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250PPM Alkaline Well Water - Deal with it how? Or get RO?

Happy Jack

New Member
Hello Fellow Growers,

I'm a DWC newb, with healthy month-old plants in totes. I've been using my 250PPM well water with the GH Flora trio, hard water micro formula. The water level in the totes is high for initial root growth (12 gallons/tote), and pH initially tested somewhere between 7 and 8 (hard to judge the test color exactly). After almost 8 oz of GH pH Down, pH has only dropped slightly, to around 7. I have a gallon of pH Down on order, but am not sure if that will work, or if there is a better solution (pun intended) :) .

I'd like your advice on what to do. I'd rather not spring for a RO system if it won't make a big difference, but I will if it will. What do you think? Should I go ahead and buy the filter, or can you suggest an easier/cheaper way to deal with pH--including living with it as it is--while still having excellent yields?

For example, if I could have 90% of the yield with an economical non RO solution--including living with the high pH--I'd go for that. But I don't want to sabotage the hard work and money I've already put into my DWC system.

Thanks in advance, your guidance is greatly appreciated.:Namaste:
 

Happy Jack

New Member
:bump:

No advice? Anyone?:nomo:

If I don't hear from anyone, I'm not going to risk my grow, and will go ahead and buy a RO filter.

I'm leaning towards the Hydrogardener Pro. At $299 it's relatively expensive, but designed to work with well systems--it claims to work on low water pressure, has special pre-filter to take out well-water's iron and manganese--which the manufacturer claims would otherwise damage a RO filter membrane--and has a relatively low 1:1 waste water ratio. Thoughts? Sound good?

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions. :Namaste:
 

Happy Jack

New Member
Get a RO system I have well water at 110 and could not control the PH due to trace elements in well water.

Thanks Rillos, very cool of you to take the time, it's a big help.:thumb:

I just wanted to be sure. I've already spent more than I'd planned, but no sense shooting myself in the foot at this point.

Wishing you luck and gratitude in all things.
 

Graytail

Plant of the Year: 2014 - Plant of the Month: Dec 2014 - Nug of the Month: Feb 2015, Mar & Aug 2016, Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Jan 2019 - Nug of the Year: 2017 - Photo of the Month: June 2018
Yep, you needed RO. I have high TA water and I couldn't keep things balanced. :thumb:

Also, as it so happens, a Caucasian is my preferred adult beverage. :3: Keep it real, man ... ~
 

Happy Jack

New Member
Many thanks, Graytail! It helps to hear that others had the same issue, and dealt with it the same way.

Yeah, I had a water test done once, but no need to dig it out--clearly my Total Alkalinity is as high as I am.

I haven't majorly screwed this grow up get, and I'm trying to keep it that way. One thing I've learned is that when someone more experienced gives you advice--take it. :thumb:

I don't often drink an adult beverage, but when I do, it leaves a mustache.

Happy growing, and doing what you do.
 

Graytail

Plant of the Year: 2014 - Plant of the Month: Dec 2014 - Nug of the Month: Feb 2015, Mar & Aug 2016, Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Jan 2019 - Nug of the Year: 2017 - Photo of the Month: June 2018
I grow in a mineral rich organic soil that's carefully amended, so the pH drift over time was my undoing. I got through one grow with no problems, but the second grow in the same soil started to go bad. At first I though it was just a drift in the mineral ratios because of all the calcium, but later I realized it had also pushed the pH up to lockout levels. They weren't responding to nutrients correctly and displaying all sorts of deficiencies.

And the next year after I got the RO, my TA went from 280 to over 400. :17: Twas a good investment. :3:

But you'll have to think about your minerals. You won't be getting any mag from the water anymore, for instance. A lot of RO growers have to add espoms or something. I solve that by using about 20% tap water, aiming for about 80 ppm.
 

Happy Jack

New Member
I grow in a mineral rich organic soil that's carefully amended, so the pH drift over time was my undoing. I got through one grow with no problems, but the second grow in the same soil started to go bad. At first I though it was just a drift in the mineral ratios because of all the calcium, but later I realized it had also pushed the pH up to lockout levels. They weren't responding to nutrients correctly and displaying all sorts of deficiencies.

And the next year after I got the RO, my TA went from 280 to over 400. :17: Twas a good investment. :3:

But you'll have to think about your minerals. You won't be getting any mag from the water anymore, for instance. A lot of RO growers have to add espoms or something. I solve that by using about 20% tap water, aiming for about 80 ppm.
Thanks again Greytail, that's very helpful.

That's good advice on the Cal-mag. I forgot to mention that the Hydrogarden Pro I'm ordering has a Cal-mag cartridge that they claim adds 15-30PPM, and eliminates the need for a supplement. Sound reasonable? Sounds good if it works.

Good to know about mixing in tap water--I can do that if I need to. :thumb:

In Cannabis Veritas indeed! :Namaste:
 

AKgramma

Well-Known Member
I used to grow tropical fish, and my well water comes out of the tap at 8.0. I diluted it with store-bought distilled water till it went down to 7.0, which the fish needed.

Which is cheaper? An RO unit or buying RO water from a place that gives you a good deal (25 cents per gallon) if you bring your own water jug?
 

Graytail

Plant of the Year: 2014 - Plant of the Month: Dec 2014 - Nug of the Month: Feb 2015, Mar & Aug 2016, Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Jan 2019 - Nug of the Year: 2017 - Photo of the Month: June 2018
I think my 5-stage RO was in the $200 range, and I can buy RO water for $0.29 per gallon and was going through about 10 gallons a week.

It just got to be a hassle lugging the stuff around - it's heavy. :3: At $3/week I break even after a couple years. Then I'll have to replace cartridges. :laugh: But no lugging! Pure water whenever I need it!
 

Happy Jack

New Member
That's a good point, AKgramma--for some people, buying water would be cheaper and easier than buying and installing a filter, and each person should decide what's best for them.

I decided the same as GrayTail--RO filter over bottled water. I eyed the bottled water at my local WalMart, which goes for $0.33/gallon. In my case I'm using a lot of water--I have gone the reservoir-overkill route, and will have 8 totes which will take about 10 gallons each, for 80 gallons per reservoir change. The biggest jugs WalMart has are 5 gallon, so I would have to haul home 16 5-gallon jugs, at a cost of $27 and a weight of 640 lbs. :63:

The hassle itself is a show-stopper for me, but even if it weren't, the RO filter will pay for itself fairly quickly. I went with the deluxe HydroGardener Pro at $299, because it is designed to work with well water, and adds back the needed Cal-mag. Even at that high price, it will pay for itself in 10 reservoir changes, not to mention saving my back. :thumb:

I think some will prefer bottled water, especially those who don't use a lot.

Thanks AZgramma and GrayTail for your thoughts and info. :bravo:
 
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