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WHAT IS TDS AND pH - EC | CF | PPM

Learn what is TDS & pH and find out how they are measured using instruments or other methods and their importance in hydroponics. Get details about the best affordable instruments, their cost and availability.

Using the universal ph test strips hydroponics checking is better as it indicates the approximate value of the solution pH. Best water solution for hydroponic garden that gives excellent growth is a great booster. Most practical nutrient and water solution with the perfect nutrient concentration satisfies the mineral requirements of plants.

Instead of using citric acid in hydroponics it is better to use phosphoric acid as it is an essential nutrient of the plants and will be fully utilized. Top class hydroponic solution gives good plant growth for veggies, fruiting plants as well as flowering plants. Nutrient rich water solution prepared by experts in the field of hydroponics gives optimum plant growth.

The soil vs hydroponics research is ongoing but as things stand now the hydroponic way of growing plants is far superior in terms of profitability. Best selling liquid nutrients and fast growth producing advanced nutrients giving superb root growth are easily available. Plant nutrition for all types of plants producing rich water solution suited for all species of plants must be used.

The ph test strips hydroponics monitoring of the solution can be done either using the acidic versus basic strips or using the universal strips. Nutrients and water are mixed in perfect proportions to deliver most efficient nutrients in hydroponics. Nutrients for beginners containing normal nutrients that satisfy the requirements of plants of various species are the best.

The use of citric acid in hydroponics is good to reduce the pH but since this liquid is not absorbed by the plants it goes waste. Very efficient mineral nutrient solutions are prepared by mixing mineral nutrients in water to get concentrated mix.

The soil vs hydroponics research overwhelmingly favors the hydroponics type of crop growing. Unlike the necessity of expensive instruments the ph test strips hydroponics monitoring is much cheaper and can be done my anybody without any special training. Give the correct mineral requirements to your plants and prevent nutrient deficiency syndromes.

what is TDS and pH

What Is TDS And How Is It Measured?

TDS means total dissolved solids in a solution. Higher concentration of solids means higher TDS and vice versa. TDS is measured by using an electronic instrument called TDS or EC meter.

EC, CF and PPM are three different units used to measure TDS or to indicate the concentration of a solution. EC means electrical conductivity, CF means concentration factor and PPM means parts per million. Higher the concentration of solids higher is the EC, CF and PPM and vice versa.

In USA 1 EC is considered equal to 10 CF or 500 PPM. In Europe 1 EC is considered equal to 10 CF or 640 PPM. In Australia 1 EC is considered equal to 10 CF or 700 PPM. So beware where your instruments are manufactured.

What Is The Best TDS Value For Hydroponic Nutrient Solution?

The value of TDS depends on 3 factors - the type of hydroponic system, the type of plant grown and the temperature of the location.

It is recommended to start with the lowest value and gradually move upwards depending on the reaction of the plant.

Plants with deficiencies can recover but a plant with toxicity is finished and beyond recovery.

Plants may require mineral solutions with different TDS values during various stages of plant life.

What Is pH And How Is It Measured?

pH is a unit used to measure the acidic or basic nature of a solution or mixture. It has a scale or value range of 0 to 14. Zero is maximum acidic and 14 is maximum basic. The value of 7 is considered chemically neutral.

pH is measured using a electronic meter or using litmus papers which are also call as pH test strips in hydroponics.

Red litmus paper is used to check basic nature of a solution. Blue litmus paper is used to check the acidity of a solution. Universal litmus paper is used to measure the approximate value of pH in both zones.

Most electronic meters indicate pH to accuracy of 0.1 plus minus range. Although digital electronic pH meters are ideal it is recommended to also use litmus papers occasionally. pH test strips in hydroponics are also handy when there is some problem with the meter.

Why Is pH Important For A Hydroponic Nutrient Solution?

Plants can draw optimum nutrients from a nutrient solution only within a specified pH range. The optimum pH value differs for each plant type.

The sweet spot for most plants is around 6.5 pH value. A pH value range of 6.0 to 7.5 is okay for home growers.

To strictly stick to a narrow range of pH requires the use of chemicals to adjust pH in either direction.

Consequences Of Wrong pH In Hydroponics

Too high pH value hinders the optimum uplift of nutrients by plants from the prepared solution.

Too low pH besides hindering the optimum uplift of nutrients also causes root rot as unwanted bacteria thrive in more acidic solutions.

Wrong pH value hinders the uplift of nutrients in the supplied proportions.

Even though the nutrient mixture is perfect the plants may not get optimum nutrients due to wrong pH value.

Factors That Decide pH Value

Some of the nutrients in a hydroponic plant solution are acidic in nature and others are basic in nature. The acidic ones decrease the pH and the basic ones increase the pH.

Nutrients like potassium (K), Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) are basic in nature and therefore increase the pH. Nutrients like Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Sulfur (S) are present in the form of nitrates, phosphates and sulfates respectively which are acidic in nature and therefore decrease the pH. The other nutrients have a very negligible effect on the pH value or variations.

Why Does pH Change In Hydroponics?

Depending on which nutrient the plant draws more the pH will either increase or decrease over a period of time. If the nutrient solution is not balanced the fluctuations in pH will be large.

However there is always a minor change in pH in either direction which has to be attended to. The direction of pH variation gives a good indication as to which nutrients are used more and vice versa.

Benefits Of Using Good Instruments

Finally all will depend on the quality of the instruments used. Only if the measurements are reliable will the follow up actions be appropriate. Cheap instruments not only last a short time but give inaccurate results. It is normal behavior to try out all the cheap instruments but before you realize you have spent more than what a good instrument would have cost. It is recommended to put in the few extra bucks and go in for better instruments which will not only give accurate results but also last for many years.

We have perused the internet and found out the most recommended instruments which people are using and are fully satisfied. Not only instruments but all other materials displayed on this page are the best and there are many happy users of the same.

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If you want to increase production then you can turn your soil farming into a hydroponics farm and get rid of the headaches associated with soil planting. Jason Mitchel, Paraguay.


For best plant production the plants roots must be held in inert grow medium and the planting cup must also be of adequate size. Lorraine Nestle, France.


Water systems using chemical equipment can improve the nutrient levels available to the plants and vegetative growth is improved. Nelson Pilsner, Colombia.


Terrestrial plants need the correct range of pH values and the best concentration of nutrition level. Patricia Williams, Scotland.


Supply of water with chlorine bleach can kill the hydroponics garden as the organic minerals can react forming organic compounds that cannot be absorbed by the plants. Thomas Harvey, Puerto Rico.


Plants from hydroponics do better when supplied with oxygenated nutrient solution and this has been tested practically. Pearn Hamshire, Britain.


With the availability of hydroponic grow lights the urban farmer can achieve space saving as well as stick to a soilless environment. Robin Clinton, Texas.


Using an air pump to create air bubbles may be useful in some cases but is not a necessary option for all systems. Daisy Ramos, Italy.


Coconut choir is not ideal in the seed pantry and coco peat is a better option and organic fertilizer goes well with it. Robert Angler, Greece.


The advanced nutrients better the grow cycle and this is applicable to all the methods including the top fed deep water culture. Lucy Phineas, Israel.


Good liquid nutrients do not give very high variations in pH and the total dissolved solvents in the solution level are maintained. Shane Dickson, Ireland.


A good mineral solution prevents stunted growth and gives better life cycle and thus contributes to the profitability of the activity. Shirley Monroe, Brazil.


The continuous flow solution culture is not advised for starters as it requires uninterrupted power supply or adequate backup systems. Isaiah Rawa, Egypt.


The main advantage of direct sunlight is that climate control methods need not be required thereby reducing the cost of production. Sonia Magdelene, Toronto.


Proper attention has to be given to plant diseases and some technical knowledge here is very handy for good yields. Joseph Auguiar, Costa Rica.


A simple form of hydroponics can be built at home using plastic tubes, an aquarium pump and some other simple items which are available online. Ivana Rabzoky, Russia.


Commercial growers using indoor grow lights need to ensure that the lamps are capable of giving the whole light spectrum that is needed by the hydroponic plants. Rafael Soares, France.


Beginners can by using a testing kit to monitor growth rate overcome the limitation of hydroponics and end with a final yield that is appreciable. Jenny Shrivers, Kentucky.


At the time of writing my experiment has proved that faster growth and lower pest infection depends on total control provided you have acquired the perfect technology. Ashley Murray, New Zealand.


You don't need a submersible pump in the deep water culture farming and the experiments with organic fertilizers to improve grow cycle are going on right from the seed pantry stage. Sandra Jaffery, Turkey.


In the deep water culture the hydroponic solution does not change its concentration because of the large volume and plant growth is good liquid nutrients are always to the plants in the correct concentrations. Rodney Samson, Philipines.


The hydroponic grow can be enhanced with the use of organic fertilizers but the monitoring of pH and TDS has to be accurate and follow action has to be quick. Danielle Solomon, Japan.


The use of organic fertilizers are better suited to the deep water culture hydroponic grow systems as plant roots are exposed to various types of bacteria. Terence Lincoln, California.


Use of advanced nutrients in the top fed deep water culture has its own benefits and does give improved grow cycle making the farming products more competitive. Maggie De Lima, Mexico.


It is easier to manage the pH and TDS parameters in deep water culture types of hydro farming and the plant roots get the best supply of liquid nutrients and therefore the grow cycle is faster and better. David Afleck, Bermuda.