Hey community peoples.
So, I'm finding all sorts of fun new information about my water quality and I could use a little help. I just need some advice/reassurance on a few things.
I've been stumped over why it's been so hard to adjust the pH of my well water. I've been collecting rainwater all summer, so I forgot I even had this problem. I did some reading on KH (which I have been completely in the dark about, go figure) and tested my water. My system tested out at 7.6, dKH 4. My well water: pH 8.3, dKH 12+. I'm a little unsure as of which is best way to proceed topping off my system over the winter.
Are there steps I can be taking to avoid using copious amounts of acid? (Is running my water through a softener not an option because of the salt? And would that even lower KH or just general hardness?) Perhaps there's a cheaper way of adjusting pH? Or maybe I just need to find a new water source? We have gotten a generous amount of snow this year, I can collect that and melt it down for top off water with little effort...I don't know. What do you guys say? Any thoughts?
Alex, water hardness is ONLY caused by calcium and magnesium salts in the water. "Chemical Softeners" don't exactly remove the calcium or magnesium so much but attach other chemicals to them like baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in a sense lightening/pillowing the water, BUT NOT purifying it.
Pure water is simply that. PURE. Nothing but molecules made up of 2 atoms of oxygen and 1 atom of hydrogen bound by their own electric charges making what is known as neutral or 7.0 pH.
Other particles weather they are animal mineral or chemical also carry electrical charges that effect the over all pH and might also be lightened but not removed using a so called softener. They CAN be filtered if they aren't so dissolved that they wash right through a filter along with the water that they attach to.
They can be blocked on one side of a membrane as in reverse osmoses and flushed away with most of the original volume as concentrate.
Gases not bound to the O2 can be released through degasification.
Remaining elements hat cling by ionic charge to the water and other particles can be de-ionized breaking the bonds and allowing further filtering and purification. This deionizing might best be thought of as mechanical softening and generally uses resin beads with huge amounts of surface area to attract the oppositely charged ions and thus trapping the charged particles.
There are a few ways to "purify" water. Boiling it and catching the clean condensate is one way. Another uses ultraviolet light to kill pathogens. There are probably more purification processes than can be counted.
AND the purification method that I use and believe has the most promise for auaponics success can be described as using ozone or O3.
Ozone is a gas made of molecules made up of THREE oxygen atoms. There is an abundance of O3 in our upper atmosphere and is created in nature by lightning strikes and the sun's magnetic waves as seen in the aurora borealis. At sea level with normal dissolved particles in fresh water, O3 has a short half life of about 30 minutes before splitting up into 3 individual atoms. Before they do though, other particles are attracted and thus freed from the other bonds they held.
After treating my degassed water by bubbling Ozone through it, I then filter it again but find that a protein skimmer does a better job. I then pretty much have water as PURE as I hope to get and begin re-mineralizing it with chosen amounts of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and other essentials... After that, it's ready to add to our AP system and to carry the nutrients and extra oxygen to our plants, fish, bacteria, and other beneficial organisms..
It sounds complicated doesn't it? But it isn't really. Simply think purify instead of treat and change and contaminate and charge and un-charge and and and...
Just start with pure water and remember that anything we put in to our AP and don't take out accumulates until the plants and fish can't accumulate it any longer.