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Posted: 15 May 2013

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3 most common hydroponic system problems & solutions

Category: hydroponics | Posted: Wed May 15, 2013 5:43 pm

With hydroponic gardening there are numerous problems that will eventually arise, and must be dealt with accordingly. In this guide the more common hydroponic problems are listed and with the recommended solution to each problem. When growing with hydroponics there is no way to avoid every type of problem and to always have a perfectly running system, so why not educate yourself so in the future when a particular problem arises you will know exactly how to spot the problem and deal with accordingly.

Algae growth:
Algae actually forms whenever these 3 things present: light, water, and nutrients. Unfortunately every hydroponic growing will encounter this problem some time or another, so it is absolutely imperative to do whatever you can to avoid this.
The main way to avoid algae is to limit the amount of light reaching the water/nutrient solution. A hydroponic reservoir should always be as dark as can be, with black being the most obvious choice. but any opaque type of reservoir will do as long as absolutely no light can pass through. And your reservoir should always have a cover to it, the only openings that should be present should be holes for irrigation tubing, power cords etc. and even then the excess space should be sealed up with some sort of sealer, or reflective tape does very well as well.
If you could "light proof" your system so no light can enter the reservoir then your chances of algae will be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether if done right.

System leaks:
Hydroponic systems are constantly under high pressure situations and if you're fittings, nutrient emitters, or any irrigation hoses are not properly secured they will be prone to leakage and failure. It only takes one weak spot in your system for a catastrophic leak to occur and turn your grow room into a shallow pool, and could turn into a serious electrical hazard if any electrical wiring gets wet.
Here are a couple of points to keep in mind when securing your hydroponic system for leaks.
- Always use pipe threading tape when fitting any pipes together
- Use some kind of water-proof caulking or similar to seal every single place where tubing, cords, and pipes are coming through the system. This is always beneficial to preventing light leaks as well.
- When first assembling your system it is always a good idea run your system at least a few hours after everything is put together and before you actually add plants. This is always recommended whenever cleaning is done to your system, just to periodically test the integrity of your hydroponic gardening system

Clogs are probably amongst the most common problems with hydroponic gardening, and more often than not the grower doesn't even realize it. This is more common among hydroponic drip systems and also systems to use nutrient sprayers, like Aeroponics systems, bubbleponics, and some types of drip systems. There are also filters that can minimize this problem but does not 100% prevent the clogs. The only way to prevent any clogs from even occurring in your system is to thoroughly clean your system, and all of its tubing and part, regularly. You could buy hydroponic cleaning solutions specifically designed for nutrient and salt build up, which is the stuff that actually clogs. But the most effective and easily way to clean these small parts and such as with a bleach/water solution: approximately 10% bleach and 90% water.

Last edited: Sat May 18, 2013 7:38 pm

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Mrs. Galeassi wrote on Thu May 16, 2013 2:01 am:

Loved how you know your stuff. I personally don't grow my plants this way but I had a nieghbor who did and he had his connected to fish fish pond.I'm sure there is going to be quite a few people whom are going to be super greatful to you. Totally unrelated but Ha so that explains why my fish tank has more algea. We moved and its new location is brighter. :)

amanda_ponics wrote on Thu May 16, 2013 3:55 am:

Thanks for the kind words, they are greatly appreciated! I am an extremely passionate gardener so I can just go on and on about this subject. I am a hydroponic expert in the indoor & greenhouse cultivation industry, so hydroponic growing is my forte and I love to spread the word whenever I can.
Also you mentioned your neighbor grew their plants connected to the fish post; this method of growing is call “aquaponics”. Aquaponics is a form of hydroponics, but instead of the plant getting it`s critical nutrients from fertilizers the fish(s) actually product the nutrients for the roots, time and time again. I have a friend who has 4 massive fish tanks incorporated in their greenhouse and grows some of the biggest tomatoes I’ve ever seen; aquaponics is a great way to grow plants and fish together in harmony.
While we’re on the subject I think I’ll post a general introduction to aquaponics, I don`t think enough people are properly aware of the benefits of hydroponics,and I want to change that

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