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Discuss water requirements, "soil" (growing media) and suitable planting containers

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By elaineo
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#418242
I found a used ZeroWater pitcher while rifling through a community dumpster, and brought it home cuz Yay Free Stuff. Of course the filter was spent (output TDS measured 20ppm). Out of curiosity and disregard for health and safety, I tasted the water -- it was slightly sour but not unpleasant. My pH meter measured 4.22.

According to this website, the filter uses an ion exchange layer to replace cations with H+ and anions with OH-. Typical tap water cations include Ca+, Na+, K+, Mg+; typical anions include SO3-, Cl-, CO3-. If the OH- is fully consumed first, then the anions remain and combine with H+, resulting in acids such as sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and carbonic acid.

Are these acids harmful to CPs? If not, could we use ZeroWater for our plants long after the filter is used up?
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By Intheswamp
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#418273
Out of curiosity and disregard for health and safety, I tasted the water -- it was slightly sour but not unpleasant. My pH meter measured 4.22.
:shock: Bear Grylls ain’t got nothin’ on you, elaino !!!!
Last edited by Intheswamp on Mon Aug 15, 2022 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By jetfire245
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#418277
elaineo wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 10:13 pm
Are these acids harmful to CPs? If not, could we use ZeroWater for our plants long after the filter is used up?
I'm unsure how to answer this completely. Those acids are definitely not safe for carnivorous plants and that hydrochloric is actually capable of dissolving flesh in high quantities. That carbonic acid is actually what makes your water taste weird after it sits for hours.

Anyways, while these acids are definitely not "good" for carnivorous plants. The safety of using the water depends on what quantity the acid is in the solution.

Additionally, the zero water filter contains what is kind of a compact and slow reverse osmosis filter.

This includes a layer of deionization resin. This resin is fantastic at removing small particles due to their charge.

However, once di resin is saturated, as it likely is in your case. It will start to actually release particles back into the water because it's mode of action is simply not possible when there's so many charged contaminants already sticking to the resin.

Long story short: Check the tds output. If it's within our usual levels of about 100 or lower. It should be fine. Just be careful because once that filter is saturated, it will basically just start dispensing hard water lol.
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By elaineo
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#418311
jetfire245 wrote: I'm unsure how to answer this completely. Those acids are definitely not safe for carnivorous plants and that hydrochloric is actually capable of dissolving flesh in high quantities. That carbonic acid is actually what makes your water taste weird after it sits for hours.
...
Long story short: Check the tds output. If it's within our usual levels of about 100 or lower. It should be fine. Just be careful because once that filter is saturated, it will basically just start dispensing hard water lol.
I know 100 ppm is the usual rule of thumb, but not all dissolved solids are created equal. Na+ is known to be harmful to CPs because it triggers electrical activity that causes the traps to die. On the other hand, humic and fulvic acids are found in peat, and not harmful even in abundance.

Is there a scientific reason why sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, carbonic acid are "definitely not safe"? (Given the measured pH of 4.22, I'm pretty sure it's mostly just carbonic acid)
By jetfire245
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#418325
elaineo wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 3:03 am
jetfire245 wrote: I'm unsure how to answer this completely. Those acids are definitely not safe for carnivorous plants and that hydrochloric is actually capable of dissolving flesh in high quantities. That carbonic acid is actually what makes your water taste weird after it sits for hours.
...
Long story short: Check the tds output. If it's within our usual levels of about 100 or lower. It should be fine. Just be careful because once that filter is saturated, it will basically just start dispensing hard water lol.
I know 100 ppm is the usual rule of thumb, but not all dissolved solids are created equal. Na+ is known to be harmful to CPs because it triggers electrical activity that causes the traps to die. On the other hand, humic and fulvic acids are found in peat, and not harmful even in abundance.

Is there a scientific reason why sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, carbonic acid are "definitely not safe"? (Given the measured pH of 4.22, I'm pretty sure it's mostly just carbonic acid)
Well. My chemistry class taught me that hydrochloric and sulfuric acid are highly caustic acids both able to dissolve humans in a barrel lol.


From Brittanica on Sulfuric acid: "In addition to being an oxidizing agent, reacting readily at high temperatures with many metals, carbon, sulfur, and other substances, concentrated sulfuric acid is also a strong dehydrating agent, combining violently with water; in this capacity, it chars many organic materials, such as wood, paper, or sugar, leaving a carbonaceous residue"

From pub Chem on hydrochloric acid: "Hydrochloric acid is corrosive to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure may cause eye, nose, and respiratory tract irritation and inflammation and pulmonary edema in humans."

Full disclosure these are not complete information quotes. These are just a small piece of the article from where they came.

My point being though is both of the acids are known to be highly caustic capable of burning and dissolving organic matter. Now, I'm certainly not a scientist, but if that crap can dissolve my skin, I'm sure it can dissolve my flytrap.

Now that being said. Those definitions are the acid in its purest form. The water you're processing is likely output with a diluted form of the acids we talked about.

You're right. Not all dissolved solids are created equal. But generally if that crap is below 100ppm and its not some extremely rare poison. You should be fine.

Of course, I suppose I'd be inclined to test that theory if I were you. And make sure there's not other stuff in the water to make the plants unhappy.

Edit: Oh I see your TDS is 20ppm and ph is 4.2. Well Google says acid rain is about 4.6 and carnivorous plants generally don't mind slightly acidic soil. So I guess really I'd be more concerned about long term exposure making the soil super acidic. But also, I have zero idea on how long or if that would ever be an issue.

Edit 2: Also, to bring the water down from its usual 7ph on the zero water down to 4.2 it is guaranteed there is SOME sort of acid. But the possibilities are pretty diverse on which one is really doing that because we don't know the exact composition of the water.
By oval
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#418327
Back in my high school chemistry class decades ago, the teacher passed around a beaker of dilute hydrochloric acid and had us dip our finger in and taste it, saying it was part of the acids in your stomach already. Can't imagine this being done today!

I have wondered if soaking a ZeroWater filter (in a bucket of rainwater?) after it has stopped producing low ppm water would kind of wash it out and extend its life. Never tried it.
Last edited by oval on Wed Aug 17, 2022 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By Panman
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#418330
Yes, hydrochloric and sulphuric acids are extremely caustic. The question is what is the dillution? Small amounts in a large quantity of water is not the same thing as undiluted acid.
By jetfire245
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#418357
Panman wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 4:11 pm Yes, hydrochloric and sulphuric acids are extremely caustic. The question is what is the dillution? Small amounts in a large quantity of water is not the same thing as undiluted acid.
I'm thinking this is one of the things that needs to be tested.

Either that or someone gotta pay for a lab test lol.
By tommyr
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#419249
elaineo wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 10:13 pm Are these acids harmful to CPs? If not, could we use ZeroWater for our plants long after the filter is used up?
You're over thinking this. A lot of people use the zero water pitchers for CPs. I even got one to play with. No issues at all. Plus you can use up to 100ppm water as long as you repot every year. This according to California Carnivores. I try to keep it below 50ppm. My rainwater is usually 1-3ppm.
Last edited by tommyr on Wed Aug 31, 2022 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Intheswamp
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#419262
tommyr wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 1:36 pm
elaineo wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 10:13 pm Are these acids harmful to CPs? If not, could we use ZeroWater for our plants long after the filter is used up?
You're over thinking this. A lot of people use the zero water pitchers for CPs. I even got one to play with. No issues at all. Plus you can use up to 100ppm water as long as you repot every year. This according to California Carnivores. I try to keep it below 500ppm. My rainwater is usually 1-3ppm.
Uh, below 500ppm?
:?:
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By tommyr
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#419267
Intheswamp wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 5:14 pm
tommyr wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 1:36 pm
elaineo wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 10:13 pm Are these acids harmful to CPs? If not, could we use ZeroWater for our plants long after the filter is used up?
You're over thinking this. A lot of people use the zero water pitchers for CPs. I even got one to play with. No issues at all. Plus you can use up to 100ppm water as long as you repot every year. This according to California Carnivores. I try to keep it below 500ppm. My rainwater is usually 1-3ppm.
Uh, below 500ppm?
:?:
Obviously I meant 50ppm, fat fingers happen.
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By elaineo
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#419269
tommyr wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 1:36 pm You're over thinking this. A lot of people use the zero water pitchers for CPs. I even got one to play with. No issues at all. Plus you can use up to 100ppm water as long as you repot every year. This according to California Carnivores. I try to keep it below 500ppm. My rainwater is usually 1-3ppm.
Of course I am overthinking this. I am a loser with nothing better to do, so humor me won't ya?

According to my calculations (How to Find pH for a Given Molarity), 100ppm of HCl or H2SO4 would result in a pH of 2.5, whereas 100ppm of H2CO3 would result in a pH of 4.4. It's easy to figure out the concentrations, but why is 100ppm of any acid dangerous?

If the main risk of such acids is their potential to denature proteins, then even 500ppm may not be problematic. The idea of acids dissolving human bodies in a bathtub is mostly Hollywood fiction (it would take weeks even with pure H2SO4).

I suspect the bigger risk is that the acids increase mineral solubility, which increases the usual mineral burn problems if there are already trace minerals present. This calls for an experiment :twisted:
By tommyr
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#419271
elaineo wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 7:22 pm
tommyr wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 1:36 pm You're over thinking this. A lot of people use the zero water pitchers for CPs. I even got one to play with. No issues at all. Plus you can use up to 100ppm water as long as you repot every year. This according to California Carnivores. I try to keep it below 500ppm. My rainwater is usually 1-3ppm.
Of course I am overthinking this. I am a loser with nothing better to do, so humor me won't ya?
Whoa, where the heck did THAT come from? Good luck, I'm out.
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By Intheswamp
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#419328
tommyr wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 6:42 pm
Intheswamp wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 5:14 pm
tommyr wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2022 1:36 pm

You're over thinking this. A lot of people use the zero water pitchers for CPs. I even got one to play with. No issues at all. Plus you can use up to 100ppm water as long as you repot every year. This according to California Carnivores. I try to keep it below 500ppm. My rainwater is usually 1-3ppm.
Uh, below 500ppm?
:?:
Obviously I meant 50ppm, fat fingers happen.
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