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ph drift .....

Discussion in 'Hydroponics / Aeroponics' started by forest42, Jan 24, 2014.


    forest42 Member

    sorry if this has been covered before but i could not find anything quite the same as what i have going on.
    also I'm not sure if this should go here or in the aerogarden section

    I just started doing this. and this only my 2nd post here at RIU.
    so i am using aerogardens. i will call them 1 and 2. i have been adding to my setup from the start.
    1 in a grow tent with a 150 HPS and an air pump. 2 is outside the tent and has the areogarden light and an air pump.
    1 in the tent is flowering and 2 is just starting from seeds.
    1 i have been using thechnaflora recipe for success from the beginning (from seeds)and they are currently one to three weeks from being done. i started with 1/2 half strength and slowly bumped that up each week watching carefully for signs of over feeding and now at full strength.
    so far they look very nice to me. like some of the pictures i see here. :mrgreen:
    2 i am using the Lucas formula with 5ml of pro-tekt. and 2 drops of superthrive. i bought the starter kit of that too so i do have the rapidstart, floralisious plus ,florablend, liquid koolbloom, florakleen. Even though i like measuring out all the little bottles of stuff it makes me feel like I'm really doing something, like a mad scientist or a smart person. The florablend had stuff floating in it, so after lots of reading and other people that don't really know saying it seemed like there was a lot of overlap in using all of them i decided to try not using that stuff.
    i tell you all that so i can ask these questions.
    my ph drifts every day.
    i started with gallon jugs of sprain water from the store. A few weeks ago i bought a zero water picture and have been using that, what a pain in the ass that is . I have been mixing a batch of food every week set 1 with the technaflora the ph is always a perfect 6. On day 6 i drain that food water and put in plain ph balanced to 6 water. Then the next day i drain that and ad new food water.
    When 1 was started and all through vegg mode the ph kept drifting up to as high as 8. i use a few drops GH ph down to adjust it to between 6.5 and 7 but i am scared to add too much.
    As soon as i put them into flower mode the ph began to drift down every day to as low as 4.7 Again i use a few drops GH ph up to adjust it to mid 5s and again i am scared to add too much.
    to adjust i add a drop of up or down wait a bit check it trying to use as little as possible i think i have used up to 7 drops at times both directions.
    now with set 2 (from seeds) using the Lucas formula with 5ml of protect. and 2 drops of super thrive i have had to ad ph down to get it to six, again using more than i think i should. Again the ph is drifting up every day. they also look nice. they may be a little thin and tall... they are young and I'm new.

    why is it drifting? is it normal? how much of this up down stuff can i use? Is it amazing anything is still alive let alone looking good?

    i don't have a TDS or PPM meter. I really don't know what to get and i just got the ph meter $ and still need a usb microscope $ or something. I was using the GH test kit before but i was throwing away my water every time i tested and with only a gallon to start with...

    so yeah... if you'r still reading this thank you. if you have answers or advise to offer thank you ahead of time.

    forest42 Member

    also between feeding i top off the water with just plain 6ph water

    donmagicjuan Active Member

    superthrive will strongly change the ph very acidic i think...but im not familiar with ur stuff

    waterdawg Well-Known Member

    You really need to get a EC/TDS but it sounds to me like your over feeding (real newb here). If you have a meter you can monitor how much the plant is using and adjust. You can buy them relatively cheap $20-30 for an HM like i use. I'm sure others can offer more experienced advice.

    forest42 Member

    ok will get a meter.

    waterdawg Well-Known Member

    Also go to a hobby store. Thats were i got my 60x-100x pocket scope for $20 and it works ok as well.

    forest42 Member

    ok i got a meter....

    ThorGanjason Well-Known Member

    What are the ingredients of your pH up and down?

    For me personally, I only ever have to use the pH down, and I use botanicares stuff but it is phosphoric acid, so it breaks down into usable phosphorous for the plant. I use a 20 gallon res with 10-12 gallons, and sometimes I have to add like 10-15 mils of the pH down to get a fresh res adjusted. You definitely want to keep your pH in range, don't be afraid to add more than a couple drops. I'm not as sure about the pH up, I can't remember what is used in it but I'm sure its a similar situation (although I do think you have to be a little more careful not to add too much of it, but again a few drops isn't gonna do too much damage.

    How much water does the system hold? TDs meters are suuuuper important. On my feed schedule, it will tell me to mix certain amounts of the stuff, and then will say my ppm should be around like (as an example) 1700, but after checking with the meter it will only be at like 1200, so I have to add a lot more.

    Its also important to know if your ppms are dropping equally with the water level; if the ppms are getting higher as the water level is getting lower, then you are either losing water through evaporation, or you have a little bit of lockout going on and the plants are drinking water but not absorbing nutrients.

    But yeah, the pH does drift. Mine is always going up, and every day I have to add pH down to get it back where I need it. Keep your pH between 5.3/5.4 and 6.4/6.5. I think 5.8 is the best, but everyone has their own sweet spot. Only adjust the pH when it goes above or below the levels, don't try taking it down if its only at 6.1.

    Good luck bro, I'm a newbie myself but am having great results with my homemade aero setup.
    View attachment 2977813

    forest42 Member

    thanks for the input.
    i am using general hydroponics up and down
    up = Base formulated using Potassium Hydroxide and Potassium Carbonate. Add a little at a time if your nutrient pH is too low in order to raise the pH to the proper level.
    down =
    Acid formulated using food grade Phosphoric acid. Just add a little at a time if your nutrient pH is too high in order to lower the pH to the proper level.

    i kinda figured out what the meter does. i do believe i am losing water through evaporation, or have a little bit of lockout going on.
    I currently have 1 gallon res. they are aerogarden
    for my young plants (from seeds)
    i mixed a new batch of lucas a little more than 1/2 strength (5/10) and measured the PPM and got about 640. i checked the very young plants 3 weeks res and it was very close 650.
    for my old plants using the technaflora i checked the recipe card and it said it should be 1430. i measured the res and it was 1370 so that was close.

    today when i checked them the water dropped a bit about the same amount in both systems the PPM in both systems went up. when i added plain water ph adjusted to 6 and remeasured the numbers were back close to what they were. ( maybe i need to start writing these numbers down?)

    the old plants using the technaflora the ph went way down again like it does everyday added 7 drops of up to get it to 5.5...

    the system with the young plants using the lucas formula and 5ml of pro-tekt the ph is remaining stable :)

    my next dumb question:
    errr how do i say this.........
    the ph seems to change with a lot less up and down in very low ppm water and takes more up or down with 1200 ppm water.

    with fresh water my ppm is about 11. to change the ph from 7 to 5 only takes 3 drops of down. if the water is full of nutrients it take way more.


    stonedest Well-Known Member

    Each nutrient will have add it's own component toward the total reservoir ph, either up or down. This will also act as a "buffer" against additional additives. Your water starts at a very low ppm as you see, you add nutrients and that ups the ppm, which also adjusts the ph. So now you have to adjust the ph not only against the water but against the nutrients.

    So, this makes perfect sense, and this is why you should adjust ph after adding all your nutrients. Also remember, ph up/down will also contribute to the ppm, especially if you screw up and have to add down then up then down again : )

    forest42 Member

    thanks so much

    waterdawg Well-Known Member

    You are always going to have to chase it with a gallon res. you need to make a bigger aero garden lol. Seriously though they are great for herbs, not pot IMO, just way to small. Build yourself a double tote flood and drain, their cheap and fairly stable, or a DWC pail. I didnt have great luck with those, but again I'm a newb!

    forest42 Member

    your right i need to upgrade that part. it's deff the weakest link in the chain. i like the way the water circulates but i doubt that even does anything after the roots get down to the reservoir.

    what didn't you have good luck with the DWC pail or the aerogarden.

    waterdawg Well-Known Member

    Sorry! DWC, I have had great success with the double totes and run 3 of them with 4-6 plants each.

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