Water softener and reverse osmosis questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Water softener and reverse osmosis questions

I am in the beginning stages of planning to add some discus to my 55gal planted aquarium and I know I need to buy a RO unit because my well water is about 25 dGH. My house has a water softener which I know isn't so good for the plants and fish because of the high sodium levels, but it brings the water hardness way down for the 25ppm it would be straight from the well (much nicer to shower with ). Would the RO unit filter out the high sodium levels in the water that comes from my water softener? My thinking is that running the softened water as opposed to the straight well water through the RO would prolong the life of the filters in it. Does anyone see anything wrong with doing this? It seems logical to me, but I want to be sure the RO unit would remove the high sodium levels. Also, I will likely be using a mix of RO and tap water to set my water hardness levels.


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-09-2004, 03:34 AM
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I think the RO unit should filter out the sodium, however that is not going to prolong the life of the membrane. In fact, it is going to actually shorten the life of the membrane. You are just replacing the calcium particles with sodium particles. Anything the RO membrane has to filter out is going to clog the membrane, there is no way around it.

Mixing RO and tap water is only going to add the sodium back into the water. I think the best bet may be to try and bypass the water softener and add unsoftened water to you RO. You need to find an RO:Tap ratio, but once you do it will be smooth sailing.


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-09-2004, 04:22 AM
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I think you'll be better of bypassing the softener too. My water is just as hard as yours, but plants and fish still thrive and grow! Unless you are trying to breed then RO is becomes more of a necessity. If you do go ahead with RO, mixing with the raw hard water is much better. (So you still have to by pass the softener anyway.)

An RO unit should filter pretty much everything out. But as Mike said either running it from your well or soften water isn't going to prolong the life of the membranes. Actually in soften water there is 2x more sodium in the water then the removed Ca and Mg ions. So, the membranes would need replacement faster is my guess.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-09-2004, 04:22 PM
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Why don't you connect the RO unit to the outlet that is bypass by the water softener. I think there are a few outlets in the house usually those are not connected to water softener (kitchen sink?).

I keep discus myself and the water is extremely hard here also. I mix RO and tap water in some of my tanks. BUT if you get your discus locally, you may not need RO water at all. They will not breed however. If you plan to order your discus online, then you really need to do something about your GH. You also may need to call them to check what water hardness they keep their discus in.
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