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Get Yourself Bigger Hydroponics Yields With C02 Enrichment

C02 Generators C02 Generators

Looking for a way to get bigger hydroponics yields? Then give your plants extra carbon dioxide (C02) safely and efficiently. It’s that simple.

In most grow rooms that are properly vented and aerated, your ambient C02 concentration is 300-400 parts per million (ppm). Your plants need C02 the way we need oxygen.

In fact, they source a good portion of their required oxygen and carbon directly through their leaves from C02. They also get oxygen through their roots, but C02 is the direct way plants get carbon and oxygen for use during photosynthesis in their leaves.

If you had an ultra-sensitive C02 detection device in your garden and no fan or other aeration device running, you’d see that your plants are gathering C02 from the air and depleting it.

If you had a CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) sealed garden with no outside air coming in and no C02 augmentation, you’d eventually find that your plants had sucked almost all the C02 out of your grow room air.

When C02 levels drop below 250 ppm, your hydroponic plants suffer in a way similar to how we’d suffer if oxygen levels in the atmosphere dropped below their standard rate of 21%.

Indeed, scientists warn that humans are lowering our atmospheric oxygen supply by destroying trees and other plant life that creates oxygen, while at the same time increasing the number of machines that consume oxygen and produce pollution.

Not only that, we are warming the earth so permafrost lands are releasing stored toxic methane into the atmosphere.

Our petroleum-industrial society could one day cause our atmosphere to flip from aerobic to anaerobic, so that we end up gasping for oxygen. Many of our machines produce C02, which is considered a global warming gas. As atmospheric C02 increases, plants grow faster, which is why you should consider adding C02 to your grow room.

Get Yourself the Best Way to Add C02 to Your Hydroponics Grow Room

Of course, adding C02 into your hydroponics grow room isn’t as easy as adding extra ppm to your nutrient water.

You can use dry ice, fermentation, and a variety of contraptions to add C02. But each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages.

Dry ice and fermentation are cheap and simple, but it’s hard to control how much C02 they produce, and they can be somewhat messy.

Professional and grandmaster growers use C02 devices that distribute C02 from tanks, or produce C02 by burning propane or natural gas.

Distributing from tanks is a relatively safe method and with the proper regulator to control output, these are reliable devices.

The downsides of tank C02 include the cost and weight of the tanks (aluminum tanks are the lightest), and the hassle of procuring the tanks and getting them refilled.

C02 generators that take a gas and burn it to create C02 are popular, but you still have to supply the propane or natural gas. If your grow site is already connected to municipal natural gas, you may be able to adapt your device to feed off the municipal supply.

Or you may have to buy tanks of propane or natural gas.

Paying Attention to Heat, Humidity and Safety Issues

If the hassles of procuring and using materials for dry ice, fermentation or C02 generators are not enough to discourage you from augmenting C02, you also have to consider other factors before you decide to bring extra C02 into your hydroponics room.

For example, if you have a room that’s vented to the outside with no recirculation, you have to carefully time your venting so it doesn’t just remove your added C02 from the room.

If you use C02 generators that burn gas to produce CO2, those generators will put more than just C02 into your hydroponics environment.

They’ll also produce humidity and heat. If your grow room is too cold (below 65F) or too dry (below 45% humidity), the extra humidity and heat might be useful. In most cases, however, you end up having to spend more for electricity to dispose of the extra heat and humidity.

Not only that, but CO2 generators burning natural gas or propane have flame, and flame can be a brutal enemy in any gardening situation. Fire risk is real, and many CO2 devices don’t have enough safety features to eliminate fire risk.

I use a C02 generator that’s water-cooled and that has a vast array of safety features such as automatic shut-off, no pilot light, a valve that can handle pressurized municipal gas, an overheating sensor and a tipping sensor.

It makes me feel good to know that if the unit falls over or has any other problem, it shuts off gas flow and shuts down its flame.

Using C02 Controllers and Adjusting Your Grow Room Conditions

You want to have 600-1000 ppm of C02 in your room during your lights-on cycle because this is when photosynthesis is happening and it’s when your plants need the extra C02.

Some people add about 100 ppm of C02 to their grow room during lights-off cycle, but I’ve seen no evidence that this has any growth or yield benefits.

You’ll need to get a C02 sensor, monitor or other measuring device so you can determine C02 concentrations in your garden.

Professional and grandmaster growers often use sophisticated C02 controllers that can be computerized and integrated with total climate controllers that monitor and run aeration, fans, C02 and other factors in your garden to ensure optimum temperature, air movement, humidity and C02.

You don’t want to have more than about 1300 ppm of C02 in your hydroponics atmosphere because the excess can interfere with how your plants’ leaves “breathe.”

Nor do you want to spend a lot of time in a hydroponics garden with augmented C02. What’s good for your plants isn’t good for you. Carbon dioxide can injure you.

To get the most from extra C02, you need to give your plants extra nutrients and higher temperatures. It will be fun for you to experiment with nutrient ppm to see how much extra nutrients your plants can take.

With your plants’ metabolism running richer due to extra C02, you’ll often find they can handle another 100-400 ppm of nutrients, as well as temperatures 10-12F degrees above the normal optimum operation temperature of between 70-74F.

You can also experiment with adding more light intensity or more lights-on hours to see if that speeds up your growth and yield in ways that outweigh the extra electricity costs of providing more light.

Indeed, you want to keep tally of all the costs of adding C02, and compare it to the extra yield you get. In some cases, you may find that the investment doesn’t pay off enough for you to continue adding C02 to your garden. But in most cases, adding C02 will more than pay for itself many times over.

As long as you can keep humidity below 60%, ensure air movement so your C02 is evenly distributed to all your plants’ leaves, feed more nutrients and control temperature, you’ll see significantly faster growth and larger yields using C02 in your hydroponics garden.

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Last modified on Thursday, 04 November 2010 19:41

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