Please help me with plant problems

Hey dumme, now I’m really curious. If you’re growing in this manor, wouldn’t it technically be a hydro grow? And if so, wouldn’t pH target be around 5.8? Now I know you said the fish can’t really live in that, but isn’t that where the best nutrients uptake is, 5.8 pH? I’m so blown away with this growing in a fish tank method haha. I have DWC buckets I work with, so this is just interesting to learn for me.


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Typically, Aquaponics is a form of Hydroponics (with respect to those whom choose dual root zones in soil).

So, as a simply answer, yes.

No, that would most likely kill your fish relatively fast.

Plant uptake doent exactly work that way. Companies that make premix nutrients, design their formulas with chelated salts designed for lower pH but that doesn’t mean all chelation processes are specifically for low pH.

For instance, Fox Farm Big Bloom uses feEDTA for iron. Read what this PH.D. named Nate, from Bright Agrotech says about it:

"This is a slightly toxic form that aquaponic practitioners should not use. This type of chelated iron is commonly used as an herbicide to kill broadleaf weeds. It should not be used just because of it’s toxicity, but also because it typically only effectively chelates iron up to the pH range of 6.3 or 6.4. Above this range it is not a stable chelate. So, using FeEDTA in your consistently pH 7.0 system represents a significant amount of money wasted in comparison to other forms of chelated iron. For this reason I recommend that AP practioners do not use FeEDTA. It is ironic that this is the most commonly sold and used form of chelated iron in aquaponic systems as it is fairly ineffective- the equivalent of modern “aquaponic snake oil.”

Fe DTPA: This is what I recommend for most systems at pH values between 6 and 7.5. It is commonly available at lawn and garden stores.

FeEDDHA: This is what I recommend for systems above pH values up to 9.0 (let’s hope your pH never gets that high!), and the best all-round form of iron chelate- especially for starting systems. Effective at a broad pH range, FeEDDHA maintains iron solublility in almost all of the water conditions encountered by startup aquaponic systems."

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Lol now I’m just really confused. But thank you for trying to explain it to me, I appreciate it!

The chelation process allows the iron to be soluble at a higher pH.

I probably sound really stupid with this statement, but I don’t even know what chelation or chelates means…
I’m only a year into growing and still learning. I’m only familiar with soil and hydro in DWC buckets. So this is really interesting to me.

The only dumb question is the one not asked. :slight_smile: This is very relevant to all types of growing.

Google defines:
Chelation (pronounced /kiːˈleɪʃən/) is a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions. It involves the formation or presence of two or more separate coordinate bonds between a polydentate (multiple bonded) ligand and a single central atom.

Think of it as “how easily the plant can absorb the the chemicals”


Ok so when something is in a chelated form, what does that mean?

And maybe this will help me understand;
If I’m growing in hydro DWC, and my pH calls for optimum intake at 5.8 pH, WHY and HOW COME can you have an optimum pH of something higher than 5.8? That’s what’s really confusing me here.

like why is your pH different than what mine should be? We’re both growing with water and nutrients?

Chelated form means that it has the ability to be soluble, and be absorbed by the plant.

When you hear this, know that those that wrote it, use information tailored to sell nutrient lines they carry or, if growers, relevant for their agendas and gardens. It’s is not always the case, as seen in Aquaponics. As Aquaponics becomes more and more mainstream, this misinformation will change.

Again, different chemicals can have different chelation processes, which means some nutrients can be uptaken at different pH’s.
It’s easier when talking about one specific chelated compound, like iron (Fe).

Here’s another video that might clear it up.


Huh, very cool. I’d like to learn more about aquaponics.

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I just backed up a little and read the thread and watched the video. Now I know what chelation means and think I know a little more about chemical nutes and why they seem to be more effective. Thank you @Aquaponic_Dumme. :).

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Once again, thank you for taking the time to help me understand @Aquaponic_Dumme I really appreciate it!

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he need to grow tomatoes, they feed similar to weed

I always love it when months later dead topics get a bump

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