RO water Q from a newbie. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2006, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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RO water Q from a newbie.

Newbie Q's so bare with me please.

I've read all the articles on this site and simplydiscus. I'm interested in a 55G planted discus tank, but have found conflicting views on RO. Can someone please point me in the direction of some unbiased writing? Right now, I'm leaning against getting an RO system.

Also, I've got relatively soft water with pH around 7.0 from the tap. And plan on going with a pressurized CO2 system.

Thanks,

Eric
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2006, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efish
Can someone please point me in the direction of some unbiased writing?
Thanks,

Eric
You are in the USA. The only writing you are going to get is bias. Having a planted aquarium with any fish is about experimenting and learning from your mistakes and taking other peoples writing ONLY in consideration. Trial and error. If you get an idea of what discuss thrive best in than you can manipulate your own water with experimenting what works. Looking for unbias information will only lead you to someones bias.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2006, 08:45 PM
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There was a recent thread on discus that you'd probably want to read if you haven't already: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...ghlight=discus
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2006, 09:16 PM
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According to the information ive read on so called Discus forums you can acclimate Discus to a goldfish bowl.

Being that I am a person that strives to do things to the best of my ability I keep my Discus in soft acidic water. This means around 3-5 GH 0-1KH and well anything under 7.0pH but over 5.5 or 6.6 depending who you talk to.

Having a Discus tank is OK with soft acidic tap water. Having a planted Discus tank IMO you need VERY soft water because of all the fertilizers. The fertilizers + moderatly hard tap water IMO is too hard for Discus. I start at 0ppm total disolved solids.

Exactly what is it you want to know?

RO is for (fresh & clean ) soft water. If you have soft tap water and your tank's hardness isnt skyhigh then why bother? I use a RO unit because it does everything for me.

I would tell you to get information from the breeder who supplies your fish. I would also tell you to find a breeder that keeps Discus in soft acidic water...

Yah BTW heres my Discus when I got em. According to some Discus forums out there...they wont grow out in a planted tank.



Here they are three months later...nice little comparison here...the smaller Discus were the same size. The larger Discus are 6 months old here. The smaller ones are three months old.


another three month shot of daddy. and my algae I had to battle. co2 fixed that.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2006, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. I have read that thread. Brilliant: Thanks for making me want discus even more!!!!! Nice tank/fish.

I guess I'll go the LFS I got my CA/SA cichlids from and see what they have to say. I am definitely setting up a planted tank. Would it be "irreversable" to set it up with out an RO system or are they easily added to a pre-existing tank? Any other posts you guys could suggest regrading RO systems would be awesome.

Thanks again.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 01:04 AM
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A RO system is a stand alone item. It's not part of the aquarium setup.

Test the pH of your tap water after it has rested for 24 hours. Then test the kH and gH.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
Test the pH of your tap water after it has rested for 24 hours. Then test the kH and gH.
Rex,
I have a few quick questions on this. I was wondering what letting it rest for 24 hours does to the pH kH and gH? If this alters the pH and if I am doing water changes right out of the tap using water conditioner and not using RO water or water which has been standing out for 24 hours, am I causing excessive pH, gH and kH fluctuations which I wouldn't see unless I tested my tank water right after I do a water change and compare it to a test of my tank water a few days later? Additionally, should I be testing my tap water like this on a regular basis or are the values of the pH, kH, and gH in one's respective source of tap water usually consistent? If needed, how often should I be running this test?

Thank you
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 01:08 PM
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Cool TY.

I am having a hell of a time with a planted tank AND Discus...dont get me wrong it isnt easy. I think Discus are sensitive. Ive actually started a new tank w/out Discus so I can learn how to dose nitrate and such...one wrong move with Discus (or any fish!?!) could be disastrous...I would just say becareful or start up a small planted tank get used to mixing up dry ferts and dosing.

Like Rex said RO units are for source water. This RO unit would be a stand alone unit providing you with water to use in the aquarium. You will need at least three things to hook it up...a cold 60psi+ tap water source, drain and a storage tank. I also need power for my timers. Mine is in my laundry room right now. I do bucket brigade but I have BIG plans tho.

I had a post on RO water and a few great people came in with some advice. It took me a while to digest it all!
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/wa...-ro-water.html
I ended up buffering my tank with crushed coral, this takes some experimentation and the flux obviously isnt good for Discus...but I am finding my right amount to add now. I got lucky with my 90g and just added the right amount right off the bat. I am dosing Tropica Mastergrow. I have enough phosphates because I am feeding constantly...my nitrates are my biggest problem...I cant seem to get over then hump and dose nitrates. I am sorta settling in with plants that are thriving without nitrate doses.


It is VERY hard for me to give you unbiased advice. I am what "they" would call a "purist". I think I just care about my fish.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seastar0328
Rex,
I have a few quick questions on this. I was wondering what letting it rest for 24 hours does to the pH kH and gH? If this alters the pH and if I am doing water changes right out of the tap using water conditioner and not using RO water or water which has been standing out for 24 hours, am I causing excessive pH, gH and kH fluctuations which I wouldn't see unless I tested my tank water right after I do a water change and compare it to a test of my tank water a few days later? Additionally, should I be testing my tap water like this on a regular basis or are the values of the pH, kH, and gH in one's respective source of tap water usually consistent? If needed, how often should I be running this test?

Thank you

Such a harmless question but so enlightening. Thank you for asking this.



This is for the Discus post not really you Seastar.

IMO You should be using aged water. I dislike dechlorinators. I think that water for Discus should be aged if not filtered properly. I dont think (most) tap water should ever be poured into the aquarium, thats just my $0.02 and that recommendation sure as heck doesnt belong on a planted tank forum.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brilliant

This is for the Discus post not really you Seastar.

IMO You should be using aged water. I dislike dechlorinators. I think that water for Discus should be aged if not filtered properly. I dont think (most) tap water should ever be poured into the aquarium, thats just my $0.02 and that recommendation sure as heck doesnt belong on a planted tank forum.
So (not trying to hijack the post which I hope I am not doing) if I am housing fish that require soft water and low pH like I assume discus need, then this would be a good idea for someone who is concerned about their fish and their wellbeing as well as maintaining a happy planted tank? IYO, I love and successfully keep CA/SA cichlids and have angels and apistos, (and extremely hard tapwater with lots of chorine in it) should I alter my water changing tactics for the better of my fish and their environment to leaving water out overnight if I cannot afford an RO system yet? If so, shame on me for keeping fish for so many years and not thinking of this. I do not like chemicals if they are not needed and ferts in my water (yes I am a newbie at this planted tank stuff) made me very nervous for awhile. I used to use pH buffers and only use them in emergencies or starting a new tank during the cycling process...but I'm glad I went planted because the CO2 reallly helps with this issue. Is 24 hours enough with a higher than normal chlorine content in the water to where water conditioner wouldn't be needed? It would be great since between my boyfriend and I we go through the stuff like mad. Thank you in advance.

(Beautiful fish BTW!! I hope to have some of my own in the future when I have a house and not an apt. The boyfriend is not allowing me any more tanks. I have 5, he has 2 and we share 3)
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seastar0328
So (not trying to hijack the post which I hope I am not doing) if I am housing fish that require soft water and low pH like I assume discus need, then this would be a good idea for someone who is concerned about their fish and their wellbeing as well as maintaining a happy planted tank? IYO, I love and successfully keep CA/SA cichlids and have angels and apistos, (and extremely hard tapwater with lots of chorine in it) should I alter my water changing tactics for the better of my fish and their environment to leaving water out overnight if I cannot afford an RO system yet? If so, shame on me for keeping fish for so many years and not thinking of this. I do not like chemicals if they are not needed and ferts in my water (yes I am a newbie at this planted tank stuff) made me very nervous for awhile. I used to use pH buffers and only use them in emergencies or starting a new tank during the cycling process...but I'm glad I went planted because the CO2 reallly helps with this issue. Is 24 hours enough with a higher than normal chlorine content in the water to where water conditioner wouldn't be needed? It would be great since between my boyfriend and I we go through the stuff like mad. Thank you in advance.

(Beautiful fish BTW!! I hope to have some of my own in the future when I have a house and not an apt. The boyfriend is not allowing me any more tanks. I have 5, he has 2 and we share 3)
Thank you!
Well to be honest with you id rather not go into specifics or have the opportunity to state my opinions here. I will say that there are a few correct ways to get soft acidic water. One is RO, the other is peat. CHeck out the article snip below...I am OVERJOYED to find this and will probably write this guy a letter. I would suggest peat in a storage tank not in your filter. The specific pH mentioned below are NOT for Apistogramma or Discus.


Given the chemistry of the tap water I did not feel it necessary to go to the expense of a de-ionization or reverse osmosis system in order to effect the water chemistry parameter changes I needed. Rather, I elected to use the low-tech approach to produce appropriately simulated blackwater: peat moss. The use of peat moss in such applications is well documented in the hobby literature. According to Gargas (1998), peat moss lowers water hardness, decreases conductivity and lowers pH primarily by exchanging Hydrogen ions (H+) for other cations such as calcium and magnesium. I simply placed a filter bag full of un-boiled peat moss in the flow from the aquarium's powerfilter. Together with some additions of "peat tea" - boiled peat water - it took only a few days for the pH to drop into the range of 4.5 - 5.0. While I suspect that the peat in the filter bag may have also had an effect on the water hardness, I made no attempts to measure it, as the tap water was already very soft (< 5ppm of CaCO3). I also made no attempt to measure and note any changes in the conductivity, instead relying on the large, frequent water changes (and the peat moss) to prevent any "conductivity buildup" resulting from the processes going on the aquarium (feeding, waste production, evaporation and the like). Peat can be a bit cumbersome and messy in such applications, but is a relatively safe and inexpensive method to reduce water hardness, conductivity and pH for the maintenance of blackwater fishes. Maintaining suitable water quality was easy - I just did 70-80% water changes every 10-14 days.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 02:11 PM
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Thank you Brilliant. Many have told me peat is messy but I rather like the blackwater look. May I PM you if I have any other q's on using this method like how much to add for different sized tanks since I have at least 4 that I would use this method on? Thanks in advance.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seastar0328
Thank you Brilliant. Many have told me peat is messy but I rather like the blackwater look. May I PM you if I have any other q's on using this method like how much to add for different sized tanks since I have at least 4 that I would use this method on? Thanks in advance.

Yes no problem I would be more then happy to help. Seeing this article has renewed something that I felt was lost. I feel so happy finding this article.

I think your just going to have to experiment with amounts of peat. Like crushed coral you have to experiment with it to find the amount you need.

The good thing about peat in storage is you CAN use it on more then one tank. I am not experienced with peat, you may have to change water more often or beware of somethings I do not know of. Assuming that water has the nature to go "south" on the pH scale, unless your buffering with crushed coral like me. In my case my source water pH and hardness is too low.

PS check out my cacs. See the female in the back!?! Shes a brute!

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Last edited by Brilliant; 12-23-2006 at 02:11 PM.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 03:02 PM
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Yay nice babies! mine spawned for the first time yesterday but I don't think they were fertilized...it's been a journey with them for me that started 7 months ago but that's the fun of it...:-)

I put up the info on them in a post today because I am having trouble under the "fish" section.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-23-2006, 03:04 PM
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Aging water will remove chlorine but not chloramine. So if your city uses chloramine you have to treat the water. Chloramine can stay stable in the water for weeks.

Normally letting the tap water sit for 24 hours will let it out gas. Most of the time you will see a rise in the pH. It doesn't effect the kH and gH. Water with a pH of 7 is actually pretty uncommon.

The reason we take a pH reading from rested water is that is going to be your baseline. You could have water that normally has a pH of 7.8 but has enough dissolved gas in it that it comes out of the tap at 7.0. If you assume that it's going to stay at 7.0 you could have problems.
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