With the Bluelab Conductivity Pen (EC or ppm) you'll never have to guess your nutrient concentration again. This is the ultimate solution to measuring EC or PPM, along with temperature, and dialing in your nutrient solution for explosive growth and heavy yields.
Even if you follow your feeding schedule perfectly, it's still important to double-check your work by using the Bluelab Conductivity Pen (EC or ppm). It will prevent you from underfeeding and overfeeding your plants, and result in healthier, more potent, heavier yielding plants.
Its also important to be aware of the temperature of your nutrient solution. If your water is too warm or too cold, your roots will be susceptible to issues like stagnant growth or root rot. We recommend feeding your plants at 65 - 72 degrees F.
To make sure the plants can get at the food, you need to measure the pH of the solution. Check out our handy Bluelab pH Pen so you have every tool required to manage your nutrient solution.
Electrical Conductivity (measured in ppm, EC, TDS, CF) is the total soluble salts contained within a liquid solution. Pure water does not contain salts, so it has a conductivity measurement of zero. By adding soluble elements to the water, electricity is able to move through the solution giving it a conductivity rating. The higher the nutrient content, the higher EC/PPM.
Using hydroponics as an example, different crops grow well at different levels of nutrient strength (Electrical Conductivity - EC). Controlling this nutrient strength is all-important in providing the best conditions for your crop. Without proper measurement, your crop could fail from root burn brought on by too high a nutrient level, or death by natural causes from not receiving the vital elements they need to grow.
Different crops grow well at different levels of nutrient strength. It is important to control the nutrient strength to provide the conditions in the root zone which provide maximum uptake of balanced nutrition into the plant while minimizing stress.
For each crop there is a range in which the nutrient strength is optimal, providing enough nutrient for growth, but not so strong that the concentration of salts in the plant gets too high. Electronic meters are available to measure the conductivity of the nutrient solution.
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My nutrient readings are inaccurate - why?
What ppm scale should I use?
ppm measures parts per million.
ppm is known as dimensionless quantities; that is, they are pure numbers with no associated units of measurement. A mass concentration of 2mg/kg - 2 parts per million - 2ppm - 2 x 10-6.
There are many different scales used for different industries around the world and for many different reasons! Did you even know there are more than two scales? The most widely used scales in Hydroponics are the 500 scale, 650 scale and the 700 scale.
CF and EC are measures of electrically charged nutrient ions in a solution.
Pure water will not conduct electricity. Water usually conducts electricity because it is full of impurities, in our case, electrically charged nutrient ions. The two black dots on the end of Bluelab nutrient probes are called electrodes. When these are placed in a solution, an electrical current passes from one electrode, through the water to the other electrode and counts the number of electrically charged ions present. This represents the units measured - CF or EC.
What's the difference?
The ppm 700 scale is based on measuring the KCl or potassium chloride content of a solution. The ppm 500 is based on measuring the NaCl or sodium chloride content of a solution and is also referred to as TDS - total dissolved solids. Individual nutrient ions have different electrical effects! The true ppm of a solution can only be determined by a chemical analysis. ppm cannot be accurately measured by a CF or EC meter. They are present on Bluelab products as a conversion guide only. The conversion is as follows:
If you are reading from a book that says you should grow your crop at 1100ppm - how do you know which scale the writer is referring to? Is the scale on your ppm meter right for the job? If the book was written in the USA, it could be the 650 or 500 scale. If the book is written in the UK, it could be the 700 scale. If it was written in Australia, well it could be any of the three!
If you must grow using ppm, you will need to know the following:
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