I am planning my first grow and have been reading posts for hours trying to learn as much as I can. We live in a rural area and run off a well with hard water. The last time I checked the ph for my fish tanks, it was around 8.2. I am looking at an HM Digital PH-200 for more accurate readings. I can control that with Ph down, but that still leaves the assorted minerals in the water. Has anyone else dealt with this issue? Am I better off collecting rain water for watering? Thanks for all your advise!!
I have similar water, look at my page.
It’ll grow plants fine. I suggest a nutrient lower in Ca and Mg to compensate. I like Dyna Gro.
Hard is better than soft, less prone to pH swings. No need for rainwater whatsoever.
you may want to get a water analysis. dialing in a nutrient regimen will be a pain in the ass without knowing how much of what is in your water supply. collecting rain water is a great idea if you can store enough of it/it rains consistently enough for your needs. you could also get a reverse osmosis filter
General hydroponics flora series has a hard water version
Depending on the actual mineral contents of the water the minerals are generally not available for the plants to uptake directly, but the KH(carbonate hardness) of the water at a pH of 8.2 would be so high that it would would require a lot more acid to drop. 8.2 is like saltwater aquarium level so you can imagine how much salt/mineral is there. You might be in the Desert with that pH I suspect. Phoenix area water runs about 400-500 ppm calcium for example, which is also what you want if you were growing saltwater corals.
I live in rural Missouri actually. The 8.2 reading is from an aquarium test kit, so I don’t yet know how accurate. High PH is great for my cichlid tanks, not so much for plants!!
same show-me hard water myself - have to get it tested
Your well water will be fine. Go buy a cheap digital ph meter on amazon. Theyre like 10$ and will get you close enough in range. Im assuming ur growing in soil? Soil can accept a much larger range of PH than in hydro or coco. I defintly dont reccomend using RO water for soil. I just tested my RO ph and it was sitting at 4. Running into all kinds of issues.
@rootfarmer. That’s the plan, but have no clue what I need it tested for. The county will test water, but there are like 20 diff chemicals or elements to choose from.
You don’t need a digital meter or get your water tested.
Just use the pH drop indicators, they’re like $5 at every aquarium and grow store. While less accurate, they’re never wrong. It really doesn’t matter if your pH is 6.0 or 6.1…close is fine and you’ll do better “reading your plants” than saying “pH HAS to be exactly 6.0”. Everyone’s got a story about an uncalibrated digital meter being wayyyyy off.
I’ve yet to find tapwater that won’t grow weed just fine. There are plants/fish/inverts that are sensitive…weed just ain’t one of them.
The exception I’d take to this is tap water with a really high ppm running through a softener. So those minerals are being replaced by sodium at a high ppm rate.
I’m currently testing this out myself- had lots of problems w water coming thru the softener. Did a little plumbing and now have a tap in front of the softener. I’m consistently at 400-450 ppms, glad that’s now Ca & Mg vs. Na. Been using that water for less than a week so need a few more to speak on the differences.
yeah the issue is all the sodium from the softener, that salt is BAD for plants, but not bad for you to drink
I have both RO and well water available.
Would mixing 1/2 and 1/2 fix the problem of too many PPM?
Stealth RO from hydrologic and you’re set. Well water is the best even better than rain water In MY state that is .
Its a decent work around. I was getting good tap water from a friend and cutting it with mine- there was a huge difference when compared to my tap water alone.
Agreed. Sodium is much harder on plants than other minerals. Regular hard limestone tapwater is 100% fine for plants. My water is about 8-8.2 and extremely hard, ppm is about 350-400. Salt index burns plants, not ppm/EC, and CaCO3 has a very low salt index. NaCl has a very very high salt index.
i use well water from 4K gallon cistern out in my field - never have checked the PH; plants love my water.
Water high in sodium is not good for people to drink especially if you have high blood pressure. The previous owner of my place used potassium chloride in the water softener so it supplied some potassium to the garden instead of sodium. I switched the damn thing to bypass and haven’t used it for the last 18 years. Our tap water is from a dugout on the property and about 400ppm and pH 8. Lower in both after spring melt when the dugout get filled to the top with fresh water.
@LabRat if you don’t mind me asking…what is a dugout? Something like a well or cistern? Just curious, can’t say I have ever heard that term.
It’s basically a big pond in my yard. 80x50x4mdeep so millions of litres of free water. got lots of frogs, little stickleback fish and used to have carp but the aerator wasn’t on my first year here and they suffocated. Found 8 5lb dead fish in the spring.
One like mine is called a ‘borrow pit’ because when they built the highway out front they ‘borrowed’ the clay to use for roadbed then gravelled it but now it’s paved. All the side roads here are gravel on clay. The oil guy that has been here says we have about a mile of clay under us. The whole area was boreal forest when it was settled in the early 1900s. Muskeg and now it’s all farm fields. Huge canola field this year around us. Peas on the other side of the highway so I’ll be poaching a few buckets full of those. Field peas for animal feed but still sweet and tasty.