Citric acid for pH ...
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Questions [Completed] Citric acid for pH and chloramine

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Topic starter

I trimmed and jarred my last crop yesterday, and it was pretty disappointing, both in terms of quantity and quality. I wasn't expecting much, since these plants struggled right from the beginning. Now I'm trying to understand where I went wrong. Here's the basics: Jack Herer feminized seeds, in 3-gallon pots, transplanted into 15-gallon pots with Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil.

I live in a city that uses chloramine instead of chlorine in the water supply. Unlike chlorine, chloramine doesn't evaporate. I wanted this to be an organic grow, so I used citric acid to neutralize the chloramine and bring down the pH. I suspect this might have been a mistake. Almost from the start, the plants showed signs of misery - in particular, many leaves became dry, brown and crispy, and growth was slow.

I adjusted pH in the water, but never checked the runoff since I never got much runoff in those 15g pots. In retrospect, I wonder if all the issues were related to pH and nutrient lockout.

Have any of you ever used citric acid to adjust pH and/or neutralize chloramine? If so, how did it work out for you?

I look forward to the day when a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned.

BackBlast BackBlast May 1, 2022 3:01 pm

I use a a water filter like a Brita. It claims to remove chloramine. I run my water a few times through this. Sometimes it takes a couple of runs through the filter to get a acceptable amount out. This process takes a long time so if time is not on your side I would try something else.

4 Answers

I was reading about citric acid being used as a ph down. Apparently, you shouldn't use citric acid in hydroponics because when it contacts the plants and microbes they strip citrine and that raises your ph immediately. It won't hold a ph level in hydro.

Zoom Zoom Topic starter May 1, 2022 10:20 pm

If that's also true of soil, then that would help explain some of the problems I was seeing.


artmann artmann May 2, 2022 12:51 am

no, it works in soil.


Well ecothrive neutralise is just vitamin C, so that's the same thing. You only add one drop per litre of that. How much you adding?

monkeydo monkeydo May 1, 2022 4:28 pm

Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, not citric acid. Both are contained in citrus fruit but are very different. Try switching to ascorbic acid, vitamin c, and always check your ph of the water after treatment and adjust to 6.5 before watering. This should put you in a good position if you manage the moisture level correctly.

Zoom Zoom Topic starter May 1, 2022 5:00 pm

Oh man, I just double-checked, and it was definitely citric acid I was using! Thanks for clarifying that Monkey....I guess that explains why it didn't work. I used very little, just a couple of grains per gallon. A little goes a long way towards dropping the pH. I checked the pH of the water after treating it. I used the little pH testing kit with the colour-matching chart...not too precise, but it was the right colour. (I just bought myself a BlueLab pH pen, which is still in the package.)


Teleman Teleman May 1, 2022 6:14 pm

Yeah but did you grow any oranges? 🍊 😉

Zoom Zoom Topic starter May 1, 2022 10:22 pm

Oranges would have been a lovely consolation prize.

artmann artmann May 2, 2022 1:57 pm

"I used the little pH testing kit with the colour-matching chart...not too precise, but it was the right colour. (I just bought myself a BlueLab pH pen, which is still in the package.)"


Omg!  I had one of those kits starting out! For swimming pools. Get that bluelab out! Lol. I love their products. Mine has been dropped and even dried out once. (I don't recommend, usually ruins it) It still works.


So I use citric acid and bicarb for my up and down, the bicarb i mix into water to make a solution and the citric acid i get from a hydropnic store but I have used lemon juice in the past in a pinch, so far in coco I haven't had any issues using either for PH control. I have not tried it in a dwc system though so I cannot tell you how that situation would play out. And yes as @artman said grab that bluelab out and put it to work bro 

I feel like a, like a slice of butter... melting on top of a big-ol' pile of flapjacks... yeah.


The article I read said you shouldn't use citrus for ph on recirculating systems.


Soil or even drain to waste was fine.


It was the exposure to microbes and the plant roots that caused a repeated stripping of citrine, resulting in an exponential raising of the ph with every nutrient cycle. With soil there is no repeat of the cycle and with drain to waste, well, it drains away and is not reused.

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