Why does pH matter? 

The pH factor of your water is what affects the plants’ ability to transport its nutrients and controls what is available for uptake through the roots. The optimal range for hydroponics during the plants vegetative and flowering life cycle is 5.5-6.5pH. It is recommended to maintain that range for best results because it will give us the optimum combination of nutrients absorbed by the plant. If the solution dips above or below that range you will need to rebalance the pH of the solution or it will affect the plants health. 

Items required to pH balance your solution 

  1. pH up and pH down.

These are the acidic (down), and alkaline (up) solutions that you will add to your nutrient solution to raise or lower the pH. Only use products designed for growing, any others may harm or kill your plants. You will be able to find pH products at your local garden centre or grow shop and will most likely find them together in a kit. Some kits will come with a quick method of measuring your pH, these will not be the most accurate but will give you the general range of your solution. 

Tip..

pH UP will raise the pH of your solution making it more alkaline.  

pH down will lower the pH of your solution making it more acidic. 

WARNING: when working with pH up and down it is important to be very careful to not spill or get any on yourself. If you get any of it on you be sure to rinse off immediately with water to prevent potential injury. 

  1. pH Pen.

This is a tool used to measure the exact pH level of the solution you are working with and is faster and more accurate than the standard test kits mentioned above. This accuracy comes at a cost though and you will need to be prepared to learn how to use and maintain the pen. Regular cleaning and calibrating will be required to maintain the accuracy or the tool. Furthermore you will need to purchase the calibration solution designed for your pen and will be sold by the manufacturer of the pen. My recommendations for manufacturers would be Bluelab

Tip…

We recommend getting a pH pen as it will help you more accurately maintain the pH levels of your solution, maintain better plant health, and helping troubleshoot any nutrient related issues. However it is not a requirement to buy a pH pen. 

How to pH Balance your Solution. 

When pH balancing your solution it is important to remember this will be the last step. Only pH your solution after you have mixed in all required nutrients into your water. This is because any additional additives may change the pH and you would have to rebalance your solution all over again.  

Additionally I recommended that when you are mixing a fresh solution for your Mary water tank to mix it in a separate bucket or container before you add it to your reservoir. This will ensure you don't burn the roots of your plant as you add in your nutrients and pH your solution. If you are adjusting the solution already in the tank you can just add the pH up or down directly to the tank but be very careful not no drip it directly on the roots because it may damage them. 

To pH a fresh solution you will start by mixing in all required additives first mixing thoroughly to insure an even solution. Next you should check the current pH of the solution you have just mixed to give you starting point. When pH adjusting your solution it is important to take it slow, you do not want it swinging up and down to drastically so start by adding 1-2 drops, stir thoroughly, and check your pH with your kit or pen. Continue adjusting by 1-2 drops until you have reached the desired pH level. 

When it comes to maintaining the pH level of the solution already in your tank it is best to check it daily to maintain the 5.5-6.5 range. Start by checking the current pH level of your tank so you know if you need to adjust up, down, or not at all. If the solution has drifted out of our desired range we will start by adding 1-2 drops being careful not to drip onto the roots directly and give it about 15-30 seconds to let the bubbler mix the solution, Recheck the pH levels and repeat as needed. Remember to take it slow, adding too much pH up or down can affect the absorption of nutrients weakening the plant. 

Tip..

pH UP will raise the pH of your solution making it more alkaline.  

pH down will lower the pH of your solution making it more acidic.

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