R/O unit

This weekend my dear husband finally got to deliver on his birthday promise to me (from May) and install my new R/O system (it’s been on backorder a long time). A lot of girls ask for diamonds and shiny things for their birthdays, but I wanted a Reverse Osmosis system for my 35th, lol. Well… it is a AquaLight system from Germany rated up to 285 liter per day – and it is beautiful!

It was a little tricky to install because naturally I wanted to put it in on the most complicated place in the apartment, a tight crawlspace between the wall and the washer and dryer stack in the bathroom. Not to be deterred he went at it with a hammer drill (the walls are tiled) and a whole collection of fittings to hook the thing up. A few hours, and a few meters of teflon tape later, we were in business! It filled my 25 liter jug in a little over 5 hours, I am quite pleased.

A lot of orchid growers use R/O water if they cannot get a hold of rain water. Regular tap water contain a lot of dissolved solids, like sodium, chloride, sulfates, calcium, bicarbonate, nitrates, phosphates, iron, and magnesium… yummy!… This stuff build up in the growing medium over time and eventually harm to the roots, especially those cultivated in semi/hydro. You can help minimize the build-up of these trace minerals by not letting the media dry out completely in between watering and by thoroughly rinsing through the medium every time you water, but it eventually will build up anyway.

If you want to give your little darling the very best, and I know you do, you can do what I did and install a R/O system. But, it takes a little adjusting. When you remove some of these things you also lose their buffering qualities, so I buffer the R/O water with some tap water to help stabilize the pH. I only do a 90:10 ratio (10% tap water) because I also use a fertilizer (developed by Michigan State University) specifically made for R/O or rain water. It has trace amounts of magnesium and calcium added back in and regulates the pH for optimal nutrient absorption. For you who like science as much as I do, the balance between the different components is 13-3-16-8Ca-2 Mg. Sweet!

Enough science talk for tonight. I’m going to watch the water drip…