Nutrient uptake is an active process that relies on several factors; one of those factors is have adequate levels of oxygen available. Roots are just like humans, if they can’t get oxygen they suffocate.

 Roots “pump” nutrients from the outside of the root to the inside where they are transported to the leaves. The pumping process requires energy, which the plants get from respiring (breathing). Respiration also requires energy, which the plant gets from burning sugar, which they make during photosynthesis. It is a continuous cycle of energy uptake and energy outtake, again much like a human.

 If the roots cannot get sufficient amounts of oxygen, their pumping capacity is significantly reduced. The result of this is that the plant becomes starved of critical nutrition. This can happen because of excessively warm water/nutrient or because there isn’t enough air space in the growing medium.

 Water can hold 5 parts per million of oxygen at 25 degrees. At 20 degrees water can hold 8 parts per million of oxygen. Simply put, the colder the water gets the more oxygen it can retain and the warmer it gets the less oxygen it retains. However if the water is too cold the plant will stop taking up food.

 Ideally a plant prefers a minimum of 5 parts per million of oxygen, making an ideal water temperate around 22-23 degrees Celsius. Keeping the water/nutrient within this range ensures there is enough oxygen available to the plant without compromising nutrient uptake.

 There are a few products that are  key to ensuring your water is well oxygenated. One of them is an air pump. This is a must have for any gardener as stagnant water loses oxygen. Using an air pump helps to keep the water moving and oxygenated. We have a wide range of air pumps and air stones available on our website or in our stores, and our staff are always happy to help you pick an air pump best suited for your requirements.

 Another product is Hydrogen Peroxide. Hydrogen Peroxide is commonly used as a sterilizing agent, and it is promoted as a product that oxygenates water/nutrient. While this is true, its qualities as an oxygen provider are limited. Hydrogen Peroxide can release oxygen as it interacts with bacteria. Bacteria is eradicated from the system by Hydrogen Peroxide and small amounts of oxygen are released. It is not recommended to rely solely upon Hydrogen Peroxide based products for oxygenation, it is best used in conjunction with an air pump. 

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