White residue - hard water?

Discussion in 'Hydroponics' started by cannashaman, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. cannashaman

    cannashaman Registered+

    Hello, folks.

    I've enjoyed being a fly on the wall in this lovely place. I appreciate your vibe! I'm about to buzzz attention to myself though. :)

    I'm getting started in a new place, and I'm having trouble diagnosing my problem. I'm using a GH WaterFarm with GH nutes (strength: between that for seedlings and the general, mild solution). I topped off the 13 gallons I started with by adding 5 gallons of clear water I ran through a hiking filter (no nutes in the top-off). I've got four units under a 400W light in a 63-degree-F room @ 50% relative humidity. I have a well and HARD WATER described by the tester from Sears as “one grain of hardness,” after processing by the Kenmore water softener. No iron, no bacteria. I'm guessing the mineral content is predominantly calcium judging by the white residue – although there's a little reddish coloration (sulphur?), and I don't know how much magnesium, if any. In short, I suspect it's a water problem.

    When I returned after a few days away during Xmas, there was a lot of white residue on the seedlings, too (clogging their “pores”?). Since then, I've sprayed them down with bottled water once or twice a day. But they're still very sick, dying I presume.

    I can start over; but I would very much like to get it right! I've attached some pictures of my gasping seedlings, propped up on tooth-pick and straw scaffolding.

    Help! What's my problem, and how do I fix it? Or how do I provide more information so I'm asking my question better!?

    Thanks all, and peace.

    Attached Files:

  2. tikiroom

    tikiroom Registered+

    Could it be sodium from the water softener?
  3. stickydankAZ

    stickydankAZ Registered+

    I think its lime or alkali

    the red stuff is rust from the metal pipes used by your well
    your screwed bro its going to cost you a RO system and get one with easy to change filters ;)and stock up on filters Ahhhhh sorry for the bad news:(

    P.S.your hot water heater full of this shit too
  4. cannashaman

    cannashaman Registered+

    Thanks for the feedback; I appreciate it.

    Brita-type filtration (or something short of reverse osmosis) wouldn't be good enough? I'm renting and don't want to invest - at least in a whole-house filter... Maybe I should get a water mule? - you know, bring it all in.

    Should I do something to test for sodium?
  5. cannashaman

    cannashaman Registered+

    Ooh!: If the softness (or sodium by-product of softening) is a problem, I could try grabbing my water hard, from a hose in the line before it gets to the softener... Would the hardness then be a problem?
  6. tikiroom

    tikiroom Registered+

    Only one way to find out, you already know it doesn't work this way. Salt can be deadly to plants.
  7. cannashaman

    cannashaman Registered+

    Right. I'll try it!
  8. tinytoon

    tinytoon Registered+

    Do yoyu have an EC/PPM meter?? if so test water before it gets to softner.
  9. cannashaman

    cannashaman Registered+

    tinytoon, I have a GB Instruments GMT-319 multi-meter; but I am not sure how to use it to measure EC/PPM (if I even can measure electrical conductivity in my water with it). Advice?

    Well, it's been half a day with the new "hard water" nute solution, and I see no reside building! Hope! But I'm afraid the plants are so far gone that I'll have to start fresh to really test this. :(

    Is EC/PPM a big enough factor given my situation so that I ought to get a read of it before re-starting?

  10. tikiroom

    tikiroom Registered+

    Two key instruments for hydro are ec and ph meters. :thumbsup:
  11. cannashaman

    cannashaman Registered+

    Thanks everyone. A water test revealed a lot of sodium. I suspect that's the culprit. I've switched to local river water with better results.

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