Frequently Asked Questions

Just another way of helping you find the answers you need about hydroponics. We have them broken down by: Light, Soil, Air and Water to simplify your search.

Lighting FAQ’s

Q. Which is a better lamp to grow with MH or HPS; I’m on a limited budget and can only afford one?
A. I would recommend purchasing the Metal Halide kit, and when it comes into the bloom stage you purchase an HPS conversion lamp or a full spectrum MH lamp. If you are only going to use one type of bulb for flowering and vegetative stages the Sun Master neutral deluxe is an excellent lamp for both purposes. This will be more economical for setting up on a limited budget.

Q. How long does the average 1000 watt HPS lamp last?
A. On average they burn for 12000 hrs but most gardeners replace once a year more maximum efficiency from the lamp. The cost of new bulbs is minor in comparison to yield loss from weakened lamps. The best way to monitor a bulbs wear is with a light meter. These can be expensive, any where from $100-$300, but for a larger scale set up it is wise investment.

Q. Is it worth the investment to upgrade to a full spectrum bulb rather than the standard bulbs?
A. While the standard bulbs perform very well, I have seen first hand the benefit of full spectrum lamps such as Hortilux, Solarmax and Sunmaster and can say with confidence these lamps are definitely worth every penny. But if you are on a limited budget and you buy the clears you will still get excellent results as they are still a very high quality lamp. The full spectrum bulbs give you a combination of red and blue light similar to HPS and MH mixed together which is best for optimum growth.

Q. Which Bulb should be used in the Vegetative stage and which one in the bloom?
A. Use a Lamp with a high output in the blue range of the spectrum for the vegetative stage and for the flowering stage use a lamp with a high out put in the red range of the spectrum. During all stages of growth but especially during the bloom stage plants require a balanced mix of blue and red for optimal growth.

Q. Based on Lumen per watt Ratio what is more efficient to operate, MH or HPS?
A. HPS gives a higher lumen per watt ratio than metal halide and the bulbs often last up to twice as long. The 600 watt HPS has the highest lumen per watt ratio of any HID bulb. But for growing MH has a higher PAR value than HPS but often isn’t enough in the red range of the spectrum, this is why a mix of both is required for optimal growth. Or the use of full spectrum bulbs is replacing mixing the MH with the HPS. The bulb manufacturers are doing this for you.

Q. Can I run a 1000 watt MH bulb wired up to a socket and just plug it in my wall plug?
A. Absolutely NO, NO and NO!!! You have to use a 1000 watt MH ballast to power this lamp. The power coming out of your wall must be transformed to usable voltage by the lamp. This is the job of the ballast.

Q. What should my light cycle be for growing indoors?
A. Since plants all have a different requirement of light that will depend one what type of plants you intend to grow. The best thing to do would be research the plant you wish to grow and find out its light requirements. Most gardeners use an 18 hours of light, 6 hours in the dark cycle for the vegetative stage and a 12 hours of light, 12 hours of the dark cycle for the blooming stage.

Q. What is a Lumen?
A. A lumen is a measurement of light. In simpler terms one lumen is equal to the amount of light that 1 candle will emit on 1 square foot, 1 foot away from the flame. 1 lumen = 1 foot candle

Q. What is Lux mean?
A. Lux is the metric unit equal to the amount of light falling on one square meter 1 lumen = 10 lux A lux is only 1 / 10 th of a lumen

Q. What is the average lumen per watt ratio of an HPS and MH?
A. HPS – 140,000 lumens per watt MH – 100,000 lumens per watt Fluorescent – 83,000 lumens per watt Mercury Vapor – 63,000 lumens per watt Incandescent – 17,500 lumens per watt

Q. What is the definition of PAR?
A. PAR stands for Photosynthetically Active Radiation

Q. What is the PAR value?
A. PAR value is the amount of light usable by the plants

Q. When the lights are off what’s going on with my plants? Obviously they don’t just sleep so what do they do?
A. In the dark cycle the plant shifts its focus from leaf production to root production. The leaves transfer extra stored energy down to the branches and roots. The plants dark cycle is very important. 24 hour light cycles are not the way to go despite radical theories and tests.

Q. How high should my lights be from the tops of my plants?
A. The lamp should be 18 – 24 inches away from the tops. Use an oscillating fan to circulate air on the tops of your plants. This will help with the removal of heat produced by your lamp and also deliver fresh air across the undersides of your leaves which are where the plant breathes in through tiny microscopic pores called Stomata.

Q. What is the Kelvin rating on a bulb mean?
A. Kelvin is the unit of measurement expressing color temperature. Each lamp has an aggregate Kelvin temperature that indicates the bulbs spectral output. For indoor gardening a bulb with a Kelvin rating between 3000-6000 will be sufficient

Q. Can I use a green light in my grow room in the dark cycle? I’ve heard that green light won’t wake up my plants?
A. Yes you can use a green light in your grow room. Plants do not respond to the green range of the spectrum.

Q. What is a more efficient reflector to use if my lamp is universal, horizontal or vertical?
A. Definitely horizontal. Horizontal reflectors can reflect up to 40 % more light back down to the growing area. The light form a bulb is emitted form the arc tube located in the center of the lamp. If it is burning in the horizontal position, half of this light is being directed at the plants while the other half is being reflected back down form the reflector giving a complete distribution of the light. If the lamp is burning in the vertical position all of the light goes out the sides and had to be reflected back down minimalizing the intensity being directed at the growing area.

Q. What is a good application for the parabolic reflector?
A. Parabolic reflectors distribute the light very evenly but are extremely inefficient in their use of light. They are excellent for a vegetative crop or for lots of seedlings or cuttings but are not very good for high yielding crops with high intensity demands.

Q. Parabolic reflectors distribute the light very evenly but are extremely inefficient in their use of light. They are excellent for a vegetative crop or for lots of seedlings or cuttings but are not very good for high yielding crops with high intensity demands.
A. Choose the flat white over semi gloss. It reflects better than the semi gloss. Glossy paint has light absorbing varnish that does not reflect as well as the flat white does.

Q. What is a light mover? Are they beneficial to a grow room?
A. A light mover is a mechanized device used to slowly move the grow lamps around to achieve maximum efficiency from your lamps. They come in the form of a 6 foot track which moves the lamp back and forth slowly, approximately every 10 minutes each way. Sun circles are designed to rotate the lamps in a slow circular motion above the growing area. These are both very beneficial to an indoor garden because you can bring the lamps closer to the plants without burning and the light can get at all angles of the plant saving the grower from constantly rotating the plants. Light mover are usually very efficient to operate and can really help with an increase in yield without the increase in lamps.

Q. My ballast seems to operating at a high temperature, but how can I know if it’s too hot?
A. The best way to tell if your ballast is running too hot is to take a wooden kitchen match and touch to the ballast box. If it ignites the match then it is operating too hot. I would recommend having it looked at by a professional or have it serviced at your local hydro shop.

Q. Does the heat coming off of my ballasts make a big difference in my grow room?
A. Yes if heat is already a problem in your garden then I would suggest moving your ballasts outside the grow room. Especially if there is more than 1. They can really increase the overall room temperature.

Q. What is the most efficient lamp to operate?
A. The 600 watt HPS is the most efficient High Intensity Discharge lamp to operate to date. It has the highest lumen per watt ratio of any of the HID lamps on the market.

Q. What is the best position to have my ballasts in?
A. If the ballast is mounted in a protective housing (ballast box) then it should be kept up off the ground. Milk crates or cement blocks are excellent for this. Place a piece of heat resistant rubber under the box to reduce any vibrations the box may give off. They can sometimes really hum and that can get irritating. I suggest having all ballasts mounted in proper casings. Un- protected ballasts are usually trouble waiting to happen.

Q. Is it better to have bigger taller tomato plants or short and bushy?
A. For an indoor garden the shorter bushy plant would be the way to go. The taller a plant is the more energy it wastes to move waters and sugars back and forth within itself between the roots and the leaves. Tall plants often need to be staked up while the shorter plants are usually much heartier and can support their own weight. If you have a green house and can tie your plants up then the sky is the limit but for indoors go with a shorter stalker plant.

Q. Is it good to trim the bottom shoots off of the plant and leave the tops?
A. An untrimmed plant can cause itself to waste energy to supply the useless shoots on the bottom often referred to as sucker. Carefully remove the unwanted bottom suckers but leave on as many good green leaves as possible.

Q. Is it a good idea to strip some of my plants leaves so the flowers get more light?
A. No. Your leaves are what take in the light and use it for photosynthesis not the flowers so leave the leaves on unless they are 50% or more damaged or yellow. The leaves are very important to your plant and removing them only slows down photosynthesis and reduces growth rate.

Q. Is vitamin B-1 good for the plants?
A. Yes. Vitamin b-1 stabilizes the plants chemistry very well while also acting as a catalyst which helps make all the enzymes in the plant work their chemistry smoothly. Different manufacturers all create their own blend of B-1 containing other vitamins and hormones to give them their own unique vitamin b-1. B-1 is often used to treat plant stress and during transplanting to help with the shock. It is also excellent to use as a foliar spray.

Q. What is the purpose of the leaves on a plant?
A. The leaves are basically sugar factories for the plant. They act as a solar panel taking in the light combining it with water and C02 to make usable sugars. Then they send these sugars down to the roots when the roots combine these sugars with oxygen it converts it into usable energy for the plant. The more oxygen to the roots, the more energy it can transfer to the plant.

Q. If my plants got too tall, what can I do to get them down to size?
A. You can cut them back from the top but you have to cut in a manner that you always leave lots of new shoots available to come out. If you cut away all of your shoots you lose all potential new growth.

Q. I have tomato seedlings under a fluorescent light and was wondering what my light cycle should be?
A. The light cycle should be at 18 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. This will be best for optimal growth and will help keep the seedlings stocky and short rather than elongated and weak. The plant needs to sleep. This is where it goes from leaf production in the day to root production at night.

Q. How important is it to have the lights at the right height from the plants?
A. Having your lights too far can decrease your yield significantly. Light intensity virtually doubles every 6 inches closer the light is to the plant

Q. How important are reflectors?
A. Reflectors increase available light by more than 30%. The proper hood over the lamp and reflective materials on the wall can double the growing area. Growers who use the most efficient reflectors can harvest up to twice as much as those who hang the lamp with no reflector.

Q. Are parabolic reflectors good for a veg room?
A. When growing plants in the veg stage and growing clones parabolics are perfect. They are somewhat inefficient in their use of light for blooming but for vegetative stage they distribute the light over a much larger space which provides even growth for the plant.

Q. What is an air-cooled reflector?
A. There are several air cooled reflectors on the market today. Some use a reflective hood with protective glass face and fans to move the heat the bulb produces through the hood and out the ducting system. Most people vent the heat through a carbon filter before discharging the air out of the house.

Q. What kind of paint should I paint my grow room with? Glossy or Flat?
A. Flat white paint contains little or o light absorbing pigment, therefore flat white paint absorbs virtually no light, it is almost all reflected. Flat white is whiter than gloss white and is a better reflectant. Glossy white is manufactured with more light absorbing varnish. The glossy surface lends itself to bright spots and glare. Flat white contains less Varnish and inhibits the path of reflective light much less. It also has a mat texture actually providing a more reflective surface.

Q. Are light movers any good? Is it a worth while investment for my garden?
A. The most efficient way to replicate the movement of the sun through the sky is with a light mover. A light mover is a device that moves the lamps back and forth across the ceiling of the grow room. Motorized light movers replicate the suns path through the sky even though it does not constantly move east to west. The linear path distributes light evenly. The slower the light mover moves the lights down the track the better.

Q. Is it okay to hang my ballasts raw from strapping from the ceiling?
A. No!!!! This is the stupidest thing that indoor gardeners can do. This is a total fire hazard and just all around plain DUMB. Don’t be cheap. Store ballasts properly in ballast boxes. It’s not worth burning your house down to save $20.

Q. My bulb is really tight to get into the socket. It is really hard to thread in. What can I do to help this?
A. You can put a bit if Vaseline on the bulb end to help it slide in easier. Be careful not to cross thread the bulb.

Q. I have a Honda 5500 watt generator and I am wondering how many 1000 watt grow lamps I can operate from this particular generator?
A. You could run 4 1000 watt lamps from this generator. Usually for Honda generators you can count on 1300 watts being needed per 1000 watt lamp so 4 X 1300 equals 5200 watts so you can run 4 lights.

Q. What kind of generator is better? Gas or Diesel?
A. Deisel motors are more economical to run but they are noisy and produce allot of fumes. If you run a generator be sure it is properly vented or you may not wake up.

Q. What kind of timer do I need to run a 1000 watt HPS lamp?
A. Purchase a heavy duty grounded timer. Intermatic makes the best timers for single lamp operation. Be sure to check the amps they are rated for as some are different from others.

Soil FAQ’s

Q. How Can I sterilize my Hydroton Grow rocks so I can safely use them again?
A. To clean and sterilize the rocks soak them in a bath oh h202 and water at a ratio of 1 liter – 100 liters of water and leave sit over night. Then rinse the rocks off with hot water very thoroughly. If you really want to make sure there sterilized you can bake them at 250 F but this is a real pain in the ass. The best recommendation is buy more clay rocks. They are cheap and it’s easy to replace so it’s not worth the hassle to bake them.

Q. Does using liquid seaweed kelp actually help plant growth?
A. Kelp contains over 70 minerals and trace elements and is an excellent source of micronutrients. It is excellent in an organic garden where synthetic chelates cannot be used. It contains many different amounts of hormones, such as cytokinins. Kelp contains high levels of sodium so if your plants are sodium sensitive such as lettuce then use in moderation. Kelp is often used as a foliar spray and is very effective as a foliar spray.

Q. What is the purpose of adding dolomite lime to my medium?
A. It is used as a PH stabilizer. It has a neutral PH of 7 and will never rise beyond 7. It is a compound of magnesium and calcium mixed well in the medium. Before planting mix in well. Follow the manufacturer’s suggested rate of application.

Q. What is soiless mix? Why no soil?
A. It is a popular growing medium used by many people and very popular amongst commercial greenhouses and nurseries. It is usually a high porosity mixture of sphagnum moss, prelate, wetting agent, pumice, vermiculite, coco fiber and dolomite lime. It is very easy to work with and a favorite amongst gardeners worldwide.

Q. What should my soil temperature be?
A. Soil temperature should range from 65 -75 F for optimal growth rate.

Q. Can I put cuttings that are started in rock wool into a soiless mix?
A. Yes, absolutely, plants respond just fine with this style of transplant. Rock wool is nice to start the cuttings in and they transplant well into soilless mix. Rock wool transplants well into most mediums.

Q. What style of container should I use? Long and deep or short and squat?
A. Since plants roots tend to branch downward and penetrate deep rather than out the side. Sort and squat often do not go deep enough and end up just wasting more medium than actually benefiting the plant.

Q. What size of container should I use for my 3 foot high tomato plant?
A. I would recommend a 3 gallon container. An easy way to remember when transplanting is approximately 1 gallon for every foot you plan on your plant getting, so in this case a 3 gallon container. This is just an approximate but you can be the judge based on the plants size and dimensions.

Q. Can I reuse my soiless mix after harvesting a crop?
A. You can but the possibilities of fungal attack, soil born disease, pythium, and nutrient build up are too high to risk. The soiless medium is so cheap and easy to replace so I definitely recommend not reusing the soil less mix. Spend the 25 $ and buy a new bale. Your plants will love you for it.

Q. If my plants are in a soil less mix when should I water them in the early day or later in the light cycle?
A. Always water early in the light cycle. This allows the plant to draw up some of the moisture. Soaking them before the lights go out can be an open invitation to fungal attacks and root rot. Moisture meters work great and are great for indicating when the plant is in need of water or not. These are usually inexpensive, around the $15 range and worth every penny.

Q. Is it possible to over water my plants?
A. Yes this is a common problem amongst indoor beginner gardeners. Too much water suffocates the plants root system and deprives it of oxygen.

Q. Does adding a wetting agent to my nutrient solution help?
A. Yes wetting agent decreases surface tension making the water more adhesive. Basically making water wetter. This allows the water to penetrate through the soil right down to the plant’s root system. It is also extremely effective as a foliar spray additive and works excellent with products such as neem oil.

Q. What is the difference between mobile and immobile nutrients?
A. Mobile nutrients are nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Zinc and magnesium. These nutrients are able to move themselves within the plant to go where they are needed most. Immobile nutrients are boron(B), calcium(CA), chlorine(cl), copper(cu), Cobalt(co), silicon(SI), sulfur(S) and molybdenum(mb) are not able to move themselves within the plant. They stay in their place of origin in the older leaves causing the newer leaves to show signs of deficiency.

Q. What is the difference between Macro and Micro nutrients?
A. Macro nutrients are the elements needed by the plant the most. That is nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). They are the basic building block of plant growth. The micro nutrients are often referred to as trace elements. They are required in trace amounts.

Q. What do the 3 numbers stand for in a fertilizer mix fore example 20-20-20?
A. These numbers represent the percentage of nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). These are the 3 main elements in plant fertilizer.

Q. How does N-P-K affect plant growth?
A. Nitrogen (N) is required in high amounts during the vegetative stage of growth and not so much during the bloom stage. Nitrogen flushes away easily and is always in need of replenishing during the vegetative period. It is also very important for leaf and stem growth. Nitrogen is very active amongst young leave, bud shoots and shoots. Plants show signs of nitrogen deficiency with symptoms like slower growth, yellowing occurs amongst young leaves between the veins eventually progressing to yellow the whole leaf, eventually leading it to completely die and fall off. Phosphorus (P) is used in high amounts in germination, cuttings, seedlings, and bloom stage. Phosphorus is very important for vigor and seed production. It is very active in new growth and root tips growth, small dark blotchy leaves with stems and veins turning a reddish color. Seed yield is drastically affected as well. Potassium (K) is an element used in all stages of plant growth. Potassium will increase a plants resistance to drought, disease, and mold. Potassium is very important to a plant. It performs many functions such as regulating the stomata opening for the plant to intake C02. It helps in root growth and increases chlorophyll in the leaves. It is very important in production of starch and sugars. Potassium deficiency often appear as weak and brittle stems, older leaves die off at the tips, plants become weal and often burdened with disease. Unfortunately potassium locks up easily in soil with a high salt content.

Q. I’ve read about mixing my own fertilizer and would like to try, do you recommend this or should I just purchase the pre mixed fertilizer?
A. Unless you have an educated background in this field I would suggest no. There are so many high quality fertilizers on the market that have paid a lot of money to do research into their product and they usually have PhD’s working for them so I would say it is safe to assume the probably know what they are doing and will probably get the recipe down a lot better than the average Joe. But if you really want to then why not, give it a try. If it is just a hobby you have nothing to lose. You probably can download a good recipe off of the internet based on what type of crop you intend to grow and you might just do fine so if you really want to give it a try! If you are on a large scale commercial operation you can hire a consultant that will help you set up a feeding program that you will be able to blend your self. This will be much more economical, but for the average home hobbyist would recommend just buying a pre mixed fertilizer. It is much simpler and they work amazing.

Q. How much dolomite lime do I add to my soil to stabilize PH?
A. When planting, add one cup of dolomite lime to each cubic foot of planting medium to stabilize the PH and provide calcium and magnesium.

Q. What is Mushroom compost?
A. Mushroom Compost is an inexpensive potting soil and soil amendment that is packed with organic goodies. Mushroom Compost is sterilized to provide a clean medium for mushroom growth. After serving its purpose as a mushroom growing medium it is discarded. After lying fallow for 2 years, mushroom compost is very fertile and packed with beneficial organisms. The high powered compost could also foster anti-fungicidal and anti-bacterial properties in foliage and below the soil line, which helps guard against disease. It is packed with bifacial bacteria that speed up nutrient uptake.

Q. How can I control my soil temperature?
A. Ideally the soil temperature should be between 65-75 degrees fro the most chemical activity. Warm the soil with heating cables or soil heat mats. Seedling heat mats are ideal for this and can be purchased in our online store.

Q. What is coconut fiber and how does it work for growing?
A. Coconut fiber is also called palm peat, coco peat, and coir. Coir is coconut pith, the fibery part just under the heavy husk. Pith is soaked up in water up to nine months to remove salts, natural resins and gums in process called “retting”. Next they beat the straw brown coir to extract the husk. Coir is biodegradable and an excellent medium for propagation through flowering and fruit growth. Coir holds lots of water while maintaining structure. It is durable, rot resistant and a good insulator.

Q. When is the best time to water my plants? Day or night?
A. Water early in the day so excess water can evaporate from soil surface and leaves. Leaving foliage and soil wet overnight invites fungal attack.

Q. Should I allow any runoff when watering my plants?
A. when you water your plants you should have at least 25% runoff during each watering.

Q. What is a “Mobile Nutrient”?
A. Mobile nutrients re-translocate within a plant. They move to the specific part of the plant where they are needed causing older leaves to show deficiencies first.

Q. What is an “Immobile Nutrient”?
A. Immobile nutrients stay deposited in their original destination causing new young leaves to show deficiencies first.

Q. What are “Macro Nutrients”?
A. Macro Nutrients are the elements plants use the most. Fertilizers show the NPK percentage in big numbers on the packaging. These nutrients must be in an available form to supply plants with the building blocks for rapid growth.

Q. What is the purpose of Nitrogen?
A. Plants love nitrogen and require high amounts of it during the vegetative stage of growth and lower levels during the balance of life. Nitrogen is easily flushed away and must be replaced regularly, especially during vegetative stage of growth. Nitrogen regulates the plants ability to make proteins essential for new protoplasm in the cells. It is essential for the production of amino acids, enzymes, nucleic acid and chlorophyll and alkaloids. This important nutrient is mainly responsible for leaf and stem growth as well as size and vigor.

Q. How can I tell if my plants have a nitrogen deficiency?
A. Nitrogen is the most common deficiency. Symptoms include slower growth; lower leaves cannot provide chlorophyll and become yellow between the veins while veins remain green. Yellowing progresses through the entire leaf, eventually causing it to die and drop off. Stems and undersides may turn reddish purple, but this could also be a sign of a phosphorus deficiency. Nitrogen is very mobile and dissipates into the environment quickly and must be added regularly to sustain fast growing gardens.

Q. What will happen if I do not have enough light in my room for the amount of plants I have growing?
A. When Light intensity is too low plants will stretch for it. Low intensity can come from weak bulbs, light being too far or poor reflectors. Dim light causes sparse foliage and spindly branches with long internodal spacing. You can increase your yield by giving growing area uniform light distribution. Uneven light distribution causes strong branch tips to grow toward the light. Foliage in dimly lit areas is shaded when light distribution is uneven.

Q. I AM NEW TO HYDROPONICS. WHAT DO I NEED TO START?
A. Hydroponics is a fun and satisfying hobby that you will keep adding to your list of items. To start you will need a hydroponic system, hydroponic nutrients, an inert hydroponic media (may be dependant on type of hydroponic system), a light source (natural or artificial), time and plants.

Q. HOW DO I USE RAPID ROOTER PLUGS FOR CUTTINGS?
A. Rapid Rooters work best when in a 50-cell tray. Place a cutting in the small hole on the top of the Rapid Rooter plug enough where the cutting will stand upright on its own. Place the tray under proper lighting, then once multiple roots pop out the cutting can then be transplanted into a hydroponic system or directly into soil.

Q. WHAT ARE COCOTEK PRODUCTS MADE FROM?
A. CocoTek products are made from all organic sources. Coconut fibers are spun together with natural tree rubber to form the popular CocoTek products.

Q. What Is IBA or rooting Hormone?
A. Indole Butyric Acid is the leading plant hormone used topromote growth of root formations in plant growth aswell as generate new root growth on cuttings and seedlings.

Q. WHAT ARE EXPANDED CLAY PEBBLES?
A. Expanded clay pebbles are used in hydroponics as a medium to support the plant. They are chemically inert, do not affect pH and provide excellent drainage. They are made from a special type of clay, which is heated to a high temperature causing it to pop like popcorn.

Q. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CALIBRATE A TDS OR EC METER?
A. Standard reference solutions are used. The bottles are marked with the conductivity (EC) value in micro Siemens/cm and the corresponding ppm values for sodium chloride (NaCl) and potassium chloride (KCl) solutions, and sometimes for a “442” reference mixture. The conductivity of sodium chloride solutions is close to that of hydroponic mineral nutrients, so a “1000-ppm NaCl” standard is most frequently used when calibrating the meter for hydroponic solutions. You should follow the calibration instructions in the manual, which the manufacturer of your meter provided.

Q. WHAT DOES A TDS OR EC METER MEASURE?
A. The electrical conductivity (EC) of your nutrient results from motion of mineral ions when the meter applies an electrical voltage. The ppM value of a sodium chloride solution happens to be very close to half of its conductivity value (in microSiemens/cm), so many meters display the conductivity as an equivalent NaCl amount.

Q. HOW DO I CONVERT BETWEEN TDS AND EC READINGS?
A. To obtain an approximate sodium chloride TDS value, multiply the EC reading (in micro Siemens/cm) by 1000 and divide by 2. To get an EC value, multiply the ppm reading by 2 and divide by 1000. Thus, if your EC is 1: 11000/2= 500 ppm. And if your ppm is 500: 5002/1000= 1 EC.

Q. HOW DOES THE TASTE OF HYDRPONIC PRODUCE COMPARE WITH SOIL GROWN PRODUCE?
A. Hydroponic produce frequently exceeds soil grown produce in terms of flavor and nutrition. This is because all of the nutrients required by the plant are immediately available when the plant needs them.

Q. WHY IS GROWING HYDROPONICLY BETTER THAN GROWING IN SOIL?
A. Hydroponic produce is cleaner than its soil grown counterpart, and the grower has the ability to adjust the nutrient feed for maximal growth and yield in the shortest time.

Q. IS FLORANOVA SERIES ORGANIC?
A. FloraNova Grow and Bloom contain 3-5% organic substances creating the marriage between mineral and organic gardening.

Q. CAN I FOLIAR FEED WITH GH NUTRIENTS?
A. Of course. Make sure you use a weaker nutrient solution than you would for root feeding. Avoid foliar feeding in the heat of the day and under excessive sunlight. Generally, the best times to foliar feed are in the early morning and late afternoon. Make sure you spray the undersides of the leaves. This is where the stomata or “lungs of the plant” are located, and where maximum absorption occurs.

Q. CAN GH NUTRIENTS BE USED IN SOIL?
A. Absolutely! All of our nutrient blends contain the necessary elements for plant growth. Start with the formula ratios identified on the label for the specific plant or crop you are growing, and then adjust and experiment until you find the right formula for your specific need.

Q. DO I USE FLORANOVA GROW AND FLORANOVA BLOOM AT THE SAME TIME?
A. Yes and no. The FloraNova series is designed to use one part at a time, but in a time of transition it may be beneficial to mix the two at half strength each (makes a full strength nutrient solution). Use FloraNova Grow in the vegetative stage and FloraNova Bloom in the fruiting/flowering stage. Note: If your plant is not fruiting or flowering plant, FloraNova Grow is all that you will need to use.

Q. DO I USE MAXIGROW AND MAXIBLOOM AT THE SAME TIME?
A. Yes and no. The Maxi series is designed to use one part at a time, but in a time of transition it may be beneficial to mix the two at half strength each (makes a full strength nutrient solution). Use MaxiGro in the vegetative stage and MaxiBloom in the fruiting/flowering stage. Note: If your plant is not fruiting or flowering plant, MaxiGro is all that you will need to use.

Q. What is better for a carbon filter? A Can Filter or ODORSOK ?
A. With Carbon filters you are getting what you pay for. Can Filters will last alot longer then an ODORSOK but cost alot more. ODORSOK’s work excellent but will not last aslong as CanFilter. Both work excellent but CanFilter will last longer so in the long run will be your best bet, if your on a tight budget and need a quick reliable fix to odor problems then the ODORSOK is an excellent choice.

Q. CAN-FILTERS- Do I need to replace the pre-filter?
A. It is a good idea to replace the pre-filter when they become dirty because the pre filter is blocking larger dirt and dust particles from getting into the pore structure of the carbon, a dirty pre filter increases the pressure, which will decrease the flow through the filter.

Q. CAN-FILTERS – What is the Maximum Temperature/Humidity I can run my filter at?
A. The maximum recommended temperature that you can run your filter at is 80 Degrees Centigrade, and as soon as your start rising above 70% humidity, the water molecules in the air start to get stuck in the carbon pore structure and slowly diminish the life of the filter.

Air FAQ’s

Q. What is the most effective way to eliminate my grow room odors?
A. Charcoal filters are very efficient in removing unwanted odors. They remove 99% of all grow room odor when used correctly. Nothing on the market can compete with a high quality charcoal filter for grow room odor removal.

Q. Do ozone generators work for odor removal?
A. Yes. Not nearly as effective as a charcoal filter but they do work to some degree. They do kill bacteria and fungi very well.

Q. Is ozone harmful to humans?
A. High levels of ozone can burn your skin and really hurt your eyes. Do not stare directly at the lamp in an ozone generator. If you can smell a strong ozone presence in your room that means you are using too much. Ozone will oxidize the cells in your lungs and can be hazardous to your health.

Q. How exactly does ozone work?
A. Ozone is 03. Oxygen is 02. Ozone is oxygen with a third atom stuck to it. It does not like having a third atom stuck to it and it will do anything to get rid of it. After about 1/2 an hour the third atom falls off looking to grab a partner. In this case fungi and bacteria are usually that partner. Once the 03 has shaken its third atom it becomes stable again and can move on. Ozone works best when it has a chance to mix or swirl with its particles.

Q. How does an ozone generator actually make ozone?
A. Ozone lamps (germicidal) produce high energy photons that hit oxygen gas and expand the electrons and a third oxygen comes together to form O3 (ozone). Germicidal lamps are powered by special ballast and come in a variety of different sizes to fit specific grow room requirements.

Q. How long does the average charcoal filter last?
A. That depends on the manufacturer. High quality filters such as Can filters or PHAT filters will last from 2- 3 years of continuous use. They can be repacked but its really not worth it by the time you by the carbon and get it in the odds of it working as well as when you got it are slim and none, These filters are professionally manufactured for long lasting unsurpassed duality while the average Joe at home cant possibly pack the carbon properly. After 3 years of use you should feel no worries about replacing it. I’m sure it has given you your moneys worth from it long ago.

Q. Is it good to use oscillating fans?
A. Yes, lots of air movement is essential for a productive indoor garden. Oscillating fans push the air through the leaves and the tops of the plants which is where good air flow is a must. Leaves take I n the air on there underside through tiny microscopic pores known as the stomata. Oscillating fans help keep a constant supply of air movement within the plants which really helps the plant replenish itself with fresh air.

Q. When should I use C02 in my grow room, Day or Night cycle?
A. C02 is only need when the lights are on. During the plants dark cycle the plants actually respire Co2 and breathe in oxygen just as human do.

Q. What airs the Best way to Produce C02 for my indoor garden?
A. There are 2 very good options. 1st being propane or natural gas C02 burners. 2nd being C02 tanks used with a regulator and solenoid hooked up to a timer. The propane and gas burners produce high amounts of heat, but are definitely more efficient cost wise to operate compared to the cylinders. Propane is easily available at local gas stations while cylinder usually has to purchase at a welding ship. Some hydro stores carry them for lease. If the room is large then the propane or gas burner is much more efficient. If heat is a serious problem then the cylinders definitely have an advantage in that they produce no heat but can get costly to operate on a large scale. The burners have been known to cause high humidity in the room so growers will have to really keep an eye on humidity when using a burner.

Q. When should I use C02 in my grow room, Day or Night cycle?
A. C02 is only need when the lights are on. During the plants dark cycle the plants actually respire Co2 and breathe in oxygen just as human do.

Q. What airs the Best way to Produce C02 for my indoor garden?
A. There are 2 very good options. 1st being propane or natural gas C02 burners. 2nd being C02 tanks used with a regulator and solenoid hooked up to a timer. The propane and gas burners produce high amounts of heat, but are definitely more efficient cost wise to operate compared to the cylinders. Propane is easily available at local gas stations while cylinder usually has to purchase at a welding ship. Some hydro stores carry them for lease. If the room is large then the propane or gas burner is much more efficient. If heat is a serious problem then the cylinders definitely have an advantage in that they produce no heat but can get costly to operate on a large scale. The burners have been known to cause high humidity in the room so growers will have to really keep an eye on humidity when using a burner.

Q. Is C02 really that important to my garden?
A. Yes It is. Growers on average report 20-30% increase in their yields when using C02 properly. C02 is what your plant breathes and requires for photosynthesis. It is truly amazing how well your garden will do when adding Co2. It is truly the best thing you can add to your garden to really get it growing in high gear. I cannot say enough good things about it. It is expensive to set up, but once you’re going look out because it’s going to get out of hand! Save your money from expensive additives and supplements and invest in a C02 system and you will be seriously impressed. I can sit here all day and tell you how great it is but you have to see it to believe it.

Q. What should my grow room temperature be at?
A. Optimal grow room temperature would be 75 – 85 F. After that photosynthesis starts to slow down because the stomata (leaves microscopic pores which breathe in air) close down to conserve water transpiration.

Q. What should the root zone temperature be at for optimal growth?
A. The ultimate temperature your roots will be most productive is 75 F (23.9 c)

Q. What is the purpose of adding C02 to my grow room?
A. C02 plays a major role in photosynthesis. The leaves produce sugars by using light to combine water and nutrients with C02. When you increase the rate of photosynthesis with C02 you increase the growth rate and the potential yield for your plant will increase.

Q. What is more efficient to operate, an inline fan or a squirrel cage fan?
A. Based on CFM per amperage inline fans are usually most efficient. They have been designed with maximum air flow at a minimum wattage leaving the grower with a very efficient product. Squirrel cages are becoming a thing of the past now with the evolution of inline fans taking over the market. That delivers so much more CFM per watt than the typical blower that only makes sense to invest in an inline fan.

Q. What is a quieter fan to operate? A squirrel cage fan or an inline fan?
A. Inline fans are extremely quiet and usually much more efficient than the squirrel cage fan. They typically have a higher CFM rating per watt than a squirrel cage fan and usually come with a 5 year warranty so it’s hard to beat them!

Q. What should the humidity be at in my grow room?
A. Ideally the humidity should sit around 55-65%. Any higher than 70% can pose a serious problem. High humidity in the dark cycle can lead to gray mold and can ruin a crop. Humidity is very important and should be maintained with a hygrometer. These are in expensive and really help. When the humidity reaches a high level a dehumidifier is a must. These can be purchased at Home depot or Wal-Mart and they work excellent. They can easily pull 5 gallons a day out of the air if your grow room is humid so keep an eye on your humidity levels.

Q. I have an 800 CFM fan exhausting out, what should I have bringing fresh air in to supplement the air going out?
A. You should always bring in at least 1/2 the amount of CFM into the grow area as you are exhausting out of the grow room. Constant fresh air is a true asset to any indoor garden and is defiantly needed for optimal growth.

Q. How much CFM should I have for every 1000 watt lamp had in my garden?
A. A safe recommendation is 125 CFM per 1000 watt lamp in the summer this should rise to 150 CFM per 1000 watt lamp. Excess heat can really slow production down.

Q. Is it possible to use a standard window air conditioner in my basement grow room?
A. Yes this is very easily done. It is very simple and works so well. First measure the dimensions of the rear of the unit. Call a heating and ducting company and have then fabricate you a box. Most ducting companies will do custom fabrication for very reasonable prices. Have them construct you a box 2 feet deep with a 4 inch round duct at the end. Have the box built so it fits perfectly over the rear of your window AC unit. The idea of the box is trap the heat produced from the rear of the unit. Once you have a fabricated steel box fasten it with self tapping screws to the AC unit. Attach a 4″ inline fan to the 4″ duct on your box to suck the heat from the AC unit. Vent the 4″ duct out a dryer duct or through the furnace to remove the heat the AC unit produces. It may seem like a lot but it is a simple procedure and it will really reduce the heat in your grow room. I had a box made for $45 and it worked like a charm.

Q. What type of ducting is better to use, aluminum flexible or the vinyl flexible?
A. Use the aluminum. It will retain the heat better than the vinyl will and will also retain the heat better. Aluminum ducting is not much more than the vinyl and is a much better purchase in the long run.

Q. What are the Stomata?
A. The Stomata is tiny microscopic pore on the leaves undersides that control the flow of air into the plant. Basically the Nostril of the plant. It is important to keep plants free of dust and dirt as it can clog these tiny pores. High humidity also affects the stomata by reducing its ability to respire. The surrounding air is so humid and full of after the plant can not breathe out as the surrounding air is full of water already and cannot accept the moisture the plant is trying to send off.

Q. What should the temperature in my cuttings area?
A. The room temperature should be between 72-75F for maximum rooting time.

Q. What precautions should I take with a Co2 burner? I’ve heard they can be dangerous?
A. C02 burners are safe when used correctly. The first precaution is to purchase a carbon monoxide detector. Theses are very cheap (around $ 40) and will let you know if your home reaches high levels of carbon monoxide. Co2 burners should be purchased based on grow room size and therefore should be safe to operate. Make sure your burner is mounted securely. Remember this is a fire hazard due to the fact there are flames burning at all times. Make sure nothing is in the way of the unit and that is secure and will not tip over. Test for leaks using soapy water at all fittings at least once a month. When used properly C02 burners are great. They do however require some care and are not for the average Joe who is just playing around.

Q. What is Dry Ice?
A. Dry ice is C02 that has been frozen and compressed into blocks. As it melts it turns from solid into gas releasing C02 into the air. Unfortunately it is hard to store and can get expensive to use.

Q. What is better for a carbon filter? A Can Filter or ODORSOK ?
A. With Carbon filters you are getting what you pay for. Can Filters will last alot longer then an ODORSOK but cost alot more. ODORSOK’s work excellent but will not last aslong as CanFilter. Both work excellent but CanFilter will last longer so in the long run will be your best bet, if your on a tight budget and need a quick reliable fix to odor problems then the ODORSOK is an excellent choice.

Q. CAN FILTERS – How do I install a Flange?
A. You can purchase a flange separate from your filter and fan or have it come with everything in a Box Combo all that you need to do is take the foam tape gasket and apply it to the outer edges of the flange then simply center the flange on the filter and use 6 Tek screws and drill into the top of the filter in a star pattern. And viola! Your flange is now attached to the filter.

Q. CAN FILTERS-How much CFM loss is there through the filter?
A. Every different size of filter provides a different resistance to each different size and style of fan you put on it, a filter at the maximum exhaust CFM rating has approximately 0.7 wg. pressure drop All Fans will have a lower CFM at a higher pressure. For Example at .5″wg The 10″ Max-Fan goes from 1019 CFM to 885 CFM, The 12″ Max-Fan would go from 1708 CFM to 1595 CFM.

Q. CAN-FILTERS- Do I need to replace the pre-filter?
A. It is a good idea to replace the pre-filter when they become dirty because the pre filter is blocking larger dirt and dust particles from getting into the pore structure of the carbon, a dirty pre filter increases the pressure, which will decrease the flow through the filter.

Q. CAN-FILTERS – Can my Filter be refilled?
A. Technically the filter can be re-filled, but it is not a good idea to self-fill the filters at all, the reason for this is that Can-Filters uses an industrial shaker with timed intervals and a dust extraction system, to ensure a packed carbon bed .This eliminates the possibility of preferred air channels through the filter, because as we all know, air does not wait in line to go through a filter it finds the path of least resistance and crowds in. So if you tried packing the filter yourself, as soon as you got it as full as you think you could get it, attached a fan and turned it on, the fan would vibrate the carbon, and over time the carbon would settle and you would be left with air gaps all over the place presenting the air with channels to flow through the filter and possibly leave untreated.
Q. CAN-FILTERS – What is the Maximum Temperature/Humidity I can run my filter at?
A. The maximum recommended temperature that you can run your filter at is 80 Degrees Centigrade, and as soon as your start rising above 70% humidity, the water molecules in the air start to get stuck in the carbon pore structure and slowly diminish the life of the filter.
Q. CAN-FILTERS – How long does the filter last?
A. The life of a filter is determined by the concentration of the contaminant, the relative humidity and the volume of air cleaned. Unfortunately there is no indicator light on the filter that tells you when it is ready to be replaced. Experience with one Can-Filter will give you an expectation for future Can-Filters in your particular application.
Q. CAN-FILTERS – What is the Can-Filters packed bed design?
A. During the manufacturing process Canfilters uses an industrial shaker to vibrate the filter to ensure the carbon bed is packed tight and full to the top. This process eliminates any preferential channels which would allow the odor to pass through the carbon without the proper contact time. Canfilters only uses quality activated carbon that is designed for our manufacturing process. The CFG packed bed design filter ensures the highest quality odor control.

Q. CAN-FILTERS- Is there a calculation for sizing a room?
A. Yes there is and it’s really quite simple, all you need to do is take your cubic feet of the room (Length x Width x Height) and divide that number by the number of minutes you would like to exchange the air in the room (Only 1 – 3 Minutes is recommended) and that will give you the recommended minimum CFM that you need for that room, then you take that Min CFM number and match it to one of our filters and as long as that Minimum recommended CFM is higher then the exhaust minimum on the filter you will have adequate airflow and proper filtration for that room.

Q. CAN-FILTERS- Are your fans Speed Controllable?
A. Yes. Both the Can-Fan and the Max-Fan line of fans are 100% speed controllable, Try the Can-Trol Speed Control for your 120V fans, This control provides absolutely no motor hum when controlling the fan, it also gives you the option to control the voltage entering your fan, with an easy to use dial you can go from 1v to 130V with a turn of your hand, no matter what voltage you run, your fan will not hum!

Q. CAN-FILTERS- Can you push or pull through the filter?
A. You can both pull through the filter or push air through the filter, if you are going to push air through the filter it is recommended to take off the outer pre-filter and place it before the intake of the fan so you can remove dust and dirt particulate before it enters your fan and filter.

Q. CAN-FILTERS- Can you push or pull through the filter?
A. You can both pull through the filter or push air through the filter, if you are going to push air through the filter it is recommended to take off the outer pre-filter and place it before the intake of the fan so you can remove dust and dirt particulate before it enters your fan and filter.

Q. CAN-FILTERS- How do I size the proper fan to a filter?
A. We actually put the recommended fan right on the sticker on the Can-Filter to take away any of the guess work you may have had to do in the past, but if you do not have a filter right in front of you the same formula for sizing a room works to size a fan to a filter and a filter to a room ( Length x Width x Height) gives your cubic feet and then divide that number by the number of minutes you would like the air to be exchanged in that room (only 1 to 3 minutes is recommended!!) and that will give you the recommended minimum CFM that you need for that room, then you take that Min CFM number and match it to one of our filters and as long as that Minimum recommended CFM is higher then the exhaust minimum on the filter you will have adequate airflow and proper filtration for that room.

Water FAQ’s

Q. Is it okay to use water from a dehumidifier to feed my plants?
A. I would recommend No. The water that comes out of a dehumidifier can contain many fungal spores especially if the unit is older. The high microbial contamination is not suitable for growing plants unless boiled first.

Q. Is there difference if I use tap water compared to distilled? Will Tap water affect growth rate negatively?
A. Yes there is quite a difference actually. Tap water may be suitable to drink but can contain high levels of minerals that may not be suitable for plants. You can have your water analyzed at the local waterworks company to find out a break down of what’s in the water. Usually tap water is usable for growing but using distilled water is much better. Distilled water is totally pure and is the best water to use to feed your plants. Growers who use well water will often have to use a reverse osmosis machine to clean their water and remove almost all impurities.

Q. If I have a pythium outbreak which is killing my root system can I use h202 to save them?
A. Using h202 in the reservoir will kill the pythium spores, but it may also damage healthy roots that are still remaining unless given the right dose. H202 will oxidize organic material in general, rather than only killing the pythium. Once the damage is gotten this far it’s hard to control. When it comes to pythium the best method for control is prevention. If your crop is close to being done then the best thing to do would be to finish it off and after harvest sterilize everything! Try and keep on top of it this time. Keep reservoir temperature.

Q. Should I pre-treat my water by letting it sit out for 24 hours before adding the nutrients?
A. Yes, allowing it to sit with the lid off of the container for 24-48 hours will allow the chlorine in the water to dissipate.

Q. Can plants live in salt water?
A. Most plants do not respond well to saltwater, but different plants have different levels of sodium tolerance. Eventually feeding with saltwater will kill your plants, so this is not recommended.

Q. What does “PH” mean?
A. PH stands for probable hydrogen. It is a measurement of a nutrient solution’s relative concentration of positive hydrogen ions. It is measured in a scale of 14. 0 being neutral and below 7 is acidic and above 7 is called alkaline.

Q. Is PH really that important? What does it affect?
A. Yes it is extremely important. The PH affects the way a plant absorbs it’s nutrients. If the plants PH is too low (acidic), acid salts bind up nutrients chemically and the roots are unable to absorb them. Too high of a PH (alkaline) and certain nutrients become unavailable.

Q. Does a point or two really matter on the ph scale? 6 or 7, what’s the big deal if I’m out a bit?
A. For every full point change in PH causes in an increase or decrease by 10 times. For example soil with a PH of 6 is 10 times more acidic than soil with a PH of 7Soil with a PH of 6 is 100 times more acidic than soil with a PH of 8. So yes a point or two really does matter.

Q. What do I use to adjust my Ph levels in my nutrient solution?
A. To adjust and make the PH lower or more acidic you can use PH down, a pre mix concentrate which is usually phosphoric or nitric acid but a number of acids will work to lower the PH. To raise the PH use a pre mix concentrate which is usually potassium hydroxide.

Q. Can I adjust my PH using the chemicals from my pool to lower the PH?
A. No. While it will lower the PH, your plants will not be happy. It might cause a reaction with fertilizer salts in your nutrient solution.

Q. Should I use nitric acid or phosphoric acid to lower my PH?
A. If you are in the vegetative stage use nitric acid. It will give your plants a small amount of nitrogen. If you are in the flowering stage use the phosphoric acid and it will give your plants a small amount of phosphorus.

Q. Is Ozone a good way to sterilize my water?
A. Yes, ozone is the strongest oxidant for disinfecting your water. Use ozone prior to mixing your nutrient solution. Clean the water first using ozone, and then add the nutrients. The ozone will not react well with the nutrients.

Q. What I the best water source to use to germinate my seeds?
A. The best would be distilled, and is also very readily available. Tap water has a high chlorine content but if left out for 24 hours it will have enough time for the chlorine to dissipate and will be suitable swell, providing it’s not well water. But distilled is definitely the way to go.

Q. Sometimes my nutrient solution gets milky and cloudy even though I have an air pump running all day, all night, Why is this?
A. Possibly the beginning of a certain type of algae, or perhaps just residue from your medium. If the medium is rock wool or hydroton it is harmless. Possibly your nutrients are precipitating in the reservoir resulting in a cloudy deposit. If your reservoir temperature is climbing too high this can also have a negative effect on your nutrient solution. Make sure your reservoir temperature is running between 55 – 65 f. The warmer the reservoir the less available oxygen is there for the roots. As temperature raises this really slows down the growth rate and becomes prone to disease and fungal attack.

Q. Can I add co2 to my nutrient solution Will this increase my yield?
A. No, plants do not take c02 through the root system. This will have no positive affect what so ever. Add Oxygen to your root system instead to ensure an optimal growth rate. The roots combine sugars with oxygen to produce energy for the plant. The plant breathes in C02 to produce those sugars it needs to convert to energy. This cycle is known as Photosynthesis.

Q. How can I add Oxygen to my nutrient solution?
A. The best and most cost effective way is to use a suitable size air pump running on a continual basis.

Q. What should my water temperature be at in a hydroponics nutrient solution?
A. The Ideal temperature for the nutrient solution to be at is between 55-65 F.

Q. What are some of the preventative measures I can take to protect my water reservoir against pythium attack?
A. Some growers use chitosan or silica in the reservoir to increases the plants natural defense system. Some also use a variety of beneficial microbes in the nutrient solution to fight off any opposing fungi. Keep your nutrient solution clean and at the right temperature (55 – 65 F). Always clean and sterilize equipment between each crop.

Q. Why am I getting Algae build up on my flood table in the corners where the water sits?
A. The algae are forming due to the light coming in contact with the standing water in your table corners. Try and cover this some how. Fill it with clay pellets or a piece of white poly but somehow block the light from coming in contact with the standing water. Algae are bad and are a breeding ground for fungus gnats.

Q. My nutrients are always cloudy in my water, even when I mix a totally new and clean mixture?
A. If the fertilizer is granular (dry) then this is very common and is usually caused by a protective coating that is applied to it while being manufactured. If you are using liquid fertilizer and clouding still occurs on a regular basis you should contact the manufacturer of the fertilizer and find out why. Make sure you mix your fertilizer in the specified order. Often times manufacturers require there fertilizer be mixed in a certain order.

Q. Should I use H2o2 on my seedlings in rock wool?
A. No it is not needed this young in the plants early stage. At this stage there will be hardly any organic matter for the h202 to attack therefore it will attack fragile little root hairs. Older root systems are stronger and more resistant to h202 damage unless extremely high doses occur.

Q. How do I lower my PPM in my nutrient solution?
A. Just add water until PPM reaches desired level. Only do this once. After one time the nutrient tank should be drained and replaced with a fresh new mixture. Always monitor your nutrient solution for drastic changes in ppm.

Q. Why does my PH change so much?
A. In the bloom stage the plants use allot of potassium which naturally acidifies the nutrient solution.

Q. If I use Styrofoam as my medium will this affect the PH?
A. Certain types of Styrofoam and polystyrene can have toxicity problems with plants. Certain type’s work fine for growers and I will do more research into which ones work okay. Commercial lettuce operations are often run in Styrofoam. I will definitely get back to you on this one. Great question!

Q. What does NFT stand for?
A. Nutrient film Technique. It works by running a thin film of nutrient solution over the plants root system usually in a flood or trough system. This very old method and is very effective for high yields.

Q. My Reservoir temperature is high, how can I lower the temperature economically?
A. First thing is to get your reservoir out of to your grow room or as far away from the lights as possible. If you can possibly dig a whole deep in the ground and drop your reservoir beneath surface level this will also help allot. A cheap but real pain in the ass method is to freeze 2 liter bottles of water and constantly add one to the reservoir because they will only last a couple of hours. If you want to go high tech then you can invest in a reservoir chiller that will cool your nutrient solution by running it through refrigerated coils set by thermostat. Unfortunately these units are costly but are worth every penny when temperatures get too high. If the temperature in your reservoir gets too hot growth rate will slow immediately and you will see the effects very quickly. High reservoir temperatures leave the nutrient solution prone to disease and fungal attacks. Keep the nutrient solution between 55-66F for optimal growth.

Q. What should my watering cycle before a hydroponics flood and drain system? I am using a mix of hydroton and rock wool?
A. Because the hydroton and rock wool mixture will retain some water, watering once an hour for 2-3 minutes would be a sufficient feeding cycle. When the plants are very young the time can be reduced to every 2 hours instead of for every 1 hour. Watering in the night cycle can be reduced to every 4 hours. Many of the cycle stat timers now come with photocells and a night mode which will automatically reduce the feeding cycle for the dark periods. They are a definite must in any indoor garden running on an automated feeding system.

Q. Do certain plastics leach back into the nutrient solution like Rubbermaid containers and plastic pails for example? Are these types of products safe for use in a hydroponics system?
A. Usually products such as Rubbermaid are rate as food grade based on the fact that food could quite possibly be stored in them. Always look for food grade plastics when seeking out material for a hydroponics garden. Better to be safe than sorry. Some plastics can leach back releasing harmful toxins into the water system so be careful what you use. The safest bet would be to purchase equipment for hydroponics growing so you know it will be made of the correct materials. These can be purchased right here online or at your local hydro shop.

Q. Is it good to add potassium silicate to my nutrient solution?
A. Yes, it is very beneficial to your garden. It increases the plants resistance to disease as well as salinity. It also increases the pant in strength and health. Use potassium silicate in your reservoir in small doses always to maintain a strong resistant plant.