PH Level and Soft Water In Your Hydro Tank?

K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,722Administrator El Jefe
edited March 29 in The X Factor
OK since this is the "next hot topic"? I wanted to start a thread so guys could track the testing and also post their results in a way that the info could both be shared and also researched.

For those of you who have seen us banter about the topic? The research suggests that not changing the water in your hydro tank actually yields better results.

When I trained way back in the day...2006...the trainer/owner of the company told us that he had been in shops that NEVER changed the water...I am talking "Creature from the Black Lagoon" brackish muddy black water. Smelled even worse than it looked.
And since there are really no "rules" when it comes to this trade? I naturally tried it once when we got home and up and running.

By way of personal experience? The only time I tried this it seemed to saturate the tank and the film was being attacked from the back side of the film. However, at the time, my experience level with this industry was really a novice and that's putting it mildly. SO I shelved the idea as "Poppycock" and moved on.

Fast forward to this Forum and the input of the members (Which is really why I love this forum and the members!) and the suggestion that unchanged water leads to better dips. According to my research and supported by @MidOhioHydrographics ? When the water goes unchanged it actually lowers the PH of the water when compared to fresh tap water.

Yes, we are into week 3 of not changing our water and testing it...but there are several ways to accomplish the PH drop if you don't like the idea of not changing your water...

Adding Muriatic Acid to your water will drop the want around the same level as ideal spa conditions...little less if you like what you see...this can be accomplished with less than you would think...around 1/3 a cup or less according to my pool guy. He is coming back next week for the 4-week mark to tell me how it's looking.

Remember that when you add bleach or chlorine you are raising the PH not lowering it so it's actually working against what you are trying to accomplish. Adding Muriatic Acid will destroy the algae and the accompanying smell...think rotten egg smell.

As a side note? There have been recommendations of an inline UV light to destroy the algae as well...they are a little expensive but would be a good option to consider. Remember you will have to look more along the lines of a spa unit as an aquarium unit will not provide you the volume you will need to kill the bacteria.

And it was also suggested that you can do a "Partial" drain of your info on the exact percentage and not sure if we can get that narrowed down but it seems like a decent idea. Keep in mind that you will ALWAYS have some kind of freshwater introduction because the tank will naturally lose water due to evaporation and pulling parts out of the water and the water retention of the parts...

Lastly, I have fired off an email with a company in Minnesota called Ikonics. They are a huge manufacturer of PVA and are considered the leader in the industry of PVA printing. I trained several of their chemists and they will be producing custom PVA for our industry soon so you guys will no longer have to go outside the US for high-quality PVA to custom print your own films. They will be "think tanking" the hypothesis...looking forward to their feedback and possibly research material?

So what are YOUR findings? Let's keep this thread going.

Feel free to add anything you might feel is informative to the water quality and leads to better processing.

Oh and one more thing I forgot to mention? I have also heard that soft water treatment leads to much better results as well...I have no research to back that up? But it's also a conversation that holds some merit. So add that in if you have experience there as well.
Post edited by K2Concepts on


  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,821Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    edited March 29
    Ok, so far our findings are inline with what Jim is saying above. Today is 6 weeks since we cleaned our tank. City water directly out of the hose we use to fill our tank is running a pH of 7.9 (slightly basic), tank today is at pH of 5.2 (acidic) just as Jim mentioned. To put in perspective, our tank is running about as acidic as Black Coffee or Acid Rain. (source:

    And measurements are only as accurate as your instrument, so here's a **link to the pH meter** if anyone is wondering and wants to play along at home. They're cheap and probably not admissible in a scientific journal, but good enough for me.

    But honestly, dips are indeed looking great. Colors are bright and popping, stretch isn't fading, and all-in-all the film is working great.

    And to be clear, I'm not 100% sure the pH is what's causing the good dips. Could be that there is a boat load of PVA dissolved into the tank and the surface tension of the water is more cohesive, and carrying the film better. Who knows. Next time we clean, I'm going to get some acid and add to the tank until we hit the desired pH. Per our estimates (we don't count exactly) we are right around 950m of film thorugh the tank since we cleaned, and we estimate 2oz/meter of activator which calculates to nearly 15 gallons of activator.

    Also looking into the UV light filter. My one employee has one on his home water supply that looks pretty robust. I circulate my water through a spa pump with 3/4" lines, so easy to adapt the UV light into there with a pre-filter to catch the trash.
    Something like this expensive one: Pelican
    Or this cheaper one: Wonder Light
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,846Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    @MidOhioHydrographics EXACTLY what I was going to suggest. Fresh water that you treat to test that theory.

    Save a few parts from the runs that you are doing now. Before you treat the new water, run a few dips in fresh, clean water and save those. You aren't gauging only against each other, but to 0 treatment as well.

    Can you dip a 3" PVC tube into a piece of film and measure where the film breaks out?
  • smedlinsmedlin Posts: 2,060Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Have not changed my tank in awhile now..

    smells... smells bad.

    I thought @K2Concepts mom had dropped by again for a minute.

  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,722Administrator El Jefe
    smedlin said:

    Have not changed my tank in awhile now..

    smells... smells bad.

    I thought @K2Concepts mom had dropped by again for a minute.


    That was actually all the crap you talk...and everyone knows that...
  • smedlinsmedlin Posts: 2,060Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭

    That was actually all the crap you talk...and everyone knows that...

    What's funny.. is Randi said the same darn thing.


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