Chlorine test recommendation - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Chlorine test recommendation

I run an RODI unit and it's overdue for a test of the carbon block to make sure it's not exhausted. I'm looking for recommendations on chlorine test strips/kits/etc.

@Greggz Do you test with your setup? Or just replace carbon block every X amount of months?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
I run an RODI unit and it's overdue for a test of the carbon block to make sure it's not exhausted. I'm looking for recommendations on chlorine test strips/kits/etc.

@Greggz Do you test with your setup? Or just replace carbon block every X amount of months?
Mgeorges my source is well water, so no chlorine, and not a concern for me.

I keep an eye on post TDS, but honestly it always stays low. I change all the cartridges except carbon every six months, and the carbon once a year.

Will be interesting to see if you can find a good test. My guess is it's very low or none and you have nothing to worry about. But who knows for sure until you test it.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Mgeorges my source is well water, so no chlorine, and not a concern for me.

I keep an eye on post TDS, but honestly it always stays low. I change all the cartridges except carbon every six months, and the carbon once a year.

Will be interesting to see if you can find a good test. My guess is it's very low or none and you have nothing to worry about. But who knows for sure until you test it.
My primary concern at the moment is preservation of the RO membrane since they're expensive to replace. Apparently, once the carbon block exhausts and starts letting chlorine/chloramines through, this is detrimental to the health and longevity of the membrane, even a very little bit. I've been running my system for 7-8 months now on city water, so I'm wondering if it's about time.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 06:52 PM
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Chlorine killed my RO membranes several times, it unexpectedly leaks out and makes RO product with high TDS. Now I use two carbon cartridges because one doesn’t remove the chlorine enough and limit the flow up to 50 gallon per day because the removal rates are very flow dependent. Even the RO membranes technical documentation says chlorine should be maintained under 0.1 ppm to protect it from permanent damage. These are the regular Home Depot cartridges though.

And the test kits are available at Pool & Spa Supplies stores.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 07:09 PM
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My membranes don't last very long but I only have a 3 stage with one carbon block. If I were diligent about it, I would replace carbon every few months but I'm not... so I don't. That's why I'm buying distilled water for my shrimp tanks constantly. lol
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 04:28 PM
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You can test for breakthrough by measuring conductivity or by making a reagent solution of silver nitrate. silver nitrate in the presence of chloride will make a white precipitate.

The RO machine in the lab has a conductivity meter on it. I find the silver nitrate method works well.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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My problem is my water is very hard to begin with. Coming out of the RO only, my TDS is nowhere near zero. I THINK it's somewhere in the 40-50 range. The problem is, I don't have a true base line TDS measurement, so I was thinking about testing with current carbon block, swapping in a new and testing again, bypassing the DI stage for the test. My TDS always comes out 0 after the DI, but obviously that tells me nothing about my carbon block.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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So, I was way off. Just checked TDS bypassing the DI resin, it's at 15. Swapped in a new carbon block and pre-filter, test here after I let it run for 30 minutes.
Question - If chlorine/chloramine is bypassing the carbon block, will the DI resin remove it? If not, this could certainly explain a massive decline in my shrimp population here recently....
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
My problem is my water is very hard to begin with. Coming out of the RO only, my TDS is nowhere near zero. I THINK it's somewhere in the 40-50 range.
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So, I was way off. Just checked TDS bypassing the DI resin, it's at 15.
This doesn’t say much unless we know what tap TDS is and what TDS unit it is, ppm as NaCl or µS (uS).


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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This doesn’t say much unless we know what tap TDS is and what TDS unit it is, ppm as NaCl or µS (uS).
It's an HM Digital, it says calibrate with NaCl. So it could be picking up Chloride in the water, correct?
I'm very curious about chlorine/chloramine and whether it gets picked up by the DI resin if it gets by the carbon block.

Edit: My taps TDS is actually much lower than normal, sitting at ~263. I got the RODI unit because it was generally in the 350-360 range, life for some of my softer water fish was not pleasant.

Last edited by mgeorges; 07-23-2018 at 04:18 PM. Reason: additional info
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 04:32 PM
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Yes the TDS tester detects chloride and also many other ions as well. However it says nothing about chlorine concentration. For that a chlorine test kit test is needed on carbon cartridge output.

In addition, TDS tester can determine RO membrane condition and DI recharge efficiency. For that tap TDS, RO membrane output TDS and DI output TDS values are needed.

Tap: 263 ppm as NaCl, present
RO membrane output: ?
DI output: ?


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 05:10 PM
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I use a liquid chlorine test kit I got from Inkmaker. I just add 3 drops to 10ml.By adjusting ratios you can test pretty low or more accurately. It just turns yellow if chlorine is present .
Most systems run the DI after the TFC so the chlorine will have already done its damage to the TFC if the carbon fails or is exhausted . I know you are wondering about your shrimp.
I like running 2 carbon blocks in series for just this reason. Like with dual DI the second block will not be effected till the first is exhausted or bypassed by high flow rate[my set up is 150GPD with pump ]. Then you just move second block to first place and replace second block with new .
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Tap: 263 ppm as NaCl, present
RO membrane output: ?
DI output: ?
RO before I changed carbon block and sediment filter - 15 ppm
RO after I changed carbon block and sediment filter and ran for 1.5 hours - 17 ppm....go figure
RODI output - 0 TDS

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I use a liquid chlorine test kit I got from Inkmaker. I just add 3 drops to 10ml.By adjusting ratios you can test pretty low or more accurately. It just turns yellow if chlorine is present .
Most systems run the DI after the TFC so the chlorine will have already done its damage to the TFC if the carbon fails or is exhausted . I know you are wondering about your shrimp.
I like running 2 carbon blocks in series for just this reason. Like with dual DI the second block will not be effected till the first is exhausted or bypassed by high flow rate[my set up is 150GPD with pump ]. Then you just move second block to first place and replace second block with new .

I like the sound of your setup. I've been considering grabbing an add-on for my RODI. Currently, I think mines considered a 4 stage? Sediment, Carbon, RO membrane, DI resin. I'd like to stick a second carbon block on there pre-RO membrane. Mine is a SpectraPure 90GPD unit. I've been impressed, but with lack of experience with an RODI system comes mistakes...potentially lethal mistakes as I'm finding out.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 06:02 PM
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Tap: 263 ppm as NaCl
RO membrane output: 15 - 17
DI output: 0

RO membrane rejection: 94%

The variation 15 to 17 is insignificant, can be due to flow rate or temperature difference, nothing to worry about, and the main RO membrane is still in great shape at 94% rejection rate. The last segment the DI is working ok at this flow rate but I consider it be unnecessary for planted aquariums. So the only unknown remains the chlorine out of the carbon cartridge described in post #4 above.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 07:26 PM
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Question - If chlorine/chloramine is bypassing the carbon block, will the DI resin remove it? If not, this could certainly explain a massive decline in my shrimp population here recently....
The DI cartridge only removes minerals after the water has passed through the RO filter. It probably will remove Chlorine. 1 degree of KH in your tank will also neutralize chlorine. So if your KH and DI filter are fine your tank is probably Ok. It might also prevent you from ever detecting chlorine with a test kit when the carbon is saturated. So the chlorine test kit might only detect chlorine after the RO filter has been damaged.
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