Please Use RO Water When Doing A Salt Tank

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cm11599ps

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Please don't use regular tap water when starting a marine tank. Tap water has added trace elements than can be hazardous to our fish. It can also contain phosphates which will lead to algae problems. I bought a 75 GPD RO/DI unit so I make my own water. Here's my story.



I installed a saddle valve and hooked up the RO unit to it. Here's what it looks like. The black line is waste water produced by the RO unit. With my unit, for about every gallon of purified water made, 4 gallons of waste is produced.


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I have the white 1" PVC coming down from my upstairs linen closet. As you can see I made a little trap for it before it runs out of my house and into a drywell about 12' from my house.

The saddle valve is supposed to be attached to rigid copper supply line, but I figured if it's safe to use on that with 60+ psi then it should be fine to use on my low psi waste line. So far so good, it works like a charm!

The PVC is going up into my linen closet which is where I'm going to be draining my tank so that I'm not dumping into my cesspool.


The purified line (blue) comes from my downstairs boiler room. It then goes up through my linen closet and into my attic, maybe 10' up. It then runs horizontal about 15-20' before coming down into my garage about 12' to the bottom of the Brute.


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I drilled a hole and installed a uniseal and then attached the 1" PVC and ball valve. I installed a barbed fitting onto the ball valve to attach the 4' flex hose. This will be used to fill a smaller container for top off.


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My brother just started a reef tank in August and we split the cost of the RO unit. He used to drop his top off container one day and pick it up the next before this setup. Now he can just come over whenever he needs water and fill up his container and leave. Real easy.

I'm still going to be installing a second container for salt mixes so I can pump directly into the tank.

When all is said and done the RO line will 'T' off so there's a line going into each container.



With this method I ALWAYS have RO water on hand in case of emergency. If you don't want to spend the money on an RO unit then get it from your LFS. Most of them will sell it to you for about .50 a gallon. The only problem is that about every week you would be going in with a 5 gallon bucket, just to use as top off. Unless the LFS is VERY convenient than you may get lazy and not get the water as often as needed. Also, what if you have a tank emergency when the LFS is closed. You would be out of luck.
 

pepetj

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I agree with you: using tap waters ends up creating an end product that can be far from intended when the "man-made" salt-mixture is added. When I kept my Nano Reef I paid 1.25USD per 5gals of RO processed water (sold for human use, not sure why they do it but glad they do).

I use RO processed water for most of my freshwater tanks as well. I got the small Seachem's Pinnacle 35GPD unit still in the box (going to install it in my new apartment in a couple of months when I move in). I use Seachem's equilibrium and pinch of sodium bicarbonate to get into target range for GH and KH. Haven't had any health problems since I switched to RO. I even dismantled my UV-C sterilization systems.

Pepetj
Santo Domingo
 

zeeter

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Aside from many of the impurities and outright poisons in tap water, there are some benefits. Most tapwater contains the trace elements that you need to manually add to your tank, such as calcium and magnesium.

As with my answers to other threads promoting RO/DI, I don't mean to endorse tap water; I use ro/di myself. However, depending on the quality of your water and assuming that it is conditioned properly you CAN get away with tap water. In fact, sometimes using RO/DI water is counter productive. We remove all of the trace elements that we then need to put back into the tank for the sake of the fish. This is only applicable for top-offs, of course, because our salt mix contains these elements.

I guess my point is, before spending $150 - $200 on an RO/DI unit, find your local water parameters. They're almost all available online. Some of the impurities that are in the tap water can be controlled, such as Nitrate. Others and you're out of luck - such as copper. But if your water only has traces of harmful chemicals there are plenty of supplements that can be used within the sump to remove phosphates and other bad things.

Meanwhile, with an RO/DI unit you must add trace elements whenever topping off. These elements about even out over phoslock or other devices as far as ongoing costs. Especially when considering that the filters must be replaced every year.

Plus, aside from the RO/DI cost, you will not be wasting five gallons of water per every one gallon of pure water. This has long term ramifications. Those who say that buying an RO/DI unit will pay for itself in a year or two aren't taking this water cost into consideration.

Again, I'm not advocating FOR tap water. I'm just providing the other side of the argument. Some people are forced to use RO/DI because their water is atrocious. Others use it simply because they found a half trace ppm of Nitrate in their water.
 

Stang Man

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If your using a R/O water then you should use a good synthetic salt to mix with and the salt will have all the correct water requirements.



Not to mention the other chemicals found in tap water through out the USA, There have been tests that show in many urban cities due to the goverment that requires all tap water to have alot of this awfull junk in tap water that I do not want to drink and should not use in our salt water enviroments. There are over 285 chemicals and minerals and bi- products that are not good in any way for us as we use for or water system. Should I say don't drink the water!!!!! I don't care what part you live in the US but we all have it in our tap water!!!
 

zeeter

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Generally, most people whom I've talked with agree that Instant Ocean is the most stable mix on the market unless you want to spend $80 for a bucket from Germany. Studies have shown that of the most common salts many of them vary from bucket to bucket as far as their nutrient levels.
 
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cm11599ps

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Sure an RO unit may strip the water of needed trace elements, but it also takes away the BAD stuff too. I think it's a lot easier to add a trace element then worrying about what MIGHT be in my water.

Running an RO unit is not cheap but it's not always about money. My brother and I shared the cost of an RO unit but I keep it at my house and pump it into 2 Brute cans. When he needs water he simply comes into my garage (we live 5 minutes away), opens a valve on the Brute and fills his container to bring to his house. I ALWAYS will have around 50-60 gallons of RO in my garage if I ever needed it in an emergency. About a month ago I didn't have any water made because I was working on my water setup. He ended up dropping his contianer off so I could fill it when I got everything running again. I didn't get a chance to make water and he needed it so I went to the LFS about 10 minutes away to get some. I was there for 15 minutes before an employee was able to help because the joint was rocking that night. Just waiting that one time made me glad I bought my own unit.
 
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