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Is my tap water suitable for Paphs?

This is a discussion on Is my tap water suitable for Paphs? within the Orchids Which are Exceptionally Sensitive to Water Quality forums, part of the General Information category; About a month ago I bought two Paphs (Maudiae type). I keep reading that they ...

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  1. #1
    sewcrazy64 is offline Member
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    Default Is my tap water suitable for Paphs?

    About a month ago I bought two Paphs (Maudiae type). I keep reading that they are very sensitive to water quality, so I've been trying to figure out whether my tap water is ok for them. I know that we have hard water and it's alkaline. The city report says it has 40 ppm sodium.

    Will my Paphs do well using this tap water for everyday watering & fertilizing with a once-a-month flushing of rain water? If not, what should I do?

    I will appreciate your advice! Dana

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    Hi Dana, not altogether sure about effects of high alkaline on Paphs, but I know that there are additives you can put on the water to lower the ph level. I use something similar for my aquarium water to lower the ph.

    Hopefully others may be able to chime in on this issue.

    Oh and also, I don't bother doing this to the water i use for my Paphs... straight from tap to hose to plant.

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    Hi Dana, the water quality doesn't seem to be very good for plants especially potted plants and orchids. There is way too much sodium in your water and your water is still hard and alkaline, which means to get it to the right pH you need to either soften the water (more Sodium) or use an acid like Nitric or phosphoric acid (More dissolved salts) Any of these means will increase the Electrical conductivity EC of the water. Higher EC causes a lot of stress on the roots. The best measure would be to use RO water, may be you could dilute 1 or 2 parts of your tap water with 9 or 8 parts of RO water and then use it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halloamey View Post
    Hi Dana, the water quality doesn't seem to be very good for plants especially potted plants and orchids. There is way too much sodium in your water and your water is still hard and alkaline...
    Thanks for the explanation. I didn't know my water was that bad. I don't have access to RO water but I do have a distiller. Should I use distilled water for everyday watering & fertilizing?

    If so, then I have two questions. 1. Since distillation removes everything from the water, will my orchid fertilizer provide everything my orchids need? (It contains: 20-14-13 no urea, Magnesium, Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Zinc.). 2. I noticed calcium is not listed. How do I provide calcium?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sewcrazy64 View Post
    I don't have access to RO water but I do have a distiller. Should I use distilled water for everyday watering & fertilizing?

    If so, then I have two questions. 1. Since distillation removes everything from the water, will my orchid fertilizer provide everything my orchids need? (It contains: 20-14-13 no urea, Magnesium, Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Zinc.). 2. I noticed calcium is not listed. How do I provide calcium?
    Great you have a distiller ! I plan to install a solar distiller once I am back in India. Good that you noticed that your fertilizer was lacking Calcium (Ca). There are four ways to go about this.
    1) get a fertilizer that has Ca like excel Cal-Mag 15:5:15 or any other one which has all micro and macro nutrients (the easiest way out)

    2) As you mention your water is hard, you could do a simple test (one of the DIY kits from the aquarium store) and find out the calcium content (GH general hardness test, will tell you about ppm Ca and Mg in your water). You could then simply dilute your tap water with distilled water to get around 150 ppm (mg/L) Ca.

    3) Ca is generally supplemented to plants in the form of Calcium nitrate Ca(NO3)2 or Calcium ammonium nitrate Ca(NH4NO3). You could buy these and supplement your distilled water to again 150 ppm Calcium.

    4) Buy common Ca supplement tablets from health stores CaCO3 and put a tablet or two in each pot. When you water each time with your soft, slightly acid water, some of this Ca will dissolve and be absorbed by the roots. Many people like to supplement their Paph medium with limestone chips (CaCO3). May be this is a good option for you.

    Regards Amey

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    Great information, Amey. Thanks!

    Cheers,
    BD

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    Amey, you are such a great help! Thank you for all the great suggestions! I've been looking into each, and I am leaning toward the calcium supplement from the health food store because it's easy to get and inexpensive.

    One last question, this fertilizer also lacks Sulfur. Would you please suggest an easily obtained, inexpensive way to I add it?

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    @ Amey, very useful info.

    speaking about paph. calcium is that important?

    and about others. If I use fertilizers whit macro and micro nutrients is that enough?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sewcrazy64 View Post
    Amey, you are such a great help! Thank you for all the great suggestions! I've been looking into each, and I am leaning toward the calcium supplement from the health food store because it's easy to get and inexpensive.

    One last question, this fertilizer also lacks Sulfur. Would you please suggest an easily obtained, inexpensive way to I add it?
    You can buy Epsom salt (MgSO4, 7 H2O) at any pharmacy, they are used for a rather unpleasant reason (hehe). It will be a white crystalline powder. Dissolve it to 25-50 mg/litre of water and that should be sufficient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamond View Post
    @ Amey, very useful info.

    speaking about paph. calcium is that important?

    and about others. If I use fertilizers whit macro and micro nutrients is that enough?
    Calcium is not only needed for Paphs but for all plants. It is an essential element it actually borders near the macro elements. The fact that it is present in sufficient quantities in water or potting media makes it not of so much importance. Some Paphs naturally grow in humus accumulated on limestone cliffs and hence they need more calcium.

    If your fertilizer has micro and macro nutrients, it should be enough. But may be try using fertilizers of different brands, they use different chemicals and formulas, by doing that you give a very goog profile of nutrients to your plants.

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