Topping off Evaporated water - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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Topping off Evaporated water

Hi guys im fairly new to using Deionized water and I have been topping off my tank using DI water that I have matched the PH to the tank. Well today I was testing my water and noticed my PH is slowly rising. So I tested KH/GH and it was higher than what it was before last week by like 4 drops at least. I made abit more research and realised that I Should use just straight DI water with no buffers or anything so that KH-GH dont rise. They state that DI water should be neutral PH(7), when I test my pure DI water(straight from the filter line so it has the smallest contact with atmosphere) I get a bright yellow colour indicating very acidic water. The chart doesnt go lower than PH of 6 so im assuming its 6 or lower. I have increased C02 Bps to lower the PH back down to around 6.6 running just shy of 2bps.

Okay now im scared to add this very acidic DI water to the tank and it causing to Drasticly lower my KH within a short period of time and making the PH Swing harming/killing my shrimp/fish.

Params of tank:
PH 6.6
KH: 9 drops so 5dkh
GH:10 drops
C02: 37 ppm(+/-)
P04: 1ppm
N03: 10ppm
Params of DI water:
Ph:<6
KH:0
GH:0
Can someone please give me some help please before I destroy my water chemistry


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 02:42 AM
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If you are just topping off evaporated water with RO/DI water then you don't want to add anything to the water as the addition of anything to the water would accumulate in your tank as you have noticed.

The reason for the very acidic reason on your RO/DI water is due to 0 KH which is normal as there is nothing to buffer so it takes very little to cause drastic changes. I forget the exact reasoning but RO/DI water parameters can fluctuate significantly due to the lack of buffers in the water. Using it to top of the tank shouldn't cause any fluctuations in your tank parameters because the tank water contains the buffers your RO/DI water is missing. To ease your mind run some test runs by adding some RO/DI water to your tank water outside of the tank.

Hopefully someone on here with a little more experience with RO/DI water can help support what I'm trying to say.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mthomas356 View Post
If you are just topping off evaporated water with RO/DI water then you don't want to add anything to the water as the addition of anything to the water would accumulate in your tank as you have noticed.

The reason for the very acidic reason on your RO/DI water is due to 0 KH which is normal as there is nothing to buffer so it takes very little to cause drastic changes. I forget the exact reasoning but RO/DI water parameters can fluctuate significantly due to the lack of buffers in the water. Using it to top of the tank shouldn't cause any fluctuations in your tank parameters because the tank water contains the buffers your RO/DI water is missing. To ease your mind run some test runs by adding some RO/DI water to your tank water outside of the tank.

Hopefully someone on here with a little more experience with RO/DI water can help support what I'm trying to say.
Thank you so much for your fast response, I will do a test right now like you mentionned, update soon.

Edit: How much RO/DI water should i add to say one cup of tank water to simulate topping off?


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 02:49 AM
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Just add enough water to bring you back to the original water level. If the water level is really low then you might want to gradually add water. When I top off my neo shrimp tank its usually about a 1/4 gallon at a time. They have zero issue with it.

Actually, as soon as I stopped changing their water frequently and went to just topping their tank off with RO water they have been so much happier.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 02:59 AM
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Topping off is rarely more than 10% of the volume of the tank:
If a 10 gallon tank is running low I would hope it would not need as much as 1 gallon to bring it back up.

So:
do the test with 1 cup of aquarium water and 2 tablespoons of RO/DI. This is more than 10%, so it is a 'worst case' scenario.
1 tablespoon added to 1 cup would represent about .5 gallon top off in a 10 gallon tank.

RO/DI has no buffer.
When it first comes out of the filter some of the electrons may be stripped from the water, leaving some H+ in excess. This will mean low pH when you test it.
Then, this water can pick up CO2 from the air, and this also drops the pH. Net result may be water that will test very acidic.

You could:
Use it as is (and not use very much at one time)
Allow it to sit, aerate it for perhaps half an hour, then see if it is any better.
Add a little aquarium water to it (perhaps make a 50/50 blend) then top off the tank with this (which will be a bit closer to the tank parameters).
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mthomas356 View Post
Just add enough water to bring you back to the original water level. If the water level is really low then you might want to gradually add water. When I top off my neo shrimp tank its usually about a 1/4 gallon at a time. They have zero issue with it.

Actually, as soon as I stopped changing their water frequently and went to just topping their tank off with RO water they have been so much happier.
Well I decided to go ahead and just set-up a dripping loop feeding Straight DI water into the tank as we speak, its at like 2 drops per sec.

Ima watch how the fish behave until its topped off.
Edit: oh man... my power might go out.. great news! flickering lights at random moments


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 03:17 AM
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adding 0ppm water back to the tank will restore it to the same parameters it would have been at without any evaporation... do not adjust it at all, it will take on the pH of the tank and wont change it a bit.

dripping it in is not really needed, I pump it in at a gallon or two per minute and there fine.. Pour a large 64oz Nalgene bottle of RO/DI directly into my 5g every few days to replace evap.

Only 0ppm water evaporates, leaving the minerals behind.. This is how distilled water is purified. If you were to take a large tank of water, evaporate half of the solution and the remaining solution would be twice as concentrated.. If you top that tank off with 0ppm water and mix it well it will return to the original concentration of minerals.. presuming no outside factors at play like fish/plants.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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Also I think i may be changing my water chemistry slowly during water changes.

I find i have to "tweak" the PH-KH of my new water very often before deciding to add to the tank and it seems other people just have it right everytime?(I have no problem matching GH though) Also, Could I be adding too much of each and causing TDS to climb for nothing??

I mix Using a 5 gallon jug

Thanks Everyone for your great help! I appreciate alot im still learning and loving it

Edit:Tank is topped off, everything looks happy, happy fish=happy life


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Last edited by Nano-Nater; 05-12-2015 at 03:38 AM. Reason: Water changes
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 04:10 AM
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let your pH/kH settle and then check again, the dissolved gasses will be different in your tank and your new water and they effect readings.. give them time to equalize or gas off and it will probably settle back to normal.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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let your pH/kH settle and then check again, the dissolved gasses will be different in your tank and your new water and they effect readings.. give them time to equalize or gas off and it will probably settle back to normal.
thats what ive been doing but its taking forever(the whole day pretty much) to brew 5 gallons because i gotta add, mix, wait, test, add, mix, wait ,test.. you see where this is going..

Im trying to find the "right recepie" to brew a 5 gallon jug with minimal differences to the tank params.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 04:29 AM
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keep a journal detailing your starting and final parameters, how much precisely of what and when.. without it you'll be playing this game forever.

eventually you'll have enough data to defer back to the journal and calculate what you need based off what you have.. because you've done it before..

but regardless if your just topping off water lost via evaporation with RO/DI you shouldn't add anything to it.. you didnt loose anything out of your tank but purified water and if you add anything into your purified top off water then it will naturally concentrate in your tank over time.


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Last edited by nayr; 05-12-2015 at 04:41 AM. Reason: clairifed
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 04:41 AM Thread Starter
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keep a journal detailing your starting and final parameters, how much precisely of what and when.. without it you'll be playing this game forever.

eventually you'll have enough data to defer back to the journal and calculate what you need based off what you have.. because you've done it before..

but regardless if your just topping off water lost via evaporation with RO/DI you shouldn't add anything to it.
that sounds right, why did I not think of that haha....

but what about my question about TDS? will potentially overdosing each buffer trying to reach the stable tank params cause too high TDS within my new water?
And lastly I want to lower my GH, do I just brew new water for the waterchange with say of 10 drops of GH regent to turn blue(tank actual reading)but instead brew it having like 8 drops and then add to tank to slightly decrease GH?

Im pretty confused with all the RO/DI maths


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2015, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nano-Nater View Post
that sounds right, why did I not think of that haha....

but what about my question about TDS? will potentially overdosing each buffer trying to reach the stable tank params cause too high TDS within my new water?
And lastly I want to lower my GH, do I just brew new water for the waterchange with say of 10 drops of GH regent to turn blue(tank actual reading)but instead brew it having like 8 drops and then add to tank to slightly decrease GH?

Im pretty confused with all the RO/DI maths
What evaporates is water. Your minerals are still in the tank and your concentration of them has increased due to less water. Adding RO back to that tank should bring your parameters back in line. Why would you add anything to the RO?

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-13-2015, 02:42 AM
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Here is how I did it when I was using RO:

1) Set up the tank with the right levels of GH, KH, TDS. Never mind what the pH is doing. If the first three are right, the pH is likely to be in the right range.
2) Top off with pure RO. Remember: 'top off' is generally not more than about 10% of the volume of the tank. If you are waiting longer than this there might be something else going on- very warm tank in a cold room perhaps.
3) Mix the new water to match the tank. Make a big enough batch (20 gallons) so that minor differences in ingredients do not make much difference. I was using kitchen measuring spoons to measure dry powders. I also had several tanks with similar enough parameters that the batch method of water prep worked best for me. To fully dissolve the materials set up the garbage can the day before and run a fountain pump in it. Also, pre-dissolve some materials by shaking them in a jar of water. Seachem Equilibrium is hard to dissolve. Baking soda is very easy.

For more accuracy (especially with a smaller volume of water) get a scale that weighs fractions of a gram and use that.

When in doubt make the new water a little bit softer than you want the tank. Then, each time you add fertilizer you can add just a tiny bit of whatever you need. (CSM+B for example has a small amount of magnesium in it. Does not seem to be enough to affect the GH, but it is there.)
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