Testing the pH of your nutrient solution has never been easier. This is an essential task for growers, because plants need a very specific pH range: between 5.5-6.5. When you extend above or below this range, certain nutrients start to get locked out, and your plant will develop nutrient deficiencies. By the time this happens, it can be tricky to determine what the root cause was, but if you simply pH your nutrients from the start, you can avoid this mess altogether!
With pH in the right range, your plants will be able to uptake all the nutrients you feed them, and meet their full potential in terms of yield and potency. It takes just a few moments, and can make or break
General Hydroponics pH Test Kits make pH testing easy. Fill a test-tube halfway with nutrient, add a few drops of pH Test Indicator (Use 3 drops per 5mL of solution), and observe the coloration of the liquid in the test vial. Many experienced growers prefer our pH Test Kit to expensive electronic meters because it is reliable and easy to use.
pH issues can be brought to fruition by a number of different things. One of the most common is the tap water you use to mix your nutrients. It typically has all kinds of minerals and impurities that can affect pH. Another cause is the rate at which your plant consumes certain nutrients, finishing some faster than others and thus affecting pH.
Whatever the cause, you can rest assured the General Hydroponics pH Control Kit will help you stay on top of it!
Testing your solution takes just a few moments. Start by filling the test tube half full with your mixed nutrient solution. Then, add 3-5 drops of the pH test indicator to the vial and shake it - this will alter the color of your solution. You can compare the color in your vial to the pH color chart to determine if pH is too low, too high, or just right.
Repeat to verify the nutrient pH is now within the correct range (5.5 - 6.5.)
If you'd like, you can learn more about the relationship between nutrients & pH in our learning center.
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What is pH?
pH is the measure of acidity/alkalinity of a solution.
Can you explain this in a little more detail?
Specifically, pH is a measure of the hydronium ion H3O+. It is based on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. "Pure" water has a pH of 7.0. If the pH is less than 7, the solution is acid. If the pH is greater than 7 it is alkaline. Because the scale is logarithmic and not linear, a pH of 6 indicates ten times more H protons than a pH of 7, and a pH of 5 indicates 10 times more protons than a pH of 6.
What pH is best for growing plants hydroponically?
The ideal pH range for most hydroponic crops is between 5.5 and 6.5.
How does pH level affect plant growth?
pH is important because it affects availability and absorption of several of the 16 atomic elements needed for plant growth. Maximum absorption of these elements is found at pH readings 5.5 to 6.5. When pH falls below this range many of the macro elements (N, P, K, etc) have less availability, and absorption of the micro nutrients can reach toxic levels.
How do you change the pH?
pH is adjusted by using an acid to lower it or an alkali to raise it. General Hydroponics' pH Down and pH Up are designed for this purpose. Many acids and alkalis are extremely corrosive and dangerous, so care should be used if you are not using a product labeled for hydroponic use.
What if I can not get any pH Down, and my system is running high?
Short-term solutions include citric acid (which degrades in solution) or sulfuric acid made for car batteries. Make sure this does not include any lead, and be very careful with this acid. Vinegar will also work, but generally, the effects are short term.
How often should I check my pH level?
When first starting out it is a good idea to measure the pH of your water every day, until you get a feel for your system. Measure your water and then add your nutrients. Within an hour check the pH and adjust accordingly. Repeat this process until pH stabilizes. The liquid Flora Series has special pH buffers to help maintain a desirable pH. It is a good idea to note how much water, nutrients and pH modifiers are needed to obtain the desired values. After several "start- ups" you can generally get a feel for how much acid or base to use for your situation. Frequently pH stays within a desirable range for a considerable time, and then rapidly rises or falls to an extreme. This is usually an indication of the need to do a nutrient change. If you are using hard water, pH has the tendency to climb above 7.5. Sometimes this can be neutralized with acid, though one might consider adding a reverse osmosis unit in an extreme case.
How much pH Up/Down is needed per gallon?
Start out with one milliliter per gallon. Wait 15 To 30 minutes, and test your water again. Frequently you will only need 1 to 2 ml of pH Up/Down per gallon of water. You may need additional pH Up/Down if you have hard water. The General Hydroponics Flora Series is pH buffered to facilitate keeping the pH in a favorable range.
The pH in my system drops below 4 every few days after cleaning and refilling. How do I increase the pH and stabilize it?
The easiest way is to continue adding pH Up. This is generally fine because the additional elements that are added are potassium ions. Potassium is frequently the highest element in hydroponic nutrient solutions. Sometimes pH crashes because of the presence of a large amount of microbial activity in the nutrient solution. This is usually a result of poor maintenance of the system due to infrequent nutrient changes or other stresses. The best way to avoid this scenario is to keep a clean system with adequate nutrition.
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