Discussion in 'Hydroponics' started by stinkyattic, May 6, 2008.
My fingers were cramping from typing it n times a day.
great simple sticky here!
Correct me if I'm wrong.... As I understand, when using RO or distilled water, we need to use an additive like CalMag Plus because most hydroponic nutrients are not formulated/balanced for use with the plain water. The nutrients are made to be used with average hard water which already contains calcium and magnesium. RO/distilled water lacks the calcium and magnesium which are essential for growing.
However, using hard water from the tap isn't always the best because the ratio of calcium to magnesium can vary, possibly to the degree of causing nutrient lockout.
Some people use a mix of plain and tap water. I don't know enough about that to make any comments.
I'd think it would be more beneficial to use RO/distilled water and adding the appropriate amount of CalMag to correct and prevent deficiency, which will give the plants all they need in a soluble form they can uptake with less effort.... Also there's no harmful mystery chemicals as would come from using tap water!
Right on brutha. That is exactly the point.
One clarification is that the nutes for hard water are actually labelled for hard water use. It will say right on the bottle. The 'default' nutrient is made to be used with 'average' tap water. I, for one, have the good luck to be able to use my city water out of the tap, even in hydro, but the bad luck to have to add calmag to my well water, which is quite 'soft', even in soil! haha ... what a PITA!
But a techincally oriented grower will tell you that he likes to start with NOTHING and add only KNOWN fertilizer components to his water.
Even in dirt, you still need calmag if you use RO, distilled, or rain water. And you MUST adjust the pH of rain water, after adding the calmag, and before use on your plants.
reverse osmosis, water purifying process
Moan, moan, moan.
I lay awake all night wishing I could have soft well water. OK, not exactly, but believe you me, hard well water is a real bitch compared to soft. How did you get so lucky? Must be my location or upbringing, but I didn't even know soft well water existed.
I guess everything has it's good points. I don't need to add Calmag. I usually do though, in small amounts. Great product, though there are others.
Basically it takes out most impurities and leaves you with water. Both undesirables and otherwise.
Spring water running through a granite substrate, not limestone, and runoff from a hemlock forest. I have organic acids problems with my well water
Blah. You want some? Miracle healing water! Great for all types of problems! Warts! Malaise! Possession by evil spirits! Only five bucks a glass. Step right up...
Sounds like a colloidal mineral drink I fell for, for about 6 months. Supposedly I'll live to 140 for drinking it.
lol...I almost bought some of that stuff too
What about filtered water? Will that have the minerals you need or is it just as bad as distilled/ro? Im about to set up my first aquafarm and am glad i ran into this thread.
If it is not RO/distilled. Then you need an EC/PPM meter. Besides PH your EC/PPM are most important. You might be good to go. My bro has well water under 100ppm's. Works good with hard water nutes.
Depending on the filter and the source of water, will answer your question.
Remember if it has chlorine in it it has one function. To kill organic matter.
It is a pain sometimes getting water but well worth it in the long run of getting over the big hurdles of hydro. RO units can be gotten cheap.
When you know you started with nothing to screw you up then it is alot easier to fix problems.
Once I got my meters and water straight problems went away.
Ok so i posted asking more about cal mag, and then found the answer 15 seconds later. After so many hours of reading..i hurt in weird places:yippee:
I didn't use a PPM meter in my grow o_o
Sometimes you will be lucky. I have grown hydro successfully without a ppm meter, because my source water was perfect (I didn't even know it, just dumb luck). And I have FAILED at soilless without one. If you suspect even slightly that you have a source water problem, take it down to the shop to be tested, and if you will need to do ANY adjusting, get a good EC meter.
How much calmag are you supposed to add? Just use whats on the label?
If you don't have an EC meter, just use what's on the label, but you really should have some way of checking conductivity if you are in a position to need calmag, and you'll want to add it until your ppm reads right around 300, before adding any other nutes or checking the pH.
does that go for seedlings through maturity?
Seedlings need plenty of calcium too; you'll have to read the schedules for the answer to your dosage question, but I've always just used tap water on mine. If you have to use DI/RO/rain, my hunch is that you still need calmag, but at a lower dose.
I have been using soft water for a long time not using Sodium Chloride but Potassium Chloride to get the hardness out and have not had any problems at all growing.
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