Nutrients - Feeding plants is an important and integral part of managing the overall growth and yield of a system. There are a variety of nutrients essential to plants and they needs to be managed either through supplement additives or a comprehensive fertilizer program. Any good Hydroponic nutrient should contain all of these elements; Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), Phosphorous (P), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Sulphur (S), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Molydenum (Mo), Boron (B), Chlorine (Cl).
Light & Temperature - are two issues which, barring man made influence, could vary greatly based on location. Light can be considered using three different factors; quantity, quality and duration. Quantity refers to the concentration of rays and it's intensity. Quality takes into account the specific spectrum of rays that is being delivered to plants. Again, if there is no man made dynamic this could vary due to atmospheric factors. The duration of light is rather straight forward but certainly is a key point of determining the effectiveness of each farm system. Temperature can depend of which type of plants are being grown - there are a few key features to point out with temperature, though. The temperature that plants roots usually keep when growing underground in nature is between 68-72 degrees F. Therefore it is important to try and keep your hydroponic/aquaponic plants' roots in a similar range. This doesn't necessarily mean that plants will die if the temperature is different but it will be less than optimal for growth. Also, plants grow best when their nighttime temperature is 10-15 degrees (F) less than that during the day - this is due to the thermoperiod, a temperature change reference. Finally, higher temperature doesn't always mean higher growth, there is a threshold. As the temperature rises so does the respiration of plants and if the respiration exceeds the photosynthesis plants can wither. This is from lack of sustained energy - just like trying to run a marathon without eating the day before - you expend more than you bring in.
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