X ppm in water source

I see this comment a lot among growers: I have X ppm (total dissolved solids) in my water source. My concern is: what minerals makes up that X ppm?

I’d like to get thoughts on this: Could this be why we see so many toxicity or deficiency issues?

If it’s RO the TDS meter tells you when to change your filter because it should be zero or near zero minerals. RO has to be built by adding salts (cation + anion) before using it. For example there would no calcium or magnesium in RO water. Any and all nutrients can be used with RO.

Distilled should also be zero and also has to be built as well.

If you’re on a well a water test can be obtained from Ward or other lab to explain the water contents.

If a municipality provides water to the tap it should provide a water quality report stating what ions are in your water that makes up that total dissolved solid number.

Just knowing the total dissolved solid number doesn’t tell you what’s in the water (or run off). Just using tap or well water and adding additional nutrients per a schedule can result in over loading on one cation (potassium, magnesium, calcium,…) or anion (chloride, sulfate, nitrate …) and not adding enough of another cation or anion.

If the water is high in one area additional nutrients with that ion should not be used. If it’s low additional nutrients should be added.

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This is common discussion. You can get a home test at your local hardware/farm store. If you search for it you’ll probably find where we found one at a large chain for ~40. My local place carried them for ~90. Which tells more than the $40 one, but it’s unnecessary for our purposes and the cheaper one told plenty. I’ll see if I can find it.