RO/DI water likely mistake - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
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RO/DI water likely mistake

So, due to me attempting to soften the hard tap water (as advised for amazon puffers) I purchased an RO buddie. Ignorant me, I was oginally using a TDS meter to determine general hardness. During weekly 25 percent water changes, I was adding nothing, just straight RO water. Overtime (about 3 weeks) without me testing until a fish died, the pH went from about 8.5 (the orginal tap water pH) to around 6.4.

I changed my practices, yet still wrong. I directly add RO water to my tank, which takes about 4 hours for 16 gallons of water. However, this time, instead of adding straight RO water, I add equaliberium to achieve a general hardness of around 9 degrees. To buffer the water, I added crushed coral to my filter (about a cup).

Currently,my pH is stable around 7.4.

However, I think I'm still making a mistake by adding RO water directly in the tank without buffering it first, even though I add the equaliberium in as the tank slowly fills up. Adding RO water (which has a pH of around 6.5) can't be good for the fish when my pH is around 7.4. So, what is the best way approach this problem?



I currently have in a 65 gallon:

3 - Boesemani Rainbow
2 - Turquoise Rainbow
4 - Angelfish
1 - Blue Dwarf Gourami
3 - Denisonii Barbs
1 - Clown Pleco

3 Amazon puffers will be on thier way.

Thank you.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 04:21 PM
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RO water doesn't REALLY have a pH, in a stable way. That's because it has no ability to buffer swings in pH (ie, has a KH of 0). The pH you're noting right off the bat represents the CO2 level in the water, more than anything else, and will likely change if you leave it overnight.

What you really need to get a handle on (in terms of providing a stable pH, whatever it is) is to get a KH reading. TDS is useful in its own right, but you can have high TDS and next to no KH (or ability to resist pH swings).

My own tanks normally sit at a TDS of 100-110, but almost no KH (very soft water, intentionally). My tap water, were I to use it before RO, is TDS ~300 and KH of 8 drops + (not sure what that correlates to, but EXTREMELY high). pH is rock solid on the tap water, but will swing wildly on my tank water if I were to let it.

For your tanks, you have a couple of issues to consider. I know nothing about puffers, so you'll have to do your research there. Are they TDS sensitive, pH sensitive, or just water quality overall sensitive?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 10:36 PM
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Equilibrium does nothing to buffer against pH, you're crushed coral is helping to do that.

You're probably best advised to pre-mix the RO water in a separate container before adding to the tank. This way you can prep the RO water as needed. A little potassium bicarbonate will help here to raise the KH and pH of the RO water before addition to the tank.

Feel free to edit.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-04-2016, 10:54 PM
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I do it this way:
Rubbermaid Brute garbage can, and a fountain pump.
Fill the can with RO or a blend of RO + Tap if that is an option for you.

Set the GH (Seachem Equilibrium or Barr's GH booster) to suit the fish. 9 German degrees of hardness is OK for the Rainbows, but might be a bit high for the other fish.
Make the KH match the GH. (You should do a test with just half as much at first). You could use baking soda or potassium bicarbonate to do this.
Test the pH. For black water fish I add a knee-hi stocking of peat moss, and run the water through it overnight. For your Rainbows I would target a pH in the mid 7s or a bit higher. For the other fish, a lower pH, into the mid to upper 6s.
Add dechlor (if there is tap water in the mix.)

GH boosters can be hard to dissolve. I put the amount I want to use in a jar with a tight lid and some water and shake it a lot. Then pour the milky water into the can, but keep the undissolved material in the jar and add more water, shake....

If the house is cool, then I will hang an aquarium heater in the water to keep it warm overnight and circulate the water to be sure everything is well dissolved.

Use the fountain pump to put the water into the tank. I use a vinyl hose to reach the tank, and hold it so the incoming water will not disturb the substrate.

I keep slower acting materials in the filter. For hard water tanks I have coral sand or oyster shell grit (sold for small birds). These materials increase both the GH (with calcium and magnesium) and the KH (with carbonates). They are too slow to depend on at water change time, but are good to stabilize the water parameters through the week.

Your fish come from several different water types, you might double check each of their needs and make sure they are compatible:
GH
temperature
water movement

and the social issues of keeping aggressive (Puffers) with slow moving long finned fish (Angels).

Colomesus asellus ? Amazon Puffer (Cheilichthys asellus, Chelichthys asellus) ? Seriously Fish
The Puffer Forum ? Colomesus asellus
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-05-2016, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
I do it this way:
Rubbermaid Brute garbage can, and a fountain pump.
Fill the can with RO or a blend of RO + Tap if that is an option for you.

Set the GH (Seachem Equilibrium or Barr's GH booster) to suit the fish. 9 German degrees of hardness is OK for the Rainbows, but might be a bit high for the other fish.
Make the KH match the GH. (You should do a test with just half as much at first). You could use baking soda or potassium bicarbonate to do this.
Test the pH. For black water fish I add a knee-hi stocking of peat moss, and run the water through it overnight. For your Rainbows I would target a pH in the mid 7s or a bit higher. For the other fish, a lower pH, into the mid to upper 6s.
Add dechlor (if there is tap water in the mix.)

GH boosters can be hard to dissolve. I put the amount I want to use in a jar with a tight lid and some water and shake it a lot. Then pour the milky water into the can, but keep the undissolved material in the jar and add more water, shake....

If the house is cool, then I will hang an aquarium heater in the water to keep it warm overnight and circulate the water to be sure everything is well dissolved.

Use the fountain pump to put the water into the tank. I use a vinyl hose to reach the tank, and hold it so the incoming water will not disturb the substrate.

I keep slower acting materials in the filter. For hard water tanks I have coral sand or oyster shell grit (sold for small birds). These materials increase both the GH (with calcium and magnesium) and the KH (with carbonates). They are too slow to depend on at water change time, but are good to stabilize the water parameters through the week.

Your fish come from several different water types, you might double check each of their needs and make sure they are compatible:
GH
temperature
water movement

and the social issues of keeping aggressive (Puffers) with slow moving long finned fish (Angels).

Colomesus asellus ? Amazon Puffer (Cheilichthys asellus, Chelichthys asellus) ? Seriously Fish
The Puffer Forum ? Colomesus asellus
Great. Thank you for your help and everyone else, too. I have a couple comments and questions. So, I'm going to buy a 20 gallon Brute trashcan and a pp291 fountain pump. Can I simply buy seachem acid and alkaline buffer and use the appropriate ratios? I will also throw my spear heater in the water. Should I use the pump to move the water around? Should I leave the lid on or off. How long should I let the newly buffered and replenished RO water sit? A couple hours or more? Thank you.

Last edited by wowyahoo; 01-05-2016 at 03:22 PM. Reason: quote edit
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