Restructing house's water processing - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2015, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Restructing house's water processing

So, I kind of came to a decision that I'm done dealing with hard water out of my tap. My Ph is 7.8, Kh is 3dKH, Gh is 11dKH. I'm having a company coming back next week to test my water themselves, and try to sell me on a water softener. I also measured my tap's TDS at 420ppm, so that's another reason to also tell me to buy to also buy an RO system along with the water softener.

I have all Brazil freshwater community fish that everyone says they prefer soft water: Neon Tetras, Black Neon Tetras, and Julii Corys. So the softer water sounds like it might be more welcome. Plants everywhere. I had Red Cherry Shrimp before, and after they all died off, we could only find the high TDS as a possible cause of why. I eventually want to try RCS again, but this time in a connected refugium, after I get java moss growing in there first. I do not have nor plan on having a CO2 setup and would rather adjust the lighting to get a good balance. Maybe down the road it might be a consideration, but I haven't been talked in to yet and have found a good growth rate without it on my current plants.

I'm a little bit worried about installing a softener and RO unit, as obviously this means more complication and could lead to disaster. I'm not entirely sure what to expect now. It sounds like I'll at least need Seachem Equilibrium and underdose Flourish. I also read I should use Fresh Trace and Flourish Trace, but I'm worried about future shrimp with those. I'm also worried the RO unit might lower the Ph down too much, and I'll be aiming hopefully for a 6-6.5ph as an ideal condition for my fish and stability factors. Is there something else I should be considering using? Any input here, or direction?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 02:31 PM
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It sounds like you have done your research, and using RO is an effective way to start with 'nothing in the water', and then build it back up to your liking.

The equilibrium will restore the major salts, and the trace products will restore the trace elements required for fish (Fresh trace) and plants (Seachem Trace). There are some small traces of copper in the trace products, so some research will need to be done to ensure you keep the Cu ppm below what is dangerous for shrimp (I don't know what that is).
You mentioned underdosing Flourish (comprehensive). I'm not sure why that would be necessary, as it contains necessary micro elements as well, and should not overlap much with the products mentioned. Maybe someone has a better opinion on Flourish.

What is missing is an alkaline buffer. You mentioned correctly that your pH may go too low. You can add enough of the alkaline buffer to stop that from happening. Since you like Seachem, look into Seachem Alkaline Buffer. Good luck creating a nice South American environment.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaher View Post
I'm a little bit worried about installing a softener and RO unit...
You don't need or want a softener AND an RO unit. The softeners generally use some type of ion exchange and leave you with something else undesirable in the water (sodium usually). The RO unit will remove everything from the water and is all you need, then remineralize. HTH.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 03:39 PM
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You don't need or want a softener AND an RO unit. The softeners generally use some type of ion exchange and leave you with something else undesirable in the water (sodium usually). The RO unit will remove everything from the water and is all you need, then remineralize. HTH.
The reason for using both the softener and RO unit is to make the RO unit "filter" last a lot longer. Softened water works better for cleaning so you get the benefit of that for the household water uses to help justify having both.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 04:21 PM
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I forget people use water for things other than fish.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mc View Post
You don't need or want a softener AND an RO unit. The softeners generally use some type of ion exchange and leave you with something else undesirable in the water (sodium usually). The RO unit will remove everything from the water and is all you need, then remineralize. HTH.
The softner isn't exactly for the tank. That one is more for me, cleaning and hygiene purposes. I also hear it makes it easier on the RO unit, but that could just be a myth online I've read. The RO in my perspective after the softner is to lower the TDS and get rid of the salts the softner will add. Also, I don't actually want to drink water from a softner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imcmaster View Post
It sounds like you have done your research, and using RO is an effective way to start with 'nothing in the water', and then build it back up to your liking.

The equilibrium will restore the major salts, and the trace products will restore the trace elements required for fish (Fresh trace) and plants (Seachem Trace). There are some small traces of copper in the trace products, so some research will need to be done to ensure you keep the Cu ppm below what is dangerous for shrimp (I don't know what that is).
You mentioned underdosing Flourish (comprehensive). I'm not sure why that would be necessary, as it contains necessary micro elements as well, and should not overlap much with the products mentioned. Maybe someone has a better opinion on Flourish.

What is missing is an alkaline buffer. You mentioned correctly that your pH may go too low. You can add enough of the alkaline buffer to stop that from happening. Since you like Seachem, look into Seachem Alkaline Buffer. Good luck creating a nice South American environment.
The only reason I mentioned under-dosing, is because I prefer a slower growth. Since I have no CO2, the lighting can't be high, and it's kind of an approach for me to keep the ferts slightly lower than the directions to keep a balance. I've had success so far, but probably when my TDS goes down, I might have to revisit that.

I've bought every API liquid test that I could find, so that included the copper test. I assume as long as it stays undetectable to API's test, it'll be fine for the future shrimp? It seems copper levels for shrimp havn't been zeroed in yet and is pretty debated. I guess if it becomes to much of a hassle, I might give up shrimp.

Does anyone know if I use an Alkaline Buffer, if it'll be okay to recycle old water to use as indoor plant food/water?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 05:13 PM
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I would suggest getting the softener and the R.O. Make sure you install a bypass valve on the softener to use when you need tap water just for the aquarium(s). If your tap water parameters are not what you desire, use the R.O. to dilute. Also use the R.O. for top offs.
I would not use softened water from an ion exchange unit for your aquarium. Your snails and shrimp will thank you. Good Luck!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 06:46 PM
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I can confirm you want the softener before the RO. I have horrible well water. TDS of 2800 in early spring from run off. After my softener the TDS goes down to about 1000. i then pass it through the RO unit.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 07:09 PM
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Chlorine will break down the RO membrane, the Softener will remove the chlorine and some of the minerals before it passes through the membrane, extending its life expectancy.

You dont want to use RO water everywhere in your house, its poor drinking water as it extracts minerals from your body instead of maintaing them.. It makes good nursery water, house plant water, coffee water.

Since high output RO filters are very expensive I installed a 55g plastic drum in my basement with a 100gpd RO + float valve and shutoff valve, hooked it to a shurflo 115v water pump like they put in RV's that maintain 45psi, with a small pressure tank to absorb the pump surges.. that pump feeds into a distribution pipe that goes up to my aquarium and up to my kitchen, under the sink in the kitchen it splits off and ties into a dedicated sink faucet and a float in my coffee maker... it also hooks up to a hydroponic garden tank part of the year.. As long as I dont pull more than 55 gallons at once there is always plenty of water in the tank for my needs and I have a nice clean backup supply of water if SHTF.

I used 2x6's to make a shelf to hold the RO drum, its attached to the ceiling, floor and ramset to the concrete wall, then the tank is chained to the stand.. this lifts it off the ground about 3ft and I have a drain fauctet in the bottom of the tank, open the faucet and gravity can drain it into buckets below (or even another tank) with no mechanical dependency.


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2015, 07:26 PM
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I use baking soda to restore RO's KH and maintain a decent PH.. I am going to try GLA's GH Booster instead of Equilibrium and switch to PPS-Pro daily dosing with weekly PWC's using the GLA Booster.

http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquari...h-booster.html


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