Removing unknown nutrient from hydrotron
by keith schneider
(eugene oregon USA)
I am trying to clean a hydroponic growing medium called hydroton, (a clay pellet heated and expanded to created small air pockets). I THINK Hydroponic nutrient stays in the small air pockets even when the pellets are cleaned with RO filtered water repeatedly .
I can place the cleaned pellets in containers WITH-OUT plants or nutrients in water and cycle RO water thru them for 3 or 4 days and then see a PPM rise of up to 150PPM.
Keep in mind that these clay pellets have a small CEC capacity after being fired and made. I don't know what is bonding to these sites first. I flush the pellets with city water when they are brand new to remove the dust, is city water minerals bonding?
Which nutrient is most likely to bond first ?
Bleach and h2o2 doesn't seem to remove the nutrient .
Will heating the pellets to 500* in oven help to break down the cationic bond?
Will high PH solution followed by low PH solution ,11 then 2 PH lead to break down of nutrient bond?
Will bacillus licheniformis subtilisin carlsberg break down the bond? An enzymatic cleaning solution from Alconox .com?
What will work to break down the nutrient bond and allow the cleaning of air pockets?
The air pockets also act like a sponge regardless of electrical bond and just sitting in water only seems to clean the out side layer of air pockets .
I am experiencing a plant growth problem at the start of the cycle, good uptake of nutrients is retarded and Mg deficiency or imbalance is the apparent problem based on the visual look of leaves (I haven't done a leaf analysis). The problem of slow nutrient uptake can happen thru-out cycle and can have many reasons which I have addressed .
The hydroponic system is very well built or over built by industry standards (dual meters to assure a slip in calibration doesn't happen )
The mystery question of PPM rise seems to go away after 3 to 4 wks, but I think the plants have just grown big enough to adjust to the unknown nutrient and the nutrient ratio imbalance grows small enough to not matter as much.
Answer from Simon:
Seriously, we didn't understand much of your submission. In keeping with our philosophy of KISS (keep it simple simon) we have this advice:
If your plants are doing okay, and your nutrient solution is between 800-1200ppm, even as high as 1500ppm, then don't fret over this. If it really bothers you, then just throw the hydroton out after use and buy new stuff. Certainly sounds cheaper than all the methods you are proposing.
We have never had any problem with hydroton, and love it.
We are not making light of your problem. Just think you might be making too much of a minor issue.
Hydroponics is fun! As in don't worry, be happy...
Hope this helps!
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