As a hydroponic gardener, you know that the health and growth of your plants depend on various factors, including grow medium quality, light, water, and nutrients.
One aspect that is often overlooked is the nutrient reservoir’s temperature, which can significantly impact the development of your plants.
On this episode of Ask the Garden Sage, professional grower David Robinson answers the question: what is the ideal temperature for a nutrient reservoir?
The answer is more complex than you might think, as it depends on the hydroponic system. Here’s what you need to know.
Importance of Oxygen in Hydroponic Systems
Oxygen is an essential element for plant growth and is necessary for photosynthesis. Plants can suffer from reduced growth without sufficient oxygen and may even die.
Oxygen is also crucial for the proper functioning of the roots, as it helps to break down nutrients and facilitate their uptake by the plant. In addition, oxygen helps to keep the root system healthy by preventing the buildup of harmful bacteria and fungi.
Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the nutrient reservoir in which you are growing your plants has sufficient oxygen levels to promote healthy plant growth.
In hydroponic systems, oxygen is usually supplied to the plants through the air pump and air stones, which release air bubbles into the nutrient solution. These bubbles provide the plants with the oxygen they need to carry out their metabolic processes.
Optimal Nutrient Reservoir Temperature in Hydroponic Systems
Maintaining the proper temperature of your nutrient reservoir is essential for the quality of your plants. The “ideal temperature for water nutrient reservoirs in recirculating hydroponic gardens, generally, will be about 65º F,” said the Garden Sage.
Nutrient Reservoir Temperature in an Aeroponic System
The Garden Sage noted that an aeroponic system could benefit from even lower nutrient reservoir temperatures because the water is being misted on its way to the root zone and won’t make a lot of contact with it at first.
If a lot of the cold, misted water touches the root zone in a large volume, it could cause cold shock, which slows down the plant’s metabolism. In aeroponic gardens, “the water is being misted. Which warms the water on its way to the root zone,” said the Garden Sage.
Because of the misting watering technique, you can drop the temperatures to about 58º F to protect the plants from the dangers of root disease.
Hot Water Reduces Oxygen Levels
Nutrient reservoir temperatures higher than the optimal range can have low oxygen levels, which creates an anaerobic environment in the root zone. This can reduce the roots’ ability to absorb nutrients and create an environment where bacteria and fungi can thrive.
Cold Water Stresses the Plant
A nutrient reservoir with temperatures below the optimal range, under 60º F, can stress the plant and slow its metabolic processes. Although nutrient reservoir temperatures should be cool, they should not be too cold, which can lead to stunted growth.
Hydroponic Water Chillers and Heaters
Hydroponic water chillers and heaters are essential components of any hydroponic system found inside the reservoir. These devices help regulate the nutrient solution’s temperature, ensuring that it stays within the optimal range for plant growth.
A water chiller can be used to cool down the nutrient solution in hot climates or during the summer months, while a heater can be used to warm up the solution in colder climates or during the winter.
Both types of equipment can be purchased from hydroponic supply stores or online retailers, and it is crucial to choose a model that is appropriately sized for your system and can accurately maintain the desired temperature.
How to Keep Track of the Nutrient Reservoir Temperature
To keep track of the temperature of your nutrient solution, you can use a thermometer or a temperature sensor.
A thermometer can be placed directly into the nutrient solution to get a reading, while a temperature sensor can be placed in the nutrient reservoir to control the temperature.
It is essential to check the temperature regularly, especially in hot or cold weather, to ensure that it stays within the optimal range.
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