2014 Fertilizer Experiment Poll Results: Mills Nutrients is the Winner!

2014 Fertilizer Experiment Poll Results

2014 Fertilizer Experiment Poll Results

The results are in and after 2 months of voting on the Atlantis Hydroponics fertilizer experiment poll all of you (our loyal readers) have spoken and I am happy to report that the winner of the January 2013 fertilizer poll is: Mills Nutrients bio-mineral fertilizer line.  We will run the experiment using Mills Nutrients side by side against  General Hydroponics Flora Duo using separate drip to waste reservoirs, feeding individual plants in the same 4′ x 4′ Botanicare grow tray. All of the plants will be lit by a single 400 watt High Pressure Sodium ViaVolt bulb.

Check back soon for pictures of the experiment and also for our next poll where once again, you will decide what products Atlantis Hydroponics tests. Thank you for your readership and your participation.

Hydroponic Fertilizer Experiment: The Final Update

Back in February, we started our experiment to test how Heavy 16 fertilizers and APTUS additives performed compared to General Hydroponics’ Flora Duo. We have been growing Trinidad Scorpion peppers using separate drip to waste reservoirs, feeding individual plants in the same 4′ x 4′ Botanicare grow tray. All of the plants are being lit by a single 400 watt High Pressure Sodium Hortilux SUPER HPS bulb. As a refresher, check out Update #1 and Update #2. After a little more than 3 months, we have had to end the experiment a bit early. While both fertilizers performed admirably, the experiment was hijacked by a massive number of aphids.

"Killer Aphids Invade Experiment"

“Killer Aphids Invade Experiment”

Final fresh weight results from the experiment

Final fresh weight results from the experiment!

Due to the fact that the aphids could not be controlled by organic pesticides, I have decided to end the experiment so as not to bias the results. The final results have been tallied, and the total fresh plant weight (weighing the stems, leaves, and flowers) is shown below. Thank you to all who voted for this experiment as well as those who have been following it diligently. If you have other experiments you would like to see performed, please email me at david@atlantishydroponics.com.

Hydroponic Fertilizer Experiment Update #2

Fertilizer Experiment Update

Fertilizer Experiment Update
APTUS & Heavy 16 on Left / GH Flora Duo on Right

Time for another update! We started our experiment testing Heavy 16 fertilizers and APTUS additives versus General Hydroponics’ Flora Duo a little more than 2 months ago. We are growing super hot peppers called Trinidad Scorpions, and they have really taken off!

To refresh your memory, or if you’re just joining us for the first time, the experiment is set up with separate drip to waste reservoirs, feeding individual plants in the same 4′ x 4′ Botanicare grow tray. All of the plants are being lit by a single 400 watt High Pressure Sodium Hortilux SUPER HPS bulb. Here are some numbers for all of you keeping track:

Fertilizer Experiment Metrics

Fertilizer Experiment Metrics

And now for some more pictures:

All Plants in the Experiment

All Plants in the Experiment

GH Plants

GH Plants

Heavy 16 & APTUS Plants

Heavy 16 & APTUS Plants

Monster Branching on GH Plant

Monster Branching on GH Plant

Monster Branching on Heavy 16 / APTUS Plant

Monster Branching on Heavy 16 / APTUS Plant

And the Winner is…

Heavy 16 & APTUS  vs GH Duo

Which Fertilizers Will Work Better? Check Back Soon and You Decide…

In one of our recent blogs, Atlantis Hydroponics let the world decide which fertilizer experiment we would conduct, blogging the results in real time as they occur. The winner of the experiment poll from the blog Which Hydroponic Fertilizer is Best? Experiments with a Purpose! is:

Heavy 16 and Aptus versus General Hydroponics Flora Duo, garnering 41.82% of the vote!  We will be setting up a side by side trial garden to compare how these fertilizers and additives perform. We are very excited to test Heavy 16 and Aptus as they are two brands that we currently do not stock; as a policy, Atlantis Hydroponics only carries fertilizers and additives that measure up to our high standards of quality after in-house testing by our hydroponic research and development team. Check the Atlantis Hydroponics Blog frequently for pictures and updates of the experiment.

Which Hydroponic Fertilizer is Best? Experiments with a Purpose!

plant science experiments favorite hydroponic experiment

Choose your favorite hydroponic experiment. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Have you ever wondered to yourself which hydroponic fertilizer works best? Do I really need to use all 14 products from “that” nutrient company? Will adding this product make my plants grow like Jack’s beanstalk? Well now is your chance to find out. I am always running experiments here at Atlantis Hydroponics. I trial new fertilizers, test the latest “must have” additives, and perform simple side by side experiments to determine what works, and what does not. Now is your chance to choose the next experiment I conduct. You choose what you want tested, & I will blog the experiment and the results. So here it goes; the possible experiments are:

Are All Bulbs The Same?

Hydroponic Eggplants

After my one millionth discussion about light and constantly explaining why some bulbs cost so much more than others, it seemed like a good idea to conduct a side-by-side garden comparison to demonstrate the difference between plants grown under standard HPS grow lightsand Full Spectrum Metal Halide lights. For our experiment, we grew ‘Pingtong Long’ Eggplants under 150 Watt HPS bulbs and 250 Watt MH bulbs. Sounds to me like everyone is convinced that HPS is the only way to get the big harvest, but I suggest taking a look at the following pictures to decide what looks better to you.

Below you can see the difference between fruits grown under varying color spectrums.

The HPS light produced 5.4 GPW (grams per watt) for a total harvest of 1.8 Lbs of eggplant.
Hydroponic Eggplants

The Full Spectrum MH Light grew a whopping 6.4 GPW for a total yield of 3.6 Lbs of fruit!

Hydroponic Eggplants

The color of light is just as important to consider in the development of your plants as plant nutrientsand air circulation. So the next time you visit your local grow light store and ask for the “cheapest” bulb on the shelf, remember these photos and think about the harvest you want from your garden. Happy Growing!

New Ballast from PurGro is a High Tech Marvel!

The new 1K4 Flip Ballast, 1000 Watt MH/HPS Ballast With Built-In Lighting Controller from the geniuses or should I say genius (our buddy Greg) at PurGro is sleek and stylish delivering performance and features beyond its competition. The 1K4 boasts an impressive list of features:

  • 4 individually dimmable ballasts
  • Built in flip box option
  • Wires directly to a 30 amp 240v breaker without a lighting controller
  • Lights MH or HPS Lamps
  • All digital
  • Only digital ballast to be repairable

Those are all great features, but we have come to expect more from PurGro after the GroBot so here is an additional feature that will blow your hair back:

  • Stealth Startup – This feature lights up each channel (lamp) on a random 1 seconds to 90 seconds after the last channel to keep the power company’s new digital meters from identifying the load as a room full of grow lights.
  •  The ballast has a revolutionary new design that allows better heat dissipation from the internal circuitry to the heat sinks on the case allowing this beast of a ballast to run cooler than any other ballast that had been tested…Way to go Greg!!
  • Technical Specs (for the real Grow Geeks out there.)
    At 92% efficiency and a crest factor of < 1.7, this is one sweet ballast. Strike voltage is well over 3000 volts to light the longest cables and the oldest lamps. Total Harmonic Distortion is less than 10% for low RF noise and minimal acoustic signature, and Power Factor is actively corrected to greater than 0.99 for maximum efficiency in power conversion. This is as good as a ballast gets!

Ceramic Metal Halides: A New Material Makes Your Garden Glow!

Phillips Ceramic Metal Halide Bulb

Phillips Ceramic Metal Halide Bulb

In our ongoing quest for bigger and better it is not always the mighty watt that needs to be increased.  We all know that yield is based on a confluence of factors including: genetics, light intensity, light spectrum, proper nutrition, grower ability etc.  However sometimes we find ways to advance our ability to grow plants by improving our equipment.  To that end lets look at a less utilized type of metal halide lamp know as a Ceramic Metal Halide (or CMH.)  CMH lamps use a ceramic composite material to make the arc tube (the cylinder inside of your bulb that holds the gasses & produces light when electricity is passed through it.)   The problem had been that when using the ideal mixture of gasses the arc tube got so hot that it melted.  This led to using different mixtures of gasses that do not get as hot; however as a trade-off they did not produce an ideal spectrum for photosynthesis. 

That has all been solved with the CMH!  The ceramic composite that the arc tube is constructed of can withstand 1,500 degrees Kelvin opposed to the older Quartz or PCA arc tubes that were only able to handle 1,300 degrees Kelvin.  The increased operating temperature has allowed the bulb manufacturing companies to tailor the gases in the arc to provide a better spectrum of light for photosynthesis.  This advent will let the light shine brighter and better on your garden with a simple twist of your bulb.

Here is what you need to know when considering CMH’s:

  • ONLY use CMH lamps on standard coil and core HPS ballast.
  • Ceramic Metal Halide bulbs can be used in BOTH vegetative and bloom cycles.
  • They should not be operated with digital ballasts. CMH bulbs cannot handle the high frequency vibrations caused by digital ballasts.
  • CMH lamps are known to increase vegetative growth so much that you may want to implement the use a Potassium Silicate fertilizer supplement (i.e. Silica Blast.)  Silica fertilizers strengthen plant cell walls, thereby making the plant’s leaves, stems and branches thicker and heavier as well as better able to support heavy clusters of fruit.

    Spectral comparison of Ceramic Metal Halide to HPS Lamp

    Spectral Comparison of Ceramic Metal Halide to HPS Lamp

Battle Your Garden Pests With Ladybugs

Atlantis Hydroponics Hydroponic Grow Room Ladybug Pest Control Aphids Thrips Plant Leaf

We recently had a thrip and aphid infestation in one of our hydroponic grow rooms at the Atlanta Woodmont location. So what’s the greatest way to get back some order in the room? Ladybugs! These cute little beetles are completely harmless to humans and deadly to small crop pests like aphids and thrips.

Atlantis Hydroponics Hydroponic Grow Room Ladybug Pest Control Aphids Thrips Plant Leaf

Adult ladybugs can eat up to 50-60 aphids per day, with larvae ladybugs eating about half that much. After feeding for a few days, female ladybugs will lay 10-50 eggs daily depending on how bad the pest infestation is. That is a lot of hard working ladybugs!

Atlantis Hydroponics Hydroponic Grow Room Ladybug Pest Control Aphids Thrips Plant Leaf

When you receive a package or carton of ladybugs, wait until the cool of night (for outdoor gardens) or while your grow lights are off (for grow room gardens) to spread them around your garden. If you scatter them during the day or under your grow lights, the ladybugs have a tendency to become overly active and dissipate from your problem area. Also make sure that the plants have been adequately watered, as the ladybugs will need to hydrate while they feed.

Atlantis Hydroponics Hydroponic Grow Room Ladybug Pest Control Aphids Thrips Plant Leaf

Do you also have an aphid problem? We have plenty of ladybugs in stock and ready to be sent your way. Don’t have a pest problem but anticipating? Ladybugs can be refrigerated and stored up to 2 months. Either way, get your little ladies now and be ready to fight back for your plant’s health. Click here to order your 1500 ladybugs or stop by one of our retail stores today!