best nutrients to use in hydro

Discussion in 'Hydroponics / Aeroponics' started by Bernie420, Mar 29, 2018.


    Keesje Well-Known Member

    ppm scale sucks.
    Why do not all manufacturers of EC-devices use EC?
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    southernguy99 Well-Known Member

    You guys are putting way to much stock in meter reading both ppm and ec. All that really is telling you is how much mineral ions that are dissolved in the water, as a total , it doesn't tell you if its the right mineral ions for the plants needs, just the total, so if your a beginner using bottle nutes and you need a ballpark reference on how much to feed then use EC or PPM other then that any experienced grower should not need to rely on any meter readings to grow.

    Another thing EC readings are going to be different for everyone no matter what, even if 2 different people are growing the same strain.That water to mineral ratio is going to be different just because of all the different factors in involved in that ratio (water to minerals ) size of plants, size or roots and condition, temperature, lighting, humidity etc etc . those are a few that will factor into the water to mineral ratio that your plant needs or can handle (EC). this all factors into the a bigger picture of the plants nutrient uptake viability and what that actually is. So as far as i'm concerned its a tool for the beginner grower, because any Experienced grower should all ready have an understand on how much to feed, but more so then that you should be able to read the plant as it will tell you precisely if your to weak or to strong and it will also tell you what elements are to strong to to weak., far better then any meter out there.

    im4satori Well-Known Member

    I cant say I agree except in the case of soil or those that have some advanced understanding on how to mix fertilizers

    ppm meters do suck... but they get the job done if that's what you have..

    but an EC meter should be universal and the only differences would be related to source water

    for hydro...EC meter is a very useful tool to track the changes in your waste samples (open system, dtw) or reservoir (closed system, recirculating)changes over time... those observed changes are how a good gardener knows to adjust there regimen accordingly

    since a person might have advanced knowledge on fertilizer mixing ratios its easy for he/she to forgo the tool after dialing things in... and maybe its only used on rare occasions if something diagnostically comes up

    but until you got things dialed in perfectly its a great way to get there and even a change in what strain you grow could require a n adjustment... or if your environment changes thru season that could also make adjustments necessary, all of which can be in part determined thru an EC/PH daily log
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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    churchhaze Well-Known Member

    I honestly find an EC meter to be useless other than roughly analyzing my tap water.

    I know what I put in my reservoir because I measure it with a scale when making the stock solutions, so what's the point of measuring it again? I know how much water I put in. It's not exactly a mystery what's in there.

    pH meter on the other hand... I'd be lost without that. I have to add a ton of nitric acid with my tap water. It stays over 7.0pH until the last few mL, where it can easily tank below 3.
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    southernguy99 Well-Known Member

    And thats the difference in grow styles, my opinion is a meter should never have to tell a good grow what to do,that should be the plant, the meter should only be there to verify, I understand for newer grower the EC tool is a useful tool, but if one relies solely on a meter and sets the solution to the same every time and relies on that , and never learns how to read the plant your never going to know if the solution is optimal or not.

    if your running a different system all the time yes an EC meter will help you quickly verify the solution, if your running the same system all the time it should be easy x amount of water x amount nutes = x amount of EC unless your using different nutes all the time.

    if i'm running a new strain , same system same nutes, I cut my nutes down a little weak, I adjust until my plant tells me its as happy as can be and then i verify what the EC is for that strain in case I want a quick reference. there is no preset EC for the strain in my system, no one can tell me what it should be other then ballpark and then they could still be way off, So for me the only accurate way to set the nutes is by what the plant is telling you. it doesn't lie. but I learned to grow before all these meters were every wheres and before everyone became a meter reader grower.

    besides one could screw up mixing there nutes and add to much of one and not enough of something else , even though the EC reads right where it should be, it doesn't tell your nutes are not right. but if you understand the plant it will. not only that but someone who mixes there own nutes precisely to what the plants needs and keeps it balanced, elements to elements and to the plants needs, and say runs an EC of 1.2 is going to mean something totally different to the plant then someone who runs an 1.2 EC from bottled nutes .

    I'm not saying an EC meter doesn't have it place because it does, but I'm saying is, is if someone want to become the best grow they can learn and understand what your plant is saying and doing,it will tell you far more and be more reliable them any meter.
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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    southernguy99 Well-Known Member

    Yes Church an accurate PH meter is a must for any hydro grow.
    churchhaze likes this.

    im4satori Well-Known Member

    the average home hobbiest isn't going to have advanced knowledge on precisely mixing his or her nutes

    suggesting to a new growers an EC pen isn't needed and highly useful, to each there own I guess......... I understand you and I may not need to use the EC pen except on occasion...but the thread starter asked a question that clearly indicates he doesn't have that knowledge...

    good growers may not need tools of this or that because they been doing the same shit forever... ok! but that shouldn't suggest to most home hobbiest that there not a "good grower" if they find an EC pen useful

    EC pen can tell you when its time to flush or if a flush is required, if your under feeding or over feeding, provide hints on water frequency and durations

    I just use the ph dropper kit to check my ph... but I run drain to waste so I rarely check it anyway
    but im not going to tell peeps they don't need a ph meter because I don't use one

    I dont use one because I know exactly what I need to add to my stock solutions to offset my source water using either, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, or pek acid and I been doing it long enough to I could about mix it from memory

    but I guess its all just semantics... I respect your opinion and appreciate the conversation

    like you said...difference in grow styles

    I don't have reservoirs so I don't have the need to track my ph..its always the same and never changes

    of course that's provided I mix it proper lol
    an EC meter isn't going to tell me "hay dumb ass you measured your shit wrong" nope lol
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Im a newbie, so Im still trying to learn all I can. I found this chart a while back on another forum. It tells how to interpret EC/PH readings and water level changes and how they relate to "proper/improper" feeding levels.

    Im curious to know what you folks, with more experience than I have, think of this chart. I have been using it for a couple of weeks now and so far it is telling me - mostly - to lower my EC levels.

    I am using Mega Crop. I was feeding as hi as 6 or 7 gms/gal which (with all the other things added) gave me a final EC of around 2.0-2.2mS depending on the PH level. Im now down to around 1600 uS and it still says I need to lower EC. The plants looked pretty good to me at 2.0mS. They were maybe a little dark green, but with no burning. Im also running added CalMag and HydroGuard. My tap water is well water and it varies from around 175uS to close to 300 uS depending on how much it has rained recently.

    Anyway, Im mostly wanting some feed back on the charts accuracy and usefulness for a newbie. I have not been able to find the original thread where this was posted.

    (note: the green arrows are mine)


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    im4satori Well-Known Member

    that's all a bit complicated for something that's simple and short and although I see bits I agree with I also don't understand the point to some of it

    to simplify

    EC goes up and or PH goes down, lower EC
    EC goes down and PH goes up, consider raising EC

    I prefer to see a slight increase in PH and the EC stay flat or slightly drop

    with a little time and a log and will start to see your system and the way I trends, how your specific set up trends will partly be determined by plant count vs reservoir size

    in my mind/goal/opinion/perfect world
    the ideal reservoir size and the proper nutrient levels your ph would start at 5.4 on sunday and slowly drift upward to 6.4 thru the week as the EC level stayed the same or drop slightly

    no top offs, no ph adjustemnts ... then youd dump and begin again!

    but the world is far from perfect and these goals not always practical for every set up... if you have a small reservoir with large plant counts the ph is going to drift more youll want to log your EC/ph so you can see the trends and adjust

    typically as a rule; (again environmental factors and reservoir size set aside)
    if your ph swings upward faster than normal..thats a sign to increase the feed
    if you ph doesn't rise your likely over feeding
    ... if the drift is slow and steady upward your in the sweet spot

    again youll need to account for your reservoir size and get familiar with how things trend to identify if the quick swing is from an undersized reservoir or not

    like wise an over sized reservoir will also show changes slower

    so you gotta get familiar with your system...some of these will be dependent on your set up

    EC again, I like ot see a slow downward drift in EC

    if your over feeding the EC will accumulate in the medium, if the reservoir EC is climbing theres a good chance you need to flush
    if your pushing nutes at high levels and you want to do that that's your choice!! but if you don't flush weekly your going to eventually end up with some messed up plants

    im in drain to wate so I don't have a reservoir to track the feed is always the same and always new

    so I take samples from the solution directly from the rockwool cube and test it

    if the sample/waste EC is higher than the feed... I either, need to water longer durations or lower my EC

    if the ph of the feed solution is 5.5 and the waste samples are 6.5 or higher I might consider adjusting water frequency or increase EC

    just to add another example
    I run drip lines to feed, if I get both an extreme rise in ph and and rise in EC I might need to adjust the watering schedule.. instead of watering 1minutes every 3 hours maybe I need to water 3 miuntes every 3 hours.... not getting enough volume thru the medium could cause this on top of also over feeding would only amplify
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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    im4satori Well-Known Member

    while watching what your plants tell you is smart

    id prefer to not have to burn the tips of the leaves before I realize im over feeding
    or see deficiency and slowed growth to realize im under feeding

    while those visible skills are important to have or recognize, I would consider it re-active more than pro-active

    so no
    a meter isn't going to jump out and yell "ah you mixed your nutes wrong you dumb fucker", but it will provide indications that will help you stay ahead of potential issues at least until your dialed in
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the detailed reply! That helps a lot.

    So far, my PH is constantly rising, but its slow. Typically about .3 to .5 over about a week. The EC had been going up much faster - maybe 500uS to 600 uS over the same time. Im now down to around 1600uS (from 2.1-2.3mS) and the rate of increase is much slower, but still rising. Im going to continue lowering the EC as I top off the rez.
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    im4satori Well-Known Member

    your doing it backward

    and your still way to high

    give them a flush (not sure what your medium is)

    drop down to EC 1.3.... then work your way up until the EC barely falls and the ph rises slow

    going backward/down complicates or skews things because youll also be seeing the results of over fertilizing and itll be hard to hear what the plants are saying to you

    underfeeding is e3asy and fast to fix... over feeding can take time to correct
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    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    That makes sense. Thanks for the tip!

    Rez change time I guess.....
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    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    I did a rez change 5 days ago. My tap water started out at 208uS. I added Mega Crop until the EC was reading 1379uS, so about 1170uS of Mega Crop. Then I added some Cal Mag which brought the combined EC up to 1578uS.

    The EC continued to go up along with the PH, but slower. So I drained out some water and topped it off with PH'ed tap water. The rez has been holding right at 1350uS for the last three days and the PH is barely climbing over the same time period.

    So, in my system with this strain, your recommendation of 1.3mS (about 900uS of that is Mega Crop, 208 water, 200 CalMag) looks pretty darn good :)


    Oh - the color on new growth looks really good to me. Not nearly as dark as it had been.
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    im4satori Well-Known Member

    sounds like your getting it dialed in
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    Bernie420 Well-Known Member

    So can somebody explain why I am feeding all this nitrogen to my plants when everything I ever learned is to cut out nitrogen about week two of flower. You cant cut out all the nitrogen my Part A and B had some in it and if you add cal/mag that has nitrogen in there too but I have never added nitrogen if I didn't have to, especially in flower.

    I learned that excessive nitrogen in mother plants can delay/hinder rooting if taking clones from a mother plant and delay flowering if you have excessive nitrogen going into the flowering cycle.

    I should of followed my instincts instead of the chem-gro feed chart. Cant blame any advice here as I was following the feed chart to begin with thinking that powdered nutes was some sort of different animal than my H&G nutes. It may be but the nitrogen is jacking up my shit. There is no other reason for it other than the chem-gro sucks my problem is nutes I have had no other issues about anything with this grow. Heck I even bought new bulbs so that wouldn't be a reason if something didn't go right. Its nute related.

    My buds look like they are week 3-4 and I am in week 6 with only two more weeks to go. I have grown this strain out dozens of times they should be jammin but their weak. I'm going to do a water change this weekend and just run the chem-gro by itself. Going to put the chem-gro about 750 ppm of that and add about 50 ppm of cal/mag to put it about 800 ppm thats a 1.6 ec to see if they bounce back. Can't push them too much since their jacked up.

    im4satori Well-Known Member

    I cant really say much more to you
    so im going to stop posting in your thread I guess, seems like your not really taking in or grabbing what im throwing

    I gave you all the mixing instructions, why your using calmag with chem-gro I have no idea

    this is a product that tons of people use with absolute success and the mix I gave you is used by many notable members

    peace and positive vibes be with you

    Bernie420 Well-Known Member

    I havent used calmag with chem-gro yet. Maybe one of the many notable members with absolute success can explain to me why my flowers are about the size of a nickel in week six after four weeks of following the recommended nutrient ratio application.

    What I can come up with is excessive nitrogen in the flower cycle. So why wouldnt I try cal/mag a 2-0-0 and drop the 15.5-0-0 cal/nit

    im4satori Well-Known Member

    ah ok, I apologize, I misunderstood, I thought you where already adding calmag also for some strange reason

    the three formulas I provided;

    each with full descriptions and showing the amount of N in each formula

    late bloom

    if you feel your N is too high then choose the late bloom formula mix that has the lower amount of N

    I already provided you with an option to reduce N

    go back and look at the post again and look at the ppm numbers for each of the elements
    looking strictly at N and from memory +/-

    veg N 120ppm
    bloom N 100ppm
    late bloom N 80ppm

    notice how the N drops lower depending on the mix ratio
    youll also notice the P will increase as you get later into bloom

    adding the calmag (which you are correct in that its an option but...) is only going to confuse things since you really don't know how much youll need to balance your cation/fertilizer ratios

    theres a delicate balance between K & Ca & Mg
    these three elements will compete for uptake and they need to be balanced to prevent issues, the formulas I gave you are perfectly balanced as they are and adding calmag is only going to mess up the ratios

    if you just stick to the 3 recipes youll be in good shape as for as your nutes being balanced they'll be very little to no tweaking needed to dial it in

    I suspect your likely over feeding all around and that's why your N is high and your buds are small... what EC are you running?
    a proper range would be max or full strength EC1.2 (lowest) to EC 1.5 (highest)

    my set up perfectly dialed in sits perfect at EC1.3... for some its a little higher... but theres no reason to feed anything higher than EC1.5... if you are I would bet money that's your issue with reduced bud size

    this is all assuming your in hydro, I don't recall your medium, I know you've told me but im a stoner lol

    im4satori Well-Known Member

    chemgro 4-20-39 = mix
    calcium nitrate = calnite
    magnesium sulfate = Epsom
    mono potassium phosphate = mkp

    veg grams per gallon
    2.5 calnite
    2 Epsom
    1.5 mix

    N 118
    P 35
    K 128
    Mg 52
    Ca 125 (high depending on source water)

    bloom grams per gallon (good for all of bloom)
    2 grams calnite
    2 grams Epsom
    2 grams mix

    N 103
    K171 (high only for coco)
    mg 52
    Ca 100

    late bloom grams per gallon (optional high P and lower N but not required)
    1.6 grams calnite
    1.5 grams Epsom
    1.5 grams mix
    0.5 grams mkp

    N 81
    P 65
    K 166
    Mg 39
    Ca 80

    always mix it ther same way/ratios, dilute to desired/target EC/PPM
    for a higher EC/ppm add slightly less water
    for a lower EC/ppm add/dilute slightly more water

    take a minute and watch the yield numbers

    notice the N for example in veg is higher and then drops for bloom and drops again in late bloom

    meanwhile the P does the opposite as it increases while the N drops

    these are good mix ratios youll be very happy with

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