How to Adjust pH Of Hydroponic Nutrient Solution

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Proper pH levels are paramount with hydroponic gardening. If the pH of the nutrient solution is too high or too low, then the plant will not be able to take in the nutrient minerals from the water. pH fluctuations are a regular part of hydroponic gardening, so you will need to know how to adjust the pH of your hydroponic nutrient solution. Luckily it’s an easy process!

What’s The Best pH For Your Hydroponic Garden?

The proper pH level for your hydroponic nutrient solution depends on what you’re growing, but most plants do require a pH range somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5. For a better idea of the best pH for the exact type of plant you’re growing, check out this article on the best pH for your hydroponic garden.

You should measure the pH of your nutrient solution often, starting once a day until you become more familiar with your garden.  If it’s out of range, you should correct it as soon as possible. Not adjusting the pH will lead to nutrient lockout, which leads to nutrient deficiencies and long term could result in the death of your plant.

Adjusting Hydroponic pH

What Is The Best Way To Adjust pH Of A Hydroponic Garden?

The most reliable and effective way to adjust the pH of your hydroponic nutrient solutions is to buy a product that is specifically made to adjust hydroponic pH levels. These products come with buffers that help maintain the pH level.

Supplies You Will Need To Adjust Hydroponic pH

pH Meter – There are a few different ways to measure the pH of your nutrient solution, but I prefer to use an electronic pH meter for accuracy and convenience. View Product
pH Up and Down–  There are several companies that make products to adjust the pH of your nutrient solution, many of them are just called pH up and Down. I typically use pH up and down from General Hydroponics. View Product

Measure The pH Of Your Nutrient Solution

First up is finding out what the current pH level of your nutrient solution is. There are three different ways to measure the pH of your nutrient solution, if you’re using an electronic pH meter, make sure it’s calibrated to get an accurate reading. Once you have an accurate idea of what the current pH level is, you’ll know what direction you’ll need to go to correct it and which product to use (the pH up of the pH down).

How To Use pH Up and Down

How much pH up or down you’ll need to use depends on how far you need the pH level to move.  Start with 2-3 ml per gallon. After adding, stir well and wait 15 minutes to test the nutrient solution again.

Repeat the process until your hydroponic nutrient solution is in between 5.5-6.5 or at the desired range for what you’re growing. If you add too much and pass your desired pH, no worries, just use the opposite pH product to correct it.

What Is a “Natural” Way To Adjust The pH Of A Hydroponic Garden?

So maybe you’re in a situation where you don’t have any pH up and down and it might be a few days. There are some supplies that you probably have around your house as a quick fix until you can get something more permanent. Household items such as white vinegar or citric acid can be used to lower pH, while baking soda can be used to raise it.

The problem with using these household ingredients is that it’s only a short-term fix and not meant to be run through a hydroponic system. Household items don’t contain the pH buffer that commercial products do, which helps maintain the pH at the level in the desired range.

In Conclusion

Measuring pH is something you’re going to become really good at as a hydroponic gardener. Since you’ll be doing it often, make sure to set things up to make measuring the pH of your hydroponic nutrient solution as simple a process as possible. To maximize your garden’s potential, measure the pH often, and adjust the pH of your nutrient solution as soon as you go outside that 5.5-6.5 range.

6 Answers

  1. Wally Collett
    July 17, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Your teaching on spacing and ph adjusting is indeed very helpful. I have had a hydroponic grow room for two or three years and I am always learning something new that helps me be a lot more efficient with growing methods. To check ph I have been using those little test tubes where I add three or four drops to the water in the tube and compare it with the color on the little bottle. This has worked fairly well for me. But I do have a ph Meter range 0.00-14.00 but I have not used it because I can’t figure out how to calibrate it. I look forward to further great hints from you. Thank you.

      1. rasha
        August 22, 2020 at 2:22 am

        Hello Dear thank you for the great information I want to start a small hydroponic garden too and by garden i mean few karatky bottles .. but I am having too much trouble mixing my solutions because i never get the right amount of salt ppm and ph , and when i use the solution the roots of my plants turn very soft but no change in color would you please advice me what to do? but if you do not have time to answer me ..Can you please shoot me the same e-mail?

      2. Wally Collett
        November 1, 2020 at 9:53 am

        I notice that on August 13, 2019, you said you were sending me an email on how to calibrate my PH Meter. I realize this is now some time ago. I took that meter and put it away until I felt I could learn how to use it. So I just got it out again a couple of days ago. I don’t know what happened here but I don’t ever remember getting such an email. I don’t even remember reading your reply about all of this. But then I have been known to miss a lot of things and I have no doubt that you did email me and somehow I missed it. So be that as it may, could I please again ask you to send me that e-mail on calibrating my PH Meter. I promise that this time I will not miss it. I apologize and I thank you.

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