Using Ro Water In A Planted Tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by Jo Oh, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Jo Oh

    Jo OhNew MemberMember

    I am planning to transition to RO water in my planted tank
    I have a 20g Long with decent amount plants including a Monte Carlo carpet.
    Current inhabitants: 2 guppies, 2 corys, 6 ottos.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong:
    Due to RO water's purity, there are no minerals or nutrients. It lacks both general hardness (GH) and karbonate hardness (KH). GH include nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, etc. that all living organisms (including plants) need. Fishes, and other aquarium inhabitants need KH for their organs to function properly. I have heard of instances where peaceful, and friendly fishes started eating each other to "steal KH"; the behavior apparently seized once KH was added into the water column. So to summarize, RO water alone can be deadly to fish because its too clean.

    Many shrimp keepers promote the use of Salty Shrimp Bee Shrimp GH/KH+ when using RO water to help keep parameters suitable for shrimps and plants, as well as other aquarium friends. My setup is obviously not a shrimp tank and those products are freakin' expensive compared to other remineralizing products. Fortunately, I have found some good reviews on Seachem Equilibrium, which introduces minerals and nutrients, bringing the GH up (primarily focused on plants). Unfortunately, it does not help with the lack of KH.... but super conveniently, they recommend Seachem Alkaline Buffer to bring up the KH in the instructions. But wait, there's more! Seachem Alkaline Buffer also affects the pH, so they recommend using Seachem Acid Buffer to even the pH back out as well as keep it stable. So in short, I will need to purchase 3 different products which all have different ratios which, to make matters worse, means I will run out at different times. It makes sense because you're supposed to use variable ratios for the Alkaline and Acid Buffers to set the pH you want, so it's not a complete marketing scam. However, I just have a simple community tank with plants and I want to find a reliable product that will help remineralize RO water without having pH levels vulnerable to fluctuations.

    I have heard of cutting tap water with RO water to help sustain some minerals. I prefer to avoid this route, but I am still willing to read some testimonies.
    Does anyone know of any products that may be of use to me, or if Seachem Equilibrium, on its own, is an option and I am misinformed of the importance of KH?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. -Mak-

    -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    You need the GH and KH, but not necessarily acid buffer. If you dose KH to 3 or 4 the ph won’t be too high, though it depends on tank contents.
  3. OP
    Jo Oh

    Jo OhNew MemberMember

    Thanks! I might get equilibrium and alkaline buffer and keep a close eye on my pH to determine if I need to get acid buffer
  4. aniroc

    anirocWell Known MemberMember

    I used Equilibrium with RO water and I am using it now with my tap water even though my tap is not too soft. My plants love it. It is packed with Potassium (0-0-23), Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese and Iron. What I don't like about it, is that it dissolve very slowly.

    I don't use Alkaline buffer. Label says it contain a mix of Calcium and Magnesium carbonates and bicarbonates. There are several ways to increase KH. Baking soda is one option. If you don't want Sodium in your planted tank, you can use Potassium bicarbonate. Another option is Calcium carbonate (crushed coral) or Calcium and Magnesium carbonate (dolomitic lime).

    I would not use any of the Acid buffer. I believe it contains Phosphates.

    It is important to be consistent when using reconstituted RO water and use a TDS meter along GH/KH testing to make sure there are not wide fluctuation in the water you exchange.
  5. Thunder_o_b

    Thunder_o_bFishlore VIPMember

    For my RO/DI water I use SeaChem Equilibrium, Flourish, Flourish Excel, Flourish root tabs and will be starting SeaChem Potassium soon. All my fish, mystery snails and plants from 10 gallons to 150 tall are doing great.