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ph+ ph-/medium questions.

ruufuus

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hello there fellow MP users. i am going to be starting my first hydroponic(ebb and flow) grow soon, and have a few questions firstly, could i get away with using spa-kem ph+/ph- for buffering my ph level throughout the grow? if not could someone recommend a relatively cheap/simple method for buffering my ph level? secondly, due to a shortage of funding, i plan to use pea gravel as a medium for my grow, and am curious what the downside of doing so might be.

this is my second post, and first question here on MP so please be gentle and informative. thanks much!-RUUFUUS
 

Lemon Jack

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Not sure about the spa chemicals but gh sells a ph kit that comes with ph tester liquid and ph up and down you can find it online for around 15 bucks. Its not anywhere as good as have a ph tester, but you can make it work.

About the pea gravel Im not sure it would retain enough moisture? It may work fine but im unsure about it Im sure someone else will no a lil more bout it.
 
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If you are going to do hydro, I would encourage you to wait until you could afford to do it right or not do it at all. I do not see pea gravel holding enough moisture either, especially in E & F. I believe that spa pH up and down has chemicals not good for plants, like sodium. I have used it in a pinch, but would not make a habit of it. Just get some pH up and down for plants--ultimately this IS going to be the easiest and cheapest. I also believe that if you are doing hydro, you NEED a pH meter, not strips. You really need to keep your pH within quite narrow parameters and strips just do not measure accurately enough--it is tough to see the difference between 5.5 and 6.0 with strips. You also need something to read EC.
 

ruufuus

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i understand what you mean with the pea gravel, but that hydroton is a bit pricey, is there a somewhat less expensive and equally useful alternative to hydroton? And i was pretty sure the spa-kem wouldnt be a very good idea, but wanted to make sure before i spend the extra dough. Also i ordered a ph meter last night, but then realised i would need to spend another 30$ or so more for calibration solution and storage solution so i canceled the order for now, i hate to be so cheap, but its in my blood :p. thanks everyone for the info

ps. what should i use to test the ec? and what ec level should i maintain?
 

Lemon Jack

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You use an ec or tds meter.

It will vary throughout your entire grow you'll start out with a lower ppm and work your way up
 

ruufuus

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so ec is related to ppm? because i have access to nearly unlimited supply of ppm test strips at work. what variations of ec/ppm will i need to maintain for opitimal growth and nutrient uptake?
 
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EC stands for electrical conductivity and measures tells the parts per million of dissolved solids in your water/solution. IMO, test strips are not accurate enough for hydro needs. Hydrotron is not that expensive and it is reusable. IMO, there are a list of MUST-HAVES for hydro--the correct medium, nutrients, pH meter (and all that goes with it), ppm meter (and calibration fluid). You need to be able to keep your res temps in the right range and this might mean a chiller. If you cannot afford the things you need, you are better off to wait until you can. Going into hydro without the essentials is a real gamble IMO. You can kill your plants within a number of hours if things get too far out of whack. Even with things a little off, you can have big problems I am as thrifty as anyone you will find and literally DIY most everything I can. However, sometimes there are no cheap substitutes.
 

ruufuus

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Great information, I will hold off until I can afford the medium/meter/and solutions for meter. My next question is, how do I adjust the ppm and ec to keep it at optimal levels? And what meter might you recommend for ppm and ec? Also how much hydroton should I purchase to fill 2 3x2 ebb and flow trays? I believe they are about 6 inches in height maybe a bit taller
 

Lemon Jack

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You adjust the ppm by adding your nutrients to your soloution just go slow and easy. Hannah makes great meters of all sorts I would reccomoned one of those as far as the hydroton id say you prob need between 80 and 100 L for those trays.
 

Hamster Lewis

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Check here before buying your meters and solutions elsewhere.....Eseasongear.com

Best prices I hve found online.
 

WeedHopper

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HG is correct about Hydro Grows. Everything can go bad real quick if yur not carefull. I personally would go soil untill ya can go Hydro. Soil is more forgiving with temps and PH can be quit easy to control with alittle lime.
Still would get a PH meter though. They are fairly cheap. I live in the south a temps are a ***** with DWC and other Hydro setups.
 

ruufuus

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You guys are great! I'm so glad I came to this forum=) does anyone have recommendations for where to get hydroton at the best price?
 

Hamster Lewis

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ruufuus said:
You guys are great! I'm so glad I came to this forum=) does anyone have recommendations for where to get hydroton at the best price?

10lbs for 20 bucks free shipping....go to eBay and look for item #130570572173
 
T

Time4Plan-B

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A pal of mine used pea gravel as a medum years ago and he did flood and drain and the plant was only 12" tall max and he got over 3oz from the plant and i have to say it was awesome.
Only plant he ever managed to grow properly tbh.
Lol
T4
 

ruufuus

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nice! i have heard of people using pea gravel for ebb and flow, but im not sure if i wanna give it a go, especially if the hydroton isnt going to cost me an arm and a leg. also, how big was his grow tray, what strain was he growing, and how long did he veg it?
 

Lemon Jack

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I found if you have a local hydro store its much much cheaper on hydroton.

I dont have one though but one day when I went to the big city lol. I stopped at one. I was like a kid in a candy store scooping up rockwool and hydroton and other stuff that shipping is really a pita on.

I got a 50 L bag there for like 30 bucks. Way way better than I found anywhere online.
 

ruufuus

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The Hemp Goddess said:
If you are going to do hydro, I would encourage you to wait until you could afford to do it right or not do it at all. I do not see pea gravel holding enough moisture either, especially in E & F.
i just read a guide on indoor-gardening guide.com that says just about any medium will do, and that you do not want alot of water retention because of the frequency at which water will be avaliable, so perhaps pea gravel medium is still worth a shot?

" Due to the frequent flooding cycles, you don't want your growing medium to retain a lot of water."
 
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I do not do E & F, but most people only flood several times a day. You need enough water retention so that the roots do not dry out.

No offense, time4, but I would really have to see a 12" 3 oz plant to believe it. Most people do not really realize how large a 3 oz plant is.....
 

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