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tap water results

Discussion in 'Everything Else Orchid' started by jai, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    Is my tap water safe to use for my orchids? Should I treat it?
    Here are the results:
    PARAMETER RESULT MCL
    pH 7.5 6.5 - 8.5
    TDS 205 PPM 550 PPM
    Hardness 34.2 PPM
    Iron ND PPM 0.30 PPM
    Iron Bacteria NP
    Manganese ND PPM 0.05 PPM
    Copper ND PPM 1.00 PPM
    Nitrates TRACE PPM 10.00 PPM
    Sulfides ND PPM 0.00 PPM
    Tannins ND PPM 0.50 PPM
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  2. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    Sorry it was a graph but when I posted came out jumbled together here's a photo:
    Screenshot_2016-08-12-19-51-47.png
     
  3. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I am not a water chemical or quality expert or a chemist so take that into account here:

    In your results the ND means "none detected" and I think the NP means "none present". So the only results you have are pH, TDS, and hardness.

    The pH is definitely on the high side for orchids. Hopefully someone will speak up on possible additives to get that down to 6.5-7.0.

    TDS @ 205 is on the high end for drinking water. Well water can be 1000 ppm and more. RO water will be near zero. The EPA maximum for community systems is 500 ppm. My tap water as of this morning is 58 ppm.
    You could try an inexpensive carbon cartridge filtration unit for your plant water.

    Hardness @34.2 is "soft".

    I have to wonder that with high TDS and low hardness ... is your house using a water softener? If the house water is being softened perhaps you could get your water upstream of the softener, maybe from a hose bib?

    If the test was with softened water maybe you could get another test done with un-softened water.

    Hopefully someone that actually knows what they are talking about will speak up here :rolleyes:.
     
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  4. carl

    carl Active Member

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    One of the things you will find is that many water supplies have had their pH raised above neutral, so as to stop the water from reacting with/dissolving metals in piping, especially lead. So, absent a water softener before the sampling point, it may be that the water company has added something.

    Carbon filtration probably won't do much for TDS. It is more for organics in the water.

    Hopefully Ray will chime in here.
     
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  5. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    I got the sample straight from the "stream" no added filters. I wonder if using a dechlorinater will lower the TDS? The aquarium brand API for fish, it remove chlorine, chloramines, and detoxifies heavy metals.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    I am certainly no water quality expert either, and that relatively high TDS for a relatively low hardness thing caught my eye, too.

    7.5 pH is OK, but I agree that a bit lower would be better. Any acid will reduce it - citric acid is good as it actually functions in plant metabolism, but ordinary household vinegar will work, too.

    Carbon will do nothing for TDS reduction, and aquarium chlorine "removers" chemically tie them up, but don't actually get rid of the,.
     
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  7. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    Ray what should I do to lower the TDS?
     
  8. carl

    carl Active Member

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    Reverse osmosis. That's what I do. Even though I'm not Ray.
     
  9. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    The only things that can do that are distillation, deionization, ultrafiltration, or reverse osmosis. Another alternative, although expensive in the long run, is to purchase purified water and use it to dilute your tap water.
     
  10. Korina

    Korina Member

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    Back in my African violet days, I experimented with raising my water's pH by using vinegar. It did a dandy job, but 15 minutes later pH was back where it started. It's harder than it sounds to raise water's pH for any meaningful amount of time; you'd do better working with your potting medium.
     
  11. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    How does acetic acid raise your pH? Is it a proton exchange between a carbonate cation?
     
  12. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    I'm looking to lower it a bit not raise it. I usually use leca(it is PH neutral) for potting medium.
     
  13. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    It's an acid. It lowers the pH, not raises it.
     
  14. Korina

    Korina Member

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    Oops, sorry; had a dyslexic moment there. :confused:
     
  15. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    That's what I thought. I read some whacked out things regarding pH that don't make sense on an equilibrium equation. For example lemons being alkaline? I give these things the benefit of the doubt often and try to reason through before dismissing. "Is the conjugate to that strong?" Etc.
     
  16. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    I don't know what you're reading, but stop! Lemon juice will lower the pH as well.

    I think that a major factor most folks ignore is that the pH of the applied solution is not that important of a factor. It's the pH of the medium that is, as that's where the plant lives, and both the potting medium and the plant itself affect the pH.

    The thing to do is measure the pH of the "pour through."

    1) Water the plant thoroughly, using whatever solution you normally apply, and let it drain completely.
    2) Wait 30 minutes, then dribble a small amount of pure water (RO, DI, distilled) over the top of the medium - just enough to drain through - and catch and test that pour-through.
     
  17. Korina

    Korina Member

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    I've also heard you can soak some of your medium for 30 min. or so, then strain off the water and test that. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe, I suppose. :)
     
  18. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    The only potential problems with that are that the plant doesn't live in the soaking solution, it lives in the solid medium, where the plant itself can affect that as well, so soaking the medium tells you nothing about that, and the excess soaking solution may interfere with the overall reading.

    If the standard pour-through method would give a pH of 6, and you soaked that medium in a large volume of liquid of pH 8, I doubt you'd get an accurate reading out of that solution afterward.
     
  19. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    DPfarr, I think you might have been reading stuff about the acid alkaline balance diet, which is basically a bunch of pseudoscience . That the only time I have seen anything like you mention.
     
  20. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    Oh I realize it's people who've never had a gen chem course.