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Special Considerations When Using Rockwool For Hydroponics

Rockwool is perhaps the most popular medium used by hydroponic growers today. When you look at the numerous benefits, there is little wonder why. It retains moisture well, so there is less chances of underwatering. It retains oxygen well, so there is less chance of overwatering. It never impedes the development of roots. And it comes in numerous sizes and shapes, so it accommodates just about anything you could want to grow. But with these advantages come certain special concerns that every user of rockwool should take into account.

Environmental Concerns – Though a similar substance is made naturally by volcanoes, the rockwool that is used in hydroponics is not really a natural material. The substance is made by taking chalk and rock and heating them to three thousand degrees Fahrenheit. It is then “spun” and cooled, turning it into the material you see at the hydroponics store. Because it is not natural, it is not biodegradable. Any rockwool that you dispose of will sit in a landfill indefinitely. If you are concerned about these environmental issues, but still want to get the benefits of rockwool in your hydroponic garden, you should try to avoid purchasing new rockwool cubes every growing season. Instead, you should thoroughly rinse your old rockwool of any organic material and reuse it. This won’t just be better for the environment, it will also save you a great deal of money.

Health Concerns – You should be extremely cautious when handling rockwool. It can be irritating to the skin, eyes, and lungs. Too much exposure to the skin might even cause serious long-term effects. The skin irritation isn’t caused by any chemical danger in rockwool, but rather it’s physical makeup, much like how wheat or grass might cause irritation if it comes in contact with the skin. While there is not any real evidence that rockwool causes cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency lists it as a “Group 2B” material, which means it is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” To reduce your risk of any health complications, always wear a dust mask, goggles, and gloves when handling.

Ph Problems – By itself, rockwool is much more alkaline than other media, which means that you may have to make special adjustments to your nutrient solution pH to create an ideal pH for the root zone. This can be troublesome if you are using multiple media, as it might require you to create one pH balanced nutrient solution for one media and a separate one for your rockwool-grown plants. Rockwool can also shift its pH balance fairly rapidly, which means you may have to be extra vigilant about regularly checking your pH balances and making necessary adjustments.

Pre Treatment – Unlike most other media, rockwool needs to be treated before it is used for hydroponics. You should soak it in pH treated water for a full day before you transfer your plants into it. For most it isn’t a major a concern, it simply means that it is a bit more labor intensive than other hydroponics media.


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Since 1999, Advanced Nutrients has been committed to educating the community and bringing the most up-to-date knowledge to the forefront of grows across the globe. Every article you read here has been curated by Advanced Nutrients’ industry experts, so you can continue raising your bud weight… and your reputation.

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Over time, components within the nutrients settle on the bottom of the bottle. When you pour a bottle without shaking it, you can potentially be pouring out an unbalanced solution. Shaking up the nutrient bottle ensures you are pouring the right blend into your reservoir, giving your crops the nutrition they need.

Usually, it’s not a problem. But some products are incompatible with each other and can damage your plants when they’re used together. For example, bloom boosters with high PK numbers or low-grade silica products can destabilize your nutrient mix and cause nutrient lockout.

Nutrient manufacturers design their products to be used with each other. In doing so, they include specific portions of each nutrient in each product, so crops receive the right nutrition through each stage of the grow cycle. When you stick with one manufacturer, you don’t have to worry about inadvertently destabilizing your nutrient mixture. One example of why you need to stick with only one manufacturer’s products is Advanced Nutrients’ pH Perfect line. These products are designed to keep your crops’ root zone within a specific pH range. When you use them alongside products from another manufacturer, we can’t guarantee your root zone will maintain its optimal pH level.

Yes! If you’re growing with Advanced Nutrients products, you can use our easy nutrient calculator to generate the correct nutrient chart for your crops in seconds. Check out Advanced Nutrients’ nutrient calculator here. Another great resource is our library of free custom-growing recipes. Try our expert grower-tested nutrient schedules here.

You can also download our official BudLabs app to generate nutrient schedules and receive real-time notifications for specific tasks, including feeding your crops. Upgrade to BudLabs Pro to maintain profiles on an unlimited number of crops.

If you are a grower, visit this link to find the closest Advanced Nutrients Authorized Retailer. If you are a retailer, visit this link to identify our official distributors.

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Just call 1-800-640-9605 or email support@advancednutrients.com. For Spanish-speaking growers, email spanishsupport@advancednutrients.com.

Yes! If for any reason you are not absolutely thrilled with the results you achieve when you use our products, just bring the unused portion, along with your original sales receipt, back to the place of purchase within six months, and ask for your money back. Find out more about our Grower Guarantee here.

Advanced Nutrients has spent many thousands of man-hours developing a technology that automatically balances your pH for you — putting it in the “sweet spot” and holding it there for one week.

And the technology is so “smart” that it can account for many of the aforementioned variables in your grow room. Our proprietary pH buffering agents and stabilizing mechanisms became the foundation of a new system aptly called pH Perfect® Technology. Learn all about it here.

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