The Facts About Hydroponics Filtration and Reverse Osmosis for Grow Rooms
There is one area of hydroponic gardening that can trip up the newcomer and professional alike. This is the area of filtration and treatment of the nutrient solution. Water is the very basis of life and this is even more true in the industry of hydroponics.
The challenge is to keep the water free of sodium, chlorine and dissolved solids that will hamper plant health and growth. An algae outbreak can spell complete disaster by clogging pumps, tubes and swallowing up valuable nutrients in the solution.
For these reasons a hydroponic grower needs to rely on a water purification system. There is just no way around this.
When it comes to water purification your first line of defense for a pure nutrient solution is preventing contamination in the first place. There are certain steps you can take that will offer some protection against nutrient solution contamination.
Know where your materials come from.
Knowing your materials doesn’t mean just knowing the actual source or supplier but educating yourself as to the complete history. If you’re planning on using river rock as an inert matter common for anchoring plants, is it quarried, or did it originate from an actual river bed?
River stone derived directly from a natural water source must be sterilized prior to hydroponic use or you run the serious risk of introducing algae which has dried on the stone and will come out of dormancy once it is exposed to moisture.
If you’re planning on utilizing an organic material such as a manure tea as a part of your nutrient solution, have these source cows been in an open pasture near a chemical heavy farm? Drift from a neighboring conventional farm can contaminate even organic pasture grass with traces of pesticides that will contaminate your nutrient solution and possibly harm or even kill the plants.
Don’t rely on a simple sand filter.
Sand filters may be great for a garden pond or for a keeping a stock tank clean, but they are not very effective for removing contaminates from the nutrient solution. A sand filter will remove some dissolved solids, but it will do little to nothing about other water issues like sodium or an imbalanced pH level.
While a sand filter will make an inexpensive pre-filter, it cannot perform as a primary filtration system suitable for hydroponic growing.
Eliminating harmful trace elements
To eliminate undesirable trace elements, you will need a quality mechanical filter.
Whatever you do, don’t cut corners on the quality of your mechanical filter. For healthy plants you will need more than a simple chlorine filter.
Reverse Osmosis for Indoor Gardening
It is essential to remember that the quality and purity of the nutrient solution is the very lifeblood of any hydroponic system. It can make or break your entire crop.
Given this, a grower can’t take enough steps to maintain the highest quality nutrient solution possible. For this reason, there is no problem using multiple filters performing multiple functions and filtration.
This is no drawback or negatives in doing this.
The backbone of the entire filtration system should be a reverse osmosis filter. A quality RO filer has many advantages and will perform best in purifying the nutrient solution.
A reverse osmosis filter will eliminate most headaches growers face from poor filtration.
- Reduce PPM by 99%
- Easy to clean/change filtration cartridge
- Maintain an excellent flow
The bottom line is, that an RO filter will outperform every other hydroponic filter available.
Hydroponic Algae Control
There is no two ways about it, algae can be the biggest challenge for hydroponic gardens.
Even under the best conditions and when you’ve taken precautions not to introduce algae through the materials you use, it can still occur because the same conditions hydroponic plants thrive under, so does algae.
Algae is a rapidly growing single-celled plant that can cultivate through spores. It is very likely that a hydroponic grower will experience an algae outbreak at some point.
There are steps you can take that will minimize algae growth.
- Shaded reservoirs– algae thrives in full sun, given this, keeping your nutrient solution tank shaded will help reduce an outbreak.
- Temperature– Although there are many strains of algae with some preferring temperatures around 57, most varieties thrive at temperatures over 77. Keeping your reservoir cooler will definitely help.
- Water flow– algae grows best in stagnate or slow-moving water. Keeping your tubes clean and in top operating form will reduce the likelihood of algae growth.
As you transition to the level of a professional hydroponic grower your filtration system should too.
Commercial grow room filtration systems
Today’s technology has brought hydroponics the very best in commercial filtration systems that are capable of treating over 2,000 gallons per day. Although, a filtration system this sophisticated will take an investment of around $5,000 or more they will quickly pay back the professional grower through their remarkable performance.
Commercial units like the Hyper-Logic 2000 are smart filtration systems that digitally monitor and treat any contaminates or harmful trace elements present in the water source. These commercial filtration systems are capable of reusing and managing even wastewater which offers great flexibility even when a reliable clean water source is unavailable.
Good filtration is the backbone of any hydroponic garden.
Without a good filtration system all the work and care a grower puts into their nutrient solution and growing conditions are meaningless because you will constantly be struggling with undesirable contaminates and an imbalanced pH.
All these headaches are greatly reduced or eliminated through a good filtration system.