About

My name is Daniel Fernandez and I am a graduated chemist with a strong interest in plants and hydroponic crops. When I started my degree I became fascinated by the fact that plants could be grown without soil with the mere use of synthetic chemicals and that I could perfectly control the concentration and the nature of all the chemicals I gave to my plants.  Perhaps the most incredible thing about hydroponics is not only that you can imitate the plant’s natural development environment but that you can improve it to obtain higher yields, better tasting crops, less water use and less run-off pollution. I honestly think that hydroponics are the true solution to world hunger and that the massive use of cheap hydroponic passive systems in third world countries -especially in those without a lot of water or arable soil – will mark the start of a new era for the world starving population.

This blog attempts to educate people a little bit about hydroponics and the many scientific aspects of this type of plant culture. Through my posts I will attempt to share with you my knowledge about hydroponics and the way plants work as well as how to prepare your own solutions, additives and growing systems for your hydroponic crops. As a chemist I have acquired an in-depth understanding of how things work within a hydroponic crop and I will do my best to share this knowledge with as many people as possible :o).

Thank you very much for visiting my blog ! If you like it please remember to subscribe to my RSS feed (button to subscribe on the top left) or share my posts with your friends in digg, technorati, twitter, facebook, etc !

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47 comments

  1. Zafar Ansari says:

    I appreciate your eforts. My country is suffering from shortage of quailty food and unemployment. To solve these problems, I am trying to build a Non-Circulating Hydroponic form on a small scale. I need your guidance and support. If its possible can I contact you on Skype. My Skype id is ansari.zafar

    • Jennifer Martin says:

      How is this project going for you? I think it’s hard to do non-circulating hydroponics because of the need to keep the oxygen levels high, but I would love to be proven wrong.

  2. Kirk Allmond says:

    Hi, I’m working on an article on hydroponics for my site zombiepreparedness.org. We focus on disaster preparedness and personal responsibility, framed in a conversation about zombies.

    After a hypothetical apocalypse, where access to specific chemicals is greatly reduced, is there a way to create a nutrient solution that would work, and what would be your advice on how to create that solution?

    Please email me if you’re interested in furthering this conversation.

    Thanks,

    Kirk Allmond

    • admin says:

      Hi Kirk,

      Thank you for your post :o) On a catastrophic event that would resemble a zombie apocalypse (lack of proper chemical supplies, external threats, etc). Hydroponics would not be a good option for the “average Joe”. You cannot easily make a reliable hydroponic solution from anything that is easy to scavenge. Even if you’re able to scavenge some soil-fertilizers, these would be completely inadequate for hydroponic crop production. In such a scenario you are much better off by growing crops normally, in soil.

      If hydroponics is the only option (you cannot use soil for some reason) then I would say that the only way to do this reliably would be to go the aquaponics route. Get some fish – like Tilapia – and grow them on a joint system with your plants, you will still need iron supplementation (which you can probably get from nails) and you will need to balance pH (which you can probably do with chalk) and you might still need pumps (so you would need some form of electricity) but you will be able to get some decent crops without having to access fancy chemicals.

      My advice would be to use soil if possible. If it’s impossible then try to do aquaponics. However straight hydroponics would be a no-go if you do not have access to adequate chemical supplies. I hope this helps,

      Best Regards,

      Daniel

    • Frank says:

      Kirk

      You can plant a few cauliflowers for the zombies(the shape confuses them into thinking they are freshly grown brains) ;-).

      Frank

  3. Eugenio Oseguera Figueroa says:

    Hi Daniel:
    Thank you so much for HydroBuddy, it is a magnificent and user friendly application. As an agronomist I have worked myself with hydroponic crops (tomato and hydroponic green fodder) plus given technical assistance to greenhouse owners, and I am conscious of the difficulties you run into when doing “by hand” the calculations for nutrient formulae. Hydroponics is indeed a fascinating way of growing plants, and most probably one of the best alternatives for the future of food growing.
    As a Latin American (Mexican) y think it is important to be able to access to HydroBuddy in a Spanish version. Does it exist? If it doesn’t, I would be interested in translating it, but in order to do that, I would first need your written approval and be granted access to the base code (HTML, XHTML, XML, or whatever code used to write the application). If you approve my request, the translated version would stay as a Free Open Source application authored by you, that could be accessed to through your blog.
    I hope my request deserves your written approval.
    Sincerely:
    Eugenio Oseguera Figueroa
    Skype: eosegueraf
    Gmail: — email made private
    — email made private

    • admin says:

      Hi Eugenio,

      Thank you for your post :o) The good thing is that you don’t need my permission (it is released under the GPL license)! As long as you keep the program open source and give me proper credit you can do whatever you want with HydroBuddy’s source. You can use it as part of another open source application, you can translate it, etc. The source code is available for download (coded in FreePascal) so you can use this to translate it if you want. However I have been thinking about implementing a translating module (to make the porting of translations easier) so if you aren’t familiar with coding you can wait for a few months and then help me add the necessary text to translate the program to Spanish :o) Of course if you modify HydroBuddy and you want me to post your Mod feel free to email me your version (dfernandez (at) unal.edu.co). I hope this answers your question!

      Best Regards,

      Daniel

      • ashish says:

        Hi Daniel – your email doesn’t work. my mail just bounced back. anyways, great work. thank you. Ashish

  4. Andrew says:

    Hey Daniel, thank you for all the work that you have put in the Hydro Buddy program, it works great. I trying to learn the maximum that I can about formulating my own nutrient solutions and using your program as reference is very helpful. I did want to confirm, what currency do you use for establishing the cost of the nutrients for the solution. I thought is was in u.s. dollars, but the prices seem very high, so it must be in something else, can you please clarify the currency and the source of your nutrient prices. Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Costs are not established in any currency, they are all set at 1/kg and are meaningless. You need to manually change the costs so that they reflect prices for you,

      Best Regards,

      Daniel

  5. Rasim says:

    Hi Daniel!
    Can I ask you to do to be able to enter Russian letters at names of substance, formulation and water?

  6. mukesh says:

    Very Good Support for Beginners. Thanks For Your Guidance.

    Regards

    Mukesh

  7. Anthony says:

    Hello Daniel.
    Just want to thank you for educating us about the hydroponics.

    I have been trying to get my head around what all the products are made of, and used for. Happy to see some truth instead of marketing claims.

    1. Been reading your old website (http://allhydroponics.blogspot.com.au). Would be better if it didnt automatically redirect here. I click old links, and end up on the main page here. Confusing/frustrating.

    2. Have installed HydroBuddy. Wasnt happy about it hijacking my search bar. Please, if you could increase the font size for my tired eyes.

    3. Is amberlite cg-50 still magic bullet for ph? Is there a new product, its still hard to find i think.

  8. Scott Saunders says:

    Daniel, you are a super star. I would like to learn about salts and plants more thoroughly. Can you recommend source for study?

    Thanks, Scott

    • admin says:

      Buy the mineral nutrition of higher plants. You’ll find it on amazon.

      • Nord says:

        Hello to you,
        and thanks for informative articles. Regarding the Clearex replacement solution I wanted to ask what you mean by reach the desired strength. Are you then talkinga bout to reach similar EC as was used in the grow process?

        Thanks

        HG

  9. anna choi says:

    I am helping my son with his 6th grade science project: will strawberries grow better (faster, bigger, healthier, tastier, more fruit) without soil and real sunlight, than with soil and sun?

    We are germinating the seeds and building the system, but have serious doubts about the nutrient solution … we don´t want to use some ready made one, since that would be like learning to bake a cake using a Pilsbury kit where all you have to do is add water, stir and bake! We really want to make our own, but we don´t know where to get the raw material or anything else …

    Could you please help us?

    God bless!

    • admin says:

      Strawberries are never germinated in commercial productions, because the seed generally does not preserve the characteristics of the mother plants and the whole germination process is extremely inefficient for this plant. Usually “runners” from mother plants are bought and used to propagate new growth. If you want to compare with commercial strawberries then this is advisable.

      About the nutrient solution, it heavily depends on where you are located. Try to find a general chemical supply store or an agricultural supply store. You can also find potentially small quantities of the raw salts on ebay. I hope this helps,

      Best Regards,

      Daniel

  10. Jacob says:

    Hey Daniel do you have an email address I could discuss some things with you through?? Im having the darnedest time trying to get a contact link…Thank you!!!!

  11. shane says:

    I was wondering if it is possible to make a 3 part solution with a different ppm for P, using the substances u had in the example?

  12. Mohammed says:

    Hi daniel,

    I’m from India, I was searching all the internet for hydroponics
    i havnt got the info better than your site anywhere else. and hydrobuddy is super, even though i dont know how to use it so far

    thanks for all your effort.

    Regards / Mohammed

  13. AL MANN says:

    If I would be growing plants,flowers, almost any crop in soil I would have a soil test done and the results would tell me how much and what chemicals to add to the soil to produce said product. After doing a water sample test and having those results I am having a difficult time finding the answer to the amount of chemicals and what chemicals I should be adding to the water to produce my product hydroponicly. Your help would be appreciated.

  14. Jon Contos says:

    Hi
    Found your site looking for calcium carbonate affects on blossom end rot vs calcium citrate
    I have 2 tomatoes that got the rot all others are ok. Now the leaves have a purple vein purple shade to them I have heard this is a phosphorous defiency but not sure. I have added a new organic nutrient called turbo organic. I need to check ph of my 28 gal solution for my 10 Dutch bucket system of tomatoes.
    Do I add calcium citrate to solution and will spraying the plant a with calcium also help?
    Thanks Jon Contos

  15. Hussam says:

    thanks very mouch for your time and effort to teach us

    I am from Saudi Arabia..one of the most arid countries in the world

    I have started reading about hydroponics and in few months I will build my first hydropnics system and if I succeed I will start selling to neighbors
    I have downloaded your calculator and in the next weeks I will visit the local shops to see what chemicals I will get

  16. Pavel says:

    Daniel,
    It seems you have been inactive for a while?

    Have you abandoned your project?

    I have been trying to contact you, but no joy . I really need your help!
    Please reply

  17. Reginald J. Allen, (Jim) says:

    Daniel:
    I am quite impressed with your dedication and determination in maintaining such an in-depth and active technical blog. I am the retired Senior Technician for a large university research institute and someone who has, just recently, opened an unmarked door to find a whole new and unexplored, (by me), world of hydroponics. By nature and forty years of learning, I am a “generalist” and capable in many technical fields, including chemistry, though not stellar in most. What I am finding is that hydroponics may be a good field where I can apply my array of skills to both partially sustain my family, stay intellectually engaged and, maybe, eventually, even supplement my income. (A university’s “golden parachute” is heavily alloyed with lead.) There are some issues that may interfere with my happy pursuit of hydroponics and I wonder what your thoughts are on these potential problems. In recent years both terrorism and drugs have prompted a rash of extremely deleterious laws and simple imperialistic mandates that virtually bar the individual U.S. citizen from obtaining or possessing chemicals and chemistry apparatus. Under a DEA fiat, one can not purchase a simple Erlenmeyer flask. In theory, you need only to meet stringent storage and record keeping requirements and have DEA appointed officials inspect and approve your storage facilities. However, in practice, you will never get call-backs or answers to letters or emails when you apply for a license to buy lab equipment, unless you can attach a corporate or government letter head. The same is true for the chemical supply companies. They will not talk you. How does someone who would like to do a professional job of setting up and operating a hydroponic growing operation, manage to work around this?

    Regards,
    Jim

    Austin, Texas

  18. Lattas Antonis says:

    Hello,
    i use hydrobuddy for make nutrient solution but i don’t know how to seperate the potassium nitrate in two tanks A+B.I put in hydrobuddy two times in substances potassium nitrate one of concentrated type A and one B but the results is 50% in A and 50% in B tank,this is wrong.How will i do this?

    Thank you

    • admin says:

      Hydrobuddy is provided without support. If you want an answer to your support question please donate 20 USD to Hydrobuddy using the paypal link provided within the program, then send me an email with your exact question (email the paypal address where the donation is made).

  19. Mabel says:

    Dear Daniel,
    I downloaded HydroBuddy, but I know very little about chemistry and this is what I want to ask you:
    If I chose ‘grams’ for mass units, does that mean the figure shown in target conc. (ppm) is in ‘grams’?
    Thanks!

  20. Antony Nderitu says:

    hi ! Am from Tanzania am looking for a supplier of hydroponic pipes and pump .
    Also interested with a partner to do farming here in Tanzania for export purpose

  21. Amanda says:

    Hi Daniel, I am working on a textbook with Pearson Education and they would like to include some of your material in the book, if you could please email me we can discuss the particulars. Thank you.

  22. Chris says:

    Good day,

    I am confused and will gladly hear from you the required information of the ff from (http://www.angelfire.com/cantina/fourtwenty/articles/profiles.htm):
    Supposedly i am into this nutrients: (https://hydro-gardens.com/product/lettuce-formula-2gal-pail-8-15-36-2/)

    Net Weight in grams…………………. = ?
    Liquid Volume in milliliters…………. = ?

    Mixing Units per US Gallon………….. = ?
    Enter milliliters for liquids, grams for powders

    I am also confused with the required gallons of water indicated in this nutreint having for instance a resulting solution of 1 liter. (https://hydro-gardens.com/product/lettuce-formula-2gal-pail-8-15-36-2/)

    Thanks in advance

  23. Seb says:

    Daniel, thank you for everything you put in to Hydro Buddy. I am at a standstill while trying to gather the ppms from a MB Ferts. 5 gallon jug. I have all the percentages, but I am confused on what to enter on the ‘density’ section. I understand that the ‘volume of addition’ is how many mL per gallon. Also, if I donate, how can I get into contact for support?

    • admin says:

      Hi Seb,

      Hydrobuddy is provided “as is” (without any support). To get support for your MB Ferts issue please make a 50 USD donation using the paypal link in the Hydrobuddy program. I will then reply to your donation so that we can discuss your problem. Thanks for writing and supporting the software,

      Best Regards,

      Daniel

      PS: For other people reading this please COMMENT before making a donation seeking support. Not all support questions have the same cost.

  24. Mohamad Safieddine says:

    When using the stock solution feature, the results say :”values in grams calculated for the preparation of 10 liters of Stock solution A and 10 liters of Stock solution B solution. Please use 10mL of A and B within every Liter of final solution.”
    Does this mean “5 ml from A and 5 ml from B” or “10 ml of A and 10 ml of B”?
    Thank you!

  25. David Mildenberg says:

    Hello Daniel. I have just donated $20 US for how helpful your blog has been at making me realize that I truly am ignorant on the subject of nutrients.
    I am using HydroBuddy, and when I get results for A+B formlations, it says “please use 10ml of A and B within every liter of final solution”. Does this mean I should use 10ml total, or 10 ml of A and then 10 ml of B?
    Also, which formulation do you recomend most for tomatos?

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your donation. About your questions:

      1. It means use 10 mL of A and 10mL of B.
      2. Depends on tomato variety, outside temperature, solution temperature, input water composition, growing system, etc. If you’re unsure what to use use a general hydroponic formulation for large plants and you should be ok.

  26. Craig says:

    Hello Dr. Fernandez,
    My name is Craig and I’d like to discuss a possible business association. I am the owner of an international fertilizer brand and require the assistance of someone with a similar skill set to yours.

  27. Nelson Castro says:

    Hi:

    By your name, I can assume that you are Spanish-speaking. If not, I wanted to offer my selfless help to translate your program into Spanish.

    Best Regards

    Nelson

  28. kundan raj pandey says:

    dear daniel

    thanks for the lovely software.

    i tried this combination and the result was a spindly too weak tomato transplant.

    my combination was for 4 gallons of distilled water
    calcium nitrate – 5 teaspoon (tsp) 5grams= 1 tsp
    pottasium sulphate-2 tsp
    potasium nitrater – 1 tsp
    mono potasium phospate – 1 tsp
    magnesium sulphate – 3 tsp
    iron sulphate – 4 tsp
    boric acid- 2 tsp
    mangenese chloride 1 tsp
    zinc sulphate – 2 tsp
    copper sulphate – 1 tsp

    pls tell me what is wrong with this formula. pls this is urgent

    regards
    kundan
    nepal

  29. Brandon says:

    Great program – I’m guessing with the recent US legalization in many states for cannabis growing that this tool is getting some new and more recent interest/activity. It’s a great tool and as an engineering major and part time hydroponic hobbyist in the state of Massachusetts where its recently (12/15/2016) legal to grow I’d be curious if there was ever any success in copying some of the more popular nutrient solutions from Advanced Nutrients, General Hydroponics or Fox Farm. I only see fairly generic items in the pre-loaded databse and only about 15 different items.

  30. Lawrence Lee says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Is it possible to leave out some of the ingredients in making a hydroponic solution to create a deficient solution, say for nitrogen? I am a teacher and would like to do experiments in class with nutrient deficient solutions to show the class deficiency symptoms

    • admin says:

      Hi Lawrence,

      Sure, this is possible. This is in fact how nutrient deficiencies are usually studied in scientific plant studies. For macro nutrients (N, K, P, Ca, Mg) this is relatively easy to do, for micro nutrients it’s much more difficult since they are easily contained as impurities within the macro nutrients as well so very high purity salts need to be used. Mo was actually discovered to be needed for plant growth when hydroponic growers started using very high purity inputs and noticed some previously unknown deficiency symptoms. Thanks for writing,

      Best Regards,

      Daniel

  31. Choodocham says:

    Hello! Can I get in the program the opportunity to linguistic localization? That is, to transfer the program. I really liked your program, but I do not know English very well (as probably many other users).
    I am ready to make a completely free language localization. If you tell me step by step how to make the first location, the rest I can do myself. In programming, there are skills, but not professionally, therefore appeal to you, as a developer.
    I think it will be useful for your project. Contact me if you’re interested.

    PS I’m from Russia. Text written by Google translator, so I apologize for the grammatical errors.

  32. Good evening,
    i would like to promote your website and software on our hydroponic website. we have been a manufacturing and retailer for nearly seven years and sell world wide reaching a large market and believe the information you provide is just what our customers need to help them make more informed choices.
    kind regards

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