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Thread: Leaching perilite?

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    Tastes like chicken! Exo's Avatar
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    Leaching perilite?

    I just read an interesting article on experiments done with neps and I noticed something odd.....apparently perlite leaches harmfull salts.

    http://carnivorousplants.org/cpn/sam...3n1p26_31.html

    The salts apparently can be removed by soaking it in water that has a high conductivity, but my question is......

    How the heck do you make water more conductive?

    If anyone knows let me know.

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    Generally conductivity and ionic concentration goes hand in hand. Afterall, conduction is the movement of charged particles. So, you can make a liquid more conductive by adding any sort of salt in it. Atleast thats what I would think.

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    Mad Scientist ch00ka's Avatar
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    I've read somewhere that some sources of perlite can release fluoride among other things, but I've never had a problem using it out of the bag . I wet it down to avoid inhaling the dust and flush the pot once to settle the plant into it's new media. The study you cite deals with seeds and seedlings which are probably more sensitive to salts and other dissolved solids leaching out of perlite or any other media components.

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    For approximately 18 months I have had a small planted tank containing Cephalotus cuttings, Heliamphora minor, Nepenthes glabrata and Utricularia sandersonii, all growing in perlite, with a top dressing of live Sphagnum moss. The perlite is the growing medium and I have not had any issues with it. However, as perlite is a natural(ish) resource, there will be variations within its properties.

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    Tastes like chicken! Exo's Avatar
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    So You basically soak it in saltwater for a few days and then soak it in distilled or rainwater?
    Some days it just isn't worth chewing thru the restraints.

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    Hmm...see...I would think about it in this way.

    Consider that the perlite has a particular kind of salt....(Magnesium afaik). You need a hypotonic solution in magnesium to have diffusion work its magic. THe best way to do this is to have a stirrer that constantly stirs the suspension of perlite. Maximum surface-area/liquid exposure.

    See... water has low conductivity to begin with. Lets take the principal of a galvanic cell. You use a salt bridge to prevent the buildup of a particular ion in high concentrations that can prevent current flow. So, I would think the whole idea of soaking perlite in high ionic solution is counterproductive, as your solution will have too much postive charge (Na+) to soak up any Mg2+ ions.

    So IMO...the best way to leech out ions is to put it in as pure water as you can.

    But.... comes back to the point of doing this. Are u doing this for seeds or seedlings? Because apart from those handful of holy grail ultrahighland species...many are tolerant of these low salts.

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    Tastes like chicken! Exo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vraev View Post
    Hmm...see...I would think about it in this way.

    Consider that the perlite has a particular kind of salt....(Magnesium afaik). You need a hypotonic solution in magnesium to have diffusion work its magic. THe best way to do this is to have a stirrer that constantly stirs the suspension of perlite. Maximum surface-area/liquid exposure.

    See... water has low conductivity to begin with. Lets take the principal of a galvanic cell. You use a salt bridge to prevent the buildup of a particular ion in high concentrations that can prevent current flow. So, I would think the whole idea of soaking perlite in high ionic solution is counterproductive, as your solution will have too much postive charge (Na+) to soak up any Mg2+ ions.

    So IMO...the best way to leech out ions is to put it in as pure water as you can.

    But.... comes back to the point of doing this. Are u doing this for seeds or seedlings? Because apart from those handful of holy grail ultrahighland species...many are tolerant of these low salts.
    I was going to try growing my small burbidgeae in a mix similar to the one found to work best in the study.
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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    Dude...I grow a burbidgeae 2-3 inches diameter in a mix with perlite/orchid bark/LFS and charcoal. The plant is doing fine. I personally wouldn't worry about using regular perlite.

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