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Testing water for TDS

I know that my water is going to be too high but I want to be sure what it is. So how an I test it? Is there test kits at local hardware stores that can do it or do I have to buy one the ones you would use to test R/O water? Should I be testing for anything else then TDS? What is the highest it can be for it to be ok to use for daily watering? I of course would flush them with R/O water every now and then.
I would like to hear what substances and amounts are acceptable to CP's.
It has not rained much here in PA and I have to keep buying water, and it's adding up fast.

I have located a natural spring close by and took a water sample. The TDS read 41 ppm and PH was at 5.1. The thing I'm afraid of is what IS the 41 ppm that is in the water.
I'm going to try to find the group that maintains the spring and see if they have a detailed analysis of what is actually in the water.
Then I have to find out if the amounts are ok to use with CP's.
At lowes they have these little strips you can take and they tell you if the water is hard or not... But it wasn't clear enough. So I spent the $30 or close to that for one of the battery operated devices that actually checks the TDS of RO systems to make sure the membrane is working correctly. It's nice cause I have it whenever I need it. As far as what's the highest, that's hard to say, my RO puts out an average of about 6ppm of TDS and even at that, it builds up in my trays. I personally would not use any type of tap water unless I was only top watering (and that is still a maybe lol) , but I know there are a few people here that say they do it.

JM - If it's public water, you can get analytic results from the water provider. Many have that online these days. If it's Milwaukee water, you might worry about what little buggies are swimming around in it too.

EG - If the spring is a commonly used water source, either a state, county or municipal health department is probably monitoring it and you should be able to track down results. But if it's really 41 ppm TDS, with a pH of 5.1, go ahead and use it. It would be implausible for it to contain anything at a harmful level.
Can you get a TDS meter at home depot in the RO section?
I admit that I'm very afraid.
It's probably fine, but if not, it has taken a long time to find some of the plants in my collection and do not want to have to start again. There are a lot of farms in the area and concerned about fertilizer in the water. I guess it can not be too bad, I have seen people filling up gallon jugs there before.
I think I may drive to the spring and ask some of the local people on help getting in touch with the correct people. It is maintained by the Lions Club in Seven valleys. I tried googling to see if I could not find a phone number to contact them for a breakdown of the water, but no luck.

I do know of another spring, that is a lot further away that CP's do grow in the area so I would trust it more. Plus no farming anywhere close. I have never taken my TDS to the site, I'll have to do it this year.

I bought mine off ebay.
You can buy TDS meters along with the standards solutions you need to calibrate them at hydroponics stores. You can get fancy ones that measure TDS and PH and something (don't remember) too.
Ive always heard that 50ppm TDS is the magic safe number...

but based upon that, 41 sure doesn't give much of a comfort zone

Just get a TDS meter on ebay for cheap. That's where I got mine and I love it, never have to wonder if my RO unit is working properly or not.
  • #11
Send me a small sample of your water and I'll be glad to test it for you.
  • #12
Can neps take tap water? I just some outside and I'm thinking they will want a lot because of the heat.
  • #13
I give my plants, including tap water all the time. If I have no rain water, I'll give them tap. But the TDS of my tap water is in the 20's.