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FAQs on Tapwater Filtration: Reverse Osmosis, Deionized, Distilled Water 3

Related FAQs: RO/DI & Distilled Water 1, RO/DI & Distilled Water 2, RO/DI & Distilled Water 4, RO/DI & Distilled Water 5, RO/DI & Distilled Water 6, RO/DI & Distilled Water 7, Rationale, Selection, For Commercial/Large Output, RO Water Storage, RO Water TreatmentMaintenance/Repair, Deionizing Source Water Filtration, Kati-Ani DI Units, Kold-Steril Units, Water ChangesWater Make-up, Nitrates

Related Articles: Water Purification Using Reverse Osmosis. Reverse Osmosis, A Multipurpose Tool By Mark E. Evans, Water ChangesWater QualitySynthetic or Natural Seawater, Nitrates

- Filtration Options - I've got an extra R.O. filter setup (3-10 in. canisters + R.O. membrane). I was wondering whether I could use the three canister filters (i.e., bypass the R.O. membrane) and place them in the main pump return flow line in order to occasionally take advantage of micron-level filtration? Thanks. <I would not do this unless you have an unlimited budget for replacing the filters. You'll find that placing them in the main return path will reduce your flow rate and clog the filters very quickly. Cheers, J -- >

Kati/Ani de-ionizer 1/25/05 I'm very interested in these units since they've been highly recommended and I'm not a fan of wasting water with RO. I searched through all the forums on the net and all the FAQs on this site and I've even called Dr. Fosters and Smith (since they seem to be the only e-tailer carrying them) but I'm not confident with the lack of information or answers I've received. So on to the experts (I hope I'm not wasting your time). <no worries> First question is, if I were to get the KATI 10 and ANI 10 (internal volume: about 785 cubic inches apiece) and use a carbon block pre-filter, about how long do you think the resins would last before regeneration is needed?  <impossible to say as it is dependent on the quality of your source water> Also, am I safe in assuming that if I were to get the ANI 5 which has about half the volume, the resin would last half as long?  <half as long before needing recharged, yes. Its just a matter of volume. The quality of resin is the same though> I've heard of people who have chlorine/chloramines in their water first aerating it overnight and then running it through the DI units to lengthen resin life. When you were operating yours, did you do this or did you just go straight from the tap? <a carbon prefilter takes care of this more conveniently> I've read that anion units in general produce water that has a high Ph. If I run the KATI first and the ANI last, what would you suspect the Ph would be (i.e. does the ANI unit produce a consistent ph or is it totally dependent on the input water)? <regardless of pH it will be unstable as it is demineralized... and as such, at risk of crashing (acidic). It needs to be buffered> And last, I've read that you recommend this unit a number of times. However, I've never really heard why. Is it due to quality craftsmanship, quality resins, ease of use, or other reasons?  <resin quality alone... the unit otherwise is awkward with tapered metric fittings> Thank you so much for the help with this and all the help that you have given others along the way. Your service is truly invaluable.  Derek <with kind regards, Anthony> 

Ruggedness of DI cartridge As I usually do, in trying to better my 55 gallon SW set-up, I may have caused a problem. I just purchased a Kent Maxima Hi-S 60gpd RO/DI unit to help me deal with very "fertile" source water. The directions say for the first use to remove the DI cartridge for the first two hours of operation and then re-install it. I got excited last night when hooking it up and forgot to do this. The kicker is, the pressure from the unit caused my faucet to start to leak at the fittings 20 minutes into this initial set-up run so I had to stop it there. I stopped it because I live just north of Philadelphia and was in the middle of getting over a foot of snow and am sure it would have taken a few months of my fish budget for an emergency visit from a plumber! Then this morning, 11 hours later it hits me that I never removed the DI cartridge and that the cartridge sat for that time in the initial water that came through the system. I ran to my basement and removed the cartridge and let it drip dry but am now unclear what to do. <Resume the break-in period as if you were just starting> Do you think I ruined the cartridge? <No> I don't think the color of the cartridge changed but then if there was some type of chemical present in the membrane, it could have discolored the whole thing. Do you know the rationale for the removal of the DI as this would help decide if I need a new one?  Thanks, Amy <The initial water from the rest of the unit has chemicals that are not easily "treated" by the deionization part... no big deal though. Bob Fenner> 

Googling for Dow RO membrane info. Thank you for your assistance in the past. Can someone tell me what a Dow applied (tw30-1812-100) RO membrane is? Is it a TFC or CA or neither? Will this work for well water not having chlorine? Chris Drialo <Uhh, place the term "Dow applied (tw30-1812-100) RO membrane" in your search tool (I did in Google) and read on! Bob Fenner> 

Water Quality Question Thank you for creating a forum where questions are answered knowledgeably and graciously. I have a 6 month young saltwater 30 gal tank with a happy Clown and a happy Coral Beauty, critters, sand, 50# live rock.<sounds good> SG 1.0245, ph 8.1-2, T 80, amm/nitrite 0, nitrate 10 or so, Ca 400, Prizm protein skimmer, carbon filter, overflow with sump (nothing in sump yet). I've had some typical algae problems, but everything pretty manageable, lots of coralline algae. I have been using DI water from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Filter, as I inherited this filter and an extra cartridge along with some other second-hand equipment that I purchased. However, now that my cartridges are used up, I am revisiting the water question.  I have read through many queries about water, RO/DI etc.  Recently purchased a coffee maker that had a water tester with it that registered our water as "very soft" so I pulled up stats on our tap water from the web.  I'm hoping that you don't mind looking at it and lending a more expert opinion than mine.  The ph is very high (I also tested water directly from my tap and had readings 9.0, 8.4, 8. depended a bit on water temp, etc., also tested at 0 Phos), but otherwise do you think it would be acceptable to use this water directly and skip the RO/DI process?  If so, how do I lower the ph? Or maybe a mix of this with DI or RO/DI water?  What do you think? Thanks in advance for your help.<Hello Lynn, I don't see any attachments as to your water tests.  Anyway, the 0 phosphates sounds good.  Just to be safe you may want to take a sample of your water to a local "pure water" store and test for dissolved organics.  I'm guessing there should be none.  Other than that I would feel comfortable using it.  One other thing I would do though is take a glass of your tap water, let it sit overnight, then test the ph again. James (Salty Dog)> Lynn

RO/DI All:    Thank you again for your valuable advise.  I just purchased and installed an RO/DI unit on E-Bay from an outfit called USA Reef.  After installing and setting up a nice little system of operation in my laundry room, I flushed the pre-filters, flushed the RO membrane and ran about 30 gallons at full functioning then discarded that batch and did another 30 gallons. <Good>   I decided to test the water against straight tap water to see the results.  I was disappointed to find out that Phosphates were identical @ .1 and nitrates were also identical (both 0/undetectable).  I am going to get a chlorine/chloramines test kit to determine if this thing was a total waste of money.  If it's not at least removing these two chemicals, then I wasted enough money to buy 6 months worth of Amquel or Prime.  Is there something I'm missing? <Maybe... I'd contact USA Reef directly re this question. Their contact information should be with the inserts... they do not make the unit, so in turn they may refer you to the real manufacturer> can you recommend a good chlorine/chloramine test kit? <Yes: http://www.google.com/custom?q=chlorine+test+kits&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com> Sorry for the spelling of chlor$%#@...  Thanks, Ben <Bob Fenner>

Mixed-Bed versus Rechargeable Deionization 1/11/05 I have two questions about deionization and determining what purification system is appropriate for my tap water. (1) If rechargeability is not a factor, wouldn't mixed-bed deionization be more advantageous due to its ability to produce purer water? <not necessarily true (usually not in fact). It depends wholly on the resin, and there are many kinds to be had. generally the rechargeable ones are better quality than the disposable hobby use satchels> A representative of Kent Marine stated that a mixed bed deionizer will produce water with 18-megaohm resistivity compared to rechargeable deionizers that produce water with only 2-megaohm resistivity.   <perhaps true of some low grade resin he was comparing to for marketing purposes. I assure you this is not the case for all others or even most rechargeables> I notice that SpectraPure uses mixed-bed resins in its "Ultimate" DI system that is also capable of producing water with 18-megaohm resistivity. <its indeed more profitable to keep selling disposable resin rather than rechargeable one time only ;)) Many chemophobics, such as myself, shy away from the caustic chemicals used to recharge resins and would simply replace depleted resins in any case. <Yikes! What a waste of resources! And the recharge chemicals mix to form inert (literally drinkable as demonstrated by chem lab professionals with carefully measured molar concentrations). You are off the mark here my friend... wasting is not conscientious, re-using is IMO> (2) Where can I take my tap water to be tested to determine if prefiltration & deionization alone is sufficient? <many (water) testing labs online... do a google search for one that appeals to you (price. service, etc). Maybe ask your local water authority for their official analysis> I'd like to forego wasteful reverse osmosis and use prefiltration with deionization if the quality of my tap water is good enough.  I live in Colorado and am deeply suspicious of my "Rocky Mountain spring water."  Don't ask me about Coors beer--I've smelled the water at the brewery. Regards, Paul. <have no fear of the two column deionizers my friend... really efficient and environmentally friendly use/re-use. Anthony>

Pre-Filtration & Marine Salts 1/12/05 Anthony, <cheers> I very much appreciate your reasoned response to my questions regarding mixed-bed versus rechargeable deionization.  You have sold me on the concept of minimizing waste.   <always welcome my friend... I do aim to be sensible/practical> I'd like to pose two follow-up questions: (1) Which prefiltration assembly do you recommend for rechargeable 2-column deionization systems such as the KATI/ANI?  The only one I can find is the SpectraPure FA-PRE-0.5M-20 but I hope that you can direct me to more affordable prefiltration systems. <many possibilities here ... depending on the quality of your source water running through it. But, if your tap water is nothing out of the ordinary (like iron-rich well water requiring an extra metal sponge, or silicate-rich water needing chemical media, etc.) then I say just go to your local Home Depot or DIY store and get a cheap drinking water pre-filter unit. Two canisters cost (well under) $50. First stage will be 1 to 5 micron floss... second stage is simply good quality carbon. If you are really handy, you can DIY home make canisters out of PVC for even less money. If you want to get fancy, have two floss pre-filters (12 micron and a 5 micron to follow)... and better still... have Poly-filters (Poly Bio Marine) after the carbon stage> (2) What brands of marine salts will complement the Kold Ster-il filtration system?  Since the Kold Ster-il system does not filter certain minerals (calcium, magnesium, strontium, barium) and buffering compounds (carbonates, bicarbonates, hydroxides) from my pH 8.1 tap water, which marine salts contain lower amounts of these minerals and compounds? Regards, Paul. <without spending a fortune... I'll say that Tropic Marin is presently the best you can buy. I will add though that I generally like Instant Ocean's QC and affordability in my region and use it more often. Anthony>

RO and DI unit malfunction? I have just purchased a new 100GPD RO Filter for my discus, it is a six stage Reverse Osmosis & DI Filter. The problem that I have, is it is not producing soft water, all readings are high, I might as well use my tap water. <...?> I ran it for 10 hours before testing the water, and I have tested the water from different stages to see if it is a certain section that is not working correctly. I have now been advised from the supplier to rock it from side to side to remove any air trapped as this may also cause it to not clean the water correctly, but I can't see that that would make such a difference, can you help. Thanks Simon <Something is awry here... may well be that the unit is still not "broken in"... I would give it another few days, flush, throw away the water... and keep testing. In the meanwhile, get out the directions for install and assure yourself you've connected the components correctly. Bob Fenner> Question on RO/DI System I just purchased a Coralife 3 Stage RO/DI System which produces 50 gpd.  Unfortunately, the instructions on this "stuff" doesn't explain the average ratio of time it takes to produce that 50 gallons.<<Huh? 50 gallons per day/gpd... divided by 24 hours per day... RMF>>  Is the average 1 gal / hr., 1 gal every 3 hours?  In my case, it seems like a whole day event just to get enough to do a water change on a 75 gal tank. <Under optimum conditions, your RO should produce just a tad over two gallons per hour.  Water pressure and temperature have a lot to do with the amount of water you will get out of the RO in an hour.  Get yourself a couple plastic five gallon pails and make your water ahead of time.> James (Salty Dog) Please advise.   Thanks for your help. Sheryl Weaver - Deionization for Chemophobics - Dear Sir or Madam: I am looking or a water purification system for a 75-gallon reef aquarium.  I like the fact that deionization (DI) units are less wasteful of water but I do not want to deal with the dangerous chemicals involved with recharging DI units.  I plan to simply replace the resins when they are depleted. (1) For my situation, which is more advantageous:  mixed-bed systems or separate KATI/ANI-type systems? <Think perhaps this is six of one, half a dozen of the other as they say... either system would provide filtered water. Individual cartridges of single resin types will last longer than a single cartridge of mixed resin.> (2) What type of prefiltration is required for DI units? <I would use both a particulate filter as well as a carbon filter - much like a two-stage RO unit without the RO. These prefilters will extend the life of the resin cartridges.> Thanks very much. Regards, Paul. <Cheers, J -- >

Leaking solenoid Hello all, << Looks like everyone else passed on this. >> I've got a quick question about my RO filter.  I have a Kent Marine Maxxima set up for my top off.  The maxima is run to my sump with a float valve at the sump.  The solenoid is leaking from the middle.  The filter is about 5 years old and I seem to remember this happening once before.  I'm not sure what I did then, probably just tightened the screws and watched it for a while.  Before I did that again I thought it might be a good idea to find out the expected life of the solenoid and if they tend to leak like this.  << I would think the life is several years. >> Any thoughts, experience with this?  Thanks for your help and your great site! << Sorry we can't be of more assistance.  I'd feel bad recommending any action other than contacting the manufacture and telling them the scenario. >> Larry   <<  Blundell  >> <I'd replace this solenoid outright. RMF> Adding a buffering stage to a water purification system Hello, I have a Kent DI unit that is attached to a float in my sump that automatically replenishes my evaporation water, now this water is not buffered and I suspect it is one reason for my pH staying in the 8.0 to 8.15 range (also run a calcium reactor). I was trying to think of a way to buffer the water without changing my current set up and had a "crazy" idea that I would like to get your opinion on. I was thinking of adding another stage to the DI unit at the end before going to my sump, fill the canister with some  media that would dissolve raising the buffer and pH, if I filled the canister with the same media used in my reactor would this work? << No, it would need to be in solution.  <...Incorrect. RMF> You could add a little Kalkwasser, but I don't know if you could adjust or maintain a certain level with any regularity.  I think you are better off just adding a teaspoon of Kalkwasser every week. >> I know the water is acidic coming from my well and the DI makes it no better << Then your DI and RO stage aren't working.  It should come out neutral. >> so my thoughts are the media would dissolve (just like in my reactor) and therefore buffer my top-off water. Thanks for your time, all comments are appreciated. << Well if is a solid media it won't just dissolve.  Or at least not at a high rate.  I think powdered Kalkwasser is a simple and easy way to go.  Plus for the most part you want your RO/DI unit working without any additional items that affect the water coming out of it. >> Thanks Mike Winston <Blundell>

Tap water vs. RO water Dear crew, Just a short query.  Is it really absolutely truly positively and unconditionally necessary to use RO/DI water as top off water and when mixing artificial salt water? :-)   << I use tap water.  Always will.  But it is safer to add RO water.  I think you get more algae growth with tap water, but I like that. >> I have a 75 gal FOWLR running and have been using tap water treated with chlorine and chloramine remover.  RO/DI water is quite expensive here in my place. << I don't even remove chlorine, but it is a good idea.  Better safe than sorry.  However filtration and feeding can be more of an issue, so focus your attention there. >> Thanks a lot, Carlos <<  Blundell  >> - RO/DI a Must? - Dear crew, Just a short query.  Is it really absolutely truly positively and unconditionally necessary to use RO/DI water as top off water and when mixing artificial salt water? :-) <Positively and unconditionally necessary, no. May be helpful if source water is a mess... yes.> I have a 75 gal FOWLR running and have been using tap water treated with chlorine and chloramine remover. <No worries.> RO/DI water is quite expensive here in my place. <Then rock on...> Thanks a lot, Carlos <Cheers, J -- >

RO/DI question 12/1/04 Hello All: I found a manufacturer of RO/DI units in your FAQ's and now I cannot.  Can you possibly give me a list of several recommended models/manufacturers to jog the ol' gray matter?  Thanks for the help. Scott <Other than being sure that you get a TFC (Thin Film Composite) membrane, I would suggest shopping price.  Most membranes are made by the same few manufacturers and are of good quality.  Most aquarium brands come at a premium price, but may have better rinsed carbon cartridges (rinsing removes the phosphate introduced in the manufacturing process).  I have found many good deals on EBay as well as small independent companies that cater to aquarium folks.  A Google search should keep you busy shopping for hours.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

SpectraPure DI unit model suggestion 11/29/04 I have been considering purchasing a DI unit to produce high quality water for my marine aquarium for some time now and have sifted through the RO/DI facts on your website to pick a brand.  I noticed Anthony endorsed SpectraPure DI units on numerous occasions so I think this is the brand I am going to purchase.   <Hmmm... I don't recall SpectraPure so much as Kati Ani brand FWIW> I am confused as to what to by as after my water softener to remove some of the extreme hardness my water contains, this will be my sole water purification as I am not going to get an RO unit. The SpectraPure website recommends the two stage D-CL-AR-2-10 system for water containing chloramines and recommends the two stage D-CL-Sil-2-10 for removal of Silicates/Phosphates/Nitrates, and CO2.  As I want  to use the unit to dechlorinate my water in addition to removal of the Silicates/Phosphates/Nitrates, could you tell me what to buy to accomplish this?   <Really not sure for whole house use... do rely on the mfg rec.s> Will the two stage D-CL-Sil-2-10 unit also dechlorinate the water? And do I have to buy other components such as a 1 micron filter and an activated carbon filter to add on to the two stage D-CL-Sil-2-10 for it to be totally self sufficient?  And my final question, does the SpectraPure units hook directly to my kitchen faucet or do I need some type of adapter? Thank you for the advice. Ray <These questions are really best for the manufacturer or dealer, my friend. I can only speak to aquarium units. Anthony> RO water question I have very hard water so I bought a RO system. Is there a certain procedure I should follow to change the water? Is it done gradually or all at once? Have no idea how to do this, please help. << I'm guessing you mean to change the water that is already in your tank.  If it were me, I would just start using RO water for water changes and top off, and not worry about trying to replace water. >> Thanks <<  Blundell  >> <What? RMF>

Back in the (marine) saddle again Hello, I've just started up my marine fish tank, I had a marine tank 4 years ago and was a success. I even managed to breed Lysmata shrimp's but the fry only lasted about 50 days due to lack of knowledge on how and what to feed them on. I have started again but this time I've set up the tank using de-ionized water just wanted to know if this was ok to use. look forward to a reply soon, many thanks Dave. <Should be fine. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm and the linked files therein. Bob Fenner>

Ro/di for reef ..FO and discus. Hello to all , Happy new year. Ant if that is you Cheers and thanks for the updates, for bocp1. In setting up my fish room, I have been able to obtain a water quality report. while I can figure most out I thought you could help decipher some parameters. Silica @ 4.8mg/l O-phosphate@ 1.08mg/l <This ortho-phosphate level is high for source water> Total hardness and alkalinity are both followed by (CAC03)??? <Calcium carbonate... the largest contributor/component of water hardness> with total reading60.6mg/l and alk @19 mg/l( Why are they both CAC03? Only inorganics (Chemical) found were copper at 0.01mg/l and barium? at the same 0.01 mg/l. <Not a problem with regular, small water changes> Of course no one will tell me ( vendors that is that I do not need some sort of tap water help) <I would use at least a reverse osmosis device here... for your drinking and cooking as well as starter water for pet-fishing> I am not wet behind the ears on aquarium keeping, I am just trying to get at least some straight answers. Total solids at 119mg/l fixed solids @67 mg/l ZINC????? @0.4 mg/l Free cl2(CHLORINE??) @.51 mg/l <All fine> The intended setups are FO Marine Reef  ( soft prop tanks ), Mixed display and (stony prop tanks) Africans, ( RIGHT FROM THE TAP I ASSUME) Discus Amazon sort of biotope ( tetras barbs... the gamut) in an old Odell 150g <Wow, my arms, legs and back are starting to twitch! I've spent some memorable moments moving these fine folks big heavy glass tanks> I saw on the pages that Bob was of the opinion if you drink it , use it in the tank. <For the most part, yes... but I don't have as much phosphate in my tapwater... and still use R.O.> I have decided that if I need a system, I will ro or ro/di in that wastewater can be for Africans and I just don, like having Muriatic acid in the house to recharge Kati Ani type units since there is a newborn in the house. <Yes to leaving, storing this 3 molar hydrochloric acid in the garage, up high... in a locked cabinet. There are water filtration devices that don't use such dangerous rechargers though... like the Kold-Steril unit by the same folks that make PolyFilter> However, I am just not sure that I really need a system at all.  What exactly is TDS and TDS meter ( I know total dissolved solids, but like what?) <Total Dissolved Solids... you can look up on the Internet. Yours aren't too high (ours are treble what you list) for your applications> Hey thanks again guys I hope I can make a decision fast as aquatic reef systems in Fla. is still pushing a 75gpd ro/di at an unbeatable price. <Look at the large "hardware stores" offerings... this is what I use> Though how about stuffing a pvc tube with a poly filter and carbon? <Worth experimenting with. Bob Fenner, who would just get, use a reverse osmosis unit for now, use the tap on the Africans.>

Re: Ro/di for reef ..FO and discus. hey bob, I just got your response and thank you very very much. You did say that you would look into a system for drinking and cooking as well. Is this due to the phosphate? <Yes> I know that you are not a medical Dr. but is there a reason for alarm that you might know of either for we adults and my newborn son.... Please reply I am somewhat alarmed, even though It has be safe by EPA standards. I do boil all water for infant formula. You also mentioned "starting with system with RO" I assume might as well for water changes too huh. Hey thanks so much for everything. It really is appreciated. Kind Regards , Peter Eiselman <Not a problem per se for human ingestion (in fact orthophosphate is better to have/use to rid source water of other metals)... but for pet-fish use I would start with water of low to no detectable phosphate period... and use the same water for your consumer uses (drinking, cooking). Tastes better. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ro/di for reef ..FO and discus. Bob Thank you so very much . I think I will go to Home Depot after work and look. As far as you know ,I guess I could just keep th unit in my fish room and fill empty containers to put in fridge for cooking or whatever and drinking.... Though I prefer BEER! Oh yeah It is a no no to drink DI water though right? And you do not feel I need it given my h20 report. <You can drink all. I prefer the R.O. during the day, beer at night. Bob Fenner>

R.O. Brand recommendation Can you recommend a good R.O. system? What should one look for in a R.O. unit? <Please see here re our opinions: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm particularly the linked (in blue, at top) FAQs files. Bob Fenner>

RO or RO/DI hello all, hope all is well.  Quick question for ya.  I have a 90 gal. reef tank with soft and LPS corals and some clams, also a few fish, I'm going to get a SpectraPure unit, but which one should I get--  the RO unit itself or the RO/DI unit?  based on what I'm keeping.  thanks <Mmm, I'm a bigger fan of just using the RO, but others here prefer the deionization as well. Please read alls comments here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm The "RO FAQs" numbered, linked at top, in blue. Bob Fenner>

- RO Questions - Hi guys, Bryan here. <Hi, Bryan, JasonC on this end...>1 Have some questions regarding water makeup with RO. <OK.> Read thru F&Q's and would like some help clarifying some things.  OK here goes.  Make up water to add to tank:  I take my RO water and aerate and heat for a day to drive off CO2 and increase dissolved O2. (this next order is where I'm a little confused) Then add my salt mix (Tropic Marin) aerate for a day.  Test for salinity, pH, and ALK, add buffer as needed from the test results. Sound OK? <I would add buffers at this point, before you add the expensive salt. RO water is depleted of minerals and will take them up like a sponge, potentially leaving you with a lower than desired pH. Best to add either baking soda or a commercial buffer like the Seachem product.> Evaporation top-off:  Take RO water, aerate and heat for a day. This is where I'm a little unsure.  Test the water parameters and buffer as according? <I'm not sure you need to heat the top off, unless you add it in bulk quantities.> Set pH and Buffer according to main tank display, right? <Ideally, yes.> Last thing to help me clarify.  In the display tank I'll use ESV 2 part B-Ionic for ALK and calcium.  for top off and make up water I'll probably use SeaChem reef builder.  Do using these 2 different buffers in the water have any adverse affects? <No. The two part additive is a 'system' so that the buffers compliment the calcium additive. The buffering in your top-off is really only making sure the RO doesn't lower the pH of the tank.> Ok last thing for real.  IYO who or what company has the best all around supplements/additives, Mg, Br, Iodide etc... (just wondering, only using if test for and find a need) <I don't have any particular preference, but I do try to stay away from Kent and Mark Weiss products.> Thanks for your help Bryan. <Cheers, J -- >

- RO Questions - Jason, Bryan again, thanks for quick response and great info.  <My pleasure.> You helped clarify things for me about RO water treatment.  I was a little confused about the order of adding buffer and salt.  I had read somewhere to buffer then add salt and then last night read someone from WWM was adding salt then buffer.  Got a little confused.  This is probably a silly question. But when buffering the raw RO water, are you shooting to buffer to the target range for the main display or just adding enough to add some minerals to the water so it doesn't act like a sponge when you add the salt? <The latter, just enough so that the RO doesn't deplete the buffers in the salt.> Thanks again Bryan <Cheers, J -- >

Reverse Osmosis Systems Hello, <Hi Helene> My husband is looking into a reverse osmosis system for his 90 gal marine aquarium (has fish and live rock).  Can you recommend a specific one that is reputable and where to purchase (either online or store).  We live in Maryland. <Am sure there are some specific brands that the other folks here might well specifically recommend. I am of the opinion that most all units available are within a few percentage points similar (like brands of gasoline) and consistent with this perspective just buy/use "home improvement warehouse" models... that incorporate an in-line pre-filter... and either just the "little pressurized storage" unit included or have the device dump the finished water into a dedicated trash-can... and pump it from there. Some aquarists prefer the Deionized or combo. R.O./D.I. product... and if you're going to be using the R.O. much, there is the "waste" water volume to consider using for other purposes. Please see here re more input re these matters: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rofaqs.htm and the linked FAQs files beyond. Bob Fenner> Thanks very much, Helene

Distilled water buffer, loose corals Can you recommend an appropriate buffering agent to use with the distilled water?  I started using tap water, which helped with the acidosis, but I checked my carbonate hardness and it is now 50 ppm and my general hardness is up to 100 ppm.  This is a little higher than I would have liked.  Guess I'll just keep using more distilled water and try to maintain with additional tap water.  I just thought if I am going to add anything, it might as well be minerals that the discus can utilize. <I would use baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, "Arm and Hammer", unless there is/was other types of life that require other mineral content> Can you recommend anything to keep my button coral in their place?  My turbo snails keep knocking them off of their rock.   <A bit of epoxy... these are sold in the trade for this purpose. Bob Fenner> Thanks, you guys are great

One more RO/DI question Hi again, <Hello!> I was wondering what the best procedure would be for introducing RO/DI water to an established aquarium.  Should I just begin using it for top off and regular water changes, with no changes to my usual routine; or, should I begin with one or more, larger than normal water changes? <Makes little/no difference. Test the pH and make it match your aquarium and of course...match the temp to that of the aquarium> As per my last email, I have found 'RO Right' and 'Osmo Prep Marine' (both by Kent), are these types of additives necessary? recommended? <Test your pH to see if it matches your tank. If not buffer it up using baking soda or other buffer fluid/powder. I am not familiar with RO Right but if it's a buffer agent (and it should state that on the label) then it will work as well as anything else> Thanks again, <You're more than welcome! David Dowless> Adam

RO/DI Questions Hi guys, I am a few days from purchasing the Typhoon 3 RO/DI from http://www.airwaterice.com/Typhoon%20lll.htm, if you know anything about this model (positive or negative), I would appreciate your input.   <I have no first hand experience nor know anyone with this brand.> I've read that after processing the water through the RO/DI you have to use some sort of supplement to replenish certain essentials that are removed by the RO/DI process. <Correct. Best to read through the articles and FAQ files on treating RO or DI water. My protocol (briefly) is to aerate, heat, mix salt, test pH, alkalinity, and calcium, adjust with additives, and use.> Can you please point me to a vendor where I can find these additives? <Just about any good buffer will work.> Also, any recommendations on a brand name for the additive is appreciated. <I use Seachem's Marine Buffer and Reef Builder.> Thanks, Adam <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Macroalgae and Water Pre-Treatment Good evening! <Hello! Scott F. here tonight> Have just 2 quick (I think!) questions for you this time around.  I recently emailed you regarding changing my "nitrate factory" (sump with bioballs) over to a macroalgae filter, you recommended Chaetomorpha or Ulva vs. Caulerpa. Problem is, I have only found mention of the names of these macroalgae; never any pictures (for identification) or locations where I might purchase them. <Chaetomorpha is also called "Spaghetti Macroalgae".  It really does look like spaghetti or a kitchen scrub pad! A good commercial source of this algae is Inland Aquatics. Ulva can be purchased from Indo Pacific Sea Farms. There are other commercial sources for these and other macroalgae; it will take a bit of searching. Alternatively, you may want to post an inquiry on WetWebMedia.com's chat forum; in all likelihood, there are other hobbyists out there who have these macroalgae available for sale/trade.> I searched the site for several hours this week.........(It's a guy thing ya know, never ask for directions!!  Well, I'm convinced........I'm lost!) Any help would be greatly appreciated. <You are right- there is not a tremendous amount of hobbyist-related stuff on the internet regarding this particular species. Much of the husbandry information that you'll find on this macroalgae is from fellow hobbyists, so do use the chat forum on our site or more information.> Also, in scanning through all the FAQ's, I caught something about watching your pH, and alkalinity if you use "raw" R/O water for tank top offs.  Can you point me to more information as to what I should be adding to my R/O water before adding to my tanks? <First, you should always aerate the water before using it; to help drive off the carbonic acid that's usually present in highly purified water. Second, you may want to use an aquarium alkalinity buffer product to help "reconstitute" the water. More on this topic is available on the wetwebmedia.com site, and a further discussion of source water and its treatment is available in Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation".> I didn't realize this was a problem, yet probably explains my low PH. <R/O water tends to be very unstable, acidic, and have no hardness, so aerating and buffering the water before using it is a necessary step when using RO water, IMO> Thanks and Happy Holidays!! Doug Edwardsville, IL <And thanks to you, Doug- Good luck in your efforts! Regards, Scott F>

RO Water Hi, I want to use a better water source for my saltwater/reef aquariums. I'm wondering about those vending machines outside grocery stores that dispense water. Would that water be safe enough for reef tanks? Also, should I add a dechlorinator to this water? Does RO filtration remove chlorine and chloramines? Thank You, Tim <Safe for use, yes. No dechlorination needed... but I encourage you to look into getting, using either a reverse osmosis unit or R.O./D.I. for home use instead... much cheaper and cumbersome in the not-so long haul. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm and the FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner>

Question about Purigen and its interaction with other water conditioners Hello, <Hi there> First, thank you and congratulations for your site which provides plenty of information for new aquarium hobbyists as I! <Delighted> I would like to ask you a question about Purigen . I have bought a 100ml of Purigen , but I am reluctant to use it, as I found this text on Seachem's website, saying that Purigen may become toxic with some amine based slime coating products : "Only certain slime coat products will cause Purigen (tm) to become toxic; the products that do this are amine based. Prime (tm) and Safe (tm) are not amine based and so will not cause this problem. If you're curious, what happens is that the amine compounds can strongly bind to the resin, then when they (the amines) come into contact with any chlorine they will form chloramines which are highly toxic. We offer a stress coat product, StressGuard (tm), which is not amine based and so can be used in conjunction with Purigen .(tm)" The problem is that it's impossible for me to figure out if a product contains amines or not from reading from the ingredients. Right now I am using Tetra Aquasafe to condition the water of my aquarium, and sometimes I also use a bit of JBL Acclimatol as an anti-stress. Tetra Aquasafe says it provides slime coating for the fishes, as well as some vitamin B1. But I have no idea if Aquasafe is compatible with Purigen , and I am wondering if vitamin B1 contains amines which could interact with the resins in Purigen , as in vitamin there is "amine" (?). Could you give me advices regarding this issue ? <It is my opinion that you are safe using the B1 vitamin (and all other vitamins) together with the Purigen... I would not use Tetra AquaSafe in saltwater... or the JBL product, but instead adopt/adapt a pre-mix and storage protocol for water changes. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm Some water-conditioning products (e.g. Novalek's Amquel, Aquarium Pharmaceutical's StressCoat) contain PVP (polyvinyl pyrolidone)... and I suspect this is the source of chloramines that the folks at SeaChem are referring to. If you're insistent on utilizing water conditioners, I'd switch to all of one brand (like all Seachem's). Bob Fenner> Thank you very much for your attention.

Re: High Alk? The water I use is from a commercial RO system that supplies water to a company camp. The water comes from a natural spring and is supplemented when necessary with two shallow wells. The water is very hard and is softened before it goes through the RO membranes. A quick check of the system verified a problem with the system. <indeed... purging R/O product water of 16 dKH!> I purchased a gallon of Culligan water from Wal-Mart and tested it. Alk is less than 1 mg/L, and pH is 6.7. <OK> Is the other high alk water safe to use in my system? <dangerously high as it is (risk of precipitation/"snowstorm" of carbonates> Can I mix it to around 4.5 mg/L with lower alk Culligan water <or a little lower. 8-12dKH is a safe range> or should I dump the 100 gallons or so I have on hand? <no need... but dilute slowly> Also, I had a Caulerpa crash several days ago and in the process I yanked all the nasty stuff from one of my fuges. <what a dreadful plant for the casual aquarists. Many benefits and dangers to this genus> Could the Caulerpa crash have been caused by the high alk? <probably not... more likely reached critical mass and lacked nutrients to support its growth or simply went sexual (3-6 month life cycle for most species)> Checking the stored water I have on hand I think this problem has been around awhile. I have done several large water changes recently, at your recommendation, trying to resolve a low calcium issue. The large water changes only increased the alk, which finally got me wondering what was going on. While yanking the Caulerpa I disturbed the deep sand bed now the water has a hint of H2S. <heehee... this is starting to sound like a Jerry Lewis skit> I need to do several water changes quickly, I know, but do you recommend anything else in dealing with the H2S? <simply water changes and good aeration> I Can't win! Out of the frying pan into the fire." <no worries... you are gaining a fantastic education in the process. Kindly, Anthony>

Confusion over RO vs. RO/DI vs. DI Hi, I hope you can help me out with some of the confusion I'm having over RO/DI. That phrase (RO/DI) is my problem. When reference is made to using them in a marine aquarium, are you referring to one OR the other or one AND the other together? <A RO/DI unit has both a RO membrane and a DI canister.> What I see for sale is mostly labeled RO units. <They are the most popular, RO only. RO/DI are for truly awful source water and/or to make very pure product water.> I am looking to remove primarily phosphates from my tap water. Which is more effective for this, RO or DI? <Either will be fine.> Will one remove some phosphates and the other make up the difference? <Ro/DI units are very good for removing silicates.> If the RO unit is the better choice, are the TFC units worth the price difference over the CTAs? <Yes, you want a real RO unit, not the "bare bones" types.> I'm anxious to get rid of the daily scraping of my aquarium glass! <This may be part of the solution, but not all of it. Do review your other sources of nutrients and your nutrient export processes.> There was an answer on the forum to a reader concerned about lowering phosphates that said "I recommend a DI unit instead of an RO for its efficiency and lack of excessive waste water production". Was there an ecological consideration or a reference to it doing a better job with phosphates? <Likely Anthony and an ecological reference.> Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: New Tank David, I'm sorry,...I should have re-read my message that I sent to you...I didn't just set up a 75 gal...I moved up to that from a 40 gal. Since I moved the live sand and rock , my new 75 gal. didn't cycle. <Possible. However, if the sand was, is deep and it gets adequately disturbed, it could cause a short cycle...quite easily> But I think the new sand I added caused the ick break-out. I hadn't had ick for 8 or so months in my old tank. I didn't add any new fish, but was just asking how many I  could add without affecting my tank water, and the fact that I had an outbreak of ick. I have added two fish at a time in my old tank and everything seemed ok. <You must be a fish gambler...you know..."Throw it in and see how it swims." If this is the course that you have already decided on then do it. But I wouldn't...especially if you're not quarantining> I get my RO water, and store it in containers until I need it. Can I put a tsp. of Clorox in 6 gal. containers if I let them sit for a couple days? <You can clean containers with a Clorox/water mix, empty the Clorox/water, let the empty containers air-dry completely for a day or so, rinse them, and they will be fine. This is the process that I use. Never use any kind of soap. Only bleach>> I heard that the Clorox dissipates after 24 hrs. Is that true? <You mean out of the Clorox/water mix? I have no idea why you need to know this but I certainly wouldn't use the Clorox/water mix for anything except cleaning...then down the drain> Thanks for the info. <You're more than welcome! I hope you will consider my suggestion to read more about aquarium husbandry and tank setup. A good place to start is Wetwebmedia.com. Check out the "setup" section and the "maintenance" section...There are hundreds of fact for each section. David Dowless>  

Dechlor With R/O? Hey guys, seems I read your site and pop in a question daily! Always tons of reading to do here. <Ahh- but what a cool way to spend the evening, huh? Scott F. here today> I always used SeaChem's "Prime" in my tap water before I purchased my Kent 3 stage R/O (24g per day model, TGF or something like that). Can I toss the Prime now, or should I still use it? Thanks again..... <A good R/O unit should be able to remove chlorine and other impurities from tapwater...so I'd save the money for other things, like those cool ceramic signs that say "No Fishing", or the "Bubbling Action Skeleton"...Seriously- I don't use these products with RO/DI systems. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Buffering Hey gang, just picked up my Kent 3 stage r/o 24g/D (glad I can still get them wholesale, didn't realize what a deal $200 Canadian is till I looked around), can't wait to see an end to this flipping hair algae.  When I was using tap water (ph 7.6 range) in my 130g FOWLR tank, in my top off water I would use a half tablespoon of SeaBuffer per 5 g, I don't test ph and alk, as I am always in the 8.2 range with my tap and salt mix (IO, Kent, Tropic Marin, whichever the trans shipper has), alls well with fish and coralline on my 200-220 pounds of live rock, now with this r/o I know it knocks all levels down and I need to change my lazy ways, how much SeaBuffer should I add to this water? <Testing will confirm how much you need. Do please see the FAQ's regarding mixing new seawater suing purified water.> Is it now needed along with my salt mix, or will salt buffer to the 8.2 usually even with r/o (ph ?)?, is there a usual amount of SeaBuffer to add to each 5g of r/o for top off (no salt), or do I really need to test as there is such a great many variables? No corals and the likes guys, and ol' riot is lazy, but I do follow oh gods of fishland here at WWM, so tell me what I gotta do, one last thing, this PSI rating (65) for the unit, who knows what the PSI of my tap is, does that effect the quality of the water, or just how long it takes to make? <How long it takes.> I have the unit sitting inside a laundry tub just below the tap, it is to run for 12 hours or so before use, and so far I am getting a good flow out of the waste tube (might just have that flow into my washing machine so Anthony doesn't think it too much of a waste ;) , and little drops from the good tube, sound normal? <It should produce about 1 gallon per 4 gallon of waste water. You can measure both with a cup to see.> thanks for your time as always guys, have a great day!......riot.... <In the future, please use capitalization and spacing when appropriate. We archive all the Q&A's and it is best for other readers if these are in proper English. Your email program should come with a spell checker to make things easier for you. -Steven Pro> <<Yes, this would definitely be appreciated! Barb-->>

RO filtration or Carbon Filtration ? Hello WWM crew, I had yet another question regarding RO/DI and Carbon filters. I've been reading on how RO filters waste a lot of water but will make your water 99% pure. On the other hand, I heard that carbon filters will not waste water and will make your water 90% pure. Is this true? <RO units do waste water and probably make 99% pure water. I do not know how much a simple carbon filter could extract, but find it hard to believe it would approach 90%.> Would it be wise for me to invest in a dual stage carbon filter or would it still leave a lot of impurities and be a waste of money? <If you want pure water and no waste, you should consider a DI unit. We have written much on them on www.WetWebMedia.com. Use the search terms Kati Ani or Deionization and I am sure you will find plenty.> Thanks <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

RO Water Hello once again guys.  David D will be thrilled to hear a new LFS has opened up 15 minutes from my house....it is INTENSE, very cool. <Allriiiiiiiight!!!> Also, I found out this week about Inland Aquatics in Terre Haute, IN....I live in Indianapolis.  Went out there....they say it is the world's largest reef replica....it also is super intense, you guys have to see it sometime.  Huge warehouse.   <Oh man oh man! I would love to see it!> So anyways, I have a new supplier.  Second, an Aqua C Remora Pro is en route to my place as I write this...question...is it worth leaving the SeaClone 150 running as well as the Remora Pro, since the Remora Pro isn't quite big enough for my 120gal? <Does the SeaClone pull nasty stuff out of the water? If it does, leave it. At any rate, it won't hurt anything it just might not help much> Finally, I have decided that I'm going to start RO/DI for my water changes....Indy water is awful, I hate to think what could be getting to my fishes.   <You should see the test for the Las Vegas water supply...> So, here's the main question:  Are they all pretty much the same, or are some units better than others?   <Yep...not much different. They all use cartridges that do the job of filtering. Personally, I haul water from a public RO/DI station that is near our local supermarket. I do this because municipal water is expensive in Vegas and believe it or not...Over the years I've grown to enjoy the weekly water outing. If you really don't want the hassle of hauling, consider skipping RO and use a DI unit only. I read emails all the time about how much waste water is produced by the RO process. One email said the ratio of waste to water on her RO unit was 10 gallons to 1 gallon! That's too much for my taste. The DI process produces no waste water...> CTA, Hi-S, etc, etc...?   <Again...not much different. More stations mean more filtering but you really don't need to spend a lot of money on this item> I really only need about 3 GPD, my water supply is free of charge, and I'm fairly sure I want to go with the Kent brand RO/DI filters.   <Kent will be okay. By the way, the units that are sold at Home Depot and other places are more permanent than a fishy unit but other than that, they are basically the same. I would check for a no-name-brand unit at one of these warehouse stores. In your case, it might would be better to just install a permanent unit on your kitchen water faucet. Then you too could have the benefits of drinking RO/DI water!> Hate to ask for brand endorsements, but I need to make sure I do this right.  Thanks. <You're welcome! I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about brands on this item. Look for what the unit removes form the water (metals, nitrate, etc)...be sure the things that it removes are what you want to remove and then check out what the waste to water produced ratio is...pick a unit with numbers that you can live with. David Dowless> Matt

Improving Tap Water Hi guys, <Hi there! Scott F. here this evening!> As I've stated in my previous emails, I am slowly converting from a FO to a reef tank. Right now I cannot afford an RO/DI unit.  I was wondering if a product like Seachem's Phosguard would be enough to get me by. <Seachem makes fine products, but I don't think you can rely on a phosphate-removing resin alone to deal with phosphate on a continuous basis. I think that the best way to eliminate phosphate from aquariums is to do frequent, small water changes (like 5% twice a week). Much phosphate is regularly deposited in the aquarium through foods, so careful feeding is another thing you can do to reduce phosphate buildup in your tank. Perhaps you can treat your makeup source water with the phosphate removing resin before you mix the salt.> I live in New York City.  Are there any other parameters (besides phosphates/silicates) that I should be concerned with in a city water supply? <Many, many things, such as nitrate, heavy metals, chloramines, etc. A good grade of activated carbon in an inside box filter, placed in your makeup water container can help remove some of them. Using a product like PolyFilter in your system on a regular basis can remove a lot of detrimental substances from the water, too.> As far as chlorine goes, do the salt mixes on the market like Coralife and Instant Ocean contain dechlorinators, or should I also be using a product like Amquel? <I am not aware of any salt mixes that contain dechlorinating substances, so I'd use one of the products you mentioned, in addition to aging, filtering, and aerating the makeup water before its use> If/when I can afford an RO/DI unit, can you recommend an efficient, low cost unit.  Also, what product should then be used to replace what the RO/DI removes from the water? <There are a number of good units out there on the market available to hobbyists. I'd recommend a DI unit instead of an R/O for its efficiency and lack of excessive waste water production. Do check our advertisers on the wetwebmedia.com site for the manufacturers and models that they carry> Thanks again, Adam <And thank you, Adam, for stopping by!>

Parasites and Spring Water Good afternoon, Need your help again. <Scott F. here, ready to assist> I have 65gal salt water aquarium, the first 3-4 months no problems. Last month or so having fish dying with parasites on them, green dust type algae growing on the glass. The only thing I have changed when I do my water change once a month I have started to use bottled spring water. When I first started cycling the aquarium, I filled the aquarium with tap water and then added proper amount of Aquar plus. Do you think my problem is with the spring water I am using? If so, what type of water should you be using. Please reply. Thanks Rob!!!! <Well, Rob- lots of possibilities here. The parasites may be coming from many different possible sources- live foods, improperly quarantined specimens, live rock, etc. I assume that you are using bottled spring water? Regardless of whether or not it's bottled, spring water is really variable in both quality and chemical composition. Unlike distilled or R/O water, which has  specific characteristics, such as alkalinity, pH, nitrate, etc., spring water is a very vague label. It sounds like the algae problems are due to phosphate, nitrate, or silicate present in the water. I'd highly recommend utilizing R/O water. The money that you spend on a quality R/O unit will really pay for itself over time in terms of improved water quality, diminishing nuisance algae, and better conditions overall. Do some basic water tests on the spring water, and you'll start to get a handle on things, and what steps need to be taken to improve water quality. Good luck!>

Kent RO/DI Hey crew! I hope all is well with everyone. Do you guys know if there is a way to convert a Kent Marine 24 gpd RO/DI unit to a straight DI unit? I am tired of wasting water. Rock <I have never done it, but having a DI unit, I doubt it would be cost effective. Even if you could DIY the prefilters into additional separate resin DI units, they are small and would need constant recharging. -Steven Pro>

Eheim I am setting up a 75 gal. saltwater fish only tank. I am considering using a wet-dry filter, either a SeaLife Systems Pro-150 or an Eheim wet-dry filter. Would you give me the pros and cons of each of these filters? <This information is catalogued at wetwebmedia.com In general, the problem is the same...they will both generate nitrates in the long term...The wet/dry will need almost no maintenance but the canister will need to be cleaned and "reloaded" regularly. Ooops...I'm sorry...Do you mean an Eheim wet/dry? Of all of the high quality products that Eheim makes, their wet/dry is a dud. I wouldn't use it at all. Their canister filters are some of the best on the market> Would either be considerably “better” over the long haul, e.g. ease of maintenance, efficacy, better oxygenation, less noisy, etc.???   <A wet/dry will be fine if you have a heavy bioload and you don't plan on keeping corals. It will be practically no maintenance and as quiet as your return pump is.. Just the sound of the water cascading over the bioballs. You can also submerge the bioballs to decrease the nitrate effect> It seems from your FAQs that many people use the Eheim canisters but not the wet-dries <Most of us don't care for the wet/dries made by Eheim> Are you familiar with Sealife Systems (they seem relatively pricey)? <Sorry...I'm not familiar with that brand. A wet/dry is simply a tub full of tank water. No need to spend a lot of money> My next question involves water filters- I live in a rural area and have a water well, i.e. my water is not municipally provided. Does well water typically present fewer or more problems in regards to quality? <I can't answer this question with generalities. Every rural well is different. No way to tell what's in the water unless you test it. For the above reason, well water is generally more problematic. If you had municipal water, you could get results of water tests from the water company that would tell you exactly what you're up against...> I have not had any testing done but, obviously, I would not have to worry about things like added chlorine. <Municipalities also filter out many other things that we don't want in our tanks...And to be quite honest...municipalities allow some things like nitrates and phosphates that we don't want...> Are there any sorts of elements that I should be particularly concerned about? <Well...this is not really an easy answer...nitrates, phosphates, silica, metals of all kinds, PH...that would be a good start. Are your pipes copper? Many of these tests could be run with simple water test equipment like we use for our fish tanks.> I guess there is always the (remote?)  possibility of ground water contamination. <I certainly hope that isn't the case!!> I am considering purchasing a reverse osmosis filter from Home Depot for about $200. I would like your thoughts on all of this in light of the fact that I will have a fish only tank but would really like to provide a good quality of water. <Dude. skip the RO. GO DI. RO leaves way too much waste water...An email that I responded to the other day stated that their RO filter took 10 gallons to produce one gallon of pure water!! As a comparison, DI has no waste water...Go DI> By the way, I would like a substrate to go on the bottom of my tank that is black in color. Is there anything available (that would also be pretty easy to keep clean with routine vacuuming)? <Keep the bed really thin like 1/2 inch or less and stay away from the volcanic stuff. The larger the grain the easier it will catch and hold detritus...but it will also be easier to vacuum> THANKS! (ya’ll do a great job and provide a great service) <You're welcome! Come on back now...Ya hear! David Dowless>

Re: Water Question... "What is Soft/ened Water"? I have a fundamental question that I can't seem to get a good answer to.  I currently live in a house with softened water.  I am aware that such water is unsuitable for aquarium use, <Why... as in what is it in your understanding that leads you to believe this?> but I have no unsoftened water readily available.  This issue is why I tore down my last tank a few years ago.  I am now researching the feasibility of a new aquarium and would like to find out if softened water can be made suitable again. <Softened... as in/by ion-exchange resins? So?> I am willing to buy an R/O unit... but can not find out conclusively whether R/O will make softened water usable again. <Mmmm, it won't...> Is it simply the sodium content in softened water that makes it unusable? <No... not to most all aquatic life> Does that mean it is usable in a marine tank but not in a freshwater tank? <Shouldn't, doesn't matter in either case> I am still considering my options and have not decided whether to go fresh or salt, so I would appreciate an answer/recommendation for both.  What general advice would you give to those of us stuck with softened water? <Uhh, enjoy, use it...> Thanks for your help and the great web site! <Why at least H.S. level chemistry and physics s/b compulsory... There is nothing "wrong" with "softened water"... only a degree of hard water (calcium and carbonate hardness principally) removed... and all plus reconstituted with the use of synthetic salt mixes... Check your source/tapwater from an "outside" tap at home/work, wherever you are... this is very likely not "softened" and can be combined, used singly to start with as much of your TDS (total dissolved solids) as you can get... to start with... Study and don't worry. Bob Fenner>

Buffering Top Off Water I buffer my top off water after aerating for a day. If I test for KH/Alkalinity, what should my results be before I use the top off water? <Ugh, what?> Should I be getting these results immediately after adding the buffer? <I would wait until the next day. You are looking for trends here, not immediate changes.> I don't want to use too much. I am using Seachem Reef Builder. <I would add the same amount every other day, testing on the odd days for one week. Then look back at your records and note the trend. You will then know if you must adjust up or down. Repeat this procedure for a few weeks until you get a feel for your tank's needs. Then just double check every couple of months as things grow, you add new corals, etc. your tank's demands will change.> Thanks <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Funky Foreign Filter, Marine Water Quality... Good day! Frank here from Malaysia. <Hi Frank!> Check this website out, www.hydroguard.net This filtration system use coconut activated carbon from Holland as what they said.  Some info stated that coconut carbon leach phosphate HydroGuard is the only system using unique materials sourced from the UK and Holland, Micromax derived from micropore rich coconut based activated carbon and macropore rich peat based activated carbon. This combination has proven to be the best way to remove dangerous levels of chlorine, toxic compounds and organic contaminants. This filtration also contain fine and coarse silica sand. I need your answer as when the tap water PH 7 enter the filtration system, the result is more than PH 8, I think 8.9 Is carbon causes this pH up or silica sand? <The reason the pH rises is the filter removes acidic compounds but doesn't remove minerals. Thus only neutralizing acids (in this case) are removed leaving minerals which now affect the pH to a greater degree than they did previously.> This this type of activated carbon leach phosphate as no info stated. <Most carbons leach phosphates over time. I wouldn't think this product is an exception.> And is it safe to use as water filtration for reef tank? <The pH is too high for a reef tank.  There may be other contaminants in this water as well. Do recommend a Reverse Osmosis system, perhaps with de-ionization for water purification. The system you cite may be useful for drinking water but the water will need further treatment to be useful for a reef system.> Thank you for upcoming answer, Regards, Frank <You are very welcome Frank, Thank you for writing!  Craig>

RO/DI Use I am currently resetting up my 125 gallon tank. I am going to be setting it up as a FOWLR tank. I have a 125 main tank, 55 gallon sump tank, and a 38 High refugium sharing the same sump. I am looking to do this right this time from the start. I have never used RO/DI before and would like to take the plunge. <I highly recommend all marine tanks use purified water. You will save time and money over tap water by not having to battle nuisance algae problems.> The tap water in my area is hard and worked for my cichlids, but I don't trust it for a reef or salt setup. My confusion comes when it comes to adding the RO water. I have seen on the FAQ's two opinions. One saying its ok to plumb the RO directly into the tank for auto top offs and other opinions saying its not the best thing to do. <They are both right. I have seen people use their RO water straight out of it for automatic top offs, but it is not the best option. Taking RO water, storing it for a day, aerating it, and perhaps using it with Kalkwasser is the best.> Can you help clear this up? <See above. Hopefully you will understand my explanation.> I don't wanna make a mistake before I even restart this thing. What options do I have here? Any help clearing this up would be awesome. Thanks, Tim Turner of Reading, PA <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

R/O water and salt water storage Hi Anthony or Bob, hope all is well.   <with hope of the same for you and yours> I haven't sent a question for a while! All is well with my tanks no problems or issues, everything growing well and chemistry has been fine. <excellent> A friend of mine is building a really nice reef set up with the main reef 84"x24"x28" and his sump/refugium is a 180 gallon 72x24x24 tank. Due to this size he purchased two 55 gallon containers to provide R/O and salt when required.  I like his idea, we built the containers up on a stand about 30" put bulkheads in the bottom with 3/4" ball valves with tubing.  With gravity you have a nice delivery system that can make water changes a breeze. So I just purchased two 55g containers to do the same.  One will supply R/O water to sumps in my two main tanks a 125g, and a 90g.  The question is with 55g of R/O water, evaporation is about 3g a day, even with a small powerhead in the container won't the R/O water harbor bad bacteria or stagnate? <minor but can in time. Covered and dark is usually best for keeping most water. Aeration of RO will be necessary at least one day prior to use> What about the salt water.  How long can I keep the 55g of salt water going with a small power head in the bottom.   <I don't know that you need to mix constantly with the PH. Just at first to dissolve and then again one day prior to aerate. The trick of full time aeration is the formation of insoluble calcium carbonate from all of that turnover> If I only use 20g for water changes then refill to the 55g top, then add salt required will this be O.K. sitting for 3 to 4 weeks?   <sure> This will be repeated month after month, so there will be partial water that may be very old in the 55g drums. <not a good habit/practice but no big deal either> One last question, I noticed the web site has a new email address crew@wetwebmedia.com   should I be sending my questions there, <yes...please do. As mail increases, so does our crew size (hopefully!).> I am still using the old email (Bob's) one and don't want to inconvenience anyone.   Thanks in advance Larry <no inconvenience, bub... just progress. Kindly, Anthony>

Water Softener & RO Units Due to our hard water, I will be installing a water softener. My question is, will the water coming from the water softener plug or harm the RO/DI? <It will improve your performance.> The guy installing insists that this soften water is easier than the tap water on the RO/DI. <Yes, it is easier to remove the salts with RO versus your hard tapwater.> Please give me the low down on softened water and RO/DI for fish and coral tank. Thank you for your time. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

RO, Kati/Ani Unit Good Evening Crew, I'll try to keep it brief this evening for ya'll. I've used RO water religiously since I set my 55 gallon tank up 2 years ago (FOWLR). However, I'm tired of the 30 minute drive that it takes to get to the LFS. Thinking about getting a Kati/Ani unit but can't find enough information about the two. <First off, go to www.WetWebMedia.com and type Kati Ani into the Google search engine. You should find plenty of information that way.> What's the difference, and do I need both? <You do not need a RO and a DI, but you do need both the Kati and the Ani portion of a deionizer.> Dr.'s F&S have a Kati 2 and Ani 2. Would this do? <Yep> R/O wastes way to much water and I don't want to be the wanker responsible for draining the local reservoir dry. Alright, one more thing, what kinda chemicals are used to regenerate the units? <Muriatic acid (HCl) and Lye (NaOH2) The last thing I need in my kitchen is a Meth lab. The one in the basement is more than enough (just kiddin'!). Thank you so much for your time, knowledge, and love for the hobby/lifestyle. Rob     <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Nitrate Nightmare Hi WWM Crew! <Scott F. here today!> I have a 55g FOWLR, 120g FOWLR and a 20g tank that is currently without fish but running. I have had constant problems with  high nitrates in all three of my tanks.  I recently changed from buying  water from my LFS to mixing and storing my own salt water. I store and  mix the water in a 30g trash can with 2 powerheads constantly running. I haven't yet, but I also intend to add a heater.  So far I have only been using the container for makeup water, so on my first run of using it for a water change, I mixed the salt and Amquel and let the water aerate for 2 days before doing a water change.  Immediately after doing a 20g water change to my 120g tank, I did a water test that indicated the nitrates were high in the tank. <May be in part because of high nitrate present in source water, but also possibly due to husbandry. Do re-visit your maintenance procedures, feeding, skimming, etc., to make sure that these factors are not contributing to the problem. Fortunately, these are easy to correct!> I have the Saltwater Master Liquid Test Kit that uses a color chart for readings, so it's very hard to tell exact numbers, but let's just say it read that the nitrates were fairly high. Anyway, after realizing that the nitrates were high in the tank, I tested the stored water.  I realize that I should've tested it before doing the water change, but I'm learning as I go.  : ) <Hey- at least you're testing! That's great. Don't be so hard on yourself!> I found that the pH level was low, so next time I will buffer the water to bring it to 8.2. <Good procedure> I also  found that the nitrites were high <Bingo!> ....this is where my query comes in.  My thinking on the issue is that by using Amquel to get rid of chlorine and ammonia, the ammonia is converting to nitrite during storage and then to nitrate in the tank.  Does this sound logical? <A very interesting theory, but I'm inclined to believe that the fresh water was high in nitrate to begin with, and certainly not helping the existing nitrate situation in your tanks. When you're starting out with source water that's, say, 5ppm or more nitrate, you're "behind the eight ball" already!> If so, what can I do to remedy the problem? If this explanation doesn't sound right, what do you suggest? <I'd recommend that you invest in a good RO/DI unit that can produce virtually pure water at a modest cost. This way, at least you can be assured that you're starting with good source water> Seeing that I have 3 tanks, it got to be quite cumbersome getting saltwater from the store, so I really want to learn to mix my own water. <Agreed- been there- done that!> Does this sound like a problem that a chemical tap water purifier could fix or is an RO/DI unit in order, or is there something else that I'm missing? <Nope- as above- an RO/DI should help. But do investigate husbandry, maintenance, etc. to help reduce nitrate levels in your tanks.> Thanks in advance for your help.  You guys are the coolest! <Not as cool as our readers! Keep up your efforts at learning and improving your systems! You're doing great! Regards, Scott F.>

Reverse Osmosis Filters Hello Crew just bothering you guys yet again. <No bother!> I'm thinking of purchasing an RO filter and wanted to see if you could tell me what the advantages and disadvantages are to using RO water in your tank and if you would recommend an RO system over another. <The answer to both questions starts with testing your source water and then purchasing a unit that removes any unwanted elements and produces the volume of water you need at a given temperature and pressure. The reference to "stages" usually refers to the number of filtration modules the water may pass through. This usually starts with a half or one micron filter, a carbon block filter, a RO membrane for the type of water you have, and perhaps a deionization stage to remove silicates or elements the RO membrane can't remove.> Looking around I ran into these different systems but I don't quite know how they differ one from the other (except that one is more expensive then the other). Two Stage SP Reverse Osmosis Two Stage CHP Reverse Osmosis Three Stage Reverse Osmosis Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks. <The best way is to start with your water and needs, and then proceed from there. Many questions can be answered this way without marketing confusion. Check out the equipment threads at: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/index.jsp   Also look into Kati/Ani units at our WetWebMedia.com sponsors.  Craig>

Cloudy make-up water Hello Crew!  Been a while since I have asked a question, but continuing to read the daily FAQ with enthusiasm.  Much to learn here.   <keep learning and sharing, my friend> Anyway, I have a short question about my make up water.  I use tap water treated with ChlorX. Has been working fine for my 90 gal reef for over a year now.   <OK> However, more often than not, the water get very cloudy while aging.  I mix up a 5 gal pail of water each time.   <very hard tap water will do this ... OR... purified water that is not aerated and buffered before salted will too> I add the Instant Ocean salt, heat and aerate with a power head for 12-24 hrs.   <all good> Then it gets this milky, gritty, white stuff in it.   <insoluble calcium carbonate from the aeration... no biggie> It is all over the heater and power head, and when I add it to the tank, it turns the tank a bit cloudy for an hour or two, then it goes away.  It actually feels gritty to the touch when I wipe it off the heater etc.   Strange thing is that sometimes it doesn't do this, and is clear as a bell.   <varies with quality of the source water (tap water changes and purified water varies pending the temperature of water run through the unit (less pure as temp increases)> Also it seems to be better if I reduce the time it ages.  Any suggestions as to why this may be happening?  And will it be sufficient to let it age for maybe 12 or less hours?   <that would be fine in fact> Your advice and service is much appreciated! John <thank you for asking bud... Anthony>

Got the calcium scale blues To the crew, Great job and thanks for all the help. All of you deserve a big hand for all the time you spend helping others. <Thank you kindly!> My question is regarding a white film that covers the inside of my mixing container, heater and, power head between water changes. I use IO salt, RO water (pH 6.8). First, I aerate the RO water then add the salt. After 12-24 hours I test the water for salinity and pH and adjust as necessary. I use Seachem Marine Buffer most of the time since the pH is usually only around 8.0. Once everything is settled, I add a cup or two of tank water and let it age with the heater on and the Hagen 802 power head providing circulation for about a week. After about 24 hours it starts to form a white film that eventually covers everything. If I clean the film off the container and such (has a gritty feel) it turns the water white and eventually just re-coats everything again. <I am guessing you have added too much buffer and caused a precipitation of calcium carbonate by raising alkalinity with the pH.> If I get to near the bottom where the film is heaviest, it flakes off and tends to clog my power head intake. Am I doing something wrong in the way I am mixing the salt? <Just a bit too much buffer. This sounds much like my protocol for mixing saltwater, except for the introduction of old tank water. For a frame of reference, I use about 1/2 teaspoon each of Reef Builder and Marine Buffer per 5 gallons of water.> I have seen this question posted on WWM chat forum, but no one has provided a clear answer. One response was to add magnesium, would this help? <Not likely, but maybe worth testing. Magnesium should be three times the calcium level.> I am struggling with my calcium levels and wondering if this has something to do with my low levels. <Yes, because all your new saltwater's calcium is laying in the bottom of the mixing vat.> I just tested my water and my calcium is 225, pH 8.2 and alk 5.2 mg/L <Yep, your alkalinity is too high.> this is after a 32-gallon water change early this morning (my tank is around 100 gallons total). I forgot to test calcium levels before I made the water change, but the mixed salt tested over 500 for calcium a week ago. Any ideas? <Do take a look at Anthony's fine article here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm -Steven Pro>

Re: White Film I am still a little confused. I test the water after I have added the salt and everything has balanced out, then I add buffer until it tests at 8.3. By doing this am I adding to much buffer? <I would say too much too quickly. Like I said, if you find yourself adding much more than 1/2 teaspoon per five gallons, you are adding too much. I am guessing you are not waiting long enough between small additions to see the change in pH or perhaps your test kit is inaccurate. Regardless, there is not much else the white flake could be besides calcium carbonate precipitate.> This is what is causing my calcium to precipitate out? <Yes, my best guess. -Steven Pro>

Re: Kalkwasser and buffered RO/DI water Hello, I'm hoping to be able to travel and dive the reefs as much as y'all do someday but until then I'll keep searching your brains for info. <Hi Jeff, go for it, although it could be a long search...> I searched your site for the feeding of Sun coral polyps but can't say as I found what I am looking for though. When you say to feed them with finely shredded krill or Mysid or other types of fare, how finely shredded exactly do you mean?  <It means finely shredded *krill*, *and* Mysid shrimp. Does that read better? You shred the krill. The Mysids are can be blended slightly, but they are already much smaller than krill.> Does this mean chopping the already minute Mysid (which is what I'll be trying to use) in a stick type blender until you can't discern the liquid from the shrimp or do you mean to actually shred by hand or cut with a knife or similar into much smaller pieces? I tried pur?ing a mixture of Tetra flake food mixed with Reef Plus by Seachem with my stick blender and then squirting gently at the open polyps but I think the mixture may be too fine to do any good. It comes out the consistency of water with no noticeable chunks for the polyps to grab hold of. I also tried this with frozen Mysis shrimp but think again the mixture is too fine to do the polyps any good. I just acquired three pieces of the Sun coral and want to do what I can to make sure they get fed well. <Some corals will like that fine watery food and others with more substance, you will get a little of both with judicious blending.> Also, I think someone wrote in last week about their pH jumping up about .2 when they add Marine buffer but it then falls right back down by as much within a few hours. I lost your answer to that question as to what may be going on but can't find it again. I am having the same problem and don't know what to do to get my pH up and keep it up. <Test carbonate/alkalinity, calcium and magnesium. Low carbonates/alkalinity can allow pH to drop as can low magnesium. High calcium could depress alkalinity and thus pH. You need to test your parameters.>  I have drilled a hole through my window and run air line to a CAP 1200 in my 60 gallon acrylic tank I use as a sump and also the same air line is going to my venturi for my protein skimmer trying to stay away from any CO2 that may be in the house and trying to aerate the tank as much as I can. Should I add another air line to another powerhead in the sump? How much magnesium and strontium is too much to keep the pH in check or can you put too much in? How fast does it deplete in a system? Please, any info would be appreciated. Thanks again, Jeff <Do not add supplements indiscriminately, test for each and add only the recommended dose to raise them to the desired level. My bet is it has nothing to do with how tight your house is and CO2, except at night when pH drops in most tanks. Look at the WetWebMedia sponsors, they have the correct test kits. Craig>

Salt Pellet De-Ionizer Thank you for your prompt responses.  <our pleasure indeed> Yes, I know I need to do something quick. I have been trying to surf and learn.  <excellent... your best defense is always being an educated consumer> Yes, I hang my head in shame.  <no need for that... we are all and always learning> I am poisoning my fishes and my self with my salt-pellet-fed water softener. Sears Kenmore, no less. (sigh). I never knew it was bad, health-wise. Are you a doctor?  <no... not at all, my friend. And the softer use for people is not really a problem (I exaggerate <G>)... some folks have ascribed concern and complications for the excessive consumption of these chlorides.<Actually sodium. RMF> Ultimately... it simply isn't as good of a choice (with regard for purity) as an Reverse Osmosis or Deionizer for the whole house and fishes. The chloride for the fishes, now, is another story altogether. Prolonged use of salt recharged softeners has demonstrated clear symptoms of enlargement of the olfactory pores on the heads of cichlids (resembles hole in the head disease). It can be induced in less than a year when using this water (salt recharged/chloride rich). Other fishes are surely stressed too. The first thing we need to do is assess which if any fishes in your tank need soft water. Then decide if its worth the effort or perhaps you can simply enjoy harder water fishes instead (some cichlids, most all livebearers, etc)> Again, the Aquaclear 150 is my only filter, other than the fine and massive surface area of the gravel itself,  <which is really little help with such a big fish load... helpful, but not enough and easily disturbed> and all those nice long roots of the water hyacinths and milfoil or whatever it is, which doubtless also harbor those nice bacteria, and are the only reason my ammonia is 0 so far.  <agreed and wonderful... the plants are an enormously effective filter. Your tank would literally crash within days without them.> And of course, I have been cleaning the gravel and replacing about 2 gallons every weekend. I wasn't clear on your answer about the undergravel filter. Are you saying you prefer a "large canister filter or wet dry trickle filter" to a larger Aquaclear AND an undergravel filter?  <the AquaClear with either the canister or the wet dry. The UG filter is too hard to install at this point and not as good of a filter> I am not familiar with canisters or wet dry trickles, but I did see some on eBay. I will try to research and read what they are.  <definitely look into some good reference books too please. Much is explained therein. > What size do I want? I think I would prefer an undergravel if that would do the trick, as it sounds like a "set it and forget it" type of thing...easier?  <an undergravel filter is in fact more maintenance than a W/D or a canister filter. Gravel siphoning is necessary and laborious> But I want to do whatever my little finny friends need. Just guide me, oh guru of the water world. Humbly, Lisa <you are on the right track... do keep learning and growing. For know... cultivate those plants with TLC, do regular water changes (small weekly ones are best), do not buy any more fish, please do buy some good reference books, and enjoy your hobby :) Anthony>

RO filters... Hello! I was reading through some FAQ's about RO/DI filters and I'm stumped again. I saw that your response to an RO filter was that it wasted obscene amounts of water, <Probably Anthony. He is much more sensitive about them then Bob or I.> so if I wanted to purchase a water purifier of sorts should I go just for a DI filter instead of an RO or an RO/DI filter? <There is no difference in waste water between a RO or a RO/DI filter. DI alone, though, do not waste any water, that is until your recharge them, but that amount is still very small in comparison.> I have heard so much raving about these filters and it seems like a brilliant idea and much healthier for my fish so I thought I'd rig up the classic rubber-maid trash can and get started, but I wasn't sure what was the suggestible route to take. <I use a Kati-Ani DI unit and love it, but the chemicals to recharge an rather nasty, so for most people I recommend RO units.> Also, I have massive space constraints (I live in a dorm) and while I could fit a trash can system in my room it's not easily hidden and it would take up a fair amount of space, is there any other option? <If your tank is small, 30 gallons or less, an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tapwater Purifier maybe a good option. The unit is small and cheap, but the cartridges must be replaced. This can get expensive if you need a lot of water. That is why I recommend them for relatively small tanks, only. By the way, this unit is a mixed resin DI.> I don't mind sacrificing a bit of space or beauty for my fish, but I just thought I'd ask :-) Thanks again for all your time! Sincerely, Rachael <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

The Strangest Question That You Will Ever Have Concerning RO filters Bob et. al., Here is an exceptionally strange question, I have an RO filter that I had sitting on the floor in my basement beside a drain (like an idiot I never mounted it). To make a long story short, the sewer line got backed up, black water (nothing gross or floating in it) came out of the drain and partially submersed the RO unit. Since these units are have water tight seals, is it safe to say that it is still safe to use and that there should be no risk of contamination by bacteria? <I would think there would be little risk. As a precaution, I would flush out the unit, disposing of all the water and perhaps change the prefilters.> I cleaned the floor with bleach, and heavily flushed the outside of the unit with running water. I guess in a worst case scenario, I could run a UV on the fresh water for a couple of days before use. <You could do that, if you have an extra unit laying around, preferably not in sewage, too.> Let me know what you think. As always, thanks, Tom <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Reverse Osmosis Real quick one tonight. I am looking at purchasing a new RO and wanted to know your opinion on the Captive Purity Brand. <I have no first hand knowledge, but a lot of people on the message boards seem happy with them. I use and sell the SpectraPure line.> What you know or have heard? <See above> The three I am looking at are the Kent Marine Hi-S, Captive Purity, and SpectraPure. <I have always been happy with SpectraPure.> Thanks, Bryan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Kalkwasser and buffered RO/DI water In your well experienced and educated opinions would it be OK to use my RO/DI water in my trash can that I have buffered to 8.4 to make up my daily dose of Kalkwasser slurry that I add at night to raise my pH? <I would be concerned that the buffering compounds may react with and precipitate out the calcium from the Kalkwasser.> Or would it be best to use non-buffered straight RO/DI water for the slurry? <That is what I use, aerated though to remove the carbon dioxide which definitely reacts with Kalkwasser.> I don't want to have to empty my buffered water and start with new but if I must I guess that's what will have to be done. <I would use it for a water change. It never hurts and you might as well use the water.> By the way my clam is still burping well! <Is this a spawning event? Do take pictures if you can.> Thanks, Jeff <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

RO/DI <Hi Henry>> I have been using RO water, aerating, adding buffer (if using the water for top-off), aerating again, adding salt and aerating before putting it in the tank. Now I have an RO unit with a DI stage and wonder if there's anything I should do differently. <<No. I can't tell from the above but I'm sure you aren't using IO in your top off, right? Just buffered and aerated RO/DI water? Good.>> I have read opinions in the WetWebFotos forums that DI water can leach electrolytes from any organics it contacts and that it is also too pure to add directly to an aquarium without some remineralization and replacement of stripped electrolytes. <<Yes, this water is essentially totally pure, so it can hold LOTS of stuff in solution, so it pulls those elements from wherever they will come from until everything reaches equal saturation. So, if you make a 50% water change this would actually lower the needed elements in your tank to the mean or mid-point between the old water and new. If your pH is 8.3 in your tank and you add 50% pH 7 top off water, your tank will read at the mid-point between 8.3 and 7. Short answer? Aerate and buffer your top off to 8.3 pH.>> Other than a buffer, like Kent SupercKH, what other chemicals would need to be added to DI water meant to be used as top-off water? <<Nothing unless you test for various other elements like magnesium, which can be low in salt mixes. I add a balanced buffer, that's it.>> Would you add the same chemicals if the water were meant to be mixed with salt for a water change? I suppose the salt mix already has some of the missing parts. <<I test my change water for pH, magnesium and calcium, just because all the salt mixes and the water they are mixed with are different. The results are fairly consistent, but it never hurts to check for the majors; pH, carbonate, calcium and magnesium.>>  Thanks, Henry <<You're welcome Henry, let me know if you need any more information, Craig>>

Ro/di I am installing a new ro/di unit! And I am going to use it for metal plating, so I am going to be using a 40 gallon storage tank! I have been searching everywhere to find the answer to my question, and I have yet to find it, so hopefully you can help me out. If the ro/di unit has to have 35 PSI to operate correctly, then does this mean that I could mount my ro/di unit lower then the tank for easy filter changes, or will the unit have to be higher then the tank in order for gravity to flow the water into the tank, and the auto shut off work properly? <The auto-shut off isn't important as the pressure on the supply side is/will be higher... I would definitely install good shut-off valves (they sell these at Lowe's and Home Depot made of brass for reasonable) ahead and after the unit to facilitate taking it apart> I have heard that these units create a lot of waste water, about 4 to 1.  <This is about right... but in actuality... considering the amount of water folks toss on their lawns, landscape, leaks down the toilet... this is miniscule (not just IMO, reality) esp. considering the pollution, time and trouble to go "buy bottle water at the store"> Could the water that is normally sent to the drain be rerouted back to filter through the system, or is the something in the water that will never be removed. Thanks, Wes <I recycle ours to a my garden and have used such water for my fish ponds over many years... this water is barely more solute-laden... about 25% more per... at a flush rate of 4:1... Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Alkalinity Quick question?  <<Sure...>>  It seems I have to add about 1 teaspoon of baking soda or SuperBuffer to my top off water every day to keep my alkalinity around 10 to 12.  <<By any chance is your top-off RO/DI water? This is pretty typical if so... RO/DI is demineralized.>>  Is that o.k. or am I adding to much to the system.  <<Probably fine... do be careful about bringing up the alkalinity too high. I wouldn't go over 12.>>  I have been doing daily testing and it has never gone over 12.  <<There you go then.>> 

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