Help with diagnosis please

Hello all,

First time grower here. I am on week 3.5 and my plants seem stunted and showing signs of nute deficiency/ excess or lockout. The have brown spots on lower leaves, they turn rust gold (see pics). These showed up after transplant. Also seem to have weak unhealthy stems, plants are leaning to the side instead of upright.

White Widow Autoflower Seedlings were planted under a seedling cfl for first 2 weeks in sterile seedling soil.

Received my grow tent and light about a 1.5 weeks ago and transplanted the into FFHappy Frog put in tent.

Tent: Vivosun 4x4 x 80"

Ventilation: Vivosun 6" inline fan with filter setup with Inkbird temp controller to cool tent and ventilate

Light: MarsHydro TS 2000 set on 100% 18" above canopy, set on timer 20hr on/ 4 hr off

RH: kept between 45-65%

2 small air movement fans, one on the bottom and one on top of tent

PH of soil out of the bag 7.0 using a standard in soil PH, moisture, light monitor

Water: distilled water PH 5.6

nutes: Bergman PF Seedling Fert N11, P 40 K 13 half strength
Just switched to 1/2 Growtime Fert N 19 P 5 K 20 and 1/2 Swwdling Fert today. Watering about every 3 days when soil almost completely dry.

Pre water readings of water with Nutes: PH 5.2 ppm 426 EC 885

Average readings of plant RO:
pH 5.7. Ppm 1300. EC ranges 2130 to 3020 (seems high)

Do I need to flush?

Thanks for any help. Would really like to get this corrected. Cheers.

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What soil are you using?

You’ll need to get your pH corrected before you worry about anything else.

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FF Happy Frog, soil out of bag is 7.0. But that’s using the in soil monitor. Does not seem that precise. Is there’s a better way to test the soil with my vivosun water PH monitor. And what way would you suggest to correct PH? Thanks!

I put mine in the tub and flush with pH 8.0 water until I get runoff around 6.5 when I’ve been in a situation like yours.

Don’t forget to pH your water after you’ve added your nutes each time you feed.

It’s really a little early to feed at this point. I’ve got 2 plants in Happy Frog that are 30 days old today, and today is the first time I’ve ever fed them nutes. FFHF has plenty of nutes for the first ~4 weeks following your last transplant. Your plants won;t need nutes for a couple of weeks and they aren’t developing very fast.

Don;t worry too much about their progression. Every plant is different. PPMs > 1,000 is plenty for them. Focus on getting the environment as best you can by correcting pH.

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Those 3 in 1 soil meters are useless, specially for ph, they’re pretty much always stuck on 7. You need to adjust the water/nute mix ph to 6.5 before giving to the plant. I would flush with ph 6.5 water.


Would I use baking soda to increase PH of water? I have PH up but I have read posts that it kills soil bacteria. Is this a concern or no? Also since the PH of the soil is a bit high my thinking was to give acidic water to balance. But maybe my Noob rationale is totally off.

You need to get your pH back around 6.5 before you worry about anything else.


What do you use to adjust the water PH?

What is your method of adjusting water PH?

I flush with tap water treated with pH Up to 8.0 until I get my pH where I want it. Distilled or RO water is a nightmare to pH properly.

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Ok I will do that. Thanks.

Welcome ! As mentioned it is important to pH water to 6.5 before watering. And also when feeding Nutes will drive PH down you will need to pH back up to the Sweet spot. (6.5) PH Before feeding. Overall your plants look good. They are not dying ,They’re just telling you they need a little adjustment. PH. Up that you buy in the bottle will Adjust your water Just fine. Good luck.


Thanks Kelly, flushing them out now​:pray:t4::call_me_hand:t3:

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Baking soda is not really a good idea as the sodium bicarbonate builds up in soil and causes issues later. I would submit that the commercial PH up is dilute enough in solution to cause zero issues with soil microbes. If worried; hit the soil layer with a dose of mycorrhizai.


When using distilled or RO water by itself there is no need to PH it at all. It will assume the PH of the soil and if the soil is within range than all is good. Once you add nutrients to the RO etc then that will potentially change the PH and of course now that there are solids in the RO that is why you can actually check the PH


If your using distilled water or RO water you won’t be able to get an accurate reading as the liquid PH meter needs some dissolved solids (think tap water with calcium etc in it) in order for the meter to accurately read the PH.

Just use the plain old distilled water and water them…
Don’t add any nutrients for some time

If you do need to adjust the water with nutrients there are cheap organic methods…


Thank you for pointing out R/O and distilled water PH: I’ve been harping on that for months haha.


Hahah took me awhile to get it through my thick skull…so easy now


Yeah; I just dumped three quarts of R/O on mine haha.

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But I still need to flush to correct my RO PH issue to get to mid 6’s PH?