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Old 11-12-2006, 07:04 AM   #1
DiabloCanine
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RO Water System


I use 100% RO water in all my tanks. At first the need was not that great, I would swap out six 5 gallon jugs at the LFS to do water changes for 3 tanks. Soon I was filling jugs in the spare bathroom tub to keep up with the need as my tank count grew. This worked with a few tanks but one day I turned around and had 12. I needed a way to filter, store, and distribute at least 200 gallons of RO water per week, my Discus tank alone uses over 100 gallons throughout the week. My original post was lost due to a hacker so I am rebuilding the post, my system has evolved anyway and the post needed updated. Many thanks to RMC for helping me design and build this system.

Let’s start off with the water filtration.

I use a RO unit I purchased at Premium Aquatics which is a local online reef retailer. It is a 3 stage 50 GPD unit mounted on the wall.



Input water to the RO unit comes from the output of the water softener. A PVC T was installed inline with a ball valve to turn the input water off when needed.



Since I turn the water off when needed, a flush valve was installed to prevent build up on the membrane. I flush the membrane for a few minutes each time I turn the input water on to keep the TDS down. This unit works very well, just need to turn the blue knob up to flush and sideways to make RO water.



The water exits the RO unit and enters a 55 gallon storage barrel here.



When the barrel is full a float valve actuates. This float valve in mounted towards the top of the barrel.



When the float actuates, it applies back pressure to a solenoid which shuts off the feed water.



Now that we have made the RO water, time to store it.

Initially, I used one 55 gallon drum to store my water. It has become necessary to store more water so I know have two 55 gallon drums.



To get water from one drum to the other, I use a siphon tube that looks like this.



The siphon tube goes from one drum to the other.



The T is to get the siphon started. Once the drum on the left is full, all the air is sucked out through the black tube with the check valve. The drums should stay even with their water levels as the drums fill and empty.



If the siphon breaks, the left drum that has the RO unit input line also has the shutoff float, so the water will shut off when the left drum fills. The siphon tubes extend into the drum past the pickup for the pump so theoretically the siphon will never break. (You can see the siphon tube in this picture on the right.)



Now the barrels are full of RO water, time to distribute it.

The water is pumped with a Mag-5 pump.



The pump sits in the bottom of the left barrel.



I also have a power head that is on a timer periodically churning the water to keep it from going stagnant.



The water comes out of the barrel to a distribution manifold.



At first, the water came out through a single pipe. Since I do water changes throughout the house, I had a long hose attached to it. This was impractical to use in my fish room, which is the same room the water barrels are in. I made another water changer that is better suited for my breeders. Instead of disconnecting/reconnecting the 2 water changers, I have them permanently mounted on their own leg of the manifold. On the left (yellow hose) is the water changer for the show tanks. On the right (green hose) is the water changer for the fish room.



The water changers are different sizes (1” and ½”) and have different length tubes that fit the tanks better. I had to take the tops off tanks in the fish room so the 1” water changer would fit in. It was also so long that it tore up the substrate on every tank in the fish room.

Here is a picture of the 1” water changer.



Here is a picture of the ½” water changer.



Both water changers have a fill and drain line attached; they work identical, I will illustrate with the 1” water changer on my Discus tank.

The water changer is placed in the tank (notice the position of the ball valves).



The ball valve on the left (drain) is opened and the tank drains until the level drops below the strainer and the siphon breaks.



The ball valve on the left is closed, the one on the right is opened and the tank fills.



Let me know if there are any questions, I left anything out or did not explain anything thoroughly and I will update the post.

Last edited by DiabloCanine; 11-14-2006 at 10:52 AM..
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Old 11-12-2006, 01:02 PM   #2
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That is an awsome system you have there. Especailly how you made the Water changer .

but why dont we ever see you pictures of your tanks?

- Andrew
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Old 11-12-2006, 02:28 PM   #3
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Do you have your water barrel's lifted off the ground? It's kinda hard to tell but it does look like you do.

Nice little setup you got there. That took some thinking. I read according to what you posted is that you have the RO unit being feed from a water softener.

I am curious as to ammonia/chloramine before and after the RO unit. Is this feed from a well or city water?
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:40 PM   #4
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Couple of things.

Your feeding your RO with water softened by a sodium swap water softener? Is this better then water direct from the tap?

Your putting two things onto the float valve. The waste water shut off and the overflow protection. If the float valve malfunctions then you have two problems.

In my system I am using a set timer to fill the storage container. I also use a float valve to back this up. My timer is set and controls a solenoid before the RO unit all together so it is overflow protection and waste water shut off. And if either one breaks I am still in the clear.
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish Newb View Post
That is an awsome system you have there. Especailly how you made the Water changer .

but why dont we ever see you pictures of your tanks?

- Andrew
Thanks. I have pics of my tanks all over this forum, do a search by user name. Here are a few, I do not take good pictures (all of these have been rescaped already, I rescape a lot):


110 Gallon

55 Gallon

46 Gallon

37 Gallon

29 Gallon

20 Gallon
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khandurian View Post
Do you have your water barrel's lifted off the ground? It's kinda hard to tell but it does look like you do.

Nice little setup you got there. That took some thinking. I read according to what you posted is that you have the RO unit being feed from a water softener.

I am curious as to ammonia/chloramine before and after the RO unit. Is this feed from a well or city water?
The barrels are sitting on pressure treated 2x4s, they will sweat if not off the ground. If they sweat you will get mold and mildew. I use city water ammonia is 0, PH is 7, TDS is 10 out of the barrel......DC
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brilliant View Post
Couple of things.

Your feeding your RO with water softened by a sodium swap water softener? Is this better then water direct from the tap?
I think it is, but I am not a water chemist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brilliant View Post
Your putting two things onto the float valve. The waste water shut off and the overflow protection. If the float valve malfunctions then you have two problems.
The float/solenoid is installed as designed by Kent Marine. The float has a positive shut-off like a toilet float. The solenoid is pressure actuated. They work together and are pretty redundant already. This system has been running for almost a year, no problems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brilliant View Post
In my system I am using a set timer to fill the storage container. I also use a float valve to back this up. My timer is set and controls a solenoid before the RO unit all together so it is overflow protection and waste water shut off. And if either one breaks I am still in the clear.
Kent designed redundancy into their system, I do not have any power connected to the fill system, just the pump/powerhead. I did consider heating the water but decided not too for several reasons......DC
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Old 11-12-2006, 05:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DiabloCanine View Post

Kent designed redundancy into their system
I really do admire your work. This is just constructive criticism. I was going to ask what happens when the float valve sticks, where is the redundancy? I am adding calcium, magnesium & baking soda directly into my storage container. I was afraid of buildups and imagined a float valve malfunctioning.
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Old 11-12-2006, 05:28 PM   #9
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ohh stupid me I've seen some of those pics around......

oh, why not heat your water?

thanks

- Andrew

(shrimp are doing great BTW)
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Old 11-12-2006, 05:53 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=Brilliant;330523]I really do admire your work. This is just constructive criticism. I was going to ask what happens when the float valve sticks, where is the redundancy? I am adding calcium, magnesium & baking soda directly into my storage container. I was afraid of buildups and imagined a float valve malfunctioning.[/QUOTE0]
I have messed around with this float quite a bit to make sure it would not flood my fish room. I do not see how it could fail, it is all mechanical and no way to clog, all the moving parts are plastic and out of the water. Were you thinking something could get stuck in the moving pieces? Or deposits? I am pretty confident failure is remote. Here is a good pic of the system......DC
http://www.kentmarine.com/instructions/fvkit.pdf
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Old 11-12-2006, 05:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Fish Newb View Post
ohh stupid me I've seen some of those pics around......

oh, why not heat your water?

thanks

- Andrew

(shrimp are doing great BTW)
Waste of electricity. The largest water change I do is 55 gallons on the 110 gallon Discus tank (over 130 gallons with sump). The tank temp only drops a few degrees and the two 400 watt heaters bring it back up quick. I would also be concerned about nasties growing in the barrels. I am thinking about dropping ferts in the barrels, would make dosing a lot easier, but would it propogate nasties?......DC
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Old 11-12-2006, 06:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiabloCanine;330543Were you thinking something could get stuck in the moving pieces? Or deposits? I am pretty confident failure is remote. Here is a good pic of the system......DC
[url
http://www.kentmarine.com/instructions/fvkit.pdf[/url]
Yeah mineral buildup or something causing the float to fail. I think the only place it could fail is in my imagination.
This is a great method for solving my water as needed issue with the inflexible timer situation. I was going to use a float switch to tell my system to turn off and this the the reason I didnt.
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Old 11-12-2006, 07:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Brilliant View Post
Yeah mineral buildup or something causing the float to fail. I think the only place it could fail is in my imagination.
This is a great method for solving my water as needed issue with the inflexible timer situation. I was going to use a float switch to tell my system to turn off and this the the reason I didnt.
Believe me, I monkeyed with this float several times to ensure it would not fail. It was recommended to me by several local reefers. It is a PITA to get the air out of the system, but that only needs done once......DC
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Old 11-16-2006, 04:23 AM   #14
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Hey DC,

I've ordered a RO unit and I am waiting for it to arrived. One thing I am really not understanding is the Flush setup. What You have setup is similar to other pix/explanations that I have seen, but--I'm just not getting it! I'm missing something, so Can You offer a breakdown of how its put together? From what I am seeing it just looks like a ball-valve with a route around it. I'm not getting how it gets to/flushes the membrane. In the pic that you have above, I cannot see the "Loop" around the ball-valve, but in at least one other setup--it was just that: A loop around the ball-valve. I'm just not getting it!

TIA
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Old 11-16-2006, 06:36 AM   #15
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Hey DC,

I've ordered a RO unit and I am waiting for it to arrived. One thing I am really not understanding is the Flush setup. What You have setup is similar to other pix/explanations that I have seen, but--I'm just not getting it! I'm missing something, so Can You offer a breakdown of how its put together? From what I am seeing it just looks like a ball-valve with a route around it. I'm not getting how it gets to/flushes the membrane. In the pic that you have above, I cannot see the "Loop" around the ball-valve, but in at least one other setup--it was just that: A loop around the ball-valve. I'm just not getting it!

TIA
Here, have at, I still don't get it but it works. I stared at for a few days before I could connect it. The key is the location of the restrictor....DC
http://www.spectrapure.com/manuals/FVK.pdf
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