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Water and Your Hydroponic System

By Robert Fogarty

The "hydro" in hydroponic system of course stands for the presence of water in place of (all or in part) of soil as a means to which to deliver nutrients to your plants and expedite growth. Understanding how water migrates through a hydroponic system and being able to monitor its cleanliness and pH level is essential to growing healthy plants on the timetable you are looking for. Knowing the proper pH level and also how much nutrients to add into the water supply are things you should know verbatim or at the very least have written down in a safe place before you begin your grow operation.

Another often overlooked fact is that in some areas the water you are using in your hydroponic system may be "hard" and have too high of a concentration of calcium and magnesium which will result in an inability to mix your nutrient solution with that water effectively. This particular situation is referred to as "nutrient lockout" and it is therefore vital to be aware of the water you are using with regard to its magnesium and calcium content prior to using it in your hydroponic system. For this information you need only contact your local water treatment facility and ask them how many PPM of calcium and magnesium is contained in the water supply, you want your water to be less than 50 PPM.

If you are unable to attain the proper type of water from your local water treatment facility you can use bottled or filtered water (store bought) or you can use your own water gathering systems to attain "clean" water for free. Techniques such as reverse osmosis, deionization or steam distillation will all yield the proper water to use in your hydroponic system.

You can measure the amount of calcium and magnesium present in your water yourself by using something called a conductivity meter. Use this meter to identify the PPM present in your water before you mix in your nutrient solution to make sure the best water possible is going into your hydroponic system. Be sure to make yourself aware about your specific plant's tolerance to salts so that your PPM is at the correct levels, otherwise you could actually harm your plants by using too much of the nutrient solution at once. While there are ways to help your plant heal in the event of using too many nutrients it is better to avoid this situation altogether by regularly measuring the PPM in your hydroponic system.

Remember that it is always better to add too few nutrients to your hydroponic system than too many, after all a slowly growing plant is much better than one that is sick. Be sure to pickup the necessary tools to monitor both you pH levels and your PPM and do the due diligence and proper research with regard to what your specific plant needs by way of PPM and pH respectively. Water is by far the most important part of hydroponic systems and as such should be approached with care and caution.

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Article Source: Water and Your Hydroponic System

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