Algae tends to show up in aeroponic and hydroponic growing systems. Algae comes in different forms such as multicellular organisms like seaweed to unicellular microscopic organisms. Algae survive well in warm water with a good amount of light and nutrients. It tends to be either red, green, blue or black. They may even look a little slimy or fuzzy.
This article covers:
Signs of algae
Algae can get attached to hydroponic and aeroponic supplies, and sometimes algae may travel and end up creating issues with the tubing. You don’t want algae to get on your plants roots because this will cause serious issues. At this point, the roots may not be able to receive oxygen, and they will end up competing against the algae to get nutrients. So your plants will not have the proper amount of nutrients.
Algae’s photosynthesis process happens during the day, which is when they absorb carbon dioxide from the water and release oxygen. When the lights are turned off, this all happens in reverse, so the oxygen in the water is taken in by the algae and your plants get nothing.
It will be wise to do something about algae immediately after you realize there is a problem. Once it starts stopping up your growing system and the plants are no longer getting the proper amount of nutrients. More about algae in my free grow bible.
What to do about the problem
The issue is both marijuana and algae like to grow in the same conditions, so your plant flourishes in the same places that algae does. Since algae enjoys nutrient rich water that receives a lot of light. So, you will want to make sure the tubing, buckets and reservoirs in your hydroponic system is never fully clear and is made of an opaque substance. Algae also likes to live in rock wool, which is used in hydroponic setups to help marijuana roots.
Due to the fact that algae requires light for their development, you can deal with them by changing the lights. You can do this by making sure the growing equipment is a dark opaque color and place landscape fabric over the rock wool. This way the rock wool will have room and no light will come in.
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As soon as you notice algae in your aeroponic or hydroponic system, it is important to clean the whole system, getting rid of anything that is comprised of clear material. You can replace this with an opaque variation. When time or money is a problem, you can attempt to cover the clear equipment with some sort of dark fabric.
If the algae happens to be in the water, you can start off by rinsing and cleaning the reservoir. Create a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide at a 1:10 ratio. By putting this in the reservoir in small proportions and somewhat frequently, this will give your plants a boost of oxygen, which will assist them in getting rid of algae. Since hydrogen peroxide could be problematic for your plants roots, it is best to only give this solution to the older, more mature plants.
UVC lights used in your filtration system is a great way to stop algae before it reaches your grow space. This will not create problems for your plants.
Grapefruit seed extract is a natural way to deal with algae and is often used in lakes and fish ponds for this very reason. Lastly, you can try using barley straw mat in your hydroponic system to control algae. This will not destroy the algae that is currently present, it instead reduces algae growth while not getting rid of the good organisms that are there.
Some symptoms to look out for
- Yellow leaves
- Burnt leaf edges
- Brown roots and other discoloration
After you clear the algae, you need to switch out the equipment materials or change the conditions unless you want to risk it growing back very fast. You want to be sure you make all the proper changes so there is no ongoing issue.
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible.