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Cloudy soaking water

This is a discussion on Cloudy soaking water within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Just wondering if anyone had an idea why my soaking water went cloudy all of ...

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  1. #1
    mrBreeze is offline Junior Member
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    Default Cloudy soaking water

    Just wondering if anyone had an idea why my soaking water went cloudy all of a sudden?

    I really didn't do anything different to it then normal. It was/is just a mixture of some rainwater, a lot of r/o water, some epsom salts, a little fert, and whatever residues come off the plants...plus msc. debris like bits of sphag, bark, perlite.

    I've been soaking mounts etc. in this tub for nearly a year. I would add a bit of bleach occasionally but lately i've added a bit of hydrogen peroxide instead. I know its bad to soak multiple plants in one place, but I have no choice.

    The water has ranged from crystal clear when new, to pretty brown and nasty after a few weeks...but its never gone totally cloudy before.

    I'm assuming it must be some kind of bacterial bloom and that they should eventually settle out. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    MikeWA's Avatar
    MikeWA is offline Senior Member
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    You keep the same water in there for weeks?

  3. #3
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    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Hi MrB, not sure why you're going to all the trouble of r/o water, epsom, etc. if you're just soaking wood to use as orchid mounts. None of what you're adding is going to be absorbed in any quantity appreciable enough to benefit the plants, (or if it is, it's not going to be released with just a watering once the plants are mounted). If you're using bleach in there too, you might as well just use chlorinated tap water. Bleach will evaporate out of solution in a matter of days, so if you're using the same water for weeks and weeks on end without adding more bleach, you're not accomplishing anything that water from a hose won't do as well.

    Water can cloud up for a variety of reasons: a bacterial bloom as you mentioned, a chemical reaction, the dissolving of some compound on the wood--it's going to be hard to say exactly what without knowing exactly what steps you took to get there and then performing some extensive tests....

    Less to worry about if you just change out the water every few days....

  4. #4
    RSJ
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    It sounds like you are using the same water repeatedly to soak already-mounted plants as your watering method?

    Even if you are using the same water for all the plants, you are a braver soul than I am to save it and use the same water again at a different watering, with or without adding bleach or peroxide. I'm not sure the bacteria will settle out, if that's what it is (I would guess so with the stagnant water, plentiful fert food and organic debris) without causing problems with the plants also. Bleach that baby, then wait several days before watering/soaking again so the chlorine dissipates.

    If it's been working for you for about a year with the bleach, then maybe going back to that rather than peroxide would clear up the cloud. But like Louis said, I'd be changing that water out instead.

    RSJ

  5. #5
    mrBreeze is offline Junior Member
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    Yes, i may end up doing that. Its a big tub of water and I hate to waste it...so I'll probably use as much as I can for dirt plants.

    I've heard all of the potentially bad things that can happen with using the same water to soak. In an ideal world I could avoid them...but there is no other solution that I can find. Too many mounts, vandas in the house during winter, and nasty hard tap water. Even with a tub that is about...30-40 gallons, it takes me four rounds of soaking to get them all. Doing anywhere from 5-20 at a time. If i soaked them individually, it would take all week.

    The cloudy water freaks me out more then passing anything amongst the plants. Wednesday is a soaking day...i gotta ditch the cloudy water tomorrow.

  6. #6
    LJA's Avatar
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    Sorry--I misunderstood. I didn't know you were watering plants that way--thought you were just pre-soaking wood for orchid mounts.

    You might be able to set up a plastic 40-gallon trash can for R/O water and fert in the bathroom somewhere, and use a submersible pump with a hose and spray head attachment rigged up to water all your plants in the shower or tub.

  7. #7
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    OK, I think I understand your situation. It's a real pain to carry all that water out of your orchid room and then carry new water in. Right? What about setting up a 2nd soaking tub the same size as the first and then rigging up some kind of homemade filter (maybe filled with charcoal or something). Once you use the water once or twice or whatever, you scoop it out of the first tub and pass it through your filter into the 2nd tub. That should remove a lot of the organic stuff so that it doesn't turn cloudy as fast. I would imagine you would still want to use your bleach or other disinfectant to kill potential critters. At least you shouldn't have to replace the water as often.

    Just a thought.

    Kev


    PS I made a discovery this winter. It you give those Bryophyllum daigremontianum light and water, they grow REALLY well.

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