HYDROPONICS RESOURCE:
Troubleshooting Tool

Yuck! Aphids all over my plants!

Having problems with your hydroponics garden?

Try our nifty, user-friendly hydroponics resource: a troubleshooting guide to help quickly diagnose and treat whatever ails it.

Why is our guide so easy to use? Just look up your problem by the "main symptom", and you're on your way to the solution!







      FIRST CHECK THE "BIG PICTURE"

FIRST CHECK THE "BIG PICTURE"

Our hydroponics resource for troubleshooting

First, before digging into the topics below, we suggest you take a quick look at the "big picture" of your hydro system. Unless you have an obvious insect or disease infestation going on... your problems most likely have been caused by poor growing conditions. Run through these obvious solutions first:

Climate

  • Is the temperature between 60-90°? Is there a 10° drop when the lights go out for the night?
  • Is the RH (relative humidity) between 50-70%? (50-60% is best)
  • Ventilation: Do you have adequate air exchange, or is it stagnant and stale in there? Is the stale air being vented out somehow? Do you have a fan gently stirring the leaves 24/7?

Lighting


The nutrient system

  • Check the reservoir. What temp is the grow juice? Should be below 85°; under 80° is optimal.  Check the ph and concentration.
  • Is there enough solution, or is the pump sucking air during cycles?
  • If you suspect any feeding/watering problems, drain the reservoir and start a new batch of nutrient solution.

Keep in mind that plant problems are seldom straightforward, and it’s too often the case that opposites (like under- and over-watering or feeding) can produce similar symptoms. We all have to put on our Sherlock Holmes hat when it come to diagnosing our plants!


TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

Okay, you've run through all the essentials and found no quick fixes? Try Our hydroponics resource for troubleshooting

 Find your problem below:


I. Critters
II. Icky coatings
III. Leaves
IV. Blossoms/fruit problems
V. Poor seedlings
VI. Overall growth problems



I.  CRITTERS
Have you found any insects in your garden (crawling, flying)? Identify and treat them by visiting our  Pests Page.


II.  ICKY COATINGS
If your plants or medium have a slimy or fuzzy green, white, black or grey coating, you probably have a fungus or mold problem. Read on:


III.  IT'S IN THE LEAVES


Our hydroponics resource for troubleshooting

  • Wilted leaves: over or under watering; too dry or too hot [try watering with clear water]. Wilt Disease: curled up, dried out and dead leaves  (see Common Plant Diseases)
     
  • Curled up leaves: thrips ; aphids
      
Sad droopy leaves
  • Droopy Leaves:  

    Temp too high [cool it down]; not enough fluids [check that system is delivering enough solution]; Nutrient solution too strong [flush plants with clear water only for a week, then restart with a new batch of nutrient solution] 
  • Spots: White or silvery spots:  thrips or powdery mildew; Tiny yellow speckles:  spider mites
      
Yellowing  leaves
  • Yellow leaves:

    Nutrient imbalance (check that ph not too alkaline); overwatering; Any  whiteflies around?
  • Note: yellow leaves are normal when the crop reaches end of life. Time to uproot and start over.
     
  • Leaf Drop: Sudden temperature change/shock (like when setting out new seedlings); cold wind/dry air; overwatering.
    Could also be  mealybugs or whiteflies.
      
Tip burn on cabbage
  • Tip burn:

    Tips of leaves are brown: Nutrient too strong [flush with clean water and mix a new batch]. Hot dry air can also burn.
  • Burn patches on leaves: Too close to the lights (light burn)
     
  • Leaves distorted or crinkly:  Viruses; aphids

IV.  BLOSSOMS AND FRUIT

  • No blossoms: temperature too low
  • Blossoms drop: climate problems (too hot; improper light; too humid or too dry; overwatering; Make sure there is a 10° temp drop at night when the lights go out.  Blossoms not getting pollinated.
  • Fruit drop: (Fruit yellows and dries up while still small): Poor nutrition [check nutrient solution]; light too low or wrong kind of  lighting.


    TOMATO WOES

          

Our hydroponics resource for troubleshooting

Catfacing on  tomatoes
  • Misshapened/deformed fruits

    (Also called "Catfacing"): Overall temp too low; insufficient day-night temp drop; poor pollination; light too low; humidity too high. 
Blossom end rot
  • Blossom end rot/ or black spots on fruit:

    If on both small and large fruits= calcium deficiency [mix new batch of nutrient]. If on only the large fruits: too dry [increase irrigation].
  • There is no cure for blossom end rot, only prevention
      
Tomatoes cracking
  • Tomatoes crack:

    Not enough or too much water; temp too high


V.  SEEDLINGS

Spindly seedlings
  • Spindly Growth:

    Seedlings grow very tall and spindly: Not enough light. You would think it would be the opposite, but it's not. When the light is too dim or too far from the seedlings, they strain towards the light, making them almost unusable for transplanting. Give your seedlings strong and close lighting if you want stocky, sturdy baby plants.

GENERAL GROWTH PROBLEMS

Our hydroponics resource for troubleshooting

Bolting:

Bolted broccoli

Bolted broccoli


  • Bolting of lettuce, broccoli, radishes: (they bolt to flowers and seeds). Bolting of winter crops is caused by too warm of temperatures (they figure it's spring, and time to make flowers!) Make sure these plants get plenty of light in their early growth stages, and then keep them cool closer to harvest.
     
  • Stunted or slow growth: Too cold; underfeeding; overwatering
     
  • Spindly, skinny plants: Insufficient light
     
  • Rotting stems/leaves: Excessive humidity or overwatering; disease/fungus
     

                       LIMP LETTUCE
Home grown lettuce is often too limp to go right from harvest to salad bowl. How to crisp it up? Wash in cold water, shake gently and refrigerate in a plastic bag for an hour before dinner.

Crisp lettuce ready for the salad bowl

STILL HAVING PROBLEMS?
ASK FOR HELP AT  THE HYDRO FORUMS




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 PRODUCTS


Cheap Hydro Supplies!


   Best Combo Lamp Buy

All Systems DIY ebook

      Grow Box Plans

All IN ONE GIANT EBOOK

   Complete Tent Kits
Watch the new Video of
our test experiment of
this Tent Kit!

    Complete Hydro Kits




SBI!