Choosing the pH Meter That Is Right For Your Medical Marijuana Grow
Posted by Lee G. Leissett | October 04 2012 | 6646 views | Comments ↓
Accurate pH readings are critical for growing quality marijuana.
(Click to enlarge)
There is no questioning the importance of a stable pH in a hydroponic solution. Nutrient uptake and the microbial life around a plant’s roots are reliant on a steady pH. A plant cannot perform its most basic functions if the solution’s pH is out of whack so monitoring and adjusting pH is an absolute necessity for medical marijuana hydroponic growers. There are many different ways to monitor the pH of a solution. Each has advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered by the end user. The type of monitoring method used is irrelevant as long as the user is competent in his/her method. Obtaining reliable readings to make the proper adjustments is the most important factor in pH monitoring.
Litmus paper is one of the oldest methods for testing the pH of an aqueous solution. Litmus paper is paper that has been treated with a specific indicator; a mixture of multiple dyes obtained from lichens that turn red in response to acidic conditions and blue under alkaline conditions. Litmus paper’s advantages are cost (very inexpensive in relation to other pH testing methods) and the fact that litmus paper needs no calibration. A disadvantage of Litmus paper is getting accurate readings. Some people find it difficult to match a specific color to the corresponding pH value. Litmus paper is a great way to find the general pH range of a solution but should be avoided when trying to find a precise pH value.
Liquid pH Test Drops
Liquid pH test drops work in a similar way as litmus paper. A sample of the solution is placed in a small test tube. A certain number of droplets of the pH drops (usually 1-3 depending on manufacturer’s suggestion) are then added to the test solution and shaken vigorously. The solution will change color due to the pH indicators in the test drops. The color is matched to the pH scale provided on the packaging of the test drops. Advantages of liquid test drops are the same as litmus paper (cost, no need to calibrate). Many users find the liquid pH test drop’s corresponding color easier to match than the standard litmus paper test.
Analog pH Meters
These beauties are becoming more and more rare to see in a medical marijuana grow room. Once thought to be the best thing since sliced bread, analog pH meters, although extremely reliable and accurate, have been replaced by far less expensive (and almost just as accurate) digital meters.
Digital pH Meters
Digital pH meters are probably the most common method used by hobbyist hydroponic growers. Digital pH meters come in different sizes, shapes, and functionalities. As technologies advance, digital pH meters are becoming less expensive and more accurate. With starting models priced around $20, there really is no excuse anymore for a hydroponic gardener to not have a digital pH meter. Disadvantages of digital meters are that they require routine cleaning, batteries and calibration.
Digital pH Meters with Temperature Compensation
In order to get an accurate pH reading without waiting, growers should purchase a digital pH meter with built-in temperature compensation. Unless the meter is equipped with temperature compensation, the temperature difference between the nutrient solution and the glass probe itself will create a delay in accurate readings of the pH until the probe and solution reach the same temperature. Meters with temperature compensation automatically take into account the variance in temperatures of the probe and the solution and give accurate readings instantaneously, regardless of temperature.
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Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Article by Lee G. Leissett, on Oct. 4th 2012