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How to identify a calcium deficiency in aquaponics

Calcium is one of the most important plant nutrients—in fact, there are some who argue that it should be one of the primary plant nutrients along with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. That said, it is one of the secondary macronutrients, along with magnesium and sulfur.

Calcium occurs in aquaponic systems as Ca˛+ (an ionic form) and interacts in an interesting way with potassium and magnesium, which you may remember from those articles. So what does calcium do?

Calcium is critical in the plant growth cycle. It is important for regulating osmotic pressure (keeping the plant cells full of water), and for holding cell walls together. Think of it as the element that glues the cell walls together and keeps them structurally sound.

Calcium is a common nutrient in aquaponic systems and is not usually deficient as a result of pH levels (although if you run very low pH, it can impact availability) as is the case with some of the other plant nutrients.

Most water is fairly hard (which means it contains lots of minerals, including calcium and magnesium carbonates), so calcium enters the system in the form of calcium carbonates every time the grower tops off the water.

Read more at Upstart University (Nate Storey)

Publication date: 1/3/2018



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