What follows are a few of the many questions that gardeners have about their plants.
Please select one of the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) listed bellow:
- Once I have placed an order with iHidroUSA, how will I know the status of my order?
- What is the time period for processing and shipping orders?
- What form of payment methods does iHidroUSA accept?
- What is hydroponics?
- Why should I use a hydroponic system?
- Are there different types of hydroponic setups?
- What are growth mediums?
- Is there an advantage in growing my own vegetables and fruits?
- Is Hydroponic product organic?
- Are your products legal?
- Can you ship internationally?
- Can purchases be picked up locally?
- What kind of warranty do you offer?
- My product arrived damaged, what do I do?
- How long will it take a plant to flower from a seed?
- How long will it take a plant to flower from a cutting?
- Can I take a cutting from a cutting?
- How do I create a sealed grow room?
- How can you vent away the heat from the grow lights?
- The Addition of CO2
- How do I control the humidity and temperature inside the sealed garden?
- What is the ideal humidity level for my sealed garden?
- What is the ideal humidity level for my sealed garden?
- My flower has grown black or grey fuzz on them, is something wrong?
- What is an LED light and how is it used?
- What is Sulphur Plasma Lighting and how it is used?
- How Much Light is required for My Plants?
- What length of time should I leave my Grow Lights on?
- How far away should the Light be from the Plants?
- Can I use natural sunshine for my indoor plants?
- The Differences between Magnetic and Digital HID Ballasts
- The Definition of a Conversion Lamp
- Will I Need a Reflector?
- How safe is it to run a 1000 watt lamp in my Home?
- What is a “Flip Box” or Relay?
- How Do I Get Rid of Spider Mites?
- I see White Powder on the Leaves of my plants, is that a problem?
- I see Rusty and Black Spots on my Leaves, what is going on?
- What are the Types of Insects that might Attack my Garden?
- I have found Spiders in my grow room, will they eat my plants?
- How can I keep Insects out of my Grow Room?
- What Can I Do When I See Bugs on my Plants?
- How do I know what Type of Insect is attacking my Plants?
- How Do I Order a Natural Insect Predator?
- What is the Proper Way to Test the Nutrient Concentration?
- What are the Differences between the EC and PPM?
- What is the Ideal Level of pH?
- What’s the purpose of adjusting the pH in my Nutrient Solution?
- I’ve noticed that the pH Level keeps fluctuating?
- To aerate my nutrient solution, just how much air do I need?
- Do I need Reverse Osmosis or Distilled Water for my Hydroponic Garden?
- May I use Well Water for my Plants?
- What Good Fertilizers are there for Plants?
- What is the Strength of the Fertilizer I should Use for Different Stages of Plant Growth?
- I have other questions, what should I do?
We will keep you informed regarding your order through your email. Once your purchase has shipped, we will send your tracking number via your email. You may also check the status of your order at your status page at any time.
Processing your order takes between 3 to 7 business day before shipping out. For National Shipments: Once your order has been shipped, it takes between 3 and 5 business days to arrive to you. International Shipments take 3 to 15 business days to arrive to you. We will ship your items through USPS, UPS, FedEx or DHL. The carrier depends on the warehouse your merchandise will be shipped from.
Our approved methods of payment are:
- Paypal (only with a Confirmed Address)
- Western Union
All forms of payment must be received and cleared for fraud prevention purposes. Once payment has been received and cleared, your item(s) will be shipped out.
This is a method of growing that does not use soil. It requires less water and offers a much higher yield than traditional growing methods.
Anyone who is a gardener knows that there is a great deal of labor involved in maintaining a garden. A hydroponic system takes a lot of the labor out of growing your garden. Your garden can be grown inside your house and it takes up very little space.
Yes, we offer many different types of setups. Setups Include: Continuous flow solution, Static solution, Aeroponics, Drip methods, Passive sub-irrigation methods, Ebb & flow systems and Deep water culture methods. Although each setup is different, they are all very easy to install.
Growth mediums are alternatives to growing plants without soil. These mediums provide bases for the plants to grow in. There are many mediums available including: coconut husk, rockwool and clay pellets, etc.
Yes, growing your own produce gives you the satisfaction that nothing harmful has gone into the process of growing. There are no pesticides or additives. Food tastes better because it's so fresh! Fruits and vegetables can be costly, you will save significant amounts of money by growing your own.
Generally yes, but there is a nutrient solution involved that some people consider non-organic. It depends on your preferences. Are you interested in preventing pesticides entering your foods or are you also against any additives being added to your produce's nutrition?
Yes, all our products are 100% legal. There are no differences between purchasing from iHidroUSA or purchasing from your local nursery. Please Note: We Do Not Recommend or Encourage customers growing anything that is illegal.
Yes. Please contact us for shipping rates and information.
Yes! Call us and set up an appointment for pickups.
All our products are sold "As-Is". If the manufacturer offers a warranty, all warranty documentation will be sent along with your purchases.
We are very careful in checking each product before shipping out. If an item was received damaged, the shipping company or carrier will be responsible for the damages. We will be happy to assist you in getting a refund. If an item was defective in the box, we will most certainly replace the item for you. We do not cover or reimburse any of the shipping costs. However, we cover the cost of shipping your replacement item.
The gestation period of a flowering plant will very from species to species as each as its own unique timetable, but you can refer to the basic information about the plants you have in your garden to know when they should fully develop from the seed.
That information is usually on the seed package itself.
Also, you can ask a profession about how long it should take and what factors can either speed up or slow down the process.
This will depend on how mature the plant was when the cut was made. If it was from a mature plant that was ready to flower, then the cutting can begin flowering as soon as the roots settle in. Otherwise, the speed of the flowering will depend on how long the original plant was from maturing.
Yes you can, although the best source is generally from where the cutting came from instead. The more you use cuttings, the less vigorous your plants will be generation after generation. So ideally you should only take a cutting from a source that has been grown from seed. In this manner, you can get the best from the original or “mother” plant and not experience the “genetic drift” that happens when you continually take cuttings from cuttings.
Basically, a sealed grow room is what the name implies. It is a room that has no way to bring in or release air. It is isolated from the outside world. This means that in order for a sealed room to be successful in growing plants, the gardener must supply it with adequate amounts of CO2.
Building a sealed room for your garden will require the following pieces of equipment;
- CO2 Distributor
- Air Conditioner or Water Cooled Heat Exchanger
- Dehumidifier (assuming that the A/C unit cannot dehumidify the air)
- Polyurethane (poly)
- Staples and Duct Tape
The benefits of having a sealed room start with the ability to have an environment isolated from the outside world. This means that your plants can grow year round despite what is happening outside.
How to Properly Seal a Room
You will need a room that can be sealed off from the outside. You may either construct it outside or utilize a room or space inside your home. One of the easiest ways to seal up a room for a garden is to hang black and white poly all around the garden area, including the ceiling. The poly should be roughly 4mm thick in order to adequately prevent outside temperatures from unduly influencing what happens inside the sealed space.
The most efficient way to hang the poly is to use staples with the edges reinforced by duct tape to fully seal it off. This means that the staples and the seams will need to be duct taped for maximum effect. Most gardeners use this system because it is very effective and quite inexpensive.
All you need are air-cooled reflectors and cool tubes, which are the most common means of venting away the heat from grow lights. There are a number of factors to consider when using air-cooled reflectors or cool tubes, but they are very well suited for confined spaces.
- The glass separating the heat of the lamps from the garden canopy will absorb up to 15% of the light that passes through it.
- To cool a single 1000watt HID light, you’ll need about 200cfm of airflow.
- Cool tubes are designed to send the light through the glass multiple times before it reaches the plants. In this manner, the heat is even more dissipated.
- Plants should be positions appropriately beneath the cool tubes for maximum effect.
The container you choose will depend on how big the plant will be once it reaches full size. However, you can control the size of the plant to a certain extent by the size of container that you choose.
- Flowering Plants: 3 to 5 Gallons
Flowering plants include tomatoes or peppers.
- Non-Flowering Plants: 1 Gallon
Non-flowering plants include spinach or lettuce.
- Trees or Shrubs: 20 Gallons
Trees and shrubs can grow to a considerable size. The 20 gallon container is designed for trees that reach up to 12’ tall and larger shrubs as well.
The Addition of CO2
As we need oxygen to breath, plants need CO2. For the aspiring gardener, adding CO2 can bring about bigger, healthier plants. Understanding what CO2 can do and how it can be applied are important steps towards creating a healthier garden.
The answer is absolutely yes. If your garden has adequate amounts of light and nutrients, but still is not growing properly, then the addition of CO2 is certainly needed. Increasing the amount of CO2 from 300PPM to 1500PPM will create an increase of up to 30% in the speed and the size in which your plants grow.
However, the CO2 that is added must be contained, so a sealed room is best when introducing CO2, otherwise it simply gets drained away from your plants.
How to add CO2 to your garden
Adding CO2 helps promote the health of your garden. Adding CO2 generally requires a tank that is combined with a regulator system to properly distribute the CO2.
There are basically two methods of controlling the amount of CO2 that is injected into the garden, manual and electronic. The manual method utilizes a mathematic calculation to determine just how much CO2 needs to be injected. The electronic method measures the current levels of CO2 and adds what is needed to reach the ideal state.
Also, there are two basic devices that are used to pump CO2 into the ground, CO2 tanks and CO2 burners. The tanks tend to be heavy and difficult to maneuver, however the CO2 burners add more heat and humidity to your garden area, so selecting the right one will depend on how well you can control the conditions of your garden.
There are a number of ways that you can accomplish this task, but the simplest is by using an exhaust fan. There are a number of inline fans that will work. You just need one with the torque to pull through the carbon filters that eliminate the odor buildup.
Basically, it is a lot easier to pull the heat and humidity out of a sealed garden than by trying to push it. Here is the basic formula for properly ventilating your sealed garden, if your sealed room size is 4’ x 8’ x 7’, then that equals 224 feet. Your fan will need to replace all the air inside that room every three minutes, so 224 divided by 3 equals 75cfm. You will need an exhaust fan that can pull 75 cubic feet per minute at a minimum.
Generally speaking, you will want a somewhat larger fan to insure that all the air gets replaced at a faster rate. In fact, many gardeners use fans that can replace that amount of air in 1 minute, which means that you would need a fan that can produce 225cfm. Having a larger fan will also help when you want to expand your garden as well.
Plus, you will need additional openings to pull the air through properly. A good trick is to place the exhaust fan at the top of your sealed room, then have the openings near the bottom on two to three sides. This will help pull away the excess heat while giving proper ventilation to your sealed garden.
Generally speaking, you’ll want the humidity levels at 60% when the plants are growing. Then, reduce the humidity to 40% when they are flowering. More humidity is needed for young plants so they can grow properly and retain their moisture. Too little humidity at this stage can cause damage to the leaves.
Conversely, when the plant is flowering you’ll want to reduce the humidity levels to 40% to prevent fungal infections, mildew and rot from setting in.
Yes. Black or grey fuzz is a sign that a fungal problem is present on your flower. This is generally because the place where you are growing the flower is subject to high humidity or if the flower gets wet from rain or watering, it does not dry off.
The best way to solve the problem is to keep the humidity of the area where your flowers bloom in the 40% range if at all possible. This will eliminate having your flowers develop a fungal problem because the air is too dry for the fungus to take hold. Plus, increasing the air circulation will help lower humidity levels as well.
Fungus is usually not a problem in outdoor gardens because of the air circulation, but in the autumn when temperatures do not warm up enough to evaporate the water off the flowers, a fungal infection can occur. However, spreading apart the branches of the plant or flower to improve the airflow should help in preventing fungus from occurring.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes. This is a solid state light bulb that offers high energy efficiency and long life. However, LED bulbs are generally more expensive than either incandescent or fluorescent lamps.
Because of the unique chemical decomposition of the LED chips, the fluctuation of the light over the life of the bulb is greatly reduced as compared with more conventional lamps. There are specific LED lights that are made for plant growth as well. In many respects, LED lights are well suited for plant growth as they provide maximum light potential at the right wavelength for minimal usage of wattage. Plus, they give off very little in the way of heat as well, making them a suitable alternative to HID lamps.
Thanks to advances in LED construction and the lowering of the costs, many greenhouses are switching to the LED bulbs to grow their plants.
While the sulphur plasma lamp has only recently been developed, it delivers a remarkably intense light. The primary source for this light is a relatively small quartz bulb that has a small amount of sulphur, along with inert gases such as argon or xenon inside. These elements are subjected to a bombardment of microwave energy which converts the sulphur to plasma and within five minutes, full intensity is reached.
This conversion to plasma is used in many HID lamps, although some use electrodes inside the tube as opposed to bombarding the material with microwave energy. When the electrodes become eroded, the plasma can no longer be created and the light needs to be replaced. A Sulphur bulb is actually quite simple in their construction and offers many advantages.
- Sulphur bulbs are generally twice as efficient as other sources of white light.
- Light output does not degrade over time, works well in large spaces and can be dimmed to 30%
- Environmentally friendly.
- A sulphur bulb releases the full spectrum of light and feels much like the sun.
- These bulbs produce very little ultraviolet and infrared light, which works well with plastic fixtures.
However, sulphur plasma lighting is also cost prohibitive as well. This is mostly due to the scarceness of this product as companies haven’t fully launched this technology.
It will depend on the type of plants that you have. The plants that need the most light will generally use HID lights at high levels. Here is a breakdown of the type of light levels you will need depending on the plants that you have.
High Light Levels: Use a High Pressure Sodium or Metal Halide Lamp in an open garden area.
- 4’ x 4’ Area (feet): 1000 watts
- 3’ x 3’ Area (feet): 600 watts
- 2.5’ x 2.5’ Area (feet): 400 watts
However, if your space is in a confined area, such as a grow tent, then you’ll want to step down the wattage of your lights by one level on the above chart.
Non-flowering types of plants can often grow well under a mere 20 to 45 watts per square foot of space. If you are using fluorescent lights for seedlings, cuttings or plants that are still in the vegetative stage of growth, it is recommended that you use about half the HID wattage of light as indicated in the above chart. For example, a 4’ x 4’ area only needs 400 watts instead of 1000.
While some gardeners leave their lights on all 24 hours in order to get the most growth out of their plants. It is far more common to use the 18/6 formula, which is 18 hours on and 6 hours off. The 18/6 schedule is close to what a normal day brings in sunshine.
The advantage of going 18/6 is that you save on electricity, although it will wear the light bulbs out a little faster. Plus, some plants flower because of the reduced duration of light, meaning that going 12/12 can work to flower your plants sooner. However, the 18/6 formula will work for most plants.
This will depend on the type of light available. Usually the distance is determined by how much heat the light puts out.
Fluorescent or Induction: 6” from the tops of the plants for optimal growth
LED Grow Lights: 9” to 12”
400 watt HID: 12” to 16”
1000 watt HID: 18” to 24”
If you are using an Air Cooled Reflector, then you can decrease the distance a little bit as the heat from the light is pulled away from the plant. You can use your hand to determine the amount of heat that is reaching the plants and adjust accordingly. The heat level should be comfortable for you, which means it will be comfortable for the plants.
The answer is yes. Many gardeners take advantage of the sunlight by using a greenhouse, setting up their garden next to a window, using skylights or solar tubes to light up their garden. If your plants require a dark cycle, then don’t interrupt it with artificial light.
Magnetic Ballasts: This is the older type of HID ballast. Magnetic ballast are built with a core and copper coil and run very hot. You will often hear a hum or buzz sound emanating from the magnetic HID ballast when it is on. Able to fire one type of lamp, such as the HPS or MH, there are conversion kits that allow the magnetic ballast to switch to the opposite type of lamp. The newer types of magnetic HID ballasts are internally switchable between the HPS or MH.
Digital Ballasts: The digital ballasts run at a much cooler temperature than their magnetic counterparts. Plus, they are more efficient in terms of their power usage since they produce more light compared to the heat. There are a number of other benefits to running digital ballasts that include the following;
- Soft starting lamps
- Lighter in terms of weight, making them easy and cheaper to ship
- Dimming feature
- Can run either MH or HPS lamps at either 120v or 240v.
A conversion lamp is not seen as often today because of recent advances that allows ballasts to be switchable and digital ballasts that automatically detect and operate both types of HID lamps. However, if you have the magnetic HID ballast and you want to run the opposite type of lamp that what your ballast is rated, then you will need a conversion lamp. Generally speaking, conversion lamps are more expensive than the standard types of MH or HPS lamps.
You will want all of your light directed at the plants for maximum efficiency. However, lamps generally project their light in a 360 degree manner, which means that most of the light they send out is not reaching your plants directly. This means that you will want reflectors on the sides and top of your room to reflect that light back to your plants.
To avoid using reflectors all around your plants, you can hang HID lamps vertically between the taller plants in your garden. Since at that height level, the plants will receive most of the light directly, you do not have to surround your plants with reflectors. Otherwise, if you place your lights above the plants, which is generally recommended, then you will need reflectors on the sides and especially at the top of your garden.
If your home is currently up to electrical codes and you have nothing else that is running on that particular circuit, then it is generally safe to run a 1000 watt lamp in your home on a 15 amp circuit. Typically, a 1000 watt light uses about 10 amps of electricity, meaning that your 15 amp circuit does have some room when being used in this manner. You never want to run more that 80% of the what the amp is rated on your circuit. For example, you should never exceed 12 amps on your 15 amp circuit otherwise you risk a fire. Considering that in the US, 14 gauge electrical wires are used, you should be safe if you do not run any other appliance on that particular circuit.
However, every home is different and if your home is older or has had electrical issues in the past, then it is best to hire an electrician to inspect your home before adding the 1000 watt light. The electrician can even install a new circuit for your 1000 watt light if you want to insure that it runs as safe as possible.
A flip box or r A flip box or relay will allow a gardener to divert the power from one of the ballast to another lamp or reflector when the primary one is not being used. In other words, you can run your main lamp for 12 hours and then use the flip box to switch to the other lamp for 12 hours.
The main benefit from a relay or flip box is that you can double the size of the garden space without having to purchase another set of ballast. All you really need is another lamp, reflector and lamp cord as the ballast will run for the full 24 hours. are on the 18/6 schedule, then having a flip box or relay does not help as this is only for gardeners who run their lights 24 hours each day.
Spider mites can be difficult to get rid of because they can become resistant to insecticides if only one type is used. Also, if the insecticide is not applied at the correct intervals, the spider mites can do severe damage to the plants.
Alternating the types of insecticides and applying them on a regular basis should rid the plants of the spider mite invasion. Using three applications five days apart should not only kill most of the spider mites, but it will also kill any eggs that might be present as well.
As soon as spider mites are noticed, the entire garden needs to be sprayed in order to control the invasion. Plus, scrubbing all surfaces with a bleach/water solution should properly sterilize the area as well. Fumigators or insecticide bombs may be used as well.
A “total release” fumigator is a container of insecticide that is used for contained gardens that are sealed off. The entire contents of the fumigator is released at once and the garden is not ventilated for at least two hours. In this manner, all insects will be eliminated.
This is a sign of Powdery Mildew that will damage your plants. When the conditions are right, the spores of the Powdery Mildew can spread very quickly. A good way to prevent this mildew from forming is lowering the humidity and keeping the plants well ventilated.
However, if the Powdery Mildew is already present, then you will need to use a fungicide to rid the leaves of the spores. Two of the more effective treatments are Safer’s Defender and Serenade which can be found at many locations that sell hydroponic products.
This is a fungal infection commonly known as “Black Spot”. This type of infection affects the leaf tissues. You can avoid Black Spot by lowering the humidity and keeping the water away from the leaves of the plant. However, once the infection begins you will need to choose between a number of fungicides that are designed to destroy Black Spot.
Controlling the humidity for outdoor hydroponic gardens that are not sealed off from the environment can be quite difficult. This is because the plants are at the mercy of the weather. If at all possible, drying off the plants and spreading out the branches should be performed to minimize any damage.
There are a number of different insect types that may go after your plants. These insects include the following;
- Aphids & Root Aphids
- Fungus Gnats
- Mealy Bugs
- Spider Mites
- White Flies
No, spiders feast on the insects that harm your plants. As long as the spiders are not poisonous to you, such as Black Widows, then they should be welcome in your garden.
Insects are certainly determined creatures, but they can be kept out of your grow room if you take some precautions.
- Intake Filters or Furnace Filters are a must in keeping out insects.
- Seal all Gaps and Cracks that can allow in insects.
- Wear Clean Clothes when going into your garden.
- Change your clothes and shoes before going from your outdoor to indoor garden.
- Keep pets out of your indoor garden
- Quarantine any new plants for at least seven days before placing it in your indoor garden
Following these steps will go a long way towards keeping your garden free of insects.
You have several options for ridding your garden of bugs. You can use insecticides which are designed to kill the bugs without harming your plants. Look for insecticides based on Pyrethrins which can come in aerosol cans or mixed into sprayers. Pyrethrins are based on a natural insecticide and only in large amounts will it harm humans or plants. You should only use enough of the product to lightly coat your plants and not soak them.
Remember to spray your plants at intervals of five to seven days to kill off any new insects that might have hatched from the eggs. However, each insect has a different life cycle and higher temperatures may speed up the reproduction rate. Pyrethrins kill a number of different insects including Aphids, Spider Mites, Thrips and White Flies.
Another natural insecticide is Diatomaceous Earth (DE) which is composed of microscopic crustaceans that are very jagged in construction. When DE comes into contact with insects, it actually cuts through their exoskeletons and causes them to dehydrate. DE is safe for humans and can be dusted on the plants as they grow.
You can also use predator insects to kill off the plant-eating ones as well. If you have a specific insect problem, you can get the right predator insect to kill them or use general ones such as Ladybugs which are very effective at eliminating most plant-eating insects.
The best way to find out is by capturing one of the insects and examining it under a magnifying glass or microscope. For insects that are small, this is the best way to know what type of insect is damaging your plants. There are plenty of insect guides with detailed pictures and diagrams that will make identification simple and easy.
The first step is finding out what type of plant-eating insect is attacking your garden. Once you have made the identification, then you can order specific predator insects from the store that sells hydroponics products. While each plant-eating insect has a specific predator, if your garden is being attacked by different types of insects, then Ladybugs are an excellent predator as they consume most of the plant-eating insects in the garden.
You will need an EC meter to test the conductivity of electricity in the water. The EC meter will provide an indication of the actual strength of nutrients in the system. Although, EC meters are quite as accurate in measuring organic nutrients since there are some types that the EC meter cannot detect.
You have a choice of several different types of equipment to test the Total Dissolved Solids that are present in nutrient solutions. Of course, knowing which type of unit to do the testing can be a little confusing. The two most common types of meters are the EC and the PPM
EC: The Electro Conductivity meter is arguably the best way to show the TDS of nutrient solutions because it is a universal unit. The Electro Conductivity is displayed as either EC or EC x 1000. For example, a reading of 2.0 EC or 2000 EC would = 1000 or 1400 PPM or parts per million depending on the conversion factor.
PPM: The Parts Per Million meter displays the EC of the nutrient solution in either the 0.5 or 0.7 EC method which can be confusing and unreliable since you have no way of knowing whether everyone is using the same setting as you to measure the concentration of nutrients. Using the same example, since the singular EC reading can deliver two different types of PPM readings, the EC is generally the far better way to describe nutrient concentrations.
The pH level for hydroponic plants should be kept between 5.5 and 6.2. However, if the plants you have do not like acidity, then a higher level of 7 should be considered. For plants in soil, 6 to 7 is generally considered the norm.
There are good reasons to adjust the level of pH in your nutrient solution. First and foremost, soil is a natural buffer of pH, so even if the nutrient level is not idea the soil tends to balance everything out. The same is not true for hydroponic gardens where no soil is present and thus, no buffering agent. This means that correcting the pH level through adding or subtracting what is needed after the nutrients have been added is vital to the success of the plant. Correcting the pH levels will allow the plants to absorb all the nutrients and lead to proper growth.
It’s fairly common for pH levels to shift in a relatively short period of time. For example, you set your hydroponic reservoir for a pH level of 5.5 and you come back a couple of days later only to find that it has risen to 6 or higher. This is because when you add acidic nutrients to your reservoir, the plant consumes them. So the pH levels rise as the water becomes more alkaline.
However, if your pH level is dropping, that can be a bad sign because it means that the nutrients in the water are rising instead of falling like they should. Here is a general way to tell what is going on with your nutrient supply;
-pH Up/EC Down: Plants are feeding normally, you should raise the nutrient levels.
-pH down/EC Up: Nutrient levels too high as plants are releasing them.
-pH & EC Stable: Maximum growth of plants occurring.
It is best to slightly underfeed your plants which encourages a natural swing upwards of pH levels. In essence, plants take in more nutrients at certain pH levels within the normal 5.5 to 6.2 range. Therefore, you should expect the range to slowly go up as nutrients are consumed, then fall as you add more nutrients to the water. By monitoring the nutrient situation, you can feed your plants at the right time and provide the proper nutrient balance.
In all but one hydroponic application, you only need to oxygenate the nutrient solution to the point where it is not anaerobic, which means you do not need to add much in the way of air. Generally speaking, if the majority of your nutrient solution is broken up with bubbles and it moves well, then your plants should be fine.
If you have a Deep Water Culture hydroponic system, then adding oxygen is crucial to the survival of your plant because the roots are submerged. The best mixture is to add 1 liter per minute of air pumped into each gallon which contains nutrient solution. In essence, a 100 gallon reservoir requires a 100 LPM air pump for maximum effect. This rate is generally 2 to 4 times the amount of air needed for all other hydroponic type gardens.
It is recommended that you do not go above 68 degrees F in your nutrient solution and you should be careful of adding too much air as the friction can increase the heat to undesirable levels.
The answer is no as neither is required. Most water works just find for hydroponic plants, however if you want to precisely control the amount of nutrients, then distilled water may be the answer. You will need to replenish the Magnesium and Calcium levels in order to maintain your nutrient solution however. You can often find Calcium/Magnesium supplements at your local hydroponics dealer, which is important because otherwise distilled water will not stabilize the pH levels well without these minerals.
The answer is difficult to know because well water can vary from location to location. Generally speaking, well water is very “hard” and must be used with a line of nutrients that has been specially formulated. You could also use the reverse osmosis method to remove the excess minerals found in hard water.
There are many good fertilizers that can be used with a wide variety of plants. For hydroponic gardens, the Dutch Nutrient Formula is essential however. You will want to look for top of the line hydroponic nutrients in a 2 part solution that prevents the minerals from binding and preventing absorption by the plant.
Other factors such as affordability, inclusion of micro and macro nutrients and everything your plants need to grow are also essential as well. You will want to match the fertilizer with the plants as well to get maximum growth.
Most plants grow that thrive with a maximum nutrient concentration that does not exceed 2.2 EC. For plants that are just beginning their growth, the fertilizer should be at 1/4th strength until they first start producing leaves or show roots as cuttings.
- Seeds & Cuttings: .5 to .7 EC
- Medium Plants: 1 to 1.4 EC
- Established Plants: 2 to 2.2 EC
- The plants that are grown with very high levels of light and are supplemented with CO2 can often exceeds these levels however.
If you have a question that we have not addressed, please feel free to contact us for further assistance. You may email your question or call iHidroUSA Customer Services: 1-(800) 909-1088. We are available Monday through Friday from 10 am to 7 pm (EST)