Help with TO water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Help with TO water

Hello , I'm about to start a 5 gallon tank up, in the past I've used bottled spring water for my tanks and really haven't put much thought into water quality and consistency. This time around, in determined to get it right. I can't use the tap where im from, so I'm going to be using reverse osmosis water. I need someone to explain to me, in layman's terms, how I go about remineralizing RO water making it suitable for a planted aquarium. I understand people use products like seachem equilibrium and baking soda. I plan on getting RO water from a fish store or maybe just from the dispenser they have at stores like walmart. Any info would be greatly appreciated, and thank you for your time!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 12:17 PM
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Whats wrong with your tap water? A lot of people can cut a mix of RO:Tap to achieve decent parameters.

I was referred to Rotala Butterfly calculator (just google it). It's pretty straight forward and offered rates at which you use products for remineralization and fertilization.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 05:45 PM
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Adjusting pure RO, or RO/DI water can be a pain and costs add up in additives for minerals and pH. As @Quagulator suggested, a blend of RO and tap water (assuming you have hard water) may be the easiest/best way to have good water.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 11:44 AM
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I use RO/DI water for my planted tank. Yes, it does need to get the minerals put back in. Like others doing this, I use a GH additive and a KH additive.

Here is an example of a GH additive - Planted Aquarium Fertilizer - Water Conditioners, Barrs GH Booster

It will give you directions if you want to mix the additive yourself and how much to use. Many other similar products are available. They are relatively inexpensive. Adding baking soda for KH is similar.

I use RO/DI water as a start because once I have used the additives, I have a much better calcium and magnesium balance. I found I got better results compared to using tap water, plus I already had the RO/DI system for my reef system.

Getting your RO water from your LFS or vending machine is not a good idea. First off, long term it will cost you more money. However, the other reason is that often the water being sold is of very low quality or not RO water at all. This problem comes up often on various reef forums. RO water in 1 gal jugs is OK, but that's a lot of lugging if you have a large tank.

For a planted tank get your own RO unit. You'll need to shop a bit because you want one with out the DI section. By doing this, you will get good water, and save on not needing to replace the DI resin. The pre filter and carbon block filter used on an RO unit last a long time and are not very expensive to replace. A good RO membrane filter is expensive but will last for years with proper care.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 04:03 PM
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With high nitrates in my well water, I ruled out RO water and use a DIY nitrate filter instead.

Food for thought.....
Good RO systems aren't cheap and the cheap ones either don't work well or don't last. In order to force water through the RO membrane, you need >=50psi continuous pressure. My home well system is on a 30/50 psi controller, so I'd need an additional pump to boost the pressure. For every gallon of RO water produced, there is typically 4 gallons of waste water. Then there are the additives required for minerals and pH.

Tank On, Mike-
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10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


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