Reverse Osmosis Water - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Reverse Osmosis Water

Hi, Another question... I'm thinking about getting a reverse osmosis unit installed on my kitchen sink. Reason being that I live in a heavily farmed area and nitrates are becoming an issue in many homes around here. Currently my nitrate reading (lab results) is 5.5. That's a 37% increase over that last 5 years. It just seems like maybe this is a good time to have an RO system installed. Anyway, my question is... What are the steps I should take to use it in my planted tank? I realize that I need to mix it with tap water but how do I start that and how do I know how much? And what about doing water changes? I'm just confused on how this works. Thanks for all the help I've been getting here. Great forum.

33 gallon tall, LIGHT: 24W t5HO (6400K), 24W t5HO (6700)
FILTER: Fluval 206 and a small powerhead 100gph
SUBSTRATE: Eco Complete & sand.
WATER: pH: 7.5, GH: 10.7, KH: 7.
PLANTS: micro sword, ludwigia repens, amazon sword, java fern, rotala indica, annubias, baby tears, wisteria, staurogyne repens.
FISH: 2 corys, 3 otos, 2 shrimp, 2 guppies 2 dwarf gouramis.
DOSING Seachem Flourish products according to instructions, (for now)

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 01:13 PM
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If you have concerns about your tap water, you don't have to mix your RO/DI water with it at all. You can buy a product to remineralize your water. Usually a dry powder that you mix in a bucket to hit your desired water parameters. There are quite a few on the market from Kent to Salty Shrimp. (SS are my pick but that's just personal preference)

That way you have 100% control over what's in your water.

For water changes, you'd mix up water in a bucket or container and have it ready for doing changes.

I like to keep a Rubbermaid Brute trash can filled with straight RO water so I always have some on hand. Keep a cheap pump in the bottom - plugged into a timer - to circulate the water every few hours. Nice to have a ready supply should a tank emergency strike. Also nice for not having to wait an hour or two for your filter to produce enough water for water changes.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, but I really don't have the room to store water. The RO system would be for my drinking water. I'm just wondering if I could start to use it my tank as well. And if so, how would I go about it? What would happen if I added say 5% each time i do a 50% water change. Or does that not even make sense and maybe I should go back to gardening instead of fish keeping. ;-)

33 gallon tall, LIGHT: 24W t5HO (6400K), 24W t5HO (6700)
FILTER: Fluval 206 and a small powerhead 100gph
SUBSTRATE: Eco Complete & sand.
WATER: pH: 7.5, GH: 10.7, KH: 7.
PLANTS: micro sword, ludwigia repens, amazon sword, java fern, rotala indica, annubias, baby tears, wisteria, staurogyne repens.
FISH: 2 corys, 3 otos, 2 shrimp, 2 guppies 2 dwarf gouramis.
DOSING Seachem Flourish products according to instructions, (for now)

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 02:53 PM
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I don't have a lot of room either; I use a small 5 gallon bucket to store RO water with an airstone and heater to keep temp same as tank.
Depending on your desired water parameters, test your RO for dGH, dKH and pH so you have a basis (not all RO is the same). Then try sample mixes of your tap with your RO to get a base mix with your desired dGH. (I use 1 part tap to 3 parts RO). Ideally you want the dGH to match what your fish need then add baking soda to match the dKH (learned this from Diana!). KH keeps the pH stable. If you are using all RO, RO water typically has no minerals so you can remineralize the RO water (add back the necessary minerals) with SeaChem Replenish. Hope this makes sense?!
We also drink our RO water (but be sure you get enough sodium and minerals in your diet). I also have a DI cartridge for the fish water which we do not drink.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I think I'm getting my head around this now. Should have taken chemistry in high school. Ha!

33 gallon tall, LIGHT: 24W t5HO (6400K), 24W t5HO (6700)
FILTER: Fluval 206 and a small powerhead 100gph
SUBSTRATE: Eco Complete & sand.
WATER: pH: 7.5, GH: 10.7, KH: 7.
PLANTS: micro sword, ludwigia repens, amazon sword, java fern, rotala indica, annubias, baby tears, wisteria, staurogyne repens.
FISH: 2 corys, 3 otos, 2 shrimp, 2 guppies 2 dwarf gouramis.
DOSING Seachem Flourish products according to instructions, (for now)

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 01:01 AM
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To make the change from tap to RO that has been remineralized, I would follow either of these paths. The new water could be a blend of RO + tap water, or pure RO with minerals added.

1) Make the new water so the GH, KH, TDS, pH match the existing water. (not more than 10% softer) Then do as big or as small water changes as you want.

2) Make the new water different and make smaller water changes so the net effect is that the GH, KH, or TDS is not more than 10% lower than the fish were used to. You can do 2 of this type of water change weekly until the fish are in the new water. This may take time. That is OK. The fish metabolism takes up to a month to reset to a significantly softer water.

Sample numbers:
First option: If the current GH is 10 degrees, then make the new water GH not lower than 9 degrees for one water change, then 8 degrees, then 7... and do 2 of these water changes per week. Water changes can be any size.

Second option: If the current GH is 10 degrees, but the new water (whatever blend you are using) has a GH of 5 degrees then you could do a water change up to 20%. Net result is tank water at 9 degrees. If the tank needs a bigger water change than this for some reason, use method 1. Keep doing the math each water change so you know how big a water change is safe.

Either way, it will take several weeks to a month to make a big overall change in water parameters.

To confirm that the water change is OK:
Do a water change with water that you think it right.
Give it a few minutes to an hour to circulate, and watch the fish.
Test the GH, KH, TDS and pH. If these numbers are in the right range, and the fish are behaving OK, then that is a good water change. If the tests show the values are dropping too fast, (your new water was too soft) then add a little Epsom salt to correct the GH, or baking soda to correct the KH. (either of these will also correct the TDS).

Note that I am not suggesting using only Epsom salt to remineralize the RO. This is just a quick measure to correct the GH if there is a problem. To remineralize the RO I recommend a GH booster that has a balanced level of calcium and magnesium. Baking soda for KH, or potassium bicarbonate for KH.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-04-2014, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much, Diana. I really appreciate your great explanation. I will go with method 1 once I get the RO system installed. And I will need to get more test kits before I do anything.

33 gallon tall, LIGHT: 24W t5HO (6400K), 24W t5HO (6700)
FILTER: Fluval 206 and a small powerhead 100gph
SUBSTRATE: Eco Complete & sand.
WATER: pH: 7.5, GH: 10.7, KH: 7.
PLANTS: micro sword, ludwigia repens, amazon sword, java fern, rotala indica, annubias, baby tears, wisteria, staurogyne repens.
FISH: 2 corys, 3 otos, 2 shrimp, 2 guppies 2 dwarf gouramis.
DOSING Seachem Flourish products according to instructions, (for now)

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Booswalia View Post
Hi, Another question... I'm thinking about getting a reverse osmosis unit installed on my kitchen sink. Reason being that I live in a heavily farmed area and nitrates are becoming an issue in many homes around here. Currently my nitrate reading (lab results) is 5.5. That's a 37% increase over that last 5 years. It just seems like maybe this is a good time to have an RO system installed. Anyway, my question is... What are the steps I should take to use it in my planted tank? I realize that I need to mix it with tap water but how do I start that and how do I know how much? And what about doing water changes? I'm just confused on how this works. Thanks for all the help I've been getting here. Great forum.
Assuming your tank is planted, you have sensitive fish or unless your nitrates are above 30-40ppm, I wouldn't worry much about nitrates. Most of us have to add nitrates, your getting it for free.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Booswalia View Post
Thanks, but I really don't have the room to store water. The RO system would be for my drinking water. I'm just wondering if I could start to use it my tank as well. And if so, how would I go about it? What would happen if I added say 5% each time i do a 50% water change. Or does that not even make sense and maybe I should go back to gardening instead of fish keeping. ;-)
At 5%, I am not sure its worth it. Mixing 5% with a 50% WC probably won't get you numbers your wanting to see. When using RO water for an aquarium, you really need to have at least temporary storage. You don't need longer term storage. Temporary storage will suffice as you just need somewhere to store as you make your water. I have space but I don't store R/O. I setup my system to run over night (12am-7am ish) in a 33g trash can. It takes about 6-7 hrs to get me to my goal. By morning my 33g can is about 75-80% full. I use my water and then put my can away until next time.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. My nitrate concerns are with my drinking water. Using the RO water for my tank would just be an added bonus.

33 gallon tall, LIGHT: 24W t5HO (6400K), 24W t5HO (6700)
FILTER: Fluval 206 and a small powerhead 100gph
SUBSTRATE: Eco Complete & sand.
WATER: pH: 7.5, GH: 10.7, KH: 7.
PLANTS: micro sword, ludwigia repens, amazon sword, java fern, rotala indica, annubias, baby tears, wisteria, staurogyne repens.
FISH: 2 corys, 3 otos, 2 shrimp, 2 guppies 2 dwarf gouramis.
DOSING Seachem Flourish products according to instructions, (for now)

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