Hydroponic systems and plant production greenhouses provide all the necessary elements to support productive crop growth. Unfortunately, the same conditions that support healthy crops also support nuisance algae. Algae are photosynthetic organisms that have no true roots, leaves, or stems, and can flourish both on moist surfaces and completely submerged in water. The most common forms of algae that growers face are filamentous and single-celled, and simply require light, moisture, and nutrition to gain a foothold. Luckily, growers have access to numerous tools to mitigate, control, and eliminate problematic algae.
Filamentous and prokaryotic algae naturally form in bodies of water where there is adequate light and nutrition. Unfortunately, hydroponic systems are the perfect environments for these organisms. As algae form and grow, bits and pieces can circulate through systems to get caught in filters, clog emitters, and gunk up pumps. Though growers can help to mitigate these algae problems by reducing light infiltration, the best strategy by far is cleaning and sanitation. Rigorous chemical cleaning should be performed first, using products such as PACE 49’s HortiKlor for warehouse environments, or Strip-It PRO for greenhouse and well-ventilated areas. Constant injection of hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid products such as BioSafe System’s ZeroTol 2.0 or SaniDate 12.0 into irrigation lines can help cut down on free-floating algae circulating through the system. Additionally, treating hard surfaces with ZeroTol 2.0 or SaniDate 5.0 between production runs can help hydroponic systems stay clean for longer.
Problems with algae don’t stop at reservoirs and hydroponic channels, however. Nostoc algae is a species of cyanobacteria that form into filamentous colonies covered in gelatinous layers in the presence of moisture. Nostoc colonies commonly form on walkways, gravel surfaces, or anywhere there is a reoccurrence of moisture and nutrients. Colonies can be unsightly and can be a hazard to workers, making otherwise rough surfaces smooth and slippery. Nostoc’s gelatinous layers can even protect the colonies from some sanitizing agents. GreenClean Pro granular provides a quick solution in the form of sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate granules or tablets, which can easily be scattered on walkways where Nostoc or other hard surface algae has become a problem. GreenClean PRO works quickly, breaking down into hydrogen peroxide to oxidize algae, and carbonates to raise surface pH and prevent algae’s return.
GGSPro can provide rates and suggests for each of these products based on your specific operation. Contact your Griffin rep today for more information!