Hydroponic nutrient dosing can be challenging and time-consuming for many indoor growers. Over-fertilization or under-fertilization can cause a host of problems for your plants, including stunted growth, nutrient deficiencies, or even death. That’s why many indoor growers turn to automatic hydroponic nutrient doses to simplify the process and ensure that their plants receive the right amount of nutrients at the right time.
Hydroponic nutrient dosers are automated systems that dispense nutrient solutions into hydroponic systems.
In this post, we’ll look at the best automatic hydroponic nutrient dosers available. Here is a summary for you to check.
|Bluelab Pro Controller
|Check Price on Amazon
|Small/Medium Scale operations
|Check Price on Amazon
|Hobbyist/Small Scale operations
|Check Price on Amazon
|Bonus Nutrient Doser
While I have already shared the list of the top 3 nutrient dosers with you, now, if you are interested, I will try to answer all your doubts and queries related to automated dosers. You might be wondering if you need a nutrient doser or not ? Or maybe how does an automated doser even work? Is there any training required to operate such a complex device? Also, a crucial question, how will I shift from manual to automatic nutrient dosing? Let’s dig right in!
- How does automated nutrient doser work?
- When to use an automatic hydroponic nutrient doser?
- 1. Bluelab CONTPRO Pro Controller
- 2. Dosatron D14MZ2 Water Powered Nutrient Doser
- 3. Milwaukee MC720 Dosing Pump Kit
- Bonus : Tetraponics FLORATek 3 Pro
- Things to keep in mind while shifting from manual to automatic nutrient dosing
How does automated nutrient doser work?
Nutrient dosers work by mixing a pre-measured amount of concentrated nutrient solution with water and then delivering the mixture to the plants in the hydroponic system. The nutrient dosing process typically involves a few key components, including:
Nutrient solution reservoir
This container holds the concentrated nutrient solution. The nutrient solution is typically made up of a mixture of macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) and micronutrients (such as iron, magnesium, and calcium).
This device draws a precise amount of nutrient solution from the reservoir and dispenses it into the hydroponic system. The pump can be controlled by a timer or a computerized system, which allows growers to automate the dosing process.
pH and EC sensors
These sensors measure the nutrient solution’s pH and electrical conductivity (EC) in real time. This information is used to ensure that the nutrient solution is at the optimal level for plant growth. If the pH or EC levels are too high or too low, the dosing system can adjust the amount of nutrient solution dispensed to bring the levels back into the optimal range.
Read More “5 Best EC & pH Meters for Hydroponics in 2023“
The dosing schedule is a program that specifies when and how much nutrient solution should be dispensed into the hydroponic system. The dosing schedule can be adjusted based on the plant’s growth stage, the hydroponic system’s size, and other factors that may affect plant growth.
When to use an automatic hydroponic nutrient doser?
Hydroponic nutrient dosers can be used in a variety of situations where precise nutrient delivery is important. Here are some common scenarios where growers might use a nutrient doser:
Large hydroponic operations
In large hydroponic operations, it can be difficult to mix and dispense nutrient solutions manually. A nutrient doser can automate this process, allowing growers to deliver precise amounts of nutrients to their plants without the need for manual mixing.
For high-value crops like cannabis or exotic herbs, precise nutrient delivery is critical for maximizing yield and quality. Nutrient doser can ensure that plants receive the optimal amount of nutrients at each growth stage, resulting in healthier plants and higher yields.
Inconsistent water quality
If the water quality in a grower’s area is inconsistent, it can be difficult to maintain consistent nutrient levels in a hydroponic system. A nutrient doser can help by automatically adjusting the nutrient solution to compensate for changes in water quality.
For growers with limited time to devote to their hydroponic systems, a nutrient doser can be a valuable tool. With a nutrient doser, growers can automate the nutrient delivery process, freeing up time for other important tasks.
For growers who cannot physically access their hydroponic systems regularly, a nutrient doser can be a useful tool for remotely monitoring and adjusting nutrient levels.
Let’s check out the top 5 nutrient dosers for automating your hydroponic gardens. We will also look at some of the pros and cons each one has and if its good for beginners or only pros.
1. Bluelab CONTPRO Pro Controller
Ideal for professional/commercial growers
The Bluelab Pro Controller is a top-of-the-line nutrient doser that is known for its accuracy and reliability. It features a pH sensor, an EC sensor, and a temperature sensor that work together to monitor and adjust the nutrient levels in your hydroponic system.
|User friendly interface with LCD display
|Highly accurate measurement
|Takes some time to understand all features
|Fully Automated pH and nutrient control
|Compatible with various growing systems
|Power outage resets setting
The Bluelab Pro Controller can be used with any hydroponic system, including recirculating, drain-to-waste, and run-to-waste systems. It is also easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface.
2. Dosatron D14MZ2 Water Powered Nutrient Doser
Ideal for small to medium scale applications
The Dosatron D14MZ2 is a proportional dosing system that is designed for use in large-scale hydroponic operations. It works by drawing nutrient solution from a tank or reservoir and mixing it with water in a precise ratio, ensuring that the nutrient levels in the hydroponic system remain consistent.
|Easy to Use
|High one-time cost
|Precise dosing of chemicals & nutrients
|Limited control options as compared to other dosers
|No electricity or battery required
|Require consistent water pressure for accurate dosing
|Adjustable flow rate
|Regular cleaning to prevent clogs
The Dosatron D14MZ2 is highly customizable, with various accessories and fittings available to help growers fine-tune their dosing. The system is also easy to install and operate, requiring no electricity or batteries.
3. Milwaukee MC720 Dosing Pump Kit
Ideal for hobbyist or small scale growers
The Milwaukee MC720 dosing kit is a simple and affordable solution for automating the dosing of liquid nutrients and pH adjusters in hydroponic and aquarium systems. The kit includes a compact peristaltic pump, pH and conductivity probes, and a controller that can be programmed to deliver precise dosages at set intervals.
|Simple & affordable solution
|Limited dosing capacity
|Compact, easy to install
|Probe require regular cleaning
|High quality and accurate pH
|Limited control options
|Precise dosing based on time or pH/EC levels
|Not ideal for large-scale or commercial growing operations
|Safety features, alarms, auto shut down
You have already seen the top 3 recommendations for automated hydroponic nutrient dosers; the next one is a bonus for all of you guys. Why is this a bonus? Because this one is manufactured by a small business based of the USA and needs our support, hence we would like you to take a look at this American beauty!
Bonus : Tetraponics FLORATek 3 Pro
Ideal for small to medium scale hydroponic gardens
The Tetraponics FLORATek 3 Pro is an American-made dosing system with proportional smart feed control for efficient dosing of nutrients and pH adjustment. It features three multi-speed pumps, which can be configured for one pH and two nutrient solutions or dual pH and one nutrient solution.
|Can be used for pH and nutrient dosing
|Automatic calibration and alerts
|High quality components
|May not be suitable for very large operations
It is designed for efficient and precise dosing without overtreating and is backed by USA-based customer support.
Things to keep in mind while shifting from manual to automatic nutrient dosing
Shifting from manual dosing to automatic nutrient dosing in hydroponics can offer many benefits, such as improved accuracy, consistency, and efficiency. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure a successful transition:
Choose the right automatic dosing system
There are different types of automatic dosing systems available in the market, such as peristaltic pumps, venturi injectors, and dosing controllers. Choose the one that suits your hydroponic setup and meets your nutrient-dosing requirements.
Calibrate the dosing system
Before using the automatic dosing system, it is important to calibrate it properly to ensure accurate dosing. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to calibrate the dosing system correctly.
Monitor the nutrient solution regularly
With automatic dosing, it can be easy to assume that everything is working fine. However, it is essential to regularly monitor the nutrient solution to ensure that the plants are getting the right amount of nutrients.
Start with small doses
When starting with automatic dosing, it is best to start with small doses and gradually increase them as needed. This will help avoid overfeeding the plants and causing nutrient imbalances.
Have a backup plan
In case of any technical issues or malfunctions, it is important to have a backup plan in place to avoid any interruptions in nutrient supply to the plants.
Overall, shifting from manual dosing to automatic nutrient dosing in hydroponics can be a great investment in your crop’s success. With careful planning and attention to detail, the transition can be smooth and successful.