Transition from RO to Tap - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-01-2015, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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Transition from RO to Tap

Usually the threads I see are in the opposite order. I'm currently using straight RO water I get from a water store. I bought myself an at home system and once I saw that it was about 1 gal RO to 5 gal wastewater I couldn't believe it. I'm just not sure I can continue to do that in the middle of a drought.

However, my tap water... well it sucks.

Last night pH 7.4 on the high range API kit and 7.6 on the low
Tonight after letting it rest - 8.2. Ouch.

I run at about 6.4 - 6.6 right now with pressurized CO2.

Thoughts on pH up/down products? Don't think I like the idea, but I don't really know what's in that stuff.

The water is HARD at 19 GH and right now I'm at 5.

If I attempt to transition to full tap, what should I expect from my plants and fish? I would have to go slow mixing in tap with each water change as that's a huge jump. What do you think my pH would run at? A lot of my plants and fish prefer softer, more acidic water, at least so I have read. Am I risking losing fish and plants?

The tank I am talking about is the 120g in my signature.

Any help or guidance, experience, anything ya got would be appreciated. Kind of at a loss. Totally don't want to do it, but would enjoy skipping all the trips and money to the water store, and San Diego would be saving some precious water. I just don't know.


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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-01-2015, 04:31 PM
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If this were my situation, I would attempt to make the transition.

pH: Under pressurized CO2, your ph should drop from 8.2 to about 7.0-7.2. Compared to your current 6.4, this adjustment to the fish and plants should be fine, given a process which adjusts the water over a long enough period of time. I would not consider altering the water chemistry with pH products to lower this any further. The iron may not be as available at a higher pH and you may need to use DTPA if you don't already. There will be some minor shifts in certain equilibrium's which depend on pH (including NH4+ decreasing and NH3 increasing, etc) but not enough to worry about.

[As a reference my tap is 8.0 and I run around 7.0 - and have fish which are supposed to prefer soft/acidic water (otos, tetras, etc)]

gH: This is your challenge at 19 [as a reference mine is 13 and I do nothing to alter this]. But your tank is currently running at a low 5. Could your tank run at 19? Maybe if you transition slowly. Are you willing to treat the tap water with a softener to bring it down? I don't have experience with this, but expect soaking water in peat (or some similar process) could allow your tank gH to be closer to 10+ if you were willing to work at it. Or you could decide to go 75% tap, and 25% purchased RO which would drop the gH below 15 without any treatment (or some other ratio).

I think I would start with 10% tap, 90% RO for the first water change, and each subsequent water change alter the ratio (20/80, etc) and observe. Measure the new tank pH/gH each time. Maybe you reach 100% tap. At worst, you would stop at a ratio which is better than you have now (100% RO).

IDK .... but best of luck if you decide to change.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-01-2015, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcmaster View Post
If this were my situation, I would attempt to make the transition.

pH: Under pressurized CO2, your ph should drop from 8.2 to about 7.0-7.2. Compared to your current 6.4, this adjustment to the fish and plants should be fine, given a process which adjusts the water over a long enough period of time. I would not consider altering the water chemistry with pH products to lower this any further. The iron may not be as available at a higher pH and you may need to use DTPA if you don't already. There will be some minor shifts in certain equilibrium's which depend on pH (including NH4+ decreasing and NH3 increasing, etc) but not enough to worry about.

[As a reference my tap is 8.0 and I run around 7.0 - and have fish which are supposed to prefer soft/acidic water (otos, tetras, etc)]

gH: This is your challenge at 19 [as a reference mine is 13 and I do nothing to alter this]. But your tank is currently running at a low 5. Could your tank run at 19? Maybe if you transition slowly. Are you willing to treat the tap water with a softener to bring it down? I don't have experience with this, but expect soaking water in peat (or some similar process) could allow your tank gH to be closer to 10+ if you were willing to work at it. Or you could decide to go 75% tap, and 25% purchased RO which would drop the gH below 15 without any treatment (or some other ratio).

I think I would start with 10% tap, 90% RO for the first water change, and each subsequent water change alter the ratio (20/80, etc) and observe. Measure the new tank pH/gH each time. Maybe you reach 100% tap. At worst, you would stop at a ratio which is better than you have now (100% RO).

IDK .... but best of luck if you decide to change.
Thank you so much for the reply!

Well it is reassuring that you think the pH will drop that much. I could hope for neutral if that's the case. I had thought about purchasing a water softener but I heard that's not great for the tank, but haven't done much research. What I hadn't thought about was a natural remedy like you suggested to drop the hardness, that could work. It wouldn't be difficult for me to refill a trash can after each water change and add whatever I needed to it for the next week.

What is DTPA? An iron supplement? I use a modified EI dosing schedule right now. I do have an iron test kit I just got so I could put that to some use.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-01-2015, 06:30 PM
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I did not intend to suggest a house water softener (which is bad) - more what you suggested - a bin with added peat (or similar). It would be interesting if you could experiment with that approach to see what final pH/gH would could get to. There may be some water staining though?? Hopefully other people use a gh reducing method and can provide some info on how much you can alter gH.
Yes, DTPA iron is an iron supplement, similar to the iron in your micro mix (which is probably ETDA chelated iron), but it does better at staying available for your plants when the pH is higher.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-01-2015, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcmaster View Post
I did not intend to suggest a house water softener (which is bad) - more what you suggested - a bin with added peat (or similar). It would be interesting if you could experiment with that approach to see what final pH/gH would could get to. There may be some water staining though?? Hopefully other people use a gh reducing method and can provide some info on how much you can alter gH.
Yes, DTPA iron is an iron supplement, similar to the iron in your micro mix (which is probably ETDA chelated iron), but it does better at staying available for your plants when the pH is higher.
I will do some research on the peat and other methods to reduce hardness and run some tests at home to see what happens.

I have had good experience with Purigen in my filter on my smaller tank, I bet that would help with clearing up the water if any staining from the peat happens.

Thanks!


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