wanting to switch to RO water - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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wanting to switch to RO water

Just a little background. I currently have about twenty tanks running with six of them being actual planted tanks, and all the others housing some sort of plants or mosses in bare bottom tanks. Ive been using well water for a few years with no issues until recently. Something has changed in the water from the well and it now has a really high ph, gh, and kh. I've decided I want to switch to ro water toget my numbers back to a normal range. My qquestion is, especially in the planted tanks, what are good numbers and whats the easiest way to keep them constant? I have a 150gpd ro/di unit and am currently just mixing it with the well water to bring the numbers down some.At a 50/50 ratio my tds has dropped to around 120 but my ph is still a 8.2 and gh and kh are still double digits. I know if I go to all ro water I will have to remineralize it but what numbers am I shooting for for it to be good for my plants and fish? Also what products are used most commonly to accomplish this? Any help is appreciated
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 08:17 PM
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3-6 dGH, and a similarly low KH is ideal for the vast majority of plants. I find it best to make the RO/DI water into a large storage container (Brute trashcans are a common one), and then adjust to proper hardness as needed by remineralizing with salts. Some will also mix RO with their source water as mentioned, but it is easier to control hardness and pH with the first method.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 11:16 PM
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Mainly watch your KH as if it Drops below 4, then you Start The PH Roller coaster, and The fish hate That.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 12:10 AM
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Let me see if I understand you. You've been running a ton of tanks for a few years on a well. Suddenly, your PH and GH shoot up and plants are doing poorly? Honestly, if that's the case I would be asking my local health department. Any sudden changes in your water supply means trouble. If the numbers have truly changed that dramatically it's a huge issue.

That said, have you changed anything recently? I live in north central Florida and we have pretty hard water. I've never had any issues where R/O was needed. If your interested in growing the 0.01% of plants that require low KH/GH then use R/O. Otherwise, check your testing procedure.

One of two things is happening. You're having an incorrect test result or there is something you added that's increasing your harness.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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I store my water in a 55gal container, even with the well water for about 24hrs before water changes. My well water is too cold to send direct to the tanks. I bought my house a little over four years ago and in the beginning I tested the water pretty regularly. My ph stayed around 7.5 with gh and kh between 8-10. After a while I quit testing. About six months ago I started having algae pop up in tanks that had never had any and I hadnt changed anything. I didnt pay much attention to it in the beginning but then I noticed some of my fish were acting stressed. Again nothing had changed. Once I noticed a change in behavior I got out the test kits. On avg across all the tanks the tds was around 200-250, no big deal, but the ph was an 8.4! Some even tested at 8.6. Gh and kh were 13-16. I live in a rural area with alot of farmland around me, and I dont know if the ground water has been contaminated from chemicals used in the fields or what but something has changed. Ive never drank the water. Even when it was ok we've just always bought bottled but I can even tell the difference in myskin after a shower. Water is super hard. In depth water test can get eexpensive and even then they may not can determine the cause so I just bit the bullet and ordered me a ro unit and a booster pump. I dont want to make any of my fish sick so I'm thinking 100% ro mineralized back to good numbers is my best bet. Thanks for the numbers Axelrodi. Is there a preference between seachem products like equilibrium and salty shrimp gh kh boosters or are all pretty much the same?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 02:33 PM
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Hard water is not good for most plants as it decreases the amount of CO2 and nutrients available to the plants. Certain ones like Vallisneria that have adapted to use bicarbonate as a carbon source may benefit but these are a minority.

I like this product by Salty Shrimp, which raises only GH. I supplement KH by dosing potassium bicarbonate as a potassium source; with regular water changes and aquasoil the KH stabilizes at a low level (about 3 degrees). I have heard (but do not have personal experience with) that the Salty Shrimp products are 'cleaner' than Seachem, in that they need less TDS to get to the same hardness.

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