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Silica vs Acids vs CalMag

RFT

25
3
Current System:
  • Well Water
  • Large Scale NFT 24 hr Recirculatory Feed System w/ multiple zones running different nutrient lines & recipes
  • Automated EC Dosing & pH management (freshly calibrated)
  • H2O chiller system in operation - water temps at constant 68 degrees day & night
  • Resi Size - 350+/- gallons
  • Nutrients - GenHydro FloraDuo Series
    • FloraDuo A
    • FloraDuo B
    • Liquid Kool Bloom
    • Armor Si (silica)
    • Diamond Nectar (humic / fulvic acids)
    • CALiMAGic (calcium & magnesium)
  • DNA - various

PROBLEMS:
  • Automated Dosing System only has 6 pumps (with one going for pH adjustment, three for base nutrients, and leaving two open spots for supplements)
  • I have tested 4 different zones side by side
    • Base Nutes plus - Silica & CalMag
    • Base Nutes plus - Silica & Acids
    • Base Nutes plus - CalMag & Acids
    • Base Nutes plus - All 3 (with the silica being added by hand - this is not a viable long term solution, as being I do not trust employees to do this accurately week in & out)
  • No matter which combination I run, Im not seeing (to the naked eye) any variance in quality or yield
  • Too be fair, in a properly run hydro system, the base nutrients are all that should be necessary (A, B, Kool Bloom) as those are "complete" with everything the plant needs.
  • In theory,
    • the silica adds to stalk strength & plant health, but isnt a "necessary" building block for plant life
    • the acids are redundant (properly chelated synthetic nutes do not need additional help with plant absorption and supposedly Liquid Kool Bloom has similar additives already in it)
    • the cal mag is already included in the A & B, and is more of a supplement needed for coco mediums that strip the calmag from the solution. Also consider that I am on well water, which has plenty of calmag & iron naturally in it

SOLUTIONS?
  • Im trying to decide on which nutrient to ditch. A case can be made to keep each one of those nutrients as well as ditching each one. I'd like to know everyone else's opinion. I've spoken to two different lab techs with General Hydro and they both gave me differing advice LOL. Both grow shops made cases for different blends.
  • Im inclined to keep the Silica because it is the one element that is not already an ingredient in the other products already used
  • I'd love to ditch both the Acids & CalMag so that I can use that dosing pump for a product like FloraShield (see my other thread/conundrum)

All input welcome, THX
 
4,789
263
Current System:
  • Well Water
  • Large Scale NFT 24 hr Recirculatory Feed System w/ multiple zones running different nutrient lines & recipes
  • Automated EC Dosing & pH management (freshly calibrated)
  • H2O chiller system in operation - water temps at constant 68 degrees day & night
  • Resi Size - 350+/- gallons
  • Nutrients - GenHydro FloraDuo Series
    • FloraDuo A
    • FloraDuo B
    • Liquid Kool Bloom
    • Armor Si (silica)
    • Diamond Nectar (humic / fulvic acids)
    • CALiMAGic (calcium & magnesium)
  • DNA - various

PROBLEMS:
  • Automated Dosing System only has 6 pumps (with one going for pH adjustment, three for base nutrients, and leaving two open spots for supplements)
  • I have tested 4 different zones side by side
    • Base Nutes plus - Silica & CalMag
    • Base Nutes plus - Silica & Acids
    • Base Nutes plus - CalMag & Acids
    • Base Nutes plus - All 3 (with the silica being added by hand - this is not a viable long term solution, as being I do not trust employees to do this accurately week in & out)
  • No matter which combination I run, Im not seeing (to the naked eye) any variance in quality or yield
  • Too be fair, in a properly run hydro system, the base nutrients are all that should be necessary (A, B, Kool Bloom) as those are "complete" with everything the plant needs.
  • In theory,
    • the silica adds to stalk strength & plant health, but isnt a "necessary" building block for plant life
    • the acids are redundant (properly chelated synthetic nutes do not need additional help with plant absorption and supposedly Liquid Kool Bloom has similar additives already in it)
    • the cal mag is already included in the A & B, and is more of a supplement needed for coco mediums that strip the calmag from the solution. Also consider that I am on well water, which has plenty of calmag & iron naturally in it

SOLUTIONS?
  • Im trying to decide on which nutrient to ditch. A case can be made to keep each one of those nutrients as well as ditching each one. I'd like to know everyone else's opinion. I've spoken to two different lab techs with General Hydro and they both gave me differing advice LOL. Both grow shops made cases for different blends.
  • Im inclined to keep the Silica because it is the one element that is not already an ingredient in the other products already used
  • I'd love to ditch both the Acids & CalMag so that I can use that dosing pump for a product like FloraShield (see my other thread/conundrum)

All input welcome, THX
Have you looked at Greenleaf mega crop? It has silica, aminos and cal mag all added. It's a dry fert and I find it very complete. Not sure if you are open to other ferts. It won't work in your liquid doser so that may be an issue. Personally I would drop all of the addatives. It's the only way to know if they are helping. I always feel this should be done when starting out. I'm by no means a grower on your scale but on that scale I would be adding on a cost vs gain bases and no way to know unless you try a run bare bones.
 

RFT

25
3
Have you looked at Greenleaf mega crop? It has silica, aminos and cal mag all added. It's a dry fert and I find it very complete. Not sure if you are open to other ferts. It won't work in your liquid doser so that may be an issue. Personally I would drop all of the addatives. It's the only way to know if they are helping. I always feel this should be done when starting out. I'm by no means a grower on your scale but on that scale I would be adding on a cost vs gain bases and no way to know unless you try a run bare bones.
Traditionally, I've never had this issue because I've had doser systems that had 10+ pumps. So I added everything and the kitchen sink.

But I was also growing soil then, thus the need for the additives. With hydro being so efficient, it's much easier to get away with the base nutes.

Yes, as you deduced, switching to a dry fertilizer blend is not an option. Im not beholden to any brand of nutrients, but I am beholden to automated feeding.

Yes, Im definitely interested in the cost vs gains equation. Maybe I should just try a run without any additives and see what happens. In the short term, I'd like to settle this debate between these 3 additives. It very may well be that neither the Acids or CalMag are necessary. But if the Acids help just 10% with nute absorption, then Im going to use them.
 
2,648
263
Im not sure what your question is.
nevermind. I'm used to dosing with salts and making concentrates vs out of the bottle.

Kool Bloom always had issues in big rez's (200+) for me. I would get buildup specifically from that. NFT prob isnt as much of an issue but drip it was a nightmare. Not to mention a nightmare on the plumbing. Using 3 part not the 2 part Duo. So my opinion is ditch the kool bloom from personal experience.

Tech speaking as you said you could always up the ratio of A to get more Ca if needed but that is something you need to crunch numbers on. Same goes with B (again haven't run it so don't know the ratio so that's something to work out). There is a possibility of mixing A and calmg for 1 doser and B and kool bloom for 1 doser if you wanted to keep everything. Problem is stuff like potassium nitrate will only concentrate down to a specific ratio and usually has to be split up between concentrates. That is why it is in both bottles of A and B on the duo. Same with MKP (main ingredient in B and Kool Bloom) That is all gonna depend on the actual concentrate ratio of the bottles that they start with. I don't have an answer for that since I have never used that specific base or mixed with it. If you have high Fe in your well you might want to keep the acid in for that. Might run into an issue. I start seeing issues with Fe when it creeps up to about 5 ppm in flower. I would drop the Calmg before I dropped that. The problem is this is a very specific question that is all gonna depend on starting water content and targets you are trying to hit PPM wise in the breakdown.

for example
Untitled.png



I love using silica but have yet to run it in a doser system. Usually having to leave Si as a standalone and dedicate it's own doser to it. Cost wise, when setting up new systems, just never justified it. This is more because using concentrates and salts so mixing compatibility starts really coming into play. Might not be an issue out of the bottle. Someone else would need to comment on that. Have you seen an issue mixing silica with other nutes together? I'm on the same page as you. If I can keep silica in the mix I def am. When I can't it ends up being a foliar in veg or weekly dosing which is a horrible chore specially when dealing with employees.

I have found in the past talking to the doser/injection companies will usually give you better info sometimes then the actual nute companies.
 

RFT

25
3
nevermind. I'm used to dosing with salts and making concentrates vs out of the bottle.

Kool Bloom always had issues in big rez's (200+) for me. I would get buildup specifically from that. NFT prob isnt as much of an issue but drip it was a nightmare. Not to mention a nightmare on the plumbing. Using 3 part not the 2 part Duo. So my opinion is ditch the kool bloom from personal experience.

Tech speaking as you said you could always up the ratio of A to get more Ca if needed but that is something you need to crunch numbers on. Same goes with B (again haven't run it so don't know the ratio so that's something to work out). There is a possibility of mixing A and calmg for 1 doser and B and kool bloom for 1 doser if you wanted to keep everything. Problem is stuff like potassium nitrate will only concentrate down to a specific ratio and usually has to be split up between concentrates. That is why it is in both bottles of A and B on the duo. Same with MKP (main ingredient in B and Kool Bloom) That is all gonna depend on the actual concentrate ratio of the bottles that they start with. I don't have an answer for that since I have never used that specific base or mixed with it. If you have high Fe in your well you might want to keep the acid in for that. Might run into an issue. I start seeing issues with Fe when it creeps up to about 5 ppm in flower. I would drop the Calmg before I dropped that. The problem is this is a very specific question that is all gonna depend on starting water content and targets you are trying to hit PPM wise in the breakdown.

for example
View attachment 906927


I love using silica but have yet to run it in a doser system. Usually having to leave Si as a standalone and dedicate it's own doser to it. Cost wise, when setting up new systems, just never justified it. This is more because using concentrates and salts so mixing compatibility starts really coming into play. Might not be an issue out of the bottle. Someone else would need to comment on that. Have you seen an issue mixing silica with other nutes together? I'm on the same page as you. If I can keep silica in the mix I def am. When I can't it ends up being a foliar in veg or weekly dosing which is a horrible chore specially when dealing with employees.

I have found in the past talking to the doser/injection companies will usually give you better info sometimes then the actual nute companies.
I have found the opposite. I’d say the doser companies barely know how to use their own equipment. Let alone being proficient in horticulture. They’re engineers first & foremost.

Nute companies may be running skeleton crews these days. But they still got a few people left that have chemistry backgrounds. So it’s nice to talk shop to those guys. Sucks when they contradict each other tho. This is supposed to be a science, not subjective guess work.

Mixing concentrates is never a good idea. And sharing doser pumps isnt an option.

I like your point regarding keeping the acids to help deal with the nutes in the well water. Clever. One issue with removing the calmag tho, is it is an iron source. No iron in A & B for whatever reason. Granted, there’s likely plenty of iron in my existing well water. But according to GenHydro lab techs, Liquid Kool Bloom has ingredients that make the Diamnd Nectar (humic acids) redundant. And so I keep going in circles on this whole topic LOL. Im thinking that all that said, the acids are still the front runner. Would be different if the water was RO or tap with low trace elements.

Yes, mixing compatibility for silica is always an issue. Fallout occurs if it is either not mixed first with fresh water or added very slowly in low amounts. Same for the GenHydro calmag products.
 
Last edited:
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263
I have found the opposite. I’d say the doser companies barely know how to use their own equipment. Let alone being proficient in horticulture. They’re engineers first & foremost.

Mixing concentrates is never a good idea. And sharing doser pumps isnt an option.

I like your point regarding keeping the acids to help deal with the nutes in the well water. Clever. One issue with removing the calmag tho, is it is an iron source. No iron in A & B for whatever reason. Granted, there’s likely plenty of iron in my existing well water. But according to GenHydro lab techs, Liquid Kool Bloom has ingredients that make the Diamnd Nectar (humic acids) redundant. And so I keep going in circles on this whole topic LOL.

Yes, mixing compatibility for silica is always an issue. Fallout occurs if it is either not mixed first with fresh water or added very slowly in low amounts. Same for the GenHydri calmag products.
Thats the big problem with dealing with with nutrient mix companies. You almost have to test everything yourself to actually see if they include all the ingredients on the label and if the ferts are actually at the concentration they state unless it's something used in commercial AG at a large scale across multiple industries. Way more work then it's worth. I get a lot of PPM conflict when breaking them down vs actually what they are when mixed. LKB - Derived from: Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Sulphate. I don't see anything that would make fulvic redundant but again prob something else in there. I understand the frustration. It's like banging your head against 2 different walls just to get a simple answer. Makes you crazy.

Most of the injection companies are exactly as you stated. I found that the AG based ones for farming acreage usually are a little more keen on this stuff. I ran into the same thing when dealing with mixing orders of salts and compatibility. Some of their user guide PDF's on their sites have troves of useful info. Just buried in page after page. I'm no chemist so I had a very elementary understanding of all of it. I still haven't found the right answers dealing with stuff like MAP even after lots of back and forth and getting completely different answers from multiple sources. Not to mention if you say marijuana half of them will stonewall you.

Good luck man.
 
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RFT

25
3
Thats the big problem with dealing with with nutrient mix companies. You almost have to test everything yourself to actually see if they include all the ingredients on the label and if the ferts are actually at the concentration they state unless it's something used in commercial AG at a large scale across multiple industries. Way more work then it's worth. I get a lot of PPM conflict when breaking them down vs actually what they are when mixed. LKB - Derived from: Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Sulphate. I don't see anything that would make fulvic redundant but again prob something else in there. I understand the frustration. It's like banging your head against 2 different walls just to get a simple answer. Makes you crazy.

Most of the injection companies are exactly as you stated. I found that the AG based ones for farming acreage usually are a little more keen on this stuff. I ran into the same thing when dealing with mixing orders of salts and compatibility. Some of their user guide PDF's on their sites have troves of useful info. Just buried in page after page. I'm no chemist so I had a very elementary understanding of all of it. I still haven't found the right answers dealing with stuff like MAP even after lots of back and forth and getting completely different answers from multiple sources. Not to mention if you say marijuana half of them will stonewall you.

Good luck man.
I have just enough of a chemistry & formal horticulture background that the convo’s with the nute company techs move rather quickly. But there are definitely moments where I know just enough to notice when there are inconsistencies in their info they share.

FYI....
Fulvic is in the Floraliscious Plus product. Not recommended for my system. Trying to avoid any organic matter. Thus the switch to the Diamond Nectar (humic). Which the GH tech specifically said was included in LKB even if not labeled (common theme huh?)

He said the supplemental products were to mask deficiencies and/or flawed setups. With a properly engineered hydro system that operates at max efficiency, the base products are designed to be fully sufficient. I believe my NFT hydro setup qualifies.

The wrinkle is the well water IMO. So I should cater to that aspect/variable in my setup. Which is why Im leaning towards the Humic Acids, even if redundant, it’s a safe measure.
 

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