Lowering the pH of tap Water.

frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)July 19, 2005

I am growing six sweet pepper plants in ebb and flow system using 100% perlite as the medium and Hydrogreen Hydroponic Plant Food in Arrowhead Distilled Water as the nutrient solution. The plants are growing furiously and I'm losing 0.4 gallon if nutrient every day (Through transpiration?) This will make any peppers I get off the plants very expensive at $3 for a 2.5 gal plastic jug of DW and I'd like to switch over to tap water-based nutrient. The pH of the local Long Beach tap water is 8.0 - 8.2, and I'd like to bring it down to about 6.5.

Can I do it, and how?

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willardb3

I use General Hydro 3-part mix and it works fine....I grow mostly chiles. Also go to BC hydro site and read what's there. Most commercial nutrient sites have the information you want.

Ph control can be done by commercial mixes of Ph up and Ph down.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 9:07AM
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frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)

Thanks for your thoughts, Willard. The materials Ph Up and Ph Down - is there anything more to them than just base (Ph Up) or acid (Ph Down)?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 1:11PM
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willardb3

Here is a good link to read......

Here is a link that might be useful: Ph control

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 8:07AM
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frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)

Sorry, willard, the pH link doesn't work.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 12:35PM
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jwk1(zone 4a)

try this

http://www.wormsway.com/catalog.asp?cat=test

Sorry, I'm a computer idiot and don't know how to do the hyperlink thing.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 9:04AM
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bill623(z8Tx)

I live in Central Texas and the tap water has a fairly high ph. I use Miracle Gro ( or more often the cheap imitatiton from Wally World) for my nutients when I need to lower my ph. MG gets its Nitrogen from urea, so it will lower ph.

Many "experts" will tell you bad things about MG, but I've used it a lot since I moved to Texas with great results. I got tired of trying to find something safe to lower my ph until someone posted on this forum about using MG. The great thing about this hobby is that you can try a lot of different things and find oud for yourself what works.

To be fair, I only grow an outside garden hydroponically. I don't know anything about growing indoors or anything for longer than one season (Mar - Nov). Not sure if there would be problems growing other plants indoors or for a longer period of time.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 11:20PM
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willardb3

Type in "ph up" to google and you will find suppliers, same with ph down.

I guess the moderator considers the link I gave too commercial and deleted it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 7:39AM
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baci(z10Ca)

Frangeb, you must be getting your water through northern CA. Mine is from the Colorado river & has a pH of about 7.
I have grown hot peppers in sphagnum, which helps bring down the pH down near the roots. I do not mix it with any other media during the summer, so it retains water. The peppers like it, it retains water, & it resists algae, I like it because it works well in the heat.
I have tried the Miracle Grow, & it will work. However, my peppers were smaller, & when I tried to over winter them they definitely developed a nutrient deficiency.
I am not suggesting you put all your peppers in peat; perhaps to just experiment with one. If you want nice quality peppers, use a good water soluble nutrient. The hydroponic pH control products are better because they keep the nutrients available for absorption for your plants better than other products. The pH up products are usually some form of phosphoric acid. Some stronger acids can bind the nutrients more than phosphoric & render then unavailable for absorption by your plants.
I am not an expert on pepper quality. Since Willard grows mostly peppers, he probably knows more about pepper quality than anyone else on forum.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 9:16AM
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frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)

Thanks to willard3 and baci for your kind replies. Since my last letter I have found a product called pH Minus - essentially a 10% sulfuric acid solution - at a local Lowe's hardware. I've not used it yet.

Our local (Long Beach) water is a mixture of groundwater out of the San Gabriels and Colorado River water, and the out-of-the-tap pH is about 8.0 - 8.2. I've been told this is no accident, that the water is purposely set on the basic side of neutral to prevent erosion of the plumbing by acidic water.

I've been growing sweet peppers with a nutrient material called HydroGreen and I've had both good and bad results with it. I'm new to the hydroponics game, and much of what I've been doing is strictly experimental. The reason I've gone to hydroponics at all is because my back yard is acutely sun-challenged. The sunniest spot is right on top of the patio table, and it makes for awkward entertaining to have your guests peering around a 30" tall pepper plant That said, I _do_ have a pepper plant on the patio table, planted in 100% perlite and fed on an on-demand basis with a 5 gm/gallon solution of the previously mentioned Hydrogreen. It's a healthy plant with some nice dark-green leaves, and I've gotten a few pretty tasty peppers from it. So the HydroGreen works, but as far as I can determine, the distributor (UMI, Inc) is upstairs over a vacant lot. There's only an address - no phone number - given on the HydroGreen package and there's no listing to be found by way of the Netscape Yellow Pages. I've sent away to the address for more nutrient ($3 for 8 oz.) but if I never hear from them I'll not be surprised. Thus my interest in MiracleGro, which I'd like to use as the only nutrient.

I just last week finished my first attempt to grow sweet peppers using only artificial illumination. The net result of it was a set of six sweet pepper plants growing in gallon pots of perlite and fed with the same Hydrogreen nutrient in an ebb and flow apparatus. All of the growth went into the foliage, which can only be described as "lush". Six very bushy plants with some leaves as large as 8" long from the tip to where the stem meets the leaf. The plants did bud, and some of the flowers opened, but not a pepper did I get. Some buds fell off immediately, and others after the flower opened and withered. Perhaps the whole setup was too hot. 21 deg. C is supposed to be the optimum temperature for flowering and I'm sure that the room mtemperature was well in excess of that. Maybe the spectral distribution of the liiumination is faulty. The illumination is a kluge made up of two 40 watt Sylvania Plant and Aquarium fluorescents looking down from on top, and two sets of two each of 40 watt GE cool white fluorescents, one set in front and one set behind the row of six plants. I scrubbed the whole operation and threw away the plants when I observed that the buds weren't developing and that great swathes of leaves had been devoured by some insect(s), caterpillars, I think, that had gotten into the open room

If either of you gents have any comments or questions on any of the above, I'd be most happy to hear them.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 5:41PM
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baci(z10Ca)

Thats interesting about your water  itÂs good that they protect those pipes. I know further south around the San Diego area they have a serious problem with frequent sewage spills, sinkholes, & polluted beaches because of broken pipes & an ill-maintained system. I have never seen a city with so many sewage spills. I would not like a high pH in my water, but in seeing the problems further south, maybe a pH adjustment might be in order.
We all need to develop our own system to suit our needs, & it sounds like you are doing that. The only suggestion I would have is if you go with the Miracle Grow to start a new batch of peppers from seed or buy a new bunch after you get them to fruit. Most people would do this anyway, but if you try to keep them you will probably see nutrient deficiencies.
The MG product is not recommended because of the associated problems it can cause. I can understand why you want to use it, but just be aware of potential problems so you know what to watch out for.
If you look at box labels, a cheaper product might be the Sams club variety. The last time I looked they have the same numbers, or percentage of constituents. The main thing to look at the MG product is the ammonia. It is usually recommended that it is no more than 10 percent of the total nitrogen source.
Also, these products also contain urea. I got this from a previous thread by Ammonia Catalyst:
"Urea can be applied in granular form for soil grown crops. In hydroponics, it is not advisable to use urea. The reason is that urea needs to be broken down first by certain soil bacteria to convert it to ammonia NH3 and then to NH4 which is the available form. You can mix urea in solution but up to 0.5 to 1% only. In excess will burn your plant. Another thing, urea contains biuret and buiret can burn the plants. The biuret content of urea should not exceed 2.25 %. Ask your supplier on this. It should be indicated in the label."
The sulfuric acid is a strong product, so it might bind some of the nutrients needed for the plant. Again, watch for nutrient deficiencies.
Another thing to consider is a soluble calcium source. Calcium nitrate is soluble, whereas the MG product probably does not have this. Just watch your plant for blossom end rot. Perhaps adding some lime to your media might help prevent it. The lime added might affect the pH; it depends on the type of lime you have available. Again, lime is generally not soluble or has poor solubility & may contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
I do not know whether your lack of budding is due to the lighting or not enough K. The hydro bloom formulas have a higher K value or a higher K:N ratio.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 8:33AM
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somint(z10SoCal)

I did the same thing. Went to Lowe's and did the PH Minus. I have a 10 gal. resrv. and maintain 6.5 after topping off. No problems so far. I'm in So. Cal.

I started with MG when just seeds, then switched to an All Purpose Hydroponic Nutrient.

Do a Google search for: jim taylor hydroponics products

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 1:49AM
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frangeb(z10 So. Calif.)

(I thought I had answered you earlier, somint. Somehow, it didn't get posted.)

Why did you switch to the all-purpose nutrient?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 1:27PM
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oasisgov

The mg will lower the ph and produce amonium which is a nono in hydro it causes stem stretch in studies it is uber absorbed by the plants... if stretching is not a concern by all means its awesome and will ph buffer too by exchanging molecule thingys lol.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 4:10AM
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easyisle

Neither my local Lowes nor Home Depot had any pH down available for pickup! I could not think of any other stores that would be open ... what to do??

A few minutes of research on pH and the chemistry behind it.. lead me to find a source for Phosphoric acid.

*Klean-strip Phosphoric Prep & Etch*

It is 40% Phosphoric acid (I think, maybe 60%) and the rest pure water. Works great and is the same exact stuff used in commercial pH down.. except in liquid form and likely a much higher concentration than normally used for hydro.

I only need 5 drops of it to move 1 liter of water down 1.6 pH points. 1 gal for $13 and change.... it will last me a decade probably ...

consider it! link below

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 2:02AM
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jamesvlad

The pH of the tap water I use is between 8 - 8.5. To lower the pH to 5.4 I add 1.7 ml Sulfuric acid (30%) to one gallon of tap water. Sulfuric acid is inexpensive, a very strong acid, and probably the best acid to use in hydroponics, you should try it. Nitric acid is expensive and you must add the double, and there is a problem with toxic fumes. The problem with Phosphoric acid is the high phosphorus concentration that you will obtain to reach the desired pH.
You can buy concentrated sulfuric acid (98%), just dissolve in water to the required concentration very carefully. The solution gets very hot. Always add acid to the water and never water to the acid.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 7:13PM
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catmando6694

i know i'm late to this thread but awhile back i saw hydroponic specific nutes at my local home depot then never saw them again so just for sh#*s and giggles i googled home depot hydroponic fertilizers and low and behold they have ph up and down plus nutes by green air products a reputable company and even a digital EC pen that rocks i guess if they aren,t on the shelves they can be ordered off the web site

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 11:37PM
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hardclay7a

Am I the only person experiencing good results lowering the ph of tap water using white vinegar?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 9:15AM
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catmando6694

in my experience white vinegar only lowers the ph for a short time for me i mix large batches of nutes at a time and when using vinegar the ph starts to climb back up over time but if your using vinegar and it works for you i'd say kudos and stick with what works for you

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 11:12AM
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catmando6694

thanks joe jr i'm a joe also i really appreciate what you said this forum is the first time that i've ever shared info in the past i only took info and never gave back i have alot of experience and would to like share it i'll stop the off topic stuff i'm thankful for the encouragement

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 3:47PM
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hardclay7a

That's a good point Joe,
I use it to lower the ph of the tap water prior to adding dry soluble nutes. I believe this may assist in preventing any of the mineral elements from locking out while dissolving.
It's quite likely that once dissolved, the elements provide additional buffering capacity to the solution.
My ph does begin to slowly rise after about 1+1/2 weeks at
which time I begin making small bi-weekly adjustments to keep it down. I usually go 3 weeks between change outs, at which point the ph is quite jumpy and can go either way almost overnight. Keep in mind that many plants can adjust to out of range ph over time but large & sudden ph changes are likely to shock plants into displaying a host of deficiency/toxicity symptoms. In any event it works for me, so I'll stick with it until I can afford those Ion exchange resins posted a while back. However I would still adjust ph before mixing nutes.
Ken

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 6:32PM
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hardclay7a

Correction to above;
Bi-weekly should be 1/2 weekly or twice a week.
I apologize for any confusion.
Ken

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 6:52PM
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catmando6694

thanks for the welcome i appreciate it hope i'm able to use some tips from all y'all and vice versa it's very rare now adays to actually get an apology

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 6:32PM
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namfon

hardclay7a - how many T. per gallon of white vinegar do you use to lower your pH 1.0 point ?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 2:55PM
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