PH Dropping Fast

by Mark
(Cincinnati)


My travails trying to grow hydroponic tomatoes are well documented in this forum. I gave up on my original four plants and started a new crop. Someone suggested my choice may have been problematic for growing in hydroponics. I started some new seedlings called Kumato.

I recycled my hydroton pellets by removing as much of the roots as I could and soaking in a 20% bleach solution for 20 minutes, then fresh water, recycled three times. Then I let more fresh water flow over them to flush. I did the same with the Bato Buckets.

I flushed my reservoir, tubing and drip rings with fresh
water. Pumped it out, filled with fresh water, and pumped
that out. I did not use bleach. I was concerned about what
bleach would do to the rubber seals in the pump.

Seedlings were transplanted August 3rd. I mixed up 10 gallons
of Flora nutrients following the ratios for early mild growth.
I use RO water and add CaliMagic to the solution. I got
the PH balanced, but it is dropping fast every day. I'm
putting roughly 20ml of PH Up in every two days. See the .jpg file attached. Its a record I've been keeping of my PH readings, the amount of water and PH up I've added, as well as the PPM of the solution.

I'm feeding twice per day for 15 minutes at 6am and 6pm. Today, at noon, I checked the PH and it was 6.1. It 5:30pm I checked it again, and it was 5.8. It dropped 3 tenths of a point just sitting in the reservoir.

I can only conclude there is something growing in the reservoir. Maybe bacteria. When I put a quart of the nutrient solution in a glass measuring cup, it looks pretty clear. Just a slight discoloration from the nutrients.

I'm also concerned about the jump in PPM. What could cause it to jump from the 1100 or so initial reading and jump to the 1700 range in just a few days?

Another observation is when I add PH UP, I measure out 15-20 ml in a 100ml graduated cylinder, then I fill it to the top with RO water. When I throw it in the reservoir, I see a milky cloud form where the solution hits. It quickly dissipates.

Any ideas? Is there a way I can disinfect my environment without killing the seedlings that have been in the Bato Buckets for about two weeks. I've got six weeks in to them, I don't want to start from scratch, again.



Here is what is on the chart that

Thanks,

Mark

Comments for PH Dropping Fast

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Aug 29, 2014
PH Dropping Fast
by: Mark

I may have found a solution. Its only been 24 hours, but the PH has been holding. Before, it would have dropped 1 to 1.5 PH points in a 24 hour
period.

First, I opened my reservoir and looked at the two air stones I'm using. They both had a black slimy substance on them. I'll do another post with the airstones covered in black slime. I'm hoping someone can identify it.

I rinsed everything out with 35% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Everything except the Dutch Buckets with my live plants. I'm not sure what a safe concentration would be.

Emptied the system, did some surface scrubbing. Filled with tap water, ran for 15 minutes, and emptied 4 times. Than, did the same with RO water
4 times. Then, put one gallon of H2O2 (35% food grade) and one gallon of H2O2. Left the pump, heater, soapstone and hoses soak in that concentration for 5 minutes, the added a second gallon of RO water. Ran the pump for 30 minutes circulating the solution through the system. Even pulled each drip hose from the plant and let the solution run into a bucket, not letting it touch the plants.

Same fill and empty protocol to get rid of the H2O2. Finally put 10 gallons of RO water and 40ml of Florashield in the reservoir and ran pump for an hour, letting this solution pump through the Dutch Buckets.

After an hour, I added nutrients for aggressive growth and checked PH at 4.6. Adding 15ml of PH Up brought it to 6.0. It only dropped to 5.9 after 24 hours and two fifteen minute feedings.

Hope it holds. There could be some colonies of the black slime in the Dutch Buckets, or maybe in the airstone.

Does anyone know how concentrated of an H2O2 solution I can pour on tomato roots without damaging them?

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