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Switching from Tap to RO/DI


CoralEnvy

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Yeah, I know. Tap is terrible. Yada, yada.

 

I finally gave in and bought an RO/DI unit because of a seemingly endless diatom bloom. I've done probably 10 five gallon water changes from a 30 gallon aquarium. I was curious as to how long it usually takes to get rid of all the tap in the system?

 

Also, I was reading that live rocks and sand that were in existing tap water can become phosphate resevoirs. How exactly do I fix this? I already have an aquarium stocked with corals. I really hope the existing live rock doesn't prevent my diatom bloom from ceasing.

 

I would change it if I could and never have allowed tap water to touch my aquarium. Unfortunately, it's too late for that so I must make do.

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skimlessinseattle

It is technically impossible to remove all the tap water from your system. The best method for diluting what's already in your tank is to perform several large water changes (greater than 50% of the total system volume each time, even larger if you can).

 

If you are concerned with poshphates, run GFO reactor media. You can do this using a media bag, HOB filter of some sort, or a reactor.

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1.Start a quarantine tank such as a 5.5g or 10g for the livestock, always good to have a spare tank anyway.

2.Rinse and soak the rocks and sand in R/O water as many times as you can, you can even replace the sand if you want, really not that expensive and might be your best bet. I dont know what rocks your using or how they look, depending on the quality you can replace them as well if that makes you happy.

3. If you choose the rinse, cycle everything as if you were starting over, do not add the livestock back until after the cycle.

4. I highly recommend you use a high quality carbon such as chemipure in your filter to remove any traces possibly remaining.

 

Dont stress about this, at least you learned from your mistakes and are correcting them. I am here to help so dont be afraid to send a PM whenever you need information or if your just looking for a reefing friend to talk to.

 

-Jon

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skimlessinseattle
1.Start a quarantine tank such as a 5.5g or 10g for the livestock, always good to have a spare tank anyway.

2.Rinse and soak the rocks and sand in R/O water as many times as you can, you can even replace the sand if you want, really not that expensive and might be your best bet. I dont know what rocks your using or how they look, depending on the quality you can replace them as well if that makes you happy.

3. If you choose the rinse, cycle everything as if you were starting over, do not add the livestock back until after the cycle.

4. I highly recommend you use a high quality carbon such as chemipure in your filter to remove any traces possibly remaining.

 

Dont stress about this, at least you learned from your mistakes and are correcting them. I am here to help so dont be afraid to send a PM whenever you need information or if your just looking for a reefing friend to talk to.

 

-Jon

I think this is a little extreme...and totally unneccessary.

 

Soaking rocks in purified water and replacing sand puts you back at square one. Do you really want to kill all the bacteria on the rocks? Tap water is not the worst thing in the world. I have successfully used tap water prior to purchasing an RO unit. I have had no issues with tap water and many others have used it as well. I have seen beautiful tanks run on tap. That said, RO/DI is the best way to go because you have total control of what goes in your system.

 

How new is your tank CoralEnvy?

How long was the system up before adding corals?

What is the condition of the corals?

Are you running carbon?

 

Diatoms are a normal part of a tanks natural progression, and if this is a new tank, no need to get worried. If you do have excess phosphates in your system, so long as you stop supplying them, the levels will diminish.

 

Dilution is the solution to pollution, thus large water changes with quality salt and RO/DI are the key when you feel your water's chemical profile is off.

 

Let's make sure we know whats going on before any drastic decisions are made ;)

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It will be fine after a couple of changes. The contaminants, pollutants, whatever have been removed by the algae growth. Tis how/why the algae grows...

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if you have 30 gallons, and you change 5gal at a time, after the 1st w/c 84% would be remaining of the tap water, after 5 w/c 41% would remain, after 10 w/c 17% would remain.

 

The larger the waterchange the better. If you do 1 50% w/c that would cut it down to 8% remaining of the tap water. I wouldn't worry about it too much. If you are running a fuge w/ chaeto that will remove the excess nutrients. Just keep up regular maintance, no need to do anything too crazy IMO

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I think this is a little extreme...and totally unneccessary.

 

Soaking rocks in purified water and replacing sand puts you back at square one. Do you really want to kill all the bacteria on the rocks? Tap water is not the worst thing in the world. I have successfully used tap water prior to purchasing an RO unit. I have had no issues with tap water and many others have used it as well. I have seen beautiful tanks run on tap. That said, RO/DI is the best way to go because you have total control of what goes in your system.

 

How new is your tank CoralEnvy?

How long was the system up before adding corals?

What is the condition of the corals?

Are you running carbon?

 

Diatoms are a normal part of a tanks natural progression, and if this is a new tank, no need to get worried. If you do have excess phosphates in your system, so long as you stop supplying them, the levels will diminish.

 

Dilution is the solution to pollution, thus large water changes with quality salt and RO/DI are the key when you feel your water's chemical profile is off.

 

Let's make sure we know whats going on before any drastic decisions are made ;)

 

First of all, I appreciate all the quick responses guys. This website is amazing.

 

To answer the questions:

 

My aquarium is around 5 months old.

 

The system was up and running for about 5 weeks before I added my first coral. I made sure to be fully cycled of course.

 

The corals are in great condition with good color and growth. There are a handful of softies (Zoas, shrooms, rics), a ton of LPS (acans, hammer, torch, frogspawn, duncans, candy canes, blastos, brains) and a few SPS (acros).

 

Yeah, I change out a bag of carbon every week. I also run Chemi-Pure Elite and Purigen. I have a Fuge with Chaeto as well.

 

My main switch to RO/DI was because I've had diatoms literally since week 2 of my tank being up. I have to clean the sand every 3 days or the diatoms will take over the sandbed. I'm 100% sure it's diatoms. I've read that Tap water can be the main culprit of this, so I decided to make the switch to cleaner water to improve the overall health of my system.

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Thank you for that thread.

 

How long do the diatom problems persist? Mine still seem to be coming back after doing 10 or so water changes, albeit not as many.

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It will take some time but eventualy the algae will go away. To help just add some cheato or other micro-algae to export the nitrates.

 

First thing you need to do is to a nitrates and phosphate test and see exactly what you are dealing with.

 

I started my aquarium with tap as well and switched to RO later but never had much problem with algae since my tap is nitrates and phosphates free totaly (0). The fist step here is to do a test before doing anything else.

 

I have one of the most porous live rock (totoka) and it never absorb nitrates or anything else and release it later. It did produce some nitrates at the begining from the die off on the live rock not fully cured, but that was it.

 

Yeah, I know. Tap is terrible. Yada, yada.

 

I finally gave in and bought an RO/DI unit because of a seemingly endless diatom bloom. I've done probably 10 five gallon water changes from a 30 gallon aquarium. I was curious as to how long it usually takes to get rid of all the tap in the system?

 

Also, I was reading that live rocks and sand that were in existing tap water can become phosphate resevoirs. How exactly do I fix this? I already have an aquarium stocked with corals. I really hope the existing live rock doesn't prevent my diatom bloom from ceasing.

 

I would change it if I could and never have allowed tap water to touch my aquarium. Unfortunately, it's too late for that so I must make do.

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skimlessinseattle

Hi CoralEnvy,

 

Since you are 100% sure it's diatoms, it would be silica that is your problem, not phosphates or nitrates. Silica is often present in small quantities in tap water, so this is likely the root of the problem and why you have had them for so long. So long as you make the switch to RO or RO/DI, you should be fine in a matter of months if not weeks with no more diatoms. Without any further supply, they will quickly use it all up.

 

I would keep running the chemipure elite, it contains both carbon and GFO, so running carbon and purigen is not really necessary as it is redundant.

 

Your tank is gonna be ship shape before you know it. ;)

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I had the same problem except throw in a lot of encrusting green algae on the glass. Covered back and side walls at one point it was almost everywhere on the glass. I believe it was phosphate issues. What I did.

 

1. Stopped using tap immediately.

2. 50% water changes 2 in one week and started running chemi-pure elite immediately (it has phosphate reducers), followed by 5 gallon water changes with RO/DI every week (pretty standard but still).

3. Purchased an additional 2 turbo snails and my trochus had babies so probably an extra 20-25 snails that grew a lot from eating all of the algae.

 

I then kept up with my water changes and never resorted to tap water. It's been almost a month or two since I started and I literally have almost no algae left. There is still some stubburn patches left over but it is definitely receding. I also have a 30 gallon tank.

 

I got my water params checked at a LFS and phosphate was zero and all other params were in check.

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Okay. Sounds good. Thank you again for all the help :)

 

One more question: Should I be cleaning the diatoms off the sand every few days or just let them run their course until all of the silica is out of my tank?

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skimlessinseattle
Okay. Sounds good. Thank you again for all the help :)

 

One more question: Should I be cleaning the diatoms off the sand every few days or just let them run their course until all of the silica is out of my tank?

Clean up crew should find them tasty.

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