Salt Buildup in Hydroponic Systems
Hydroponic Salt and Mineral Accumulation
A sudden, radical change in osmotic pressure , hence osmosis can trigger a surge in moisture intake by the plants. In fruiting plants this leads to splitting, in leafy plants it leads to soft, low quality leaves.
Regular monitoring of the nutrient solutions EC will help with early detection of salt accumulation. The Electrical Conductivity of the nutrient solution should not deviate substantially as it flows through the root system. If the EC is increasing as it flows through the root system and out the base of the growing container, It is quite probable that salt buildup will /has occurred.
EC is a measurement of how much electric current can pass through a water sample. Distilled water for instance has no EC - it does not contain any salts. Fresh water has a very low EC- it contains small amounts of salt. Nutrient solutions have a high EC they contain high amounts of salts and minerals.
The more salt the water contains the higher the EC. There are so many different ways of measuring how much salt is in a water sample. The most common measurement for salt is in concentration units such as parts per million (ppm grams of salt per million grams of water) or TDS [Total dissolved salts].
TDS and EC, while relative to one another, are two different things. TDS represents any non organic, dissolved substance in water. TDS includes minerals, salts, and metals dissolved in water. TDS Meters measure the EC and translate it to an estimated TDS level.
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