Posted on by Jason Gibson

Hydroponic Water Control FAQ - Part 1

Having an understanding of how much food a plant requires helps massively as a gardener, however some don’t find it as easy, and forgoing the much-needed digital meters will only leave you growing blind and possibly more confused.

Hopefully this quick FAQ will help make the decision a little easier to purchase these meters, your plants will thank you.

What is EC and What EC should I maintain?

EC (Electrical conductivity) is a type of meter used in hydroponics to see if there is an electrical charge within a nutrient solution, most growers use EC as an indication as to whether they have too much or too little food presently available to the plant. 

EC is measured in milliSiemens per centimetre (mS/cm)

Once a specific element has been added to a working solution it divides into two charges called Ions

- Positively charged ions are Cations

- Negatively charged ions are Anions

The higher the ionic value of a nutrient solution, the higher the EC will register.

EC requirements change as the plant grows from seedling into a mature plant. 

When your plants are young they require less food, so it makes sense that as the plant grows we increase the amount of food to fulfil the plant’s daily requirements.

A digital EC meter will take out the guess work, allowing you to achieve the numbers below, giving your plants exactly what they need.

Seedling requirements: 0.2 – 0.6 EC

Growth/Vegetative requirements: 0.6 - 0.8 EC

Bloom/Flowering requirements: 1.6 - 2.4 EC

Flowering Maturation: 0.0 – 0.3 EC

Water Control EC / pH Pens

What is pH and what pH should I maintain?

pH stands for "Potential Hydrogen" or "Power of Hydrogen!"

Firstly! If the pH fluctuates too much the plant will be unable to uptake specific "slow" moving nutrients. Stability is key.

Regularly checking your pH level informs you whether or not your plants can consume food.

Plants absorb nutrients when the pH of the nutrient solution is in range. Most plants hydroponically grown, will grow perfectly between the pH range of 5.5– 6.5

If the pH range goes outside of that suggested window, then some nutrients will become “unavailable” to the plant, resulting in deficiencies and growth problems.

A digital pH meter is ideal, allowing you to achieve the numbers below, giving your plants exactly what they need:

Seedling requirements: 5.5 - 5.8

Growth/Vegetative requirements: 5.7 - 6.0

Bloom/Flowering requirements: 5.9 – 6.2

Flowering Maturation: 5.8 – 6.0

Water Control FAQ - A-Grade Hydroponics