How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide in Hydroponic Systems?Faizan Khan
Hydroponic growing systems are becoming increasingly well known in gardening and cultivating crops. This happens to be the case because of the numerous benefits offered by hydroponic systems, including massively increasing the growth and yield of plants.
Hydroponic systems are much more productive than traditional gardening because everything you use to feed and grow your plants can be monitored and controlled. However, before any of this can happen, you must decide on the best hydroponic supplies to nourish your plants with.
One of the most bountiful hydroponic supplies is a commonly known disinfectant, most likely found in your cleaning cabinets or first-aid box. You may have already guessed it- ‘Hydrogen Peroxide,’ is the chemical that refuses to remain out of the spotlight.
However, you may be baffled as to how a disinfect and chemical would be good for growing crops. We are here to wash away all your concerns and reveal all the benefits and uses of hydrogen peroxide in a hydroponic growing system.
What Is Hydroponics?
Let’s go back in time to review our biology classes. What do plants need to survive? Everybody knows the answer! Sunlight, water, and soil are essential for the survival of plants. But what if we were to tell you that plants can be grown without soil. In fact, plants can be grown more productively without the use of soil.
When a plant is suspended in soil, it constantly searches for nutrients and water to nourish it. But if you expose the root of plants directly to the source of nutrition and water, it will have to exert less energy searching for it. The plant can then direct this energy to boost the maturity and health of the plant. After practicing this method, you can drastically see the plants flourishing, with fuller leaves and blooming flowers and fruits.
Growing plants without soil are called ’Hydroponics.’ However, even when hydroponics is used to grow plants, the plants’ root will still need to be supported. This is done by replacing soil using other insert mediums like organic coco coir and rock wool.
Another puzzle in the back of your mind may be how the plants will carry out the process of photosynthesis- a chemical reaction within them that produces food for the plant to survive.
This process requires sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. The root of the plant tends to absorb water and nutrients from the soil to enable photosynthesis. This water and nutrients can be supplied directly when using the hydroponic system, enabling the plant to carry out photosynthesis more effectively.
How Does Hydroponics Work?
The question that arises is- how are hydroponic systems so successful? Well, it all has to do with careful observation and monitoring of all the factors involved in the growth and survival of plants. The conditions that can be controlled include the pH of water, exposure to nutrients and water, and temperature.
It’s always helpful to have a mantra guide you through life. Similarly, it would be best to diligently memorize the mantra of hydroponic systems. It’s quite simple- provide the plants with exactly what they need when they need it.
So, how can you implement this mantra when using hydroponic systems? You must monitor and adjust the pH levels of plants according to their requirements. You can also limit the exposure of the plants to sunlight- both in duration and quantity. Moreover, you feed nutrient solutions to the plants according to their exact requirements.
With a highly controlled environment, the risks exposed to plants are reduced. This is because pesticides are eliminated to a great extent, no wildlife can attack or damage plants under such supervision, and pests like locusts will be unable to devour plants. Moreover, the fungus from soils cannot infect plants.
Most of these successes are a result of the hydrogen peroxide used in hydroponics systems.
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Although our biology lesson isn’t quite finished yet, we have history knocking at our door. Hydrogen peroxide was discovered by a French Chemist- Louis Thenard– in 1818. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that hydrogen peroxide could be altered and produced safely in industrial production.
This is because hydrogen peroxide is a highly unstable molecule and comes from compounds that hone a single bond with two oxygen molecules. Therefore, essentially it is just water with an extra oxygen molecule affixed to it. Hydrogen peroxide is found in great amounts in nature- the atmosphere, rain, or snow. It may be a surprise to know that our bodies too produce hydrogen peroxide in small quantities.
This unstable compound is always ready to sacrifice an oxygen molecule which drives it to become water and a released oxygen molecule. And it is this process of sacrifice that proves it to be so worthy in hydroponics.
The benefits of hydrogen peroxide in hydroponics will be discussed later on. Before that, we must explore on and discover what more goes on in the realm of hydroponics.
The Importance of Hydrogen Peroxide in Hydroponics
It is no secret that cultivating a garden or plants means an outbreak of bacteria and pests. However, the common cause for this nuisance is usually left veiled.
A common mistake that gardeners make while using the hydroponic system is ignoring the temperature of the environment and water levels.
The ideal temperature for your tank is between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit, averaging at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the tank’s temperature happens to rise above 70 degrees, there will be a good chance for bacterias and pathogens to form and cause destruction. This is because the higher the temperature of a medium, the less oxygen it will contain.
By now, you may have realized why the sacrifice of an oxygen molecule provided by hydrogen peroxide is so precious to hydroponics. It is because a hydroponic environment requires oxygen to promote safety.
When hydrogen peroxide is added to a nutrient solution, it will be easy to evenly spread it around the medium where the plant is growing. When the extra oxygen molecule is released, it will go directly to the plant’s root to aid its growth and roots.
Moreover, hydrogen peroxide will provide armory to the medium and its surrounding wall, strengthening it against villains like bacteria and the two most famous pathogens- fusarium and pythium. Therefore, thanks to hydrogen peroxide, plants will never have to go through the pain of an irrecoverable wound.
The Benefits of Using Hydrogen Peroxide in a Hydroponic System
The importance of hydrogen peroxide in hydroponic systems is already visible, and some of its benefits are already laid bare. However, there is much more that hydrogen peroxide tends to accomplish in hydroponic systems and its many uses are sure to leave you gaping in awe.
Hydrogen Peroxide Stimulates Root Growth
Pure hydrogen peroxide is a pale blue liquid that is known to be unstable. It’s a lot like water; however, it dreadfully carries around the burden of an extra oxygen molecule.
Eventually, hydrogen peroxide releases the extra hydrogen peroxide molecule and converts itself into water and oxygen molecules. When this decomposition occurs, plant roots are fed the oxygen molecules and used to boost their growth.
As we already know, the temperature of hydroponic systems tends to drift above 70 degrees and lead to a lack of oxygen molecules, which are then compensated by the humble sacrifices of hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen Peroxide Is a Source of Biological Signaling
Hydrogen peroxide takes on the role of a signaling agent in biological processes. To understand the relevance of hydrogen peroxide as a signaling agent, one must understand what a cell signaler is.
A cell signaler provides communication between living cells in animals and plants. In contrast, signaling agents are certain compounds that influence these communication processes. More specifically, these signaling agents can mold the way cells behave. An easily understandable example of a signaling agent is that of hormones.
Hydrogen peroxide encourages plants to increase their nutrient intake through the roots and affects the defense mechanisms of the plants, causing them to create catalase at the bottom of the roots.
Hydrogen Peroxide Promotes Action Against Microbes
Hydrogen peroxide is not merciful to microbes and organic tissues. To damage microbes and organic tissues, hydrogen peroxide forms hydroxyl radicals in acidic conditions.
Moreover, the natural process of the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen molecules that are dangerous to microbes.
Hence, it is proven that hydrogen peroxide effectively kills bacteria, viruses, and common pests.
Hydrogen Peroxide Fends of Chlorine From Water
In wastewater treatments carried out by USP technologies, high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide effectively eliminated chlorine from water.
Pure water is necessary for a hydroponics system, and removing chlorine from municipal water can be a tiring process. Yet again, hydrogen peroxide will prove its worth by removing the small quantities of chlorine present in the system.
Hydrogen Peroxide Speeds Up Seed Germination
Seed germination requires three essential factors- water, light, and oxygen. Most gardeners can effectively provide their seeds with an adequate supply of water and light. However, the seeds usually do not get enough oxygen because it’s not as though the seeds can be customized with an oxygen mask, right?
Wrong! Because hydrogen peroxide is the oxygen mask that seeds require. Hydrogen peroxide can break open the seeds covering, which allows it to take in more oxygen hence increasing its germination rate.
Hydrogen Peroxide Controls Algae in Hydroponics
The stage of hydroponics unwillingly attracts an abundance of villains into its storyline- one of them being algae. Microorganisms, in particular algae, are known to thrive in nutrient solutions, which in turn destroy plants by spreading diseases. These microorganisms also intercept the nutrients going into the plant hence leading to plants being undernourished.
Once again, hydrogen peroxide can send this nightmare up in fumes. This is because hydrogen peroxide contains oxygen and water, which mingles with the organic matter and causes a feud in a redox reaction.
Of course, hydrogen peroxide always wins this fight- allowing the plant to strive in an algae-free environment.
Hydrogen Peroxide Treats Root Rot
Root systems can be cut off from a sufficient supply of oxygen. In hydroponics, root rot occurs when the water is not being aerated effectively or when the roots are cut off from the air. Both terrors could take place together; however, the dilemma can be diminished by using hydrogen peroxide.
If the root cells are deprived of oxygen, they can die while simultaneously giving life to bacteria and fungi. For the revival of the cells and massacre of the organisms, hydrogen peroxide must be unleashed.
Hydrogen peroxide never fails to take out its guns of oxygen to obliterate any unwanted pests and is always considerate enough to rush the roots into revival mode.
Hydrogen Peroxide Can Clean Hydroponic Systems
In the world of greenery, we all know cleanliness guarantees the safety of plants. Therefore, keeping your hydroponics systems unsoiled must be a priority. And what better way to achieve it than by taking advantage of the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide has also been approved to be environmentally friendly by the USDA and is therefore completely safe for plants. Hydrogen peroxide puts up a good fight against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms by demolishing their cell walls.
This is why hydrogen peroxide is the perfect tool for the sterilization of hydroponic systems. Unlock the secret ingredient and apply it to the different elements of the system- walls, air intake filters, electrical areas, lights, and work surfaces.
Congratulations, you will have achieved a disease-free environment to raise your plants!
How Does Hydrogen Peroxide Work in a Hydroponic System?
You may have already gotten a fine idea of all the workings of hydrogen peroxide within a hydroponic system. However, we’re about to break down the doings and give credit to all the different atoms and molecules that bring about these notable changes in a hydroponic system.
So once you pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide into the central reservoir, this is the role each atom of a hydrogen peroxide compound will play-
- The hydrogen peroxide will decompose into water and oxygen.
- The single oxygen atom is a free radical possessing the right to react in several different ways.
- If the oxygen atom comes across another oxygen atom, they will build a friendship and adjoin to form an O2 molecule. These O2 molecules will maintain the healthiness of roots.
- However, if the oxygen atom comes across an organic cell such as a bacteria or virus, the mood will shift, and opposition will brew. As we already know, hydrogen peroxide always wins within the ring of conflict.
- If the hydrogen peroxide does not decompose, it will be preserved in a complete H2O2 form that will react with any free chlorine in the water. This will result in purified water and the creation of O2 and hydrogen chloride.
What Concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide Should Be Used in a Hydroponics System?
The commonly used hydrogen peroxide in households comes in 3%, 5%, and 8%. These concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are easily available at drug stores and are the safest for everyday use.
However, the reason these concentrations are safe to use is that they are diluted. Once manufacturers dilute hydrogen peroxide, they have to add other additives to keep it stable. The most common stabilizer is acetanilide, a synthetic compound previously used in the nineteenth century as a painkiller and antipyretic medicine.
Acetanilide soon became disused for the purposes mentioned above because of the toxic side effects that it brought forth. Another common stabilizer of hydrogen peroxide is phenol.
Although the side effects of diluted hydrogen peroxide on plants have not yet become apparent- it would be best to use purified 35% hydrogen peroxide to run your hydroponic system to have full control over the results and avoid any mishaps.
What Is the Quantity of Hydrogen Peroxide That Must Be Used in a Hydroponics System?
There’s no need to go hunting for 35% hydrogen peroxide aimlessly; when you are right outside the doorstep of Bulk Peroxide’s shop, knock and get ahold of your food-grade hydrogen peroxide immediately!
Now that you are equipped for the task at hand, it is best to know that hydrogen peroxide can be used in two different ways to fuel hydroponic systems. One is by using the pure 35% hydrogen peroxide in the form that it is bought. The second method requires diluting the 35% hydrogen peroxide before using it.
The Quantity of a Pure 35% Hydrogen Peroxide
If you use an undiluted 35% hydrogen peroxide, the recommended dose would be 2-3 Milliliter for each gallon of water.
However, you can slowly increase the dosage to 5 Milliliter per gallon of water, as long as the plants respond well.
The Quantity of a Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide
It is important to note that this process does not involve the diluted hydrogen peroxide available at drugstores but rather involves you diluting a 35% hydrogen peroxide at home.
To make that happen, you’ll have to add an ounce of 35% hydrogen peroxide to eleven ounces of water. If you want the purest result, it is advised that you use distilled water.
With 3% hydrogen peroxide at your disposal, you should begin by adding 3 milliliters per liter or 2-3 teaspoons per gallon of reservoir water.
When Should You Add Hydrogen Peroxide to Your Hydroponic System?
Because the root cause of the success of hydroponic systems is control, it is important to manage the amount of hydrogen peroxide added to the system and diligently follow a schedule to add the hydrogen peroxide.
It is advised that every nutrient change you treat your freshwater to a dosage of hydrogen peroxide. The proper way to carry out this method is by pouring in the hydrogen peroxide and allowing it to circulate and mingle with the water for half an hour before introducing it to nutrients. This method allows the hydrogen peroxide to fight off pathogens and stabilize properly.
Hydrogen peroxide and its protective barrier last for around four days. Therefore, on the fifth day, it is recommended that you repeat this process of hydrogen peroxide cleanses.
Another approach to adding hydrogen peroxide to hydroponic systems is by topping off the reservoir with hydrogen-treated water whenever it is low. This strategy is low maintenance and requires less control, and therefore does not provide the best results.
How To Treat Root Rot Using Hydrogen Peroxide in a DWC System?
If you want to alert yourself to root rot, you best keep your eyes open for yellowing leaves and weak branches- often falling off. Root rot is an immense cause of concern because it infects the plant causing it to die while being easily overlooked.
However, it’s no surprise that hydrogen peroxide can cure root rot. If you use a DWC system in hydroponics, hydrogen peroxide and its root rot curing magic will be of immense help.
For those who are not yet hydroponic experts, DWC (Deep Water Culture) is a common method of hydroponics used for plant production that requires inserting the root of plants into nutrient-rich and oxygenated water.
The good news is that root rot can be cured using any concentration of hydrogen peroxide; however, it would be preferred to use additive-free solutions. Moreover, if you have large DWC water reservoirs, it would be cost-effective to buy hydrogen peroxide in larger amounts (preferably in gallons).
Many gardeners face a round of confusion when dealing with root rot and all the different amounts of hydrogen peroxide. We provide Advil to your headache by simplifying each step of every concentration of hydrogen peroxide!
3% Hydrogen Peroxide To Cure Root Rot
The perfect curing combination for root rot would require adding 2.5 teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide per gallon of water. This is equivalent to adding three milliliters of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a liter of water.
12% Hydrogen Peroxide To Cure Root Rot
To achieve the best root rot curing potion, you will have to intermix 0.625 teaspoons (0.11 oz) of 12% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water. This is equivalent to 0.75 milliliters of 12% hydrogen peroxide for a liter of water.
29% Hydrogen Peroxide To Cure Root Rot
To brew the perfect concoction to cure root rot, add 0.26 teaspoons (0.046 oz) of 29% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water. This is equivalent to 0.31 milliliters of 29% hydrogen peroxide per liter of water.
35% Hydrogen Peroxide To Cure Root Rot
For the best root rot curing solution, you will have to merge 0.21 teaspoons (0.038 oz) of 35% hydrogen peroxide with a gallon of water. This is equivalent to adding 0.25 milliliters of 35% hydrogen peroxide to a liter of water.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Increase Germination Rate of Seeds?
Most gardeners know how painstakingly slow the process of seeds sprouting can be. This is why we introduce hydrogen peroxide to the seeds- it is a fuel to both the seeds and your patience.
If you are running a hydroponics garden, you already know hydrogen peroxide is the key to advancement.
Therefore, place your seeds in a container that allows water to pass through, for example, a mesh bag or a sieve. Proceed to add a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide for every 1 cup of water in the container. Leaving the seeds in this solution for even a minimum of 2 minutes can have drastic effects on the rate of growth of the seed.
Afterward, lay the seeds in a wet kitchen towel or consider spreading some potting soil onto a seedling tray. Seedling trays are usually made up of cardboard or another absorbent medium to keep the seeds moist for longer or until they are ready to sprout.
Storing the seeds at an ideal temperature is also recommended if you want to witness increased germination rates. Hence, it would be recommended that you store them at a warm temperature and moist environment. For this reason, it would be recommended that you store the seeds in a propagator or greenhouse.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Remove Bacteria From Seeds?
It is quite possible that your hydroponics system is being infected from bacteria being brought in with the seeds. Since bacteria is contagious, it can harm several plants and, in turn, disrupt the control of your hydroponics system.
This is why you must take precautions and use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and extract bacteria from seeds before they are brought into the hydroponics system.
The technique is quite simple. Place your seeds in an airtight container and pour in a sufficient amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Then drop your seeds into the solution and allow them to bathe for around 4 hours.
The beauty of hydrogen peroxide is that it cures seeds of all infectious organisms without causing harm to the plants. This is why hydrogen peroxide is considered the perfect antidote and replaces bleach in many functions and roles.
The Risks and Side Effects of Using Hydrogen Peroxide
A diluted version of hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of 3% is quite harmless and can only cause minor issues, if any. On the other hand, undiluted 35% food-grade hydrogen peroxide can be extremely dangerous and must be treated as an acid.
The accidental consumption of hydrogen peroxide can bring about a range of side effects, varying in severity.
According to Poison Control, the consumption of hydrogen peroxide can lead to gas embolism. This is when bubbles of gas or air find a way to get into your circulatory system and result in blocked vessels. Although this side effect is rare, it can be life-threatening if left untreated. The initial symptoms of gas embolism are confusion, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
When hydrogen peroxide is ingested, the following side effects can also be noted- internal burns, foaming at the mouth (caused by vomiting up the excess oxygen bubbles formed within your stomach), gastric distension, vomiting, and nausea.
Moreover, a 2011 research report showed possibilities of hydrogen peroxide promoting the growth and multiplication of cancerous cells, hence promoting cancer.
Inhaling the harmful fumes of food-grade hydrogen peroxide can lead to the following complications- mild respiratory irritation, eye irritation, burning sensation in your chest, nose, throat, bronchitis, pulmonary irritation, and excess fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
Coming in contact with 35% hydrogen peroxide can cause severe irritation, burns, ulcers, blisters, and scarring.
Cautionary Measures To Take When Dealing With Hydrogen Peroxide
After reviewing all the side effects of the mishandling of hydrogen peroxide, it is important to take the measures required to prevent such complications.
Therefore, we have outlined some of the most important safeguards for you to take up.
- It is essential to have your hydrogen peroxide bottles boldly labeled. Accidental ingestion of hydrogen peroxide is common, especially among children when they mistake the hydrogen peroxide solutions for water.
- Reduce the amount of skin exposed to the solution by wearing gloves when handling hydrogen peroxide.
- Keep the hydrogen peroxide in a secure place away from prying pets and children. Don’t let curiosity and accidents get the best of them!
The Perfect Antidote in Hydroponics
As you must already be aware, hydroponics requires only the very best all-rounding antidote to help you control and improve the results of the plantation. Hydrogen peroxide provides the solution to all the complications of hydroponics and is essential for the system to function efficiently.
Bulk Peroxide provides a wide variety of hydrogen peroxide solutions; you need only pick the one suitable for your hydroponic system!
With the help of hydrogen peroxide, you are bound to hone your hydroponic system into perfection!