BlueLab EC Truncheon
- Measures the EC levels of nutrient solution
- EC (0.2 – 3.6), CF (2 – 36) and ppm scales (TDS and 700 scale)
- Fully waterproof
- 5 year Bluelab guarantee
- Battery operated
An essential part of growing in a hydroponic system is to know how strong your nutrient solution is before feeding your plants and whilst they are grow. Using the BlueLab EC Truncheon makes this easy! Knowing the EC of the feed solution is important because it gives the grower an indication of the strength of the solution and how plant growth is affected by the nutrient level. To take a reading of your solution – simply place the probe head into the solution for approximately 1-2 minutes until it reaches the same temperature as your nutrient solution. Remove from the solution and place back in to take the reading as indicated by the flashing lights. Remember to rinse your probe in clean water and clean once a week to ensure the Truncheon Nutrient Meter remains accurate, this will also ensure your Bluelab EC truncheon has a long life and gives the most accurate readings possible.
Calibration of the Meter is not required and it’s great for stirring your nutrient tank too!
What is EC and why measure it?
Electrical conductivity is the measure of a material’s ability to conduct an electrical charge, measured in Siemens per meter. An electrical current (measured in amperes) is the movement of electrons over time across a medium such as water. Put simply, EC gauges how a current moves in solution. An EC probe is comprised of two electrodes to which voltage is applied. The voltage reading is the resistance (ρ) of the solution. The instrument calculates the reciprocal of this value, allowing electrical conductivity to be calculated. The resistance is calculated based on the distance between the two electrodes.
EC measurement does not differentiate between individual nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and so on), but simply provides the sum total of all salt content. Also, EC measurements cannot determine whether one macro or micronutrient is being absorbed at a higher rate than another. Measuring the EC of the saturated rooting substrate allows the grower to gauge the nutrient needs of the plant. For instance, if the EC value is high in the substrate, there is no need for further fertilization—if it is too high, then flushing with water might be necessary. Likewise, if the reading is low, this is an indicator that the plant needs some supplementation of nutrients. Make sure that when using an EC probe the substrate is wet as there must be a solution for the current to travel through.
There is a direct and critical correlation between EC and plant growth performance. The response of plants to either low levels of fertilizer salts (EC <1) or high fertilizer salts (EC >1) will ultimately result in stunted growth and poor health. This means that for most plants an ideal EC range should be between one and three milli Siemens per centimeter. Plants subjected to low nutrient levels (low EC) will present with nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies are caused by poor watering regimes, improper fertilizer rates and improper pH levels. Some nutrient deficiencies (a lack of nitrogen, for example) can result in the yellowing of leaves—especially older leaves—and a very pale green coloration to newer growth. Other signs of a nutrient deficiency include the yellowing of leaf margins and veins, burnt leaf tips and irregular leaf shape. Fertilizer solutions with a high EC (above three) can cause burning of the roots due to excessive salt buildup in the substrate. In addition, this accumulation of salts in the substrate and subsequent uptake by the plant roots can result in salt stress.
One final consideration with EC monitoring is the relationship between salt and water content. As the substrate dries out, the nutrient (salt) content increases—at this point, the salt concentration might be high enough to damage the roots of the plant. Likewise, if the substrate is constantly flushed with water, the nutrients will be removed completely.
When you can test something easily and accurately, you can manage it. Specifically, you can get the most from water-based plant growing systems.
And that’s Bluelab’s world. Our product range of pH meters and pH controllers and nutrient meters and controllers, measure parameters such as pH, conductivity and temperature. They’re used worldwide in applications from home-based hydroponics through to the most demanding of commercial food-growing environments.
We’re a young company, so we’re innovators by nature. Crucially, we’re people focussed. So our products are people-friendly. We place great emphasis on simple design, straight forward functionality. We’re sticklers for accuracy, reliability, ease of use. We use the toughest materials and advanced, robust technologies. Important too, it’s not just about products. Open information-sharing advice, reliable service, individual responsiveness – these matter a great deal. They’re a big part of the unique Bluelab promise.