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[APD] excess sodium (was Re: Aquatic-Plants Digest, Vol 29, Issue 7)
>Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 19:13:03 -0800 (PST)
>From: Thomas Barr <tcbiii at yahoo_com>
>Subject: Re: [APD] Aquatic-Plants Digest, Vol 29, Issue 7
>To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
>"1) Tap water kills YES KILLS!!!!!!!!! terrestrial plants. I
>have killed ferns, houseplants, succulents/cacti/aloe, before I
>started buying RO water to use for them. Now my houseplants
>thrive on RO water."
> Did you add dechlorinator to them water before?
> All the tap has is high KH and sodium.
> the sodium is the only thing that is troubling really.
Keerect, but not in quite the way you imply, below.
> " 3) My water tastes and smells like it would kill a human!!!
> So drink the RO water.
Truly a bad idea. It is deficient in all the essential electrolytes
needed to sustain normal life, plant or animal. Get a taste and odor
(carbon) filter if you don't like the taste. [The tap water still has a
very unhealthy amount of sodium for most folks, tho.]
> "1) Can someone explain to me whether this is OK for planted
> Depends on the plants you want to keep, many do well up to about 5 ppt salinity.
Only true if the electrolytes were all there, and they are not, in his
water. Potassium is essential to balance out sodium, but Ca++ and Mg++
are needed too. Proper cell metabolism will function with pretty bad
imbalances, but there is a point where sodium, in the absence of
adequate other essential ions, becomes quite lethal.
> " My local petshop "wisewoman" says no, and tries to sell me
>more RO water for 35 cents/gallon.
> 2) Do I need to buy my own RO filter?"
> You can, I would do that before buying water from her.
Yep. Agreed. You could also experiment with Seachem's "Equilibrium" and
see how much it takes to overcome the sodium imbalance in your tap
water. I killed my plants, even estuarine species like Java Moss and
Java Fern, in Modesto when I tried to add salt to that ultra-soft snow
runoff (tds about 50 ppm). Fish and plant health improved dramatically
when I just added a little bit of "Equilibrium." I could then use table
salt (the kind without silicates, of course) to adjust my tds with impunity.
BTW, I will not use any of the snake-oil stuff sold for correcting RO or
making rift-lake water, because they will not provide an accurate
ingredient list. YMMV, but if you need to tinker, at least know with
what and by how much! [Support Seachem, as they really support us, too.]
> " 3) What type of RO filter do I need?"
> See ebay for pricing and models, most tfc's and DI's will work.
> You can get a 24 GPD to 100 GPD model there.
You need much less. I have supported up to 150 small tanks in 450 ppm
hard water areas with a 10GPD unit that was far less efficient than
today's models. Output was like 50 ppm, instead of 5 or 10 ppm. You do
need a reservoir to collect the output 24/7, which can be a problem in a
smaller apt. I used food-grade plastic barrels with swamp-cooler cutoff
valves. The 3G tank on many models may be enough for a single tank, tho.
>" 4) Can I pass my tap water over something else, like crushed
>coral calcium or something, to get my water OK for aquarium
>plants without buying an RO filter?"
> Well, anything that will selectivity remove sodium will work , then you can avoid RO.
> DI likely will work.
Again, it will only work if the balance of electrolytes is OK. The
reason DI is worthless and kills most fish is the total absence of the
essential electrolytes. Life processes need them and it is hard to get
enough from food alone without water fouling. [Makes a great market for
snake oil, tho.:-)]
Crushed coral, marble chips, etc. are inadequate, for the serious part
of the problem is the apparent shortage of potassium. The PDF report
locks up my system, so I could not check it in the original report, but
the symptoms are exactly like those from folks who use water-softener
water on houseplants. The deliberate upset in electrolytes is unhealthy
to all living things to some extent.
I guess one could try adding a bit of grocery store "No Salt" salt
substitute to partially restore the balance. It is KCl, and maybe the
cheapest fix of all. I'd also use the coral gravel or other source of
> " 5) Does anyone have a recommendation for a portable,
>easy-to-install RO filter for a student-on-the-move housed in a rental
>property? I can't go putting holes in the pipe (at least until I
>have my rental deposit back!!! ROFL)"
> Most simply connect to the shower head, kitchen sink, or garden hose etc.
Buy a short replacement pipe for the one under the sink from cutoff
valve to the sink cold valve. Make your hole in that one for the saddle
valve, and keep the original to replace it when you leave.
> Tom Barr
Flame shield now going up for my temerity at disagreeing with the guru. :-)
Wright Huntley - Rt. 001 Box K36, Bishop CA 93514 - whuntley at verizon_net - 760 872-3995 760 874-2000 (CA) or 941 866-0500 (FL).
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with an airline ticket.
Unless you’re crazy” -- Chad Carter.
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