Algae is an organism that saps the life from your hydroponic plants by simply existing in the same place at the same time as them. By allowing algae to grow inside your hydroponic garden, you reduce the nutrient and oxygen levels that go to each crop—with both levels low, your plants’ defenses against diseases and root rot will suffer. Take care of this pesky bacteria before it becomes an issue by knowing how to stop algae growth in your hydroponic garden and save your plants from struggling with a parasitic relationship in their containers.
What Causes Algae?
It may surprise you to know that algae isn’t actually a plant at all—it’s a single-cell protist that grows in a plant-like manner. Algae comes in many different forms, from tall stalks of seaweed under the ocean to green goop in a pond. The type of algae you’re likely to see in your hydroponic system clings to the walls of the tank or the tubes of your drip irrigation system. In addition to sapping nutrients and oxygen, it can also cause clogs and poison your plants if it begins to decay.
This type of algae requires all the same factors to grow as a plant does—water, light, and nutrients. You might drag in algae spores without knowing it. They’re everywhere and impossible to detect.
How To Prevent Algae
The key ingredient to algae growth is light. Without light, algae has difficulty growing, so as a gardener you must use that to your advantage. Plant roots don’t need light to survive, so you can use opaque materials for both your hydroponic basin and your hydroponic containers. Keep a lid made of the same material on both the basin and container; leave a hole in the center of the container for the plant to receive light as it grows.
Always make sure that you’re clean before you go into your hydroponic gardening room. Don’t enter wearing outdoor clothing and don’t use the same tools inside as you do outside. Remember to keep the grow room clean—the algae spores can lurk in the air and near lights.
How To Stop an Algae Infection
Once you notice algae growth, you must do more than just scrape it off the sides to completely remove it. If algae spores are in your system, you need to thoroughly clean and sanitize your hydroponic system to rid your garden of them. Algaecides or chemicals that aim to remove algae from tanks or hydroponic gardens may help temporarily, but the algae will continue to come back stronger each time. You can also misuse the products and harm your plants this way.
Regular cleanings and opaque materials should help with your quest for how to stop algae growth in your hydroponic garden. At FloraFlex, we provide you with opaque containers, lids, and tubing in our hydroponic grow kits, and even ship our rockwool in protective plastic wrapping to further assist in the fight against algae. If you need the perfect hydroponic starter kit to get your garden going, check out our kits and keep algae out of your system!