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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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newbie ? about water

Hey guys i am new to the planted tank altogether. i am doing some research before i get started and i have a question about water. I have 3 reef tanks and i have an ro/di unit i use to make my water. Should i use ro/di water for a planted tank or should i use tap water with a dechlorinator. Sorry if this is a remedial ?. like i said i am completly new to planted tanks. i have an some fish goodies in my basement (empty 20 gal,hob filter, heater and some pcs) and thought i might try something new. i have a 55 too but i figured i would start with the 20 so i dont spend to much. any help would be great. thanks
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 01:55 AM
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What are your tap water parameters?

pH
GH
KH
NO3
PO4

?

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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to be honest with you i havent checked my tap water in a long time. I just use the ro/di water because of my corals. best i recall the only thing i remeber being a little high was phosphates which is a big no no. i dont remeber a number to be honest with you though. i know that is not much help. i guess what i am asking though is will it hurt if i use ro/di?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 02:12 AM
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Straight RO/DI is just not going to work. The water is too stripped down. You need to carry a GH and KH, especially if you plan on injecting CO2.

I think you need a bit of a primer on the water parameters for a planted aquarium. Try looking at www.rexgrigg.com. That should get you started.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 02:27 AM
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Most people generally use RO/DI water to cut with their tap. Using a mixture of Ro and tap to get their desired KH levels. You can use just straight RO water, but you're going to end up spending alot of money putting back in what you just took out. =D I personally use 50/50 mixture.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 02:59 AM Thread Starter
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thanks guys. that should get me going in the right direction.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 03:03 AM
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I use 100% RO water and reconstitute it with SeaChem Equilibrium at a rate of 1.125 teaspoons per 5 gallon bucket. That's 9/8 if you have a 1/8 tsp.

There is nothing wrong with using RO/DI water if you want to use your current RO/DI source. In fact, I use RO water simply because it's easier for me to put the good stuff in than to try to get the bad stuff out, not to mention my tap water is high in sediment or rust or something brown. I also like that it allows me to have my source water parameters a constant so that I can easily adjust things to observe the effects.

Since you don't seem to be big on testing your water parameters (neither am I) it might be best for you to just use your RO water so that you don't have to fiddle with balancing parameters out or adjusting to how your tap water changes from season to season. I only test very rarely to ensure that my RO membrane is still functioning and I'll test every time I start using a new bottle of Seachem Equilibrium (which takes a long time for me to empty) to make sure the potency hasn't changed on me. Once you've verified those two things, you can just blind dose and be confident that your starting parameters are always within very close tolerances to what you expect them to be since the Equilibrium formula in the bottle is consistent and the RO water is consistent.

The big thing that everyone is telling you is that RO/DI water is dead water in that it doesn't contain anything to adequately support higher levels of life, so you have to reconstitute it, similar to how you add aquarium salt mixes when using RO for your marine tanks to prepare it for marine use.

You will still need PH, GH and KH testing kits on hand so you can determine what dosages you need. The KH is mainly important if you are injecting CO2, which you haven't mentioned doing.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Since you don't seem to be big on testing your water parameters (neither am I) it might be best for you to just use your RO water so that you don't have to fiddle with balancing parameters
How can you make that assumption? For all we know, the tap water may be ideal for planted aquarium application. Simple testing will tell the story.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momotaro
How can you make that assumption? For all we know, the tap water may be ideal for planted aquarium application. Simple testing will tell the story.Mike
The problem is we may never know.

It's an assumption based on the fact that you asked for water parameters and doodoobrown didn't give them or seem interested in testing for them. I used the word might for that very reason, since my advice depended on what those parameters where, just as yours would have had we gotten them. You asked for the water parameters and doodoobrown never gave them. Based on this, I offered that it might be safer to just keep using his RO than to try using tap water that he hasn't or won't be willing to test as the foundation for his planted aquarium.

Also, once you've gotten used to producing RO and reconstituting it, it's difficult to go back to routine testing and dealing with fluctuations. The fact that he already has and uses a RO/DI unit also factors into my equation. I wouldn't advise someone willy-nilly to go out and buy/start a RO unit because I think RO is somehow always superior.

His tap water might be ideal for planted aquariums but simple testing hasn't been performed to determine that. I'm not saying everyone should use RO water because tap is evil. His tap might be so good that we'd all start buying our water from him for $1 gallon but we can't test for him to determine that.

I'm just trying to offer advice that will work and fit what the person is most likely to do. You can work with someone's tendencies or you can work against them. There's nothing wrong with him testing his tap or even using it if the parameters are stable and good. Lots of people with great tanks running in tap water. I'm just presenting information on the other method of watering his tank that he is familiar with and pointing out that it will need to be reconstituted for freshwater as well.

He'll get where he's going with either path, he just needs to take a look at what he wants to do and what he has to work with and decide which method he wants to try. It's not like I advise on commission.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 07:28 PM
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At a minimum 95% of the tap water in the US will work just fine in a planted tank right out of the tank. And of the water that doesn't work fine most of it is extremely soft and needs minerals added.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by random_alias
doodoobrown didn't give them or seem interested in testing for them.
I think you hit the nail on the head, r_a.

There are no short cuts in a planted aquarium. We need information to provide accurate answers as opposed to guesses.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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sorry guys i wasnt trying to start a war. Fact is with my reef i dont test much anymore. like r a said im used to using ro/di and not thinking about it much. i test for alk and calcium and thats few and far between unless something looks a little shakey. does this mean im not going to test for a planted tank . NO it doesnt... fact is i used to test every week with my reef. then you realize what the tank needs and what to put in and you dont have to do it as often. (unless something looks out of wack) i havent even purchased anything for a planted tank. this is just research first. i will get some test kits for freshwater and start there i suppose. i was just looking for an answer about the ro/di. i was curious what others do. sounds like tap will be fine according to rex grigg but i will test first.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 11:08 PM
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You didn't start a war. I'm always arguing.
The great thing about arguing is that it releases info about subjects and I get to learn something.
I think you'll really like having a planted aquarium. It's a great feeling when you realize you have things under control, no visible algae, and lots and lots of bright green. Plus, it's always changing.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 02:12 AM
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Were not arguing at all.

Planted aquariums are a bit like reefs. They require a lot of research, time, money, and dedication. They also require some equipment and tools. I consider test kits to be one of those tools.

If you are going to do a planted aquarium and you want to do it right and with a modicum of success, it is probably going to cost you a few dollars. Test kits are going to be a small portion of the money you spend. Do yourself a favor, grab a pH, KH, PO4 and NO3 kit and test your water. You'll need those not only to get an idea on your tap water parameters, but to eventually help you establish a fertilizing regime.

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