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FAQs on Tap water Filtration: Reverse Osmosis, Deionized, Distilled Water... 5

Related FAQs: RO/DI & Distilled Water 1, RO/DI & Distilled Water 2, RO/DI & Distilled Water 3, RO/DI & Distilled Water 4, RO/DI & Distilled Water 6, RO/DI & Distilled Water 7, Rationale, Selection, For Commercial/Large Output, RO Water Storage, RO Water TreatmentMaintenance/Repair, Deionizing Source Water Filtration, Kati-Ani DI Units, Kold-Steril Units, Water ChangesWater Make-up, Nitrates

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

RO (devices for sale) Bob, I saw some references to RO in your forums/posts and wanted to offer my systems as an option. There are a lot of systems out there, some good some bad, but you never know what you're getting. My systems are made in the US with US components (no third tier foreign copies) and are FDA/NSF approved. The price is right and I have addressed all the normal concerns of RO: low pressure in tank, wasting too much water, slow production and limited capacity (small tank that isn't full). My systems are a minimum of 5 stages (4 stage and lower increase membrane fouling and have lower quality water) produce 50 gpd - five times faster than most RO systems (they are rated 100 gpd but that isn't accurate, although most suppliers go with the rated gpd) they waste 400% less water than other systems, fill the tank to 90% of line pressure (competitors go up to 70% - 60psi X 70%=42psi in the tank) and produce great water and only cost $700 if installed by the customer. <Very nice specifications, but the price a bit steep for the vast majority of pet-fish enthusiasts... however there is (IMO of course) a percentage of "higher end" folks (maybe a handful %) that would pay for such units> I generally sell large upgraded tanks to aquarium owners 10 - 50 gal or more. I have larger systems as well from 50 gpd to 10,000 gpd. I also sell a distiller/ozonator that cleans up several problems in fish tanks. Email me and I'll send you a sample of the water you can put in a tank that has problems and you'll see the difference. <No need/desire to send sample. I don't have equipment for testing such. Please send along your URL and we'll post it on WWM and give you what feedback we can to assist you in marketing your products. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Tim Krusemark Aquatek Water Treatment

- Odd RO Testing Results - Hi Bob, Anthony, et al.... I just got a new RO/DI unit very recently as I know my tap water has some issues. One issue is called mix it with salt, and it turns blue after it clouds to no end in a white bucket. <Something seems very wrong about that... what brand of salt is this?> The other issue is I suspect it has been a major contributor of phosphates in my tanks (fresh and salt). I flushed the unit for a few hours, and the pH coming out of the unit is higher than what goes in it. At first I was getting a reading of 10+ and I can't get anything better than either 8.5-9.0 after flushing for a few hours. <Wouldn't expect the pH to be much higher, should be in the range of about 7.0 - neutral after water has been filtered with RO.> After talking to fellow hobbyists with the same brand of unit or a unit in general we came to a few scenarios. One was called I screwed up my lines from the membrane, one was the manufacturer suggests a break in period, and the other is called the test kit won't work. <Or all three.> Someone else bought the same exact unit from the same exact person and tested the pH with a liquid freshwater kit, and got the same results. I did test the GH and KH of the water, and I don't get any color at all when adding drops to the water, so there is nothing that is readily jumping out at me that says this water has anything in it that would raise the pH. I don't have a TDS meter though I wish I had one. The manufacturer says this sounds like a break in issue, and just keep flushing the membrane. We have ruled out plumbing errors. I have read that testing pH for DI water is a real pain, and even with a digital meter it can be a pain as one can contaminate the probes, or CO2 in the air can throw it off. <Not that much - you should be able to test quite close to the actual number... CO2 and other contaminants should throw things off very little. Can let the probe sit in distilled water if you are concerned about the same.> If I have flushed the membrane for a few hours, and there is no sign of anything that would buffer that water, or otherwise raise the pH, do you see any way that the pH could actually be that high? <Hmm... my RO/DI break-in was supposed to be 100 gallons... would have taken several days to break in, not just a couple of hours.> I have tested the rejection water of the membrane and it yields the same results. However, the water is much clearer (I have a time seeing it in a container at times its so clear), and there is absolutely no smell of chlorine at all. I read 1 case on one of the FAQ pages for RO units in which a woman had a like problem and her litmus strips gave a more accurate result supposedly. I am inclined to say the test kit just will not work for DI water. However, I am not 100% sure of this. Any opinion would be appreciated. <Hmm... is why I don't use test 'kits' for pH - digital probes are more reliable, quick, etc. I'm not color blind but I also just can't tell subtle changes in purple to get an accurate pH reading.> Thank You, Joseph <Cheers, J -- >

- RO Water Storage - Hello, I keep a 90gal planted Discus tank.  The tank is about 6 mo. old and mostly doing fine.  My question is regarding my water.  I have a RO drinking water system in my house so I upgraded it slightly and installed a 40 gal. storage tank with float switch to store fish water.  At each water change I add about 30% tap (Well)  water to my storage tank and let the RO fill it back up.  I have a heater in the tank keeping it at the proper temp.  This creates the proper hardness for the Discus and has worked well.  Recently however I have noticed some scum floating on top of the water in my storage tank.  I realize that I need to clean out the tank periodically but my question is am I making things worse by adding the tap water to the storage tank? <No, likely just stuff from the air - would be best if you added a pump for circulation, perhaps a small power head to stop the water from getting stale.> Should I be storing only pure RO water and adding the tap as I do the water change? <Shouldn't be an issue either way.> My only problem with that is the only tap water I have that hasn't been through a salt brine water softener is cold so I would have to have a way to pre heat the tap water as well. <Just your regular heater should do the trick.> Should I be concerned or should I just clean my tank and move on? <Uhh... just clean the storage tank and move on.> Thanks for the help! Kurt <Cheers, J -- >

Water Softener 1/4/04 Hi guys, Hope you had a great new year <Hi Chris.  Adam here.  Same to you!> I live outside of the city and am on town water...all water that comes into the house is filtered through a water softener What should I be doing if anything to compensate for this when completing the water changes on my 110 salt FO system What I have been doing in the past, is turning off the water softener and letting the tap run for a while in an effort to get the softened water out of the system... Should I continue this practice in effect working to get the hardest water possible or should I just allow the softened water to enter the tank... Let me know <Water softeners work on ion exchange.  The ions in your city water that are responsible for the hardness (Ca++, Mg++, CO3-) and for scale production are exchanged in the softener for Na+ and Cl-. Over a long period of time, this could cause a slight imbalance in your tank water (more from top-off than water changes).  Regular partial water changes should help minimize this effect.  Adding an R/O unit to filter the already softened water is the ideal solution.  It will remove most of the NaCl, and the softened water is very gentle on RO membranes. If an RO unit is not an option, I would probably use unsoftened tap water filtered through a carbon block/sediment filter.  If you choose this option, please do get a water analysis from your water company to be sure that Phosphate and metal concentrations are acceptable.> thx Chris <Our pleasure!  Adam>

Clouding The Issue? (R/O Water Cloudiness) Have an established 180 reef tank (3 years) and do 6 gallon changes each week with tap water and Instant Ocean. Tank has been thriving for years with numerous fish, inverts, hard corals, and my wonderful anemone. But then about four months ago I had a wicked case of green hair algae. It is so bad it started clogging up at numerous points and threatened to overflow various systems. <Yuck- sounds like something went wrong here...> I cut back on the light, started 6-12 gallon changes every day, and even pulled out about a third of the sand substrate. The UV sterilizer already had a fairly new bulb and the two protein skimmers have been going strong with Ozone injection. Phosphate levels were still off the scale. <Bingo! That's one of the best algae "fuels" that there is!> Then I tested the make up water and discovered I was just feeding the algae with the high phosphates in the tap water. I presume something changed at the local water treatment plant and I was not quick enough to catch the problem - never again! <Probably accumulated over a period of time...Certainly worth looking into an RO/DI unit...> I got an RO unit immediately and ran it through its initialization. <Way to go!> Water tastes great and the phosphate level is nearly zero. But when I add IO the mix turns cloudy. I've let it sit a few days and its still cloudy. I added the six gallons to the tank and the whole tank turns cloudy for a few hours. Numbers are all dead on and the phosphate level is slowing dropping. But what is the deal with the cloudy mix with RO water that I never encountered with the mix using that horrible tap water? < Well- it could be just about anything...I've seen this phenomenon myself, and I have this totally unfounded theory that it may have something to do with the lack of minerals or some other substances in the water which affect the way the salt mix dissolves. I noticed that when I started "prepping" the RO water with a product designed to buffer the water, this phenomenon ceased. Just a half-baked theory, maybe even totally coincidental- but it's as good a guess as any by this non-chemist.> The local LFS says don't worry it will always clear and will not hurt the livestock. <I'd tend to agree...You could try using some activated carbon in a box filter in your mix container overnight. This might do the trick, too..> Mike Mercer Vienna, VA <I'd give both of these ideas a shot, Mike. As long as the water is testing okay, it should not be too much of a cause or worry. Let me know if things improve! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Lifespan of Deionization Cartridges - I'm considering purchasing a Kent Maxxima system. I can find lots of info on how frequently to change the various filters, except for the deionization resin filter. I can't find any info on how frequently these need to be changed. Do you know? <The 'amount' of time is a range, depending on the quality of the source water. Most DI cartridges change color as the resin in them is used up. That's the best way to know when to swap it out. Cheers, J -- >

Questions about R/O water and mixing salt 12/15/03 I have some questions about R/O water and mixing salt that I was hoping you could answer (I couldn't find the exact answers on your site): - How many PPM of TDS solids are acceptable in R/o water before the R/O membrane needs replacing?  5 PPM, 20 PPM, ???   <somewhere between the two in my opinion. I favor changing it by 10ppm> Is TDS and ppm the right thing to be checking to determine when the R/o membrane needs to be replaced? <good question. It depends on your use of the water. If you are using RO because you are breeding discus fishes, then TDS is a big deal (less is better here). But if your RO is for marines, many of the hardness minerals are actually desirable and we are instead using RO to rid nutrients/contaminants (metals, phosphate, etc). As such, you will want to test for things other than TDS> - I've noticed that my salt mixing tank will build up a brownish residue over months on the sides and on the aeration stones, heater.    <may simply be a bacterial slime. Your vat is hardly sterile, and as such growths will develop in time> I use Rubbermaid tubs for my R/O tanks and salt mixing tank.  the r/o tanks never get this residue, but the salt tanks do, and the only thing different in the salt tank is that it is aerated, heated with a titanium heater, and has salt (instant ocean).  Any ideas on what causes the brown residue slim?   Is it harmful?  It looks almost like a rust, but comes off easily via wiping. <not harmful at all... if the vessel gets any indirect room light, the growth may also be diatoms>     - Your site indicates that when mixing salt, you should:  1) get r/o water, 2) aerate it and heat it  3) add buffer to increase alk, and then 4) add salt.   How much buffer should be added - enough to reach normal salt water alk? <yes... obey your test kit on this one. It will vary depending on the quality of RO water being produced> -lastly, I found a faq on your site that indicated saltwater plants (Caulerpa) could go thru a freshwater dip prior to quarantine (like fish).   <some will, but many wont> How long should the dip last - and is this only for Caulerpa, or can most macro algae tolerate this (like Halimeda)? <very few will survive the osmotic shock of FW. Its best instead to simply quarantine all as you do your fish in a separate QT tank for 3-4 weeks before moving into the main display> thanks!<best regards, Anthony>

Questions about R/O water and mixing salt IV 12/22/03 Thanks for your reply, but I'm still a little confused about a couple of your answers: c) Is it correct to assume that TDS meters measure all dissolved solids (if there are 3ppm of phosphate in water, then the TDS must be at or above 3ppm)? > <I'm not sure that I understand the angle/intent of your question here? Especially in light of a marine aquarium with several hundred ppm of TDS> I'm talking strictly about R/O water.  If the TDS meter reads 5 ppm in the R/O water, does that mean that any phosphate that might be in the R/O water would have to be less than or equal to 5ppm (does the TDS meter include phosphates in its ppm reading?).  If so, does the TDS meter include just inorganic phosphates or organic as well. <ahhh... I see. And frankly am not completely certain that I know the answer although I suspect that at least some phosphate (organic) is not reflected in this measure of solids. The correct answer though depends on the membrane (what they will or won't admit/pass). A call or look at the mfg specs will answer this question clearly mate> Also, you've indicated that you'd change r/o membranes for r/o water used in reef tanks if the water reached 5-10 ppm. because of this, I'm assuming those Kent r/o water TDS meters (black box) aren't useful because their most sensitive setting is 50 ppm.  Is this correct? <Frankly... I don't use RO units (they waste obscene amounts of water... I prefer DI). And as a consumer, I do not hold most Kent products in high regard> You mentioned using lux/par meters to get an objective assessment of the 'quality' of light being produced by bulbs.  Can you recommend specific brands of quality PAR meters (and lux meters)?    <yes... "Apogee" brand PAR meters are popular with aquarists. A wide range of price and quality is available too> I've used lux meters in the past, but they seem to be very sensitive/inaccurate (a small change in angle - <10 DEGREES - Can often double the reading).   Thanks! The reason I'm asking these questions is I've had 2 75 gallon reef tanks running for a couple of years without problems.  Over the past couple of months, both tanks have had similar problems:  overgrowth with a Cyanobacteria-like algae that covers/suffocates the coralline algae.   <many possible reasons for this> It is not like Cyanobacteria in that it is like tar - almost impossible to remove even with brushes.  Fish seem fine, but all snails/crabs and corals have died (mushrooms, SPS, LPS, etc).  I've checked/rechecked water quality, and everything seems fine:  ammonia=0, nitrite/nitrate=0, calcium=400+, alk=8-10, ph=7.9-8.3.   <the pH is way too low in my opinion... 8.3-8.6 is closer to NSW and regardless is known to inhibit many nuisance algae. 7.9-8.3 is also too wild of a swing between day and night (aeration deficiencies?)> Phosphates/silicates read 0 (SeaChem test kits).  I'm at a loss to explain, but since it affected both tanks, I thought it could have been the pc bulbs (only 4 months old when this started) and have changed them w/o results.  Also thought it might be my R/o water - but TDS meters (multiple) show it at 5 ppm.  I've done massive multiple water changes - 40% - without any change in rate of this dang Cyanobacteria like growth.  I've put in poly filters and SeaChem's PhosGuard w/o change (do these filter medias absorb only inorganic phosphate or both organic/inorganic) Any ideas?   <inadequate water flow is commonly a catalyst (needing 10-20X minimum... and be sure to clean those pumps and powerheads with acid/vinegar every 4-5 months to achieve max water flow)> Thanks  - from a coral reef fan who thought he knew what he was doing for a couple of years only to be demoralized by this latest setback.   <no worries... can be easily corrected in time. Anthony>

- RO/DI Alternative - Hi crew fantastic site I am totally addicted to this hobby and to this site (visit it everyday) Quick question money is a bit tight at this point in time what would be the best way to treat tap water for my monthly top up water without getting a RO/DI Unit? Werner <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm Cheers, J -- >

- Kold Steril Water Filters - Hello crew,  hope all are fine <I am well, thanks for asking.> Quick question anyone out there like or use the Kold Steril units on their reef tanks tired of wasting water and would also like to use for drinking water, and how many gallons  can I get before filter replacement. <I am familiar with, and have seen the Kold Sterile water filtration units... do believe they use the PolyFilter pads as a filtration mechanism. I'm sure they work, and if you really are concerned about wasting water, then I suppose this might help although driving a car that gets over 30 MPG gallon would help more, if you know what I mean. As for exact performance expectations, I'd get in touch with the company that makes them. They would certainly have this data.> thanks as always       Rocky <Cheers, J -- > <<"Up to 5k gallons for larger units"... RMF>>

- Water Prep - Hello All- Thanks for looking at yet another question from a saltwater newbie! I just got a 5 stage RO/DI unit for water changes for my saltwater tank. I am little confused as to the process of water preparation...What exactly does aerating mean?  Do I simply put new water in my trash can and heat and let it sit for 24 hours?  Do I have to leave the lid off? Do I have to use an air stone? <Add the air stone, I'd leave the lid on, and let it bubble for at least 24 hours.> I plan to put new water in trash can, heat and run powerhead for 24 hours, then add salt and let mix for another 24 hours.  All of this will be with the lid on, is this wrong? <No... I leave the lid on so that bugs, dust, and whatnot stay out of the water.> I will then test for PH and alk, and add Seachem Reef BUFFER/BUILDER accordingly. <I'd add the buffer ahead of the salt - it's a safe bet that the RO/DI water will need it.><<RMF would add, if necessary, later... AFTER the salt mix is dissolved, the water tested.>> Please let me know if this process is not correct. Thanks in advance, Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

- RO/DI and Water Softeners - Reply to J-Calcium Reactor of a Different Kind - Ok so the idea is not that great, thank you.  I am pretty sure the low pH is caused by the lack of Oxygen.  I guess a calcium reactor and CO2 tank are on my list of things to buy. On to your reply about the RO in front of the softener. "The make up water that I use for my tank comes from a well. It is processed by a Craftsman water softener and runs into a Kent Maxima High-S Ro unit. <Hmm... I would run the RO/DI in front of the water softener.>" I asked this here before with a different reply.  I have been pretty satisfied with the current set up. <<RMF would run the RO AFTER the softener...>>

Evaporation Chemistry Hello, A quick first question or two from a long time reader. <Welcome back> If water lost to evaporation is mostly pure water then why do I need to buffer the DI water I use to replace the lost water? Don't the buffers stay in the tank when water evaporates? <Mmm, they get "used up"... very basically (bad pun), the overall reactions in closed systems are reductive (as in Redox)... they tend toward making the water more acidic... in effect exhausting the alkaline reserve> Second, how do I determine how much buffer to put in the DI make up water? I'm using Seachem Marine Buffer per a recommendation in one of the FAQs. <Best way is to measure your water (new) and try adding your buffering product/s with testing... per your particular livestock, desires for GH, dKH...> Thanks for providing such a terrific service to all new folks. Regards, Jim C <Thank you for your participation. Bob Fenner>

"Water softener supply for a reef? Hello Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro here today.> First I want to thank you for you taking the time to help all of the people you have. My self included! I have enjoyed WetWebMedia and found it to be totally reliable and very informative. <I am glad you have found the website useful.> This will be my first question to you as I have found just about all the questions I ever wanted to ask in WWM search engine. <I am particularly glad to hear of individuals using the search engine and FAQ files.> Question? While researching a different topic I stumbled across this article on FFE http://support.software911.com/ffexpress/faqdetail.asp? fid=2691. It seems to suggest that using a water softener on a reef tank could be problematic. Specifically it suggests that " I would not use water from a softener as it has been shown to cause problems with the fish's sodium balance". <Yes. Water softeners work similar to deionization units except when a DI unit absorbs a contaminant ion it releases H+ or OH- ion, leaving nothing but plain water behind. A softener releases Na+ and Cl- ions, leaving salt.> I live in Alaska and our water comes from a well, the well water has no problems other than a high iron content. The iron content is so high that I fear if I utilized the Kent Marine Maxima High-S RO unit before the softener that the pre filter and membrane would plug up in a matter of weeks. <Agreed, place the RO unit after the softener. The RO will remove the salts the softener imparts.> I understand that metals are harmful to a reef tank but iron is not that much of a concern? <There is a great deal of controversy on this matter right now. If you care to read about it, check out ReefCentral for competing views by Dr. Ron Shimek and Randy Holmes-Farley. I side with the chemists on this one and agree iron, in moderation, could be beneficial.> In your opinion, would you connect the RO unit before the water softener or after it? <After> FFE is the only place that I have seen mention that a water softener may be harmful to a reef tank and I can't find any contact information on Kent Marine. Should I be concerned with my current set up (makeup water drawn after a water softener and then run through a RO unit)? <No. Many large public aquarium setups are designed just like this.> My reef tank set up in detail can be seen here. http://www.reefaquariumguide.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16836 <Your tank looks pretty good.> Thanks a lot, K.P. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>" <Is merely a difference in opinion. In my thinking, if the RO/DI filter can remove the iron and other stuff, why add water softening salts only to remove them in the next filtration step by putting the RO/DI after the water softener. Likewise, the softening salts will shorten the life of your RO membrane perhaps sooner than normal. It's your call.> Thank you for your help J, K.P. <Cheers, J -- >

Kati Ani deionizer units 11/11/03 Hope all are well? <and you in kind, my friend> Anthony which of the Kati Ani unit did you buy & where can I find more info about them besides stern & foster also do you know who may sale them wholesale.     <I have favored the "Kati Ani" brand for many years and purchased mine wholesale from a regional distributor in Maryland: Peter Thode at Gwynnbrook Farms - an old German discus breeder. I hope he is still around and in business (his son(s) were involved too). Nice folks> what does it cost to recharge units . <mere pennies per gallon with Muriatic acid and lye> One of your many friends in fish      ROCKY <kind regards, Anthony>            

- Calcium Reactor of a Different Kind - Hello all, First, I have to rave on how much I have enjoyed your latest book REEF INVERTEBRATES. I love all of the pictures included and have toiled many nights over all of the big words in the book. Great reading!! Now to my question- The make up water that I use for my tank comes from a well. It is processed by a Craftsman water softener and runs into a Kent Maxima High-S RO unit. <Hmm... I would run the RO/DI in front of the water softener.><<Not me. RMF>> When it reaches my float valve to maintain the level in the sump the PH reading is 6.6. If I ran some of my fresh make up water into a re-circulating calcium reactor (minus the CO2) and allowed the output to drain into my sump at a SLIGHT drip, wouldn't this be the same as if I were using CO2 to lower the ph in the calcium reactor? <Hmm... would have to see the chemical composition of the water, as in what exactly makes it acidic. The CO2 produces carbonic acid in the typical calcium reactor and that produces calcium carbonate which is the byproduct your calcium-loving organisms can use. It's the carbonate that becomes a buffering agent for the calcium. I would want to know what the freshwater would produce - you may find it's not a useful form of calcium or doesn't produce the desired affect.> And since the purified water had little dissolved solids wouldn't the fresh water hold more calcium? <Don't think that's the issue here.> The only drawback I can see is that the required output of the reactor might be more than the fresh water make up required by my tank. <That too.> Am I nuts? <Seek a second opinion.> Or could this work? <I 'could' work, but again, I'd be doing some careful examination before I commit it to the main system.> Thanks all, K.P. <Cheers, J -- >

RO water? 11/4/03  I have a 75 gal with a DIY 20 gal Eco-system sump/fuge. This is a brand new system and I am getting ready to fill'er up but with what type of H2O?  <Deionized is best. And with any purified water, be sure to aerate and buffer for a couple of days in advance>  I have city water that is sediment filtered (not sure to what micron size) then it passes thru a water softener and thru a charcoal filter to remove chlorine. Is this water safe to mix with a synthetic salt or should I make a investment and buy from the marine LFS pre-mixed RO saltwater at about $1.00 a gal , or purchase a r/o unit?  <I'd recommend a 2-column deionizer instead like "Kati/Ani columns".>  My softener is essentially a deionizer.  <not correct my friend... you have an ion exchanger... not a deionizer. Two very different things. Using salts to soften water makes poor quality water for aquatic life for the imbalance in exchanged ions>  Would this water be ok to use?  <nope... better to actually take your chances with tap water>  I currently use potassium in my softener instead of salt, could this be a problem.  <yes>  I wouldn't think so since the softener just uses the potassium or salt brine to recharge the resin bed with negatively charged ions.  <and leaves residual chlorides that accumulate and skew the alkalinity pool/water quality. I have seen tanks crash in time (less than 18 months) because of this> Kevin Velleca  <best of luck. Anthony> 

RO Redux... Why is it necessary to buffer RO/DI water? I recently read this on your site...... ******************************** Source Water Pre-Treatment So if I don't wait 24 hours before adding salt this can interfere with my alkalinity? <Essentially, yes. Freshly-"produced" RO/DI water has very little, if any buffering capacity, and additions of large quantities of this water, without some form of buffering, can contribute to depleted alkalinity in your system. I think it's good practice to aerate and/or buffer RO or RO/DI water at least 12-24 hours before use. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F> ******************************** http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rofaq5.htm after researching and asking some groups, I posted this and asked for some opinions......I came across this response....and I wanted to know if there was any truth to what this guy is saying.... ******************************** Yes, it's wrong....When water evaporates from your tank, only pure water is evaporating.  Alkalinity is not evaporating.  Nothing else is evaporating. <True, but the point is- if alkalinity is being depleted by other sources, using water with no buffering capacity will not help the situation....> So, simply topping off with pure RO water will have no effect on the buffering capacity of the tank. <As stated above- in general, this statement is true...But the point is, once again, that in a situation with already depleted alkalinity, the effect could be detrimental..> I think what this guy is seeing, is that something was using up the alkalinity, possibly from coral growth, and he's just blindly blaming it on the RO water. <Wrong> If you notice your alkalinity dropping, you can either use a buffer, I believe Kent and SeaChem both have one, but you must be careful.  Adding a buffering supplement only, could have a negative effect on your calcium levels. <Potentially true...But may be taken out of the context of the original conversation here...> The other alternative is to drip Kalkwasser for all your top off water. Kalk will add the alkalinity and calcium at the proper proportions, while keeping pH up where it should be.  The only drawback is that it must be added slowly, otherwise it could push your pH up through the roof. <I caution against using Kalkwasser to make up water lost to evaporation, as you will be at the mercy of the atmosphere (i.e.; the evaporation rate) to determine your calcium dosing. Better to test water regularly and determine your system's needs rather than just randomly dose Kalkwasser. Kalk is great stuff, but, like anything you add to aquarium water, it's important to test, then tweak, as John Tullock is fond of saying...Hope this clarifies things a bit...Regards, Scott F> ******************************** Thanks,  Keith

- RO/DI Preparation - Hi, I have another question. <Ok.> I have purchased an RODI unit.  Is it best to add salt, then buffer (if needed), then calcium (Kalkwasser)? <I would add buffer before the salt.> Or is it better to add the calcium straight to the tank. <And yes, I'd add the calcium directly to your system.> What I'm thinking is that I should get the water ready to go at all the optimum levels, Salinity ~ 1.024, KH~10, Calcium~400 ppm and then use that water as part of a water change.  Would you agree? <Not really - best to add calcium to your tank directly, otherwise buffer the RO/DI water before adding salt.> Thanks, -Brent <Cheers, J -- >

Beginner reef tank with RO/DI water First, I just want to thank you for your wonderful website... I have learned so much from your site!! I have told so many people about this site and they praise it also... <Thank you> I finally have a RO/DI system on the way to my apartment!!!!!!!!!! I am about to start a 20 gallon reef.... The tank has been set up for 1 month.  I took 20 gallons of water and live rock from my 90 gallon fish only tank (been running for two years) on the first day.  After testing the water, the tank seems completely cycled.   Right now, here is what is in the tank: 3 inches finally crushed coral/sand 20 pounds Fiji live rock two 260 gph powerheads 1 hang on the back eco system filter (no miracle mud or Caulerpa yet) 1 domino damsel <Keep your eye on this fish... likely to become a real bully in time... and need removing> 1 coral banded shrimp 5 hermit crabs Here is the problem.   The current water that came from the 90 gallon came straight from the sink.   Should I wait until several water changes with the RO/DI system before putting any reef components in the tank?  I also have not put the miracle mud in the tank yet or the Caulerpa.  Is this going to mess up my cycle? <I would not wait. Will not mess up your cycling... should be fine> In my opinion, I think I need to add the miracle mud and Caulerpa ASAP.  But I don't know how long I should wait after that to add any reef components. <I would not wait a moment longer> Also, what is some good beginner things I could add to my tank? <... time to send you back to WWM for reading... the marine livestocking sections, small system set-up...> Note, I am eventually going to transfer this 20 gallon tank to a 40 gallon tank in a few months......is that possible? <Yes, and a good idea. Much easier to maintain larger systems than small> Thank you so much, Keith Raleigh, NC <Ahh, I was just in your town two weekends back... at Raleigh Fish World. Bob Fenner> Re: Beginner reef tank with RO/DI water actually, I spoke with you there. <Ahh!> You were signing books..... I asked you why certain people write books... then someone has the exact opposite opinion in another book.... LOL <"Same as it ever was"> I told you about this system and you told me to change the miracle mud in 1/3 applications.....thanks for the quick response... Keith

RO/DI as a tank filter? 10/8/03 Hello! <whassup> I have the weirdest question, and I thought that you probably have thought about it already. What happens if I decide to filter the water that comes from my tank using an RO/DI system? <you will completely demineralize the water (or nearly so)> I am not saying I am, but what if? Would it filter the salt? Nitrates? Nitrites? Ammonia? <in varying degrees, yes> It is interesting to think why can't I just recycle the water? <its a good/interesting thought... and something (water reclamation) that many public aquariums already do. It is an expensive process and still leaves less than ideal quality water... but is necessary for some folks because of environmental reasons (purging high volumes of waste water as with big aquaria), etc> Well, I'm sure I can't be the first to think about this... <correct> Any insight is welcome... Hugo Solano <again... a good thought my friend. But the process is expensive to conduct and requires that you reconstitute the treated water. You will need water holding equipment and considerable time/labor to process the water. Anthony>

Source Water Pre-Treatment So if I don't wait 24 hours before adding salt this can interfere with my alkalinity? <Essentially, yes. Freshly-"produced" RO/DI water has very little, if any buffering capacity, and additions of large quantities of this water, without some form of buffering, can contribute to depleted alkalinity in your system. I think it's good practice to aerate and/or buffer RO or RO/DI water at least 12-24 hours before use. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F>

- Softened Source Water, Follow-up - Thanks for the fast response. <My pleasure.> What product do you recommend to add to the RO water? <I'd use baking soda - but any marine buffer compound would do.> Thanks Randy <Cheers, J -- >

- Odd RO Results - Got a strange water question, I looked around the site and have not seen a match. <Ok.> So, here goes..  The water coming out of my RO has a very high Ph reading like 8.4, thought this should be more like 7.0? <Something like that.> I have re-calibrated my Pin Point Ph monitor and get the same reading.  This Ph reading does not seem to change with aeration over 48 hours. <Interesting.> If the Ph is 8.4 should I still add buffer before mixing in the salt?  I have used my La Motte hardness test kit and the dKH is like 4. <It probably wouldn't hurt to buffer this water a little bit - shouldn't need to worry about the pH.> What gives? <Perhaps something is wrong, perhaps something in one of the cartridges, hard to know exactly but would move through a process of elimination to try and find out. Would start with testing your source water.> Brian <Cheers, J -- >

- Odd RO Results, Follow-up - Thanks for the response, I have tested my source water pH is high at 8.5. Cartridges have been replaced in the last two months and is a Kent Marine 60GPD Ro/Di model. Do the LaMotte test kits for CA and dKH work for fresh water? <Hmm, good question and one I don't have a good answer for. I would 'guess' so, but am not certain. Would contact LaMotte directly to be sure. Cheers, J -- >

- RO/DI and Water Purification - Hi, I've been reading all of your articles on water purification and it appears it would be wise to invest in an RO/DI unit. <Really depends on the quality of your source water, but for the most part these are a worthwhile investment.> I've been looking online at the Kent, Captive Purity and Spectrapure units.  The price of the high end SpectraPure unit is about twice that of the other two.  Is there any reason for the large gap? <To be honest, I don't know why the large price gap - could be the parts or cartridges they use. Am aware of high-volume systems that are quite pricey, but worth it if you need the output.> Also, can you recommend a good unit. <I'd go with the Captive Purity [which is what I own] or the Spectrapure just because I have an allergic reaction to Kent products. But really for the most part, almost all RO/DI units are created equal - same parts, same cartridges.> I don't mind paying a little more as long as I only buy it once. Thanks for your feedback -Brent <Cheers, J -- >

- RO Selection - I'm in the market for a r/o filtration system.  Do you have any you recommend? <They are really are pretty much the same. Find a unit that fits your price range and you'll do just fine. Cheers, J -- >

Ion exchange resins for water treatment (more industry) and water treatment equipment Dear Sirs, We have come to know the name of your corporation and have the pleasure of writing this letter to you in the hope of establishing business relations with us. Our company is mainly engaged in researching, developing and producing of ion exchange resins. Its products are widely used in power industry, petroleum refining, chemical industry, electro industry, metallurgical industry, pharmaceutical industry and sugar industry, etc. The total producing capacity of ion exchange resins is up to 13000 tons per year. Relying on continuous development of new products, our company has become the biggest and professional manufacturer of ion exchange resins in P.R. China. Since 1995, the company has been keeping the titles of the highest output and the highest sale income in ion exchange resins industry in China. Our company has got the approval of international Quality System ISO9001 and entitled the right to expert its products directly. Meanwhile, our company makes various kinds of ion exchange columns, and water treatment equipment. It also supplies engineering design, engineering consulting service, equipment installation and debug. Now, ion exchange resins of our company have occupied 40% share of the Chinese market. At the same time, the products have been sold to USA, UK, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea and India, etc. Please contact us if you are interested in our manufactures, and we will send you the details of our products by E-mail. We will enter into business relations with your firm on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. We trust that through our mutual cooperation, we shall be able to have a good future in business. We look forward to your early reply with much interest. Our information: Tel: 86-510-6336655 Fax: 86-510-6336655 Http:// www.suqing.com Yours sincerely Suqing Water Treatment Engineering Group Co., Ltd Shen Xiaojuan <I will post your message on our site (WetWebMedia.com) in the hopes others will contact you who have interest in your products. Bob Fenner>

- RO/DI Water Smell? - Hi, <Hello, JasonC here...> I have read all the topics about my problem in the section, but I did not find anything similar to my problem. I appreciate if you could give me some advise about this. Here is the problem: I have new Kent Marine RO/DI HIS 60, and it has made only 140 gallons of water for 10 days till now. I have disconnect the unit from the water supply for a 1-2 days and after that, when I connect it again I have noticed that water has some smell, I check for nitrate, phosphate and ammonia and there is none. I have used some of this water in my knew tank and now I'm a little afraid of what might happen. <Because some water stays in the filter, it is possible for the water to become stale and if prevailing conditions are right [heat, light, etc.] you can even begin to grow things in the filters. This is probably what happened in your case. I would first try putting some of this water into a bucket or garbage can and aerate it vigorously... see if the smell goes away. If that doesn't seem to help, I would try running 10 to 20 gallons to waste and see if the smell goes away. If not, you may need to disassemble the three cartridge filters, bleach them and replace the cartridges.><<May need to bleach/sterilize the cartridges... to eliminate microbes here. RMF>> I appreciate your help in advanced <If you plan to let this unit sit for any time, you should take it apart.> Regards <Cheers, J -- >

- RO/DI Water Smell? Follow-up - Uhhh... that is a quick reply. Thank you. After aerating heavily I can hard noticed that smell. What are you suggesting to me, can I use that water or not? <I think so, sure.> The unit now creates a water with no smell, but the first block cartridge is, let me say black, not dirty. <Replace it.> Is  possible that I must change it after 130 gallons of make up water. <Perhaps your source water is just really bad, so yes... it is possible that after 130 gallons that filter must be replaced.> Thanks again <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Using 100% RO water Bob, Thanks for your reply. I'm a little confused. When you commented "not really" with regards to using 100% RO water, did you mean only if you add nothing back into the water? <Yes, sorry for the confusion. There are some Amazonian species that get along pretty well with very little mineral content in their water, but all appreciate that elusive "some", and having some buffering capacity, alkaline earth elements present makes for much easier maintenance, stability in captive systems> If so, then is it ok to use 100% RO when mixed with Seachem Equilibrium and baking soda. Then after the tank plant tank is established later, add fertilizer? Or using the below mixture: <Either is fine> Chemical dose/ dose/ measurement > > 100 liters 50 gallons unit > > Epsom's salt 3.5 6.5 quarter teaspoons > > calcium carbonate 6 11 600 mg tablets > > baking soda 4 8 quarter teaspoons > > potassium chloride 1.5 3 quarter teaspoons Will either of the above work for me instead of tap water  with no adverse problems to plant or fish? <Yes. Bob Fenner> Thanks very much. Ken

-Recharging DI resin- hello all and happy long weekend- <Thanks, alas, it's all gone now...> I was hoping you could help me with a few questions regarding a Kati/Ani 2 set-up I just purchased from Dr. Fosters. I also purchased replacement color changing resins from  Spectrapure for this same unit. I am now thinking this was a lack of knowledge induced mistake. I hope I can return them, they were a bit expensive. Now that I have the Kati/Ani units in my hand it looks like they are a sealed unit except for a little plug on the front. I am now thinking that you do not replace the resins inside and you just recharge them instead. Is this correct? <I just throw mine out when they're depleted. If you want to recharge them, check out http://www.reefs.org/library/article/twp_recharge.html>Or can they be replaced somehow also? <I'm sure there's a way to dump what's inside and replace with what you've bought. Check and see if that plug is removable.> From what I have read, it looks like I would use lye and Muriatic acid. Do the  resins just get rinsed/soaked in these chemicals and  reused again? <The chemicals should not be reused> Do you know if the recharged resins retain their color changing ability as they are exhausted ? <Yep, that's how you tell that they're in good shape (they'll be the original color)> I am guessing, yes. The instructions that came with the units are printed in somewhat of a broken English that makes me a bit unsure about the process. For hook-up ,the instructions talk about using Kati/Ani for" total desalting of water" and how to hook up the units. It shows tap water entering through the  center of the Kati unit, then flows over to the center of the Ani unit and then out for storage. Is this the correct procedure? <I'm not sure how this brand goes together but you want all water to go through the resin without any possible bypass> I do not know what desalting means. <Just means stripping the water of all impurities> I apologize for all of the newbie questions regarding DI water but I do not want to make a mistake and hurt any of my longtime finned friends. <I hear ya, better safe than sorry!> Have a nice weekend and thank you for your time <Good luck! -Kevin>  Dennis

- Installing RO - Gentlemen - <Good morning, JasonC here...> I have recently purchased an under-sink RO Unit from Home Depot (Model GXRV10ABL).  This unit comes with a chrome and black faucet included.  I don't really want to use this faucet as I have granite countertops that I don't want to drill into.  Instead, I would like to attach the RO Unit directly to our refrigerator's water line (which feeds both the icemaker and the in-door water supply).  Unfortunately, the instructions only discuss having the drain come directly from the faucet.  Is there any way to install this unit without the faucet? <Yes, but I must add a word of caution first. I've hooked RO up to refrigerator ice makers before, and unfortunately, the output rate of the RO, even with the storage tank was insufficient for the ice make to work correctly. As far as skipping the faucet, that should be no big deal as the drain line can just go straight to your drains under the sink, bypassing the faucet. You may need to pick up a different saddle inlet as the RO units I've seen with the drain integrated into the faucet have larger diameter tubing for the faucet drain - say 5/16" as opposed to the 1/4" used on the rest of the RO unit.><<And should your fridge have an in-line filter cartridge, the RO device may not have sufficient water pressure to service it... There are "booster pumps" that might be rigged up distal to the RO storage to supply your fridge. RMF>> Thanks for the help! Doug San Luis Obispo, CA <Cheers, J -- >

- Alkalinity of Make-up Water - Hi Bob, <Actually, it's JasonC today...> I just set up my tank a few days ago. My KH was only 1.0. I added baking soda and the KH is 4.0 and the co2 system is working fine. My question is that when I need to add water back to the tank due to evaporation, will the KH drop? <A little bit, sure.> Does the baking soda stay in the tank? <Yes, but its effect will not last forever - the bicarbonate gets 'used up'.> An analogy would be with my saltwater tank where you add only fresh water back to the tank since the salt doesn't evaporate out. <Not quite the same.> I appreciate your help. Ken <Cheers, J -- >

Amquel Plus Dropping pH Too Low? - 08/24/03 Hi, <Hi SLC, PF with you tonight, in, Attack of the Acronyms!> My LFS got a batch of Amquel Plus in. They quickly pulled their stock and returned the batch to their distributor because they said that using it dropped the pH so low in 6 of their tanks (3 freshwater, 3 marine) that it wiped their fish out. One of the marine tanks had dropped to a pH of about 5.0 after using this stuff. <Yikes!> Obviously, for a product that advertises 'no pH changes', this is not good. Have you heard of any other similar stories with this new stuff? <Well, no I haven't actually> It seems rather extreme that Kordon would release - even mistakenly - a new product that could do such damage...I wonder if my LFS blamed the Amquel Plus when in fact something else caused their aquatic plunge into acidity. I used a bottle of the stuff to mix 50 gallons of change salt water, and noticed no change in pH myself ... and the bottle I used was from the same batch they returned. <Well, I'd say the facts speak for themselves. That's really odd. Maybe there is something in their water that interacts badly with something in the Amquel. If nothing like that happens when you use, I wouldn't worry about it then.> Thanks, SLC <Have a good night, PF>

Treating Water for Salt Mix >Your web site is very helpful and I am learning a lot from it. >>We're very glad it's so helpful to you, Donovan.  You have Marina with you tonight. >I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank with a few fish, inverts, 90 lbs of live rock, a filter with a protein skimmer and a UV sterilizer. >>Why the UV?  If your system is healthy (and any of the inverts are filter feeders) it's not only not necessary, but will kill the organisms the inverts eat. >My question in on treating water for premixing. I have a 20 gallon tank in my garage that I use to store the saltwater. It consists of 60-70% distilled water (no copper tubing) and rest of the water from my frig filter that has a .5 micron filter.  I have a filter on the 20 gallon tank with carbon and an air stone to keep it well aerated and free of chlorine. >>To the best of my knowledge, carbon does NOT remove chlorine or chloramine.  Sodium thiosulfate does remove chlorine, and if I recollect correctly it also breaks the bond between chlorine and ammonia that comprises chloramine. >I currently treat the water with a water conditioner called Shieldex. Would it be okay to use Stress coat instead? >>I see no reason to use EITHER.  Generally, we prefer RO/DI water, but distilled should be fine as well.  Do know that it may require buffering either before mixing the salt, or after it's mixed in order to ensure it holds its pH. >I have been told that the aloe Vera in the Stress coat is not good for a reef tank. >>Ah, a reef tank.  No, I would NOT use StressCoat for a reef tank, nor would I use the Shieldex.  All you would really need to do (and no need with distilled water or water that's aerated in the open for a day or two) is dechlorinate.  Nothing more. >Would you recommend Amquel or possibly Prime? >>Neither. >How do you recommend I treat this water for water changes? >>If it's really distilled water then I recommend you first buffer it with a suitable buffering compound (Seachem makes good products) in order to ensure proper pH, then mix the salt in, aerate for a few hours and make sure it's up to temperature before making the water change.  Also, if you use the distilled water for top-offs do be sure it's buffered as well. >I also have a 5 gallon bucket that I store my top-off water in. It also consists of 60-70% distilled and the rest from the frig filter. I also put an air stone in there and add a little Shieldex. I also buffer the water with a little Kent marine Super buffer DKH but IT seemed to get cloudy in the bucket and white stuff all over the sides of the bucket. >>Bingo, that's not a problem at all.  That is precipitate, by my guess, and it's not a worry.  I wouldn't worry about the Shieldex unless you KNOW that your water carries chloramines, otherwise let it set for a day and chlorine will dissipate on its own in a day. >IT was very white and hard to remove. Did I do this incorrectly? >>No. >What do you recommend?  Thanks! Donovan Flores - Sacramento, CA >>As above, and do search our site for buffering and treating tap water for marine use.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm >>Best of luck!  Marina

Kati/Ani Deionizer and Chloramine - 8/21/03 hello one and all!! <howdy-do?> I confused myself a bit more in the FAQ section. I think I hit information overload and my brain shut down. <that's either a lot of information, or an invitation for a small brain joke <G>> I was hoping you could set me straight on a few things. I just purchased a Kati/Ani 2 set up from Dr Fosters & Smith  <excellent... my fave/first choice for purification units. I have bought models 1, 2, 5 and 10 over the years. Excellent deionizers IMO>  and was under the impression that this would give my quite pure water. <you are correct... better than most any RO> Then I saw conflicting info regarding the removal of chloramine. Do you know if chloramine is removed or not? <with DIs at large, it varies by resin type. Most all do though> Are there other things that it will not filter out that I should worry about? <on the contrary... the water will be ultra pure and need to be aerated and reconstituted (a little buffer is all)> Also - I have a few filter canisters from past projects and was thinking of putting them inline before the Kati/Ani unit. Maybe a sediment filter (we have a lot of water main breaks out here in Atlanta and the water can get quite dirty) and a .5 micron  carbon block filter. Would these be beneficial at all? <very... please do> Would they extend the life of the resins? <quite> Thank you for your time and have a good weekend. <and to you as well, my friend. Anthony>

Problem Solving! Dear Scott, <Hello again!> Thanks for responding. I promise this will be shorter than last message! <Hey- that's why I signed on for this gig! LOL> On the BTA-He has stayed in the same locale and will hopefully move on "foot" from now on. Since he has had that encounter with the strainer, I am concerned about how pale he is (the green is still good and there is a hint of brown). <As long as it appears to be recovering, that's a good thing!> Please talk to me about feeding. I have heard 1/week, 2/week/, 5/week, etc. and about completely different foods. I am confused. <Well, there are tons of different thoughts on this subject. My research seems to indicate that these animals feed daily in the wild, so I can't imagine it being detrimental (except if inadequate nutrient export mechanisms exist in your tank) to feed it daily, or every other day...I'd try a variety of frozen fish foods, and carefully observe which ones the animal "recognizes" as food sources. An anemone will usually "reject" what it does not recognize as a food, so go with what works!> Also, should the feeding be different after the strainer incident? <I would continue a routine feeding regimen. Just observe the animal a bit more closely> A small amount of Brine Shrimp Plus has drifted to him two days in a row and he has pulled it in. I know it doesn't mean he is eating it, but he acts hungry...please advise. <If it appears to be consuming this food, keep using it!> What is the best we can do for him with VHO lighting? We have painted the interior of the cover a glossy white to help reflect the light. <That's fine. If the animal appears to be reacting negatively to the lighting, you may have to augment as required...Again, observation is the key..> The six-foot (white) tubes only say - Aquasun/7 VHO-1. I have no clue what wattage... <Hmm...something the "expert" might be able to tell you. You need to know, especially when it's time to replace them...By the way- how old are the bulbs? Are they ready to be replaced?> I have removed nine molly millers, but not the tomato clown with ich. She was afraid of the net, so I am feeding her from it (that's how I got so many MM - smiling). I may be able to get her out tonight without much fuss (she has been half-way in the net). <Keep trying. It's important to get everyone out for the treatment> My question is, how do I set up a QT? I have a 10 gal tank, no cover, no lights, no heater and no pump, no nothing. I do have a bubbler and a long narrow heating pad. <Well, you almost have everything that you need. Here is an article by yours truly about setting up a QT...Hopefully, it will answer some of your questions, and the same idea works for a "hospital" tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm   > Am I nuts to think it wouldn't be wise just to dip and then put her back in with the others? My husband's aquarium pal gave four options: flush her (he had to be kidding), do a dip and put her back, put her in a dif. aquarium, or let the ich run its course.  Let the ich run its course, I'm not nuts. He's nuts! <Well, I'm inclined to agree! "Running its course" means that the life cycle of the causative parasites will go on and on- constantly re-attaching to fishes after dropping off...Until the fish dies. You need to address the life cycle of the parasite - knock it off on the fish with medication, and let the display tank run fallow, without fishes, for a bout a month - this will deprive them of hosts...Lots more bout this on the WWM site..> What about the other fish? My husband is on duty again (Hospital chaplain) and I just feel the other shoe is about to drop. I have ordered a total of four books, but need to correct these current problems before I get them. Help, I am drowning in a sea of misinformation! Crystal <Well, hang in there, Crystal! I'd start with a search under "parasitic diseases" on the WWM site, and you'll find plenty of GOOD information!> P.S. We have an RO/ DI water purifying system (not just RO) whatever that means. <"DI" means "deionization"- another phase of the water purification process...A good thing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Explain This to Me Like I'm a 3rd Grader!!! A few questions please...I've been scouring your site for a few months now... I read your articles/FAQs on alkalinity and pH. If your water is hard, does that mean pH is high and alkalinity is high..?  <usually they are hand in hand... although it is very possible to have a high pH and low ALK (unstable water)>  ... or does water softness have different effects on chemistry?  LFS guy says since my water is R/O I don't need to aerate my 5 gallons of top off water that I go through every week (stored in plastic 'Red Sea' 5 gallon container with screw tight cap and air- escape- capped- hole- nozzle- thing stored in my food pantry throughout the week, but I like to shake it up a tad during the walk with it to the aquarium).   <all RO water has to be aerated before it is buffered and used for any purpose> Out of the 10 LFS's or so in my area, they were the only one who could answer detailed questions about their R/O setup, and it looked good with extra chambers for stuff, one specifically for silicates, and the store's been open less than a year (aquatic aggression in Fresno California) am I doing this wrong? <without aerating... you wasted buffers. Not a crime... but not good practice either> Do I need to aerate R/O water from the LFS, they claim to buffer with Kalk and use Red Sea salt?? <do a pH test to confirm the need or not: test the pH and then aerate vigorously for 6-12 hours and then test again... the pH should not change. If it raises, you need to aerate it indeed> Also, I use the Via-aqua protein skimmer, it has a built in UV that I have now turned off thanks to Anthony....as I'm supporting a mandarin......okay, okay....2 mandarins, 1 male 1 female, both fat and sassy and beginning to get their freak on...no other fish.... it also has a chamber for a mechanical filter pad (laced w/ carbon).  I only used the last one for a week.  I have thrown in some small live rock pieces into this chamber (maybe a gallon of water) with some Gracilaria, it's maybe 3-4 inches wide and 12 inches deep or so....you know, ' fuge style... I don't think I'll put sand in there though.  But I need a small submersible light (for reverse photo period) to dip in here that will complete the ' fuge and keep the Gracilaria alive.  do they sell such lights???    <there are some neat daylight colored LEDs hitting the market. Also some pool and garden pond lights to do this job are available> I really feel it's a legit 'fuge.  whaddya think?? <if it's fishless... it's a 'fuge to me <G>> Considering you're my most trusted authority!! thanks!! I love you guys... and Marina too!! (wink wink) <who-ha... Antoine>

RO/DI Unit Hello WWM crew! A couple of questions; I'll try and make them as quick as possible. 1.) My tank has had some down time. I was having a terrible time with hair algae and got fed up with it and just left the tank alone for almost 4 months now. I didn't have an RO/DI unit and I think that my source water was the culprit. Now that I am making a little more money and have the means to get the right equipment I will be purchasing a Spectrapure 2000 65gpd unit soon. I've done no water changes during the down time and the tank looks like crap! I am planning to clean the algae off the glass and take the rocks out, scrub them off as best I can and add more substrate.  <sounds like a plan>  ( I only have about an inch and a half avg. depth ). I'll put the rocks back in and rearrange them. When I do this I want to make a large water change. <ok> Can I use distilled water as a substitute until I get the RO/DI unit and then do another large water change?  <you could but I would just use regular tap water with some dechlorinator added to it>  Should I just wait and use RO/DI?  <I would just use tap water for now until you get this>  Do you think that the algae will begin to die off after I replace most of the tank water with RO/DI water?  <depends... on how much you feed your fish and the dissolved organics in the aquarium> 2.) I need to upgrade my circulation system as well. I plan to buy a pre-made sump and use an Ampmaster 3000 as my main circulation. I think that I can plumb this pump into numerous returns and still have adequate water flow. If not I'll get the 3500. I do not have a drilled tank. I was thinking of getting 2 CPR 1600gph overflows to feed the sump. What are your opinions on this idea. Any other suggestions besides having the tank drilled ( that's really not a feasible option )?  <I would get the two CPR 1600 GPH pumps> I hope that I did not confuse you on the first topic! Hope to hear from you soon. I will definitely have more questions for you as I am planning to renovate the majority of my system.  <I look forward to it> Thank you,  Stephen Baker  <you're welcome, IanB>

That Time of Year... Depressed pH - Well-insulated Houses - 8/14/03 Hi, <howdy!> Have been researching the salt mixing process on your site, and have seen reference to buffering the RO water, prior to mixing salt, but could not find more specific details. <it's not rocket science, mate... we use RO or DI to demineralize water for the removal of the good and the bad. Then, simply buffer back with the good to a medium high/hard ALK and pH within the known safe ranges of seawater. Thus ensuring very consistent water every time (versus variable tap water quality)> Currently before mixing the salt, I leave my water to aerate for a day with a heater and powerhead in it, <very good> after which the PH tests at 7.4 prior to mixing the Instant Ocean. <not bad> Should I buffer this water prior to mixing? and if so, could I use my normal buffer, Seachem marine buffer? <yes... just a little would be fine to get closer to 8.0 or so> I am struggling somewhat with low PH in the tank, ranges from 7.9 to 8.2, and wonder if there is something I could be doing better.  Thanking You, Alastair <very common this time of year because of well insulated houses (depressing pH from excess CO2 in the house/water). Confirm this problem by taking a glass of aquarium water outside and aerate it heavily for 6-12 hours. Test pH before and after... there should be no change... but an increase would indicate the above problem. Much has been written on this topic in our archives at wetwebmedia.com if you care to read it. Best regards, Anthony>

- Dealing with Marine Velvet & RO/DI Clarification - Thank you for your prompt reply to my previous question on Marine velvet.  My Cuban Hog , Flame hawk and Zebra Moray Eel have all survived the attack of Marine Velvet.  The Cuban and Flame hawk are eating well and swimming normally.  I am planning on not adding any other fish to my 200 gallon tank for the next 6-8 weeks to break the cycle of this parasite.  <You won't accomplish much as long as there are fish hosts in the tank.>  My question is can I keep these three in the main tank.  <No, they should be in individual quarantine while you let the tank go fallow, also chance to treat the fish apart from the tank if something were to reoccur.>  I know you've said that the tank has to remain fallow without any fish to break the cycle.  <Heh... I just said it again ;-) >  I'm wondering if the Flame hawk and Cuban Hog have developed some immunity to the Marine Velvet which would allow them to stay in the main tank.  <Fish that are in excellent health can fend it off to some extent, but I'm going to guess that your fish are under some extra stress, given that you used the phrase 'survived the attack' - I would guess you will see the velvet again.>  Would a UV aid in minimizing the outbreak of these and other pathogens.  <Only to a very small extent... I don't really endorse the use of these unless of a hospital system. Can do without UV by careful use of quarantine.> My second question is about Reverse Osmosis.  My LFS is using a two stage system when he is making water for his tank. He does not use the reverse osmosis stage to filter out his water - just the prefilter and carbon filter.  Is this adequate or should I do the reverse osmosis to ensure the water is clear of any contaminants.  <Depends one what those contaminants are - how is the quality of your tap water? Could be particle and carbon filtration are all you need.>  How does this compare to a DI ( which I am assuming is a deionizer).  <Each is a type of filtration so each is particularly good at filtering out certain 'stuff'.>  The only deionizer I've seen in my area is TapPure which makes about 25 gallons before the cartridge is replaced.  <Not very economical.>  What do you suggest?  <Well, in RO/DI, the deionizer is the last stage in the filter so the resins last a little longer, but is the nature of all cartridges. Unless your tap water is bunk, you can probably just use that. Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm > Thanking you in advance  Vito <Cheers, J -- >

RO water applications - 8/11/03 Thanks for your advice Mr. Calfo!, or  anyone else that may reply!! <always welcome> I wondered if you would mind just clarifying a couple of points you made. With regards to aerating RO water before you use it, what is the reason and why would there be Carbonic Acid/ or CO2 in it in the first place?   <natural acidity post-demineralization. When you hear about "temporary" pH and its adjustment... this is what they are referring to. Although you can (and should) aerate the RO/DI water to raise the pH... the water still is unstable (could go acidic again easily) because of the lack of ALK/hardness> Is it part of the filtration process?, and also how long would you recommend to aerate the water for?. <12-24 hours> Secondly, if you do not aerate the RO water sufficiently before demineralizing and adding salt will the carbonic acid eventually be driven off with sufficient aeration/movement, or would  it be to tightly bound for it to be driven off, thus resulting in the poorly buffered water as mentioned. <if you neglect to aerate it and buffer it before using it as evap top-off or for salting, you will find that this water puts a measurable burden (consumption) of the main system's ALK and/or pH> I ask this because it was my practice to mix salt & minerals and then aerate which I suspect is the reason for my depressed!! pH!! and my depression!! <yes... at least contributory. Do adjust your water treatment, mate> and seeing as though I have just filled my new tank with RO water, (purchased as ?5a bottle) aerated after salt has been added, (another great little tip from my soon not to be LFS), I feel,  I might have a more stable tank temp wise, but in exactly the same place as I was before with the pH!!!! Aghh <yes, indeed.... the problem is not severe, but simply a waste of buffers in the main display which causes these nagging problems> Then if this being the case should I start more water changes with the properly aerated, water, or just stick to my regular routine? <hmmm... not sure I follow the question. If its a matter of RO vs. Tap water, I would always recommend properly aerated and remineralized RO or DI water over even the best tap water. Stability/consistency vs. risk of seasonal changes to your source water> Last but not least, should you remineralise the RO water every time you use it or, only after two or three water changes due to build up of minerals? <with every use... even if only in a small amount. Let your tests of pH and ALK over time determine how much to use> That it!! Thanks a million for your advise and help, Rob <best regards, Anthony>

Misguided Advice on How to Use RO Water - 8/10/03 Hi All, Hope all's well, <with hope for you in kind> I wondered if you would mind answering a few questions for me, I have spent the last hour reading FAQ's and am getting a little frazzled! I have a 36"x12"15" reef tank, set up at the end of last summer, lightly stocked, lots of live rock.  Stats:0 Ammonia, 5 Nitrate, 0 Nitrite. Canister filter, Berlin Skimmer, well aerated, lots of current. <if this is a reef tank... do allow a small amount of nitrates to linger else the corals will starve and/or have poor color. Seek up to 5ppm on your test kit (nitrate-nitrogen).> I have been having a few problems, namely pH fluctuating from 7.83  to 8.31 during the course of the day. <Yiiiiiiikes!!!!!!!!!!> (Big mistake buying a digi meter!) Alkalinity is 12 DKH, Calcium 380. As well as we have been having a bit of a heat wave over here and the tank temp has also been moving 4-5 degrees over the day!!. <ughhh!> (Too small tank that is the result of not doing enough research and listening to the guy in my local fish store) <understood> I tried to rectify the pH swings apart from making no difference I managed to raise the alkalinity up to about 25+..! .brains!!..have none!! <staggering <G>> Needless to say my corals are not looking healthy. <glad to hear some are still living <G>> Mushroom coral shriveled, Mushroom Anemone very closed . Xenia closed, Pulse Xenia, ..not pulsing and looking decidedly grey!. Fish seem fine!! phew! After a few major water changes, things seem to be settling down although I fear might lose some corals. <you are on the right track... large water changes to bring you back to par> Anyway now for the good news!!  After finally realizing I will never have a stable 3ft tank I have purchased today a 48"x12"15 tank and am in the process of setting it up and trying to remember all the things I should of done when I first set my tank up last year! I have had the tank drilled I plan to use the three foot as a sump, with maybe an overflow type filter system, in combination with the canister filter,, not too sure yet. Hopefully at the end of it I will have a more stable system! , fingers crossed. (any suggestions ) <hmmm... the larger tank is nice, but it really is not so much bigger as to correct your water chemistry problems... that is a matter of husbandry> Anyway the question really is your opinion on the pH fluctuating. I do 10% water changes weekly...using RO <hmmm... hoping the RO water is first heavily aerated (24+ hours to raise the pH and drive off carbonic acid/CO2) then re-mineralized (buffered) and mixed (12+ hours) and only then considered for use as evap top-off or salted for seawater). Else you have a source of your pH instability (weakly buffered source water)> I am in two minds whether to continue using it. My LFS has their pH at 7.8 using RO and there corals seem fine, perhaps larger more stable system?. <7.8 is irresponsible IMO for reef inverts. Seek a proper 8.3-8.6 soundly.> However I went to another LFS store and they have the most stunning reef tank, around 6 foot, by 3 by 5, and they use ordinary dechlorinated tap water? I could not believe it. <not surprising... the matter is not RO vs. tap water... it is simply about using stable and quality source water. For some folks, that is right from the tap... for others the reconstituted RO water is necessary> All they have is a large skimmer and a trickle filter Am I missing something here , I fear I am. <the trickle is no help (unless there is a huge fish load) and in most cases is a harm (excess nitrate contributions). One or two good skimmers on the tank is crucial for most systems though IMO> I have also been told that continually using RO water, could lead to a collapse in the pH?, <you are being advised by folks that have no concept of the dynamics of water chemistry. Properly handled RO or DI water (back to aerated, buffered and measured before use) is a tremendous boon to reef-keeping. It offers very stable and consistent source water (of known comp).. unlike the best tap water which fluctuates seasonally if not weekly> and that I really should use 2/3 RO and 1/3 tap water, what is your opinion? <get better local advice <VBG>. Ha!> Anyway sorry for the waffle I am sure I will have some more questions for you buy the end of the weekend! <really no worries at all. You will do fine being so inquisitive... keep reading/learning my friend> Cheers for you help Rob. UK <with kind regards, Anthony>

-More on storing purified water- Thank you for the quick response from my other question regarding premixing saltwater. I find your website very useful. I do have a few more questions and please correct me so I know I am doing things right. I currently make my own distilled water and there is NO contact with copper. How long should I aerate it to get the carbonic acid out? <Overnight, if you determine that you have some sort of a co2 problem from distilling> After I aerate it, what brand would you recommend to add back the important minerals and buffers before using is for top off water or mixing salt with it? <Add nothing for mixing salt, add marine buffer when you use it for top-off> Should I use the same method for both the water I use for top off evaporation and water I use for making saltwater. <No need to buffer it when mixing saltwater> I currently use The Kent Marine Super DKH in my 55 gallon tank to keep my Alkalinity and ph at par levels. Would this product be okay to use in the distilled water to make it okay to use?. IF not what brand would you recommend. <The Kent stuff is fine> In other words I make my own distilled water and would like to know the steps necessary so that I can use the distilled water for replacing water evaporation and using it making saltwater. Remember I have a 18 gallon tank with a Aquaclear 500 filter that I use to store my saltwater ready to used at any moment. <I would store it as-is with no buffer in it. Only do something to it when you're ready to use it. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks! Donovan Sacramento, Ca

Silicate Situation... Hi Purified-H2O Guru: <Well, I consider myself more of a high silicate source water victim! LOL...Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!> I really don't want to RO my tap water as it is pristine, above 8.0 straight out of the tap, and full of hardness (good for marine tanks, bad for everything else.) <No discus for you...> No copper, lead, iron or other nasties ... even chlorine is so low it's almost usable without Amquel-nuking. But, silicates are around 70 ppm...which may or may not be fueling diatom blooms in my tank. <Yep- they are! I know whereof I speak on that one!> I have 2 questions : a.) Isn't natural sea water around 2000 ppm of silicates (or of silicon specifically), and therefore adding 70ppm is only increasing this load by about 3.5% ? <Mathematically correct...But in a closed system- silicates from source water can spell a nasty diatom plague...RO/DI is the way to go, my friend....Preferably, a unit with an extra silicate membrane...> b.) Is there a product that will remove just silicates and leave everything else alone? <Well, there are silicate "removing" products and resins, but they are both expensive to use on a continuous basis, and unreliable. Really a better move to go RO/DI with a good unit, like a Kent Marine "Hi S" model, or a SpectraPure 5 stage unit...Initial investment is high, but they pay for themselves down the line in terms of media replacements and frustration! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Thanks, SLC

AquaSponic  !!! (Eco-Aqualizer) Hello Bob, <Carl> Its summer time and I'm sure you have been enjoying the outdoors.  I'm still waiting for that first dive trip. Things are going great here at ECO-Aqualizer.  I recently hired an associate who previous maintained a 4,000 gallon reef exhibit at an AZA accredited zoo along with his 12 years of professional aquarium experience. Good man to have in the boat. <Glad to hear/read of your progress!> I am sorry for not getting back with you here the last 6 months or so - but I have been a very busy individual.  My product is now in 18 countries - with Exclusive Distributors in Asia.  Both Europe and Asia seem to have very educated hobbyists.  Open-mindedness comes to thought but in reality their cultures completely understands science. Japan is also a leading industry with similar technologies used within the ECO-Aqualizer.  Its a shame that most Americans are so quick to bash and slander things when they have no first hand experience with this technology. <Mmm, might I suggest you consider an approach in your advertising, overall promotion? I think a very simple experiment of a small sample size (ten ten gallon tanks?) of a given chemical, biological make-up... and simply chart the changes you observe with and w/o the use of your product?> I will boast that with over 4,000 units now sold - we have had only 2 returned.  I knew that my "180 Day Money Back Guarantee" was a risky option for myself, even though the investors thought elsewise.  I guess I'm lucky in 2 ways, because I did not go with those investors and now I'm free and clear. <Thank goodness!> And secondly, my product is safely saving many fishes lives - and that was my intention from the beginning of this adventure.  It feels very good to be doing something positive for a hobby that has captured my heart, even though it consumes endless hours. <Outstanding. Our goals are confluent here> Oh yes, almost forgot, I have had the pleasure of spending countless hours consulting with Nelson Herwig, Curator of Fishes at the Houston Zoo. <A fine gentleman> He himself has spent over 6 years researching the dynamic energies involved with magnetism, especially regarding it's application in water and cellular biology.  Nelson is the same man that discovered exactly how Potassium Cyanide adversely effects the kidneys of fish. He also worked hand in hand with Steve Robinson of Cortez Marine. Nelson also wrote a book that was one of the first compilation manuals regarding the pharmaceutical treatment of fish Diseases and Parasites. <Yes. I use, cite it often>   He is a fascinating scientist and has offered many insights regarding the incredible effects that our product has on the immune system of fish among other things. Anyway, hope to see you at MACNA in Louisville.  I think you will really enjoy my associates and welcome their field expertise.  Mind boggling stories to share. <I'll be out of the country for this go-around> I was tuning into WetWebMedia and was wanting to run a full banner AD for the next six months or so.  To my surprise, I encountered some pretty bad threads from some uninformed people.  Slander again from those too cheap to try a product with a Money Back Guarantee.  Well.... if I could put them in touch with my 4000+ customers - I would.  They are very very happy, buying more units and now starting up second tanks since their aquariums are so easy to maintain now.    <Make it known if/when you'd like to try your ad> Oh by the way, I am not part of Marc Weiss. <Good to hear/read as well>   And Bob Goeman's is probably the most honest reporter in the field.  Its a shame that he has gotten bashed for being honest.   <He is also a fine gentleman> And no, he is not part of my company either.  I just met him myself at the International Marine Convention in Chicago.  I can't believe all the politics involved in a hobby that we are all suppose to love.  For God sakes, it has a 180 Day Money Back Guarantee, because we know that everyone will greatly benefit with it.  Bob, you should send me your address.  I would love for you to see the incredible difference in ECO treated water. <Our address is 8586 Menkar Rd. San Diego, CA 92126. Carl, if you have input, testing you'd like for us to post re your products, do send it along> Hey Bob, give me a call.  We should talk. 1-866-ECO-AQUA, and either Brad or Janice will direct the call to me. Always a pleasure...... CARL DENZER    <Am just back from travel (Malaysia the last few weeks, so will take some time to catch up with correspondence. Hope to chat with you through the Net in the meanwhile. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: AquaSponic  !!! Hello Bob, Glad to hear of your response.  But being an honest person that I am, I feel I should be straight forward with. <Please do, always> I was a bit offended to see some threads posted at WWM. Especially some things that you had said about our product.  Believe it or not, as kooky as it sounds, our product will have a dramatic effect on this industry.  Its time we preserve the sea creatures that we all love so much and ECO-Aqualizer will greatly have an impact on that success. <I keep hearing this "commentary" from your ads... and really wish you would "just state the facts" re exactly "what" your product does so folks can understand what they're getting... not necessary to be too technical, or to reveal proprietary secrets... but, as you state, there have been a bunch of "kooky" magnetic products with bizarre claims... yours may just look like one more to potential consumers> I will send some data for you to post on WWM.  All testing is being done by Nelson Herwig and Vincent Hargreaves (UK) - all third party validations.  Some of these reports will even go into the DNA of diseases and how ECO has responded, as well as microscopic reviews at 1000x.  I just hope the public don't ramble again about its unwillingness to accept a very new concept. <Really would like to see, share these><<Not sent yet... a few years later, 9.06. RMF>> All things come to a past and new things replace the old ways.  It should be looked upon as a step forward - not condemned for hocus-pocus.  Yes, our product involves physics that most hobbyist are completely unaware of - even marine biologist are unaware of the dynamics of quantum physics. Yet this is exactly the step forward this industry has needed. <Mmm, well, I once taught H.S. Physics... and still read a few journals...> I do very much want to advertise on WWM, but fear that the comments that you have previous made about ECO-Aqualizer, will have more weight and sway consumers away. <No need to advertise one way or the other, believe me. Am happy to "plug" good products, services, and for the most part not volunteer opinions re shams> I'm sure you are aware that starting a new business is very hard, I have to be careful where I spend my dollars.  The rate of return must be adequately met or the call for action is not necessary. <Am very aware of what being self-employed in this industry is like... I have been "in it" for more years than you've been on the planet. As regards association with us (WWM, WWF), we have more daily traffic than FAMA (ask our current sponsors), and more monthly traffic than all the national pet-fish zines.> I think you once said you get 5000+ visitors a day, <Now closer to 9k> if this is true, then WWM would be a viable source. And I would commit to a long term advertisement (a big box).  But honestly, if you speak badly about my product, I'm gambling with a deck of Saddam cards.  And most Aces have been retired. <Mmm, I don't speak one way or the other re your line. I have no contact with it other than having met you two fellows, who appear to be reasonable, intelligent and very-well intentioned> Also, you mentioned a 10 ten gallon tank tests.  If any readers see this, PLEASE advise that tanks need to be at least 3 feet away from each other - otherwise, the results will begin to mirror each other due to the magnetic flux travel. <Really? Magnetic fields drop off in intensity at a square of the distance from their source... these fields must be something! I was suggesting that you folks do some simple, repeatable (by others) experiments that could/would demonstrate the relative benefits, effects of your products use... Like five tanks with, five w/o, with different stocking densities... of whatever sort of set-ups.>   If the tanks are adequately separated, the claimed results will become very obvious and undisputable.  Just thought this should be mentioned beforehand and not after the fact.  Please clarify with readers so no incorrect testing has been resulted. <Will do so. You have here> No hard feelings, I think you're a great guy with good intentions and feel that WWM can be a big help in deciding the future of improvement in aquaria. <Along with our book publishing, and soon other media we have and will continue to do so>   Down the road, ECO-Aqualizer will be as important to a new tank setup as the actual aquarium itself.  That is if you care about keeping fish alive - long-term. <Outstanding. I do hope so and that you do well financially as a consequence> Hope all is well and still looking forward to a dive sometime. <Come out with us! Just talked with Ken Wong (Marine Depot, Bayside) and he is hoping to join us next week (24-31) in Hawaii. Will add your email addy to our dive/travel adventure list. Bob Fenner> Bests... Carl  

DI Water 7/13/03 Hi.  I have a question about treating tap water using a DI unit.  What all does DI remove and what will it do to the water in terms of pH and hardness?   <it varies by resin brand/quality... but better units almost completely demineralize water (zero hardness). pH will likely be acidic or at least unstable for the lack of buffers. It needs to be aerated and then re-mineralized slightly before use. There really are many FAQs and information on this subject in our archives at www.wetwebmedia.com  Do a keyword search on the subject with the Google search tool at the bottom of the homepage> Kent and some of the other manufacturers are less-then-clear about what exactly their units might and might not take out and how it will change the water's chemistry.   <just one of the many reasons why I do not use or recommend Kent products specifically. I have been quoted as having said that I would not take their products for free> I am considering purchasing a unit to help combat tap water that is less-then-ideal for my reef tank and a possible Discus tank that I may be setting up in the next few months.   <excellent and agreed... do look at the Kati Ani brand (Dr.s Foster and Smith, Gwynnbrook Farms, etc). I have been using this brand for over 10 years [in my discus hatchery and an industrial sized one for my coral farm/greenhouse]> Will DI water be beneficial, and is it better then RO <I think so as many do... arguably produces slightly purer water> (I don't like the idea of how wasteful RO seems to be)? <agreed!> Thanks! Christopher <best regards, Anthony>

- Buffering Top-off Water - Hi guys, <Good morning, JasonC here...> Been having some problems trying to automate my top off water.  Problems are w/ making up the RO/DI water to use as top off and even water changes.  Trying to make it as streamlined as possible and match main tank as close as possible.  Here is my procedure.... I have a 30 gallon Rubbermaid trash that I have marked on the sides for 10, 15, and 20 gallons.  (I filled up the can by filling gallon at a time to find my levels)  I run my RO into the can, and fill to 20 gallons.  I then put in a Maxi Jet PH and heater for at least 12 hours to drive off carbonic acid and raise temp to approx. <RO/DI won't have any carbonic acid in it - the water is, by definition, pure, although the aeration will help, you don't need to wait for 12 hours.> 78 degrees... so far so good... NOW this is where problem arises.  Trying to buffer the makeup water to add to top off or even for salt make up.  I have tried SeaChem reef buffer and builder and just tried Kent RO Osmo prep.  Problem is I can not get correct, accurate or reproducible levels of pH, and ALK to match the main tank.  IYO/IYE what are the best way/s to prepare RO water for main tank?  Also thought about using reef builder to get alk set and then baking soda to try and match pH... what do you think? <Is what I did.> Last thing... are there any conversions for baking soda, like tsp per gallon? <No... generally speaking, you could dump the entire container into a bucket of water and the pH will rarely get over 8.3 - it's very hard to overdose baking soda.> Thanks for all your help Bryan <Cheers, J -- >

High PH from RO? (7/8/03) I just purchased a new RO Unit... It is a Dolphin 100gpd unit from http://www.aquariumwaterfilters.com/RODI/Dolphin.html I tested the water with the free TDS meter they give you and it tested out fine at 4ppm. However the pH on this water is at a whopping 9!!!!  Most RO water I've had experience with is at around 6.  <Wow!  That is strange, make sure your ph test is accurate, the liquid one get old and unreliable fast.  See if your LFS will test it for you to be sure its not just the test kit.   Also try testing your source water and see what that is.  Cody><<RO water is often of low pH due to the high/er solubility of ambient carbon dioxide (which goes into solution as carbonic acid mostly) and the lack of neutralizing alkalinity (these minerals have been removed by the RO process...). If the pH is high... something is amiss with your RO unit. RMF>> Suggestions to why this is? Thanks, Sonny

High Mineral Content High mineral content in my tap water.  What is the best thing for me to do to remove it?  I have tried a phosphate sponge, but there are no real directions and I don't know if I am using too much, too little....<I would not use the phosphate sponge. It has never worked for me. My advice is to buy RO (reverse osmosis) water. Or if you want to save a lot of money purchase an RO unit yourself.> I started this because I have TONS of red algae in the tank... it's still not gone.   I am afraid of doing anything too drastic because I don't want to shock the fish.<agreed, I would not use your tap water any longer.>  Can you please help. <Do read more about RO water on our site or search Google. IanB>

RO product water = 4.0 ppm P04!!!!!!!!!!! Hey Guys! I've been having some problems w/ phosphate levels the past 3 months.  I was reviewing your site today (awesome information, by the way) and realized that my problem may be the water source. <Ta da!> I bought a RO unit about the same time my problem started.  After testing the water from the unit, sure enough, the PO4 levels straight out of the unit are at 4 ppm! <Insert gagging face here> I immediately went to an on-line aquatics supply store, they had a ton of replacement filters, but nothing specifically for PO4 removal.  I had no idea what to get.  So my question is twofold: 1) can I even buy a replacement RO filter that will remove phosphate, and 2) if so, do you know which one I should purchase?   I spent too much on that dang thing, not to be able to use it!   <Are you sure you're using a reverse osmosis unit? With even the cheapest R/O unit you should have undetectable levels of phosphate in the product water. Your unit should have a sediment filter and carbon block before the membrane. It would also be a good idea to purchase a post deionizer for the product water of the RO. If you care to send me the specs of your unit, I'd be happy to make specific recommendations. -Kevin> Your help would be greatly appreciated. Mike

- 4ppm PO4 R/O water part 2 - Dear Kevin, Thanks for responding so quickly!  Yea, the unit I bought is definitely an RO.  Specifically, it's a 5-stage RO unit, the first cartridge is a sediment filter, followed by a pre-filter, a carbon filter,  the membrane next, and finally a "water polisher." <Hmmmm, I wonder what that is...> Other than this, I'm not really sure of the specs; it looks like any other RO I've seen.  It wasn't manufactured by a marine products company, e.g., Kent, et al., but I figured an RO is an RO, and so on. <Heh, don't worry, none of the marine products companies make any more than the stickers that they put on the units> I'm really at a loss as to why so much PO4 is coming through in this supposedly filtered water, and would like to get some filters to get it working right.  1/2 micron carbon filter perhaps?  I'm not sure. <I'd swap out the water polisher thing for a DI resin, any brand should fit.> As a side note, last night after I wrote, I did a little experiment that you may be able to pass on.  I have a lot of water stored-up that I obviously can't use so I had to get the phosphate out.  I set up two 5 gallon buckets and filled them both with the RO water (this is water that's been through the unit, but still has a PO4 reading of 4).  From 9 p.m.- 9a.m. I ran a Whisper over-the-tank power filter filled w/ Polyfill on one bucket,  and put a submersible power filter that had a poly cartridge packed w/ Phosguard in the other.  This morning, the bucket w/ the over-the-tank/no Phosguard still read close to 4 ppm, while the submersible w/Phosguard read about .15 ppm. I know that's still high for a SW tank, but is certainly better than 4! <Yes, it's still very high, but 4 ppm makes me want to puke> Regardless, I want to get my RO unit useable, without the extra Phosguard treatment. <Here's another experiment to do, remove the water polisher, make some water, and test it for phosphate. If it's still high, you need a new membrane. You can replace the polisher with a deionizer anytime, I'd do this right away. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks for your advice, Mike

- More RO Phosphate - Yea Kevin, that was a good idea to disconnect the "water polisher."  I took a water sample w/o it, and the PO4 was still at the same levels, but replacing it with a deionizer is the way to go. <Mike, I wonder if it's your phosphate kit, although you did get a reasonable reading after running phosphate remover...> One last idea, the carbon filter is only a few months old, but if they get saturated, they can release phosphates, right? <No, but even so, the RO would take it all out.> Maybe, it's the culprit.  Thanks for your help and suggestions; the WWM site as a whole is amazing. <Alright, here's my thoughts on this whole phosphate saga: If the water coming out of your membrane is high in phosphates, there are only four possible reasons. 1) Your phosphate kit is wrong, but I don't believe that is the case... 2) Your membrane is bad, used up, finished, done 3) you're discarding the product water and using the rejected water 4) the phosphate fairy is coming at night and sprinkling it into your RO reservoir. This reminds me, time to change my DI resin! Good luck, -Kevin>

- Distilled vs. RO - Hi gang, <Good morning, JasonC here...> The plethora of information contained in WWM always astounds me... keep up the great work! <Ok.> I'm presently using a distiller for my aquariums... it's small, uses about 750W of power, and takes about 3 hours to make 3 quarts or so of distilled water. <Not a very efficient way of producing water for your tank.> I've been considering installing an RO system, but know the membranes, pre-filters and DI canisters are rather costly. <Not as costly as your electric bill...>  Has there been any cost studies on RO water -vs.- Distilled? <I think you and I just did one... at this rate, you can buy new membranes, which last for years when flushed with the money you save from not running your distiller.> I know the RO system would be far more convenient... BUT... I can live with the distiller for about $10/month!  <An RO filter would produce much more filtered water per dollar than your distiller.> FYI- Our tap water is quite hard, 30 or more dKH, high in nitrates and high in particulate matter...JOY, huh? <Just order a back-flush kit to go with the RO device and the membrane will last a good long time.> Any information and/or experiences on this would greatly be appreciated! Cheers,
<Cheers, J -- >

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