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Trying out RO water for the first time

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I've been thinking about making a low tech planted shrimp tank with the main purpose being breeding. I would like to start the tank with RO water and then add in nutrients that the shrimps and plants need. The thing is that I don't have an RO water filtration system because strict landlord. I heard someone say once that Watermill stations give 5 gallons for like a buck but don't know if that water is truly RO, it's considered to be drinking water and I don't know if it has been treated with or against certain minerals. Their 12 step process makes it seem like it's pure RO, has anyone worked with this? Any other trusted sources for RO water you guys can recommend?
I couldn't find a topic like this, I am sorry if one already does exist.
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Depending on where you buy the water, you can buy it for as cheap as 28-50 cents a gallon for RO water. Basically, $1.40 to $2.50 for 5 gallons. Walmart, Smiths, Raleys... pretty much any grocery store or an LFS. Good RO water should have a TDS of 15 or less. A cherry shrimp tank should have 150-300 TDS.


What you need:

TDS Meter (+ calibration solution)
GH & KH Liquid Test Kits (API, Sera, Nutrafin)


Then, determine what kind of shrimp you would like to keep in the tank... Neos? Caridina? or? Once you figure out type, then figure out whether or not you need a buffering substrate or just plain sand or gravel.


General guideline...

Neos = Sand/Gravel + GH & KH (tap *might* be okay)
Caridinas (most Tigers) = Sand/Gravel + GH & KH with low temps
Caridinas (bees/crystals) = Buffering Substrate + RO + GH (NO tap!)

Tigers can be kept in either condition but many do fine in Neo parameters on the lower end. Neos kept in Caridina parameters are less likely to breed and reproduce. Opposite can be said for bees/crystals.


If you choose to keep various species/colors, then cater the water parameters to the more sensitive shrimp. Neos can't breed with Caridinas, but many Caridinas can mix.



Although you may already know all of this, so it would be a refresher. :)
 

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How big a tank are we talking about?

I use RO/DI water as a base and add GH and KH builders and the ferts I want. I have an RO/DI unit and I'd say on a larger tank it's about the only way you can do it.

Lugging around 1 gal or 5 gal bottles of water gets old really fast. It also gets expensive fast, especially if your using a fert system such as EI where you change 50% of the water per week. You also have the issue of the dubious quality of water out of the machines.

While you can do what you plan, make sure you really want to do all the work involved, or see if you can get a small RO/DI unit that you can connect to the tap on an as needed basis.
 

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I wonder why you feel you'll need R/O water? like us, Fish, plants, and crustaceans all need minerals. It makes little sense to strip out minerals and then add them back with concoctions.
RO water is sometimes used 50/50 for really hard water and/or for soft, acid loving species, but these are [more] rare exceptions.

You 'can' get an RO system that easily hooks to your faucet or buy RO or RO/DI water, but you really need to ask... why bother if you don't need to?
 

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I wonder why you feel you'll need R/O water? like us, Fish, plants, and crustaceans all need minerals. It makes little sense to strip out minerals and then add them back with concoctions.
RO water is sometimes used 50/50 for really hard water and/or for soft, acid loving species, but these are [more] rare exceptions.

You 'can' get an RO system that easily hooks to your faucet or buy RO or RO/DI water, but you really need to ask... why bother if you don't need to?

Sensitive species of shrimp don't do well on tap water, especially when we need to hit a target range pH, GH, KH and TDS range. Using RO/DI water with minerals can help a person achieve those desired results easier. Basically, a person can better control what is *IN* the water. Tap water can change through the year, based on the seasons and what all ends up in it, so it's not a bad practice. I was reading about someone else who lives on a farm and after doing a large water change with tap water, all, or many, of their tank inhabitants are now dead. The same water that they've been using for several months or years now. Last I read, they suspect that it's fertilizers that got into the water table from all the farmers upstream.


Some sensitive shrimp do best in low pH conditions, such as 5.8 to 6.8 pH. This requires using a buffering substrate most of the time, which means that if you use tap water that has KH in it, then the buffering substrate will lose it's buffering capacities sooner. You already have to replace the substrate every 1-2 years, there's no need to make it happen sooner... as in 3-8 months instead. Using tap could potentially also result in huge pH swings....




And I actually have really soft water! I can't get shrimp to survive unless I add minerals to it... which I'm currently doing by mixing 3-4 parts soft water to 1 part hard water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm gonna be doing bees/crystals in a 10-14 gallon tank. The substrate I plan on using is fluval shrimp stratum and in one small corner of the tank I'll be using larger-than-fine grain sand. The plants will mostly be subwassertang and java moss - with some of them forming caves or good hiding places. I'll probably put in a few dead leaves for the shrimp to graze on but I don't know if I'll do that yet. As for a tds reader and calibration solution... any recommendations on where I can get a good one?
Also: on the topic of tds, how do I control that? is that just a number representing how many minerals are in the water? or is that something that goes up by itself over time like beneficial bacteria does?

when this all gets started, I'll definitely be testing water parameters during the cycling stage so that I can understand it better. cycling stage will be about a month and a half for me... when the tank comes together.

Thanks for all the feedback so far, I appreciate it!
 

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I'm gonna be doing bees/crystals in a 10-14 gallon tank. The substrate I plan on using is fluval shrimp stratum and in one small corner of the tank I'll be using larger-than-fine grain sand. The plants will mostly be subwassertang and java moss - with some of them forming caves or good hiding places. I'll probably put in a few dead leaves for the shrimp to graze on but I don't know if I'll do that yet. As for a tds reader and calibration solution... any recommendations on where I can get a good one?
Also: on the topic of tds, how do I control that? is that just a number representing how many minerals are in the water? or is that something that goes up by itself over time like beneficial bacteria does?

when this all gets started, I'll definitely be testing water parameters during the cycling stage so that I can understand it better. cycling stage will be about a month and a half for me... when the tank comes together.
Have you considered looking into SL-Aqua Soil? I hear it's better than Fluval Stratum and has free shipping from Discobee.


As far as TDS... well, that measures everything. Minerals, waste, organic compounds, food, etc.

If you decide that you want your tank to have 150 TDS and it matches the GH target range for the Caridinas you'll be keeping, then you can do a water change when the TDS reaches 170 or 180. Although, if the water is low due to evaporation, which causes the TDS to rise, you wouldn't do a water change, nor would you add remineralized RO. Instead, you would simply top off with RO water.

When water evaporates, it leaves behind everything that was in the water. You can easily see the salt flats in Utah! There's no water in some areas, so it's just large expanses of salt!

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/96/85/8b/96858bf24679371ec8e751ee40991057.jpg

So if the TDS is high due to water evaporation, you just fill it back up with RO water. If the TDS is high due to other reasons, then you would do a water change.


You can get a TDS meter and calibration unit off of Amazon. I just went with a cheap HM Digital TDS-EZ meter (purchased nearly a year ago) and the HM Digital TDS and EC Calibration Solution (purchased this month - March). It does require a tiny screw though to calibrate the TDS Meter.
 

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I started two cubes recently with sl aqua soil and really like it. It's no comparison to stratum to be honest. If you're going to be doing TB you should splurge for the better stuff. I also have a tank up using brightwell florinvolcanit and that's very good too.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 
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