Should I use R/O right? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
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Should I use R/O right?

The R/O water I get from my LFS has a GH of 4 and a KH of 5... do I still need to use R/O right on this water?

I also add blackwater extract to the water, so it seems like adding the R/O right just to soften it right after would be wasteful.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 05:13 AM
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A properly maintained RO system should be giving zero KH and zero GH. Are they premixing it with tap or otherwise reconstituting it for you? No, don't use that product.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 05:19 AM Thread Starter
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If they are reconstituting it, they haven't told me. I just bring in buckets and ask for freshwater R/O, which they charge $.50 a gallon for. The pH of the RO is 7.4.

Is this something I should bring to their attention? Also, why do you say not to use the R/O right? What should I be using?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 05:25 AM
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RO Right is a waste of money to start with, but if you have moderately hard water (which that GH & KH reading indicates) it's really unnecessary to make it even harder. If you were getting actual RO water then using something like a GH booster (calcium, magnesium, and potassium sulphates) and baking soda (to add carbonates) would be a better course of action. Just mixing it with tap water would likely provide all the GH & KH boost you need though.

Yes, bring it to their attention. If they're selling that as RO then they're ripping you off. That's harder than my tap water.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 08:50 AM
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Holy moly! $.50/gal??? Thats more than double what I used to pay before I got my RO/DI unit... lol

Most stores, unfortunately, don't keep up with RO filter changes... it sucks when it causes problems.

Good luck to you
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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If their RO isn't actually RO, where is a good place to get DI water? Walmart would be most convenient, is their walmart brand distilled water acceptable?

Hopefully the LFS will check their system after I tell them about it and I won't have to go somewhere else. I guess we'll see :P
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 09:26 AM
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At this point I think it would be beneficial to describe what it is you're going for, that way we can provide you with advice that is more particular and comprehensive for your particular situation.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 09:47 AM
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Grocery stores often have RO/DI taps to refill your own jug. The one here charges 25 cents per gallon for de-ionized water. It's cheaper than buying the brand name stuff and you get the same quality water.

If they don't, any distilled water is going to be a safe bet as there are no filters to change on distillers, so quality control is going to be better.

I've also heard of people having Deep Rock deliver water for you, not sure how much it costs though.


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aschaal03 View Post
The R/O water I get from my LFS has a GH of 4 and a KH of 5... do I still need to use R/O right on this water?

I also add blackwater extract to the water, so it seems like adding the R/O right just to soften it right after would be wasteful.
R O right ADDS GH and KH to R O making it harder not softer.

Wallie World here in West Central Florida charges .84 per gallon for distilled water. Grocery stores are similar priced and rarely had enough. So distilled is not a cheaper solution. I change multiple tanks weekly and my 6 stage R O unit more than paid for itself in two months rather than buying stripped water by the gallon. Logged 1100 gallons of product water generated / used in 10 weeks.

Long term use its better to set up a system or keep what lives in your tap water range.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 05:41 PM
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As imeridian said, RO water should have a 0 GH/KH. At the very least, it shouldn't be testing a GH of 4 and a KH of 5. That's way too high for RO water. Bring it to their attention. With the volume of RO water that an LFS might sell, I can understand how it might be easy to forget to change filter cartridges/membranes/resin or whatever.

How are you testing your water hardness? In my experience, the API GH/KH test kit make me want to throw the things out the window. I'm sure they're atleast semi-accurate, but I can't tell for the life of me when they change colors. All I've been able to determine is my water is 10-degrees-of-I-want-to-run-this-test-kit-over-with-the-car. (lame joke, sorry).

What I use now is the API test strips. They're more expensive, less degree of accuracy, but they give me a nice color indication of GH/KH, so I get a ballpark idea.

If you're doing RO for more than a small aquarium, I'd seriously consider getting your own RODI filter and some sort of storage bucket (I've heard the Brute trashcans work well). I paid $140 for my 6-stage RODI unit, which is really nice. $140 would be 280 gallons of RO for you, but this unit will make well over 600 gallons of RODI before anything needs to be replaced (even then, it's just the resin I believe).

Why do you need RO water? What's your water like out of the tap? Mine is compareable to liquid rock, but if your water really isn't that bad, you might be able to do without it. If tap water isn't so good, a nice RODI setup would do you well.

Just my $.02.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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I want the softer water with lower pH because I am keeping fish that prefer it. otos, corys, angels, bolivians, and rummys. I don't mind spending a little extra money and work to keep them in water they prefer.

The tank is only 36 gallons and I do a 5 gallon change a week so it's not that expensive for me to use the RO/DI water. It's the only tank I have. Someday I will probably get an RO unit, as much for my drinking water as for the fish tank. But that isn't a possibility right now.

The water out of my tap has 20+D hardness for both GH and KH and the pH gets up to 8.6 after letting it gas out. I was using a 50/50 mix of tap and RO water, and had 8KH and 9GH but my pH was staying up around 8.6. Right now, even using only the LFS RO water, my pH won't go under 7.8, which has me totally baffled. I have 2 pieces of driftwood in there, fluorite for substrate, lots of plants and DIY CO2 and my pH WILL NOT DROP. I think I may try a peat pillow next. I've no idea what could be buffering it, there are no rocks in there. I use the ceramic cylinders in my HOB (along with act. carbon cartridges), but I'm pretty sure those would be inert

I know, I know, I should have just gone with an african tank.. but I've always wanted a South American one
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 07:35 PM
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I understand the motivation behind RO water. I wanted CRS too, but they don't really appreciate my liquid rock conditions

Anyhow, if your GH/KH are where you want them, don't worry about pH. It's my understanding that the obsession over pH comes from it's relationship to GH/KH. For example, in soft water tanks with little KH buffering, the pH can swing all over the board with CO2 injection during the day only - but this is perfectly acceptable, assuming your GH/KH remain relatively constant (obviously there's components that could effect GH/KH, but nothing should be altering it quickly or drastically). So set your GH/KH to the desired value via some method, and don't worry about the pH. I believe this theory is correct, as it's the impression/wisdom I came away with after talking to a variety of people about my personal RODI initiative.

What I do know though is that you should aim to alter just your pH. It's like chasing the pink dragon - you're never going to get it and you're probably going to muck something up in the process, and it's not really all that beneficial.

However, the fact that your pH is 8.6 even with the addition of RO water leads me to believe there's something altering your water chemistry. Perhaps it's just the LFS's less than stellar RO water, but keep an eye on it. I'm not sure I'd recommend peat either for it's pH changing effect - I know some people use it to add tannis to the water and simulate a soft water environment more effectively, but peat doesn't change water chemistry predictably, which could also be bad.

Chris
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 08:54 PM
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Only the KH value affect pH.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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only my tap water is 8.6. After switching to straight RO water for water changes, it stays around 7.8. I'll take your advice and only worry about GH/KH, it would definitely save me some headaches lol.

Thanks for all your help
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 11:11 PM
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If all you add is R O or distilled watching your GH / KH readings either Ca or Mg will end up short.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/wa...gh-plants.html

I never bothered to figure out which caused the problem. Just happy I corrected the imbalance.


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