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FAQs on Tapwater Filtration: Reverse Osmosis, Deionized, Distilled Water... 4

Related FAQs: RO/DI & Distilled Water 1, RO/DI & Distilled Water 2, RO/DI & Distilled Water 3, RO/DI & Distilled Water 5RO/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

A Little Confused...Still - 06/14/05 Thanks for answering ALL my questions.............just a few more. <<Did you think I wouldn't <G>?>> If I do switch to using RO water should I gradually do that with my routine water changes and topping off water? <<This will work fine, yes.>> I should let the RO water sit for a few days before I use it right? <<My suggestion would be, as a minimum, aerate for 24 hrs. and then add buffer and mix/let stand for a couple hours before use as top-off...if adding salt mix (after adding/mixing buffer)...aerate and/or mix with a pump/powerhead for another 24 hrs. before use.  If you have the space/forethought, it's best to mix your saltwater and let it "age" for a few days before use.>> If I use RO water what buffers do I need to add? <<Can be done with simple sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), though I prefer to mix it (2 to 1) with a manufactured buffer for the benefit of the carbonate and borate salts of the latter.>> Are you talking about a pH buffer?....what else? <<pH and alkalinity, yes.>> And please recommend some brand names that you trust. <<I'm quite fond of the Seachem buffers (Marine or Reef...either will do) for quality and price.>> Ok.....that's it for now  :) <<We'll be here if you need us <G>, Eric R.

RO water storage Hello, <Good morning to you> I have a few questions about storage of RO water. Tonight I purchased a RO unit from Sears and also picked up a Rubbermaid trashcan. I have to pick up some compression fittings from the hardware store, but other then that I almost have everything set up. As for the questions: 1) how long can I keep the prepared water in my basement in the covered trashcan with a heater, aeration and powerhead for circulation? <Indefinitely> 2) I use Instant Ocean mix, do I need to add anything besides maybe pH buffer before I mix the salt or are most/all of the trace elements in the Instant Ocean mix? <Nothing to add, all in the mix> 3) I was thinking of using a submersible pump and a garden hose to pump the water from the trashcan to my tank for water changes. Would this work or is this just a bad idea? <No, a good idea. In fact, a simple powerhead may do double duty here... with a bit of flexible polyethylene hose to conduct water to your tank/s> I don't think it would destroy the submersible pump if I flush it out after each use. I'm just not sure if using one could harm the fish. 4) Can I just keep the heater, aeration and powerhead running all the time? Or is there such a thing as too much aeration? <You can. Do rig up an extension cord you can turn all off at once, while you're moving water> Thanks in advance for your time! And thanks for such a great site for a one stop source of information! Tony Merlo <You're welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Deionized water question 5/23/05 I set up a tap water filtration systems for water changes for my 125 FOWLR setup...I use a 5 micron particle filter inline with a 1 micron ceramic ( reusable cleanable) filter in series with a De-ionizing cartridge from Pentek...The water it produces is around 0.2 microSiemens at a very slow rate of flow...Is this too pure, and if so what can be done? I have no nuisance algae, but a lot of good coralline growth...thank you. John Gugliuzza <If you are using DI, your target is 100% pure water, so "too pure" is not possible. Major components like calcium and alkalinity may have to be supplemented, but all of the trace elements that your animals need should be present in sufficient quantity in good quality salt mix. Regular partial water changes will ensure that these elements remain at acceptable levels in your tank. Best Regards. AdamC.> 

Phosphate and nitrate removal Hi,  <Hello> I understand there is a filter available for treating new water and goes by the name of NITRAGON or similar can you please tell me where I can buy. Thank You  <I haven't heard of it, doesn't mean it's not out there. Personally I think you would be wasting your money. I'm assuming "treating new water" means your top of water or water for water changes. In that case, you would be further ahead buying a R/O unit. James (Salty Dog)> <<... http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-27,GGLD:en&q=nitragon+filter RMF>>

Nitrate Levels After Reverse Osmosis? Are there nitrates existing in r/o water ? If so how much? And, is there any way of ridding nitrates before putting r/o water in your tank?  <Nick, if your membrane in the R/O filter is good, your water should be 97/98% pure. I would do a nitrate test of your tap water and see what the nitrates are out of the tap, if any. I would concentrate on getting the R/O filter working properly rather than incur extra expense in removing nitrates from R/O water. Nick, in future queries please watch your caps and abbreviations. It does save the editor work as these queries have to be corrected before they can be placed in the FAQ's. Thanks in advance. James (Salty Dog)> Thank you  <You're welcome> 

RO systems  Are average RO systems for home well water purification (i.e., under-sink models) adequate for marine aquarium use? I'm referring to the name brand systems, like Kenmore, Whirlpool, and GE. I also hear that most home systems are not suitable for well water because they don't have the antibacterial substance in the RO membrane unit, which can cause the membrane to clog in as little as 2-3 weeks. What have you heard about this?  <The RO's for home use are designed to work with chlorinated water. The chlorine in the water prevents bacterial buildup on the membrane. Keep in mind that a good RO system usually pushes water through a 1 to 5 micron cartridge before it enters the membrane. There are units available for unchlorinated water supplies. Check with Drs. Foster & Smith or Premium Aquatics as to availability. James (Salty Dog)>

RO/DI Waste Water Hello, <Hello Dana> I recently purchased a Kent Marine Hi-S 60 gpd RO/DI unit. I was setting up a new 240 fish only saltwater system to replace my 125, and wanted to do everything right (using my existing wet/dry, adding a refugium, better skimmer, bigger UV, etc.) Because my local water is rather high in Phosphates (1.0), I decided to purchase the Kent Marine RO/DI. The unit has 2 output tubes, one which Kent Marine calls waste water. The other the RO/DI water. My LFS, where I purchased the unit, told me that the waste water is actually RO water that has not gone through the DI stage. So I used it, combined with the RO/DI water, in my brand new 240. A week after setting up the tank, I noticed I was getting a lot of brown algae. This seemed rather fast, so I tested a recently made batch of water for phosphates and guess what? 1.0! Ughhhh! Was my LFS wrong? Is this waste water truly waste water? It sure seems so. Should I just use the RO/DI water (this is a fish only system) or could I remove the DI cartridge and use RO only water? The unit seems to produce about four to five gallons of waste water for every one gallon of RO/DI water, which I guess is normal. BTW - the fish seem to be doing quite well and are loving the extra swimming space. Thank you in advance.  <Dana, the waste water is just what it says, waste water. The waste water is the water unable to pass through the membrane. The water passing through the RO stage then goes into the DI stage. If your water pressure is low, you will get more waste water than normal. Add on pumps are available to increase efficiency of the RO unit. James (Salty Dog)> 

RO Water I worship your wisdom. I must admit I'm on your site quite a bit and have learned a lot. I thank you. I tend to follow your (and Calfo w/corals) recommendations. I do weekly water changes(5 gals for a 45 tank). I have been adding corals w/ success (so far) and would eventually like to have a maxima/crocea clam, leaning more towards the crocea. I am fearful I may not be able to suit its needs. I have 250MH and 110PC lighting. I add calcium (Kalk) strontium and very little iodine via drip overnight. My testing has been pretty good, Cal around 400, PH 8.2, ALK 12.5, very low if any nitrate, etc., also very stable in PH/ALK readings. Phosphate and Chlorine is my concern. My tap water-straight form the faucet-has .17 phosphate level. I seem to obtain a .3 to .6 in the tank. I'm waiting on a chorine test so that is questionable.  I use Chemi pure, Polyfilter (it's a tan /yellow brown color when in need of change), and an Aqua C Remora skimmer. We pay for our H2O and RO wastes so much. Barry at ClamsDirect stated he highly rec.s RO/DI for clams. Do you think I could get away with just a 2 stage from home depot? My husband already complains about the time I take between the tank and you (site). I presented the RO issue to him and he does not want to waste the water etc. I read your facts and realize I do need to consider chlorine and possibly other pollutants I can't test for but any suggestions from you would be highly appreciated. Sincerely, Sharon  <Sharon, the company that produces the PolyFilter also has a cold sterilization system with no waste water. You might want to do a search on that. I'm also thinking if you had a 10 gallon tank and ran your makeup water through a hang on power filter with a Polyfilter pad for 24 hours, I would certainly think any pollutants would be removed from the water including phosphate. James (Salty Dog)>

RO/DI Follow-up - Problem Solved? THANK YOU, I did not know the two stage filters waste water too. Yes, the waste water is the problem. I am going with the 10 gal w/ poly filter and I'll get a filter for the faucet like Pur/ Brita. THANKS AGAIN  <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

RO Water I forgot to mention I have read facts and your recommendations on H2O. I have no silicate and I do mix up the water a week in advance. Also, according to our water co. and given we had a water line break, our chlorine is quite low (I do intend and waiting on my own testing). In fact, they told me it was not a break since the way they test is by a chlorine test. They told me it was a stream until I brought them in my garage to hear the noise. They were surprised and may be due to us living at the bottom of a steep hill. I also read about the Kold Steril but wondering if this is necessary given your fact on the two stage cheaper route. I just don't want to buy the two stage and then have to upgrade. I thank you and sorry for the lengthy request. THANKS AGAIN!  <I thought your husband didn't want you to use RO because of the waste water. Anyway, most two stage units work with chlorinated water only, removing about 90% of most pollutants and 50/70% of existing nitrate. The chlorine prevents mold and bacteria from developing in the membrane. The choice is yours. James (Salty Dog)>

Buffering RO/DI water - Anthony's Response on the Matter There is much, perhaps, to say here... and the matter is at least a little more of an issue with a higher/faster demand for Calcium/Alk in aquariums with heavily calcifying organisms. To try to clarify, lets compare the examples of mixing sea salt with three different qualities of water: demineralized (pure RO/DI of near zero total hardness)... medium hard water which includes a concentration of 100 ppm calcium among total hardness... and very hard water (as many folks have around the country) of say 250ppm of calcium among total hardness. If your brand of sea salt mixes up at 350ppm of Ca in demineralized water... what do you think it will mix up in the medium hard water that includes an extra concentration of 100ppm Ca? And what do you think it will mix up in the hard water of an additional 250ppm of Ca? Sea salt mfr.s cannot know exactly what the mineral content of your water is... it runs the gamut among users. From naturally soft, medium and hard (or very hard waters) to the different qualities of demineralized water (quite variable among RO units of various membrane ages/qualities) It is up to us as aquarists to test our source water and adjust it as needed in concert with each sea salt (they range among brand re: Ca at mixing from anywhere roughly between 250ppm for cheapo salts to 450ppm for premium salts). And of course, the issue of Alkalinity and other/lesser minerals/elements in your sea salt and/or source water is the same. Thus... to expect a sea salt to magically know your mineral hardness/composition(s) and expect it to adjust is... well :p Bottom line IMO - not all sea salts (quite the contrary) are formulated for pure demineralized water. Don't just take my word for it though... or the mfg claims for that matter... test the brands yourself and see how low they mix up (as if the high number of e-mails we get on message boards re: flat readings aren't good perspective). If you do not buffer average salt mixes up at least a little to the presumed average hardness of the mfg... then you WILL have the common problems that so many aquarists do with low or flat Calcium, Alkalinity, etc. Most aquarists do not (!) use RO/DI water... and most sea salts are not (!) formulated for this group. As for aerating... you will notice/see that freshly made RO water is high in carbonic acid. Rather than allow it to chew up buffers/Alk in your new seawater or your system water... you can simply aerate (off-gas as CO2) this acid and raise the (temporary) pH before buffering or salting. To the best of my knowledge, the above beliefs are matters of "science". That is to say, scientific realities (verifiable) and not just speculation. If I'm mistaken here... somebody please let me know! Anthony 

- RO/DI Units - I've used your site several times for info and learned a lot. I'm looking to buy a RO/DI unit for my 155 tank but I'm a little confused as to the following; 1. Is RO unit preferred over RO/DI or the opposite?  <Depends on the source water. I own an RO/DI unit but my current water doesn't need the DI so I run it without that cartridge. Also, RO/DI water typically needs to be reconstituted before adding salt.> 2. Any preference over the best type of unit?  <No... all are built pretty much with the same parts.> 3. Bob has mentioned that he has used units bought from Home Depot... I'm thinking of doing the same... what are the specifications I have to look for?  <The GPD [gallons per day] that you require; not much more.> Nilesh <Cheers, J -- > 

- RO/DI Aeration & Low pH - Hi Crew.  <Hi.>  Hope everyone is doing well.  <So far, so good... thanks for asking.>  If you could spare a moment, I have a quick (and very basic) question.  <Whoops... time's up. Kidding.>  Can you clarify what is meant by aerating ro/di water.  <Reverse Osmosis and De-Ionization - a filtration system applied to tap water.>  I have my top-off/water change water in 5 gallon buckets. I have 1 or 2 airstones placed inside the bucket. I let this sit, with a loose cover, for about 12 hours before I buffer, then let that aerate (with the airstones) for at least 6 hours before I use for top off or saltwater mix... is an airstone or two enough movement or should I be using a small pump?  <This is fine.>  I do have slightly low pH in my 55g reef tank...ranges from 8.01 to maybe 8.12 on its own. I add Kalk nightly (but not consistently) by Anthony Calfo's method of 1/16 tsp added slowly... I usually add at least 4-6 cups of this and it barely reaches 8.28. I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm just not aerating the ro/di top-off water enough?  <Doubt that aeration or lack of it is your actual problem here... would test your RO/DI water to make certain... but after addition of buffers and salt, pH should be in an acceptable range. Would look for causes in your system... perhaps overstocked, needs a gravel cleaning, perhaps you just need to open a window and let some fresh air in the house - is the time of year when homes are closed up tight. Could be any of those or all of the above or something else; many possible reasons... suggest you spend some time going through our FAQ's on pH as this is not an uncommon problem.> Thanks for a wonderful site! Any comments or thoughts would be appreciated. Jan <Cheers, J -- >

Subject: enquiry to marines? Hello Robert, I am newcomer to saltwater marines. I would like some advice from you. <Study business! Wait, you mean re aquariums> After keeping tropicals successfully for four years, I thought I would take the step.  Basically I purchased a R.O unit, to ensure better water quality... do you use R.O. units, do you make a saltwater mix yourself? <We use R.O. for drinking, cooking water... I only keep African Cichlids presently... they get straight (liquid rock, Southern California) tap water> And do you have any tips for me?  Fish selection as it is a fish only tank. Regards Stuart. <Umm, yes... study. Maybe start by reading our selection pieces, FAQs... see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm Scroll down to "Selection"... and Read on! Bob Fenner>

R/O water treatment part2 2/22/05 One follow-up question: If I use B-Ionic, is there any reason not to use it to treat the ro/di water in the Brute, before that water is used to make synthetic seawater or to top-up the tank? Thanks, Tom <B-Ionic and similar two part additives are shipped as two parts because mixing them will result in a useless insoluble precipitate. For this reason, they must be added separately (I even suggest several hours apart), and cannot be mixed in make up water. Also, you could add one or the other part to your make up water, but IMO, this would be complicating a very simple process. Hope this helps. AdamC.>

R/O question Hey, I stumbled onto your site the other day after searching for discus online. let me say that you have a great site with a lot of helpful info. Let me give you a quick run down of my situation. I bought a 46 bowfront tank second hand and it came with 10 small brown and one larger blue/green discus. After a 2 hour drive and the setup 2 of the smalls died (3 months ago) so I am now left with 8 brown (orange is more like it) and the larger fish. Before and especially after looking at your website, I decided on a planted tank. So far I have regular plain somewhat med/small gravel in there with some swords which are starting to settle in. I just purchased a 110 watt lighting top so the plants should start doing better (also have a DIY in there).  Here is the problem... The tap water in my area is hard with about 8ph. The fish are doing ok in it, but obviously could be doing better in softer/lower ph water. <You are correct> One of the options I currently have is an R/O system. It would be used for drinking water as well as the tank. <Good> Since I have never had an R/O system before, this is where the confusion begins.  <I am a BIG fan of these units...> I have looked through different stores as well as different sites for ideas but have yet to find a system I am happy with (since I don't really know what to look for) and the articles on krib are from 92 and around that time. I found a system on Costco. COM which doesn't waste any water (at least it's their claim) which leads me to believe that all the others do. this system would run about 310.00 and it's their only system. Costco's RO Unit.  On EBay I found a bunch of systems for $100-$200.  I know you are seriously busy and said to check out your faq and the rest of the site (which I did and did not find an answer to this). If you can point me in the right direction, I would most certainly appreciate it. Thanks, David <No worries... David, there are only slight "variations" in these units... akin to "super" or "regular" gasoline... All these units "will do"... the amount of water actually "wasted" (vented, more solute laden) is actually miniscule... folks lose more water from leaks... long showers... a concern in some places... and a possibility to build.... perhaps a pond! To vent this water to... and in turn to landscape irrigation... Do take a read through the many RO FAQs filed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/h2opurifiers.htm the blue, linked files at top... for more opinion, input. Bob Fenner

Calcium Query? Hi guys, My tank is running beautifully, but I have a question about calcium.  Stats: 40 gallon Temp: 78 pH: 8.5 KH: 8dKH Gravity: 1.024 Ammonia: 0 mg/L Nitrite: 0 mg/L Nitrate: 5mg/L Phosphate: 0.25 mg/L Cu: 0 mg/L Ca: 300 mg/L My tank is almost 6 months old (Day 178).  I have 40lbs of Live Rock, clownfish, 3 PJ cardinals, 1 Coris wrasse, dwarf lionfish, 2 cleaner shrimp, xenia, moon coral, red mushroom, 2 feather dusters and some hermits and snails.  I mix my saltwater for at least 24 hours with aeration and heater. I use Kent Sea Salt and Kent OsmoPrep with RO water. I was originally (3 months ago) using RO water and Kent sea salt then realized that I should be using some supplements to raise my calcium levels, which were 320 mg/L at the time.  I was told by my LFS that the OsmoPrep would raise my calcium, so I have started to add to with every water change (10% every 10 days or so). I have done several water changes with the OsmoPrep and my calcium levels are still dropping slowly, almost 10 mg/L a month.  My question is, Should I be using a calcium supplement as well as the OsmoPrep? Or should I be using another supplement rather than OsmoPrep that will raise my calcium and the trace elements I need to use RO water?  Thanks guys, Troy  <Troy, Kent Marine does instruct the user of Osmo Prep to add Kalkwasser or a liquid supplement for reef aquariums, so obviously the calcium present in the product is not enough for reef systems. James (Salty Dog)>

RO/DI water 2/8/05 Hello again, I really did try to answer my question with Google search, but couldn't find a concise answer (hope there is one). <That's what we're here for!> Background: We just got RO/DI system. Output goes into a Rubbermaid trash can. There's a heater and small powerhead in that can. Periodically, water is taken from this first can and placed into a second Rubbermaid can. Salt is added. There's also a heater and small powerhead in this second can. After a while, specific gravity is tested and additional RO/DI water added to get the right level (I try to add extra salt initially). We've been using the salt water (at least 24 hour aged) for water changes. We've been using the RO/DI water straight out of the can for top-ups. I've learned that I should be buffering the RO/DI water (but don't know how - what do use).  <Buffering RO/DI water is not the only way to add alkalinity, but it is a convenient and safe way to do so. I is important to note that ultimately, Calcium and Buffers should be added in a balanced fashion.> Question: Given my approach described above, what would be the simplest way to buffer the RO/DI water? If I do this buffering, do I need to change my procedures for mixing and using salt water in the second container? If I do this buffering, can I continue to simply take water straight from the first trash can for top-ups. Thanks, Tom  <There are too many solutions to list! Each way has it's upside and downside. Here are a few of the most popular:  Kalkwasser: (Calcium Hydroxide or Calcium Oxide powder) These products are sold as "Kalkwasser" in pet stores, pickling lime in the grocery store and quick lime at the garden center. A couple of teaspoons per gallon are dissolved in the top off water and allowed to settle. Only the clear water on top should be added to the tank. Kalkwasser adds a perfect balance of Calcium and alkalinity (buffer). Kalk is fairly cheap and easy to use, but the solution is fairly caustic (watch your eyes!). Two Part additives: (Products like B-Ionic, Kent CB, Twolittlefishies C-Balance). These products come in two parts. One supplies Calcium and one supplies Alkalinity. They also contain other trace elements. These products are added directly to the aquarium. They are expensive, but easy to use, and you would use plain RO/DI for your top-off. Dry Ca/Alk supplements: Tropic Marin Bio-Calcium is the only one I am familiar with. These products contain both calcium salts and bicarbonate salts in a dry form. The powder is sprinkled directly onto the surface of the aquarium water. The powder can irritate corals if it falls on them un-dissolved. These products work well, are moderately priced and easy to use. The powder must be kept very dry or it will solidify. You can also use separate products for calcium additions and alkalinity additions (each dissolved in some RO/DI water), but balancing them may be more difficult. Hope this helps! AdamC.>

Water Pressure Issues with New RO/DI Unit Hey folks, I purchased a Coralife 50 GPD RO/DI unit yesterday and am wondering about the pressure of water that enters it. I've hooked up the unit to my No Spill 50 foot water tube which is attached to the faucet in the garage.. I'm finding that the amount of purified water exiting is very little. To quantify it, it's like leaving a faucet open slightly. I'm not sure if it's because I've hooked it up to the No Spill, or is it the water pressure (which seems very strong when I use my garden hose!). The instructions also mentioned that low water temperature can reduce flow. Any thoughts?  <Mmm... there's bound to be some pressure loss due to head pressure/resistance here... but not much... You could (while you're about) try measuring the actual production per unit time (with a container of known volume, time piece...). Likely you're getting about what the unit is made for.... about two gallons an hour... Bob Fenner>

Re: RO/DI volume testing Thanks Bob, I'm going to try the unit straight from the faucet and see if it makes a difference! Nilesh <Real good. Bob Fenner> 

Cloudy RO Seawater James, I did not use the aeration feature. I simply dropped the powerhead in the garbage can, turned it on, and put the lid on the can. I bought some SeaChem Marine Buffer but didn't add it into this batch yet. Do I add it after the Instant Ocean or before?  <You need to leave the lid off your mixing tub. The CO2 needs to escape, and you should use the aeration feature to rid the water of any CO2. CO2 in the water will lower your pH. I would add the buffer after everything mixes up. James (Salty Dog)>

Buffering RO/DI water & Going to the Source Hi Crew, <Thomas> I spent many hours on WWM archives trying to sort out questions about buffering RO/DI water before (or after) adding salt mix. I believe the WWM archives actually contain contradictory views on this, and certainly views contradictory to what I was told by the manufacturers of Instant Ocean and B-Ionic. <They do> I had an email exchange with the manufacturer of Instant Ocean and a phone conversation with the manufacturer of B-Ionic. <Hello to Bob> Below I quote the text of the email exchange with Instant Ocean that documents both these communications. (I did not just forward the email, so as not to divulge others' names and email addresses without their permission.) <I understand. You are welcome to show them mine> Make of it what you will. (I would think Anthony, in particular, should see this, as he clearly expresses a contrary opinion -- for example in CalcFAQs3 search for "unbuffered DI or RO"). <Will send all to him> I'm inclined at this point to believe there is no reason to buffer RO/DI water before mixing with salt or replacing evaporation loss. If that's really a misguided position, please let me know. Tom <In almost all cases I am in agreement with your statement. Bob Fenner> **************** My original message to Instant Ocean: Hi, I use Instant Ocean. I recently got an RO/DI unit to get pure water to start with. Now I heat and aerate the RO/DI water for at least 8 hours. Then I add the Instant Ocean and heat and aerate this for at least 24 hours (usually more). I also use the RO/DI water directly for evaporation top-up. Question: Do you recommend adding some marine buffer to the RO/DI water? If so, would you add it before or after the Instant Ocean? Would you recommend adding the buffer to the RO/DI top-up water, even if not to the water used to make salt water. Thanks, Tom Reply from Instant Ocean:  Instant Ocean is formulated to provide all of the necessary buffer as is; you should not need to add buffer to freshly prepared seawater. In order to add buffer properly you need to know what your alkalinity is. I would suggest purchasing an alkalinity test kit so you can monitor alkalinity and know if you need to add buffer or not. Thank you My Reply back to Instant Ocean: Thanks. I do have an alkalinity test kit, and do monitor the tank, using B-ionic to adjust the alkalinity level. However, I'd read some stuff on the web that suggested RO/DI water, being stripped of virtually all dissolved solids, needs to be reconstituted back to something more "normal" before adding synthetic salt. Otherwise the buffers in the synthetic salt would be "used up" immediately. But I also got an opinion from the technical support person at B-ionic that synthetic salts are formulated to work with pure water (e.g. RO/DI water) and that using water with significant dissolved solids already in it potentially messes up the water the salt mix is designed to achieve. Your answer sounds consistent with this view. Hence, I conclude I should just mix the Instant Ocean with the RO/DI water for water changes, and monitor the tank's alkalinity over time, adjusting as necessary. For evaporation top-up, the B-ionic person said straight RO/DI water is appropriate, because I'm replacing pure water lost by evaporation with pure RO/DI water. He said the buffering capacity in the tank pretty much instantly adjusts the pH of the pure replacement water to that of the tank. Have I got all this right? Tom Instant Ocean's response: That is exactly right. It is impossible to formulate a sea salt that would bring tap water to natural seawater levels of all ions so any good sea salt should be formulated assuming it will be dissolved in purified water. The alkalinity (buffer) level of IO is already slightly above NSW when first dissolved. <Thank you for this... There are "special cases", the largest examples I can think of involve a desire to "over-supply biomineral and alkaline reserve for culture... boosted growth, use of carbon dioxide infusion, intense lighting, high biomass/concentration... that one might want to modify new water by "buffering" processed tap water, for use by itself... or after mixing synthetic salt mix if for change-outs... Antoine? Bob Fenner> 

Storage Water - 6/12/2003 Crew: <Don here today> I am a little behind on my reading, but I just read a FAQ from 4/18/2003, titled "- Re: Pervasive Nitrates -", from Sheri.  As it relates to my storage water, the aeration question was answered like this: "...it takes very little time to aerate a container of water".  I am a little confused, as I constantly have an airstone, heater and powerhead in my storage water container, which is about 35 gallons and lasts me about a month.  Should I turn off the airstone a day or two after mixing a fresh batch of water?   <I leave the airstone and power head on all the time. Don>

RO water questions Dear Sirs: Your site is fantastic!!  I have been reconstituting RO/DI water for about 5 months now with widely varying results.  The water always ends up being something different after I add it to the tank.  Should I aerate for 8 - 24 hours before adding it to the tank? <Would always aerate the water prior to usage> I can't figure out why I'll have a high TDS count with a low pH reading.  I just started using Kent RO Right liquid after aerating for 1/2 hour.<1/2 hour isn't long enough>  I get a 200ppm TDS reading with  6.2 pH.  Hard water with low pH doesn't make sense to me.<Would purchase new test kits-or test with more than one brand. maybe the readings are off>  I have read that hardness and alkalinity aren't the same.<Hardness is-This quality is caused by the presence of calcium carbonate, causing temporary hardness which can be removed by boiling, or by calcium sulphate, causing permanent hardness which can not be so removed, but may be improved by the addition of sodium carbonate. and alkalinity is-the amount of alkali or base in a solution, often expressed in terms of pH><<No... dismal. RMF>>   The water must need to be aerated a lot longer than I have been led to believe.  Could you set me on the right track with the proper preparation of RO/DI water to obtain consistent results.  Thanks...<First would take the RO water and aerate for a day, then I would test pH, alkalinity, etc (add buffering agents-if needed), then aerate for another day and then test water and add salt mixed-Do read FAQ's posted on the WWM site, IanB> Bob

Treating Purified Water for Marine Use 6/10/03 Thank you Anthony. I will heed your advice on the NSW. <very good, my friend> Unclear on the top off water. I do aerate before. <yes... critical to raise temp pH and drive off carbonic acid/CO2> Not sure on the buffer. I use DI water that I purchase from one of the local fish warehouses. What do I need to do for buffering FW? Thanks again, John <just a little bit of SeaBuffer (mostly sodium bicarb) to reconstitute the demineralized water a bit. Else the soft purified water will consume excess buffers in the sea salt mix or main aquarium and cause your ALK to be flat/low. Use your test kits (Ca, ALK, pH) as a guide to know how much... and do browse through our archives here at wetwebmedia on the subject. A keyword search of water treatment/RO/DI/buffers with the google search tool on our home page will turn up many many FAQs of interest. Kind regards, Anthony>

RO/DI or a tap water purifier? <Hi, PF here tonight> I am trying to decipher whether or not a ro/di unit is necessary. I have a 110g FO tank already running from tap water (no pre treatment) and am about to set up a 110 reef . The biggest problem I see is phosphate @.93mg/l out of tap and fairly consistent. Nitrate @.41mg/l chloride @27.2mg/l, silica@1.7mg/l, Barium @.o1mg/l. specific conductance@205.6. Please Help me make an educated decision. FO tank looks good, though algae from the po4 is unsightly. Will at least go for TWP from AP , for reef. IS Ro/di really necessary for these parameters. Though it may be more cost effective in the long run? <I think Anthony summed it up nicely: I think it is the long way around the barn, so to speak. For what you are likely to spend on replacement cartridges in less than two years, you can easily afford a rechargeable two column de-ionizer that is a more responsible choice that also saves you money (like the KATI/ANI brand units). Quite frankly, I resent the mixed bed resin products that deliberately make it inconvenient for an aquarist to reuse an entirely rechargeable and renewable resource (the resin if it were separated as Cation and Anion instead of mixed in cartridges as they often are). It seems like an ironic waste in an industry that is founded on empathy and admiration for the natural environment. Anthony Calfo. Hopefully this answer your question, PF>

Re: bad water?    Thank you for taking time to read this. <You’re welcome, thank you for writing> I have a freshwater 75 gallon aquarium at about 82 degrees F. It has been set up for about one year I have a medium size Oscar, three medium tin foils, two small Bala sharks, one small red tail shark, a small Rafael cat fish, one small bushy nose pleco, and had "died yesterday" med fire eel.  My problems started about four months ago when I noticed my nitrate levels at about 140ppm or more.  I then tested my tap water that I have been using for water changes "about 1/3 or 1/4 of water" and noticed that it had a reading of some ammonia in it. I contacted my local fish store and they said that is what is causing the nitrate problem...I then started using RO water from a water vending machine by my house. I was wondering what could of killed my eel, it had cotton like stuff on 60-70% of its 8 inch body and just went down hill from there,  If I should treat the RO water before changing the water. or if I should be using RO water at all? I appreciate your time and hope you can help me in any way....JOE <RO water does need to be treated some before being added to your tank, especially if it’s all you’re using. It’s best not to use strictly RO water because it has all of the good stuff taken out along with the bad but if you must use it, you’ll need to use some sort of a buffer to replace the good stuff. Ronni>

Water Pre-Treatment... I'm trying to learn as much as possible about keeping a reef tank before I actually invest in one (or two...three...) and risk killing the fish/inverts, wasting money, and making my wife cranky. <Ya don't want to do that! Scott F. feeling for you today!> The biggest problem I foresee is the issue of initial tap water filtration.  The only real LFS in this area stinks (literally, on some days).  They do sell RO but walking by their tanks is a dismal experience and I don't/can't trust them to provide me with quality water when almost half of their fish are bobbing at the top of the tank, bloated, w/ eyes eaten out <shudder>. <Lovely imagery! Scott F. with you tonight, gagging at his keyboard...!> Determined to be as self-reliant as possible when it comes to handling my own water I set about searching for info on the Web and came across WWM.  After staring at different RO/DI units for the past week and trying to stave off the sensation of vertigo I get when considering all my options I came across the rofaqs.htm page in which you say, "This is a very good product", referring to the Kold Ster-il purifier by Poly-Bio Marine. From my (ignorant) perspective it looks great...says it can filter up to 5,000 gallon, leaves desirable minerals in the water, etc. <It really is an excellent product> Are there any gotcha's that I may not be aware of...? Or would this unit be all I need to turn my nasty tap water into something more suitable for sustaining marine life? <Well, it does leave minerals in the water, which is not a bad thing...There is no waste water produced with this system. The Kold Ster-il can be enhanced to extract phosphates and silicates by utilizing and additional filter media in the second stage of the unit. Use of RO/or DI is optional, and possibly unnecessary if you use the Kold Ster-il in this fashion> The official manufacture's website mentions using it in tandem w/ a RO filter.  Is this needed in most cases?  A big question I'd like answered is whether it produces "waste water" like RO units do (somewhat of a disqualifying factor for me...can't imagine what I'd do w/ all of it).  Could the water that comes out of it simply be added after 12hrs aeration/buffer/salt mix...or is there something else that would have to be done? <As mentioned above- you could augment the system with an RO unit- but, in all likelihood, the Kold Ster- il will do the job quite well...just prep the water liked you mentioned above, and you will be quite happy with it.> In the end I'm going to try to produce enough water for water changes/top off on a 80G Reef, 30G Planted FW, and 12 Mini/Nano Reef. I am guessing based on the condition of my FW tank that my phosphates are relatively high.  It would also seem, according to a cheap test kit and opaque water spots on my tank, that I have "liquid rock" on tap (Southern CA). Am I on the right path at all?...or am I completely buggered? Any info/guidance would be immensely appreciated, Jason M. Wood <Sounds like you're on the right track to me! Good luck with your set up! Regards, Scott F>

Copper in the water 5/14/03 Hi I got a list of what is detected in my water from my water plant they said there is .023ppm of copper is this an acceptable level I have kept my tank for 2 years here with no signs of die off from my corals? Thanks JM <there is the very real danger of such contaminants accumulating in living tissues ever so slowly over time. Please do not admit any copper in through your source water. Simply filter it over PolyFilter before using for evap top off or making seawater. Best regards, Anthony>

Eco-Aqualizer for real? Hey guys, I'm writing to ask about the Eco-Aqualizer ( http://www.ecoaqualizer.com) There's an article by Bob Goeman's saying this contraption is for real. <He... works for the same co.... Mark Weiss> They explain the basic physics behind it, and some of it "sounds" logical but some of it sounds a little kooky ("light" photos from a ceramic powder?) The website is loaded with 180 day money-back guarantees (return shipping included) and BBB endorsements. <You can join the BBB. Just send them money. Really> Is this thing for real? If so, it seems it would be truly revolutionary. What's the straight scoop? <Kooky in my book as well. Please see Anthony and I's comments re here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rofaq4.htm Bob Fenner> Silicon Valley Steve

- Well? Eco-Aqualizer Skepticism - Hi guys, <Good morning, JasonC here...> Sorry to sound like a broken record (or would that be scratched CD) but I'm still wondering about this Eco-Aqualizer. They now show a "case study" of some fish store owner and her higher survival rates including her phone number to call her personally. <Why am I not surprised.> I know all this is anecdotal, but frankly your replies are just skepticism. <You better believe it - I am very skeptical about this product.> I'd like to see some objective analysis (set up two identical tanks with identical livestock etc, and compare the results). <I'm afraid that's not going to happen here any time soon - we're not a research organization. Your suggestion does have merit - perhaps you will set up two separate tanks and then share the results.> This contraption sounds like BS but there is also something intriguing with some basic physics which have some basis in fact. <Uhh... I'm not sure about that. There are also some basic physical laws which their claims leave by the road side. In my mind, the Eco Aqualizer is bunk. Some of their claims are just too outlandish.> Is it possible that someone will do some objective research? <It could be you... but if you are intrigued and think it might help you, please don't listen to me, just go buy the thing.> Thanks, Silicon Valley Steve <Cheers, J -- >

Eco Aqualizer Was at my local fish store today and they were telling me about this product I should try. Don't know if they were just trying to sell me something or if the thing really works. Thought I would ask you guys what y'all thought of the product and if it is even worth buying. It is called the Eco Aqualizer and this is the web site www.ecoaqualizer.com Any info y'all have would be much appreciated..............Thanks <You can see Anthony, Gage and I's comments re here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rofaq4.htm Umm, let's see... "mystery" device that works on magnet power... that makers won't or can't explain how it does, what it does... except "no need to change water"... Seen this spiel a few times over the years. No sale. Bob Fenner>

Eco-Aqualizer Hey Anthony, Have you heard anything about the eco-Aqualizer? http://www.ecoaqualizer.com/ Sounds like one of those fancy smancy bells or whistles. Read a review of it the other day in one of the fish mag.s, sounds cool to me, but I am a sucker to advertising. -Gage

Re: Eco-Aqualizer The first claim on their homepage-website is that it reduces water changes and they even have a prominent link to a suggested schedule (?!?) of reduced water changes... read further and they claim maintenance free (nothing in an aquarium is such)... also that it is endorsed by Bob Goeman's (nice chap... but why does he do these things?/associations with snake oil style marketers)... <... think we've heard these sorts of claims before...> All those things add up to one big joke IMO. <Have never seen such statements substantiated... IMO the single best (cheapest, simplest, cost-effective) means of assuring consistent, high water quality are... frequent partial water changes, thank you> If its an ozonizer... just call it what it is... spare us the misleading/inaccurate marketing... and enjoy the many legitimate benefits of ozonation (although I am not sure that is exactly what it is). <How can an ozonizer run on magnets? Not joking, this is what "powers" these units> Heehee... an industry without watchdogs... gotta love it <G> Antoine <Cave canem, "beware of the dog". Bob F> Re: Eco-Aqualizer Doh!.. I did not even care to read it far/close enough to see the "magnet" spiel (after they opened their pitch with a link to "suggested reduced water change schedule)... saw ionization, increased O2, parasite control... thought it was a glorified ozonizer in a deliberately confusing shell... now I see that its likely just a piece of monkey-spank. <Woo hoo! And... "thousands sold in Europe", "freeway close", "be the first one on your block"... comes with a genuine quote/sticker from P.T. Barnum!> Bob said it all... it does not get any better than water changes. Ciao, bubs <Arrividerci mi compadres. Bob>

Algae problem, which water treatment to use Hi guys, I have a brand new 55 gallon tank. It is now 3 months old and fully cycled long ago. I only have 36 lbs of live rock in it and no fish yet.  I am holding off on getting fish because I cannot solve my bad green hair algae problem which has taken over my live rock. My protein skimmer is a Bak pak 2 and I am looking to upgrade that but I've concluded that my real problem is my poor quality tap water.  Currently I only use TWP to filter my tap water. I had my aquarium water professionally tested at a laboratory and the readings are as follows: Total phosphates - .22 ppm Silicates - .80 ppm Nitrates - 1.90 ppm I then started to research using RO or DI units etc. but decided that I really did not want to waste water with the RO units nor did I want to deal with dangerous chemicals with the KATI/ANI DI units you recommend. I then called the technical support folks at Kold Steril as their units do not waste water. I told him my above readings and he said his units even with all their bells and whistles could not do any better than my .22 ppm phosphate reading.  He recommended using distilled water from the store as did the water testing lab. I then called my local spring water company and am trying to see what they can do for me. I am confused because the Kold Steril people recommend distilled water but your website says it could be contaminated by metals? My question is what do I buy from the water company? Distilled water, RO only water or something else? All I want is a FOWLR tank free of all of my nuisance algae but I cannot decide on what type of purified water is best? <The best method is to use an RO/DI unit with the booster pump to increase efficiency and reduce water waste. Perhaps run the effluent into a "rain barrel" for garden/plant use.  The water from water co's is for human use, and thus may contain copper from their equipment or holding tanks. Look into the Hi-S type silicate membranes. This avoids recharging resins with chemicals you might be uncomfortable with and also copper or other metal contamination.  Sorry there is no perfect answer for you!  Craig>   

Buffering RO for Top Off Dear crew: If I would like to hook up a RO unit through a solenoid and a float switch to replace my evaporated water, do I need to add buffer to the new RO water before I add into the sump?? Or can I even just hook up the water line without the RO?? Will that be ok? Eric <Hi Eric,  Because RO removes most to all mineral content, the resulting product is acidic, in the pH 6 range. This water should be reconstituted or buffered to raise pH and supplement the lost carbonates in reef systems, unless it will be used to mix Kalkwasser (then use it as is).  I recommend running the RO into a secondary container, like a Rubbermaid tub or trash can and running a solenoid or float switch for a pump or gravity feed into your sump. There are several good plans for these on the web, search for them at WetWebMedia.Com under top off systems and DIY. The best system I have seen, used a float valve, gravity fed with a limited supply, (sized to the system) so a failure wouldn't have overwhelmingly negative impact.  A solenoid or float valve failure will then only introduce so much top off water. Many people periodically add buffered water to supplement carbonates but mainly top off by dripping  Kalkwasser which you don't want to buffer. Many options available including several commercially available systems.  Check out some of our sponsors for these. Yours, Craig>  

Choosing RO/DI - Chlorine vs. Chloramine Hello & Good Day, Everyday reader of your Daily FAQ.  I don't really have a question per se, just wanting to pass along some information for people researching the various RO or RO/DI units for purchase. <Okay> Once you've decided on the Make/Model of the unit for you and your fishes and prior to placing the order, call your local Public Works and ask a simple question; Are you using Chlorine or Chloramines for water purification? <Almost all United States municipalities use chloramine> Knowing the answer, and passing this information along to your vendor of choice will ensure you get the proper Carbon Filtering Media. Case in Point - I purchased a 4-Stage RO/DI unit from Aquatic Reefs back in February. Not knowing the answer to the Chlorine/Chloramine question, not knowing there was a difference and not being told beforehand of the importance of the difference I placed my order. Unit arrived and I, excited as a kid at Christmas hooked it up and proceeded to make RO/DI unit water for my tank. Fast-forward to Apr 16th. RO/DI water now measures 45+ TDS. I think to myself -Wow- I've only put approx 125gals through this rig and I already need to replace a filter. So I call Aquatic Reefs. Troubleshooting the now high output and short lifespan of the filtering media led to the realization that my local Public Works is using Chloramine for purification. My original setup was shipped with Filter Media for stripping out Chlorine. The Chloramine has basically 'cooked' the Filter Media, greatly reducing its lifespan. So, in closing, take the extra few minutes to research if you'll need the Filter Media for stripping Chlorine or for stripping Chloramine. Then, be sure to pass the info along to the vendor. I hope this little bit of info is able to help someone out. I'd also like to do a quick shout-out to John at Aquatic Reef Systems. Both he and the company continue to earn High Marks! Many Thanks, Scott <Thank you for sending this along. Bob Fenner>

Rechargeable De-Ionizers I just purchased a Kent Deion 200R, to replace the tap water filter that I have been using.  I bought this unit because they state that the media can be regenerated.  However, they don't tell how!  You have to use Muriatic acid, and lye!  Sounds dangerous to me. <Depends on your abilities and of course, desire to do so. You sound like an RO/DI candidate to me.> So, my question is, should I just send the unit back, or do you know of a business (Culligan?) that would regenerate this stuff for me. <You might check SpectraPure or even Kent. There are folks on the WetWebForums that have done this, perhaps check there.> Right now I feel like I have just paid 200 dollars for a large version of the tap water filter that I have been using. <More or less that's what you did. It sounds like you should return the unit before you use it and research a good RO unit for your water conditions, perhaps with a DI unit following the RO to remove any additional elements (silicates, etc.).> I probably could do the process of regenerating the media myself, but what do I do with the waste? <Call your county land fill and see if they have a facility for Muriatic acid, lye, etc.> I don't think that I want to put acid into my septic, and I don't think that I want to dump it down the curb, either. <Thank you for being a good citizen! The landfill or county/city will have a facility for this waste.> Thanks again for a great web site, I have used huge amounts of information from your FAQ's. Mike <Thanks Mike, hope this helps!  Craig>

- Which Water to Use? - Hello Bob. <Actually, it's JasonC today.> I recently read the WWM article dated 4/99 - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm I am struggling with the planning for my 120G reef tank and the issue of what water to use, Tap, RO, RO/DI or DI. Should I read the above info to mean that it is a good idea to pre-mix synthetic salt mix and my tap water and store for a week or more and it would then be safe to use in my reef tank? <Sure - it's what I did.> Additionally would this be as good/better than to use DI processed tap water? <What is good - what is better? If it means less work for you, or less money spent on an RO/DI unit, then perhaps using tap water is 'good' for you. It's your time - use it as you see fit.> If yes to the above, could I assume it is equally safe to store my tap water for same period and pre-mix with salt 24 hours prior to water changes? <I'd let things stew a little longer than that... I would mix/aerate the tap water for 48 hours, add the salt, and let that mix for 24 hours, then check/adjust your salinity and let that go for another 24 hours - so a total of about four days. In fact, it's time for me to go fill up the mixing container - thanks for the reminder.> Thank you for you assistance. <Cheers, J -- >

- RO vs. distilled water - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I'm sure you cringed when you saw the subject line, because I know this issue has been talked about.  However, I'm still unclear as to which option is better.  Is price the only issue, or are there other things to consider? <Well, my own limited experience with home water distillers is that their production is limited and they take a lot of electricity. You would be limited to perhaps two or three gallons per day. Now I'm sure there are more modern units that can improve on that slightly, but you sill have to boil water and cool it back down to distill it... so all in all the process is rather inefficient. An RO unit in the price range you mention would likely produce 35-60 GPD.> I can buy a used water distiller for $300 Canadian, which I believe is probably not too different than what I could get an RO unit for.  So, price being equal, which is the better option for my reef tank? <RO/DI.> Thanks, Steve <Cheers, J -- >

Filters and RO/DI Hi guys hope you are well. I need some advice again please. I currently have a 100g reef tank with live sand, live rock, and a Fluval 404. I have recently purchased a 125 g tank with a 20 g sump. Should I get rid of the Fluval 404 and can I utilize instead by making new salt water mixes and top off water? Do I have to have a RO/DI filter? <Hi Werner, the Fluval is a great piece of equipment, if you keep it clean. Personally, I am kinda lazy and would not give the device the attention it needs so I don't these types of filters. I would think it would work well in the new mix solution. Or, you could use it as a carbon only container. <As far at RO/DI, I would have the source (tap) water checked to see how far out of whack it is. Then if there are high concentrations of stuff you don't want, use the RO/DI (or just DI, higher output/less waste). Hope the helps, Don> Werner

Will RO work?  Is it worth it? Hi guys, After two and a half months with my new 55 gallon tank I have still not purchased fish yet due to a nuisance algae, (mostly brown slime string algae on substrate and live rock ) problem I am dealing with. To trace the source of the problem I started with the source water as that is the only thing in my tank plus the live rock. I took my aquarium water sample (used TWP deionizer cartridge filtered) to a local water testing consultant (who really knows his water !!) who used sophisticated accurate testing and this is the results:     Phosphates (tested for total phosphate) .22 ppm     Silica              .80 ppm     Nitrate     1.90 ppm I am working towards upgrading my protein skimmer as my Bak pak 2 that hangs off the side of my sump isn't really efficient. <About the limit of this skimmer unless adjusted optimally, w/sump more volume than 55 gal. Look into Aqua-C Urchin Pro or Remora Pro. Add to Bak Pak.> I am extremely nervous about going the RO route, not because of the waste, as I am leaning towards the quality Kold Steril unit but of the big expense ( approx $300 for the system and then needing a plumber to install unit under my sink). <Once you provide for the type of unit needed to remove silicates (phosphate and nitrate is a bit easier) there is very little substantive difference between RO/DI units (I suggest the DI unit downstream of the RO) besides price and service should you need it which is unlikely. Most of the component parts (filter and membrane housings, etc.) are interchangeable as are many of the after market/replacement micron and carbon block filters. RO's  don't produce as much water below 70-75 F water and <80psi (or manufacturer stated pressure) but this is simply factored into sizing the unit larger to accommodate your water needs or investing in a booster pump. You might start in the laundry room (stay away from bleach, soaps, etc) and push the drain line into the washing machine drain, hook the inlet up with a "Y" on the washer cold water valve, and route the product water into a Rubbermaid can on wheels with a shut-off valve so you don't flood the wife's laundry room. That last part is the most important. Make it easy to get to.> Are these systems worth the cost and hassle ???  I absolutely do not mind spending the money if it will really work to rid me of this nuisance algae. I know I cannot be 100 % free of it but my tank now is really unattractive. <Yes, they remove the source of these problems. (and tasty, ultra-pure water.> I am also worried about the ease of operation of these units (water temp needing to be just right and flow rate just right or it won't work etc). <See above, it will work, just not produce as much as the rated amount. You need to factor this into sizing the unit. If you need 30 gallons per day, best to get a 60gpd unit to factor in temp and pressure being less than optimal.>     How is your experience been with these RO units and their ability to solve nuisance algae problems ???? <These are a good investment. Shop around at our sponsors!  Craig>

Deionization Unit.. Where can they be bought? Hello! I am putting together a 120G reef system and have not decided on what water purification to employ. I live in a condo and have a 1/2" water pipe at the location of the tank but not a drain. I don't like the idea of the waste water produced by RO/DI units as I pay for my water usage. I have been reading your Q&A's and see references to a two column DI unit but can't locate information on units available commercially and at what cost, nor any info on flow rate, resin consumption etc. Would you have any links to suppliers, info on costs & usage? <See our sponsors, Foster and Smith for Kati/Ani systems.> Assuming I can locate a DI unit that isn't cost prohibitive and can produce sufficient gallons per day am I better served with this system than to locate a RO/DI remote from the tank and transport the water as needed? The nearest sink to the tank is approx 12-15' away. <This depends on your source water and it's content. Both produce water stored in a container for later use, pumps move both easily.> I also read recently a write-up on a Permeate Pump which significantly reduces the amount of waste water produced from the RO/Di units. Have you any experience with this unit and any guidance to share. <RO units require optimum pressure and temperature to get the highest production from the RO membrane, this pump simply increases the water pressure to increase product vs. waste. If RO is your choice, you must factor temp/pressure/efficiency to determine likely output, which in most cases is far less than the advertised rated output.> One more question, the waste water from the RO/DI unit, does it drain under pressure. I ask as I might consider drilling a small hole through the outside wall to drain the waste to the front garden, although this could be problematic in the winter months. Many thanks in advance for your help. <Yes. Low pressure, but pressure. You may want to locate it permanently at a known drain and install a drain saddle to drain into the house system. Buy the float valve set-up to avoid Marital and water disaster with either.  Test your water completely to buy the right unit.  Have fun!  Craig>

Water Quality Report & RO/DI - 3/11/03 Hello Crewmember: <Craig here Captain....> In hopes of catching you on a day when you look forward to a Water Quality Report, I have attached mine from my water supplier :).  I was hoping, instead of typing out all of the values (like I have seen in FAQ's), you could maybe take a peek and let me know if I need RO &/or DI or BRITA or specific conditioners or NOTHING for my water?  After reading most of the FAQ's, I want to make the right choice, but I don't know what some of these things in my water are.  Like, I don't see silicates, but I do see phosphates listed.  My values are listed as "Highest Result PVC".  If you prefer that I write these out, I will be glad to.  Thanks, Rich. <Hoo wee Rich, about as exciting as watching paint dry, huh? I would use an RO/DI or Kati/Ani DI type treatment. You have some nitrates, trace  copper, phosphates. They don't consider mineral content unless it's a nuisance, like iron. Still you have chlorine and byproducts of chlorine, etc. plus nitrates which I would remove at the minimum, so you will get it all with the above and cover your er' bases. Ratings for RO are based on ideal pressure, temperature, good day- running downhill with a tailwind, size accordingly if that's what you decide on.  Enjoy your new super clean water!  Craig>

Re: water Top Off Hello out there! I am a proud owner of a nano reef but am having some issues that hopefully you can assist me with. My S.G. is at 1.026 but due to evaporation, when I get home from work, it's at 1.027. It's been fluctuating like this and I continually top it off with R/O water, but it seems I could never keep up. This obviously isn’t good for my tank's inhabitants. Is there anything I could use on such a small set-up? (Eclipse twelve, 2-32watt CSL retro fit kit) Also so I have a 1st grade small Maxima clam in there that seems to be doing fine under this lighting. I also have a peppermint shrimp. I noticed at night the shrimp is hanging out awfully close to the clam, at times right on it, should I be concerned? If so, if replaced with a coral banded shrimp, would this be an issue? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!  <Make sure your aquarium top is completely covered to slow the evaporation.  Your shrimp is likely fine.  I have seen them do this many times, don’t know why though.  A coral banded would be more aggressive than the peppermint. Cody>

Ro/di water question? Well my 180 has been running for about 3 weeks now with LR in it. I think I may have blown it? I did not wait for my ro/di unit and used tap water for the initial set up. Should I drain the tank and use r/o water? Or just leave it? Or just do like a 50% h20 change with ro/di water? Also do you any one that has fighting conchs in stock now? thanks for all your help. you guys rule.. <  I would just leave the water in there because if you did a complete water now you would likely have to cycle the rock all over again.  Do the 50% water change with the RO water then after that I would be doing 10-15% changes weekly.  I don’t know of anyone with the conchs in stock now but do keep checking our sponsors’ sights as I’ve seen them there many times. Cody> Scott Mutter

RO/DI Unit Filter Interchange Excellent resource for the aquarium enthusiast! <I speak for the crew in thanking you!> Just a quick question about RO/DI systems.  I have a Kent Marine Maxxima Hi-S 35 RO/DI unit.  I need to replace the sediment filter, carbon filter, resin cartridge, and membrane in my unit.  I've heard positives comments about the Spectrapure systems.  So I'm considering replacing those 4 filtering components with the Spectrapure brand.  Will SpectraPure fit in my unit and is this a good idea? Thanks for the assistance, Edmond     <The only question would be the membrane, but these cartridges, filters etc. are all fairly standard as are most RO housings/membranes. Just ask Spectrapure or where ever you are purchasing replacements, they should be able to help. Make sure you match the flow restrictor with the membrane.  Craig>

Re: pH - top off water Dear WWM consortium: <<Steven here to be your thorn this >> Just curious about something. I have a Kent Marine "bare bones" r-o filter that I use for top off water.  I MANUALLY add 1 gallon a day to my sump because I only have a 55 gallon and no room for an auto top off dealie, plus I enjoy doing this as it gives me a reason to go outside  :) I have a 20 gallon Rubbermaid trashcan where I store my fresh water.  I make the water in 5 gallon increments from the r-o filter, then pour the 5 gallons into the 20 gallon trash can (4x of course). I'd imagine that the pH in each 5 gallon increment may differ somewhat, if I filter the water every few days to make more.   My question is this: Without having to physically test the pH for each and every 5 gallon jug separately before adding to the 20 gallon trash can....is there a way of just adding a certain amount of regular baking soda to the 20 gallons all at once?  I've read that regular baking soda can only raise the pH of water to a maximum of like 8.2 - 8.3     regardless of how much is used.  Is that true?   Sometimes the r-o water I make is on the neutral side 7.0   on some days and near 7.8 on others...sometimes even 8.0    It fluctuates, why I don’t know. I suppose if I weren’t so lazy, I'd just make a 20 gallon drum of water. Test the darn pH and add buffer to make it 8.2 over a 24 hr period. I think I just needed to vent. Regards, Steve <There are many buffers made for this, that will adjust your pH to the correct levels.   Read here for more info on PH and buffers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm Hope this helps, Cody><<Simply answering the question, yes, you can likely add a usual measured amount. RMF>>

RO Details Crew: I am going to buy an RO device, and I think I have settled on a Maxxima RO/DI (24 gpd), which claims 4-stages and 99.9% purity. 1) Would you recommend something else instead? <I would recommend testing your water completely to see what elements need to be removed from your source water. Use different membranes for chlorine/chloramine water, well water, silicates, ammonia, nitrates, etc.  Size/production is also important as a 24 gpd RO will not produce 24 gallons per day, except under optimum conditions (temp/pressure/content levels). More research needed here for real water needs per day.....> 2) Are all RO/DI's the same, except for output and bells & whistles? <No. Have you read up on these at WetWebMedia.com? I highly recommend reading more...   See above.> 3) About these pictures of the units; they all have 2-3 chambers; what do they do? <Usually a prefilter, carbon block, then into RO membrane, then sometimes a DI cartridge. Do find out more before purchasing...  You may need DI depending on your water.> 4) What do the yellow, blue, and red things do (I assume they are hoses)? <Inlet (usually yellow), treated between cartridges, output, (usually blue) and waste (usually orange).> 5) Should I get a flush kit also? <It depends on your water content. Do test completely first then research units based on actual need.> 6) Does it need to be permanently plumbed, or can I hook it up to a faucet when I need to fill my garbage can Thanks, Rich. <You can run it into a can, but you will need to drain the waste water and make sure it doesn't overflow and flood..... I highly advise looking into this completely before you leap!  Craig>

Re: RO Details Craig: Thanks for the reply.  I have a follow-up: you wrote "Use different membranes for chlorine/chloramine water, well water, silicates, ammonia, nitrates, etc."  Does that mean after I test my water I actually choose my filters within the RO unit?  Like, if my water has chlorine (it must, I can smell it) and silicates, I would only choose to use those two filters on the RO, or a different filtration method if it appears I don't need RO?  Thanks, Rich. <Hi Rich, No, you choose the RO unit with the filters designed for your water.  They come pre-configured. You need a membrane designed for chlorinated city water. Whatever else you need to remove can be tested for or you can order a unit with DI as well.  Craig>

Water softener/need to change address for new book 2/27/03 Hey everyone well the day is approaching and I'm going to get to meet Steven Pro as I'm having him move my tank hoping to learn what a few things are as since they've arrived I haven't had  the time to search them out.  Anyway the new house we are moving to has a water softener in it.   <likely avoid this... > At the present it is not being used but is capable of being used can this water be used for a tank or should we just continue to by pass it?   <if it uses softeners salts or a single exchange resin, do avoid. If it is R/O then it may be fine. It will still need to be aerated and buffered before every use. Do get an evaluation of your tap water (free) from the local water municipality first. Do show to Steven too> Second question I have ordered and prepaid for your book due out soon how do I get in contact with your shippers to change my address?   <no worries... we are doing the ship out of the signed copies. E-mail here to my attention or send directly to me at readingtrees@yahoo.com. I will make the change. We will likely be shipping the text in April. Bob and I added content to bring the volume to 384pp from 300pp (no price change)> Thanks in advance for your help. Colleen <kind regards, Anthony>

RO / DI water Hi guys, <Hi Brian> >Wow, I am amazed at how much there is to this hobby, I find it very interesting, just when I think I have read enough to determine an answer to my problem, there shows up a whole other set of questions. <Join the club, Dude! You should have seen MY questions today! It gets better and better!> I have a new reef setup, 2 ? months old and been using purified tap water (well water) for top-off and water changes. <How is it purified? A Tap Water Filter (DI?) or ?> The brown diatom algae is very discouraging and looks awful. <Oh yes, esp. at about 2 1/2 mo.s! Even with great water it can happen in new set-ups.> I have added various snails, a brittle star, a goby, extra powerheads (helped the most) and still no luck. From what I have read it is probably due to nutrients in my water. <Most assuredly so!> I have a Remora skimmer driven by a Eheim 1250 pump, so I think that is fine, I do get a lot of darkish/greenish skimmate. (55gal tank, 65lb LR, 50lbs fine sand).  I was just about to purchase a RO/DI system until I read about just DI as well as Kati & Ani (hard to find lots of info and products for this).  I already have a sediment filter on my main pipe coming into the house, it would also be very easy to add a carbon filter. <Ah, more for chlorine, taste, smell, etc. for drinking.> Do I really need a RO system?  I see that Bob only suggests RO, but Steven and others only use DI or RO/DI.  I am not sure what to do, from what I just recently read, I believe my problem is from silicates and only need DI not a whole RO/DI system.  What is the difference? Why use of RO only, if it doesn’t rid of silicates? Confused again.  Thanks for any advice you can give, I need a clean tank!  Brian <No worries, test your water for these contaminants, like silicates, phosphates, nitrates, etc. then match your pre-filtration treatment to your water. RO with the right membrane removes up to 99% or so silicates, but DI removes the remaining (assuming you are using a silicate removing resin). So, for most situations, a simple RO works fine. Some of the guys don't like RO because of the water used to produce pure water (a ratio of about 3 to 1 waste to product) where DI units including the Kati/Ani systems have no waste water but require recharging of the resin media when exhausted, as do DI cartridges.  DI cartridges last quite a while when used behind an RO membrane to remove the majority of contaminants. RO is very slow, depending on the size unit, where Kati/Ani will be much faster. All of these things plus expense then come into your decision.  Hope this sets you straight!  Craig>  

- RO/DI - Hi guys, <Hello, JasonC here...> I am amazed at how much there is to this hobby, I find it very interesting, just when I think I have read enough to determine an answer to my problem, there shows up a whole other set of questions. <I find that life is this way.> I have a new reef setup, 2 ? months old and been using purified tap water (well water) for top-off and water changes. The brown diatom algae is very discouraging and looks awful.  I have added various snails, a brittle star, a goby, extra powerheads (helped the most) and still no luck.  From what I have read it is probably due to nutrients in my water.  I have a Remora skimmer driven by a Eheim 1250 pump, so I think that is fine, I do get a lot of greenish skimmate. (55gal tank, 65lb LR, 50lbs fine sand).  I was just about to purchase a RO/DI system until… I read about just DI as well as Kati & Ani (hard to find lots of info and products for this). <DI[onization] is the same as Cation and Anion removal.> I already have a sediment filter on my main pipe coming into the house, it would also be very easy to add a carbon filter.  Do I really need a RO system? <You may... you might consider having your water tested to be certain.> I see that Bob only suggests RO, but Steven and others only use DI or RO/DI. <RO gets perhaps the largest portion of... shall we say, 'bad stuff'. Personally, I own an RO/DI.> I am not sure what to do, from what I just recently read, I believe my problem is from silicates/phosphates and only need DI not a whole RO/DI system. What is the difference? <In my opinion, the DI filter at the end of the RO/DI chain just get's the stragglers... RO filtration is more than adequate.> Why waste all that water and use RO only if it doesn’t rid all of silicates? <The waste water issue is a non - if you are concerned, you can save the stuff and water you garden with it or whatever you deem necessary, but if you drive your car anywhere, those pollutants do much more damage than the water you would waste creating RO water. Most RO's do get rid of silicates... it's just marketing mumbo jumbo.> I would like to just buy 3 clear filter housings, link them together and run 1 carbon with 2 mixed bed filters (same as Kent’s Deion 200 but much cheaper) is this a good idea? <Sure... it really all RO/DI filters are.> Confused again… thanks for any advice you can give, I need a clean tank! -Brian <Cheers, J -- >

- Using RO/DI - Hi how are you today? <I am well, thanks for asking.> I am setting up a 55 gal. reef tank and question the need for a RO or RO/DI unit. I just received a copy of the water quality in my town. It list some 10 substances and the highest detected levels of each from 1999 thru 2001. They are as follows. Fluoride 1.4 ppm Nitrate 4.9 ppm Alpha Emitters 12.0+/-4.0 pCi/I Copper 1,000 ppb Lead 7 ppb Bromodichloro-methane 0.8ppb Chloroform 3.4 ppb Sodium 25.9 ppm Sulfate 36.9 ppm P-Dicholro-bensine 0.4 ppb (ppm = parts per million  ppb= parts per billion) Looking at these findings do you think an RO or RO/DI unit is advisable or necessary? <I would use it.> If so what are your thoughts on the KENT HI-S 60GPD MAXIMA RO/DI unit as I can get this unit at a very good price at Champion lighting. <Most all RO/DI units are created equal, with the price differentiator being the output.> Thanks as always Dennis <Cheers, J -- >

- RO/DI at Home Depot - Am I missing something? I have been reading all the FAQ re. RO system an keep reading about the simple and cheep RO system at home Depot. I have gone to there site an find the GE Reverse Osmosis Filtration System Model: #GXRV10ABL to be the only RO system they have. It produces 10 gal per. day and cost $239.00 I can purchase the KENT HI-S 60GPD MAXIMA RO/DI unit as noted below for $206.00 and it does 60 gal. per. day and also has the DI unit and HI-S membrane. What am I missing? <Probably nothing - not all Home Depots are merchandised the same. The unit mentioned is sold in some instances as a "Bare Bones" RO, but not always at Home Depot.> Very Confused <No need to be.> Dennis <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Marine water I have read a bit on the problems with city water in marine tanks especially reef tanks. I am in the process of buying a soft water system for my home. Will this filter out the impurities of the city water or is soft water even usable/compatible with a salt water tank? Thank you for your help <It (the water-softening process) may well help in removing ionic metals... but there may be some downside depending on the method of recharging the unit. If it is a "salt" type, do ask your provider how much more sodium it will be adding... Often, folks find it's better to use the "non-softened" water with these types of units for their synthetic salt mixing. Bob Fenner>

Source Water Quality Hi there to you all, I've got a question for you and need some direction. I have been chasing my tail with ammonia levels in my Q-tank.  After reasoning my way through this (no filter material, no porous materials in tank, no decaying matter left behind, etc) I figured it had to be my original water source. So I  tested my water directly from the tap which read zero, then filled my tank up with new water adding only salt and "Prime". After an hour with a power head running I tested the water in the tank and it registered between .25-.50ppm. What gives and what do/should I do? <This is tap water, not RO/DI?  If it is tap water, it should test positive from the tap. And fish in the QT? These are producing ammonia w/urine and feces. What are the levels before the water change in the QT? They may be twice the pre-change level. Test the water before adding prime and see what it is as well. You may have a cross-reaction with the Nessler ammonia test.  Hope this finds it!  Craig>

Dechlorinator dips? - 2/15/03 what do you suggest as a dechlorinator to dip saltwater fish in. tt/y  <Hi Sandy, I am unsure of your question. If you are asking about dechlorinators for marine fish then please check here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm Not only would I suggest the article here, but I would also suggest the FAQs where your question may have been asked before. If you are talking about acclimation and disease control then please look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm for suggestions regarding dipping marine fish before and after quarantine and before introduction to YOUR tank environment. Hope this will help point you in the right direction, as it is sometimes intimidating to look at all our information and easily find what your specifically looking for. Have a beautiful Sunday!> sandy <Paul>

Where did that ammonia come from? - 2/16/03 Hi there to all, I'm not sure if my original e-mail went through. <Ananda here tonight....> I've been chasing my tail with respect to ammonia in my Q-tank, I just got through cleaning it, so there isn't anything in there except a filter minus foam block, heater and some pvc. I checked the pH=ok, checked ammonia and it read .25-.50ppm. So next I checked my tap water and it read zero, all I did was add Red Sea salt and "Prime" water conditioner. Oh yeah, I ran a power head for an hour before testing ammonia, I don't understand. Any thoughts? --- Steve Suniga <A couple. When was the last time you did a thorough cleaning of the power filter and powerhead, including cleaning the impellers? If there was *any* gunk in either of those two items, that could be what started to decay and caused your ammonia reading. --Ananda>

Ammonia in new tank without fish? - 2/16/03 Hi there to all, I'm not sure if my original e-mail went through. I've been chasing my tail with respect to ammonia in my Q-tank, I just got through cleaning it, so there isn't anything in there except a filter minus foam block, heater and some pvc. I checked the pH=ok, checked ammonia and it read .25-.50ppm. So next I checked my tap water and it read zero, all I did was add Red Sea salt and "Prime" water conditioner. Oh yeah, I ran a power head for an hour before testing ammonia, I don't understand. Any thoughts <absolutely... if you have a liquid test kit, and your water conditioner is one that also treats Chloramines... they are incompatible (Nessler's reagent). Read the instructions for both to see if there is a mention of this to confirm. Some water conditioners skew some test kit readings. A dry tablet ammonia test kit will be necessary. Best regards, Anthony>

Treating Source Water Hey, just a quick question regarding water purification. <Hey! Scott F. with you today!> I use an RO unit and then attach the "Tap Water Filter" (which is basically a DI unit) to filter out what the RO has missed. My question is, am I wasting my money and effort by using both an RO and DI unit? <I certainly don't think that using RO/DI is a waste, by any means. It may be a bit tedious using two separate units to accomplish this (you can purchase combination RO/DI units that integrate the two into one convenient package> Is this really necessary in reef husbandry? Will I notice any difference whatsoever in the health of my inverts or fish, or increased algae if I stop using the DI unit and just stick with the RO only. Thanks for your input. Angelo <Good question. I'd have to say that it is critical for the long-term maintenance of reef invertebrates and coral. Using purified source water and a good salt mix allows the hobbyist to provide his or her animals with a consistent, compositionally stable environment. Additionally, purified water reduces many potential nutrients, such as nitrates, phosphates, and silicates, that are known contributors to nuisance algae in aquariums. When all is said and done, you probably will notice a difference if you skip the DI step in your water purification process. The "difference" will probably manifest itself in the form of nuisance algae and potentially unstable water quality. You can read a lot more about RO/DI and it's role in captive reef water preparation on the wetwebmedia.com site. Hope this points you in the right direction! Regards, Scott F><<Likely no diff. RMF>>

Learning the aquarist lingo - 2/13/03 I have spent a lot of time reading and researching the valuable info. on your website, and I like others-appreciate having a site like this available.   <thanks kindly> My problem is, there are so many abbreviations (or acronyms) used in the FAQ's, that I can't understand the information furnished. <Understood... but do use any search engine tool if necessary to plug in an abbreviation to get many hits with a likely translation in one of them. In time, all will be learned at any rate. No worries> For example,  in one response to a question, it recommended RO/DI water.   <RO = Reverse Osmosis, and DI = De-Ionized> I have no idea what that means, and it complicates my learning.  It would be really cool if you had a little spot on your site that spelled out a lot of the more commonly used abbreviations for those of us who are researching/learning. <A good point. I believe there is actually a page/thread like this on our WetWebFotos forum. Have seen it on many such message boards. I agree it is a good idea, but truthfully, it is a struggle most days just to keep up with the e-mail here. Still... we'll post this query like all on our dailies page with the hope that some daily reader has interest and time to pen a handy crib sheet. We'll be grateful for it and duly post it with credits in the archives> Please understand, I am not intending this as a complaint, you have a great site.   <No worries at all... understood... you make a very good point> I just want to learn more, and actually understand what it is I am reading. Thanks, Kim <Best regards, Anthony>

Water Quality Hi Jason, <Greetings.> Thanks for your reply! <My pleasure.> My only final question is that I have a 32 gal that I fill with R/O & I seem to have to add like 3 tspn of Kent max buffer to reach the correct alk to 2.5. My tank seems to suffer the first couple days after a 8 gal change in my 80 gal. Does it have to do with all the buffer I added? <Suffer in what way? RO water is very clean - the word is demineralized, so yes... I can see why your tank might 'suffer' although I'm still wondering what that means. I would let the RO circulate in your mixing tank for at least a day before adding it to the main tank.> Thanks ! D.Mack <Cheers, J -- >

Re: ro/di Hi crew, After, a long research endeavor and with the suggestion of Bob, I have decided on a 100gpd ro/di system for both my 90g reef and my 110g fish only tank. My question is two fold...       1) should I START both tanks with ro/di effluent or can one use tap and then use ro/di for changes and top off after cycling! <I'd use the best water to start with>       2) my 90g is right next to a slop sink so no problem in having access to the ro/di water, yet my 110g fish only is about twenty feet away from this sink. so having said that, how do I combat that distance... putting change and makeup water in a tub or Rubbermaid bin is not feasible, in that not only would it be too heavy to bring over to the tank but I can not wheel it over either in that there is a Bump of sorts in the floor I would not be able to get a dolly over.....Do you all know if there is an attachment of sorts that would help here..... or maybe have a real long 20 ft tube from the ro/di effluent product water over to the FO tank??? <I would get/use a designated "fish only" plastic bucket or tub, dump the R.O./D.I. water into it, and use a small submersible pump or good-sized powerhead and length of vinyl tubing (and plastic clamp to hold it in place) to move the water from the utility sink (with the bucket/tub in it) to near or in the tank. Bob Fenner> Thanks Guys.... HI ANTHONY!

Float Switch ???? Hi bob Great site. My question is I have an RO/DI system hooked up to an 55 gallon tank .However I have forgotten the unit of twice now. My wife is very pi$%^ed because I have flooded the downstairs bird, laundry room. The carpet is shot now. I need to hooked an automatic shutdown for this RO/DI . Plus would like to hookup float switch from 55 to my sump. Do you have a part ## or sites to get this info. If I flood these rooms again she will kill me. Thanks Capt Gene <Hi Capt. Gene, Join the club..... The float kits for the RO and the switch for the tank level can both be purchased at our WetWebMedia.com sponsors. Foster and Smith, Custom Aquatic, etc. all carry these wife protection devices. Use a timer with a LOUD buzzer or a water timer in the meantime!  Craig>

Re: Hair Algae (time to check that chemical cartridge) I tested the output from my r/o unit and the phosphate reading was 0.2 which is the same reading I'm getting out of my tank and the tap. I suspect the test kit and am buying another tonight to verify. Question is will the Euro-Reef remove phosphates from the water? I just installed it and I'm getting real good production from this skimmer. Should I reduce the photo-period? Will this hurt anything? I've already used a phosphate sponge! David <If the test kit is correct, then your RO needs help or a DI unit to follow. Your skimmer will remove dissolved organics, but likely not phosphates. Water changes, water changes, water changes (with phosphate free water). Leave all as is except possibly source water, nutrient export with water changes. Once this is under control the hair algae is history.  Best of luck!  Craig>

Re: RO/DI.....do I have to? OK, so the idea with RO/DI is to keep from adding potentially harmful substances to the tank, causing algae outbreaks, etc. <Right> But in a FOWLR, if I test the source water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, copper, and iron, and of course use a dechlorinator, since it is FO, couldn't that be alright?   I can't get my hands on any more RO water for a while.  Be honest......thanks.<Honestly, if parameters are in line, should be ok :) see here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm Don>   Matt

2/04/03 - Clouds in the water Hey guys, "First time, Long time"!!!! <Howdy. Glad that you are here. In the now> Here's my question: I have been using an R/O unit for a couple mo.s now and it's been really helping a lot. <Great> I use a nice Home Depot Rubbermaid 32G trash can with lid and usually fill the entire thing up and store it (usually sits for about 1.5 weeks). <I believe you are letting it sit almost too long. Well over the required amount IMO> Now, The last two times I have added sea salt to my R/O water it has become relatively cloudy (not real cloudy but enough). <This wasn't happening before these last two times? What has changed? What are you doing differently? How long is the water aerating before the addition of the saltwater. Should be about 2 days or less before adding salt, IME.> I keep an airstone in there, powerhead, and heater. <Very good practice> I usually make the water then aerate it and heat it for almost 5 days <Ahhhh.......all my previous questions answered. I would let the water aerate for no longer than two days after your R/O water is made. Then add the saltwater and let aerate for another day or two. This seems to be the best practice, in my opinion>...then I add the sea salt. Do you have any ideas as to what could be causing my cloudy water?   <I do not know for sure, but it sounds like something that happened to me once. You formed a precipitate, most likely calcium carbonate. Do double check with your test kit, but if the water is low in calcium or alkalinity, do not use it. I did and I had a ton of problems which forced me to do a new near 100% water change. Generally, aerate your water first maybe 24 hours or a little more but no more than 2 days, then add salt mix, and finally add the buffer after testing the newly mixed water. Creating a new test procedure is cumbersome, but hard to really grasp what has changed.> The R/O water (before the salt) is crystal clear. I've had to throw out 60 gals of water and $40 worth of salt because of this. <Sorry to hear that....sucks> I am no expert so please, if I am doing something wrong I WILL fix it immediately. <See various comments scattered about this email and apply all you can if you haven't already> I care about my livestock and want to do everything I can to correct this problem. <Very good to hear that you are so dedicated when it comes to this challenging but rewarding hobby. Double check to see what may have changed in your procedures ad practices from the times before. See if any of the above suggestions alleviate any of the issues. If not, email back and we will look for more solutions. This is my best guess however. Good luck!!!!!!> Thanks in advance, Guys. <Keep your head up Nate. You are well on your way to success! Stay diligent> Regards, Nate Engel <Pablo>

Water filters Bob or Anthony: I want to know what your opinion is on Poly-Bio Marines KOLD STER-IL water filter. <outstanding> There sales pitch make it sound better than R-O units in many ways. <agreed> Will these units give me very good quality water? <some of the purest> Currently use Kati and Ani but recharging is a pain. <heehee... a deionizer is my strong preference for minimizing water waste actually> Any info or input would be much appreciated. Thank you very much: Pat <either produce very pure water. Best regards! Anthony>

- RO/DI Filters - Hi Mr. Calfo and  Bob and Steve and the rest, <Greetings, JasonC here...> I want to buy me an ro/di unit(4 stage). I am not familiarized w/ them that much, although I have done my homework and I learned that they are 3 different types of membranes: TFC, CTA, and Hi-S, the latest one being of the highest quality. I am now wondering if there's a substantial difference on water quality if I buy a unit that comes w/ TFC instead of the HI-S ones, remember that I will have a 4 stage. <I don't think so in a 4 stage unit... the DI would get most everything the RO missed, which wouldn't be much. In my opinion, the biggest differentiator in RO/DI units is the flow rate - total gallons per day produced.> I want to know if it makes a difference who makes the membranes?? (film tech vs. Kent) <Probably not... I'd be willing to bet Kent doesn't manufacture their own RO membranes but simply repackages them.> Is the membrane size standard from different brands? <That I don't know.> what about the canister size?? are they standard?? <Seem to be.> and what If I get a unit that comes w/ TFC can I use them and then replace them w/HI-S? <Yes.> can I use membranes that are for a 35gpd unit into a 36gpd?? <Yes.> I want to support my LFS and he offered me a 4 stage 36gpd for $165.00, TFC membranes (brand new), but do you think I should go ahead and buy another one? <Why not go for it and test the outgoing water - I'm sure it will be 'good enough' as they say.> (have suggestions??). I want to use the unit for top off and water changes for my 75g full blown mixed reef. Are the pre-filters sediment and such) and the block carbon filters necessary/do I see a difference?? <If you want the RO membrane to last any period of time, they are quite necessary.> I'm sorry... lots of questions I know! Thank you so much for any help you can give me though... I just want the best for my Tank!! YOUR WEB SITE IS THE ONLY ONE !!(the best) <Cheers, J -- >

Cheap RO/DI... Found this link on another board gang, for those looking for RO units, these prices seem very attractive, don't know if anyone has used these guys but thought I'd pass it along....riot..... http://www.airwaterice.com/Retail%20Price%20List.htm <Very reasonable pricing. Thank you for sending this along. Bob Fenner>

- RO & Circulation Questions - Jason, <Good n'you?> Thank you very much for your response. <My pleasure.> It helped greatly. <Even better!> As it turns out, I found that the HD/Lowe's RO units are more costly than ones I can order on line from aquarium supply stores (I think due to the mandatory storage tanks and fancy chrome faucets that come with them).  As a result, I will wind up getting a 25 G model that should easily allow me to follow your advice on filling the new tank over a few days. I hate to be a pest, but I have 1 additional question (for now ;-)).  I just read Anthony's article "water flow, how much is enough", and what I'm unclear on, is when he says that most keepers of corals advocate 10-20 times the tank volume per hour, is this the total between everything including power heads? <Yes.> Or does that 10-20 spec just take the main system pump into account? <Total system circulation, including powerheads.> Thanks again for your advice. Eric <Cheers, J -- >

- RO Questions - Hi Bob, <Actually, it's JasonC today.> Hope you're doing well.  Can't help it, gotta say it again. Great Site! Many of us are in your debt, I'm sure.  I have a few questions if I may. First the vital stats:  Setting up and will/do have  75 G, will be reef setup aiming for corals, a few fish (2 or 3 is fine with me, as I like corals equally as much if not more).  Haven't quite decided on models, but will use a wet/dry sump, probably removing bio-balls at some point, 75-100 live rock, and good skimmer. <If your plan is to build a reef tank, how about starting the system with the bio balls out...> I have NO plans to skimp on quality and will decide what I need first, and worry about price later.  I'm in no rush with all this.  I'm having a lot of fun planning and reading. <Good.> 1.  Where is the article for the "Reverse Osmosis Water Purification"?  The link seems to show a blank page. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/h2opurifiers.htm <It's a reminder for those of us that work here that the article needs to be written. Perhaps you will do that for us??? Might I offer a link [with an article] that might help on the subject: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm ><<It's 9/30/06 and still isn't done... sigh. RMF>> 2. I know I need some sort of RO as two friends in my area swear that it was the only way they could keep marine life (bad water here apparently). I will take their advice of course, but I'm a bit confused.  What is the difference between DI and RO?  From the FAQ, it seems to me that in the end, they accomplish same thing, one just does it cheaper than the other. Am I right?  Also, there seems to be some dissension with the folks on your site as which is better, DI or RO.  Is it really just a matter of preference as far as overall water quality is concerned? <Hmm... you are pretty much right on most counts. Typically RO systems have at least one, sometimes two pre-filters which protect the RO membrane from larger particles. What comes out at the end of the filter is very clean water. Some RO units also have a DI[onization] filter that is after the RO unit to further purify the water leaving the RO. Depending on just how bad your water is... you may find this necessary, but for most purposes RO is sufficient. Likewise, you can obtain a filter that is loaded with both resins that attract both positive and negative ions - the Tapwater Purifier is a popular brand - that can do a pretty good job, but the resins tend to exhaust themselves after a while, and the filter needs to be replaced. In the case of combined RO and RO/DI filters, the actual filters tend to last a little longer because they work as a group rather than individually.> 3.  Is the HD/Lowe's units really just as good, <Yes.> and is an RO/DI an RO/DI <Yes.>, or will the staff at these places need to know that I'm looking for one that will be appropriate for Marine Aquariums? <As far as I know, there are none of these filters specifically for Marine aquariums - they are just water filters.> 4.  I'll take your advice and mix in containers first, but for the experienced friend that volunteered to help, what should I tell him when he asks "why not mix right in the tank".  Honestly, I can't think of a reason why it would hurt. <Because it doesn't always mix so well like this... you end up stirring up the sand, etc.> Also, if I do mix in separate containers, wouldn't that mean I would need something like 3, 25 gallon containers? <Yes, although you could do it over a couple of days. I like to use the 32 gallon Rubbermaid trash cans.> Seems excessive for something I'll need once (If I'm lucky ;-) <Use Murphy's law as a guide and keep the trash cans around... you may find that you need them all one day.> Am I looking at this the wrong way? <Not really, but if money is not a concern of yours, then plan for the worst with redundancy.> Also, how long can water sit before it goes bad. <Many factors... if you keep a pump in the mix-vat circulating the water and an air stone as well, weeks, months perhaps.> I know that probably sounds like a silly question. <Not really.>  (I'm guessing it must go bad at some point)? <Without circulation and aeration, the water can go bad in a number of days if the ambient temperature is hot enough.> i.e.- How far ahead can I make it, and leave it in the container(s)? <See my answer above.> Whew!  I think that's it for now. I'm happy to say I just installed my (empty) 75 G reef ready Oceanic, with stand and canopy, and I must say, it looks beautiful already!  Imagine how nice it will look with life in it ;-) Take care, and thank ahead of time. Yours truly,
Eric N.
<Cheers, J -- > 

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