is called the Vector. Anaerobic bacteria and fungi, as well as brown algae, for example are examples of Pathogens.
These are organisms that thrive in LOW Oxygen Environments. Your plants prefer Aerobic conditions-these are HIGH Oxygen requirements. There are also healthy organisms that can help plants like bacteria and fungi, however, these too are Aerobic-they thrive by helping plants grow, rather than devouring them starting at the roots like Anaerobic organisms do.
Your plants are constantly fighting off infections-just like we as people are always fighting germs that can give us colds, viruses and flus. It’s when we are run down and the germ population gets high enough so we can no longer fight it off that we actually get sick.
In terms of plants, this is called the “Microbial Load”. Keeping hydroponics reservoirs sterile, well aerated and in the optimal temperature range can make a huge difference in how hydroponics crops perform-and not only in terms of yield or growth rates….
When you supercharge the aeration levels in your hydroponics system, your plant can use good quality hydroponics fertilizer much more efficiently. Your plants will actually grow better with less fertilizer when you have lots more oxygen in a healthy root environment. This can mean a lot in terms of reducing nutrient run-off and growing healthier food. In the vegetative growth phase, you can wind up with the same sized plant in half the usual time with supercharged DO levels. When you use lots of aeration, like from the pump pictured below, you can run your hydro nutes at 50% strength or even less and achieve accelerated growth and yields.
Current Culture Under Current Systems are noted for taking advantage reduced nutrient concentrations and saturated DO levels. Have a look here for more details (tip, scroll down to pages 10-11):
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.