RO Systems - What do I need to know? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2020, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Question RO Systems - What do I need to know?

I want to get a RO filter system so I can have more control over my tank water. Bulk Reef Supply seems to have a wide range of systems and some useful videos out there about them. I am eyeballing their 150 Gallon Per Day Pro Plus 7-Stage unit for just just under $400. I am on municipal/city water in Texas. It's reasonably hard, has or can have chloramines depending on the season and or system upgrades (I understand this is becoming the norm out here) and high phosphates.


I want to put this under an upstairs bathroom sink as this is close to where my tank will be and also close to a 2nd tank we're discussing for my wife's home office. There is no power under this sink for an auto-flush solenoid or booster pump if I needed one. I have no idea what our water pressure it, but it seems "fine" to me for everything we use water for.


Does anybody have any other RO system recommendations? Better brand? Options that are really useful? I am starting from the ground floor here as far as RO knowledge. Never even looked at them before until just a few days ago.


Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2020, 10:12 PM
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4 stage is what you need.

Sediment - 1 micron
Carbon - 1 micron
Carbon - 1 micron
RO

You can't use a dual RO in series like the 150GPD system if you don't have at least 70 psi out of the tap. Realistically 80 psi because adding the second membrane is going to lower your psi by 10. Water pressure is deceiving so don't go by feel. Water pressure is extremely important when it comes to RO system efficiency regardless of what anyone tells you. There's 2 things you need beforehand to tune an ro system:

tap water pressure
TDS out of the tap

TDS out of the tap will decide what flow restrictor you will need on the ro membrane.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2020, 11:50 PM
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I had a small counter top one and a larger 4 stage one in my previous house; Pure Water Products was the brand and they were super helpful with helping, excellent service and prices. I liked the product as it was totally customizable and I could change out what I needed over time as my needs changed.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platipus View Post
I want to get a RO filter system so I can have more control over my tank water. Bulk Reef Supply seems to have a wide range of systems and some useful videos out there about them. I am eyeballing their 150 Gallon Per Day Pro Plus 7-Stage unit for just just under $400. I am on municipal/city water in Texas. It's reasonably hard, has or can have chloramines depending on the season and or system upgrades (I understand this is becoming the norm out here) and high phosphates.


I want to put this under an upstairs bathroom sink as this is close to where my tank will be and also close to a 2nd tank we're discussing for my wife's home office. There is no power under this sink for an auto-flush solenoid or booster pump if I needed one. I have no idea what our water pressure it, but it seems "fine" to me for everything we use water for.


Does anybody have any other RO system recommendations? Better brand? Options that are really useful? I am starting from the ground floor here as far as RO knowledge. Never even looked at them before until just a few days ago.


Thanks!
plat.
As Gus stated above - you really only need a 4 stage unit for aquariums. The carbon portions of the RO unit will remove chloramines and phosphates.

Putting it under the sink can present a few problems, depending on the size of your aquarium(s). Once the system is installed and making RO water, where do you plan to store the RO water? Some systems offer a 2 gallon pressure surge tank which is nice for a drink of water but not so much for replacing say 50% of a 75gallon tank.
Also as Gus stated - pressure is everything when dealing with a RO system. My tap water is around 60psi and it took longer than expected to fill a 55g drum. Once I added the booster pump and raised the pressure to 92psi, it seems I cut my fill time almost in half.
A good addition to your system would be one of those 2 channel TDS meters (they are fairly cheap). Very helpful for observing the impact of your RO system. In my case the incoming water measures 170+ tds and the filtered water going into the drum is usually less than 4 tds.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
As Gus stated above - you really only need a 4 stage unit for aquariums. The carbon portions of the RO unit will remove chloramines and phosphates.

Putting it under the sink can present a few problems, depending on the size of your aquarium(s). Once the system is installed and making RO water, where do you plan to store the RO water? Some systems offer a 2 gallon pressure surge tank which is nice for a drink of water but not so much for replacing say 50% of a 75gallon tank.
Also as Gus stated - pressure is everything when dealing with a RO system. My tap water is around 60psi and it took longer than expected to fill a 55g drum. Once I added the booster pump and raised the pressure to 92psi, it seems I cut my fill time almost in half.
A good addition to your system would be one of those 2 channel TDS meters (they are fairly cheap). Very helpful for observing the impact of your RO system. In my case the incoming water measures 170+ tds and the filtered water going into the drum is usually less than 4 tds.

Putting it under the sink is so I can hard plumb it into the cold water line to feed it and into the drain for waste water. The units I was looking at from Bulk Reef Supply all have the 3 lines ready to go and parts to do the plumbing tie-ins. So those two lines would be plumbed and the output would be loose to feed into a bucket to drag to my tank(s) for water changes. I also realized that I do have power available at this sink, it's just above the counter, so I really could just plug in when I need to get water for the booster pump and flushing setup if I get all that. I mainly just want all of this stuff out of the way and this bathroom is not used by anybody except guests and myself as it is for a spare bedroom (which is my home office). We don't need this RO for drinking water or any other uses.

Right now I have a single 17 gallon tank and the wife seems to be interested in a 10gal cube (which makes all of this so much easier). All told, for the near to mid future, I am looking at no more than 3 tanks totaling less than 150 gallons between all of them, so this could/might/will eventually be like 30 gallons a week max to deal with most of the time.

With all of that said, are the Bulk Reef Supply units a good choice?

Thanks!
plat.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 07:07 PM
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As you research, I have two of the 17g Lifegard and 1 IM Nuvo 10 gallon and use a small table unit which also looks cool. Easy to use and place on countertop, Rkin.com. I just make up bottles in advance so they can air out ph. Plus you can drink if you want; I use the Zero Installation Purifier with the alcapure so I don't have to remineralize as much. Have had it for two years and not yet needed to replace the filter. BTW, I found my IM Nuvo 10 gallon cube very difficult to plant and stock, maybe go a bit larger?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platipus View Post
Putting it under the sink is so I can hard plumb it into the cold water line to feed it and into the drain for waste water. The units I was looking at from Bulk Reef Supply all have the 3 lines ready to go and parts to do the plumbing tie-ins. So those two lines would be plumbed and the output would be loose to feed into a bucket to drag to my tank(s) for water changes. I also realized that I do have power available at this sink, it's just above the counter, so I really could just plug in when I need to get water for the booster pump and flushing setup if I get all that. I mainly just want all of this stuff out of the way and this bathroom is not used by anybody except guests and myself as it is for a spare bedroom (which is my home office). We don't need this RO for drinking water or any other uses.

Right now I have a single 17 gallon tank and the wife seems to be interested in a 10gal cube (which makes all of this so much easier). All told, for the near to mid future, I am looking at no more than 3 tanks totaling less than 150 gallons between all of them, so this could/might/will eventually be like 30 gallons a week max to deal with most of the time.

With all of that said, are the Bulk Reef Supply units a good choice?

Thanks!
plat.
BRS stuff is standard like pretty much everyone else. I started out with a BRS unit and modified to my liking through the years. Housing is universal what really matters is the actual filters and the ro membrane. Spectrapure RO membranes are better than the BRS ones. I use BRS sediment and carbon filters and spectrapure membranes. Aquatec booster pump with auto flush valve and pressure switch so unit turns off by itself when I shut off the ro output.

I recently did a small upgrade to my system by adding a second ro membrane but I use the spectrapure 90gpd value ones. Efficiency went through the roof. My tds out of my tap is 550-600 and out of my RO is 4 which is over 99% rejection rate. But the main difference is that I can now make 10g of RO @ 70psi in 1 hour vs 5g @ 1:15 before with considerably less waste water. So even though my system is technically rated for 180GPD I am actually putting out 240GPD.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 08:50 PM
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@gus6464, TDS 550-600, that is some hard tap water ... definitely need RO system.

I had once for 9 month without water change on my planted tank, the TDS accumulate to around 450, my local tap is about TDS 10-20 in the wet season.

The RO system I have is a 50G 4 stage, it is under the sink, with 4 gallon reserve tank, it is for drinking water. I only use it occasionally for the fish tank, well, too lazy to change water, so I use RO water to replenish the evaporation.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2020, 12:15 AM
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@gus6464, TDS 550-600, that is some hard tap water ... definitely need RO system.

I had once for 9 month without water change on my planted tank, the TDS accumulate to around 450, my local tap is about TDS 10-20 in the wet season.

The RO system I have is a 50G 4 stage, it is under the sink, with 4 gallon reserve tank, it is for drinking water. I only use it occasionally for the fish tank, well, too lazy to change water, so I use RO water to replenish the evaporation.
Yeah out of the tap I have 15.5 GH.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2020, 02:53 AM
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Check out SpectraPure. All different kinds of systems. Top notch customer service. RO water is all they do. Economically priced for what you get in my opinion.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-31-2020, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fish+plants View Post
As you research, I have two of the 17g Lifegard and 1 IM Nuvo 10 gallon and use a small table unit which also looks cool. Easy to use and place on countertop, Rkin.com. I just make up bottles in advance so they can air out ph. Plus you can drink if you want; I use the Zero Installation Purifier with the alcapure so I don't have to remineralize as much. Have had it for two years and not yet needed to replace the filter. BTW, I found my IM Nuvo 10 gallon cube very difficult to plant and stock, maybe go a bit larger?

That's a nifty little unit. An under-counter setup works best for my situation though as it will go into completely open/wasted space and can then stay out of site.



The 10gal cube format is not set in stone, but it won't be a difficult scape. My wife has shown some interest in a very specific/simple/clean look (sanded bottom, 3 or 4 large quartz looking rocks and a couple clumps of tall spiky grass). It needs to be smallish and able to set on her desk.



Thanks!
plat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
BRS stuff is standard like pretty much everyone else. I started out with a BRS unit and modified to my liking through the years. Housing is universal what really matters is the actual filters and the ro membrane. Spectrapure RO membranes are better than the BRS ones. I use BRS sediment and carbon filters and spectrapure membranes. Aquatec booster pump with auto flush valve and pressure switch so unit turns off by itself when I shut off the ro output.

I recently did a small upgrade to my system by adding a second ro membrane but I use the spectrapure 90gpd value ones. Efficiency went through the roof. My tds out of my tap is 550-600 and out of my RO is 4 which is over 99% rejection rate. But the main difference is that I can now make 10g of RO @ 70psi in 1 hour vs 5g @ 1:15 before with considerably less waste water. So even though my system is technically rated for 180GPD I am actually putting out 240GPD.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dugo View Post
Check out SpectraPure. All different kinds of systems. Top notch customer service. RO water is all they do. Economically priced for what you get in my opinion.



Thank you!! This is helpful! I was unaware of SpectraPure. I'll look at both systems and consider SpectraPure membranes regardless when time to replace.



plat.
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-01-2020 at 12:53 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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