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Frequently Asked Questions

Q What pH should I maintain? 
A The pH should be kept between 6.0 to 6.5 with 6.3 as the ideal range.


Q How long should I run my lights 
A Lighting hours depend on growth phase.
Seed raising = 24 hrs per day
Cutting phase = 18 hrs per day
Vegetative phase = 18 hrs per day.
Flowering phase = 12 hrs per day.


Q What causes the tips of the plants to burn?
A  This can be caused by too much fertiliser (too high CF), too much salt in the water, not enough water, lights too close or poor air movement. Certain nutrient deficiencies can also cause tipburn. Use a well known brand of nutrient and if in doubt, change the solution.

Q Does the nutrient solution need to be heated? 
A It is best to maintain nutrient solution between 18 deg c - 22 deg c. below 18 deg c growth will slow. It will be necessary to heat in the cooler seasons. 

Q What causes plants to die? 
A There can be a number of reasons for this. First refer to the Basics chapter, then eliminate the obvious things like lack of water or high temperatures. Root diseases like "pythium" are the most common type of root disease, as they can cause sudden death of plants as well as many other problems from low yields to complete collapse. "MICROBIAL" cleanser is a product that is proving very useful in the treatment of rootzone problems. As a preventative measure the risks can be reduced by way of a friendly bacteria like "bio bugs" which break down the dead rootmatter and convert it into a usable compound that the plant can then absorb.


Q Why do plants stretch? 
A Plants stretch when the light is insufficient or humidity is too high. Lack of ventilation is normally the cause of high humidity. You should always have the air coming in the same as the air going out at the same rate. You need at least 20 to 30 air changes per hour.


Q What humidity should I maintain? 
A Humidity is best maintained at around 50% in the centre of the plant canopy. Between 40% - 60% is ok. Too high a humidity runs the risk of disease and stretching.


Q What temperature should the growing room be? 
A Room temperatures need to be maintained at around 25°C in the vegetative phase and a couple of degrees lower in flowering, though anywhere between 22 to 28°C is OK.


Q How much ventilation is necessary? 
A Ventilation needs to be enough to maintain a temperature of about 28°C and a humidity of about 50% in the centre of the plant canopy. Generally it is better to have too much than too little ventilation.


Q What is the best hydroponic system? 
A The success of any system will depend on the management. Here at Hydro Masta we can explain the operation of various systems, but please note that the best results are often achieved by the simplest of systems.


Q What is the best medium? 
A As with the systems, there is no 'best' medium. Each medium requires different management, but expanded clay tends to be easy to manage and very effective, with good moisture retention as well as good drainage.


Q Should I use EC and pH meters? 
A Trying to run a hydroponic system without meters is very difficult and it would be hard to achieve optimum results.


Q How often should I 'dump' my solution? 
A There is no hard and fast rule on this one. Generally the cheaper nutrients require dumping more often than the better ones. The size of the resevoir relative to the number of plants is also important. Using quality nutrient like the Masta range would only require dumping every 2 weeks. Although most top growers dump every week to keep water quality at a premium.


Q What size resevoir should I run? 
A For ease of control use a minimum of 45 litres per square metre of growing area, less than this requires frequent adjustments. A rule of thumb is at least 50% should remain in the tank during irrigation.


Q What is the best nutrient to use? 
A There are a number of good nutrients on the market. Unfortunately there are also many nutrients which are cheaply made and don't do the job properly. Any well established brand, which uses technical grade mineral salts should be suitable.


Q How much light should I use? 
A The optimum amount of light to use is usually between 400w and 600w per square metre of growing area, the more light the better.


Q Is it necessary to aerate the nutrient solution? 
A Aerating the nutrient solution is a good idea. It guards against stagnant water, helps mix the nutrient and stimulates root development.


Q How long should it take for clones to strike roots? 
A The time taken to strike roots on clones varies according to the time of the year and the health of the clones. About 5 - 12 days is usual. Using "rootzone" accelerant in the tank and stress guard/greenup as a foliar spray will increase the strike rate significantly as well as the subsquent health of the plant. 

Q What is the best water to use? 
A The best water will have low salts and no contaminants. Household tap water should be OK, if you can drink it yourself, it is should be satisfactory for your plants. The best way to test is to sample some, and if you get a significant CF reading it may be wise to invest in a counter top water purifier.


Q Why are my plant roots brown? 
A Brown roots are usually those that have been attacked by disease, probably "pythium". Using 'MICROBIAL' cleanser will be of great assistance and usually eliminates the problem. Normally, healthy roots should be white with fine hairy air roots. 

Q What is the purple colour on the plant leaves? 
A The purple colour is a pigment called anthocyanin. It is produced by plants which are growing under some stress. It is often caused by cold growing conditions. It also often happens during flowering and is a deficiency of either potassium or phosphorous, so you would need to increase your nutrient levels.


Q My plants have very small bugs which spin webs. What are they? 
A These are a troublesome pests known as red spider or "spider mite". They can cause severe damage by destroying the plants chlorophyll, and the plants should be treated a.s.a.p. Mite-rid concentrate is a fast effective way of treating this pest and has no effect on the plants wellbeing.


Q Are there any other pests which attack my plants? 
A Whitefly, thrips and caterpillars can also be troublesome. Proprietary remedies are available for specific pests.


Q What is the brown rotting on the flower buds? 
A This is probably a disease called botrytis (greymould). Is it best controlled by keeping humidity under control. Regular use of a friendly bacteria/fungicide like "Micro Kill" will help control botrytis as well as many other fungal problems.

Q There are small black flies around the root system of my plants, are they a problem? 
A The flies are probably scarid flies (fungus gnats). Their larvae can cause severe damage to feeder (hairs) on roots. Treat them with a suitable product like "Scarid Fly Drench".