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By Rudy1776
Posts:  66
Joined:  Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:57 pm
#362048
Howdy everyone!

So today I received my first TDS meter. I got it primarily to test the water from one of my local RO refill stations, to determine if it's safe enough for my plants. However, my curiosity led me to use it on my distilled water and water in my trays. Here's where the surprise comes, I just measured the water sitting in one of my trays and it's registering at about 500 PPM! This blew my mind! So, should I dump all this water and wash the tray and refill? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

**A few helpful points of info**
-I have been growing my plants outdoors on my south facing balcony for about 5 months. Most have been growing happily and growing well.
-This water reading is from distilled water I placed inside a tray this morning. I have NOT flushed my soil, well, since buying the plants (which came potted from a reputable nursery).
-I DO have pieces of mosquito dunks in the tray and of course some soil floating around. Could that cause such a high reading?

I feel so betrayed haha. If it's worth noting, I am relatively experienced in growing CP's but getting a TDS meter is probably the most "technical" I have gotten in my growing. Thanks in advance everyone!
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By Shadowtski
Posts:  4113
Joined:  Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:19 am
#362051
The high reading could be from stuff leaching out of your peatmoss, but it's most likely from the mosquito dunks.

My 02¢ suggestion is to dump the high tds water, rinse the pots, and refill with fresh water.

If you leave the water level lower and let it almost dry out between waterings, you should not have a mosquito problem.
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By kato_stud25
Posts:  65
Joined:  Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:08 pm
#362121
It's from the mosquito drunks. I recently ran into this same thing when I got some mosquito dunks for fungus gnats. I Put a dunk in 2 gallons of water for about 2 days and noticed a white crusty residue where the water level evaporated so I checked the tds and it was 350 ppm so I could only imagine what the tds would be if you were to keep the dunks in your trays all the time.
By twitcher
Posts:  586
Joined:  Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:56 am
#362123
Leaving dunks out of the picture, it is normal for the TDS to increase in tray water, even if you water with distilled. Dust, dirt, insects (not everything will be used by the plant) and leaching all will tend to build up over time. There is really no other place for them to go, so they remain in the tray and accumulate. The rate, of course, varies on numerous things. I recommend and follow a testing and flushing schedule with my trays. Test your tray water tds periodically and flush and clean as appropriate. I use very low tds water in my trays (indoors), so don't have to flush too often, maybe every 6 months. If you test the TDS in your trays monthly you likely will not be surprised again. Most rainwater does not have a tds of 0.
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By optique
Location: 
Posts:  455
Joined:  Fri May 24, 2019 11:15 pm
#362127
I use dunks but when i fill up my treys i put 300% more water than it can hold so it just drains out stopping buildup. My tap water is safe so i have low TDS water to spare my not work for others.

Also don't use a whole dunk for something small i cut mine up into slices.

Image
By tommyr
Location: 
Posts:  1527
Joined:  Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:38 am
#362151
I float one quarter of a mosquito dunk in each of my 5 gallon rain buckets and my 20 gallon reserve can. I also use a quarter of one in a 1/2 gallon watering can indoors. Been doing that for many years. I have never had any troubles. My rainwater usually tests at 0 - 2ppm. I've never tested it after adding dunks. All my plants grow just fine. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
By ChefDean
Location: 
Posts:  1679
Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
#362247
I ran a little experiment.
I took 2 cups of peat moss and rehydrated it in a container with no drain. I added rain water and allowed it to absorb as much as possible for a few hours, adding more when it wasn't pooling.
When it would no longer absorb any water, I poured more water in to get the peat swimming and let it sit another hour.

Here's what I found with the TDS.
Rain water - 2 ppm
Peat soup - 68 ppm
First water drained from peat - 56 ppm
Water from peat after rinsing with about 2 cups of rain water - 5 ppm

So, like Shadowtski theorizes, it is most likely a combination of the peat and the dunks. You didn't say, but most people use perlite with peat, which needs to be rinsed well also because of salts and minerals. If you're using perlite, that could contribute as well.
I would recommend replace the water in the trays and gently top water to flush the media of any minerals there, but I can't help you with the dunks. I personally don't use them, I just place my few dews to help catch the skeeters before they deposit their spawn from hell in my water.
Good luck.
By Rudy1776
Posts:  66
Joined:  Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:57 pm
#362340
ChefDean wrote:I ran a little experiment.
I took 2 cups of peat moss and rehydrated it in a container with no drain. I added rain water and allowed it to absorb as much as possible for a few hours, adding more when it wasn't pooling.
When it would no longer absorb any water, I poured more water in to get the peat swimming and let it sit another hour.

Here's what I found with the TDS.
Rain water - 2 ppm
Peat soup - 68 ppm
First water drained from peat - 56 ppm
Water from peat after rinsing with about 2 cups of rain water - 5 ppm

So, like Shadowtski theorizes, it is most likely a combination of the peat and the dunks. You didn't say, but most people use perlite with peat, which needs to be rinsed well also because of salts and minerals. If you're using perlite, that could contribute as well.
I would recommend replace the water in the trays and gently top water to flush the media of any minerals there, but I can't help you with the dunks. I personally don't use them, I just place my few dews to help catch the skeeters before they deposit their spawn from hell in my water.
Good luck.
Hi Chef! And also everyone who replied!

This is very helpful! I am going to assume the high reading is from the dunks and peat, etc. I will be cleaning all my trays removing the dunks. I originally started using the dunks for what I thought were gnats. But I have since learned they were simply a TON of springtails.

I will say, I am guilty of not rinsing my perlite! I always rinse my lfsm or peat, but never thought yo rinse the perlite out too. I will be flushing all my pots this week also!

Thanks for all the help!


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