Tag: environmental factors

Nutrient Solution’s Worst Enemy – Light

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It seems crazy to say Light could be a bad thing for growing plants and Nutrient Solution’s Worse Enemy! As Light is extremely important to the whole growing process for plants. It provides the energy for plants to Photosynthesize which creates all the plant’s food simply. But just like it needs to be concentrated for the best growth effects, it needs to be completely KEPT AWAY FROM NUTRIENT SOLUTION!! If you do not listen to this warning, you are risking problems all the way to lose of your whole crop!

Importance of Light

The importance of light in the growth of all plants can’t be understated. It is absolutely vital and irreplaceable part of every plant’s food creation process. In most growing articles, light holds a very important place as a vital factor in success. It is so important that many grower invest large percentages of their equipment budgets into Lighting Systems to supplement or provide their plants all the light they need. Grow Lighting is easily multi-billion dollar industry!

Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel the organism’s activities.

Photosynthesis Process Picture
Photosynthesis Process simply shown

What is the Big Deal if Light Does So Much Good?

When nutrient solution is exposed to light for long periods of time, it can have very bad effects for the Hydroponic grow. The highly rich solution can start to have algae growth when exposed to light. When exposure is limited, the algae does not have all the “factors” it needs to successful grow like your intended crops. So light exposure needs to be limited!

What is algae?

Algae picture in hydroponic system

Algae is a simple, nonflowering, and typically aquatic plant of a large group that includes the seaweeds and many single-celled forms. Algae contain chlorophyll but lack true stems, roots, leaves, and vascular tissue.

What Problems Can Algae Cause?

Algae causes many different issues in a hydroponic system which will range depending on type of system, how bad the algae bloom is, and more! Here are a few of the major issues below:

  • Messes with your Nutrient level ppm: Algae has its own nutrient needs. It will use the nutrients out of the nutrient solution which you intended for your plants. 
  • Affect your pH levels: Algae just like your plants will affect your pH levels making them fluxulate faster than normal. Out of range pH levels can really negatively affect your yield as your crops won’t uptake nutrients efficiently. 
  • Clogging Hydroponic nozzles, pumps, and plumbing: Algae can easily be sucked from your nutrient reservoir into your hydroponic plumbing. It can clog filters, piping, and nozzles depending on the type of hydroponic system. This is huge issues in Aeroponics! 
  • Encourage disease growth: Algae creates unclean growing conditions which can easily encourage fungi such as root rots. These diseases can QUICKLY destroy the whole hydroponic crop!

How to Prevent Algae:

Algae needs to be prevented at all costs as it can create way too many issues with your targeted crop! If you take away this one important environmental factor needed for growth, it will greatly slow and/or stop algae growth! That is the point of this article as the only one you can effectively take away is LIGHT.

Few Ways to Limit Light:

  • Use dark solid color nutrient reservoirs. NO CLEAR!! While clear makes it easy to see solution levels, it allows light to the nutrient solution encouraging algae growth. Dark colors do not allow light through or at least highly limit it.
  • Use dark solid color plumbing such as black pipe. No clear or white piping as it allows light to the nutrient solution. If you have to use white pipe, consider painting it a dark color. 
  • Use dark solid color root chambers. As above, consider painting any white chambers to attempt to exclude as much light as possible. 

Other Anti Algae Measures:

  • Cleanliness: This is your first line of defense! After ever crop rotation, a hydroponic system should be cleaned to kill off any startings of algae from previous grows. 
  • Aeration and/or Circulation: Aeration and general movement discourages algae growth along with other benefits to your hydroponic grow. 

In Conclusion

It is hard to believe light can be bad in a hydroponic grow, but that is why it is the #1 overlooked issues. Limiting light exposure to the nutrient solution is one the best way to control Algae growth. This needs to be considered from hydroponic system design all the way to its operation & on-going maintenance!

Check out all our many other articles such as about important environment factors OR about different types of hydroponic systems

Importance of Airflow for Indoor Growing

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Airflow is one of the forgotten environmental factors of indoor growing. But is not any less important as you need to take advantage of the ability to control it and make optimum growing conditions. If you don’t, you can have decreased yields, disease problems, and other issues.  

Basic Reasoning:

In mother nature, airflow is naturally occurring caused by weather patterns thru wind and atmospheric conditions. Winds keep air moving and mixing which is important to a plant’s health. This keeps oxygen & CO2 levels mixed, humidity evenly distributed, and etc. This allows plants to get their natural needs to complete photosynthesis most efficiently.


Humidity is the level of moisture trapped in the air. It is caused by plants transpiring, bodies of water, and much more. If it is too low, it will dry out plants encouraging them to transpire too much. If it is too high, it can encourage the development of plant diseases. 

CO2 Levels

CO2 is a basic need for plants to complete photosynthesis in their leaves to feed themselves. With stagnate air, levels of CO2 can fall not and lower CO2 uptake. Less food production means less vegetative growth and weaker crop yields for fruiting plants.   

Temperature Control

If the air is not constantly mixing, hot spots can form. You can see this when you add cold water to a hot bath. It creates cold spots till it mixes. This stress can cause issues with growth. Air movement mixing temperature variations quicker than stagnate air. 

Purely Movement

“Wind” encourages plants to strengthen their growth so they don’t break under their own wieght. Strong growth prepares fruiting plants to bare the weight of their fruit and/or flowers.  

Simulating Mother Nature

Controlling this environmental factor is actually pretty easy. For indoor growing, it is completed with different types of fans for different purposes. Depending on the size of your growing environment, sizing can sometimes take some trial and error. 

Intake Fans

Intake fans pull in air to the growing space from outside. They are usually in-line fans type. This brings in fresh air from the outside and important for bringing in CO2 created by the outside world. Also, they are vital for bringing in cooler air. 

Exhaust Fans

Mars Hydro 2'X2' Grow Tent Kit

Exhaust fans are normally inline-type fans similar to intake fans. These fans exhaust out hot air, excess O2, and excess humidity. Many times people will also have carbon filters so the air does not smell especially if the outside is a living space.

These fans are just as important or more important than Intake fans for the tasks they do. Smaller grow environments can actually have only exhaust fans. The actions of sucking the air out of the grow space will create “negative air pressure.” This will cause air from the outside to be pulled in without an intake fan. 

Internal Circulation Fans

oscillating fan for grow room

Circulation fans are what you normally think of as an “osculating cage fan” for staying cool. They are very important for mixing the air in larger grow environments such as grow rooms and greenhouses. They also simulate wind to encourage stronger plant growth.


Airflow is a very important often overlooked environmental factor. You can start through trial and error OR many professional growers will run calculations on “air volume” in the grow space to size fan systems. Its control is very inexpensive compared to its importance for increasing yields and plant health. Check out our General Environmental Factors Post! (Click here)

Indoor Growing Environmental Factors

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So you are starting an indoor grow? Indoor growing environmental factors and their management is KEY to the most successful grow. The better you can dial in the environment, you can greatly increase yields of anything you are growing. Below I am going to talk about the most important Factors to try and control. 


Lighting if you are growing indoors is one of the most important environmental factor but easy to control. You need to control the timing, spectrum of light, and intensity of light. This is accomplished with timers, proper lights, and adjustable light hanging systems.   


Timing is how long the plants are exposed to light and in darkness each 24 hour period. This is accomplished with light timers. They work by have the lights plugged into them so a relay can turn the power on or off to the lighting system. Timing depends on the growth stage of your plants. Seedlings, Vegetative, and Flowering stages have different recommendations. These are normally tuned in depending on type of crop being grown. 

Simple Grow Light Timer
Simple Grow Light Timer

Above is a Simple Grow Light Timer that is a 24 hour mechanical cycle timer. They are very dependable and accurate. You will also see digital timers. These simple timers normally only control one lighting system at a time.

Below you will see an example of a commercial timer. These timer can be simple mechanical while controlling multiple lighting systems. But many of them now a days are digital and have remote control via WiFi or app. All your lighting systems plug into one timer in this case. They have pickup in popularity for residential grows in grow rooms and green houses where multiple lights are in use.   

example of commercial grow light controller
Example of Commercial Grow Light Controller

Light Spectrum

Light Spectrum is vey important to plant development as you need to “copy” sunlight seasonally.  Plants love more Blue spectrum during the vegetative stage then more red / orange during the flowering stage. Some lighting systems are full spectrum like many LED but others you have to run different bulbs to get the correct spectrum control. (Check out our blog on types of grow lights)

Light Spectrum Plants need for growth

Light Intensity

Light intensity is very important to proper growth of your plants. It is accomplished with light system sizing and proper distance hanging above plants. Sizing is normally based on wattage of the lighting system. Many lighting systems will tell you in specifications what Wattage is best for amount of “growing space.”

Next is spacing between plant and growing light. Spacing can be adjustable with adjustable light hangers. The spacing will vary depending on the type of lighting system for multiple reasons. Lights such as HID type which have greater “throwing” distance so can be set further away. LED types of systems need to be placed closer to the plants.  Also some lighting systems such as HID create a lot more heat so they need to be placed further than LED (Which runs very cool) so plants are not damaged. 

Grow room lighting distance explain


Temperature inside your growing environment is very important. All plants have preferred growing temperature range that should be controlled. This should be monitored with a temperature gage which can be as simple as showing you. Than there are more advanced options that have relays to control different temperature manipulating devices. These more advanced devices can turn on these devices if the temperature reading goes outside of a certain range. 

grow temperature control unit
Grow Temperature Control Unit

Devices used to control temperature can range from fans, A/C units, and heaters. Many people run fans from oscillating to inline duct fans constantly to keep air flow. A/C units and heaters are normally used for grows in non temperature controlled structures such as greenhouses and unfinished buildings / basements. 


Humidity is vey important as plants’ general overall health. It is basically the moisture level in the air. If it is too low it can cause plants to transpire too much and dry out. If it is too high than it can encourage different fungal diseases. 

You can monitor humidity similar to temperature and many temperature gages generally include humidity. Unless you are using heat which can dry out the air, most of the time humidity control is about even distribution through your grow space. Plants create humidity by transpiration so close to plants leaf canopy can have higher humidity level compared to rest of room if there is not air movement. So oscillating fans are popular to keep air circulating around the grow space. Exhaust fans can be used to lower humidity also

oscillating fan for grow room

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