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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I use 100% RO water in all my tanks. At first the need was not that great, I would swap out six 5 gallon jugs at the LFS to do water changes for 3 tanks. Soon I was filling jugs in the spare bathroom tub to keep up with the need as my tank count grew. This worked with a few tanks but one day I turned around and had 12. I needed a way to filter, store, and distribute at least 200 gallons of RO water per week, my Discus tank alone uses over 100 gallons throughout the week. My original post was lost due to a hacker so I am rebuilding the post, my system has evolved anyway and the post needed updated. Many thanks to RMC for helping me design and build this system.

Let’s start off with the water filtration.

I use a RO unit I purchased at Premium Aquatics which is a local online reef retailer. It is a 3 stage 50 GPD unit mounted on the wall.



Input water to the RO unit comes from the output of the water softener. A PVC T was installed inline with a ball valve to turn the input water off when needed.



Since I turn the water off when needed, a flush valve was installed to prevent build up on the membrane. I flush the membrane for a few minutes each time I turn the input water on to keep the TDS down. This unit works very well, just need to turn the blue knob up to flush and sideways to make RO water.



The water exits the RO unit and enters a 55 gallon storage barrel here.



When the barrel is full a float valve actuates. This float valve in mounted towards the top of the barrel.



When the float actuates, it applies back pressure to a solenoid which shuts off the feed water.



Now that we have made the RO water, time to store it.

Initially, I used one 55 gallon drum to store my water. It has become necessary to store more water so I know have two 55 gallon drums.



To get water from one drum to the other, I use a siphon tube that looks like this.



The siphon tube goes from one drum to the other.



The T is to get the siphon started. Once the drum on the left is full, all the air is sucked out through the black tube with the check valve. The drums should stay even with their water levels as the drums fill and empty.



If the siphon breaks, the left drum that has the RO unit input line also has the shutoff float, so the water will shut off when the left drum fills. The siphon tubes extend into the drum past the pickup for the pump so theoretically the siphon will never break. (You can see the siphon tube in this picture on the right.)



Now the barrels are full of RO water, time to distribute it.

The water is pumped with a Mag-5 pump.



The pump sits in the bottom of the left barrel.



I also have a power head that is on a timer periodically churning the water to keep it from going stagnant.



The water comes out of the barrel to a distribution manifold.



At first, the water came out through a single pipe. Since I do water changes throughout the house, I had a long hose attached to it. This was impractical to use in my fish room, which is the same room the water barrels are in. I made another water changer that is better suited for my breeders. Instead of disconnecting/reconnecting the 2 water changers, I have them permanently mounted on their own leg of the manifold. On the left (yellow hose) is the water changer for the show tanks. On the right (green hose) is the water changer for the fish room.



The water changers are different sizes (1” and ½”) and have different length tubes that fit the tanks better. I had to take the tops off tanks in the fish room so the 1” water changer would fit in. It was also so long that it tore up the substrate on every tank in the fish room.

Here is a picture of the 1” water changer.



Here is a picture of the ½” water changer.



Both water changers have a fill and drain line attached; they work identical, I will illustrate with the 1” water changer on my Discus tank.

The water changer is placed in the tank (notice the position of the ball valves).



The ball valve on the left (drain) is opened and the tank drains until the level drops below the strainer and the siphon breaks.



The ball valve on the left is closed, the one on the right is opened and the tank fills.



Let me know if there are any questions, I left anything out or did not explain anything thoroughly and I will update the post.
 

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That is an awsome system you have there. Especailly how you made the Water changer:hihi: .

but why dont we ever see you pictures of your tanks?

- Andrew
 

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Do you have your water barrel's lifted off the ground? It's kinda hard to tell but it does look like you do.

Nice little setup you got there. That took some thinking. I read according to what you posted is that you have the RO unit being feed from a water softener.

I am curious as to ammonia/chloramine before and after the RO unit. Is this feed from a well or city water?
 

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Couple of things.

Your feeding your RO with water softened by a sodium swap water softener? Is this better then water direct from the tap?

Your putting two things onto the float valve. The waste water shut off and the overflow protection. If the float valve malfunctions then you have two problems.

In my system I am using a set timer to fill the storage container. I also use a float valve to back this up. My timer is set and controls a solenoid before the RO unit all together so it is overflow protection and waste water shut off. And if either one breaks I am still in the clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That is an awsome system you have there. Especailly how you made the Water changer:hihi: .

but why dont we ever see you pictures of your tanks?

- Andrew
Thanks. I have pics of my tanks all over this forum, do a search by user name. Here are a few, I do not take good pictures (all of these have been rescaped already, I rescape a lot):


110 Gallon

55 Gallon

46 Gallon

37 Gallon

29 Gallon

20 Gallon
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Do you have your water barrel's lifted off the ground? It's kinda hard to tell but it does look like you do.

Nice little setup you got there. That took some thinking. I read according to what you posted is that you have the RO unit being feed from a water softener.

I am curious as to ammonia/chloramine before and after the RO unit. Is this feed from a well or city water?
The barrels are sitting on pressure treated 2x4s, they will sweat if not off the ground. If they sweat you will get mold and mildew. I use city water ammonia is 0, PH is 7, TDS is 10 out of the barrel......DC
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Couple of things.

Your feeding your RO with water softened by a sodium swap water softener? Is this better then water direct from the tap?
I think it is, but I am not a water chemist.
Your putting two things onto the float valve. The waste water shut off and the overflow protection. If the float valve malfunctions then you have two problems.
The float/solenoid is installed as designed by Kent Marine. The float has a positive shut-off like a toilet float. The solenoid is pressure actuated. They work together and are pretty redundant already. This system has been running for almost a year, no problems.
In my system I am using a set timer to fill the storage container. I also use a float valve to back this up. My timer is set and controls a solenoid before the RO unit all together so it is overflow protection and waste water shut off. And if either one breaks I am still in the clear.
Kent designed redundancy into their system, I do not have any power connected to the fill system, just the pump/powerhead. I did consider heating the water but decided not too for several reasons......DC
 

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Kent designed redundancy into their system
I really do admire your work. This is just constructive criticism. I was going to ask what happens when the float valve sticks, where is the redundancy? I am adding calcium, magnesium & baking soda directly into my storage container. I was afraid of buildups and imagined a float valve malfunctioning.
 

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ohh stupid me I've seen some of those pics around......

oh, why not heat your water?

thanks

- Andrew

(shrimp are doing great BTW)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I really do admire your work. This is just constructive criticism. I was going to ask what happens when the float valve sticks, where is the redundancy? I am adding calcium, magnesium & baking soda directly into my storage container. I was afraid of buildups and imagined a float valve malfunctioning.[/QUOTE0]
I have messed around with this float quite a bit to make sure it would not flood my fish room. I do not see how it could fail, it is all mechanical and no way to clog, all the moving parts are plastic and out of the water. Were you thinking something could get stuck in the moving pieces? Or deposits? I am pretty confident failure is remote. Here is a good pic of the system......DC
http://www.kentmarine.com/instructions/fvkit.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ohh stupid me I've seen some of those pics around......

oh, why not heat your water?

thanks

- Andrew

(shrimp are doing great BTW)
Waste of electricity. The largest water change I do is 55 gallons on the 110 gallon Discus tank (over 130 gallons with sump). The tank temp only drops a few degrees and the two 400 watt heaters bring it back up quick. I would also be concerned about nasties growing in the barrels. I am thinking about dropping ferts in the barrels, would make dosing a lot easier, but would it propogate nasties?......DC
 

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DiabloCanine;330543Were you thinking something could get stuck in the moving pieces? Or deposits? I am pretty confident failure is remote. Here is a good pic of the system......DC [url said:
http://www.kentmarine.com/instructions/fvkit.pdf[/url]
Yeah mineral buildup or something causing the float to fail. I think the only place it could fail is in my imagination. :hihi:
This is a great method for solving my water as needed issue with the inflexible timer situation. I was going to use a float switch to tell my system to turn off and this the the reason I didnt.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah mineral buildup or something causing the float to fail. I think the only place it could fail is in my imagination. :hihi:
This is a great method for solving my water as needed issue with the inflexible timer situation. I was going to use a float switch to tell my system to turn off and this the the reason I didnt.
Believe me, I monkeyed with this float several times to ensure it would not fail. It was recommended to me by several local reefers. It is a PITA to get the air out of the system, but that only needs done once......DC
 

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Hey DC,

I've ordered a RO unit and I am waiting for it to arrived. One thing I am really not understanding is the Flush setup. What You have setup is similar to other pix/explanations that I have seen, but--I'm just not getting it! I'm missing something, so Can You offer a breakdown of how its put together? From what I am seeing it just looks like a ball-valve with a route around it. I'm not getting how it gets to/flushes the membrane. In the pic that you have above, I cannot see the "Loop" around the ball-valve, but in at least one other setup--it was just that: A loop around the ball-valve. I'm just not getting it! :hihi:

TIA
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hey DC,

I've ordered a RO unit and I am waiting for it to arrived. One thing I am really not understanding is the Flush setup. What You have setup is similar to other pix/explanations that I have seen, but--I'm just not getting it! I'm missing something, so Can You offer a breakdown of how its put together? From what I am seeing it just looks like a ball-valve with a route around it. I'm not getting how it gets to/flushes the membrane. In the pic that you have above, I cannot see the "Loop" around the ball-valve, but in at least one other setup--it was just that: A loop around the ball-valve. I'm just not getting it! :hihi:

TIA
Here, have at, I still don't get it but it works. I stared at for a few days before I could connect it. The key is the location of the restrictor....DC
http://www.spectrapure.com/manuals/FVK.pdf
 

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Ok, I got it now. Thanx! On page2 it shows the "Flow-Restrictor" (A) in the "loop". By closing the valve the flow is forced to go passed the Flow-Restrictor and is processed normally. By opening the valve the water is allowed to circumvent the Flow-Restrictor and flush the membrane. I'm assuming the unrestricted flow is too much for "processing" causing the flushing effect. The PDF also helps by showing the placement of the "Loop", etc in the system. Before I really couldn't tell where it was placed for certain and had to guess. Got it!

Thanx! :proud:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Just timed a water change with this system. Changed 90 gallons in 9 tanks and dosed ferts in 45 minutes. I have about a half day of my life back......DC
 

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Seeing this thing in action would make anyone want one, so with that I have a few questions I didn't ask earlier.

-How is the drain hooked up?
-How long are the hoses, and what happened to the yellow hoses?
-Any problems with sucking up baby fish/shrimp?
-What do you dose for kh and gh, ie calcium and magnesium and do you dose it all right after water change, or broken up throughout the week?
-Did you get all of the "PVC to hose" adapters locally?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Seeing this thing in action would make anyone want one, so with that I have a few questions I didn't ask earlier.

-How is the drain hooked up?

Goes out the main drain in the mechanical room, you walked right by it, next to the water softener.

-How long are the hoses, and what happened to the yellow hoses?

Do not know exactly how long they are, I just went to the furthest tank and cut. The yellow ones were not long enough anymore when I moved the 110 closer to the windows so I rigged new ones.

-Any problems with sucking up baby fish/shrimp?

I thought shrimp were going to get sucked up several times, they would walk around on the strainer. Maybe seen one or two take a ride.

-What do you dose for kh and gh, ie calcium and magnesium and do you dose it all right after water change, or broken up throughout the week?

The only thing added to the water is Tropica Master Grow and GW ferts, usually right after water changes.

-Did you get all of the "PVC to hose" adapters locally?

I believe everything was purchased at Lowes on County Line or Menards except the strainer (Marine Depot, RO unit (Premium Aquatics), pump (Premium Aquatics), float valve/shutoff kit (Premium Aquatics), and backflush kit (Premium Aquatics).

Thanks.
Let me know when you are ready and we will make you a setup......DC
 

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Here she is, my DC water changer. It is pretty close to the same thing. The drain and fill hookup is a little different.

Water changer part, mine is 3/4" and works well on my 5g or 75g. The hoses come off at 90 degrees because I have some tanks on the floor and it would kink otherwise.


RO system, the third canister is empty right now.


Down into the bucket


The drain is in the back. It is two flexible couplings and a PVC tee. It was hard to find a way to connect PVC to brass(bathtub drain), this seemed the easiest. I tried one of those self piercing saddle valves for the supply to the RO, they don't work well at all. Soldering is much easier, if not as good looking.






The drain and fill lines run into the closet here.


The water closet.



Thanks for helping me reclaim my sundays.
 
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