Manic Botanix RO Perfect Explained
Calcium and Magnesium’s Key Role in Plant Growth
Calcium, an essential part of the plant’s cell wall structure, improves the absorption of other nutrients by the roots and their translocation within the plant. It activates a number of plant growth-regulating enzyme systems; helps convert nitrate-nitrogen into forms needed for protein formation; and contributes to improved disease resistance.
Additionally, calcium is an intracellular messenger and can send a signal from one cell to another telling other cells how to react or what to do. It also provides for the transport and retention of many other elements. Calcium, magnesium and potassium live in a delicate balance within plants. Too much of one will inhibit the other two. Finally, calcium is a co-factor in many enzymatic reactions. Its presence is needed to turn an enzyme on or off and allow it to catalyze a reaction.
Magnesium is part of the chlorophyll in all plants. Magnesium is the central core of the chlorophyll molecule in green plant tissue and essential for photosynthesis. Thus, if magnesium is deficient, the shortage of chlorophyll results in poor and stunted plant growth.
Magnesium also helps to activate specific enzyme systems.
Most switched on hydroponic growers incorporate higher levels of cal-mag (around 50 to 200ppm) during the first two weeks of the 12/12 cycle (affectionately known as the “stretch phase”). This is when the plant requires higher levels of calcium and magnesium to help facilitate the rapid division of cells, changing the plant from a vegetative process to a reproductive process. Additionally, during main flower set four to six weeks into the flowering process, extra cal-mag in solution can prove beneficial to yields.
About RO Perfect
Reverse Osmosis gives you the purest water possible. However, as a result, calcium and magnesium (among other things) are removed from your hydroponic water supply. As a result, in many cases, dependent on the nutrient you use, you need to add cal-mag in order to ensure an optimized nutrient regime.
Using RO Perfect
The best way to start your nutrient formula is to begin with purified water, add 50 to 250ppm cal-mag, and then add your nutrients to your desired EC/TDS/ppm. The amount of cal-mag you add depends on the genetics of the plant and what stage of growth/bloom cycle your plants are at.
What Makes RO Perfect Different From Other Cal-Mag Products?
Quite simply, besides being half the price, we’ve also put a lot of time and research into getting things right. For instance, most manufacturers use only calcium nitrate and magnesium nitrate to produce their cal-mag products. This results in extremely high nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) levels in solution, when what is really required in RO water is calcium and magnesium, low levels of microelements, and buffering agents.
Most Cal-Mag Products Contain Far Too Much Nitrate Nitrogen (NO3-N)
The EPA maximum contaminant level (MCL) in drinking/mains water as NO3-N (nitrate nitrogen) is 10 mg/l (10ppm). Thus, mains water, in just about all cases, contains lower than 10ppm of nitrate nitrogen (view tests conducted on North American water supplies). The NO3-N is filtered out during the RO process and therefore an optimized cal-mag product that is used in conjunction with a good base nutrient needs to supply only very low levels of NO3-N.
In fact, we think, in most cases, many manufacturers are falsely advertising their cal-mag formulas as cal-mag boosters when in fact they are calcium, nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N), magnesium boosters. Take, for example, Advanced Nutrients Sensical Grow and Bloom and compare it to Manic Botanix RO Perfect. See table below.
Comparison of MB RO Perfect to AN SensiCal Grow and Bloom at recommended dilution rates (ppm in solution when used at recommended dilution rates)
|Elements in Nutrient Solution ppm||Manix RO Perfect @ 1.3ml/L||SensiCal Grow @ 2ml/L||SensiCal Bloom @ 2ml/L|
|P as P2O5||0||0||0|
|K as K20||16.95||0||0|
|K as elemental K||14.07||0||0|
It is important to note, high nitrates (NO3 and NO3-N) have been associated with disease severity in plants and can/will lock out boron, potassium and copper as a result of high N being antagonistic to these elements. Additionally, when a plant is provided with excessive N they may grow so rapidly that they develop protoplasm faster than they can build sufficient supporting material in cell walls. The result is reduced stem strength, nodal elongation and the plant becomes more prone to attacks from insects and disease. In very simple terms, excessive Nitrogen is not a good thing!
You will no doubt note significant differences in our approach. Firstly, RO Perfect seeks to only provide low levels of NO3-N (replacing the 10ppm found in tap water supplies), while dropping P (phosphorous) in the process. This means that unlike many other cal-mag products, RO Perfect doesn’t significantly alter the NPK ratios of your base nutrient.
Why Drop Phosphorous from the Perfect Equation?
Quite simply, because phosphorous is overused by many nutrient manufacturers. RO Perfect sets about correcting this problem in order to achieve high quality, clean tasting hydroponic harvests.
About Phosphorous in Nutrients
Tissue tests conducted on numerous cannabis strains have shown that cannabis plants require far less P than is present in many hydroponic nutrient formulations. Tissue tests also demonstrate that N, Ca and K are required at far higher levels than P and P, while required at somewhat higher levels in bloom than grow (as is shown in numerous studies), is required at far lower levels than would be expected. These findings contradicted conventional beliefs among hydro industry professionals and others that high levels of phosphorous are required to achieve optimal flowerset in hydroponic settings.
The Problem with Excessive Phosphorous in Solution
High levels of a particular nutrient can interfere with the availability and uptake of other nutrients. The nutrients which interfere with one another are referred to as antagonistic.
Excessive phosphorus will reduce the availability of iron, calcium, potassium, nitrogen, copper, and zinc. This is particularly true of the microelements iron and zinc.
What this means is that the overuse of phosphorous in solution will starve out other important nutrients that are required for healthy growth and optimal yields.
Phosphorous in Combustible Crops
Burning phosphorus with sufficient oxygen results in the formation of phosphorus pentoxide (P4O10 but often simplified to P2O5 due to this being the simplest molecular breakdown of P pentoxide).
Phosphorus pentoxide is an irritant to the skin, mucous membranes, and respiratory tract/system (lungs etc) even at concentrations as low as 1 mg/m3. What this means in simple terms is that if phosphorous is present in a combustible crop (after drying and curing) the produce when ingested, via inhalation, will be harsh and chemically tasting. This may have health implications on the end user if they are ingesting phosphorus pentoxide on a regular basis.
Chloride – An Essential Element for Healthy Growth
RO Perfect also contains low levels of chloride (Cl) – not to be confused with chlorine which can prove toxic to beneficial microbes, due to its properties as an oxidant. Chloride is an essential plant element that is largely removed during RO filtration. Although chloride is classified as a micronutrient, plants may take-up as much chloride as secondary elements such as sulfur. For instance, tomatoes and other C3 plants are shown to have high chloride requirements. RO perfect provides optimal levels of chloride for this reason.
Chloride is essential for many plant functions. Some of them are:
- It is essential (working in tandem with K+) to the proper function of the plants stomatal openings, thus controlling internal water balance.
- It also functions in photosynthesis, specifically the water splitting system.
- It functions in cation balance and transport within the plant.
- Chloride competes with nitrate uptake, tending to promote the use of ammonium nitrogen. Lowering nitrate uptake may be a factor in chloride’s role in disease suppression, since high plant nitrates have been associated with disease severity.
RO Perfect Contains Buffering Agents for pH Stability
A pH buffer’s function is to provide reaction “alternatives” for strong acids and bases when they contact the nutrient solution. These acid or basic substances generally react with water and this changes the value of pH. When a buffer is present, they react with the buffering molecules instead of water. This helps pH remain more stable.
The problem is, RO filtering of mains water not only removes undesirable compounds, but can also remove desirable compounds in the form of bicarbonates (HC03–) and carbonates (CO32-) which create a natural pH buffering system via adding alkalinity to water.
Water alkalinity is extremely important for overall pH stability. Alkalinity, in simple terms, enhances the buffering capacity of any nutrient solution. Thus, water that acts as a good buffer contains elements such as bicarbonates and carbonates. RO filtration removes these elements and, as a result, this needs to be corrected through the selective use of pH stabilizers and select buffering agents. RO perfect is the first Cal Mag product that takes this into consideration – hence we use calcium acetate (Ca(C2H3O2)2) at precise levels to ensure the appropriate alkalinity exists in solution. Calcium acetate is used as a food additive, as a stabilizer, buffer and sequestrant (chelator). Because it calcium acetate acts as a chelator RO perfect can also aid in nutrient uptake.
Manic Botanix RO Perfect is a new generation in cal-mag products and takes a very different approach to traditional hydroponic industry cal-mag formulas. The end result is a cutting edge formula developed with nutrient profile perfection in mind. The end result is an optimized nutrient regime leading to larger yields and higher quality produce.