Is Reverse Osmosis Water Suitable for Aquariums?

General Pic

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse Osmosis, commonly referred to as RO, is a process where you demineralize or deionize water to create purified water. It is a process of pushing water under pressure through a semi-permeable Reverse Osmosis Membrane. The membrane will allow the water molecules through, but will block larger molecules such as minerals and other contaminants.

Many marine and freshwater fish keepers have started using reverse osmosis (RO) to produce high quality water as the membrane traps and removes 90% to 99% of the impurities from the water. The purified water can then be used in the aquarium, while the waste water which contains concentrated contaminants can be discarded or used for your garden plants.

Reverse Osmosis Water vs. Tap Water

Many aquarists have switched to using water from reverse osmosis systems instead of tap water. In most cases, a country’s tap water supply contains too many contaminants which would severely compromise the lifespan of your fish.

Problems with Tap Water

FluorideTapWater

Water from the tap contains a certain number of dissolved solids in the form of salts, phosphates, nitrates with varying concentrations of chloramines and fluorides. While the chemicals added makes tap water suitable for drinking, it can be toxic for your fish. This is especially so in the case of soft-water fishes like the Discus and Dwarf Cichlids.

Due to the nitrates and phosphates, nuisance algae grow will thrive.  While phosphates and nitrates are not harmful to people at lower levels, it can cause a lot of trouble in an aquarium even in very low concentrations.

If you plan on having a reef aquarium, tap water can wreak havoc on your invertebrates and corals. Trace amounts of copper and considerable amounts of total dissolved salts (TDS) can be toxic for your aquarium’s invertebrates and corals. In tap water, your TDS will be in the range of 250ppm or higher which fish and corals are not used to living with these levels of TDS in the wild.

Furthermore, as the water evaporates from your set-up, the TDS levels will increase and could become toxic over a very long period.  Also, the quality of your tap water may vary throughout the year.  This would make it very hard to make consistent batches of salt water and these changing water conditions can have adverse effects on sensitive fish and corals.

Choose Reverse Osmosis Water

Aquatic Life RO Buddie Three Stage Reverse Osmosis

In contrast, reverse osmosis water is free from all dissolved salts, minerals and particles. This is because of the process of Reverse Osmosis which drives water molecules through a selectively permeable membrane, resulting in purified water without the hardness and pollution found in rainwater and tap water. As such, reverse osmosis water has no hardness level and its pH is generally lower compared to normal fresh tap water.

One of the benefits of using purified water is that the limitations of your local water can be removed. Tap water may contain contaminants that can cause algae blooms in your aquarium. Therefore, by using reverse osmosis water, your aquarium will be free of any potential contaminants. Additionally, you can recreate a full range of aquatic habitats within your homes from scratch.

Limitations of Reverse Osmosis Water

One problem with reverse osmosis water in freshwater aquariums is that it may be too pure. It contains very few of the salts and minerals that your fish require for their environment.  The lack of minerals also creates a poor environment for plant growth, fishes’ survival and development of your aquarium’s microbial communities. Therefore, you should not use only reverse osmosis water. Instead, you explore ways to re-mineralize your reverse osmosis water. You should gradually experiment with different proportions to find out the water parameters you need.

Another problem with reverse osmosis water is that it has zero carbonate alkalinity (kH) and general hardness (gH). This means that reverse osmosis water has no buffering capacity and is very soft. Consequently, your aquarium will be vulnerable to huge swings in pH and other water parameters.

Most fish prefer a constant pH in the range of 6.4 to 7.8. They cannot live through large pH fluctuations, such as fluctuations of greater than 0.3 over a 24-hour period. Thus, huge changes in your aquarium’s pH levels will greatly compromise the health of your fish.

Therefore, you should always find ways to raise the kH and gH of your aquarium’s water. One way is through adding a commercial buffer or sea salts for a saltwater aquarium. However, when adding these products, you need to carefully monitor all the parameters to make sure you do not crash the aquarium.

Making Reverse Osmosis Water Suitable for your Aquarium

Remineralising agent

As pure water alone can create an unstable environment in your aquarium, you should explore ways to re-mineralise your aquarium. In pure water, there is zero carbonate hardness and a buffering capacity. This problem can be easily solved by using a re-mineralising buffer.

Re-mineralising buffers are available for both fresh and salt water use. This enables any fish keeper to produce the correct water parameters for every kind of fish. Many stores supply pre-mixed seawater that can be added straight to your aquarium complete with all the necessary minerals added.

Also, once you have decided to use reverse osmosis water, you should make it a point to constantly use it every time you top up or change the water as your pet fish will have already adjusted to these water conditions. It would be unwise to constantly use reverse osmosis water and suddenly switch to normal tap supply as this will place unnecessary stress on your fish as they will take time to readjust.

Conclusion

Overall, using reverse osmosis water in your aquarium has numerous benefits. With purified water, you can eliminate any nuisance minerals or salts from causing problems in your aquarium. With purified water, you can create any aquatic environment from scratch. This includes adding some crucial minerals to your reverse osmosis water is also key for the growth and survival of your fish.

You should also work towards establishing stable water parameters as they are key to a great set-up. If you subject your fish or corals to unstable conditions, they will likely experience at least some stress as they are getting used to the new water parameters.  In the case of severe fluctuations, you could experience losses with sensitive corals, invertebrates and fish.

Coralife Pure-Flo II RO Unit

Coralife

The Coralife Pure-Flo II RO System is a 4-stage RO/DI unit with mixed-bed resin deionization cartridge. It produces clean, pure water from chlorinated or non-chlorinated source water. Its premium Thin Film Composite (TFC) units remove up to 99% of hardness, heavy metals, toxins, and many other impurities. The Coralife Pure-Flo II unit is easy-to-use and all units are wall mountable.

This unit is ideal for Freshwater or Saltwater Aquariums. With purified water, you can then decide on the types of sea salts or ingredients to add to your aquarium’s water. Therefore, this enables you to recreate any aquatic environment from scratch. The use of “pure” water which contains no contaminants will eliminate any doubts about what may be in your water.

Best Features:

  • Good filtration
  • Easy to set-up
  • Multiple attachments

Good Filtration

The unit uses a premium three-stage reverse osmosis (RO) units employ Sediment Pre-Filter Cartridge (Stage 1) for ultra-fine pre-filtration, Carbon Block Cartridge (Stage 2) for chlorine removal before reaching the Thin Film Composite RO membrane (Stage 3) to effectively remove up to 98-99% of hardness, heavy metals and toxins.

  • Sediment Pre-Filter Cartridge: You need to replace these pre-filters every 6 months or after 2,500 gallons of total water produced. If particles are forced through a fouled pre-filter, the membrane can be damaged.
  • Carbon Block Cartridge: If the carbon pre-filter is not replaced periodically, chlorine and organics will be present in the pure reverse osmosis water.
  • Thin Film Composite RO membrane: The membrane can be replaced every 2 to 3 years or after 12,000 to 18,000 gallons of water is produced. Flush the membrane every month or after 1000 gallons of total water is produced.
  • The flush valve is built-in; thus, you just need to turn on the flush valve handle to the “ON” position. Leave the valve switched on for 15 minutes and later switch off the flush valve.
  • You have the additional option to add a deionization cartridge to your model. It is also easy to install. The mixed-bed resin deionization cartridge removes any additional impurities to produce 99.9% pure water.

Easy to set-up

Coralife Parts

This unit comes with an installation manual which is detailed and easy-to-follow. It gives specific instructions as well as illustrations to help in the assembling stage. As many of the fittings are pre-assembled, your unit should be working in no time at all!

Membrane Installation

  1. Unscrew elbow fitting from the mebrane housing cap and remove the water line.
  2. Remove cap from membrane housing and insert the Thin Film Composite (TFC) membrane inside the membrane housing.
  3. Make sure that the membrane stem with O-ring is securely fastened into the membrane housing.
  4. Place the membrane housing cap back on.
  5. Insert the water line into the elbow fitting and tighten connection. Make sure all the fitting connections are tightly fastened.

Filter Cartridge Installation

  1. Insert filter cartridge into cartridge canister. Make sure that the filter cartridge opening is securely placed inside cartridge canister.
  2. Screw cartridge canister and the cartridge into the reverse osmosis unit.
  3. Use the canister wrench to tighten cartridge canister connection with the reverse osmosis unit.
  4. Make sure that all the cartridge connections are tightly fastened.

Reverse Osmosis System Installation

  1. Place the reverse osmosis system in a dry location with an accessible water source. Keep the pump dry and away from direct contact with water.
  2. Attach the inlet (yellow tube) to source water supply. For an indoor faucet attachment, attach faucet adaptor to faucet. Connect the yellow tube to the faucet.
  3. Route the waste water outlet, red tube, to drain. You can also route the pure reverse osmosis water outlet (blue tube) to the storage container.
  4. Once all the fittings are tightly fastened, you can turn on the water supply and check all the connections for leakage. Make sure that water is discharging from the red and blue tube.

Tips on Maintenance

  • If you plan to store your reverse osmosis membrane, it should never be stored dry. The membrane can be stored by being saturated in the RO system for 30 days.
  • If the membrane is not used beyond 30 days, it can be refrigerated. Place the membrane in a re-sealable bag and put a couple of teaspoons of purified water into the bag. Store the membrane in the refrigerator and not the freezer. The membrane must not be frozen.
  • You should regularly flush your membrane as this will reduce the mineral build-up on the membrane.
  • Whenever you change the filter or membrane, ensure that the membrane is properly seated. If it is not properly seated, there will be high water production and membrane failure. Consequently, membrane failure will lead to the production of poor water quality.
  • If a couple of your connections are leaking, you can consider unscrewing these connections and wrapping some Teflon tape around the threads and reinstall. Some users recommended this approach and achieved a 100% leak-free system.

Additional Features

This reverse osmosis unit is also wall mountable. Additionally, it comes with clear filter canisters, cartridges and faucet attachments. Unlike the usual budget reverse osmosis systems, this unit will not require a separate flush kit. Thus, you can save up on costs!

This unit also comes with a flow restrictor. This valve allows pressure to build up in the system. For reverse osmosis to take place, pressure is essential. Most reverse osmosis units require a minimum pressure of around 2.8 bar (40psi). At the same time, the ideal pressure will help prevent the system from leaking or blowing apart from too high pressures.

Shortcomings

Some users had trouble installing the RO cartridge. Inexperienced users found it difficult to tell if they were installing the cartridge correctly. Users generally could not tell if it was assembled correctly until the unit was completely assembled and then tested. A couple of connections on the unit may have some leakage at first. In that case, you may need to unscrew the connections and reinstall all over again.

However, this should not deter you from purchasing this unit. After a couple of tries, even beginners will get the hang of installing and using this reverse osmosis unit. This unit is still a great bargain with many redeemable features. If you feel this unit is a great fit for you, you can check out the prices here.

The SpectraPure MaxPure Reverse Osmosis Unit

SpectraPure MaxPure MPRO Reverse Osmosis Unit

With the SpectraPure MaxPure Reverse Osmosis Unit, you can now be sure that your aquarium will end up with the best clean water each time you get to use the RO system. It comes with a 99 percent rejection film important in making sure that the contaminants are all removed. Your unit also comes with optional saddles and tubing. This enables the unit to be tapped into existing plumbing.

Best Features:

  • 99% rejection film
  • High capacity of 90 gallons
  • Sturdy build and components
  • Transportable
  • Simple installation

Effective Filtration

The SpectraPure MaxPure Reverse Osmosis Unit efficiently removes water contaminants in 3 stages. The unit also comes with a 99% rejection film. This means that the SpectraPure MaxPure can remove sediment particles that are as small as 1 micron across. This is equivalent to less than 1/25,000 of an inch. This also means that this unit can filter out some types of bacteria, making the water even “purer”.

  • The incoming feed water from a cold-water source is directed through black tubing with an inline ball valve and is first passed through a sediment pre-filter.
  • This sediment pre-filter is used to remove excessive turbidity, sand, dust, silt, and so on. This would otherwise cause the carbon filter to become fouled with particulate matter which would reduce the downstream pressure. This may result in a drop-in production and a diminished ability to remove chlorine. This pre-filter will last 4 to 6 months.
  • The next stage of filtration is the carbon block pre-filter. This filter is used to remove organics and chlorine from the feed water that can damage the membrane. This pre-filter will last 4 to 6 months.
  • The next stage of the system is the RO membrane. The membrane only allows the purest of water molecules to pass through it while over 98% of most inorganic salts, all microorganisms and almost all high molecular weight organics in the water are rejected by the membrane and sent down the drain.
  • This RO/DI system has a single-stage Deionization cartridge that polishes the RO water to less-than-one ppm purity. The resin will start to change color at the indicator label on the cartridge. The color change will grow upward and the cartridge should be replaced once the color change gets to the top of the cartridge.

High Capacity and Sturdy Build

The MaxPure can also filter a large volume of water as it can purify as much as 90 gallons per day. This will suffice even for the largest of home aquariums. This unit also includes a manual flush valve. With a manual flush valve, you can flush away and prevent any scaling or clogging of the membrane. This will help keep the membrane intact for a longer period.

The model itself is made of strong materials like a non-rust mounting bracket which keeps the filters in good condition. The sturdy build is also important for keeping the model in excellent condition over the long run. The system is also designed to be convenient and transportable as it is only 15x7x16 inches.

Set-up Guide

MaxPure

In terms of set-up, the unit is straightforward as the instructions are easy-to-follow and the unit comes mostly assembled.

  1. Most of the components of this system are plastic and are subject to damage by ultraviolet light from the sun and other sources such as metal halide lighting.
  2. Avoid installing this unit in an area where it may be subjected to bright light or direct sunlight, as algae is more likely to thrive inside the clear filter housings when exposed to bright light.
  3. Hot temperatures greater than 113° F (45° C) must be avoided.
  4. Attach the black tap water tubing to the left side of the Sediment Filter Housing.
  5. Attach the black tubing and elbow(s) to the membrane housing cap(s).
  6. Attach the garden hose adapter (connected to the black tubing) to your cold-water source. Never run hot water (greater than 113° F/45° C) through the system.
  7. Unscrew the right-hand DI housing and remove the DI cartridge.
  8. Reconnect the empty housing to the threaded cap. Hand tighten the housing cap.
  9. Place the yellow concentrate (waste) tubing and the blue purified (product) water tubing temporarily into a drain. Do not restrict flow from these lines.
  10. Open the cold-water supply valve. The pressure should not exceed 80 PSI.
  11. Run the system for an hour to flush membrane residue.
  12. Check the system to ensure that all fittings are tight and leak-free before leaving the system unattended. (If anything is leaking, contact SpectraPure for assistance.)
  13. Discard approximately 2 gallons of product water before collecting purified water for use. Then, close the cold-water supply valve.
  14. Finish the installation by directing or connecting the yellow line to a permanent drain.

You should be mindful that it may take several days of normal operation for the membrane to reach its full production rate. Thus, be patient and do not be alarmed if the total product output is below the full production rate.

Tips for Optimum Performance

  • You should replace the sediment filter at least once every 6 months. This will prevent membrane fouling due to silt or sediment depositing on the membrane.
  • You should also replace the carbon block filter at least once every 6 months or when chlorine breakthrough occurs. If there is continued Chlorine Breakthrough, your RO membrane will be heavily damaged and have a much shorter lifespan.
  • The membrane should not be operated at lower than the minimum 3:1 concentrate to purified water ratio.
  • If your feed water is over 300 ppm, you should consider operating your reverse osmosis system on softened feed water. This greatly reduces the chance of membrane fouling.

Shortcomings

Users commented that they would have preferred if the unit included a flow control valve for the input port, given the unit’s higher price. Users also cautioned that a high-water pressure can cause a leakage and can cause one of the lines to detach. Therefore, users should also consider purchasing a pressure gauge to avoid this problem.

Overall, these are a few minor complaints. It does not take away from the fact that this unit is still an excellent purchase. You are interested in purchasing this unit, you can check out the latest discounts here.

Koolermax AR-122 6-Stage Aquarium Reef RO System

Koolermax AR-122 6-stage RO+DI Aquarium Reef RO system

The AR-122 comes with an array of top-notch features. This 6-stage system comes with a reverse osmosis unit, pressure gauge, all filters as well as installation hardware. This model also comes with a high capacity of 120 gallons, which is uncommon as not many reverse osmosis systems for reef tanks have such a high capacity. This unit also weighs 17 pounds with dimensions of 16 x 6 x 16 inches.

Best Features:

  • Effective filtering
  • High capacity of 120 gallons
  • Fast outflow
  • Less water wastage

Effective Filtration

Set-up Kooler

While other models have just 4 or 5-stage filters, this model is the only one of the few 6-stage filtering systems in the market. The 6-stage filtration system is very effective in removing all the possible contaminants from the supply line water. The system comes with high capacity filters, you only need to replace the pre-filters and post filter once a year instead of every 6 months.

  • 1st stage: This contains a high capacity, 5-micron sediment filter which removes large particles such as sediment, rust and sand. It needs to be replaced every 6 to 12 months. There is also clear housing for the first stage sediment filter, which makes it easy to tell if the first stage sediment filter is getting dirty or clogging up.
  • 2nd stage: This consists of a high capacity carbon filter. The coconut shell carbon block filter removes chlorine, unpleasant taste and odour. This needs to be replaced every 6 to 12 months. You can produce approximately 1500 gallons of water.
  • 3rd stage: This is another high capacity carbon filter. This coconut shell carbon block filter further removes any residual chlorine. This ensures a 100% removal of chlorine. Similarly, this filter should be replaced every 6 to 12 months and can produce 1500 gallons of water.
  • 4th stage: This stage uses a TFC-150 Premium membrane filter. It can process 75 to 150 gallons each day and removes 95% of all chemicals and dissolved solids in your tap water. If the water supply has TDS (total dissolved solids) reading of 300 ppm, after the 4th stage, the output water will be purified down to 15 to 30 ppm. This membrane only needs to be replaces every 2 to 3 years and can produce a whopping 3000 gallons.
  • 5th and 6th stage: The two inline DI filters further purify the water and reduce the mineral content after 4th stage RO membrane. The reading from your TDS meter will be close to zero ppm by this stage. You can replace or refill these two filters for every 500 gallons of water that you make.

Tips for Optimum Performance

  • If the pressure of your supply line water is below 40 PSI, you should purchase an RO system with a built-in booster pump assembly from the same company.
  • However, if your water pressure is above 80 PSI, you must purchase a pressure regulator to help reduce the pressure to below 80 PSI. Water pressures above 80 PSI will damage your membranes and hamper your system’s filtration process.
  • If your supply line water contains over 300 ppm, Koolermax recommends that you add a water softener prior to using the RO system. This ensures that your end-product will be close to zero ppm.
  • If your water supply has a rust or iron problem, you should put an iron filter before using the RO system.
  • If you have a bacterial problem with your feed water, you are strongly advised to put an ultra-violet sterilising system before the RO system. This prevents bacteria from lingering in your product water. Bacteria in your aquarium can create troublesome algae which defeats the purpose of using a RO system.

Installation

Installation is straightforward as the manufacturer sends you the model with all the things you will need for mounting. The manual provided is detailed and you should have your RO unit up and running in no time at all. You also get free tech support on the installation part so that your installation goes smoothly.

Parts Kooler

Your unit also comes with an installation kit. Your kit should include the following items (as shown according to the above image):

  1. Colour tubing
  2. Drain saddle clamp
  3. Filter housing wrench
  4. 1/2″ MPT feed water adapter
  5. Inline ball valve, on/off for water supply
  6. Garden hose/laundry washer hose adapter (water supply)
  7. Tubing insert
  8. On/off ball valve for output

Pressure Gauge

Unlike previous models, there is a bonus pressure gauge installed in this system. The minimum water pressure required to operate the system is 45 PSI. The ideal pressure for effective filtration is 85 PSI.

The pressure gauge is installed on the bracket after Stage 3 to monitor the operating pressure.  When the system is making water, it indicates the operating pressure. When you see a pressure drop of 15 psi, that means the filters are clogging up and need replacement. Users then need to change the bottom 3 filters.

Shut-off Valve

This unit also includes an auto-shut-off valve which means that when output is closed, the input will also be turned off. Also, when the storage tank is full, the system shuts off automatically.

Less Water Wastage

The ratio of pure water to drain water for this unit is 1:3. Average RO systems are typically 1:4, so this RO systems will run more efficiently than the rest of the competition. In comparison to other models, this unit also has a faster outflow alongside less water wastage.

Shortcomings

Some users felt that professional help is necessary when it comes to fixing this unit. This is especially required when the system shows any signs of leakage. With professional assistance, beginners can avoid unintentionally damaging their units.

Other than this minor inconvenience, there were very few complaints regarding the performance of this unit. After all, the set-up is relatively straightforward as the unit comes as complete and ready for installation. Also, you save a great deal of money with this unit since the filters for this system are high capacity and only need to be replaced once a year.

If this unit meets your expectations, you can take a look at the latest prices here.

6-Stage Aquarium Reef Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

6-Stage Aquarium Reef Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

This 6-stage filtration process allows the unit to filter out the different contaminants. With a high rejection membrane capability, you filter out many contaminants common in the aquariums. The quality of purified water from this reverse osmosis system is ideal for any aquarium.

The product weighs around 21 pounds and the dimension is 17 x 7 x 16 inches. This unit also features a high capacity of 100 gallons per day. This is large enough to cater to even larger aquariums. For aquarium and portable systems, the PSI of your water supply must be higher than 45 PSI for effective filtration to take place.

Best Features:

  • Effective filtration
  • High capacity
  • Manual flush valve
  • Easy to set-up

Effective Filtration

6-stage Process

This unit uses one of the best filtration system available in the market. The six stages includes carbon, sediment and other cartridges and the membrane. It uses very high-quality membrane and eliminates almost all the harmful elements and adding the necessary minerals and nutrients.

  • Sediment Block: This high-capacity polypropylene Sediment filter removes large particles such as dust, particles and rust.
  • UDF Carbon: This filter removes chemicals that cause displeasing odours, cloudiness, colours or tastes to the water. For example, this could be hydrogen sulphide or chlorine.
  • Coconut Carbon Block: This removes unpleasant chlorine tastes, odours and cloudiness. It also removes volatile organic compounds from the water.
  • High Rejection LiquaGen Reverse Osmosis Membrane: This removes up to 99% of total dissolved solids and contaminants such as arsenic, fluoride, lead, chromium, radium and bacteria.
  • Colour-Changing Deionization Cartridge: This removes almost all the mineral ions such as cations like sodium, calcium and iron as well as anions such as chloride and sulphate.
  • Colour-Changing Deionization Cartridge: This last cartridge is an added measure to ensure that all the ions are removed. There is also an indicator dye for both deionization cartridges. The colour of the cartridge changes from green to brown as the resin exhausts.

The Sediment, UDF and Carbon Filters only need to be changed every 8 to 12 months. The reverse osmosis membrane only needs to be changed every 3 years. Lastly, the green DI Resin Cartridges should only be changed every 8 to 12 months or when the cartridge completely turns brown.

Given its vital role in any reverse osmosis unit, the reverse osmosis membrane is expensive. However, it is also easily damaged. Therefore, when changing your reverse osmosis membrane, you must handle it with care, otherwise you may risk damaging it beyond repair.

Manual Flush Valve

This unit comes with a Manual Flush Valve. This makes this system superior to any other RO/DI system in the market by increasing the life of the unit, reducing possible leaks, and saves you valuable time when flushing the system every few months.

To maintain the supreme quality of water, it’s strongly advised that you flush the system every 4 months for 15 minutes. Also, do not forget to close the valve after flushing or the system will not work.

Additionally, the Manual Flush Valve is suitable for 50 GPD to 100 GPD RO membranes. You are also guaranteed zero particles in your water with a Manual Flush Valve. Best of all is that installation takes approximately 5 minutes!

Set-up Process

6-stage system

This unit is pre-assembled which makes the unit very easy to install. The reverse osmosis unit just needs to be attached to the aquarium and switched on. The unit also comes with a Ball Valve, Garden Hose Adapter, 1/4″ Colour coded tubing, drain saddle valve, Teflon tape, housing wrench and extra elbow connectors.

  1. The RO System must be treated with caution. Do not connect the RO System to a water source that freezes or runs too hot. The membrane contained is treated and tested on regular water and will be destroyed if frozen or exposed to hot temperatures.
  2. Connect the system to the incoming water supply. Check that all connectors and tubing are properly tightened before letting any water. You must pull and then push all the tubing’s in. This will make sure the system has no leaks.
  3. Switch on the incoming water line and again check of any possible leaks. Once you are certain that there are no leaks, close the incoming water supply and put the blue locks on the elbow fittings.
  4. Flush the Membrane and do not consume the first 5 gallons of water.
  5. You must flush the membrane to avoid leaving Fine (powder) Carbon from the lower filters in the membrane and membrane housing. Otherwise, it will clog the membrane with the black powder. Flushing the membrane also increases the life of the membrane by 2 years.

Shortcomings

Users were concerned that the unit’s Gallons Per Day started at low rates. When you first start using this unit, it may take a few days for the unit to produce the desired number of gallons per day. LiquaGen highlighted that many membranes operate at 80% of its capacity, regardless of their brand. Thus, users should not be worried when their unit produces less than 50 gallons per day.

Another concern was that upon receiving the unit, users noticed that the plastic inlet elbow construction was very exposed. This means that the components may be damaged during shipping. Thus, customers need to check their units for any damage upon arrival.

Additionally, this model is sometimes out-of-stock on websites such as Amazon.com. Therefore, you may end up paying more for this unit on other websites. However, you should keep checking regularly for this product.

If this system is right for your aquarium, you can check it out here.

Aquatic Life RO Buddie 3-stage Reverse Osmosis (RO) System

Aquaticlife RO Buddie 3-stage Reverse Osmosis System

The Aquatic Life RO Buddie 3-stage reverse osmosis (RO) system features unbelievable affordability and functionality, all in a very compact design. The model comes in two capacities, you can choose the one with 3-Stage 50 GPD or 4-Stage 100 GPD model.

The RO Buddie works efficiently at 60 PSI to 100 PSI pressure and temperatures from 77 Fahrenheit to 105 Fahrenheit. With these conditions, the system produces a high rejection rate.

The size of the RO Buddie measures 7.25 inches wide, 4 inches deep, and 13.75 inches in height while weighing 3.10 pounds. This lightweight and small-sized RO filtration system makes it adjustable to a compact space.

Best Features:

  • Good filtration
  • Quick connections
  • Strong mounting brackets
  • Easy to set-up
  • Compact size

Good Filtration

A good filtration process is important. Although the tap water looks almost clear, tasteless, and odourless, it still needs to be purified before being introduced to aquatic life. In some cases, a country’s tap water contains too many contaminants which would severely compromise the lifespan of your fish.

Aquatic Life’s three-stage filtration process comes with a Thin-Film Composite (TFC) Membrane RO cartridge, carbon and sediment filters. The unit’s RO cartridges, Carbon filter and Sediment cartridges effectively remove harmful substances such as heavy metal ions, dissolved solids (TDS), chlorine and particulate matter.

  • Sediment Cartridge: The sediment cartridge is self-contained and removes the larger impurities that can potentially clog the reverse osmosis system. Larger impurities can damage your fragile membranes.
  • Carbon Filter: The Carbon filter is also self-contained and removes the bad taste and odour by eliminating dissolved solids and chemicals such as chlorine.
  • Thin-Film Composite Membrane: This is the heart of reverse osmosis. It is a semi-permeable membrane located in the center canister to remove particulate contaminants from the water. This membrane allows for a high rejection of undesired materials like dissolved salts, a high filtration rate and good mechanical strength.

4 Cartridges

While the 3-Stage reverse osmosis set-up offers great filtration, you have the additional option of upgrading your RO Buddie system to a 4-Stage RO/DI system by adding Aquatic Life’s Deionization (DI) Colour Changing Mixed Bed Resin Cartridge.

The DI cartridge is available with the same manufacturer and can be purchased in combination with the RO Buddie filtration system. Each of these cartridges has two clips that help the cartridge to stay attached to the membrane housing at the front.

In deionization, there are two types of synthetic resins used; one resin is to remove positively charged ions and the another to remove negatively charged ions. Thus, this produces even “purer” water. The DI cartridges are replaceable and change their colour from green to blue indicating the exhaustion point of the media. This helps the consumers to identify when the resins must be replaced.

Quick Connections and Compact Size

The Membrane Housing accepts standard 11-3/4 inch TFC Membrane Filter Cartridges. The cartridges are also up-front and easy to replace. The quick connections also make it easy to remove and replace cartridges. Since there are adequate arrangements to replace the cartridges, one can quickly finish the job.

The unit comes with the added feature of a wrench which makes removing the membrane housing cap even easier. This unit also comes with a Faucet Adapter included which makes it easy to connect the unit to standard Garden Hose Threads (GHT).

The sturdy mounting brackets will hold the unit securely while mounted in a convenient location. Even with a 100 gallons capacity, the small footprint of the unit makes it easy to place under cabinets or in limited spaces.

Set-up Process

You can use this link for instructions and illustrations: http://aquaticlife.com/media/import/RO_Buddie_Manual_Web.pdf

  1. Mount the RO Buddie to a solid surface using the two brackets included. A set of screws have been included, but depending on the mounting surface different screws may be required.
  2. Remove the shipping plugs from the supply water, filtered water and waste water connectors.
  3. Connect the Faucet Adapter to a cold water supply such as a standard threaded utility sink or garden hose. Remove the blue clip from the Faucet Adapter and insert the supplied ¼” tubing. Replace the blue clip to secure the tubing. Cut the tubing so that it will reach the supply water connector on the RO Buddie (labelled).
  4. Connect the tubing to the supply water connection on the RO Buddie. Remove the blue clip, insert the tubing and reattach the blue clip. Water supply is now setup.
  5. Remove the blue clips from the Filtered Water connector (labelled) and the Waste Water connector (labelled). Insert a piece of the tubing to the Filtered Water connector and cut the tubing to the desired length. Insert a piece of the tubing to the Waste Water connector and cut the tubing so that it reaches the drain. Replace the blue clips on the connectors.
  6. Turn on the water supply for 5 minutes. This will flush the filter cartridges prior to installing the membrane and extend the membrane life. After the water runs clear, turn off the water supply and allow the RO Buddie to drain.
  7. Remove the tubing attached to the elbow fitting on top of the RO membrane, remove the blue clip, depress the collet around the tubing and remove the tubing.
  8. Unscrew the membrane housing lid from the membrane housing. Remove the membrane from the plastic bag and insert the membrane into the membrane housing. The membrane should be inserted so that the top of the plastic pipe in the membrane is flush with the top of the membrane housing.
  9. Replace the membrane housing lid and tighten with the supplied wrench. Reattach the tubing and replace the blue clip to secure the tubing to the elbow connection on the membrane housing.
  10. Run the RO Buddie for 30 minutes to remove the preservative from the membrane.

Important Tips

  • The temperature of the water supplied to the RO Buddie should be within the specified range. Otherwise, too cold or too hot temperatures makes the filtration system vulnerable to quick degradation.
  • The connections, especially the elbows, should not be over-tightened to avoid leakage.
  • Carbon dust can be easily removed from the carbon filter by running the water. Do not forget to remove the membrane before cleaning.
  • If the reverse osmosis filter is not used for more than 10 to 15 days, you may want to consider using a protective fluid so that you can avoid bacteria growth and deposition of impurities.

Shortcomings

One potential issue is that you are likely to face leaking especially if the components are not fitted properly. However, these parts are already pre-assembled and require little additional work. Adding an additional cartridge will not take much effort and there is plenty of help/video guides available online.

The average waste or flush water to filtered water ratio for budget RO/DI systems is 4:1. This is significant especially if you prefer a zero-waste filtration system. However, this is a minor inconvenience and is understandable given how affordable this unit is.

If this is suitable for your aquarium, do check out the latest discounts on Amazon by clicking here.

AquaFX Barracuda RO/DI Unit

AquaFX Barracuda Aquarium Filter

The AquaFX Barracuda RO/DI Unit is a 4-stage RO/DI unit which produces ultra-pure water at a fantastic price. All the components of this unit are hand-built and made to perfection. This OR/DI unit also works well for freshwater and marine aquariums as it has plenty of solid features at a bargain.

Best Features:

  • Strong Purification
  • Fast Outflow
  • Solid Structure
  • Easy to set-up

Strong Purification

4 Stage System

Users were very pleased with the strong purification in this RO/DI unit. After testing the filtered water with a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter, zero impurities were detected in the filtered sample. The filtration process occurs in four stages:

  • Sediment Filter: This filter removes particles that can be physically filtered out such as Sand. This filter’s life depends on the number of particles in your water. If there is a 5 PSI drop, you should change your filter. Discoloration is also a sign that the filter is loaded and needs to be replaced.
  • Carbon Block Filter: The carbon block will filter out volatile organic products found your everyday tap water such as Chlorine.
  • Reverse Osmosis Filter: This is the first component that reduces Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) such as salts or calcium. This membrane can fail by clogging or scaling, contact with chlorine and hot water. Thus, you must change your carbon filter on time to avoid Chlorine from encountering your reverse osmosis membrane.
  • Deionization Filter: As water passes over these resins, the remaining salts (or ions) exchange out and only H+ and OH- ions are released into the stream, which form pure water.

Fast Outflow

The AquaFX has a faster outflow in contrast to many other reverse osmosis aquarium filter systems.  In contrast, the AquaFX can produce 1 gallon of reverse osmosis water in just 6 min and 45 seconds. That is relatively fast when compared to the portable or counter-top versions.

Solid Structure and Quick Assembling Time

The unit has a solid build and uses a rust-resistant, heavy-duty aluminium frame. This provides your reverse osmosis unit a sturdy mounting system for attachment to a wall.

When it comes to setting up your AquaFX Barracuda RO/DI Unit, you need not fret as most of the parts are pre-assembled. This unit has a quick set-up time and comes with very clear setup Instructions. You will only need to connect the supply line, drain line and product water line. It is as simple as that!

  1. First, you need to unpack your unit completely. While doing this, use a delicate touch and be careful of unintentionally damaging your unit.
  2. You then need to inspect the unit for any damage or broken parts caused by shipping. This is a crucial step as your unit may contain leaks. If you detect any damaged parts, send the unit back!
  3. Next, you must locate and connect the supply side of the equipment. This will be the right side as you face the system. The supply side will consist of a black ¼-inch tubing and has the connection for the type of water supply you specified.
  4. Locate the yellow drain line and connect the filter to the source water and run the waste water line to the drain. You will need to find a location that has a source for cold water and a drain. This can be connected in places like a laundry room, under or next to a sink or outdoors near a faucet.
  5. Locate the blue product water line that will provide treated water for use and slip the tubing into the left side of the system.
  6. Once installed, allow the system to run for approximately 15 minutes to flush completely. You should not keep the first 5 gallons of water that your reverse osmosis system produces. The first 5 gallons of water will contain pollutants that must be flushed out from the system. Please check the system completely for leaks as parts can come lose during shipping.
  7. You will know when to replace the reusable colour changing DI when the colour has completely changed. The cartridge will change colours from the bottom up. The sediment and carbon block filters (Stage 1 and 2) should be changed approximately every 6 months depending on the quality of supply water.
  8. When you notice that your pressure gauge drops below the 35 PSI range, you should then replace the Stage 1 and 2 filters. You need at least 35 PSI supply pressure to permeate the membrane. You should avoid using a supply line of over 60 PSI as this may damage your membrane.
  9. The only way to check your membrane for proper rejection is with a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) Meter. It should produce a reading of zero TDS.
  10. This unit comes with a 10-inch Canister Filter Wrench. This allows for easy filter changes.
  11. You can consider purchasing additional accessories to extend the lifespan of your unit. For example, you can purchase membrane Flush Kits which extend the life of the membrane by rinsing debris and prevent scaling that accumulates over time.

Shortcomings

While this unit has many amazing features, it does have a few shortcomings such as a short hose and a high water-wastage ratio.

Some users remarked that the 6-feet hose was a bit too short especially if your tap location is too far away. If the hose is too short, then you will need to buy a longer hose separately which will add additional costs.

Additionally, there is also the issue of this unit’s high water-wastage ratio. This unit needs about 4 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of pure water. While this is not unusually high, it is still significant for users who prefer zero waste reverse osmosis systems. Zero waste reverse osmosis systems produce zero waste water as the system re-uses its rinse water.

However, these are minor complaints in comparison to the multiple benefits of owning this unit. With this unit, you have the additional option of selecting 50 or 100 gallons per day (GPD) models. If this is for you, do check out the discounted price on Amazon, while it lasts!

Understanding How Reverse Osmosis Aquariums Work

Understanding How Reverse Osmosis Aquariums Work

Aquariums make for an amazing home interior. You could stare at brightly colored fish, swimming endlessly, and never be bored. However, aquariums require a lot of surveillance. A simple rise of drop in the pH levels, nitrogen levels, and mineral levels can spell disaster for your fish whether freshwater or salt water. That’s why it’s important to closely monitor the water that comes into your aquarium.

The Dangers of Tap Water

Your tap water may have high levels of nitrate and phosphate which algae can feed on, encouraging brown algae to grow. It’s not very pleasant. Further, copper from water pipes may leech into the water and become a health hazard to your fish. That’s why it’s incredibly important to filter tap water that you plan to introduce to your aquarium. There are many ways to do this, but perhaps the most thorough way to remove the most impurities from tap water is with a reverse osmosis filter.

What is Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is simply a filtration method. It uses a semi-permeable membrane that only small molecules can pass through. H2O molecules are minuscule and so they can pass through the membrane. Solvents and impurities, however, can’t go through the membrane. Depending on the type of membrane you use, you can remove up 99% of the dissolved solids in your tap water. This means that potentially dangerous solvents that may harm your fish or encourage algae growth are completely removed.  Here is a closer look at how this works.

Reverse osmosis filters work a little too well. A reverse osmosis filter removes almost everything from tap water. This includes minerals essential to your fish. For freshwater aquariums will need the reverse osmosis water to be treated with conditioners to re-mineralize the water and get the right pH level. Marine salt mixes that are used for saltwater aquariums already have these minerals, so you don’t need to do anything more after filtering your tap water.

Benefits of Reverse Osmosis Aquariums

Reverse osmosis filters require very little maintenance and only need to have their sediment pre-filter and carbon block replaced every year or so depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. Another benefit of reverse osmosis is that it can actually soften hard water.

Hard water contains high levels of minerals. The harder the water the more difficult it can be to change the pH and sustain those changes. Have you ever tried using pH conditioners to lower pH only to find levels going back to normal after a few days? That because of hard water. By removing those minerals, the hard water becomes soft and proper pH levels are easy to maintain.

Reverse osmosis filters are a great filtration method, and can even be paired with more traditional deionization (DI) filters to remove 99.9 percent of impurities. A reverse osmosis filter makes aquarium maintenance a bit easier and will ensure the happiness of your fish.

How Reverse Osmosis Can Help Your Aquarium Water

How Reverse Osmosis Can Help Your Aquarium Water

Aquarium owners are frequently in search of better ways of improving the living environment for their aquatic friends. Since it is very difficult to replicate the amazing filtration process completed in the ocean, river beds or lakes, many owners of freshwater and marine aquariums are discovering the benefits of installing a reverse osmosis system.

A reverse osmosis water purification system works by removing most common chemicals found in tap water by circulating the water through a semi-permeable membrane inside the OS system. The particles that actually flow through this filtration system are microscopic, so the end product is incredibly pure water. In fact, most RO system can remove up to 99 percent of arsenic, pesticides and heavy metals found in most tap water systems.

Noted below, are five of the best ways how reverse osmosis can help improve your aquarium water and enhance the living environment for those who dwell in your aquarium.

First – Reverse Osmosis Systems Remove Hard Water

The proper use of this type of system for freshwater and marine aquariums will permit you to remove Carbonate Hardness (also known as KH) and General Hardness (GH) from the water. This method creates soft water, which is much easier to adjust the pH balance to what your fish require. The direct result is your tank is cleaner and the fish are more active and tend to live longer.

Second – Eliminates Harmful Toxins found in Tap Water

Although the human body can flush out most toxins found in our drinking water, it is more difficult for fish. Reverse osmosis systems remove harmful pesticides, arsenic and heavy metals that are typically found in the water we drink from a tap. Since these chemicals and toxins can be harmful for aquatic animals, removing them enhances their quality of life.

Third – Reduces and Removes Phosphates and Nitrates

RO systems are also exceptional for keeping your aquarium clean by removing nitrates and phosphates, which are natural algae food. If you remove the source of energy and conditions that allows algae to thrive and expand, the tank will be cleaners, filter life can expand and again, the fish and live better lives.

Fourth – They can Reduce Cost of Aquarium Ownership

Although it’s assumed that purchasing and maintaining a reverse osmosis system at home or your office is a larger investment, in the short and long term, it actually helps to save money. First, you no longer have to buy RO water from a local fish store – which depending on your tank size can cost a few dollars each time. Second, tank filters and pumps last longer when they are not contaminated with harmful hard water chemicals or heavy metals. Third, fish tend to live longer lives; reducing the cost of replacing fish who die earlier than they should.

Truth of the matter is that buying an Reverse Osmosis water purification system for an aquarium is a great investment, not only for your aquarium’s overall health, but for your own as well.