Designing a successful hydroponic cultivation facility requires making numerous critical decisions about layout, lighting, irrigation/fertigation systems, and climate-control. Although these highly engineered systems make up a significant portion of upfront build-out expenses, the importance of a consistent, reliable water source cannot be overstated. Crystal Quest Water Filters provide an effective solution to this challenge by ensuring high-quality water for cannabis cultivation.
Filtration and Reverse Osmosis: The Foundation of Quality
Starting with a base of pure water is crucial for achieving consistent feed formulas and repeatable results in every crop cycle, regardless of source water quality. Commercial-scale reverse osmosis (RO) systems, like those provided by Crystal Quest, are the most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure a reliable source water profile. While RO systems may not be necessary in every situation, they become a logical choice for serious growers when water needs to be treated.
A focus on quality over volume is essential for producing top-shelf products, such as premium cannabis. For modern growing practices, it's particularly important to highlight the differences between industrial agriculture and cultivating a refined, high-quality product on a commercial scale. While there are many methods and technologies shared by the two, the most important difference is that Big Agriculture is primarily concerned with volume, not quality.
Quality vs. Volume: Striking the Right Balance
Full control of inputs, including water, is required for producing high-quality products like cannabis. As the medical cannabis community becomes increasingly aware of the need for purity, it's crucial to avoid tissue contamination by scrutinizing every stage of the production process, from cultivation to packaging.
Certainly, volume is extremely important in the world of agriculture. As professionals in this field begin to have a greater influence on the design of large-scale cannabis grow operations, it's important to recognize that achieving volume is relatively easy with cannabis. However, growing a high-quality product necessitates a well-rounded, refined approach to success.
RO Water Usage and Benefits: Ensuring Optimal Results
Cultivators use RO water as a pure base to mix with their nutrients, resulting in optimal, consistent results. Experienced growers using RO water understand that it's necessary to first add the desired amount of plant-specific, bioavailable calcium/magnesium and then the chosen nutrient regimen in order to avoid plant deficiencies. The correct mix of specialized nutrients and minerals is an essential component to ensure fast and healthy plant growth.
A majority of total dissolved solids (TDS) in untreated source water are made up of calcium and magnesium (also recognized as hardness), two beneficial minerals that are vital to the growth of plants. Although calcium and magnesium are necessary for plant growth, the calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate molecules typically found in source water are too large for plant roots to absorb efficiently. Therefore, these compounds need to be chelated (broken down) into a more usable form, requiring extra energy from the plants that would be better spent on reaching their full growth potential.
Adding chelated calcium and magnesium (as well as beneficial biologicals) to RO water is the most efficient and measurable way to give plants what they need to thrive. This process ensures that growers can maximize the benefits of RO water while providing their plants with the essential nutrients they need.
Reducing Water Waste with Modern RO Systems
All RO machines have a feed water inlet, a purified product water stream, and a waste water stream. The RO membrane acts as a barrier to all dissolved salts, minerals, inorganic and most organic molecules. Pure water molecules pass freely through the membrane, creating purified product water (or permeate stream). The rejected contaminants are concentrated in the waste water (also referred to as the RO concentrate).
It's true that all RO systems generate a certain amount of waste water, but the technology has evolved significantly over the years. Today, there are ultra-efficient RO filters capable of producing up to a 4:1 ratio of product water to waste water, a stark contrast to historical ratios where one part product corresponded to four parts waste.
Commercial RO systems, like those offered by Crystal Quest, also play an integral role in reclamation systems that recycle nutrient runoff water. As volume usage limitations and waste water regulations become more stringent, a sustainable water treatment plan is becoming an increasingly important part of a professional cultivation operation's initial design. These regulations are imminent, and it's crucial for business owners to be aware of these new laws and have a plan of action to ensure legal compliance.
Optimizing Speed and Size with Commercial RO Systems
Operations that utilize commercial RO systems are typically designed with large, pure-water storage tanks to meet daily water demands. The RO system is sized to provide the daily demand for water that will later be distributed to nutrient mixing reservoirs. An RO water storage tank allows facilities to have a reliable, on-demand water source versus distributing water straight from the RO system.
On the hobby hydroponics scale, RO systems usually produce 75 to 300 gallons per day (GPD). A 300-GPD system will produce 12.5 gallons in one hour. However, high-flow commercial-grade RO filtration systems, like Crystal Quest, are capable of producing up to 100,000 GPD or more. The more filtered water per day a system can produce, the higher the flow rate will be. For example, a 10,000-GPD RO system can produce water at 416 gallons per hour. The larger the RO system, the more quickly it will produce pure water, ensuring that large-scale cannabis cultivation facilities have access to the water they need when they need it.
The Impact of Pure Water on Cultivation Results
Every properly controlled input has the potential to improve yields. Most nutrient manufacturer's feed charts assume a base of pure water. By starting the feed formula with RO water, growers can dial in exactly what they feed their plants. For the serious cannabis professional, the guesswork of what might be in the water should be eliminated.
Purifying source water changes its base profile from a variable to a constant, maximizing a controlled operation's potential for success. Incremental gains in yield and quality can be crucial in today's increasingly competitive marketplace. Starting with pure water removes water quality issues from the equation and ensures a consistent feed formula for plants, leading the way to reliable harvests.
Carbon Filters and TDS: Dispelling Common Misconceptions
There is a common misconception that carbon filters can remove TDS from water. This is simply not true. While carbon filters will remove chlorine, chloramines, and certain other toxins from water, they are not intended to remove any other dissolved minerals and will not significantly lower the PPM count or electrical conductivity of the water. This is an important distinction for growers to understand when considering their water filtration options.
The Importance of Pure Water in Cannabis Cultivation
Pure water plays a crucial role as the basis for proper and consistent nutrient formulas in cultivation facilities. Rarely do cultivation facilities have high-quality water straight from the tap. While most professional grow operations now use some form of water filtration, some still do not, and they are taking a major risk, especially if they are not fully aware of source water quality issues and how they might affect plant yields.
Getting a water test is of utmost importance to determine what levels of pollutants are present. Too much hardness, iron, manganese, lead, copper, or zinc in untreated source water can lead to lockout and deficiency problems. Chlorine and chloramines, typically added to municipal water, effectively kill any beneficial living microbiology.
Understanding Source Water Quality: The Key to Success
The first step in implementing a proper water filtration system is to understand the quality of the source water. This knowledge will allow cultivators to determine the most suitable filtration system for their specific needs. Acquiring an accurate water test report is crucial in this process, as it will identify potential contaminants and mineral imbalances.
A comprehensive water test should include measurements of pH, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS), hardness, alkalinity, heavy metals, and any potential contaminants like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These tests can be performed by a certified water testing laboratory, which can provide growers with detailed information about their water source and guide them towards appropriate filtration solutions.
Crystal Quest Water Filters: The Optimal Solution for Cannabis Cultivation
The benefits of using Crystal Quest Water Filters for commercial-scale cannabis cultivation are numerous. By providing a consistent, high-quality water source, these systems help growers maximize plant growth potential, improve nutrient efficiency, and ultimately increase yields and quality.
Crystal Quest commercial RO systems are customizable to suit specific water treatment needs, ensuring that each grow operation has the right filtration technology in place. Their range of filters includes sediment pre-filters, carbon filters, and reverse osmosis membranes, which work together to remove a wide range of contaminants and impurities from source water.
In addition to their RO systems, Crystal Quest offers advanced filtration technologies such as ultraviolet (UV) sterilizers to eliminate harmful microorganisms, and deionization (DI) systems for ultra-pure water applications. These additional filtration options allow growers to further refine their water quality, promoting optimal plant health and productivity.
Implementing a high-quality water filtration system, like Crystal Quest Water Filters, is essential for any serious cannabis cultivator looking to achieve consistent, high-quality results. By addressing water quality issues head-on, growers can eliminate the guesswork associated with variable source water and provide their plants with the ideal environment for growth and development.
The benefits of using Crystal Quest Water Filters in commercial cannabis cultivation are clear: improved nutrient efficiency, maximized growth potential, and increased yields and quality. Investing in a reliable, efficient water filtration system is a smart decision for any grow operation, and Crystal Quest offers the ideal solution to meet the needs of today's cannabis growers.