Which Kind of Hydroponic Light is Best

When deciding on the kind of hydroponic light most suitable for your system, you should always make sure you pick the right light for your specific situation. Not all grow lights can be used in similar environments which is why there are different varieties available at different strengths to meet every kind of situation. It is essential to do your homework on this subject and know exactly which light will meet your needs best.

Below, you will find a list of the most popular grow lights and detailed information on them allowing you to make an informed decision when choosing your hydroponic lights.

Fluorescent Lights
Fluorescent lights produce a full spectrum light. This kind of lighting is very energy efficient to operate especially when compared to other kinds of grow lights. Fluorescent grow lights usually work best when placed very close to the plants due to their short range capacity. They are also usually used for plants in their seedling stage and work brilliantly for clones, too.

Metal Halide
Metal halide bulbs emit light in the blue and violet spectrum which is the type of light usually present in summertime. Metal halide lights are commonly used in the vegetative stage of plant life, and with high success. Because of the type of light emitted, this bulb is commonly favored by professional growers. By simulating the sun’s natural springtime light, metal halide lights encourage root growth and also prolific foliage growth. This type of lighting does, however, produce a great deal of heat and should never be used in a closed area, but instead in an open room with adequate ventilation.

High Pressure Sodium
This grow light is intended to simulate autumn sunlight in the orange and red field. This light is best used for the flowering stage of plant life, but can also be used for the duration of a plant’s complete life. A huge advantage of this type of hydroponic lighting is that, with just one bulb, you can cover a huge growing area, thus maximizing your growing space. They do need to be kept in an open air garden at least two to three feet above your plants, but they can be easily raised without any effect on your garden. Another huge advantage of high pressure sodium bulbs is that their life span is very impressive; most bulbs can last two years under constant use. It is wise, however, to only use these bulbs if you are growing in a grow room and not in a grow closet or box as they get very hot and could cause some safety issues.

LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights are ultra-efficient but, at the same time, produce tremendous results. LEDs do not produce any heat and can be incorporated into almost any kind of growing operation – big or small. There is a downside to this kind of hydroponic light system, however. They can be very expensive. But, in the long run, they will pay for themselves with the money you will be saving on energy costs.

When to Change Reservoir Water

All hydroponic systems need some kind of reservoir to hold the water/nutrient solution, and they all need to have the reservoir water changed out and refilled on a regular basis. Since a hydroponic garden has no soil to get its nutrients and minerals from, it is always very important to keep your reservoir water clean and balanced. By keeping this in check, your plants will stay healthy and generally have fewer problems in the future.

When to change the reservoir water is really up to the individual grower and your specific preference. You generally want to change the water every two to three weeks, but your reservoir tank really needs to be checked every day for any problems or concerns.

In a hydroponic garden, the water levels decrease for two main reasons – the water from the tank slowly evaporates into the air and the plants absorb some of it, too. This causes the water levels to drop a little every day. If the water level goes down too much, then the roots will eventually stop receiving the required nutrient solution – if this happens, you will have big problems. It also causes the nutrients in the water to get more and more concentrated causing the solution to eventually “burn” the roots because of the nutrient intensity. If the water level drops too much before it is time to change it, then fill up the tank with straight water until the desired level has been achieved.
One suggestion would be to keep a constant record of how much water you actually add to “top off” the tank and when you did this. When the water you’ve been adding reaches the volume of half the tank’s capacity, then change all the water out with fresh water and add in a fresh amount of the required nutrient solution, always paying specific attention to the correct quantity.

By following this suggestion for changing your reservoir, you will ensure a clean and healthy hydroponic garden. It is also a great starting point for keeping your system clean. You will eventually develop your own tips and tricks making the whole process simpler and more automated.

Here are some common symptoms which could indicate that the water needs to be changed:

Nitrogen Deficiency
Symptoms:
• The whole plant turns a light shade of green
• The lower growth/leaves turn yellow
• You may notice that plant growth is stunted

Solution:
Change the water

Too Little Phosphorus
Symptom:
A plant turns a bluish green, or red and purple
Solution:
Check the water and all other aspect of your water solution

Not Enough Nutrients in the Water
Symptoms:
• The plant looks malnourished and slightly drooping
• The plant is pale green in color
• The stems and branches are not so still

Solution:
Change out the water in your hydroponic garden often – it is better to change the water out sooner rather than later if this symptom is occurring.

What is Hydroponics

Some of us may wonder – What is hydroponics? Hydroponic gardening is an up-and-coming alternative to growing plants the old fashioned way in soil. Hydroponic systems cultivate plants using water enriched with nutrients instead of growing with soil and getting the nutrients from the soil itself. This form of growing has been proven to grow fruits and vegetables faster and bigger allowing them to mature more quickly giving an increased yield and size. While most people were hesitant about growing with hydroponics in the past, the more recent strides in hydroponic farming have made using this method easier than ever.

The key of hydroponics is being able to directly feed the root system with water and nutrients more quickly and thoroughly than by growing in soil. The water in hydroponic systems is infused with the right balance of nutrients to promote healthy and rapid root growth. The other benefit to using this type of system (when not nourishing the roots with nutrient rich water), the roots are exposed to an abundance of oxygen thus allowing them to be able to absorb nutrients more efficiently. Being able to give the root system a balance of both nutrient rich water and oxygen leads them to maturing more quickly and bearing more produce at a rate rarely seen by soil growing.

With the benefits of producing fruits and vegetables at an astounding rate, hydroponic growing is also environmental friendly. No matter what kind of hydroponic system you are using, the water being used is constantly being recycled and reused meaning you use significantly less water to maintain your hydroponic garden when compared to traditional gardening. Another environmental benefit is that hydroponic systems are relatively free from chemicals and pesticides. This is mainly because most indoor pests breed in soil – you won’t find them in hydroponic systems.

There are various techniques which can be used with hydroponic systems to deliver nutrient-rich water to the root system. Growing with plants which are self-contained usually requires the use of an irrigation system that drips nutrient-laden water to the root system. Another way of delivery within a self-contained system is to use an emitter which sprays the water directly onto the roots. A further method which can be used is by growing a tray of plants in a row within a trough of sorts which is watered from below. They tray is filled with water and allowed to sit for a short amount of time and later all the excess water is drained – this method is called the ebb and flood system. These are a few of the types of hydroponic systems available but the specific type depends on the grower’s needs.

So now when you ask yourself “What is hydroponics?”, you now have a general knowledge and basic concept of the subject and when you go to select a hydroponic system for yourself, you can find the right kind to fit your needs best. Not all systems are designed for the average grower and some may be a little more complicated to operate then others, but if you have common sense and a willingness to learn, then every system available could work wonders for you.

What is Aquaponics

Aquaponics is a very distinctive growing method which allows you to grow plants and fish together in a single reservoir – fish and plants are cultivated in one system. In aquaponics, the fish supplies the nutrients through the root system and, in turn, the plants “clean” the water the fish live in. This way of growing is somewhat like hydroponics, but in some ways a lot better. For one thing, you are doing away with the manual introduction of nutrients and plant food. The fish produce all the nutrients the plants need for healthy growth. Not having to constantly deal with nutrient solutions will save you a lot of hassle, and expense, in the future.

When growing with aquaponics, you will not only be cultivating your favorite plants but also growing fish. Cultivating fish can be very rewarding, just as much so as growing your own plants. Fish are a very valuable commodity and, if growing for commercial reasons, then having an aquaponics system or two would definitely be a great idea.

The concept of aquaponics is nothing new. In fact, for hundreds of years, people have been growing their plants in water where certain fish were present and noticed a huge difference when growing those same plants in soil. In the centuries since, the art of aquaponics has been mastered. You can now buy pre-made kits with everything you need to get started, including the fish.

Aquaponics offers so many benefits and here are just a few examples of why aquaponics is so superior to other methods of growing:

– Larger yields
– Faster growth
– Drastically lower water consumption as the water is constantly cleaned and recycled
– No need to buy fertilizers as the fish do the work
– Drastically reduces pests due to the absence of soil
– No need for pesticides to harm your plants
– Environmental friendly, as the water is recycled and water usage is massively reduced

Aquaponics is a great way to grow, not to mention very intriguing to watch fish and plants growing in harmony as one. Many people are now flocking to this exciting way to grow because of its efficiency in its recycling abilities and uniqueness of the fish.

The aquaponics method of growing usually consists of a reservoir (or tank) with certain varieties of fish from around the world. The grow beds rest on the top of the water with the roots submerged in the water. This way of growing is truly amazing and also self-sustaining. Once the cycle of fish and plants starts, the water will stay clean and the plants will stay well-fed with nutrients. This will essentially go on throughout the fish and plants’ life. This is the single most reason why so many people are fascinated with this technique of growing. The only time you would really have to clean your system is between harvests. Cleaning an aquaponics system is a lot less of a hassle then most people think. All you really need is a bleach/water solution and something to wipe it down with, and that’s it.22