3 Easy Strategies To Check your pH EC and TDS



The pH EC and TDS of your nutrient levels in your reservoir need to checked and maintained on a regular and ongoing basis. pH is the measure of the level of how basic or acidic the water is in your reservoir.  EC is the measure of the Electrical Conductivity of soluble salts in your nutrient solution. TDS stands for Total dissolved solids and is a way to measure total dissolved solids in the water of your nutrient solution. We will review pH EC and TDS in sequence to show you the basics of how to check, measure, and adjust each one. 






What is pH?

pH is the measurement of alkalinity or acidity in your reservoir water. You can also state it as a range to predict how acidic or alkaline a substance is. pH is the abbreviation of “potential Hydrogen” as it is the hydrogen ion(+H) and hydroxide ion (-OH) that makes a substance acidic or basic (also known as alkaline).


The range starts from 0 and ends at 14. Concerning Hydroponics, it is imperative to know the pH of your crops, as it can affect the way your plants grow and affect the health of your plants and crops.


How to check pH?

pH-meter, Source


As stated above pH range starts from 0 and ends at 14. The sub-range 0-6 indicates the substance’s acidity, 0 being very acidic and 6 as less acidic, 7 suggests the neutrality of the substance, and the sub-range 8-14 indicates the basicity, 8 being less basic, and 14 being very basic.


PH scale measures the number of hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions in a substance. For example, the water’s pH should be 7 less than or greater than 7 means that water has impurities in it.



How to adjust pH levels?


Hydroponics’ ideal pH level is 5.5-6.5, leaning slightly acidic. Different plants will require slightly different levels. Make sure the pH level is not too high or too low or too acidic or basic. if the pH is out of range the plants will be unable to absorb nutrients and be unhealthy.


The first step to adjust your pH level is to monitor it daily. There are many ways to check pH levels. The first and least expensive is the pH strips mostly available at garden stores. Second, digital pH meters can give you an accurate reading of the pH level.


The basic home remedy to adjust the pH level is to use acetic acid or citric acid to reduce its alkalinity and lower the pH range and increase the alkalinity and pH level you can use baking soda. But these solutions will not give you a permanent fix.


Products available in the market named “pH up” and “pH down” are regularly used to adjust Hydroponics’ pH levels as a permanent solution.






What is EC?

EC is the abbreviation for electrical conductivity, which is the ability of any substance to conduct electrical charges.


EC is the indication of available nutrients and minerals. Neutral solutions like water do not have electrical conductivity, but with the addition of salt as a mineral in water, it dissolves to conduct electricity.



How to check EC?

Bluelab Guardian pH, Ec, TDS, temperature meter
pH EC and TDS meter,


The amount of current conducted via water is the measurement of EC in Hydroponics.


the easiest way to measure EC is by utilizing an advanced meter. These work by estimating the electrical conductivity through the cathodes on the lower part of the meter.


Place the end of the sensor into your nutrient solution and check the computerized reading.


Conductivity needs to be measured each day so you can watch out for what’s going on. Things can change quickly in your hydroponic system, and you need to have the option to catch any issues when they emerge to get them under control.


The ideal range of EC for most growing hydroponic crops is 1.5-2.5 dS/m. Seedlings will usually require fewer nutrients in the solution and show a favorable reading of .05-1 dS/m.  Higher EC levels can make crops unable to absorb nutrients, and lower EC levels could impact yield.


How to adjust EC?

Adjusting the EC is the most straightforward task to perform. Add fresh filtered water, with the proper pH for your plants, into the main reservoir of your system to reduce EC. To increase the EC value, you need to add more properly balanced nutrient formula to the reservoir.







What is TDS?

TDS is the abbreviation for total dissolved solids. Basically, it is the concentration of the solid solutes of the solution. In other words, TDS is the concentration of minerals in your water, not so different from EC and EC is more commonly used for commercial and hobby growers.


TDS is measured in PPM (parts per million). Supplement solutions for hydroponically developed cannabis should be associated with 500-600 ppm for youthful clones and seedlings, 800-900 ppm for vegetating plants, and 1000-1100 ppm blooming.


While flushing, TDS ought to be around 400-500 ppm. TDS at the core tells us how much nutrients or food in simple language is available for the plants or crops. You can conduct a TDS test to check the water quality and plant appetite in general.



How to check TDS?

Like EC and pH, there is also a meter used to check the TDS of water. There has been no research done or scientific data collected for the consumption of TDS. There are some measurements given in PPM for some crops, and your TDS should not exceed or precede that measurement.



How to Adjust TDS?

TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) is likewise inseparable from PPM (Parts Per Million). This is an estimation of the number of supplements in your solution.


The number can be addressed from various perspectives. Here and there, it is addressed in EC or Electrical Conductivity. Regardless of what scale you are utilizing, it is not difficult to get the outcomes you are searching for.


Ordinarily, plants require a supplement strength of around 1,500-2,000 TDS (or PPM). If you have an EC meter, you are going for about 1.8 on that scale (1 EC rises to roughly 900 PPM). The more costly meters can understand EC or ppm (TDS).


When you blend your supplements, you should begin with turn-around assimilation (another article in itself), which has nothing in it. It is around 0 on a TDS or EC meter.


For most plants, the pH should be about 6.0. You would then add your supplements as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This is a decent beginning stage, and you should change the strength as indicated by your plant selection.


If your TDS is excessively low, you should add more supplements, blend the solution, and test again until you hit the levels you are searching for. Recall that you can’t forcibly feed a plant. More elevated levels are worse.


Many supplements prompt a wide range of peculiarities, with the outcome being that your plants don’t develop as fast or intense as they should be. Toning it down would be best.





When going for Hydroponics, keep in mind that pH, TDS, and EC are three significant factors that can build up your crop, and in case if even one disturbs your whole crop gets disturbed, these elements must go together more likely they make up the entire package.


Take a regular note of the readings, and try to maintain it as per needs. It is not very hard to maintain and look after these; it just needs an hour or two, and yes, of course, the consistency. Neglection can make you pay a loss.



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I'm Grammy to my grandkids and most of the authors here. My gardening career started when I was a child digging and planting in my neighbors garden in Florida. As a teenager I worked on one of the first organic farms and learned the many benefits of organic farming. As a young Mom I started dabbling in hydroponics and became hooked! My family and I learned from research and "Hard school of Knocks " ways to improve our crop growing techniques which I am willing to share with you.