Removing Algae from Hydroponic Systems
One of the most common problems that hydroponic growers run into is the buildup of algae. Algae are a very simple and diverse group of nonflowering plants that use photosynthesis to produce food. Algae tends to be green, brown or red and very slimy to the touch. In a hydroponic system, it can cause a number of problems.
Algae are a form of plant, so it is no surprise that it can grow in nutrient-rich water that is exposed to light. In hydroponic reservoirs and grow tanks, algae can quickly grow and spread. A small amount of algae is usually not a concern, but if nothing is done to prevent its growth, it can begin to take over. Large clumps of algae can clog up the pumps, drippers and hoses in your hydroponic system. If you see small amounts of algae forming in your nutrient reservoir or grow tank, it is a good idea to give it a good scrubbing on occasion. Another serious problem associated with algae growth is oxygen deprivation. When algae grows, dies and rots, it absorbs oxygen in the water. If there is enough algae present in your hydroponic system, it can actually suffocate your plants by using up all of the oxygen in the water. Decomposing algae can also be used as a food source for plant fungi.
Removing algae once it is already present can be a difficult task. To prevent algae from growing in the first place, you can prevent light from penetrating your nutrient reservoir. If prevention is no longer an option, you may have to empty out your system and scrub it thoroughly. Some people use algaecides and other chemicals to get rid of algae, but sometimes these chemicals can harm your plants as well. Your best bet is to carefully and constantly monitor your hydroponic system for algae outbreaks, and to scrub them away when you see them forming.
At Urban Garden Supply in Portland, Oregon, we are experts in general hydroponics. We offer some of the best hydroponic equipment Portland can offer, and we also offer advice on how you can run your hydroponic system to perfection.