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Do you use a RODI unit?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

So before I started in this hobby, someone suggested that an RODI unit was not necessary in Burnaby because the tap water parameters are just fine. I did have a look at their tank (20 gallon reef stocked with 2 small clowns and tons of softies) and it was quite spectacular with no nuisance algae / bacteria.

Maybe it's water changes? I would assume water changes, but they replied it's been 3 weeks since a water change.

Maybe it's macro algae right in the tank?

How's that possible?? Anyone else skipping out on the RODI unit???

Do post your thoughts / experiences! Any help would be appreciated.
 

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The tap water here in Surrey has a TDS of 10-15, depending on the season. That is quite good, I hear its like 200+ in Calgary.
I prefer ro/di because I can then know I do not put anything into my water besides salt.
You will probably find just as many non ro users as ro users. Here in the lower mainland we have good water.
 

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Not a reef guy; so I'm not completely sure what you salties hope to remove with an RO/DI unit. Burnaby has the typical wet coast tapwater that has almost nothing in it though (according to the city water tests, max tds is about 20 ppm with only a minute fraction. Of that being nitrate or phosphate); so I wouldn't think you'd need to use one. It's certainly low enough for just about any freshwater purpose.
 

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I own a couple of RODI 5 stage filtration systems but to be honest, I haven't RODIed in probably 5 years. I do 100g minimum water changes (at least 2 big barrels at a time). Using my RODI unit, I would need 2 days just to make the fw water and dump about 300-400 gallons of only slightly "dirty" wastewater down the drain in the process. I cannot stand the thought of being that wasteful of this valuable natural resource and Burnaby water is excellent compared to most of the rest of the world. It's even better since the Olympics. Even with really high bioloads (lots of fish), my main tank has zero pest algae in the display and only a few small tuffs of hair algae in the sump.

Anthony
 

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I'm on well water here in Langley so I use an RO/DI system for water changes as well as a drinking water add on polishing stage. My RO is 0 ppm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I own a couple of RODI 5 stage filtration systems but to be honest, I haven't RODIed in probably 5 years. I do 100g minimum water changes (at least 2 big barrels at a time). Using my RODI unit, I would need 2 days just to make the fw water and dump about 300-400 gallons of only slightly "dirty" wastewater down the drain in the process. I cannot stand the thought of being that wasteful of this valuable natural resource and Burnaby water is excellent compared to most of the rest of the world. It's even better since the Olympics. Even with really high bioloads (lots of fish), my main tank has zero pest algae in the display and only a few small tuffs of hair algae in the sump.

Anthony
Is this weekly? And what percentage is 100g in relation to your total volume?
 

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Is this weekly? And what percentage is 100g in relation to your total volume?
My reef tanks were 165g + 90g sump; 60g cube; 34g RSM. Total water volume for all (minus rocks and sand) was roughly 240g so 100g total water change would have been 40+% water change. If I did a third barrel, it would have been 62% water change.

My water change routine is highly unusual and personalized to my work schedule. I don't have time to do monthly water changes so I do massive water changes every 2-3 months instead.

Most reefers I know do approx. 20% monthly. 20% monthly x 12 months = 240% total annually.

My own schedule is 40% x 3 + 62% x 2 = 244% total annually.

So while I do less frequent water changes, my total water volume change is roughly 20% monthly. I also use big barrels that have to sit in my livingroom for a day or two whenever I do a big water change, so having those in my livingroom every month would probably not make my wife happy. I keep an eye on my corals and when they start looking like they could use a big water change, then I squeeze one into my schedule.

PLEASE NOTE: This is what works for my schedule/situation and NOT what I recommend for other reefers. Ideally, more frequent, smaller water changes is better for your systems. My corals and fish have adapted to these massive water changes (been doing this for years now), but it is more stable for your system to have bi-weekly or monthly smaller water changes than copying my routine.
 

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Have we met? Because I remember having this exact conversation with a newbie..anyways, no RODI for me. Just tap water premixed with salt for my 20g reef which previously did have 2 clowns. Not to say you won't get algae because you probably will encounter some through your journey..but can you get away with using the tap water from here? I would say so. I used to do a water change every month and now it's every two months. I would not recommend this. I have been trying to do it more frequently. There are certainly things you can slack on but I wouldn't recommend starting a tank with shortcuts. Seahorse_fanatic rarely does a water change and it sounds great but each tank will be different even if you start it up in the same manner. Even if you use RODI, you can still get algae. Nothing is really guaranteed so sometimes it works, and other times it doesn't.
 

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Seahorse_fanatic rarely does a water change and it sounds great but each tank will be different even if you start it up in the same manner. Even if you use RODI, you can still get algae. Nothing is really guaranteed so sometimes it works, and other times it doesn't.
I am trying to do it every two months, and more frequently if my schedule permits. On the other hand, I have invested in an extremely powerful Deltec Recirc skimmer rated for double my water volume and have an even more powerful one (rated for 300-450 gallons) that I'll be installing once I have some time to finish a couple of mods on it. I also have media reactors with Phosban and now Hydroton (biomedia) as well as a refugium section filled with live rock rubble and macroalgaes. So, while I do less frequent but huge water changes, I compensate by investing in extra powerful skimmers and other filtration devices. I also dose a lot of Ca, Mg, and other trace minerals to compensate for what is used up by the corals.

For someone without these advantages, highly recommend regular water changes. It really is the best thing you can do for your tanks. A lot o reefing issues would be avoided or solved with a regular water change schedule.
 

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I always mix my saltwater the day before a water change.
When I had fresh water tanks, I never had a ro filter, Now with salt water I never use tap water.

I have a pump, its not a booster pump that increases the feed water from the mains, rather the pump is run by the effluent that goes in the drain from the membrane. The pump takes the effluent water pressure and uses this to pump water from the exit side of the ro membrane ("good" water) so that there is a greater pressure drop and more "good" water is produced. This reduces the overall good water to effluent ratio without using any electricity to boot. In other words, I get a better than 1:4 ratio
 

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I am trying to do it every two months, and more frequently if my schedule permits.
Sorry I thought it was still annually. Why the change? Did something happen?

So, for your guys who do not use RO/DI do you premix your water and then age it or do some of you add water into your tank right away?
It's all about what time permits for me. I don't purposefully age water for the sake of releasing chlorine. Adding Prime handles all that stuff anyways. If the tank looks like it really needs a change, then I'll just fill a bucket with water, add salt and prime, and mix for like 30min until the water isn't cloudy any more. I'll usually have multiple buckets of water sitting out not for ageing but for ease of use. I hate having to untangle and drag my hose up to another floor where there's a sink and then quickly running down to make sure the water doesn't overflow. Having a bunch of water already out beforehand makes it easier for me.
I don't think it matters if you age your water or not if you use Prime. The important thing is to not add salt directly to your tank so you have to premix.
 

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I tested my water and it has zero phosphate. Actually the TDS of my tap is very close to 0ppm (sometimes 7ppm, sometimes 5ppm, sometimes 0 or 1ppm, always under 10ppm). If I keep reef can I just use tap water? What would be the benefit of using RO/DI instead? Thanks a lot.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Have we met? Because I remember having this exact conversation with a newbie..anyways, no RODI for me. Just tap water premixed with salt for my 20g reef which previously did have 2 clowns. Not to say you won't get algae because you probably will encounter some through your journey..but can you get away with using the tap water from here? I would say so. I used to do a water change every month and now it's every two months. I would not recommend this. I have been trying to do it more frequently. There are certainly things you can slack on but I wouldn't recommend starting a tank with shortcuts. Seahorse_fanatic rarely does a water change and it sounds great but each tank will be different even if you start it up in the same manner. Even if you use RODI, you can still get algae. Nothing is really guaranteed so sometimes it works, and other times it doesn't.
WHOA I WAS JUST TALKING ABOUT YOU! Fancy seeing you here. Your old 20g is being put to good use, I also have a 10g now with softies :D
 

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Nicole,

The longest between water changes I've gone is about 9 months and that was when Felicia was born and we were living at my parents' home for a year. For the last couple years, I've been slowly trying to shorten the duration between water changes so that it is at most two months between water changes. I do believe that for corals, a good water change is one of the best things you can do to keep a reef tank happy and healthy. In the past, my schedule and laziness made doing this necessary tank maintenance a lower priority than it should.

One thing to note when NOT using RODI filtration is that you need to keep an eye on the weather. I don't do big water changes during or after a big storm or rainfall because that's usually when the TDS readings are highest and water quality is lowest. Owning and using a good TDS meter is probably a good idea if you're planning to use tap water (or even going the RODI route) just so you know what the water quality is that you're adding to your tank.

For reefers doing sps-heavy reefs, I would highly recommend RODI because sps corals need very high water quality. I raise mostly LPS and softies, which are fine with tapwater.

If you have an RODI unit, keep using it. It does provide better water quality than tap. It just doesn't "work" for my situation, due to not wanting two barrels sitting in my living room (small ground floor suite) for three days (as opposed to one) and dumping hundreds of gallons of "waste" water down the drain for each water change.

What I've posted here is what works for me, not necessarily what is best for others.

Anthony
 
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