Growing fruits, vegetables and herbs in a hydroponic grow room can eliminate many of the natural hazards that have challenged farmers for centuries. However, one of the perils that will follow your plants inside from the outdoors is algae. These microscopic organisms thrive in the same mild temperatures and lighting conditions that are conducive to many grow room crops.
It’s a stubborn plant that comes in dozens of forms and colors, but it is trouble no matter how it looks. Here are 5 tips to help keep it out of your grow room.
1: Do not use clear equipment.
Reflected light in nutrient rich water can cause the appearance of algae. You can eliminate this by exchanging clear buckets and tubing for something more opaque.
2: Embrace the dark.
While plants need light, that light can be controlled and prevented from filtering in ways that encourage algae growth. UVC lights with dark opaque equipment can make a difference.
3: Keep your systems clean.
At the first sign of algae growth, clean and rinse your reservoir with water and a touch of hydrogen peroxide.
4: Use grapefruit seed extract.
One of the ways conservationists control algae in lakes and ponds is with grapefruit seed extract, which is touted as having a number of household cleaning and even medicinal uses.
5: Algae doesn't like barley
That’s why many of the same conservationists who like grapefruit seed extract also pick up a generous supply of barley straw mats, which retards the growth of algae cells without damaging other plants.