TDS, PPM, EC Meters

Need to test total dissolved solids (TDS), electrical conductivity (EC) or parts per million (PPM) of your nutrient concentration? Here at Hydrobuilder, we carry all of these, and even a few meters than can test all at once! Make sure your plants are receiving the right concentration and test your nutrient solution accurately.

What does a PPM meter do?

PPM is a way for growers to measure the concentration of their nutrient solution. Basically, PPM meters shows the relationship between nutrients water, and indicates whether you are underfeeding or overfeeding..

What should PPM be for hydroponics?

PPM requirements will change as your plant grows. For example, seedlings and clones have lower nutritional requirements (100-250 PPM). As plants begin to veg, PPM should be 300-400 during the first half, and 450-700 during the second half. When you flip your plants to flower, feed them even more, up to 950 PPM. Finish off flowering with PPM of up to 1,600.

What does a TDS meter do?

TDS meters are responsible for measuring water softness or hardness. Depending on the reading you get from your TDS meter, you will need a water softener or conditioner. The most common dissolved solids you will see in your water source are Calcium, Magnesium, and Sodium.

What is a good TDS level?

Total dissolved solids are actually measured in PPM, and TDS can greatly affect a plants ability to absorb nutrients. When testing your hydroponic system for TDS, try and maintain a range of 500-1,000 PPM.

What is an EC meter used for?

EC meters are used to test the electrical conductivity of your nutrient solution. When used in conjunction with a pH meter, growers can perfect their nutrient solution dosing.

While it sounds complicated, the EC meter helps growers determine how many TDS there are in a solution. Measuring for EC is especially important as you are switching from seedling/clone to veg, and then again to flower.

What should the EC be for hydroponics?

As mentioned above, EC will vary from stage to stage, but during vegging, EC should be 1.2-1.6. As the plant starts flowering, this can raise to 1.8-2.

There have been studies that suggest higher EC levels result in a more potent product, but these studies also found a decrease in yield from raising EC levels, so it is a trade off. Be sure to check your EC every day.

There is some confusion over the difference between EC and TDS. These readings measure the same things, but simply display it different. You do not need a TDS and an EC meter, just one or the other!

Automating your grow room

To automate your grow room and decrease the work you need to do everyday, consider using a combination meter. These devices can measure for multiple aspects of your nutrient solution, such as pH, PPM, temperature, and sometimes, more!

Devices such as the Agrowtek line and the Hanna Instruments WM pH TDS Cntrl. 15 VAC will continually monitor these levels, and inform you when one of the ranges needs to be corrected.

If you want help choosing the best PPM, TDS, or EC meter for your grow room, give our expert growers a call at 888-815-9763 and we will help you decide!


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