WATER SYSTEMS FOR HYDROPONICS AND GARDENING

When to replace the filters in your water systems

A good maintenance of Reverse Osmosis and Filtration systems will always guarantee the best water quality. For this reason, knowing when to replace the filters will help you to ensure your system will maintain optimum performance and reliable service for many years.

All GrowMax Water Filtration and Reverse Osmosis systems include high capacity green coconut carbon block filters. These ECO Friendly Filters utilize high performance coconut shell carbon that is manufactured using a patented process that significantly reduces harmful green house gas emissions. They also have superior absorption capabilities compared to other types of carbon, having more micro-pores and a unique binder system delivering a product with superior absorption capacity and kinetic dynamics. So GrowMax Water filters are not only better performing than anything on the market, but also good for the Earth.

When to replace the filters in your Filtration Systems

water filtersFiltration systems are the best option to eliminate chlorine, herbicides, pesticides and volatile organic contaminants. All GrowMax Water systems have a 5 micron sediments cartridge that reduces dirt, sand and rust, and a high capacity carbon block filter to eliminate up to 99% of chlorine.

To best guarantee that chlorine and other contaminants are eliminated from the water efficiently, you must replace filters before they arrive to their maximum absorption capability. If you don’t replace in a timely manner, filters can become saturated and will not absorb anymore chlorine. To avoid this problem, it is recommended to change filters regularly, according to the unit capacity and water use, following instructions we give you in this table.

You can purchase GrowMax replacement filters in your local shop or we can refer you from the Growmax Water website. Replacement filter packs contain 1 – 5 micron sediment filter and 1 high capacity carbon block filter.

When to replace Reverse Osmosis filters

reverse osmosisIf in addition to eliminating chlorine you want to lower the EC of your water, eliminating salts and heavy metals, then you need a GrowMax Water reverse osmosis system, the best way to get pure water.

In reverse osmosis systems you must keep in mind that more water passes thru the carbon block filter and so the importance of replacing the carbon block filters on time is higher than in the filtration systems. If the carbon block cartridge doesn’t absorb the chlorine, this chemical will arrive to the membrane and will eat away at the membrane material. If this happens, you not only will need to change the filters, but also the membrane.

Here  you can check when to replace the reverse osmosis filters, according to the water use and your GrowMax Water unit capacity. You can also visit our website to get more information about where to buy replacement filters, or ask at your local shop.

How to change the filters

It’s very easy to replace filters in GrowMax Water systems, as we show you in these tutorial videos, with all the steps you must follow:

Replace Filtration systems filters:

Replace Reverse Osmosis filters:

 

GROW IT TO THE MAX, WITH GROWMAX WATER!

Calcium and magnesium: two important nutrients for our plants

When growing plants there are two important nutrients that often we forget: calcium and magnesium. If we provide plants correct doses of both nutrients, we get better results.

Calcium builds strong stems and leaves. When calcium is taken up by the plant it forms pectin, the glue that binds cell walls together, so a steady supply of calcium is necessary throughout the plants life cycle to strengthen its vascular system. If the plant has a healthy vascular system, it is also able to take up water and all the other essential minerals more efficiently, resulting in a stronger, more disease –resistant plant.

Maintaining adequate levels of magnesium throughout the crop cycle is also essential. Magnesium is the central element in chlorophyll, essential for absorbing light energy and converting it to high-energy sugars. Magnesium also activates more than 300 known enzymes in plant cells, including the enzymes that load sugars for transport throughout the plant. It is especially important when the energy need of the plant are highest, such as during periods of rapid vegetative growth or during heavy fruiting and flowering.

When plants are suffering a deficiency of either of these two nutrients, there are some symptoms that appear in plants. A Calcium deficiency normally shows up in new growth at the growing tips of the plant, causing deformed leaves and reduced root growth. If there is a magnesium deficiency, part of the leaves will turn yellow, because of the lack of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plant leaves and the central element of magnesium. Magnesium deficiencies are fairly common in indoor gardens, due to the powerful HID grow lamps that indoor gardeners often use. As the light become more intense, plants need more magnesium to efficiently use the light energy.

Calcium and magnesium supplements for plants

calcio y magnesioThere are different kinds of calcium and magnesium supplements for our plants. If we add these products, we will give plants the nutrients they need for growing healthier and to the max. Calcium and magnesium supplements may be derived from carbonates, nitrates or sulfates, and it can be added in standard concentrates, powdered supplements or organic supplements.

It is important to be careful with supplements derived from nitrates during flowering, because an excess of nitrates during this stage may delay or event prevent flowering. That’s what happens with standard concentrates, derived from nitrates.

Calcium and magnesium are 98% water soluble and available to the plant, just make sure the powdered supplement is thoroughly diluted with water and mixed well. They should be added to water before any other fertilizers or additives. Powdered supplements contain some nitrates, but not nearly as much as liquid concentrates.

Organic supplements are derived from calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. One of the benefits of calcium and magnesium carbonate is that they contain no nitrate. Therefore, it won’t interfere with flowering. The down side of going organic is that calcium and magnesium carbonate are only sparingly soluble, so in some ways, organic calcium and magnesium may actually change clean water into hard water. The result is the potential for limescale in the root stem. To avoid this, if you choose to use an organic calcium or magnesium product, always use an amino acid supplement with it.

However, added high doses of calcium and magnesium supplements can cause deficiencies too in our plants, like limescale in the root stem, damaging roots and avoiding the plant capacity to absorb necessary nutrients. So it’s important to quantify the doses of nutrients we added to our plants, according to the type of plant or growing stage.

Saturation of calcium and magnesium happens when we add these supplements to water without knowing the exact doses of calcium and magnesium that our water already contains. We can use our EC meter to measure the total quantity of dissolved mineral salts in our water but that still will not tell us what the percentage of calcium and magnesium are.

To simplify this process, most growers prefer to use Reverse Osmosis water (RO). That way, they can start to irrigate with pure water (0,0 EC), without dissolved salts, that means without calcium and magnesium. By starting with pure water, growers can then add the exact quantities of nutrients and supplements their plants really need. Learn more about reverse osmosis.

Grow it to the Max, with GrowMax Water!   

The effects of beneficial micro-organisms in plants

Beneficial microorganisms are a vital part of the soil and, consequently, an important part of plants food. They are also an essential part of organic composts. But there is an enemy of these micro-organisms: chlorine.

These micro-organisms are very important for the soil food web. They are micro, but they have a big function in the soil, because they directly affect the plants food, breaking down organic matter and converting it into a form that is readily available to plants. We not only find beneficial micro-organisms in forests or gardens, but also in substrates, soils and composts we use for potted soil and growing at home.

Bacteria and Fungi in plants

Bacteria and fungi are two kinds of beneficial soil micro-organisms we find living near plants to feed from their green matter. At the same time, they help plants to achieve the food they need, into a form readily available for them.

efectos microorganismos beneficiosos plantasBacteria are the oldest, most primitive forms of life and come in three styles or shapes: spiral, coccus and rod-shaped. In nature, bacteria serve as one of the main decomposers of organic matter, second only to fungi, making them a vital part of the soil food web. As they decompose organic matter, the bacteria ingest organic carbon compounds, nitrogen and any other elemental nutrients present. When the bacteria dies, all these nutrients are held in the soil. The process by which the nutrients are converted into plant-accessible forms is called mineralization.

Another example of beneficial micro-organisms are mycorrhizae, a type of fungi that growers include in composts to protect plants roots from diseases that can affect them, and to guarantee a better absorption of nutrients. In nature, these kind of fungi and plants have a mutually beneficial relationship, because they help each other to get food.

Beneficial micro-organisms are also used for avoiding parasites and other pests. By using specialized micro-organisms, like Bacilus Thuringiensis to kill worms, we can protect our plants from different parasites that affect their growth and health.

Organic compost and beneficial micro-organisms

Growers know about the importance of nutrients for the plants. A good soil is one of the basis for the plants growth and for this reason they use quality composts and fertilizers to stimulate the soil.

Beneficial micro-organisms are an important part of organic fertilizers. They improve the soil, and allow the beneficial micro-organisms to easily convert the organic matter into food available to plants.

Chlorine, the enemy

However, even with the positive effects that these micro-organisms have, there is an enemy for them: Chlorine, and especially in summer. All municipal water supplies contain chlorine, a chemical disinfectant used to kill off deadly bacteria and virus in the water supply. With hot weather, there are more possibilities of bacteria and virus, so the levels of chlorine in the water are even higher.

As chlorine is used to eliminate bacteria from water that can affect the human body, irrigating with chlorinated water can also kill the beneficial micro-organisms that live in the soil near plants, and that we find in every potting soil.

Eliminating chlorine from your water is the best way to maintain the effects of beneficial micro-organisms in our plants. 

How to avoid a nutrient lockout

A high EC water may contain larger quantities of hard water minerals, like calcium and magnesium, also known as limescale. High amounts of these minerals, together with added doses of nutrients, can block or saturate plants roots, prohibiting them from absorbing the added nutrients, which is also known as “nutrient lock out”.

As a result of this nutrient excess, plants could be damaged. Some symptoms of saturated roots are yellow, dry leaves or stunted growth, and even plants death, because they can’t absorb the nutrients they need.

Of course calcium and magnesium are necessary for growing, but in adequate quantities according to the plant needs. These minerals are nutrients for plants, and we find them dissolved in water, but we can’t know the exact amount that is present. We can use our EC meter to measure the total quantity of dissolved mineral salts in our water, but that still will not tell us what is the percentage of calcium and magnesium.

To avoid these problems, most growers prefer to start to irrigate with pure and clean water. This way, they know the exact amount of nutrients they are adding to their plants.

It’s very important, because our plants can receive an EC of nutrients from 1,4 up to 2,2, according to the type of plant or the growing stage. For example, if the water we use has an EC of 1,0 then we will only be able to add from 0,4 to 1,2 of nutrients to reach our maximum levels. Starting with an EC in the water of only 0,1 or 0,2 or even an EC of 0,0 we will be able to add much more nutrients to our plants

The best way to achieve clean and pure water is by using Reverse Osmosis systems (RO), specifically designed for use in hydroponics and gardening, because your water will be free of all salts and heavy metals up to 95%, and free of chlorine and other contaminants up to 99%.

Water hardness

Water quality and water hardness varies all over Europe, from Country to Country and even from city to city, town to town. It is important to convert hard water into soft water to be able irrigate your plants with the best quality water possible.

What is hard water? Water that concentrates a high volume of dissolved mineral salts, especially calcium and magnesium. The hardness is measured in milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter (mg /l). Depending on the concentration of magnesium and calcium in the water, we can talk about four types of water:

  • Soft water (concentration of less than 150 mg / L of calcium carbonate)

  • Semi Soft water (concentration between 150-200 mg / L calcium carbonate)

  • Hard water (concentration between 200 and 400 mg / l of calcium carbonate)

  • Very hard water (concentration between 400 and 550 mg / l of calcium carbonate.

Hard water can produce problems in the plants, like limescale precipitated in the root stem. When this happens, the plant cannot absorb the necessary nutrients, so if you add doses of nutrient solutions to the plant, they won’t have any effect on it. Moreover, if you want to add nutrient solutions of calcium and magnesium, you have to be careful with hard water, because you can cause a Nutrient Lock out: high amounts of these minerals in water, together with added doses of nutrients, can BLOCK or saturate plants roots, prohibiting them from absorbing the added nutrients.

Depending where you live, the water you receive at home has different dissolved salt levels. Living near mountains, near the sea or big cities are factors that affect the water quality. For example, take a look to this map of the water hardness at British islands:

hardness water in british islands

London area has hard water, while Edinburgh appears as a soft water area. The most important thing is that wherever you live, you can improve the water quality, lower the EC level and change it into soft water. If you irrigate your plants with the best water quality, they will be healthier and faster growing. And this process is possible with RO systems.

Reverse osmosis (RO) to lower EC

A high amount of calcium and magnesium in the water we are using to irrigate can cause deficiencies in our plants. The only reliable way to remove dissolved salts in the water, or what is the same, lower the EC, is a Reverse Osmosis System.

What are the benefits of lower EC? First of all, you will get plants with healthier and stronger roots that absorb 100% of all the nutrients you add, avoiding dissolved mineral salt accumulation in the roots, such as limescale. You will guarantee more food for your plants, because when your water EC levels are low or even 0.0 (pure water) you can add the nutrients the plants really need, without worries about excess or lack of nutrients. Fertilizers you add will also be more effective, and ultimately, your plants will grow better and healthier, which means better results and therefore better quality and more profits.

GrowMax Water has designed a complete range of Reverse Osmosis Systems for hydroponics, starting at 20 L/h of pure water, and designed to minimize the waste water, with only (aprox.) a 2:1 (bad/good) ratio. All units include an installation kit for easy connection indoors or outdoor. These systems reduce up to 95% of dissolved salts in your water, lowering the EC in addition to removing chlorine.

Converting your hard water into pure water will provide your plants the quality water they deserve. Visit our website and take a look of the range of reverse osmosis systems, and discover which one best suits your needs irrigation.

 

Water pressure is important to know when installing a reverse osmosis System

The first thing we need to know when installing a reverse osmosis System is the inlet water pressure. 

All membrane manufacturers base their production calculations on 60 psi(4,3 kg/cm2) and advise in most cases a mínimum pressure neccesary of 40 psi (3kg/cm2) for the RO unit to function correctly.

Importance of a good strong inlet pressure

With a good strong inlet pressure, RO units will produce a good quantity and good quality water, while also sending less water to drain.

Without a correct water pressure (less than 40psi/3kg) Ro units will produce less water, worse quality and also send more water to draon.

4 kg/cm, the optimal pressure
4 kg/cm, the optimal pressure

 

For this reason, all Growmax Water Garden Reverse Osmosis Systems include a pre-pressure gauge, pre-installed after the sediment prefilter and before the green carbon block pre-filtre and in all cases, before the membrane.

How to obtain the best results with your RO unit

If after installing the RO unit you see the pressure gauge below the mínimum requirement (40psi/3kg), you shoould install a Growmax RO Pressure Pump Kit, to obtain best results for quantity and quality of water. This Pump kit will raise your inlet water pressure by 40psi/3kg. Above your corrent inlet watwer pressure.

GrowMax Water has two Pump Kits available, the first for the Power Grow and Maxquarium units, then also a HF (High Flow) Pump to be used with the higher producing Mega Grow unit.

Remember that good, strong water pressure is the key to an optimum functioning RO unit.

Spring has arrived, begin your outdoor crop

Spring is the best season for starting outdoor growing. In Spain, the weather starts to get warmer, cold nights decrease, increase daylight hours … factors that make this the best time to start growing outdoor. But what about the water quality you will use to irrigate?

Often in the preparation of appropriate tools for cultivation, we forget the importance and quality of a fundamental element: water. This element is the basis for growth, and although weather conditions are now more favorable for growing, without a filtration system that gives good quality water, plants do not proliferate as we would like. Because water isn’t equal everywhere…

EC control levels and chlorine

For example, high amount of minerals, a high EC, or heavy metals in water can block the absorption of nutrients needed by the roots. If this situation happens, no matter the quality of the nutrients that you use for plants, because due to the high concentration of mineral salts and calcium in the water, they won’t absorb it. As a result, our plants will show deficiencies.

On the other hand, during the warmer months, municipalities add more chlorine to the water networks to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. During this time, the water contains more chlorine, which burn before the roots and removes the beneficial bacteria of fertilizers.

To prevent these problems and to ensure the quality of water, there are water filtration systems, which eliminate up to 99% chlorine. If water in your area is very hard, and has a high EC, with RO systems  you will eliminate up to 95% of salts and heavy metals, and up to 99% chlorine. In this way, you will add the necessary nutrients that your plants really need, and they will grow healthier.

So remember, if you’re going to start outdoor cultivation with the arrival of spring time, consider the quality of the water you’re going to irrigate. Using filtration systems or RO can help you get the best results.

10 REASONS TO LOWER THE EC AND ELIMINATE CHLORINE FROM YOUR WATER

There are several reasons to lower the EC and eliminate chlorine from your water. If your plants could talk, they would ask you for quality water, and we explain you why.

eliminate chlorine and lower the EC

1. MORE NUTRIENTS FOR OUR PLANTS

Keep in mind that our plants can receive an EC of up to 1,4 to 2,2, according to the type of plant or growing stage. If, for example, the water we use has an EC of 1,0 then we will ONLY be able to add from 0,4 to 1,2 of nutrients to reach our maximum levels. If on the other hand, we start with an EC in the water of only 0,1 or 0,2 or even an EC of 0,0 then we will be able to add much more nutrients to our plants.

2. HEALTHIER ROOTS

By lowering our EC we eliminate salts that we don’t want in our water. This will give us healthier roots, by avoiding lime scale build up in the roots and they will be able to absorb 100% of the added nutrients.

3. PROTECT OUR SOILS

We know that soils contain Beneficial Microorganisms whose function is to protect plants roots, by keeping them clean and healthy, so that they have maximum ability to absorb nutrients and fertilizers. However, when we water our plants with chlorinated tap water, the chlorine, a chemical, kills off our beneficial bacteria that is present in the soil. Chlorine will also burn our plants delicate uptake roots.

 

4. MAINTAIN A BALANCED pH

By using a garden reverse osmosis system to lower your water’s EC, we achieve a balanced pH, as RO water has a pH of approximately 6,5.

 

5. AVOID NUTRIENT LOCK OUT

A high EC may contain larger quantities of hard water minerals, like calcium and magnesium, also known as limescale. High amounts of these minerals, together with added doses of nutrients, can BLOCK or saturate plants roots, prohibiting them from absorbing the added nutrients, which is also known as “nutrient lock out”.

 

6. PROTECT OTHER MICROORGANISMS

In the case that we have to use specialized microorganisms (for example to kill worms or other parasites, etc.), it will not make sense if we water with chlorinated water, because the chlorine will kill these microorganisms that we have just purchased.

 

7. AVOID GROWING PROBLEMS

Many times we encounter small problems or challenges with our plants and gardens, without knowing where some of these problems come from (yellow, dry leaves, burnt tips, stunted growth, etc). Professional growers assure us that if we begin growing by using a low EC water, many of these problems can be avoided, as we will know EXACTLY which nutrients and what quantities our plants are receiving.

 

8. ACHIEVE BETTER RESULTS FROM OUR NUTRIENTS

By starting with PURE WATER, our plants will not absorb any undesirable elements that can be present in the water and therefore we will achieve a 100% effectiveness out of our added nutrients and fertilizers.

 

9. PURE WATER IS THE FOUNDATION FOR GROWING

Just as a house must be built with a good, strong foundation, you must also start with PURE WATER to have a strong foundation for GROWTH. Knowing that we start with a clean, chlorine free, low EC water, is the right way to help our plants to GROW TO THEIR FULL POTENTIAL!

 

10. QUALITY WATER FOR US AND FOR OUR PLANTS

Finally, one simple question. If for our own personal drinking water we prefer a clean, quality, and chlorine free water (often bottled), why wouldn’t we give the same water to our plants? They also DESERVE QUALITY WATER!