My water change procedure

ChandaBear

I just want to share what I do to my reverse osmosis/deionized water to prepare it for performing a water change, and with 6 tanks, it happens frequently! (From artificial plants/decorations, to a heavily planted “Walsted Method”) I will add that I do this to have the ablility of knowing with 100% certainty, what is and is not in my water. Complete control of what goes in/out…

5 gallon bucket, filled by my “RO Buddie” system which deionizes the water as well. (4-stage)
I add five things and they’re all by “Seachem”
1. Equilibrium
2. Neutral Regulator
3. Alkaline regulator
4. Acid buffer
5. Alkaline Buffer
6. Fresh Trace

Seems so simple like this but takes a lot of research to understand the meaning, and function, behind each supplement.
**disclaimer**
I use a digital spoon scale to measure what amounts I need as the brand Seachem gives their measurement directions in metric, and if you’re in the USA-you need to convert.. which doesn’t convert so easily with all of these supplements so I suggest getting a digital spoon scale.
 

MrMuggles

If only I had a smaller tank or a larger RO system! Our water supply is trash, especially in winter - when the rain comes my water changes to a stinky, very heavy chlorine smell and I have to double-dose Safe to keep the fish from getting itchy.
 

ChandaBear

What RODI system do you use? I had the 50GPD membrane, at first, and it was slow, slower than I needed! I looked into getting an in-line pump to increase water pressure thinking it just needed a boost. I did more research, to avoid a costly addition, found that I could get a membrane that would allow more water to pass; therefore more water quicker. I then switched to the 100GPD membrane, now I can run a 5gal bucket in about 35-45mins or so. As to tank size, what size do you have, if I may ask? I have 6 total tanks with a volume of 161 gallons total, I can run 4 buckets in about 2.5 hours with the new membrane but that much water through a 50gpd membrane was unrealistic. Do you have the option to change your filter beds to something that flows quicker, or build up a store of water..? I keep 2-4 buckets of plain filtered water ready to be remineralized and added in case of emergencies. But typically I keep all 4 filled till I use them-then it’s two days of FUN lol. Thanks for reading and replying!
 

RayClem

There is no need to use all the buffers you are adding to the RO water. The Equilibrium will add magnesium and calcium to provide GH. You do need a buffer to provide KH, but the proper ones depend upon your targeted pH. I target a pH of 7.5 for a community tank, and use API Proper pH 7.5. However, it is a phosphate buffer.

If you are targeting a pH of 7.0, the Neutral Regulator or Proper pH 7.0 should work. If you want a pH over 8.0 for Rift Lake cichlids, then the Alkaline Regulator will work. If you are targeting some other pH, you should be able to use a combination of Acid Buffer and Alkaline Buffer to achieve any pH you want between 6.0 and 8.4. By using buffers that are trying to hold different pH levels like Neutral Regulator and Alkaline Regulator, they are just fighting one another trying to do their job.
 

MrMuggles

What RODI system do you use? I had the 50GPD membrane, at first, and it was slow, slower than I needed! I looked into getting an in-line pump to increase water pressure thinking it just needed a boost. I did more research, to avoid a costly addition, found that I could get a membrane that would allow more water to pass; therefore more water quicker. I then switched to the 100GPD membrane, now I can run a 5gal bucket in about 35-45mins or so. As to tank size, what size do you have, if I may ask? I have 6 total tanks with a volume of 161 gallons total, I can run 4 buckets in about 2.5 hours with the new membrane but that much water through a 50gpd membrane was unrealistic. Do you have the option to change your filter beds to something that flows quicker, or build up a store of water..? I keep 2-4 buckets of plain filtered water ready to be remineralized and added in case of emergencies. But typically I keep all 4 filled till I use them-then it’s two days of FUN lol. Thanks for reading and replying!
My tank is 120 gallons, I have the APEC ultimate 90gpd w/permeate pump boosted pressure. I can’t upgrade my RO system but I do plan to get an in-line under sink filter eventually so I can dechlorinate without using additives.
 

ChandaBear

There is no need to use all the buffers you are adding to the RO water. The Equilibrium will add magnesium and calcium to provide GH. You do need a buffer to provide KH, but the proper ones depend upon your targeted pH. I target a pH of 7.5 for a community tank, and use API Proper pH 7.5. However, it is a phosphate buffer.

If you are targeting a pH of 7.0, the Neutral Regulator or Proper pH 7.0 should work. If you want a pH over 8.0 for Rift Lake cichlids, then the Alkaline Regulator will work. If you are targeting some other pH, you should be able to use a combination of Acid Buffer and Alkaline Buffer to achieve any pH you want between 6.0 and 8.4. By using buffers that are trying to hold different pH levels like Neutral Regulator and Alkaline Regulator, they are just fighting one another trying to do their job.

Thanks for taking some time to reply to my water change procedure!! It is one of my first posts actually! I wanted to begin by saying that I recognize and appreciate how your procedure is different than mine, as well, your choice of product is a bit different too; but I believe our end result, and ideal goal, is very-much the same. I do not use a phosphate-based buffer because I have four (of 6) planted aquariums, phosphates are not fun to deal with in increased amounts in planted tanks. Let alone a tank with only fish. It can lead to many, many, other problems so I do my best not to add phosphates other than what’s unavoidable, and those are kept in check with regular WC’s. The purpose of the buffers is to allow the water to absorb both alkaline/acid additions (from waste/respiration/photosynthesis..etc) without causing a sharp increase/decline in PH (which could be pretty fatal depending on how dramatically, and how quickly, it changes!) The buffers are added to kinda, and for lack of better words, “create a capacity to absorb.” I admire your ability to utilize the products you listed and are able to achieve your intended results; in my experience, this is what works for me and my systems with the routine I am able to maintain. I do recognize a product difference, in-turn an ingredients difference, but I don’t understand if there’s something I have missed? That is most likely my fault, I do not want to seem like I know it all and am open to new information, but it’s taken a lot of trial and error.. asking for help, and finally my tried and true tested methods put in practice. If I did misinterpret or miss some part of information, or how that information is pertinent to my routine, could you please enlighten me in a more relaxed explanation? Thank you again for responding and I don’t want to seem like a know it all jerk or somn’
 

RayClem

Yes, there are slight differences in our procedure. However, I do use RO water as my source water and I use Equilibrium to establish a suitable GH.

I understand about your hesitation to use Proper pH as it is a phosphate buffer. That is fine. However, if you check the ingredients on Neutral Regulator, you will find that it is also a phosphate buffer. It is designed to hold the pH around 7.0.

Alkaline buffer contains primarily sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate; it does not contain phosphates. It is designed to increase pH to somewhere above 8.0.

By combining the neutral regulator and the alkaline regulator, they are just canceling each other out. You are accomplishing nothing desirable for your aquarium. I am speaking both as a fishkeeper with six decades of experience and as a trained chemical engineer. If you do not believe me, check out the chemistry.

You can use alkaline buffer and acid buffer to produce any pH you desire by using them in the correct ratio (see the Seachem web site). That is what I recommend for your situation.

The other factor in the buffer equation is carbon dioxide. There is a relationship between pH, KH and dissolved carbon dioxide. Thus, your pH and KH have to be in a suitable range to provide carbon dioxide for your plants. Check out the Barr Report web site.
 

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