RO water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Glendale, Az
Posts: 19
RO water?

Hello everyone,

I am new to the boards...been lurking for about a week now and decided to join. I haven't had a fish tank for about 10yrs now. Back in the day, I would just use tap water for my tank after letting it set for a few days. Now I read people are using RO water. I recently set up a 5 gal for my kids...all fake spongebob stuff. I have been buying drinking water for water changes etc..and its doing well.

Now for my tank, I am thinking of doing a mix of 1/2 live, 1/2 fake in an Eclipse 5 corner for Cherry Shrimp. I have never tried real plants b4. I want to do it right and start real small. So I was wondering what quality RO and/or demineralized water is best, and in the aquarium world how is it measured. I have access to RO and even demineralized water at work, as well as testing equipment to see if I can use it. I read in another thread about using RO water and then adding back in additives to get proper chemistry. So I am a little confused as to why use water thats 'stripped' just to add back to it?

Or should I just stick with drinking water from the store?
Also this brings up another drinking water from the machine ok to use? The cost difference is like a $1/gal. plus the plastic savings.

Sorry for the long 1st post and many q's wrapped up into 1. I just want to try to get started right the 1st time.

Additional info about the tank: Eclipse 5 corner using its OE filter with sponge on intake, a floresent light bulb, caribsea supernatural substrate(tahitian moon sand) RCS, undecided on plants/deco both real/fake.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 12:05 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Spokane Valley, WA
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Im taking this one backwards ... at 4:30 in the morning, so BEAR with me first off. welcome. planted tank is one of the best reference points i have found on the internet for planted tanks, maintained by ultra-knowledgable aquarists. secondly, i would suggest doing all real plants, or all fake. mixing the two both aesthitically is not pleasing, and the shade from the fake ones could be more of a hinderance to your aquarium then an eye pleaser. The reason planted tankers like to use ro water is to get pure aquarium water. An option I have used is to mix 1/2 ro with 1/2 tap, therefore removing most if not all of the impurities surrounding my tap water, while keeping my gh up. First thing I would do is see if you even need to use ro water by testing your tap for KH/GH. KH is carbonate hardness and determines the acidity/alkalinity of your water. Live plants usual prefer a more acidic environment so if you are at the high end of KH, RO is recommended. GH is general hardness. This gives you the mineral content of your tap water (calcium, magnesium, etc.) Plants use these trace nutrients for various reasons, and should therefore be present, in moderation, in your actual tank water. If you are going to put shrimp in you water it would also be good to see what kind of Copper content is coming out of your tap. If theres a lot, it could be toxic to your shrimp, and yet another reason to use RO water. Also, shrimp need to produce exo-skeletons which they molt and sluff every couple weeks to every couple months depending. They need certain minerals in the water to do this, so the addition of GH back to your RO water is key for this development. My suggestion : keep researching, as what I have suggested here is about 1/8 of what you should know before starting this endeavor. But trust me in saying, that it is one of the funnest, time-consuming hobbies I have come across and you will fall in love the morning after you first set up your aquarium.

"The odds of winning are the same as being mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear in the same day"
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 01:32 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Posts: 706
Originally Posted by ssantac View Post
So I am a little confused as to why use water thats 'stripped' just to add back to it?

Your question above is really the heart of the matter. If you can drink your tap water, then it is extremely likely that it is fine for your fish and plants (after adding a dechlorinator). You should test for the basic plant-related parameters (GH, kH, pH after sitting for 24 hours) to kind of understand what you will be dealing with. The results may also guide your fish selections (no African cichlids in low-GH tap water for example). As you advance in the hobby you may decide to try the more difficult plants or a fish that isn't the most suitable to your tap water - then you might revisit the RO question.



72g bowfront planted, CO2, 2x - T5HO, Eheim 2213 and 2217, angels, pristella tetras, blue tetras, etc. Sword, vals, hygros, ludwigias

2g Mac-quarium. Clown gravel, fluorescent plastic plants, and 2 guppies.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 11:33 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 1,014
this truly depends on where you live. Here in so cal, water in San Diego is very different from other areas. Although our water seems to be a bit softer than that of LA, OC, and Riverside, it still ruined the fins on my fish. Different fish react differently to water depending on what is found in the water. Different chemicals are consistently found in everyone's water (your water company releases reports on what is found from samples)

The reason I use RO water and will continue to do so for any and every aqaurium is that RO water is like starting from scratch. There is nothing in it. I use equilibrium to add some hardness and bring it to life.

I strongly believe that dechlorinators only work so well. My angelfish in SD tap water would literally lose fins and they would disintegrate leading to the fish obviously succumbing to the problem. That seemed to lead to other problems like Ich.

What I am saying has no scientific background (even though with my career i could test it) but its more of a experience and education i have gained raising my tanks.

Good luck! and welcome to the forum
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