Tap vs Filtered Water

Discussion in 'Basic Growing' started by BudLuv420, May 20, 2010.

  1. BudLuv420

    BudLuv420 Registered+

    I have general question between the waters. I know filtered water is just what I said filtered, but I still have to ph it down to get it right level. Cant I just do it the same with tap water or does tap water have to much other chemicals that can damage the babies. :jointsmile:
  2. khyberkitsune

    khyberkitsune Registered+

    Well, you can use straight tap water if the PPM isn't too high. It is highly recommended that you filter. Some filtration methods actually lower the pH for you, but that again is dependent upon what is in your water.
  3. Nighttimex3

    Nighttimex3 Registered

    Will a Brita carbon filter function well for the purpoes of turning tap water into better-for-plants water?
  4. demoreal

    demoreal Registered+

    RO water is the best thing you can do for your plants. PH of truly clean water means nothing, most high quality nutrients will remain very stable. Carbon filters are crap if you have a high tds in your starting water.
    One of my grows the tds is 50 (ec X 500), another one of my grows the water is 500ppm. I am ordering a RO unit tonight. No mater what I do to the dirty water the plants show lockout of cal and K from all the sodiom in it. 95ppm of it. The reading obtained from the water company. Take the money you are spending on "magical bloom booster nutrients" and get an ro system, from experience I can say it is the best thing for your plants.
  5. khyberkitsune

    khyberkitsune Registered+

    Carbon filter alone? No. Carbon + ion filter? Yes.
  6. demoreal

    demoreal Registered+

    In the last few days I have been doing some research on RO systems and I read trying to take the pH of ro water can mess up your pens electrode. It was described kind of like a short circuit. I always wondered why my hanna pen claims do not use ro water to store or clean it.
    just something for you to research as well. I did not read up enough to explain.
    All I can say is take the advice of someone that uses clean water. A carbon filter will not do crap if your water is dirty (over 300ppm). Ever since I moved homes to the house with 50 ppm I will RO my water if it is over 100.
    Do the research. There is many articles in Urban garden, Maximum yield and google searches about water. It is the most important thing you feed your plant. Do not fall for that 100$ bottle of nutrients that will increase your yield by 40%. At least not till you have the water to go with it.
    Many people have tap that is kick ass, so they do not understand and claim there water works great and RO is useless.
    Think about it. what do I do when I want to feed my plants an ec of 1.3 lets say during transision. My tap is 1.0, so I can use .3 of nutrients or pretend I have 0ppm water and feed my plant 2.3 blocking nutrients. Plants drink using osmosis. Now in a not explaining very good way my plants are working like reverse osmosis and they are anti drinking.
    starting with 1.0 water or even lets say it is .5, I do not have much room for nutrients without creating a lock out, or burning the plant, incorect ratios in turn blocking important nutrients.
    Even worse what do I do with my clones, I usually start them around 200 ppm. Sucks when your water starts at 500. Half of my strains can not even make it past the first few weeks, While these same strains kick ass at my house up North (I love the bay area water) thrive.
    If your water is over 300ppm get RO. You do not need a pen, call the water company, by law they must give you a detailed chart of what is in the water.
    Now I am down south with no RO and no spell check on this computer.
    I am ordering my unit tonight. Instaling spell check tomarow.
    I do not explain good but go check out the magazines and read the artilces or do some google searches.
    Out of all the advice I give on these fourms RO water I stand by the most, growing for a year with water that is nasty and then moving up North to clean water. I struggled for a year thinking it was all sorts of nutrient problems, move up north get clean water and all problems are gone.
    I can now mix my base nutrients and I still have a few hundred parts per million to add of aditives, (sweetners, boosters, etc)
    Get clean water for your plants, pets and you.
  7. WashougalWonder

    WashougalWonder Registered+

    Great Demoral, very true.

    I find that even the local weather can effect my tap water and RO water, specifically the PH. Also my tap water has very high iron content. But, I must monitor my PH, especially during the rainy season as it fluctuates greatly.

    ALSO RO water is unstable and will try to stabilize it's PH over a few days time. I always let it sit for 24 hours to stabilize before I check the PH.

    ALSO RO takes out Cal/Mag and you need to replace it. Filtered does not.

    I have a bud on the same water, and filtered works just fine for him, and I gave him all his starts, so same plants to some extent.

    The point? All the water supplies are different and you need to tailor to your water supply. Best of luck.
  8. BudLuv420

    BudLuv420 Registered+

    Thnxs for the feed back, I'm not fimilar with RO systems & didnt even know I had to check ppm for the water. I thought it was just PH.
  9. demoreal

    demoreal Registered+

    ro ph

    ro water is not unstable, there is nothing in it. Taking the pH makes no sense.
    when you add nutes you may need to let it settle for a day.
  10. khyberkitsune

    khyberkitsune Registered+

    RO water is pretty unstable. RO water is almost electrically neutral, and as such it will grab most anything it possibly can, from oxygen and hydrogen ions down to most anything else (RO water is one of the best solvents in the world due to this property.) This causes mad changes in pH, very rapidly. After making RO water it's best to let it sit exposed to open air for a day to allow it to come to ionic equilibrium.
  11. demoreal

    demoreal Registered+

    I was tought pure water has an alkalinity close to 0 ppm.
    I beleive the pH of RO water is not important.
    I stand by that 100%.

    You think you can lead me to an article to read that states otherwise?

    (I do stand corrected stating RO is not unstable, that was a wrong statement, what I ment is to stabalize your res after adding the nutrients)
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  12. Rusty Trichome

    Rusty Trichome Registered+

    Smell your tapwater. If it smells like chlorine, let it sit out uncovered overnight. If your locals used chlorine gas to kill the bacteria in the water, it should outgas overnight. If they use a solid form of chlorine, the smell will remain, and the water should likely be filtered.

    Most tapwater is fine once properly ph'd, and can be used with no adverse effects. If there is no need to buy a R/O system or Britta filters, why do it? Why take the crap out of your water, just to have to replace the crap later? (CalMag Plus, for instance) Especially if unnecessary.

    Ph'ing R/O water has no effect on ph pen probes. I've used them for years with my coral and saltwater fish tanks, which is a sensitive enviornment and does require R/O'd water.
    You can not store the probes in direct light, or in tapwater, because the tapwater will form algae and the algae will skew results. (and gum-up the probe) An acid or a base is recommended for storage. (too harsh for bacteria and algae to get a foothold)

    You can also look online for your local water conditions and ph. For instance, if in Phoenix, Google "Phoenix tap water quality" or "Phoenix municipal water quality report" or something along those lines.
    Here's what my locals say about my well water online...(no, not Phoenix, lol)
    "Characterization. The character of the groundwater varies from calcium-magnesium
    bicarbonate to magnesium-calcium bicarbonate. The quality of
    the groundwater is suitable for all beneficial uses. TDS concentrations range
    from about 155 to 540 mg/L, with an average concentration of about 330
    Fluoride content ranges from 0.2 to 0.9 mg/L and averages about 0.4
    mg/L. Boron content averages about 0.1 mg/L."

    Mine averages near 380-390 mg/L. (saltwater aquarium test kit)

    I have never used filtered water for my ladies, but I don't consider my water unusable, either.
    Curious though...for those in soil, what does filtering your water do...specifically? (if you are filtering more than chlorine) As soon as you add the water to the medium, your TDS skyrockets, no?
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  13. WashougalWonder

    WashougalWonder Registered+

    RO PH does change for a period of time after released to the atmosphere, and I cannot find the article where I learned that. After reading that article I tested my RO water fresh out of the pot and after sitting 24 hours in a plastic bucket in the dark at room temp.

    Initial PH was 5.5. 24 hours later it was 6.0, 48 hours later it was 6.0.

    It is my understanding that the loss of certain salts effects the osmolarity of the water and makes it unstable and it wants a carbon atom somewhere, which it gets from the atmosphere.

    Also, Rusty is right, if you can use tap water, do it so you don't have to add s$it back in. I have to RO because my water has such high iron content it stains porcelain. We get acid rain at times, so that is out. I have to add back the cal/mag and then balance my PH back up to 6.5 or so. I only use the drop method of PH test. Do not test the effluent PH.

    Everyone has different water. You will have to tailor to your supply.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. demoreal

    demoreal Registered+

    RO is the best thing I ever gave my plants. The crap that is in the water is in a crappy form for the plants to drink. I would much rather give my plants something in a form they can drink with ease.
    I think you all are misunderstanding me. The pH of the RO is not very important if the alkalinity is close to nothing.
    Anyway, just find me an article about why pH of RO is important, not about stability stuff.
    If you feed your plants RO you will notice the runoff pH is the same as the medium pH, no matter what pH the RO is when you feed. Try it out.
  15. khyberkitsune

    khyberkitsune Registered+

    "The crap that is in the water is in a crappy form for the plants to drink."

    Not necessarily. Most of the crap in water is too large molecularly for the roots to allow to pass through the membrane, and almost every nutrient for plants (minus nitrogen) is water-soluble and already in an ideal solution. Calcium, magnesium, etc., are all pretty much water-soluble and bioavailable. Of course, these levels vary greatly by city and thus you must eventually figure out the levels between various nutrients. While most nutrients for hydroponics are balanced and buffered for use with RO water, many people find themselves using off-use solutions (Florikan Dynamite is what I used for flowering once in hydro, and it worked GREAT minus clogging up everything) and thus the "grab-everything" nature of RO water will cause massive swings depending upon what it 'grabs' and binds with.

    Also, People using *JUST* RO water are doing it only slightly wrong. You have to pre-treat water before running it through RO. Pretreatment is important when working with RO and nanofilters due to the nature of their spiral wound design and picometer-thick meshes. The material is engineered in such a fashion as to allow only one-way flow through the system, and as such, the spiral design can't allow for backwashing with water or air friction to scour its surface and remove solids. Because built-up garbage cannot be removed from the filter surfaces, they are highly susceptible to fouling (loss of production capacity). Therefore, pretreatment is a necessity for any RO or NF system. Best bet - start with a loose Brita or Pur filter, then push it to RO.

    Again, Your Mileage May Vary. If you've got excellent low-PPM water from the start, you have not much to worry about, and your pH should be stable through all stages of purification. If you have a bunch of salts ions in your water and the water has been buffered to neutral, the second you remove all of that garbage, you're going to have acidic water due to the ionic imbalance.
  16. demoreal

    demoreal Registered+

    tfc membrane systems come with the carbon pre filter, the clorine in the water will ruin it.

    so that question.
    Why is the pH of the water important if the alkalinity is close to nothing?
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  17. Rusty Trichome

    Rusty Trichome Registered+

    Hmm...I wonder if I'm reading this wrong then:

    "And did you know that it is useless to measure the pH of RO-water or demiwater? Both demiwater and RO-water do not contain any buffer ions. This means that the pH can be as low as four, but it can also be as high as 12. Both kinds of water are not readily usable in their natural form."

    Ph and Alkalinity
  18. demoreal

    demoreal Registered+

    I am asking things wrong. The question I have and do not understand is this.

    Why is the pH of the water important if the alkalinity is close to nothing?

    that is what I want to know.
    I do not know if I fully understand what you put in quotes. Does that answer this question?

    edit: it seems to support what I think
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  19. khyberkitsune

    khyberkitsune Registered+

    "Why is the pH of the water important if the alkalinity is close to nothing?"

    Ahh, I get what you're saying. Time for the pool boy to come to the rescue! (Yup, did pools in Plano and Dallas, TX.) First, there's Alkaline-Earth and Alkali metals.

    Alkalinity in water solutions almost exclusively refers to alkaline metal content. It has practically nil directly to do with pH, but it does affect it. Alkaline solutions are always basic, yes, but alkalinity is a separate test from pH altogether. Calcium and Magnesium are alkaline metals. This also imparts different chemical properties upon the nutrient solution which are better described by a 300-level college professor than myself. Such ions within certain balances will cause acidic conditions, though other balances have been known to cause suddenly basic conditions. It's a whole mess involving Newton's Third Law that even I am not qualified to explain. That's 600-level stuff.

    Then there's Alkali metals, sodium, potassium, and (VERY RARELY) hydrogen (usually found as a dual-atom stabilization in nature, and often bound with oxygen to make water,) being the most typical ones involved in plant growth. These are not as often found (in fact very rarely found in nature) in a pure plant-usable form.

    Typical ion filtration uses hydrogen-ion filtration with carbon filters - this produces almost soda water (you're only missing the gas/liquid ratio + pressure to have soda water) and this makes it very unstable. You must let it stabilize with the atmosphere, then add nutrients. Differing pH levels will cause lockout not only for absorption but also for proper solubility in water itself, so it can cause deficiencies as well.

    EDIT: Think of it like this, as this is how we do in the pool industry; pH is POTENTIAL HYDROGEN. Alkalinity is the alkaline and alkali metal/molecular concentration. This has effects upon algae growth and such. Had to call my brother's father for clarification on this, as we both work together on making new hydro systems. :) Nice to have men with a common goal and engineering background to work together - he's the one that taught me about pools.
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  20. Rusty Trichome

    Rusty Trichome Registered+

    Carbonate hardness comes to mind when discussing alkalinity and ph, at least in coral aquariums. Might help here. Here's a definition:
    " Carbonate hardness also known as KH, refers to the concentration of bicarbonate (HCO3-) and carbonate (CO3--) dissolved in water. Hydrogen carbonates are easily soluble in water, while carbonates virtually insoluble. The level of carbonate hardness thus depends on the amount of dissolved hydrogen carbonates.

    Carbonate hardness affects plant growth to a greater extent than does the level of non-carbonate hardness. Plants can dissolve carbon dioxide out of hydrogen carbonates and use it for photosynthesis."

    So, there's interraction between the metals, minerals, bicarbonates and carbonates in an ion power struggle for control of ph. Good thing you don't have to add nutrients, and really make it interesting, lol. Just kidding, but I sure do appreciate the simplicity of growing in soil. :jointsmile:

    After keeping saltwater tanks, and all the care and coddling, testing and adjusting (and cost) that goes along with it...the last thing I want is to do is overcomplicate cannabis, too.

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