Most commonly found in hydroponic or aeroponic growing systems, algae are microscopic organisms that thrive in warm temperatures where there is plenty of light and nutrients. Some are unicellular while others are found in multi-cellular forms, such as seaweed. Although lacking stems, roots and leaves, algae go through the photosynthetic process, producing oxygen, as do larger plants. Algae range in color from black to red to green to blue and look fuzzy like velvet, or can be smooth and slimy.
Unfortunately, the most suitable climate for growing marijuana is the same that is conducive to the growth of algae, especially when the growing medium is water or mist. Algae appear when light is reflected through nutrient rich water. For this reason, all hydroponic equipment should be opaque, not clear. This means tubing, buckets and nutrient reservoirs. Algae can also gather on rock wool, a hydroponic substrate used as a means of supporting the root systems of the cannabis.
Algae, in both hydroponic and aeroponic grow rooms, attach to equipment surfaces and plant roots, while others are free swimming and can clog tubing. When algae attach itself to the root system, it denies the plant of oxygen and competes for nutrients. Algae photosynthesize when in light, using carbon dioxide that has dissolved in the water and releasing oxygen as a bi-product. However, during the hours of darkness, the process is reversed, depleting the water of oxygen, thus depriving the marijuana plant of the much needed compound. Download my free marijuana grow bible for more tips about growing marijuana.
Preventing the onslaught of algae can be managed by depriving it of the light it needs to grow. However, that doesn’t mean you dim the lights or turn them off; Mary Jane needs to see the light of day in order to thrive. In order to dissuade the growth of algae, use dark opaque equipment in your hydroponic or aeroponic grow room. Cover rock wool with landscape fabric. That way the light can’t filter through but there is room to breathe. If you want to protect your strong roots, consider getting some root protector at this link here.
If you do happen to see algae growing, you should clean the system and replace your transparent growing components with opaque apparatuses. If this is not possible, cover them with dark material. There are a few methods you can employ in order to rid your system of any algae in the water itself:
- Clean and rinse your reservoir. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with ten parts water. By adding small amounts to the reservoir frequently, you add a boost of oxygen to the roots and deter the growth of algae. It is advised to apply this method to older plants only, as the peroxide can damage young root systems.
- UVC Light. As mentioned previously, adding this to your air filtration system will capture micro-organisms before they hit the grow room. UVC lights are often used in aquariums and hot tubs. If it’s safe for fish and humans, it’s safe for Mary Jane.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract. This method of controlling algae is used by cities and water conservationists in drinking water, fish ponds and lakes.
- Barley Straw Mats. These can be placed in hydroponic reservoirs. This is an organic control used in lakes, ponds and other waterways where algae may appear. Barley straw does not kill existing algae, but retards the growth of algae cells. Its use poses no threat to plants or animal life.
If you want to start growing, download my free grow guide and order some marijuana seeds. All top quality marijuana seeds are available in my marijuana seed shop. We ship seeds to the US, CA and many other countries. For any growing related question please visit the marijuana support page.