Hydroponics Online Home Home Store Blog Forums FAQs Lesson Plans Pictures

Go Back   Hydroponics Forums Discussions > Hydroponics Discussion Forums > Hydroponics

water testing


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-13-2011, 01:04 PM
crad crad is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 68
Default water testing

I am wondering what types of tests do you perform on your water/solution mixtures? what types of testing and equipment do you use? and can you elaborate on why? what concerns do you have on water quality for your plants and how it affects the crop as far as quality and taste?

I am always trying to glen information from other doing what I do to increase my knowledge about what I am doing. there is allot of knowledge out there that is not written in a white paper or in books.

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-13-2011, 04:08 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Nixa,Mo
Posts: 159
Default

Only test's i do, and i do them at least once a day is PPM and PH testing.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-13-2011, 08:27 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,855
Default

Hello crad,
Well first the only tests I run on my nutrient solution is pH. I use pH drops to do that because the drops wont give false readings. With the drops there is no need to calibrate, and/or do regular maintenance that all will affect readings. Also you simply don't need to measure the pH down to 1 tenth of a point, and the drops are plenty accurate enough, as well as easy to read results.

I also don't use a EC/TDS/PPM meter to test nutrient strength because I use the manufactures mixing directions as a general guide, and observe how my plants are doing daily. The only thing I really want a meter to do, their just not capable of doing. That is tell me what the concentrations of each individual element is, rather than just a total of everything in the water. Knowing if there's a element deficiency or toxicity is useful, but knowing the total amount of every element in the water wont do that. I also do regular nutrient changes to make sure the balance of the individual elements don't get to far out of balance. Meters simply cant tell you that important part. But If I had extra money to spend I wouldn't mind having a EC meter to use as well. Though at this point I would much rather spend a $100 on nutrients.

Water quality
Well that's one of the most widely debated issues among growers. Personally I use nothing but RO water right now. But because of the low volume of water the RO system puts out, it wont be acceptable on a larger scale. They make large volume RO systems that produce 700 gallons of water per day for as little as $400. But another drawback to RO systems is that they waist water as well, even more than they produce. One of the benefits to growing hydroponically is that it takes a fraction of the water than growing in soil, but if your RO system waists 2 gallons of water for every gallon of useful water it produces, that triples and significantly increases water usage. For a large scale setup that I'm planning, I'm planning on using a series of inline cartridge filters that wont waist water. Including sediment, two carbon cartridges, and probably even an ion cartridges, as well as a cartridge with an absolute micron size of 1 micron to filter spores. And for the heck of it I may even add a UV light to kill any pathogens that may somehow make it past all the filters (which is highly unlikely with the absolute 1 micron filter).

Anyhow Here are a couple of articles about water quality:
Hydroponic H2O: Water Quality and Treatment
Water Wisdom For Hydroponics
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-17-2011, 09:12 AM
crad crad is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 68
Default

ok so I am little over board here. I test my water before anything for tds and pH so I knew where I am starting from. I test my water for TDS and pH after mixing just to make sure where I am. I test my water quality everyday and have to adjust my pH everyday. I have granular pH down coming as the cheap watered down liquid stuff is expensive with having to make daily changes. that is why I am building an insulated and heated water tank that way i can maintain water temp and maybe maintain pH balance better. I would also like to test for other nutrients but do not know how. I am also plumbing me a line outside before the softener so I can get straight well water. well water is cold so I am going to get some water bottles and fill them and warm them up before I do water changes to avoid temp shock on my plants. now it is getting to be more interesting as I now know more of what is needed in my new green house I hope to have ready by next spring.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-17-2011, 12:17 PM
fintuckyfarms fintuckyfarms is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Southeast Washington State - Right on the line of growing zones 6b & 7a
Posts: 347
Default

I also have well water with a watersoftner in the pumphouse and then for drinking water (kitchen only) we have another filtering system. I have read many different opinions regarding well water, softner water and regular tap water and I can see why people have issues with these sources of water. I have decided to build a rain water capture system to be used in my green house. If I could afford it I would build a huge underground sistern, but I think my only option will be to have several rain barrels on the side of the house closest to the greenhouse. My goal is to have it completed by the end of summer in time for the fall rain season.

As for water testing, as a newbie, of course I went crazy and tested all my water sources when I got my new toy I now only test my PH twice a week with the drops. I haven't yet purchased a PPM meter because I only have the one system up and going. I kind of agree with GPSFrontier that if I follow the directions and watch my plants there really shouldn't be a need. I will probably purchase one when I get the greenhouse up and going just because I like new toys and am somewhat of a control freak.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-17-2011, 07:34 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,855
Default

Quote:
I test my water quality everyday
How do you test your water quality daily? That would be very expensive. As far as I know it cost over $50 to have each water quality test done. If you are referring to testing it with a EC/PPM/TDS meter that isn't a water quality test. That just gives you a basic idea of the total amount of mineral elements in the water. But cant actually tell you what is in the water, or in what quantity each element there is. Not to mention if there are any pathogens, bacteria, fungi, spores, etc. that can be in the water that could give your plants a disease. That's even more important when using water sources like well, pond, or river water because soil borne problems will be easily transferred from these sources into your hydro system.

Rain water can still be an problematic because of the way it's collected and stored. The rain itself is generally good water (unless it's acid rain from smoggy areas), but rooftops and rain gutters are full of bird and rodent droppings that will bread bacteria and pathogens. As well as dead and decaying foliage that can harbor plant diseases, pathogens, as well as fungi and spores. City water has been chemically treated, but pathogens as well as fungi can still survive, and spores will germinate well after the chemicals are out of the water supply. There's a big difference between water quality, and a EC/TDS/PPM meter reading.

Quote:
I have granular pH down coming as the cheap watered down liquid stuff is expensive with having to make daily changes.
The dry pH Adjusters work well, but as I mentioned in the other thread if you are needing to adjust your pH more than once a week, something's wrong somewhere. Water temp wont have an effect on pH, but it will on the electronic pH meters (another reason I use drops). I'm not sure where your located but you mention heating the nutrient solution, so I assume you are in a cold area. I have the opposite problem High temps are my problem, in fact right now it's 101 degrees outside (a little cooler than yesterdays 105). But if you can get your water temps in the range of 65-72 degrees, that's right in the optimum range.

Quote:
I would also like to test for other nutrients but do not know how.
I'm not sure what you mean here. Though if you mean you would like to test your nutrient solution to see what the concentrations of each individual element is, rather than just a total of all of them combined. Me too, but the only way I know of to do that is lab testing.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-18-2011, 04:21 PM
crad crad is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 68
Default

lol
I will try and be more correct in my statements since I am really not having a face to face conversation.

lets start here I live in MN (north central)

The pH issue seems to have been easier fix then I thought. I can control my water temp between 64 and 70 degrees. I lifted the container off of the concrete floor and my pH stabilized by the next day. I have it at 6.14 now and have had it there for 2 days now and that is good thing. do not understand why having it on the concrete was a problem.

Yes I mean the concentration levels of the nutrients so i can tell how my conditions are affecting the plants and at what rate certain events affect them. So why can I not get test equipment for doing complete water analysis?

Thanks for the conversations.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-19-2011, 12:09 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,855
Default

There is no reason I can think of where pH can change from something that is not in contact with the water. Possibly under high electromagnetism, that might have an effect on some of the metal mineral elements like iron and magnesium. Other than that there isn't any logical reason concrete that isn't even touching the water to affect it's pH. But I can tell you if your using a electronic meter to test pH, it's very common for meters to give false readings. I also don't know what kind of fluctuation you were/are experiencing, and it's very common for new growers using electronic meters to think a fluctuation of a few tenths is significant. But such small fluctuations are normal and of no consequence.

Quote:
So why can I not get test equipment for doing complete water analysis?
Well, it's not that you cant, but for the same reason hydroponic shops don't stock or even sell the equipment to do that. It's just way to expensive, and nobody has the money to buy them. I forget what it's called, but some kind of "scope" I believe. And you might be able to find a used one for under $5000. That's why even most commercial hydroponic farms pay labs for testing. Although commercial farms generally send in leaf samples for testing to see what elements the plants are lacking, or have in excess. And generally only do water quality testing in order to have custom nutrients matched to their water supply. Or in cases where they may suspect pathogens and/or disease etc. in the water supply. But UV light treatment will kill pathogens, fungi, as well as bacteria in the water supply (basically any living micro-organism).

__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.