A Guide to Hydroponic Reservoir Maintenance and Dosage
Hydroponic gardening is an excellent way to grow plants without soil, but like all gardening methods, it requires regular maintenance to ensure optimal growth and yields. One of the most crucial aspects of hydroponic gardening is managing your hydroponic reservoir. Here, we'll cover the basics, like how to maintain it, when to top it off with nutrients, and how to prevent issues before they start.
What is a Hydroponic Reservoir?
A hydroponic reservoir is essentially the lifeblood of any hydroponic system. Every hydroponic system has a reservoir. It's the part of the system where you store the nutrient solution that gets delivered to your plants. The reservoir will house not just water, but also all the essential nutrients your plants need for growth. In hydroponic recirculating systems, the nutrient solution will flow from the reservoir to the plant roots and back.
Best Practices for Hydroponic Reservoir Maintenance:
Use Quality Water
Always use water that is mostly free from impurities. Some cities tap water can contain chloramine, high levels of nutrients and/or other additives that may harm your plants. Well water is usable if it is drinkable to humans. Using filtered or distilled water is the best option if you do not trust the water that is coming from your well or tap.
All hydroponic systems require regular monitoring of the water/nutrient solution that recirculates throughout. pH is one of the most important aspects of the hydroponic nutrient solution, so regular monitoring is suggested. Most hydroponic plants do well with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Some brands of hydroponic specific nutrients include pH leveling agents that help adjust the pH into the perfect range without the need for additional buffering.
It is also essential to monitor your water and root zone for any algae, pathogens or organic material that could build up over time. If you notice any slime or discoloration, it is best practice to completely change the water/nutrient solution inside of your system.
Change the Nutrient Solution
It is good practice to completely replace the nutrient solution in your reservoir every few weeks. This is because as plants absorb the nutrients, the concentration of certain elements can change, potentially causing nutrient imbalances.
It is also a good way to make sure your water stays clean and there is no buildup of organic material on your roots.
Keep it Clean
Cleaning your reservoir every so often between harvests can help avoid any buildup of algae, bacteria, or fungi. You can use safe sterilizing agents like hypochlorous acid (HOCL) or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) These agents break when cleaning the down quickly, leaving no harmful residues.
Dish soap and bleach are also good options when cleaning your system in between harvests just make sure to flush any residuals out with water before re-starting your system.
Adding sterilizing agents like HOCL or H2O2 to your hydroponic system on a regular basis can help prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria, algae, and fungi. These are completely safe and do a great job of preventing pathogens and keeping your system clean 24/7.
We always recommend using a sterilizing agent or an enzyme product regularly to maintain a clean reservoir and healthy root zone.
Alternatively, you can opt for microbial products that create enzymes which help break down dead organic material in the water, making it harder for harmful bacteria and algae to establish themselves. These are completely safe and even add beneficial microorganisms to your nutrient solution, increasing overall plant health.
Topping Off Your Reservoir
Between complete nutrient changes, you may find that the water level in your reservoir drops due to evaporation or plant uptake. Topping off your reservoir is essential for maintaining the correct water level and nutrient concentration.
When topping off, it's advisable to use a high-strength dosage of your chosen hydroponic nutrient. The rationale behind this is to replenish not only the water but also the nutrients that the plants have absorbed. Always follow the manufacturer's high-strength dosage recommendations when doing this. Doing so will ensure that the plants are getting all the nutrients they need for optimum growth.
We also suggest adding more of your chosen sterilizing agent or enzyme every time you top off your reservoir.
To Sum Up
Hydroponic reservoir management is crucial for successful hydroponic gardening. Regular monitoring, consistent cleaning, and preventive measures can make all the difference in the health of your plants. Remember, when you top off your reservoir, using a high-strength dosage of nutrients can go a long way in ensuring that your plants get all the nourishment they need.
As always, feel free to message us or give us a call if you have any questions or want to discuss any steps in depth.