How To Prepare Water For Hydroponics

by Lettuce Be | Last Updated:

As a result, farmers should understand what is in standard faucet water and why it makes so much difference. In the process of treating tap water, bacteria and all other impurities are removed. Despite it being safe for our use, hydroponic plants cannot use it because of these treatments.

To prepare water for home use, it is usually cleaned and purified as follows.

To kill harmful bacteria in water, chlorine and chloramines are added.
Impurities solidify due to the addition of aluminum sulfate.
Purified water is filtered by a variety of means to remove impurities.
pH levels have been adjusted to make the water safe for human consumption.

Chlorine and Chloramines

water preparation in hydroponicsA common method of killing waterborne bacteria is to add chlorine. Despite this, it is also among the micronutrients that plants need in minute amounts. As a result, farming would require no additional chloramines or chlorine. However, these elements are already present in concentrated nutrient mixes and therefore would not need to be added.

As a result, plants will absorb too much water. This mistake can be stunted plant growth, and this will kill off the beneficial bacteria on roots.

Soft and Hard Water

It is important to understand these two terms when referring to hydroponics. In hard water, you see hard crystallized substances accumulating at the end of a faucet or a showerhead. Dishwashers and washing machines break down due to hard water as well. The minerals in hard water bind together to form these deposits when you live in a hard-water area. Hydroponic plants require small amounts of minerals in their water because levels in the water will be higher.

Magnesium and calcium are the two main culprits. Although plants require these to thrive, they are only required in small quantities. Increasing these minerals can lead to drastic increases in PPM (Parts per Million). As a minimum, 150 parts per million are present in water from the faucet as excess salts.

Plants have difficulty absorbing nutrients because of this. In general, you should mix the nutrient mixes in pH-neutral water. Increased pH levels can cause the faucet water to lock out the nutrients. There are issues you can observe, such as wilting plants.

Growers can complicate matters by attempting to adjust the pH levels of hard and soft water. Potassium and phosphorous are nutrients that are present in most of the mixtures, so pH adjusters should contain these nutrients.

In most cases, there is only one course of action for dealing with hard water problems. It removes impurities from water by using a Reverse Osmosis machine or another filtration system.

 Chelates in Hydroponics

Nutrient solution producers need a way to make sure the hydroponic nutrients are suspended in the solution. Chelates are designed to accomplish this. It would be possible for some of the system components to start latching onto each other without these. When this occurs, the plants are rendered useless.

Chemistry can make acids and chelates out of several chemical compounds. For instance, ETDA is a chemical, and humic acid is an organic substance. In this case, chlorine is a micronutrient that is affected by the chelates. This is more likely to be absorbed by your plants from your tap water once it meets them.

Hydroponic systems can utilize tap water in several ways. Each water element will require its preparation, and it will vary according to what you want to remove.

Even though chlorine removal can be quite simple, it is a lengthy and time-consuming process. You should determine whether your local municipal water supplier adds regular chlorine or chloramines to their water as the first step for any of the processes.

You can begin preparing water from the faucet for use in your hydroponic system by following these steps.

Removing Chlorine

Even though it takes time, it can be one of the easiest things to remove from tap water. You need to let your water sit in strong direct sunlight for 24 hours. As a result, chlorine is released into the water following the UV ray break-down. When you have a large amount of reservoir water to deal with, this off-gassing can be challenging.

Removing Chloramine

In contrast to the previous compound, this one does not decompose when heated. When water has been treated with chloramine, you can easily treat it. You can purchase Campden Tablets, and you add one tablet per 20 gallons of water. The good thing about these is that they can remove both chloramines and chlorine. You can also use an activated carbon filter for water filtration. The filters that you purchase to purify drinking water are similar to these.

Hard Water and PPM

It takes repeated testing to receive this treatment, so that it can be challenging. You should remove calcite and magnesium from the water. A basic water filter will do in small systems, but you will need to change it quite often. Reverse osmosis filters are the best way. You can also install the systems in the home plumbing system to provide benefits in other areas.

When you buy a specific hydroponic one, it will have carbon and sediment filters already installed. It’s cheaper to use these than to lose crops because of tap water leakage. The other downside to these systems is that they can produce wastewater while they are producing clean water.

Alternate Sources of Water

Here are other ways you can get safe water for use in hydroponic growing.

Rainwater

It can be one of the most cost-effective ways to collect water for your indoor garden, but you will have to construct a water collection system to ensure that you have the cleanest possible water. By placing large drums under downspouts, you can build a system easily. While you should make sure excess water drains down the drains, you can still cause flooding around the home if you bypass the drain system.

Depending on your local laws, you may not be able to collect rainwater in some cases. Ensure that all local and federal regulations are followed before beginning any rainwater collection system.

Deionized Water

It is made by exposing normal water to electric charges and subsequently removing all the salts from it. As distilled water is very pure, the hydroponic solution left behind is very similar to what is left after treatment.

Distilled Water

Hydroponics grows in this sterile environment, which is easy to obtain and considered a great option. While distilled water is free of the contaminants previously discussed, you should be aware of the lack of calcium and magnesium since you will remove all traces of these minerals. If your essential nutrients lack calcium and magnesium, you may want to purchase a dedicated calcium and magnesium solution. It is important to be careful as you could end up creating hard water again.

Those who are new to growing hydroponic plants need to be aware of the difference between tap water and other forms of water. Despite it being suitable for use in some places, it is quite different a few miles away. Successful hydroponic gardening is only possible if the water in the system is sourced correctly from the beginning.