Removing Chlorine and Chloramines from Water

by Peter
(Twin Cities, MN)

Is it safe to use aquarium de-chlorination chemicals to remove chloramines and chlorine from tap water for plants that will be consumed, and is water so treated good in general for a hydroponic garden?

Answer:  Peter- fish are like a canary in a coal mine...if something used in the aquarium is even slightly toxic, the fish are likely to die. Even high nitrate levels and incorrect salinity levels can kill fish. One time, in a pinch, I used an aquarium pH test kit to check the pH of my hydroponic system. I than used aquarium pH down to lower the pH of my nutrient solution. I did so with a degree of confidence, using this same line of reasoning. In this instance, my plants never showed any ill effects from the treatment and I had no reservations about consuming the produce.

Obviously, the chemicals used to adjust the pH in a fish aquarium are different than the chemicals used to dechlorinate tap water. In fact, the chemical in the pH down was a plant fertilizer! I don't have any personal experience with dechlorination chemicals....however, a quick search on the internet led me to a list of the most popular dechlorination chemicals. They are...

Sodium thiosulfate (solution)
Sodium sulfite (tablet)
Sodium metabisulfite (solution)
Sodium bisulfite (solution)

Seeing as how these substances are safe to use around fish, I would assume they are relatively harmless in a hydroponic system as well....but we can go one step further than that. Sodium bisulfite and Sodium metabisulfite are both substances used in wine making to sterilize the must. They work by releasing sulfur dioxide, which gasses out of the solution and dissipates harmlessly into the air.

Given the very similar chemical formulas of the other two substances, their action would be the same. The chlorine in your water would either combine chemically to the Sodium to form Sodium Chloride (table salt), or else would become destabilized by the action of the added chemicals, causing it to de-gass from the solution. I don't know which is the case, but either way the reaction is harmless.

It is always more healthy for your hydroponic garden to use dechlorinated water than to use fresh tap water. On one hand, I am very confident that using dechlorination chemicals will have no detrimental effect on the plants or the hydroponic system, nor will it affect the consumability of the plants produced.

On the other hand, leaving the water out for at least 24 hours exposed to open air (in a big plastic storage tote, for example) will allow the chlorine compounds to de-gass naturally from the tap water. This method also allows the water to come up to room temperature, which eliminates the possibility of any damage from temperature shock. I have used this method for years with excellent results.

And while getting rid of the Chlorine compounds is healthy for the plants, in all honesty it is the Fluoride compounds (in the water) that us humans need to be worried about!

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(10 week update below)

Find out the cheapest and easiest ways to garden productively in this article.

Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 24 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients....and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden....but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people...

Epic Nutrient Change

I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible....and in the last 24 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!

As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)...

Homemade Cloner

And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.

Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.

And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients...

High Efficiency

The ultimate solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants! Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system--->


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This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.

Produce garnden vegetables AND fish together. Eliminate fertilizer costs!

Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!

The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!

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