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Thread: HighTDS levels

  1. #9

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    Hi Tony, thanks for your input.

    I did check the water flushing from the sand. I picked up a 50 lbs bag of pool filter sand. The granules are a bit larger than silica sand granules but the flushed water tested at 0ppm.
    Tonight I will snap some pictures of all the media separately and get some readings to post on here.

  2. #10
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    Temperature affects TDS reading. And when was the last time you calibrated your meter?
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    The meter was last calibrated when I sent it back in (a little less than a year ago).
    I've tried testing other sources of water to make sure that readings were correct. I get ~250 ppm for tap water and 0 ppm for my RO/DI system which seems right since the DI filters are suppose to get the last of the minute particles.

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    i guess i should first say that TDS are not organics in the water, it's exactly what it means: total dissolved solids - anything that's dissolved in the water, mainly salts, carbonates, things like that. organic compounds are not water-soluble and don't contribute to TDS. Also, the rotten egg smell you mention is due to the production of sulfides which happens under reducing condtions, i.e. no oxygen. if you are getting that smell, you are keeping your soil far too waterlogged and stagnant.

    i'm a little unclear as to what exactly you're testing. do you have pots sitting in a tray and you're are testing the water in the tray? when you say a test flush - are you running water through a pot, collecting it as it drips out the bottom and checking the TDS of that?

  5. #13
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    Silica pool sand is about as good as you can get...

    I would try testing your peat as Sarracenia mentions, collect the water that comes out the bottom and see what reading you get. Perhaps you have a bad bag of sphagnum peat?
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    Sarracenia you correct about the sulfides and smell relation. This use to be an issue which I have since resolved by letting the tray dry out in between waterings.

    I have a large black tray which I sit the pots in, all the water is shared between these pots. I tested this water and obtained a reading ~130ppm. I pulled every pot did the flush technique by pouring about 4-5 measuring cups of water on the top of the pot and collecting it as it exited the pot through the bottom. This is where I was obtaining my readings from. This is also where I obtained a reading of ~600+ ppm from one of the pots.
    I was assuming that I had organics (Nitrogen, Potassium etc...) in the water mainly because of the 'burnt' look on some of the leaves on my plants.
    Since the meter is reading high though it sounds like I have salts in the water, otherwise the meter would not have read anything...correct?

    I'll post some pictures tonight of the test batches, hopefully it's something i'm CLEARLY missing that's right under my nose. Thank you all again for your help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F R e N c H 3 z View Post
    Sarracenia you correct about the sulfides and smell relation. This use to be an issue which I have since resolved by letting the tray dry out in between waterings.

    I have a large black tray which I sit the pots in, all the water is shared between these pots. I tested this water and obtained a reading ~130ppm. I pulled every pot did the flush technique by pouring about 4-5 measuring cups of water on the top of the pot and collecting it as it exited the pot through the bottom. This is where I was obtaining my readings from. This is also where I obtained a reading of ~600+ ppm from one of the pots.
    If I flush any of my pots and collect that resulting filtrate, I too would be getting readings like you have experienced -- simply from the harmless, fine particulate matter in some of my mixes. TDS can either by innocuous or a real problem -- depending upon just which total dissolved solids are in suspension (peat particles, etc. in solution would raise the meter conductivity as would truly harmful salts) . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

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  8. #16

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    I could be mistaken, but if you have something like a portable TDS meter, I think those actually measure electrical conductivity, which is used to estimate TDS...i.e. the more dissolved, charged particles in the water, the better it will conduct electricity; like if you have table salt, it dissolves to Na+ ions and Cl- ions. I am going to assume your soil mix has sphagnum in it, which as we know releases acids, which also dissociate into positive and negatively charged ions in water, so it would make sense to me that deionized water that passes through it would contain these acids, which would give you measurable quantities on a conductivity/TDS meter. So I guess what I'm saying is that getting readings on your TDS meter in your tray water may not necessarily be a bad thing. As far as if the numbers you get are what would be expected from the spagnum, I can't tell you. I do work in a water quality lab and we measure conductivity in the field sometimes. My boss is gonna be gone on Wednesday, so if I remember, I'll stick some live sphagnum in some RO water tonight, and if I have time, i'll measure the conductivity on Wednesday.

    Quote Originally Posted by F R e N c H 3 z View Post
    Sarracenia you correct about the sulfides and smell relation. This use to be an issue which I have since resolved by letting the tray dry out in between waterings.

    I have a large black tray which I sit the pots in, all the water is shared between these pots. I tested this water and obtained a reading ~130ppm. I pulled every pot did the flush technique by pouring about 4-5 measuring cups of water on the top of the pot and collecting it as it exited the pot through the bottom. This is where I was obtaining my readings from. This is also where I obtained a reading of ~600+ ppm from one of the pots.
    I was assuming that I had organics (Nitrogen, Potassium etc...) in the water mainly because of the 'burnt' look on some of the leaves on my plants.
    Since the meter is reading high though it sounds like I have salts in the water, otherwise the meter would not have read anything...correct?

    I'll post some pictures tonight of the test batches, hopefully it's something i'm CLEARLY missing that's right under my nose. Thank you all again for your help.

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