hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

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hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  efishn on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:22 pm

Hi all,

few days ago i purchased pH meter and EC meter.
i found that my irrigation water pH is 7.8. so i bought "pH down" bottle for this purpose.

i'll appreciate if anyone will learn me what other common cheap material can be used for pH down ?
i read about hydrochloric acid, but i'm not sure if its good for trees.

thx
Efi

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  rps on Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:04 pm

The water is beastly hard here, too.
I simply add some white table vinegar to it everytime I water --- about 35ml per 9 litres [although your pH meter might guide you to a more effective ratio].

This seems to work fine with my limited indoor [tropical] collection, but have to admit I get forgetful [overwhelmed] come mid-summer dealing with the temperates' need for daily [sometimes twice daily] attention. Truth be told, they generally get the hose & no acid supplement --- although, I do add some vinegar to the weekly fertiliser hand watering.

As you are probably aware, there are other products that can be used to treat the soil pH itself --- which only does so much good, I suppose, if the water continues to go on at 7.8.


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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  JimLewis on Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:25 pm

Assuming it's not concentrated hydrochloric acid and/or assuming you're diluting it with water, HCL is fine for trees. FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE.

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  coh on Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:26 pm

Check out the discussion in this thread (and this particular post):

http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t7777p2-help-with-beech-leaves-fertilizer-water-quality-ph#81224

Sulfuric acid is another option, i.e. battery acid. I've been experimenting with it for some of my trees that require lower pH. It's strong enough (35%) that you do need to be careful handling it, much more than when using the commercially available pH down products. I believe sulfuric acid is what most nurseries use if they require pH adjustment of their irrigation water.

Hydrochloric acid is HCl, so you'd be adding chloride to your water, not sure if you'd be adding enough to create a negative impact...

Also keep in mind that most pH meters require regular calibration to deliver accurate readings. I've found that liquid pH test solutions are an easy and reliable way to measure pH.

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  drgonzo on Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:34 pm

The pH of your soil water only really needs to be within (or close to) the trees preferred pH range when you are fertilizing, luckily most chemical fertilizers will mix up in solution to a rather acid pH so you don't usually need to pH down. Test your fertilizer solution pH before you add pH down as it may not be necessary. Using a pH down in your regular (non fertilizer) irrigation water isn't necessary.

If you add acetic acid (white vinegar) to your irrigation water once a month it will help remove calcium carbonate build up on your soil particles that results from continued watering with 'Hard' water that contains disolved metals in the form of carbonates, like calcium and magnesium. This will help restore your soil to near its origuinal pH. Keep in mind 'Hard' water is a broad term and can reffer to many different disolved metals in your water not just CA or MG. Other metals may not cause significant pH issues like those two will.

-Jay (a guy with water so hard its hurts)




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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  efishn on Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:31 pm

coh wrote: battery acid

Thank u Coh,

"battery acid" - how should i used it ?




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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  coh on Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:46 pm

Not sure what you're asking...you'd use it like any other strong acid - wear gloves and eye protection, always add acid to water (not water to acid), etc. You'd have to figure out how much to add based on your water quality. In my case, it takes about 1/8 teaspoon to reduce the pH of 2 gallons of water from 7.5 to around 6.

Oh, and of course - you'd want unused battery acid, new in the bottle. Don't take it out of a battery (lead, etc).

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  Sakaki on Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:57 pm

I use liquid sulphure to balance pH of water, and white vinegar once every 5-6 weeks as Jay said above. Trees seem doing fine Smile

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  efishn on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:01 pm

coh wrote:Not sure what you're asking....

Hi Chris and thank u again,

is this "Battery Acid" is H2SO4 ?


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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  coh on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:12 pm

efishn wrote:
coh wrote:Not sure what you're asking....

Hi Chris and thank u again,

is this "Battery Acid" is H2SO4 ?

Yes!

Since you already bought a bottle of pH down, I'd use that for a while and see if lowering the pH is worth the effort. Do you know what kind of acid is in the pH down? Could be phosphoric acid or hydrochloric.

Another acid that I've seen used is citric acid, more similar to vinegar (acetic acid), i.e. a weaker organic acid.

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  efishn on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:22 pm

coh wrote:Do you know what kind of acid is in the pH down? Could be phosphoric acid or hydrochloric.


sorry, GHE company does not mentioned what type of acid they sold me. they only said "ph down is not a common acid". Very Happy

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  coh on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:43 pm

Is it this stuff?

http://www.hydroponics.co.uk/pH-and-Nutrient-Management/pH-Adjusters-and-Test-Kits/GHE-pH-Up-and-Down-Liquid

If so, it lists nitric and phosphoric acid as the "active" ingredients.

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  efishn on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:52 pm

coh wrote:Is it this stuff?

No

that: http://generalhydroponics.com/site/index.php/products/maintenance/ph_buffers/ph_down/

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  drgonzo on Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:49 am

Efishn-

What is the pH of your fertilizer solution when mixed to recommended dosage?
-Jay

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  coh on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:17 am

efishn wrote:
coh wrote:Is it this stuff?

No

that: http://generalhydroponics.com/site/index.php/products/maintenance/ph_buffers/ph_down/

OK...says right on the web page that it is formulated from phosphoric acid.

Jay...I haven't tested all of the fertilizers, but I found that miracid didn't lower the pH of the water when I added it to my tap water (pH 7.5). Not sure about others (like dyna-gro). You are right that he should test that, but if his water is pH 7.8 and has a fairly high hardness, I don't think most fertilizers will change the pH very much. Using pure water (distilled or rain) I would expect a bigger impact from the fertilizer because there's no buffering in that water.

Edit to add...well, I just tested dyna-gro, 1/2 tsp in 1 gallon of my tap water lowered the pH from 7.4 to 6.8. I'll have to re-test the miracid (and my other fertilizers) when I get a chance.

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  drgonzo on Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:04 am

coh wrote: Using pure water (distilled or rain) I would expect a bigger impact from the fertilizer because there's no buffering in that water.

Edit to add...well, I just tested dyna-gro, 1/2 tsp in 1 gallon of my tap water lowered the pH from 7.4 to 6.8. I'll have to re-test the miracid (and my other fertilizers) when I get a chance.

The dyna in my rain water shoots it way down to around 6.0, I haven't mixed ferts in my tap water all year. YAY rainbarrell!
-Jay

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:35 pm

Hi everyone.
I have been watching this thread. It's good to see that more and more people are taking their water quaility more seriously. A few seasons ago I suggested that most municipal water supply's were not healthy for our bonsai. I couldn't belive the response that was unleashed on my theory and me personally. Many said if its safe to drink its good for your trees........ NOT MINE! affraid
I think it's great that more enthusiast are taking water quality more seriously, but if you need to make drastic moves to bring your quaility in line, you should check with a local nursery to see what they are doing. You don't need to reinvent the wheel.

Any way I think all should have a water analisis done, it will make your bonsai life much more rewarding. IMHO

Mitch

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  FrankP999 on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:20 pm

Sulfuric acid can be dangerous if not diluted correctly. The phrase I learned in chemistry classes is "DO AS YOU OUGHTTA, ADD ACID TO WATER". If you do the reverse, sulfuric acic can boil over almost explosively. BE CAREFUL!

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  JimLewis on Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:12 pm

FrankP999 wrote:Sulfuric acid can be dangerous if not diluted correctly. The phrase I learned in chemistry classes is "DO AS YOU OUGHTTA, ADD ACID TO WATER". If you do the reverse, sulfuric acic can boil over almost explosively. BE CAREFUL!

True of any concentrated acid. If there are commercial preparations, it is better to use those and to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS, rather than striking off on your own. Fumes from concentrated acids can also damage your lungs -- permanently -- so work outdoors.

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  Roy Wixson on Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:39 pm

I would take another approach. For me, it is more instructive to see what the trees are actually living IN. The input water pH is of course important, but the acidifying effect of fertilizers, your particular soil organics, and your soil generally all come into play in creating the "environment" in which the tree's roots reside. Therefore, I measure the pH of the runoff from my pots by collecting the runoff water in a clean tray and then placing the water in a suitable beaker for testing. You will be suprized, as I was, how different the pH in the runoff water is from the pH of the water going into the pot. I used to be concerned about the pH of the water going in but now use water straight from the tap which has the EPA-regulated pH of 7.4-7.5, measured at 68 degrees. The EPA increased the required pH in municipal water systems a few years ago to reduce or eliminate the corrosion of the system pipes and the leaching of lead into drinking water. If you are unhappy with the pH in your runoff water then you may wish to make changes in the input water, your soil, and/or your fertillizers.

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  efishn on Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:01 pm

Roy Wixson wrote: If you are unhappy with the pH in your runoff water then you may wish to make changes in the input water, your soil, and/or your fertillizers.

Hi Roy,

let me understand, what is your ph in ? and what was out ?

Efi

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  efishn on Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:14 pm

drgonzo wrote:If you add acetic acid (white vinegar) to your irrigation water once a month it will help remove calcium carbonate build up on your soil particles


Jay - thank u for this info.

my fert down the ph from 7.8 to 7.3. it seems like i would have some ph down product after all Crying or Very sad

thx
Efi



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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  Roy Wixson on Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:45 pm

let me understand, what is your ph in ? and what was out ?

Efi

The pH of the municipal water put into the pot is 7.4-7.5 at 68 degrees. Runoff from pots varies from 5.9 pH (pines) to 6.4-6.6 pH at 68 degrees (deciduous). The soil is the same in all the pots. Therefore the difference appears to be the result of the various fertilizers used.

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  efishn on Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:54 pm

Roy Wixson wrote:
let me understand, what is your ph in ? and what was out ?

Efi

The pH of the municipal water put into the pot is 7.4-7.5 at 68 degrees. Runoff from pots varies from 5.9 pH (pines) to 6.4-6.6 pH at 68 degrees (deciduous). The soil is the same in all the pots. Therefore the difference appears to be the result of the various fertilizers used.

ok, can you tell us please what components (and the quantity) do u put in your soil?

thx
Efi

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Re: hydrochloric acid .. is it healthy ?

Post  coh on Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:29 pm

Roy Wixson wrote:I would take another approach. For me, it is more instructive to see what the trees are actually living IN. The input water pH is of course important, but the acidifying effect of fertilizers, your particular soil organics, and your soil generally all come into play in creating the "environment" in which the tree's roots reside. Therefore, I measure the pH of the runoff from my pots by collecting the runoff water in a clean tray and then placing the water in a suitable beaker for testing. You will be suprized, as I was, how different the pH in the runoff water is from the pH of the water going into the pot. I used to be concerned about the pH of the water going in but now use water straight from the tap which has the EPA-regulated pH of 7.4-7.5, measured at 68 degrees. The EPA increased the required pH in municipal water systems a few years ago to reduce or eliminate the corrosion of the system pipes and the leaching of lead into drinking water. If you are unhappy with the pH in your runoff water then you may wish to make changes in the input water, your soil, and/or your fertillizers.

Roy, thanks for posting this. Very good point. I have tested the runoff and generally found the pH to be a little lower than the input water, but not as low as you found (in your subsequent post). However, I haven't done this test in a while...will have to do so next time I water my indoor trees.

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