Oxygen in a Nutrient Solution
Roots require oxygen to grow and low levels are the main cause of almost all root diseases. Both soil and hydroponic plants often fall prey to the same syndrome of root rot and over-watering although it is rarely recognised as what it really is.
The real cause is a shortage of oxygen at the root zone. In a soil system the soil consists of particles, a film of water on the particles and air spaces between the particles. When too much water is put
into the soil the air spaces fill with liquid. The roots will quickly use up what oxygen is dissolved in the water, but if they haven't used enough of the liquid to allow air back in to the soil spaces they will stop working. In this situation roots will start dying within 24 hours.
As the roots die the plants ability to consume water and nutrients will decrease, this will cause symptoms of nutrient deficiencies (mostly pale, slow, weak growth), and they will start to wilt as if they don't have enough water. It is easy to make a fatal mistake at this point and add more water.
In a hydroponic system the cause is often the simple lack of oxygen in the solution; this may be from inadequate circulation and/or aeration. High reservoir temperatures also interfere with the oxygen's
ability to dissolve in water. Temperatures above 25ºC (77ºF) will eventually cause problems, 20ºC-24ºC (68ºF-75ºF) is recommended. The same symptoms will appear as with soil plants but you can also check the roots. Healthy roots should be mostly white with maybe a slight yellowish tan tinge. If they are a brownish colour with dead tips or they easily pull away there is the beginning of a serious problem. An organic, dirt like rotting smell means there is already a very good chance it is too late. As roots die and rot they take oxygen from the water, as oxygen levels are further depleted more roots die, a vicious circle may be well underway. Reduced oxygen levels and high temperatures both encourage anaerobic bacteria and fungi. The plants may still be saved but you will have to work fast.
A raised oxygen level promotes strong white healthy root growth with lots of fuzzy new growth visible. This piliterous layer (fuzzy growth) has massive surface area allowing for rapid absorption of the huge amounts of water and nutrients needed for rapid growth. A healthy plant starts with a healthy root system.
In plants, extra oxygen will massively stimulate protein production at the cellular level. This will greatly enhance the photosynthetic process, leading to bushier plants with larger leaves, thicker stems and shorter internodes. Plants will be stronger and leaves will be darker, thus collecting light with greater efficiency and further improving photosynthetic response.
To raise the oxygen level of your hydroponic system add diluted Essentials OxyPlus and use an air
pump in combination with an air stone. If using a recirculating system make sure the incoming solution is dropped into the reservoir from a height thus aerating the tank solution.
Never use OxyPlus with organic feeds or beneficial bacteria.