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Thread: Why can't I use tap water?

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    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clue View Post
    I was wondering the same thing about Drosophyllum and them liking alkaline conditions.

    For those that don't know, our water in this part Bay Area is horribly hard and filled with calcium and other minerals.
    I believe that anyone interested in cultivating this fascinating species should read this report:

    Below are two quotes taken from this report:

    "Soil on the south coast of Spain is sandy or loamy, slightly acid to neutral, lime-less and poor in nutrients. The geologic underlay consists of sandstone. Drosophyllum also grows directly in sandstone crevices."

    "During our observations in its native habitat, we have never seen Drosophyllum growing in alkaline soils, despite several intensive searches at suitable places."

    It appears that the belief that Drosophyllum, in situ, grows in alkaline (high pH) soils, is mistaken.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

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    jurow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brokken View Post
    Okay, so there's all this talk about pings liking lime in their medium, making it alkaline for them.... If this is the case, why can't I water them with regular tap water? If they're so indiferent to the medium and actually can tolerate alkaline conditions, is it possible to forgo using RO and just water them from the tap?
    I think you're confusing 2 different variables (pH and ppm.)

    It's true that some CPs can thrive in slightly alkaline soils. The pH of a water source is a measure of hydrogen ions, and has little to do with other dissolved material in the water. If your tap water happens to be slightly alkaline and otherwise high-quality, knock yourself out. Most water sources are actually slightly alkaline, and run around a pH of 8.0 to prevent corrosion of old pipes. This will be canceled out if there is peat moss in your soil mix, as it is acidic.

    However, the real killer in tap water in most cases is the total dissolved solids. This is what you read on a TDS meter (in ppm) and can be anything from salt, to calcium, to whatever else. You could have completely neutral pH water and have 35000 ppm salt (this is also called sea water) that would immediately destroy any CP. In my experience, pings are pretty sensitive to high ppm, so you should exercise caution before making a decision based only on pH.

  3. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jurow View Post
    The pH of a water source is a measure of hydrogen ions, and has little to do with other dissolved material in the water.
    How do you change the H+ or OH- concentration without adding something other than H+ or OH-?

  4. #12
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
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    Acids add H+ ions to the solution, such as CO2, acetic acid, citric acid, etc. Adding a base, such as calcium carbonate, potassium hydroxide, etc. will increase the availability of OH- ions. I don't know of an easy way to just add the H+ or OH- ions. I know that you can use electrochemically charged plastic resins (called: ion exchange resins) to tip the balance. Resins charged with H+ will adsorb anions and replace them with H+ ions, and likewise with OH- charged resins, they will release their OH- ions in exchange for other cations.
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  5. #13
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Buffering agents or solutions.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    UnstuckinTime's Avatar
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    Not a Number- as seen on your previous posts, you are extremely knowledgeable in the science of a lot that is discussed here. I dont mean any offense here, but I would like to clarify- wouldn't adding a buffer agent add unwanted salt as well?
    "The plants you grow, end up growing you."


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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    It would depend on the nature of the buffer, the beginning and target pH and the nature and extent of the acid/base reactions in question.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    UnstuckinTime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not a Number View Post
    It would depend on the nature of the buffer, the beginning and target pH and the nature and extent of the acid/base reactions in question.
    I wish I knew more chemistry, its been a while since I studied buffers.
    "The plants you grow, end up growing you."


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