It is important to understand that as a user stops using pH Uppers and Downers, there may have been underlying issues present within their hydroponics system that only become obvious once they stop using chemical buffers to control pH.
Before using your Torus Hydro Automated pH Regulator, it is advised to review the following key points for optimal results:
DWC (Deep Water Culture)
Flood-and-Drain (Ebb & Flow) – Note for Flood-and-Drain systems that flood scheduling can affect optimal results. See “Circulation” section for recommended usage information.
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) – Note for NFT systems, if the depth of the nutrient film is very thin, circulation may be less than sufficient for optimal results. Increasing pump size to create a thicker nutrient film can remedy this, if encountered.
Hybrid Systems (systems that are a combination of these techniques)
*Some aeroponic systems may require the use of the Automated pH Regulator Inline model.
Drip Systems – Due to the low circulation of these systems, drip systems require use of the Automated pH Regulator Inline Edition for effective results. Drip systems can be effective with the standard model Automated pH Regulator if the system makes use of other techniques as well, such as Deep Water Culture or Flood & Drain.
DTW (Drain-To-Waste) – requires use of Automated pH Regulator Toroid Model, see Inline Guide for details.
Pre-Treatment Tanks – requires use of Automated pH Regulator Toroid Model, see Inline Guide for details.
Aquaponics – Aquaponic systems are currently incompatible due to their organic nature.
Many users prefer to use the Automated pH Regulator using the ‘Set It and Forget It’ technique. This means to set desired pH in the 5.8-6.2 range (or as preferred), with a small amount of pH up or down (depending on the initial pH of the system), and then let the Automated pH Regulator maintain the pH within that range. Although the device can bring the pH into the ideal range from far outside this range without the use of buffers, this uses much more of the device’s ‘charge capacity’ when used this way, thus requiring more frequent pod refills, as well as being less effective with low circulation systems and systems with small root mass.
Upon the first few days of using a new Automated pH Regulator, some users may experience a temporary drop in pH. This is caused by a release of acidity from the composite within the Automated pH Regulator, upon the first initial use.
To remedy this, a small amount of pH up can be added to counteract this drop, after which the pH will stay stabilized within the ideal range.
The Automated pH Regulator works best in systems that have a very adequate recirculation of water & nutrients.
For example, DWC systems that are constantly flooded, with established roots submerged in the water containing the Automated pH Regulator, will provide very good results.
A flood & drain system, that may only flood for a 15 minute duration very infrequently, will minimize the ability of the Automated pH Regulator to create an ionic relationship with the plants’ roots (to remedy this, it is usually recommended to increase pump flood frequency or duration, or using a higher flow pump).
For these reasons, drip systems and run-to-waste systems (or other systems with minimal circulation) require use of the Automated pH Regulator Inline Edition for most effective results.
Extremely hard water (above ~150ppm [~0.3mS/cm2]) may force pH upward, due to it’s high concentration of carbonates that build up in the system over time. If source water is extremely hard it is recommended to use an RO (Reverse Osmosis) filter and run your system using this RO water. In our research, the Inline Edition’s ‘Forced Flow’ allows the device to be more effective with a greater spectrum of source water hardness than the standard model, and be less affected by this carbonate build-up.
The Automated pH Regulator is recommended for all fruiting plants (fruits, vegetables, medical plants, etc.) and is not recommended for ornamental plants.
For the standard model Automated pH Regulator (non-Inline Edition) in order for the ionic relationship to be created between the plants and the Automated pH Regulator, there needs to be established roots present in the system. As an example, we do not currently recommend using the Automated pH Regulator with a small amount of clones, as they have not created adequate root volume.
The larger the roots, the more ions will be discharged from them as the plants photosynthesize, and this will create a better relationship with the device when using the standard model (this is less of a factor when using the Inline model). We usually recommend letting clones develop 1-2 weeks into their vegetative growth before adding the Automated pH Regulator standard model, as the device may be less effective during this time.
For use with clones/cloner systems/pre-treatment tanks without rooted plants, the Automated pH Regulator Inline Edition is required.
Inert media is recommended when using the Automated pH Regulator. Non-inert, or media that tends to pull pH into a more basic or more acidic range, can be usable with the device but may require some additional setup or system requirements. Predominantly inert media, requiring no additional setup, are listed below:
Non-inert media (media that has additional requirements for usage)
Rockwool – Rockwool has a tendency to leech lime dust which will constantly force pH upward. To remedy this, it is recommended that users treat media as described on page 8 in the section “Treating Your Media”.
Growstones – When using Grownstones, it is recommended that users treat the media as described on page 8 in the section “Treating Your Media”
Peat Moss – Peat Moss, particularly when amended with limestone/dolomite, will force the pH of a system upwards initially, then forcing the pH downwards further into the harvest. In order to remedy this, it is recommended to use a larger-sized Torus Hydro pH Regulator or refill your Automated pH Regulator more frequently.***
Cotton – Cotton can force the pH downwards in time due to the organic decomposition of the media. To remedy this it is recommended to use a larger sized Automated pH Regulator, or refill your Automated pH Regulator more frequently.***
Soil – Compatible with the Automated pH Regulator Inline Edition and use of Pre-Treatment Tank. See Inline Guide for further details.
**Though hydroton/clay media is considered to be relatively inert, there is potential for pH rise, which may be magnified if the media has been sitting for long periods of time. If experiencing pH rise when using hydroton/clay, it is recommended that users treat the media as described on page 8 in the section “Treating Your Media”.
***Media treatment can help stabilize these media as well, but these stabilization effects may be temporary.
Leave your media in a solution of 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water, for over 48 hours. Rinse with water thoroughly to remove any remaining vinegar and return the media to the system.
For larger systems where removing the media may be less feasible, we recommend to run a pH 3-4.5 buffer (or as recommended by manufacturer) over the media within the system for several days, adding additional buffers if the pH drifts. When the pH becomes stable the solution is ready, and the media should no longer interfere with the Automated pH Regulator’s ability to most effectively regulate the system’s pH. Common buffers that could be used include the following: phosphoric acid/hydrogen phosphate and acetate/acetic acid.
Best results will be obtained using the Automated pH Regulator in a system with nutrients, as the ionic relationship created is supported by the plants releasing ions as they feed off of the nutrients available. If the nutrient mixture concentration is allowed to get very low, this can cause a slight increase in pH, but the system will correct itself once nutrients are added. Usually a minimum of ~350ppm (~0.7mS/cm2) is sufficient.
Mineral nutrients are typically recommended. Some organic fertilizer nutrient mixes may be less effective with the Automated pH Regulator, dependent on the specifics and environment of each system.
Use of un-stabilized silica with the Automated pH Regulator can cause the pH to rise. When using silica with the Automated pH Regulator it is recommended to use a brand that is pre-stabilized such as OSA 28, and dose in small amounts or as recommended by manufacturer. As well, a bit of pH down can be used to offset this effect.
Significantly high reservoir temperatures can increase the pH in some situations. If the temperature of the reservoir is too high this could interfere with the device working to its full capacity, and could potentially result in a pH reading up to a full pH point higher than the ideal range. Lowering the temperature of the reservoir can resolve this issue.
An initial makeshift test can be done by freezing a couple of water bottles into ice and dropping them into the system to see if it has any effect. If using a chiller, a user can turn the setting to a cooler temperature to remedy any temperature issues. We recommend the reservoir temperature typically be in the range of 65-75 F (18-24 C), though some systems may continue to function properly within a wider temperature range.
In order to keep your Torus Hydro pH Regulator working optimally, it is recommended to remove the Automated pH Regulator from the reservoir and replace the Refill Pod every 2-3 months of use, or as pH begins to drift outside of the recommended range.
The Automated pH Regulator can be thought of as a rechargeable battery. Bigger plants, with larger root mass will ‘deplete the charge’ more quickly than smaller plants with less root mass. Thus, the recharge recommendations are general guidelines, and user experience may vary.
When using the Automated pH Regulator keep your system free of algae, as algae can cause pH swing.
To keep the ion beads within the Automated pH Regulator from drying out, it is recommended to keep your Torus Hydro pH Regulator sealed in its original container or in a sealed, moist environment when storing the device.
Thanks and happy growing!