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  #1  
Old 04-14-2021, 04:35 PM
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Orchids&Tarantulas Orchids&Tarantulas is offline
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Types of water: I'm confused! Male
Default Types of water: I'm confused!

Help me please; I'm confused.

People say use "soft water" for your orchids

But then I see the types of water and get ever so confused!

There's:

Tap Water
Distilled Waer
Bottled Water
Table Water
Spring Water
Mineral Water
Rain Water

So many kinds of water!!!

What the hell do I buy from the supermarket?!?

Somebody tell me, please!

(PS. Ive been using tap water for over a year and my Phals are healthy, but I'm branching out to Cattleyas and Phrags soon)

Last edited by Orchids&Tarantulas; 04-14-2021 at 05:46 PM..
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  #2  
Old 04-14-2021, 05:10 PM
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Pure water itself has only 'H' and 'O' ----- hydrogen and oxygen in the form of H2O (known from the chemistry side of things). And when water gets out into the 'wild', it can get other things into it. This also includes whether fertiliser and/or cal-mag or other things get added to the water.

Hard water is basically water that contains certain elements that just turn into solid and accumulates (deposits) onto some surfaces (walls, roots etc) ----- often leaving visible signs of it - when the water dries that is. And those deposits or dissolved relatively high concentration of 'minerals' (from which hard water is defined) can negatively impact an orchid's health - such as causing a problem for roots ----- hindering normal function of roots etc.

Aside from hard-water, we also know that salt-water or water with too high a salt concentration isn't going to go down well with orchids too.

Some orchid web-sites will talk about what sorts of water should be avoided for orchids ----- or what we should aim to use for orchids.

eg. Link Here

Also - if your tap water has been doing nicely for your phals - then you can use that for your catts and phrags too.


Last edited by SouthPark; 04-15-2021 at 02:05 AM..
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  #3  
Old 04-14-2021, 05:14 PM
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OK I just checked, and apparently the tap water in my area is considered "hard water"
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Old 04-14-2021, 06:05 PM
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Mostly, water is water. Some orchids are picky, wanting pure water such as rain, reverse-osmosis (RO), deionised, distilled. But most of the types of orchids that are sold in the commercial trade are much less particular, and plain old tap water is fine. The term "hard water" refers to the amount of minerals in the water. Unless it is REALLY high, it should not be a problem. In fact, the one variation that you DON'T want to use is water that has gone through a water softener, which replaces calcium (which is not a problem, and even helps) with sodium (which makes it taste better, but is very bad for plants). So as long as your water doesn't go through a water softener, what comes out of the tap should be fine for most orchids.
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Old 04-14-2021, 06:31 PM
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If you have fussier orchids, you want water that approaches having nothing but water in it. Commercially sold distilled, RO (reverse osmosis), and RO/DI (reverse osmosis/deionized) should all be pretty close to that. Distilled water means it's evaporated and was condensed back into water, meaning that everything which didn't evaporate with it is gone. RO and RODI have both been run through extremely fine filters to remove stuff, with RODI having had more removed. Rainwater can also be good, unless your area is super polluted.

If you use tap water, you'll probably want to flush the pots now and then. That just means to pour a bunch of water through the pot, to help rinse out any built-up minerals. Some areas of tap water probably won't require it, but it won't hurt either way.

Bottled water is any water that's in a bottle. Spring water is water from a spring (which is often just well-marketed tap water) that's in a bottle. Mineral water is water with added minerals for taste and fanciness. The first two are fine for any orchids that don't mind tap water, and I don't know about mineral water. Never heard of table water- are you referring to the water table? The water table is the level at which underground water is at in an area.

---------- Post added at 05:31 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:28 PM ----------

Okay, I looked it up. Table water is "water suitable for drinking at table", so that would be... all of the above, except tap water in places where the tap water is bad and unsafe to drink.
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:45 PM
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Most of those different waters you named are the same thing. Distilled water is usually the ‘purest’. It is usually Reverse Osmosis (RO) and is pretty much H2O. Tap water is probably the ‘dirtiest’, meaning it is the least filtered most chemicals added (chlorine, fluoride, ect). Just enough to be safe for human consumption. Hard water is the amount of calcium in the water. Than is why you get lime deposits after the water has dried. I can’t remember the number that is used to determine the hardest. 50ppm is low and 500ppm is considered high. The water here is usually over 1000ppm. Great for salt water aquariums and African cichlids but not good if you get kidney stones. Soft water is usually made by adding salt to your tap water. Some have naturally soft water, lucky devils. Rain water is natural, so what can be bad about that. Rain water has lots of ‘stuff’ (technical term) in it that it collects as it falls through the air. Some good some not so good. The other waters on your list are the same filtered water but they add certain mineral back in to the water giving it a ‘taste’. Look on the label, many times it is city (where the bottling is done) water that is filtered and called what ever.
If you are worried or have a touchy speicies the best bet is to go RO and then add what you need back into it. RO units are not that expensive now days.
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:08 PM
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Soft water, in the context of orchid-keeping, is water that isn't hard. Soft water, in the context of household appliances, can either be water that isn't hard, or water that's been through a softener. Very important distinction, when it comes to orchids!

Me, I have a reef tank. Corals are fussy, so it's best to use the purest water you can get, so you know exactly what you're putting in the tank. Even in areas with good tap water that doesn't contain anything upsetting, there's always the chance that the water treatment plant will suddenly change how they treat things, or there'll be a bloom of something. And plenty of areas have tap water that is not remotely appropriate for a reef tank. I have a home RODI unit, because that gets me the purest water I can reasonably get at home.

There's no practical difference between distilled and RO water, except that a home distillation unit is expensive and big, and a home RO unit can be small and cheapish. Either way, you get water, without much else in it. Technically not the same thing, they're made different ways and have some minor differences in what's removed, but orchids don't really care. By and large, the fussy ones just want there to not be many minerals in the water, and both methods get the minerals out.

And yeah, most bottled water is just repackaged city water. They run it through some form of filtration process, maybe throw some minerals back in for taste, and that's it.
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Old 04-15-2021, 01:56 AM
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Usually tap water will be good for the majority of orchids, however this depends on the quality of the tap water. Before going out and buying expensive bottled water, it would be good to get a hold of your tap water quality report. Often times this information will be directly available on the website of your local water supplier.

EDIT: Just read that you say that your water is given as 'hard' but do you have some numbers for that? If it's on the low end of what they consider hard, it could still be more than acceptable for the types of orchids you have.

Is rainwater collection an option for you?
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Old 04-15-2021, 02:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camille1585 View Post
Usually tap water will be good for the majority of orchids, however this depends on the quality of the tap water. Before going out and buying expensive bottled water, it would be good to get a hold of your tap water quality report. Often times this information will be directly available on the website of your local water supplier.

EDIT: Just read that you say that your water is given as 'hard' but do you have some numbers for that? If it's on the low end of what they consider hard, it could still be more than acceptable for the types of orchids you have.

Is rainwater collection an option for you?
Hi Camille,

It hasn't rained here in my area for weeks, so rainwater collection generally is unreliable.

My water hardness is 105mg/L apparently, it says online. But I have requested the full water quality report via email which they will send next week.

In the meantime, I think I will start looking at various labels on bottled waters in the supermarkets and find out which is best!!!

Thanks for your help
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Old 04-15-2021, 03:02 AM
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Just get RO, RODI, or distilled, whichever is cheapest and comes in the most convenient form. Some places have a machine you can refill the big bottles in, which is probably best in terms of not throwing away plastic. If you wind up with a bunch of orchids that need a lot of water, consider an RO Buddie unit- it's a cheap RODI unit that screws temporarily onto your faucet, and will produce perfectly good water for pretty much any plant you could possibly try to grow.
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