Asking for help identifying my issue! In week 6 of flower, hydro, "rusty" leafs

Hi ILGM fam

I am around day 45 of flowering on a Critical Punch auto. I’m growing indoors, hydro (RDWC) with hydraton as a medium. Only nutes I’m using are Advance Nutrients base trio, plus “Big Bud” and “Bud Candy” added as-per recommended schedule.

This is my first hydro grow and overall it’s gone exceptionally well, I’d say! However about 10 days ago, I noticed some burnt looking tips and checked PPM which read a whopping 2300!! I hadn’t done a single drain/fill since beginning the grow and didn’t seem to notice any problems until this situation.

I did a drain/fill on 5/29 with a new solution prepared in another tote, measuring at 1100 PPM and 5.8PH. After draining my system and filling from the prepared reservoir, I’m seeing about 1300PPM consistently. I’m guessing the higher reading is a consequence of some of the original solution remaining in there as my draining method cannot drain the system 100%

I’ve been checking PPM and PH every day since 5/29 and I’m consistently seeing ~1300PPM and ~5.8PH. I’m adding about 3L of plain PH water every 36 hours or so. As I understand it, the PPM staying consistent whilst water level dropping is telling me that the plant is taking up nutrients and water at the same rate (which is good), though I’m very much eager to learn more about this area of hydro, so any input is very welcome.

Over the past 7 days, we’ve had hot outside temps here and I don’t run an AC in the room, though do keep shades in the house closed. The tent has averaged 73.5F and RH has averaged 53%, which I’d like to get down under 50% so I ordered a larger dehumidifier. As I don’t have a chiller in this system, I’ve been adding frozen water bottles to keep the water temps in check, which has successfully kept them between 70-75F

Alright, I hope that is enough backstory to help diagnose what I’m seeing here! To repeat myself, the burnt tips appeared prior to the flush (and were the reason for flushing in the first place)

This leaf caught my eye and is the most concerning to me. What is going on here?

A few others I noticed look like they may be on the same trajectory, but I’m not sure…

Any advice would be very much appreciated! I did try to research this myself and my diagnosis is a calcium or magnesium deficiency, so I did go ahead an order some CalMag but wanted to hear other’s opinions before I go about introducing anything new to my plant this far along. Thank you ILGM community!!


Dark green, waxy leaves + burned tips = nitrogen toxicity. It remains your problem. The plant will need some time to recover. Recovery not going to happen in a couple of days.

Stacking bloom boosters can create problems as well. You may also have P and K excesses. You should be fine maintaining a base nutrient PPM at ~1,000 and leave it at that.


Thank you @MidwestGuy for the quick and helpful response!!

RE: “Big Bud” and “Bud Candy” – I have followed the recommended schedule from AN which does “stack” these two together from weeks 2-5 in Flower, then “Big Bud” gets replaced with “Overdrive” for Weeks 6 and 7 (assuming 8 week flowering schedule)

With PPM ~1350 currently in my system, would you suggest I do another drain/refill with lower PPM solution, despite having just drain/filled less than a week ago??

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Of course they do encourage growers to use them. They want to sell more stuff.

My opinion: bloom boosters are unnecessary and I’d go as far as to call them “snake oil.” All bloom boosters are is a stronger solution of P and K that is already in the products you already use in adequate concentrations. If you want the effect of “bloom boosters,” just feed more of your nute line’s PK product and save the money you would spend on “bloom boosters.”

These products are exceptionally bad for soil growers as they are very salty and create chronic pH problems. For hydro growers PPM becomes less meaningful or useful because your nutrient balance gets way off. A company interested in the best for its growers wouldn’t sell such products.


Good morning @john818

I totally agree with @MidwestGuy although not AN, I just switched nutes from Fox Farms to Jack’s to save money and trying to simplify my grows… Using their schedule was wasteful… Using the boosters… Just provided headaches.

Once introducing them per their Schedule my plants quickly went into lockout… Which was then chased throughout the remaining grow.

I eventually figured a small amount increase of boosters over weeks ramping up the their suggestions worked better… But still after many many grows… I don’t plan on using boosters in my future custom schedules. The possibility of issues and extra $$$, for me isn’t worth it.

I love to experiment with my plants, be it lighting, environment, or nutes, etc… I could never at this point suggest a booster and confidently help another person with the issues they will have.

Good Luck!

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Thank you both for those helpful inputs! I too love learning and experimenting, this being my first grow both with hydro and with AN products. A very successful grower friend of mine with much more experience told me to give AN a try as it’s strictly what he uses, and I’ve seen his results so i figured I’d give it a shot. From my own research I see that AN products seem to be exceptionally polarizing in the grow community, perhaps more than any other single subject I’ve researched. For every person that says their products are mostly marketing hype made to target newer growers like me, another person sings their praises. At the end of the day, it’s just more experience to me, and I’m grateful for that. I guess it’s one of those learning experiences that you have to go through to know you may not want to do it again! And I think that applies to me.

I am eagerly planning my next grow, applying what I’ve learned this time for managing the environment, system design and feeding schedule. I’ve seen so much praise for Jack’s products, I’m inclined to give them a try next. As an added benefit, they seem highly adopted by this community, which I can imagine will mean a more broad support system with less polarization than the typical conversation surrounding AN products

Back to my original question— would you suggest a drain and refill with lower PPM and maybe also without these “bloom booster” products? While I do have another tote prepared with 8 gallons, I’m not at all opposed to mixing up a new one without those additives if it will help me achieve a more quality outcome. While volume is of course an interest to me, quality is what I am most concerned about for this grow. I want to produce a bud I’m proud of!

Thanks again, this community rocks :heart_hands:

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I have no problem with AN and I’ve not heard others state that they do. AN makes some great products. Most nute makers sell bloom boosters and I have an equal problem with every one of them for doing it. It may be necessary for them to do so just to have the revenue to stay in business. I don’t know.

It’s what I would do.

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I also want to say that I have no problem will the nor experience with An nutes… I am very curious about them.

I decided to go with Jack’s this time for $$ savings… In the future when I have the last extra $ I plan on trying AN and their pH perfect nutes. Especially if it’s more simple.

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Thanks @MidwestGuy and @Growmoredank you guys are great!!

RE: AN stuff, I didn’t mean to direct that comment at you two at all, more just a general observation from what I’ve read throughout the internet. I’m talking about comments that go so far as to accuse AN of being “scam artists” that sell “watered down marketing hype” all in the name of extracting as much money as possible from new growers. Talk about “shots fired!!”

Like everything on the internet, I take that sorta thing with a grain of salt. I mean obviously, I did decide to buy their nutes despite reading those comments :laughing:

Most nute makers sell bloom boosters and I have an equal problem with every one of them for doing it.

I wasn’t aware! I’ll keep this knowledge up in my noggin. I’ll definitely be doing more research into bloom boosters to form my own opinion, and I appreciate you sharing yours!

It’s what I would do.

Thank you! I’ll heed your advice :+1:

In the future when I have the last extra $ I plan on trying AN and their pH perfect nutes. Especially if it’s more simple.

This being my first experience with them, so only speaking from that, the base trio (micro/grow/bloom) did what they claim of providing a good blend of nutrients while keeping PH within the correct zone. I’m on a well and water from the tap measures high 7’s and sometimes even low 8’s but after mixing nutes and letting it sit, it settles down to upper 5’s low 6’s. Having not experienced the tedious process of PH balancing water, I didn’t appreciate this at first. Since I’ve been topping off with only PH’d tap water, I really appreciate the “pH perfect” system for nutes.

I will say that the recommended “full concentration” of 4mL/L seems a bit on the high side from what I’ve been measuring. The feeding schedule says right on it to back off to 75% if the plant displays any burned tips. Following my discovery of high PPM, I mixed a new res at 75% and found the PPM to be more along the lines of what I understand to be correct.

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@john818 no problem… I just wanted clarify my position.

Thank you for that info… I am also on well water with about the same readings as you said… I’m looking forward to trying it.

Are you Journaling your grow here? … I’d like to follow.

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Thanks @Growmoredank ! I see you found the my journal (thanks again!) but here’s a link anyways for anyone else interested: My first hydro grow - Critical Orange Punch autoflower