Areogarden PH problem

Discussion in 'Aeroponics' started by autojunkie, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Hey!

    So first time grower here! and I got this Areogarden for free so I figured I'd use it. I did a bunch of research and found that it's ok to start with but realistically it's not the best.

    Now I've heard there is a "PH" problem with them, but no one really tells you if there's anyway to fix it.

    So now I have two, 2 1/2 week old 5" tall babies growing, (along with a few flowers and chives, the only way I could grow my plants is to make mom happy with her plants). I'm having a serious problem controlling the PH. When they were smaller it was easy, I put a quarter cap of vinegar in a day and we were good.

    Now that these guys are bigger, I'm having to put two caps in per day, and the PH is fluctuating between 5.2 and 6.8. It changes that much from the time I leave in the morning (8AM) until I get home (7PM).

    I wasn't sure how safe PH modifiers were for the plants, so like I said I've been using vinegar.

    If I use PH modifiers would the PH be more stable? Does anyone know exactly WHY the PH keeps going up? is it something the plants are releasing into the water? waste of some kind? or is it because the vinegar is evaporating out of the water?

    Any help would be greatly appriciated!
  2. *Bump*

    No one? really?
  3. I was told that part of the problem was that we have to keep the pH balanced between 5.5 and 6.0 for M/J, with 5.8 being ideal. As or ravenous plants take UP the nutrients through their roots the chemical balance of the nutrient solution changes represented by changes in the pH.

    Mine keeps going up and I have to add acid to bring it down and keep it at 5.8. I don't know what you're using for nutes. I change my nutes weekly and I use Technaflora's "Recipe for success," exclusively because that's what they started me on at the hydroponics store and it worked out well.

    It's been thirty five years since I took chemistry in college and I've never used it since, so I wouldn't remember to try something like adding vinegar. The other plants, I assume your other's are legal, eating from the same trough might be complicating you job as well.
  4. Yeah I change my water weekly. I'm using Miracle-Grow Orchid food (30-10-10 w/ trace elements), because I change my water every week I only put in half the dosage (1/8 tsp).

    I have a digital PH meter hooked into my setup, and I was actually really surprise to find out the nutes don't raise change the PH level at all (I always fully dissolve my nutes in a separate glass of water and measure the PH before introducing it into the garden).

    I read into the absorption of the nutrients and certain chemicals are absorbed better at PH of 5.2 and others are better at a PH of 6.5, so I think varrying the PH is a good thing throughout the day as long as I don't let it go above 6.5.

    What do you use as an acid? it's impossible for me to find lye in NY because people use it to make Meth, so it's one of those "Banned and watched" chemicals.

    I'm really looking for something that dissolves in water because I think the vinegar is evaporating.

    Also my water gets cloudy by the time I change it (1 week). does your water get cloudy as well?
  5. #5 Hank Alvarez, Oct 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2010
    I bought a pH test kit from Discount Hydroponics in Rivierside, Ca. It came with a little plastic test flask, the chemical test agent, a comparison color chart and a bottle of base and a bottle of acid. If you've ever taken care of a hot tub or a swimming pool you know how easy it is to adjust pH. My only complaint was how slow it was and my eye sight just isn't that good anymore. I finally bought a Milwakee electronic tester, (the blue one), and I really like it. It gets it done in half the time but every so often I use the chemical test kit just to verify the readings I'm getting on the electronic tester.

    As far as the ranges are concerned, you're absolutely right. Some nutes are taken up at the low end and some at the high end of the scale so when we readjust the pH beck to 5.8 it can have them all. Over the course of a day, in my tank, the pH is going up not down so a little acid the next day brings it down to where it's suppose to be.
  6. Sorry, I missed that last part about ,"the water getting cloudy." Is there any odor? Algae in you tank, if it's getting out of control, can discolor it and make it smell like polluted water. I wash and rinse my reservoir every week so I don't usually have that problem anymore. That's a distinct advantage to having a tiny 112 ounces reservoir in an Aeroarden. I can't go by color either because my nutes darken the water to a tan color but they don't look much different when I pour them out.
  7. when you are dealing aith a micro res, weekly changes are mandatory
  8. Absolutely! Our little reservoirs leave very little room for error. The couple of times I got lazy and didn't tend to business it jumped up and bit me on the butt. Now my babies get checked first thing every morning.
  9. i have 4 20 gallon res's and still check them daily..
    hydro dont lave much room for issues,.., the plants respond to fast to problems..
    so its a great way to go if ya ask me... daily is the best way to check with hydro..
    allthough with the bigger res's I dont change water ever, only between harvests...:D
  10. #10 Hank Alvarez, Oct 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2010
    That's what I've heard, now both from you and my teacher. He says he just monitors the pH daily like I do with my Aerogardens but his nutes last until harvest. I'm seriously considering buying a set up they have for sale at Discount Hydroponics in Riverside. I'd like your opinion on it.

    I'm sure they have it on line at their web site. It has a fifty or fifty-five gallon reservoir and a dozen 3 gallon double buckets and a controller and pump. Basically it's a 'put it together and plug it in' set up for $450 re-manufactured and $599 new. I think they're guaranteeing the re-manufactured ones the same as the new ones so I'm tending to go that way. The $150 difference would buy a lot of nutes. I'm figuring if Prop 19 passes in California in November it will be perfect next spring for my 6' by 8" green house in the back yard. The only thing I'll have to add is closed circuit TV and a BFG. What do you think?
  11. i have a friend that has two of those setups... he is new and just learning.
    his cost 800 bones a piece... they do good but a shit load of work between harvests..
    You could build a bubble bucket set up for so much less and all you have to do is rinse those out between harvests... the system he has each bucket is full of hydroton and it takes hours and hours to clean them all... a real PIA...check out my link in the sig, for the recirculating buckets... fast easy inexpensive. great results.. then between harvest the only hydroton that needs cleaned is whats in the net cup...

    I run perpetual so the faster i can get them running again the better...
    i harvest 4 plants at a time, rinse the buckets, set the ol net pots to the side and bring in the new plants in thier own net pot that have been veggin for 5 weeks, drop them in and im running again... fast and simple...:D
  12. Thanks Bud. I also saw that "Stealth Hydroponics," tub and I was pretty impressed. A couple of those would make for a great sea of green in a five by five growing space in my little green house next spring. What really turned me on was that they weren't spraying in the tub which seems to cause leaks and it's the biggest complaint I've heard from the tubbers. I've already got the tubs and water pump. With the addition of an aquarium air pump and the nutes pump plumbed directly to a a six head drip diverter with adjustable flow valves and a irrigation line to each net basket I think it would be a sweet way to grow. What do you think?
  13. you know what else. u said u had other vegetables growing in that same set-up? maybe that is messing with the ph.. because the way the roots absorb nutrients. maybe it's different for different plants.. idk.. i havent seen much of cannabis/vegetation mixed hydros.

  14. sounds good...
    when i first started i used the drippers.. ended up just going dwc, the drippers gave me issues after a while, i didnt spend the time to get the best ones by any means...
    but with clogging and such i found it just to be a weak link in the set up.
    Im more of a lazt stoner:eek:... but yeah sound like it would work well mate...

  15. Yeah, After about a week the water is a milky color and it does have an odor. I do change it every week, and add enough nutes for one week as well. I'm going to try and trend the PH change and make a dripper to keep it in check.
  16. Not sure man, but I know PH jumps like a mad mother if you drain your used water back into your res, Is that the case?
  17. Nah, the Areogarden thing doesn't have a res, the roots sit directly in 1 gallon of watter that is oxygenated, and has nutes in it.
  18. #19 Hank Alvarez, Oct 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2010
    The smell is usually the tip off for me that there's an algae bloom. If you think about it we have all the right conditions in our reservoir: a little heat from the pump, rich nutrients, water and a little light. But before you jump off the deep end, try something a friend of mine advised the next time you change your nutes. Give the tank a good thorough scrubbing with dish washing detergent. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies but be sure to rinse it well. Next, let it sit in a mild 10% mix of bleach and water for a half hour, (An old home brewers trick), and then give it another thorough rinse. His washing and sterilizing procedure helped solve the problem for me in the past.

    His next tip is vital, "If you don't want it to come back find out where the light is coming in from because algae needs light." Check all your unused planting holes, where your air stone line goes in and seal off your reservoir as best you can. I gave up trying to seal off the five unused holes in mine and bought a set of Aerogarden's plugs. I think they're over priced for what you get but you can reuse them. I've reused mine many times. They work better than anything I was able to come up with.

    The air stone's line is another problem. I slip it in through the inspection door in the front but then you can't close that completely so you'll never be able to seal it off completely.

    To further minimize the problem, every time I change my nutes I wash my reservoir. You shouldn't have to sterilize it again but give it a thorough scrubbing and rinse. I do this after I set my planting deck and plants in a deep square Pyrex dish. I pour in enough of the old nutes to keep the roots wet and then I wash and rinse my reservoir. I refill it with fresh nutes but before I put the planting deck, pump, plants and root s back in the reservoir I give everything below the planting deck a thorough rinsing with lukewarm tap water. That's enabled me to keep the algae problem down to a minor nuisance.
  19. Hi guys..:wave:
    after cleaning wipe out ur res with alcohol....great way to sterilize it..:D

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