RODI filter and new parameters advice - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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RODI filter and new parameters advice

I got the unit a few days ago and in my excitement installed the cartridges and tubing in advance. And unfortunately, I forgot to remove the membrane before flushing the system and I'm not sure what impact that has on the my new parameters. All measurement taken via API liquid test kits

Tap VS RO

Nitrate: 5ppm - 0ppm


TDS: 317 - 0.00ppm


KH: 140-200ppm - 0 -50ppm


GH: 200-400ppm - 0-50ppm


PH 7.4 - 9.4

Phosphate is the test I couldn't determine on either scale so I've included the following...




I've purchased tropic "marin pro discus mineral" to remineralize the water but given that these parameters are so different I'm wondering if this could hurt the planted discus setup or the discus themselves with the parameters being so different. I mean, is it normal for PH to spike in RODI systems.


Your knowledge here is appreciated.



Thanks

Last edited by RollaPrime; 07-08-2020 at 05:08 PM. Reason: Color coding results for comparison.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 01:53 PM
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Are those RO values before or after remineralizing?

Your test results don't make sense. 0 TDS means 0 Gh, 0 kh so something is off.

And is that 12 dKh for tap with a 7.4 pH? That's not even remotely close either. 7.4ph is more in line with 3 dKh.

Fyi... pH tests are useless in pure RO water. And liquid test kits can be, not always, really off when dealing with low kh environments.

This is my first time seeing Tropic Marin Pro Discus Mineral (I know then as asaltwater manufacturer) and I have to say that I do not agree with there philosophy at all. A recommended pH of 8.0 for Discus?? Never, lol! :-)




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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pauld738 View Post
Are those RO values before or after remineralizing?

Your test results don't make sense. 0 TDS means 0 Gh, 0 kh so something is off.

And is that 12 dKh for tap with a 7.4 pH? That's not even remotely close either. 7.4ph is more in line with 3 dKh.

Fyi... pH tests are useless in pure RO water. And liquid test kits can be, not always, really off when dealing with low kh environments.

This is my first time seeing Tropic Marin Pro Discus Mineral (I know then as asaltwater manufacturer) and I have to say that I do not agree with there philosophy at all. A recommended pH of 8.0 for Discus?? Never, lol! :-)

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The results are both tap and ro water. Also it's not 12 KH, it's 12 drops of API solution to reach the result of between 140-200ppm KH



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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RollaPrime View Post
The results are both tap and ro water. Also it's not 12 KH, it's 12 drops of API solution to reach the result of between 140-200ppm KH



Which on the API test is roughly 12 dKh. Atleast according to the instructions on my API Kh test kit.

In any event I think either your pH test kit is toast or your Kh kit. I'm guessing pH kit. :-)

It's very difficult to get 7.4 pH out of tap with even 140ppm Kh water (7 dKh). In a tank, yes it's possible. But it needs lots of dirt/ acid.

And as I said, you can't measure pH of RO water with any kind of accuracy using normal pH testing methods. So that's why RO pH test is crazy.




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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pauld738 View Post
Which on the API test is roughly 12 dKh. Atleast according to the instructions on my API Kh test kit.

In any event I think either your pH test kit is toast or your Kh kit. I'm guessing pH kit. :-)

It's very difficult to get 7.4 pH out of tap with even 140ppm Kh water (7 dKh). In a tank, yes it's possible. But it needs lots of dirt/ acid.

And as I said, you can't measure pH of RO water with any kind of accuracy using normal pH testing methods. So that's why RO pH test is crazy.




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I'm not sure why but both of your posts thus far seem more argumentative as opposed to giving advice. I live in the UK. Our tap water is the worst in Europe. I'm using a API test kit and also an "Apera Instruments PH20 Value pH Meter." That ships with PH calibration liquid solutions.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I am seeking advice here. Not a debate about what you think is and is not possible with my parameters. I don't mean that in a negative sense but it can be frustrating when seeking advice only to find someone questioning your specific circumstances. Thanks.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by RollaPrime View Post
I'm not sure why but both of your posts thus far seem more argumentative as opposed to giving advice. I live in the UK. Our tap water is the worst in Europe. I'm using a API test kit and also an "Apera Instruments PH20 Value pH Meter." That ships with PH calibration liquid solutions.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I am seeking advice here. Not a debate about what you think is and is not possible with my parameters. I don't mean that in a negative sense but it can be frustrating when seeking advice only to find someone questioning your specific circumstances. Thanks.
Whoa, not trying to come across that way at all. It can be difficult to gauge emotion over a medium like this which is why I try and sprinkle in smiley faces :-) here and there. It makes it a bit worse when doing it over mobile. Which you should be able to see by my signature.

That said, I see a descrepency in your test results. Kinda hard to figure out what is going on if you have bad test results. :-) And to be clear, I don't mean that in a bad way. A lot of issues, especially when dealing with RO are based on inaccurate test results.

I run RO on all my tanks totalling 5 now, soon to be 6. My advice still is to figure out why your ph and kh don't match . Perhaps someone else will join in. That's what makes a forum like this so great! :-)

And since pics or it didn't happen, here's the latest shot from one of my tanks so you can see were I'm coming from.




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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 03:56 AM
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You canít trust PH test kit nor even a PH meter no matter how well calibrated they are if the TDS of water is zero. Need to add just a tad of GH or even aquarium salt so water has a conductivity.

Put ro water in barrel/tub, add at least 1GH worth GH builder for volume of water your prepping and then preferably let water set for about 10hrs to absorb CO2 from atmosphere and form some carbonic acids.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 04:13 AM
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Having a pH of 9.5 for RODI water is strange. PH should be close to 7 When it comes out of the system, then get more acidic as CO2 dissolves into the water from the air. So there either something wrong with your pH test kit or your RODI system isn’t working properly. I think you might want to go through the process of flushing your unit again, and if you have something on hand that you know the pH of that you can reference may want to test that to make sure your pH test is giving the correct results. I think that is the worry here- that you know you didn’t flush it properly?

You can pour a bottle of nail polish remover into your RO water and still get a zero TDS reading. Now obviously you aren’t going to do that, but the point is, if you didn’t flush your system properly there could be something from the filter reagents that is impacting your pH. I really wouldn’t use that water until you are sure it has been set up and flushed properly.
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Last edited by P.Isley; 07-09-2020 at 04:32 AM. Reason: .
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
You canít trust PH test kit nor even a PH meter no matter how well calibrated they are if the TDS of water is zero. Need to add just a tad of GH or even aquarium salt so water has a conductivity.

Put ro water in barrel/tub, add at least 1GH worth GH builder for volume of water your prepping and then preferably let water set for about 10hrs to absorb CO2 from atmosphere and form some carbonic acids.
I'm thinking about adding seachem equilibrium Do you think that will suffice?

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Originally Posted by P.Isley View Post
Having a pH of 9.5 for RODI water is strange. PH should be close to 7 When it comes out of the system, then get more acidic as CO2 dissolves into the water from the air. So there either something wrong with your pH test kit or your RODI system isnít working properly. I think you might want to go through the process of flushing your unit again, and if you have something on hand that you know the pH of that you can reference may want to test that to make sure your pH test is giving the correct results. I think that is the worry here- that you know you didnít flush it properly?

You can pour a bottle of nail polish remover into your RO water and still get a zero TDS reading. Now obviously you arenít going to do that, but the point is, if you didnít flush your system properly there could be something from the filter reagents that is impacting your pH. I really wouldnít use that water until you are sure it has been set up and flushed properly.
I'll do a flush again and see if that changes the PH.

...

Being new to RO and seeing the parameters so vastly different is a little unnerving. I'm worried that these new parameters could be harmful. To date, I've only had to worry about PH during a WC. Other than that, the parameters were what they were so to speak... So I'm a little worried there might be a new parameter or combination of new parameters that could damage my discus and/or planted tank.

Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it. I'll update asap.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 11:12 AM
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Even a well calibrated PH meter only functions properly if water has something in it to conduct electrical current, distilled water is a lost cause trying to use a PH meter, RO water not much better, add a few drops off Seachem iron and let it set for a while and your PH reading will completely change. Seachem Equilibrium will be even better, it has Ca, Mg, K and Fe, even running your water over some almond/oak leaves or peat will change the conductivity of water.

The more variety of elements you can add to water the more normalized the readings will be, here is my 5gal bucket of change water. Bag has almond/oak leaves, crushed coral and oyster shell grit, also add a few granulates of azomite in bottom of bucket which add other odd traces. I don’t bother reading anything such as PH, KH or GH with this water for 48hrs after adding fresh RO. But when that water hits my tank I’m 100% sure that water isn’t going to shift on me.

This bucket runs in my basement 24/7, it’s basically a full time 5gal water prep aquarium. Exactly same PH, KH, GH as my 7gal tank but just with less DOC and TDS levels, then I add fert dosing on top of that. I’ve been doing my water prep this way since mid 90’s. Yes my water for my betta, neons/ember tetra has a slight yellow tint, I won’t use a aquarium change water that doesn’t.

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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@P.Isley @DaveKS

I really appreciate your insights here. I'm learning as I go along so your guidance is really valuable to me. I've been in the hobby from the early 2009 or there abouts but have never used RO. TO the point where I thought my first RO TDS test was wrong. For a second or two I thought I had to change the batteries because I was so used to seeing the lcd screen climb from 0 to the 300-400 mark.

I thought the membrane was "OK" to use because the instructions that ship with the unit refer to cloudy water. But I took the system apart and did two flushes to "reset" the system and the results are as follows

PH: 6.0 (Api) 6.0 (meter) but as I was about to snap the pic it started to flicker between 5.9/6.0
TDS: 0.10
Nitrate: 0ppm
Phosphate 0ppm
KH: 0-50ppm
GH: 0-50ppm

In regards to PH I also meter and API tested my tank and tap coming in at 7.8 and 7.4 respectively I'm not sure if I should adjust the PH to be closer to my tap or if I should do small WCs over the course of a few days seeing as I plan to use RO from here on out? Also I'm not sure about the dechlor situation. I use Seachem Prime but I'm not sure if chlorine is a factor moving forward.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 01:03 PM
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Hi @DaveKS and @pauld738,

Learning lots from many of your posts - thanks

You both mentioned about not being able to trust pH measurements in RO water and both 0 GH and 0 KH were mentioned as being the issue. I thought it was lack of KH that screwed PH readings in RO, so is the GH mentioned a typo or does that screw measurements too? I am also starting first forays into using RO so interested to understand...

Can you get reliable pH readings with:
- 0 KH if you have some GH?
- 0 GH if you have some KH?
- or do you need both some GH and some KH?

Also, what constitutes "some" - is 1 degree enough?

(@RollaPrime - not meaning to hijack your thread here, but seems this is something we both need to understand!)
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @DaveKS and @pauld738,

Learning lots from many of your posts - thanks

You both mentioned about not being able to trust pH measurements in RO water and both 0 GH and 0 KH were mentioned as being the issue. I thought it was lack of KH that screwed PH readings in RO, so is the GH mentioned a typo or does that screw measurements too? I am also starting first forays into using RO so interested to understand...

Can you get reliable pH readings with:
- 0 KH if you have some GH?
- 0 GH if you have some KH?
- or do you need both some GH and some KH?

Also, what constitutes "some" - is 1 degree enough?

(@RollaPrime - not meaning to hijack your thread here, but seems this is something we both need to understand!)
By all means ask and hijack away

We'll all learn from the responses and info shared.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Is there some type of calculation I can do to raise my TDS to between 50-80ppms? My tap water TDS is 317ppm and my RO TDS is between 0.10 - 0.20ppm. I'm not sure if Seachem Equilibrium helps with this or if I need to mix in some tap water. But if so, how much?
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 07:39 PM
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Those readings make a lot more sense. @DaveKS, I think we were replying at the same time - itís a good point on the high probability to get whacky readings with pure water. But @RollaPrime said he forgot to remove the membrane before flushing the system so better safe than sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RollaPrime View Post
I'm not sure if I should adjust the PH to be closer to my tap or if I should do small WCs over the course of a few days seeing as I plan to use RO from here on out? Also I'm not sure about the dechlor situation. I use Seachem Prime but I'm not sure if chlorine is a factor moving forward.
When I switched to full RO water I remineralized it according to my target parameters and did frequent, small water changes to transition the tank over a few weeks. You DO NEED to remineralize your water. Pure RO water is too pure, and the cells in your plants and fish wonít have enough osmotic pressure to stop the pure water from flowing into them causing the cells to burst. (i.e., pure water is toxic). I looked up your Pro-Discus Mineral stuff that you have, but couldnít find the pH, KH and GH that it is targeting. Since you already have it, Iíd mix up a batch with your RO water, test the parameters, and decide if that seems suitable for the kinds of plants and fish you are keeping. Of course other things in the tank like aquasoil, wood, rocks etc. will also impact your water parameters so it might change a bit once in the tank. Most tropical fish and plants are really happy as long as the water is a bit soft (low KH) and neutral to slightly acidic. I wouldnít worry about pH too much, unless you have a pretty specific reason to be hitting a specific pH. Otherwise plants and fish are pretty hardy to pH changes and do well at a range of pHs, especially when water quality is good and clean. A slow transition to new water conditions through small water changes should be just fine.

Equilibrium is adding Ca, and Mg salts back into your tank (which combined is your GH reading). Ca, Mg and S are macronutrients for plants, so if your tank is heavily planted you probably want a fair bit of GH (6+ degrees). Equilibrium doesnít add KH so if going the Seachem route you will probably want to pick up their Alkaline buffer product too. Or you can use a system like @DaveKS where he uses natural means to buffer his water. Waaaayyy better than adding chemicals, but takes a bit of art to it in addition to sound understanding of the science behind why you are adding these things.

You RO system should be removing chlorine from your water too. So no need to add a dechlorinator.

Bump: TDS is important to make sure that your RO unit is working. RO membranes usually have a target of 97-98% solute removal, so if you are starting with 320 TDS, RO water readings of 9 or less mean your unit is working nicely. Some shrimp keepers use TDS to check their water quality. Some use TDS when remineralizing their water with a shrimp specific salt solution to verify the correct dosage of demineralization salts. Otherwise TDS isnít very useful, because it doesnít tell you WHAT is dissolved in your water, only the total combined content of all inorganic and organic substances dissolved in molecular, ionized, or micro-granular suspended form.
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