Is Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Necessary? - The Planted Tank Forum
View Poll Results: Do you use reverse osmosis water in your planted tank?
No - I use only tap water 46 68.66%
Yes - I use reverse osmosis water (100% or mixed with tap) 21 31.34%
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Is Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Necessary?

Do I need to use reverse osmosis (RO) water for my planted tank? It will mostly likely have your typical community of fish and plants.

My tap water has about 400 PPM TDS.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 03:52 PM
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The only time I really see people use ro is in super pricey shrimp tanks.

What is your waters ph etc?

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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The ph in my 75 gal tank is 6.4, which is lower than I thought it would be having only put tap water into it. I presume that the 150 I am setting up will have similar ph. Given that the ph is acidic, maybe I can bypass the RO filter.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 04:32 PM
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I use R/O water on all of my tanks. but my city adds fluoride, and other things, and we have an aquifer that is surrounded by limestone, so its super hard. my Ph out of the tap is 8.2, the R/O water i use is 7.5

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzout View Post
The ph in my 75 gal tank is 6.4, which is lower than I thought it would be having only put tap water into it. I presume that the 150 I am setting up will have similar ph. Given that the ph is acidic, maybe I can bypass the RO filter.
I would say your fine, if your already using in a tank there, the new one should have no troubles

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 05:40 PM
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I have two High tech tanks and I wanted to see if any difference could be found between Ro and tap. One tank gets 100% RO/DI and then the other gets tap water strait into the tank along with an overdose of prime water conditioner. It has been a few months and I have not noticed any thing different between the two tanks. I will keep going to see what happens later.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zefrik View Post
I have two High tech tanks and I wanted to see if any difference could be found between Ro and tap. One tank gets 100% RO/DI and then the other gets tap water strait into the tank along with an overdose of prime water conditioner. It has been a few months and I have not noticed any thing different between the two tanks. I will keep going to see what happens later.
That's a great test. It would be very interesting to find out if there is a difference after some time. (I hope not )
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 07:00 PM
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With 99% of plants RO isn't needed. It is only when you are trying to grow specific soft water plants and the tap you have has high KH that you need RO or RO/tap mix.
Also, if your tap or well water has some kind of junk in it you don't want to put in your tank.
I have well water with a high KH and since I like to grow softer water plants I use RO. If I was growing plants that didn't require the soft KH, I would use my well water.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 12:19 AM
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I started off with RO water for a few months. Due to cost and convenience I switch to tap water treated with Prime. No negative effects have been observed with my fish or shrimp, however I have noticed slower plant growth, slightly increased browning of plant leaves and Cladophora growth exploded - these changes taking place right when I switched water types. These changes however, have not been drastic enough to spur me into switching back to RO. Overall healthy plant growth seems to exceed the rate at which cladophora chokes out the desired plant life.


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 12:45 AM
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My tap has a really high kH and a relatively low gH, 11 and 2 respectively. Instead of going the RO route I decided to do WC with the water from my rain barrel. I generally have enough to change 30-50% of both my 55g and my 25g once every two weeks. The rain water is nearly perfect: 0 kH, 0 gH, with a pH of 6.2. It's a little cold in the winter, but it makes my pygmy corys spawn!

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Method View Post
My tap has a really high kH and a relatively low gH, 11 and 2 respectively. Instead of going the RO route I decided to do WC with the water from my rain barrel. I generally have enough to change 30-50% of both my 55g and my 25g once every two weeks. The rain water is nearly perfect: 0 kH, 0 gH, with a pH of 6.2. It's a little cold in the winter, but it makes my pygmy corys spawn!
That is very interesting. Can you please provide some details about your rain barrel? Was it DIY or pre-made?


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 02:28 AM
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That is very interesting. Can you please provide some details about your rain barrel? Was it DIY or pre-made?
Totally DIY.

My local Pepsi bottling plant (you have one nearby as well) sells food-grade plastic 55 gallon drums for $10 on Friday mornings. They once held flavoring syrup, and apparently it is cheaper for them to throw them away than rewash them. The $10 is for their trouble.

I placed it under my gutter downspout on about 3 feet of cinder blocks. I cut a hole in the top with a saw and covered it with screen. I then drilled a hole in the bottom for a faucet. I cut a hole in the side near the top for an overflow, and attached a 3" hose.

I use a hand-operated bilge pump to get water from the rain barrel to my display tank (about 10 feet away). I could use a pump, but I'm cheap! I generally use buckets for my 25g QT tank, which is further away.

I would give two warnings:
1) collect clean rain water. I generally let it rain for 5-30 minutes, depending on the strength of downpour, to wash out the atmosphere of pollutants.
2) watch the NH3 level in the barrel. At certain times of year my gutters get dirty and cause about 0.5 to 1.0 ppm ammonia in the barrel. I treat the whole barrel with Prime and none of my livestock seem to care.

Overall it works well for me. All of the expense was up front (except the Prime) and for my build was about $50, including pump, hardware, cinder blocks, and barrel.

"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 03:11 AM
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Wow that sounds very cool. I would love to set up something like that, if the landlord wouldn't mind. I like the idea of using the hand pump, keeping things simple as well as cheap. Thanks for the description!


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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 05:54 AM
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+1 for RO/DI. I find it easier to control the params when I know exactly what is going in and coming out of the tank as far as nutrients. On top of that, I keep soft water, acidic SA fishes mostly. That means tap water is pretty much toxic to my fish of choice. Hard alkaline water (which I find in abundance out of my tap) is a great way to really shorten the lifespan of tetras and other South Americans as well as many Asian species by putting their kidneys and liver through way more stress than normal.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 03:33 PM
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I started using RO water but found I didn't always have time to buy RO water (can't install a filter) and try to control the parameters. It helps that I only keep cheap fish and plants. If I ever find that something doesn't do well in the water, I'll make a note not to buy more of it.
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