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I have a barrel system 4 half barrels and a 100 gal fish tank with 35 gold fish from 1" to 6". It doesn't matter if I start a seed or a seedling. They grow fast but the stems can't support the leaves and bend or break. at about four or five inches. Been at a ph of 7.0 to 7.2, .25 ammonia about the same in nitrites 0 to.25 and nitrates 80 to 100 any ideas thanks

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Sounds like they might be stretching for light?

I've heard of conventional greenhouse growers having this problem due to the lack of wind inside the structure.  They solve it with oscillating fans or with motorized (very soft!) brushes that sweep the plants from side to side.

Ben and Bart might both be right. A plants growing too tall to support its own weight early in life is most likely due to a combination of these two factors. If you are growing indoor, try lowering your lights (temperature permitting) and putting a small fan in or near the growbed. 

If you are using a dome to sprout seedlings, try removing it as soon as the seeds break the surface of whatever you have planted them in. This way they are exposed to at least a little bit of moving air from day one and dedicate some energy to a thick stock. In a windless condition, all energy will go to growing as tall as possible and the plant will not be able to stand against wind once it is exposed.

As for the plants you already have, you could stake them (be very gentle!) or let them fall over and find balance. New growth will be towards light even if the stem is horizontal, and will be more steady the second time around.

Yeah, we've been using on oscillating fan on our growbeds for a while now. If you're growing indoors, it's important to get the air moving a little. It doesn't have to be crazy strong, but a gentle breeze does help the plants develop better.

Peter Fankuchen said:

Ben and Bart might both be right. A plants growing too tall to support its own weight early in life is most likely due to a combination of these two factors. If you are growing indoor, try lowering your lights (temperature permitting) and putting a small fan in or near the growbed. 

If you are using a dome to sprout seedlings, try removing it as soon as the seeds break the surface of whatever you have planted them in. This way they are exposed to at least a little bit of moving air from day one and dedicate some energy to a thick stock. In a windless condition, all energy will go to growing as tall as possible and the plant will not be able to stand against wind once it is exposed.

As for the plants you already have, you could stake them (be very gentle!) or let them fall over and find balance. New growth will be towards light even if the stem is horizontal, and will be more steady the second time around.

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