But hydroponic growers around the world face water-quality issues. Most city water is not of good quality. Our activities on the surface of this planet have contributed to the pollution of our waters. Most city water has been chlorinated and is high in TDS (total dissolved solids). Chlorine is bad for hydroponics, because it destroys beneficial microbes that protect the roots from disease, stress, and pests.
Successful growers know it is important to find out what is in the water supply. Whether you are using city water or well water, get an analysis on it. If you won’t drink the water, neither will your plants.
Reverse osmosis (RO)—a water purification technique in which water is pushed through a membrane—is key to quality water for hydroponics. RO filtering removes approximately 99 percent of all the dissolved solids, including chlorine. This should give you a reading of 0 PPM (parts per million) for TDS and a pH of 7.0. One of the coolest things about using RO water is not having to adjust your pH as much. Plants in hydro like the pH between 5.4 and 6.0. Growers may experience nutrient lockout when using too much pH Up or Down to compensate for poor-quality water.
The downside to using RO water filtration is that more water is drained to waste than is used to fill the reservoir. The first time you fill your RO reservoir, it will take some time. If you keep your reservoir always topped up, then you will always have RO water available for your crop. You will never again spend the time filling it like you did the very first time, especially if you size your water storage tank to be bigger than your hydroponics reservoir.
Setting up and operating an RO water filtration system is easy. You can get a quality system at your local hydroponics store. They run from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, and they are worth every penny. If you are not using one, get one! You will see an increase in your yields and enjoy a tastier crop. Your plants will love you for it, and you will love them even more for the bigger yields and better quality harvests they give back.
Grow big or go home!
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Wednesday, 05 January 2011