HydroBuddy has now been updated to v1.70: New features and modifications


My free and open source hydroponic nutrient calculator has been available since 2010, going through many iterations and changes through the years. The latest version as of May-24-2020 is now 1.70, which you can download here. This new release implements some important updates and modifications. In this post I will write about these, the reason why they have been made and the features that I am implementing for the next version of the software.

New substance selection screen in HydroBuddy v1.70

Most changes in this version have been done in the “Substance Selection” section of the program, which is accessible through the button of the same name in the “Main Page” tab. This is the “heart” of the program as this is where users decide what raw inputs they want to use and where they can manage the library of inputs that are actually available for calculations. In previous versions a very wide library of inputs was available by default, including many inputs that were rarely of any practical use in hydroponics and were there for illustrative purposes. A good example of this is a salt like “Calcium Nitrate (Tetrahydrate)” which is very rarely used by hydroponic growers as commercial “Calcium Nitrate” is actually a calcium ammonium nitrate salt that is very different in chemistry and composition to pure calcium nitrate tetrahydrate.

To solve the problem mentioned above I have completely rebuilt the substance database to include only commercially available raw fertilizers that make sense and are actually used in common situations in hydroponics. This included adding a lot of different metal chelates and salts that were previously ignored but are now part of the HydroBuddy default database.

Another issue I wanted to address was the confusion some users have about where to buy these chemicals and potentially get some revenue to support the development of the software at no additional cost to the user. For this reason I have added manually selected links to all the raw fertilizers that are included with the DB so that users who want to buy small quantities of those can also support the software when they do so.

HydroBuddy v1.7 contains clickable substance names in the result tab that take you to amazon affiliate links that sell the products mentioned at no additional cost to the user.

The “Substances Used” tab has also been enhanced with a new “Save/Load” functionality that enables users to save or load lists of substances used to avoid the hassle of having to go through and select substances whenever they want to prepare a certain solution. This has also been very annoying for me in the past as having to go through different sets of inputs used for different purposes can be a very time consuming exercise. With this new feature all I have to do is save one list for each one of my needs and a single click of the “Load” button can easily change a list of 5+ inputs without the need for any tedious and – mistake prone – manual changing. Another small manual enhancement has been the addition of a small “All” button next to the “Delete” button, which allows you to delete all the substances present in the “Substances Used for Calculations” list.

Another change in this version was a decision to go with a 32 bit compiler in Windows in order to ensure that the variables for this operating system are all 32 bit. This will enable users who are using both 32 and 64 bit operating systems to use the software without problems. This was an issue in the past as many uses still use old 32 bit systems and they were having problems having to manually compile Hydrobuddy in some of their old machines. Sadly I still do not own a Mac, so HydroBuddy has yet to be available as a download for MacOSX and the software will need to be individually compiled by all of those who wish to use it in their MacOSX setups.

One of the features that is lacking most now is an ability to import databases from previous versions, as each time the software is updated users haven’t been able to take advantage from previous custom databases built using the software due to problems with compatibility across releases (new DB fields being added, edited, etc). For the next version of the software I am working on a DB importing feature that should eliminate this issue so that users can benefit from the latest HydroBuddy releases without having to tediously add all their old substances to the new release.

With all the above said, I hope you enjoy this new version of the software. If you have any suggestions or comments about the above please feel free to leave your comments in this post!



  • Daryl
    June 6, 2020 @ 4:11 pm

    Thank you for your hard work!

    May I suggest reaching out to Brian at Custom Hydro Nutrients and asking about being an affiliate? He’s a great guy and his shop carries everything plus some, and he already supports HydroBuddy. That would be a great win-win and you could end up making more money than what you get off Amazon.

    • admin
      June 6, 2020 @ 4:36 pm

      Thanks for your comment Daryl! I actually reached out before the v1.7 update to ask Brian if he wanted to establish this sort of relationship – either an affiliate or direct sponsor relationship – but he respectfully declined. I’m still however open to do this if he changes his mind.

  • phil
    June 10, 2020 @ 6:00 pm

    Hi, when i try to calulate formular it comes with a error “there must be at least ONE substance containing each element for which a non zero concentration is desired ”
    then this error “no substance is providing N (NO3-)
    thank you

    • admin
      June 11, 2020 @ 8:18 am

      Thanks for commenting. You need to make sure you add at least one substance providing each one of the elements contained in your formulation. In this case you haven’t added any substance containing N as nitrate but you are asking for it in the formulation description.

  • chivas
    June 11, 2020 @ 10:08 pm

    Thank you for the updated version. Really appreciate all the work you’ve done. The new “save/load” and “delete all” features are really useful. Looking forward to database import feature in the next version. I also have a few suggestions for the new versions if you don’t mind.

    – on the main page, fix “Tab key” order so that it doesn’t jump over NH4+ and Mn target boxes
    – on the main page, add a button to copy the numbers in the “result” to the “target” boxes
    – on the main page, add Nickel and Cobalt to the “Si” drop down menu
    – on the main page, add a confirmation popup text with a cancel button for “delete formulation”
    – on the substance selection page, add a cancel button on the “delete from DB” confirmation popup text
    – on the substance addition/editing page sort the elements to match the order of the main page
    – on the result page, sort the elements to match the order of the main page
    – on the result page, add the ability to increase or decrease all substances while keeping the current ratio

    Again, thank you so much for the software and the excellent blog contents.

    • admin
      June 12, 2020 @ 8:26 am

      Thanks for your comment. All great suggestions! I will take them into account for the next release.

  • Aaron
    June 13, 2020 @ 10:40 pm

    I would also like to thank you for all of your hard work! I was wondering if you have outlined the fertilizer salts / substance database that you have pre-loaded in hydrobuddy somewhere? I have been doing hydroponics for just over a year and half now and have jumped into making my own fertilizer solutions. I am not sure I understand all of my options available to me. My question specifically is for the substance Calcium Sulfate (Dihydrate), everything I can find recommends not using this salt in a hydroponics system? Another example would be using Calcium carbonate, this will turn my solution into a super base. Would it be possible have a brief description and implication of using that salt some where or could you please point me in the right direction? Thank you in advance!


    • admin
      June 15, 2020 @ 9:01 am

      Knowing which salts to formulate demands knowledge about the chemistry and the intentions of what you actually want to do. Calcium sulfate and calcium carbonate can both be used in hydroponic setups, under specific conditions. Both of these substances cannot be used in concentrated solutions but they can be used if they are applied directly to the reservoir, under specific circumstances and taking into account which other substances are formulated and what the water used contains. Sadly when it is appropriate or not to use each substance is not something that I can easily put into words – the potential variables involved are complex – which is why I offer my services as a consultant. Do feel free to book an hour of consultation time if you want to ask particular questions about the available substance choices. Thanks again for commenting!

  • alireza salimi jazi
    June 21, 2020 @ 12:48 am

    – I’m Alireza
    I am a hydroponics expert
    – I need ppm of nutrients for the pepper plant
    -Please send me the ppm of the elements for plant phenology
    -What ppm of elements does pepper need at different stages of growth?
    -Thanks for your kindness

  • Evan
    August 26, 2020 @ 3:57 am

    Hiii I am really looking fordward to use your newest version 1.7 but when I click the hyperlink ‘here’ to download it leads me to the 1.8 version. I hope you can fix it. Thank you so much.

    • admin
      August 26, 2020 @ 8:01 am

      Thanks for commenting. The latest version is now 1.8, it includes all the features in 1.7.

  • Skybound
    January 29, 2021 @ 11:04 am

    In older versions, we used to be able to target sulfur, even if it was the least considered element. Could you bring this function back? I’d like to be able to load a solvent containing eg Ca, and target Ca on the Main Page for a desired ppm and be able to Carry Out Calculattion. As is, I can only input a weight to see how much ppm is the result.

    • admin
      January 30, 2021 @ 2:21 pm

      You can target sulfur in the current version of the software.

      • Skybound
        January 30, 2021 @ 2:28 pm

        I’m using 1.7, and when I load up Magnesium Sulfate, then on main page I clear all targets, then dial in an arbitrary number into S (50) and click Carry Out Calculation, I get the error telling me Magnesium Sulfate is not used and my desired 50ppm is not computed to tell me how much Epsom I need to weigh out.

        • admin
          January 30, 2021 @ 7:05 pm

          Make sure you click the “Choose Degree Of Freedom” button and change it to an element other than S.