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Distilled water is reef safe or prove me wrong


1891Bro

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52 minutes ago, BostonReef said:

What is the “standard” anyway? I haven’t changed my filters in forever but I still read about 15-20 going into the DI resin and 0 coming out on my RODI system.  I always just figure, as long as it’s putting out zero, it’s good.

 

OP seems like you’re spoiling for a fight no one wants to have.  LFS owners vary.. I know some old school ones that swear by canister filters and bio balls, where younger owners tend to embrace newer methodologies.  Wouldn’t be surprised if the owner you talked to was one of the former. who has stuck to his ways and isn’t changing now.  In that case, it may well have been true at one point that you couldn’t trust it, who knows.

 

There’s also the clueless owners, which he may be, as noted he’s totally wrong that pure water is bad, any good reef salt adds the right levels back of just what you need.  By his logic, how is RO/DI any better? Comes out probably a little purer if anything.  Was he trying to push selling their water or something?

 

Once it’s in the system the amount of trace and nutes is obviously important, not before, and practically speaking, the level of TDS will distilled is nearly that of RO/DI. Personally I find RO more cost effective and easier, as I mentioned I haven’t changed in forever, I’ve had my RO unit from BRS about 5 years and changed it once.  I see a 0 reading so I don’t see a reason to bother changing.. if it lasts you a year or two, it’s definitely cheaper.

 

Plus, less of an issue with a nano I guess, but I personally found having to buy water the biggest p.i.t.a., a lot of carrying heavy containers, endlessly.  Maybe I got burned out since “my first” tank wasn’t really mine, years ago in college I convinced a professor to put a few thousand of the lab’s money aside for a tank for “research”.  It really was an excuse to have a tank paid for, but with a 4th floor lab and at least some unavoidable stairs, transporting water from the LFS became so tiresome (but we couldn’t tie up the lab’s one working RO unit so had to).. and when I could pay for my first own tank, I made sure to get an RO before too long.  I wonder if that tanks still going, I do hope it is it’d be very cool to see now.. it had a rough semester after I left but then someone from the LFS happened to enter the program and took it over, and was able to revive it.   Sorry, rambling here.

Not at all spoiling. Basically was hoping the user that pmd the the question to me would see all this info. 

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I have topped off with untreated tap water before when just too damn tired to give a..... Just want to stop the splashing noise of the dry chamber! Make it stop! 🤪

 

Can't say anything cared but it's diluted into the tank water and had carbon running which probably took care of the chlorine. 

 

Ya I'm a bad reefer. I also would take distilled over LFS water any day. 

 

 

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16 hours ago, 1891Bro said:

Reason for the post was apparently some people are still getting fed the “distilled water isn’t reef safe, the hillbillies distilling it use copper and old Chevy radiators so it’s full of poison” line. Just looking for anyone to provide solid evidence that’s its not safe to use. I expect 🦗

I called the number on the back of walmarts distilled water. They sent me pdf  of both theirs, and a 3rd parties test results of everything tested for.  They also assured me they have no copper in their facility as far as distilled water goes. That was years ago so I no longer have that email. 

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I got thinking more about this and hospitals use distilled water in kidney dialysis machines and My wife's CPAP requires it.  I cannot imagine it being used in these areas if it was full of lots of copper and other bad stuff still.

 

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18 minutes ago, ajkochev said:

I got thinking more about this and hospitals use distilled water in kidney dialysis machines and My wife's CPAP requires it.  I cannot imagine it being used in these areas if it was full of lots of copper and other bad stuff still.

 

Yup and if you mix antifreeze/coolant for you’re car you’re supposed to use it for that too. 

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2 hours ago, 1891Bro said:

Not at all spoiling. Basically was hoping the user that pmd the the question to me would see all this info. 

Much appreciated! You get so much different info from so many different people so it’s good to hear all the agreement on this topic. When I initially searched online about it all the articles were saying it wasn’t good for this and that reason so I figured I’d ask

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2 minutes ago, Zach W said:

Much appreciated! You get so much different info from so many different people so it’s good to hear all the agreement on this topic. When I initially searched online about it all the articles were saying it wasn’t good for this and that reason so I figured I’d ask

I wasn’t gonna call you out for asking me but I knew there were a large amount of people here using it. 

See folks? I baited y’all into helping. 

 

Oh oh, and since it’s that day I made an extra stop on my beer run. That’s six gallons and another is upstairs. Need to fill ato too. 

image.jpg

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20 minutes ago, 1891Bro said:

I wasn’t gonna call you out for asking me but I knew there were a large amount of people here using it. 

See folks? I baited y’all into helping. 

 

Oh oh, and since it’s that day I made an extra stop on my beer run. That’s six gallons and another is upstairs. Need to fill ato too. 

image.jpg

You could’ve called me out! Haha ok just trying to absorb as much info as possible from people who have been doing it successfully for awhile. Any tips on taking good pictures of your tank? Even when I’m in midday the blues make it almost impossible to get a good pic on my iPhone. 

 

Also what kind of beer are you into? Ever been to any of the Boston area breweries? 

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banasophia
29 minutes ago, 1891Bro said:

I wasn’t gonna call you out for asking me but I knew there were a large amount of people here using it. 

See folks? I baited y’all into helping. 

 

Oh oh, and since it’s that day I made an extra stop on my beer run. That’s six gallons and another is upstairs. Need to fill ato too. 

image.jpg

Nice! Is that big box your water, or your beer? Cracking a cold one open right now myself, so cheers! 🍻

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34 minutes ago, Zach W said:

You could’ve called me out! Haha ok just trying to absorb as much info as possible from people who have been doing it successfully for awhile. Any tips on taking good pictures of your tank? Even when I’m in midday the blues make it almost impossible to get a good pic on my iPhone. 

 

Also what kind of beer are you into? Ever been to any of the Boston area breweries? 

Beer is for snobs. I’m more of a malt liquor drinker. Or at least a cheap, strong high grav. 

Never been to Boston, I hear the work there is picking up though and have considered it if the work goes south here in the Bay. 

Edit: If you include me in the successful catergory I’m flattered, but you might wanna set your sights a bit higher. 

28 minutes ago, banasophia said:

Nice! Is that big box your water, or your beer? Cracking a cold one open right now myself, so cheers! 🍻

Shit, if the wife let me by beer by the giant box I’d dip her in gold and wash her feet three times a day! Sadly that’s just water. And cheers to you!

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9 hours ago, seabass said:

You are likely replacing the filters too frequently.  According to the distilled costs that you provided, you are only using 30 gallons a month.  So you are replacing the filters every 90 gallons, which is way too often.

My sediment is completely Brown at 3 months and my red reads 1ppm, so my di is also exhausted at that point as well.

It's a 5 stage.

 

The tds here ranges from 380 - 500, treated with chlorine, chloramine, and very hard water.

 

 

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8 hours ago, RayWhisperer said:

She might have really bad water.

 

We do. The lowest the red has read going in is 380, highest was over 500.

River and well water that's is very hard water.

 

 

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Various industries use distilled for machines because it's pure, no minerals in it.

Sleep apnea machines use distilled for this reason. 

 

In this hobby if distilled water use was a huge problem- like tap water use, we'd definitely see a lot more threads on tank crashes, livestock death, etc.

 

 

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RayWhisperer
1 hour ago, Clown79 said:

We do. The lowest the red has read going in is 380, highest was over 500.

River and well water that's is very hard water.

 

 

I don’t get how you’re going through filters so quickly. My tap averages about 400 to 450.  I certainly don’t get the life others have posted, but I get about a year, to 1.5 years out of the membrane. My carbon and prefilters don’t see that kind of life, and my DI resin is usually exhausted at about 6 months, on a good run. 

 

I know we’ve been through this before, but I don’t remember. Do you have a flush? I flush my unit for 5 to 10 minutes after every use. I know I’d get more life if I invested in a water softener. I just hate soft water, so that ain’t happening. However, most like it soft. Do you have one? Also, I ran an extra pre filter. I have the first one a 5 micron, and the second a 1 micron. This does tend to drop my pressure, thus I lose efficiency at the membrane, but I’ve got really crappy source water, too.

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16 hours ago, seabass said:

I guess it doesn't matter how good a LFS is, or even if you talk to the owner directly, they can still give you bad information.

 

There's no proof, because it's totally reef safe (providing that nothing is added).  You could probably go back far enough (back before many of our members were born) to find that some distilled water contained copper.  The reason was that they used copper in the process (I assume to transfer water for bottling).

 

Today they use plastics and ceramics instead of copper.  Plastic is cheaper and doesn't contaminate the water.  I believe that it also lasts a lot longer than copper in this environment.

 

Around 15 years ago, people were still concerned that certain bottlers used copper.  I'm not sure that it was true, even then.  However, I'm sure that you could find some old threads recommending that you purchase distilled water from certain vendors (like Walmart for example).  Today, you can confidently purchase distilled water at any grocery store for use in your reef tank.

 

I'm not sure why this has become a subject of concern lately.  It's been years since I've seen this much concern about it.  But it's a big to do about nothing.

I do remember the discussions about Walmart water being safe.  It was a couple of years before I started buying water elsewhere lol.

 

14 hours ago, markalot said:

Nothing wrong with distilled, I used it for a few months.  I think what usually happens is new reefers use distilled, corals do bad, someone mentions copper, bam.   I bet even distilled with a trace of copper works as well. 

 

To whoever is thinking distilled, be sure to add up how much you're spending on distilled so you know your break even point for a nice RODI unit.

 

I got this one 3 years ago:  http://spectrapure.com/RO-RODI/RODI-SYSTEMS/CSPDI-Standard-90-GPD-RO-DI-System

 

Replace DI every 8 months or so, carbon and sediment every 6 months.   I make a lot more water than you will, I suspect.  🙂

I think I hit that point a good 5+ years ago! :lol: Alas, frequent moves, job instability and keeping only picos meant distilled was way easier.  All those jugs...

 

14 hours ago, seabass said:

Include gas and time wasted to get it.

 

Besides cost savings, which are significant ($0.05 vs $0.80 a gallon), I think the main benefit of my own RO/DI unit was always having water available.  I ended up doing more water changes, and could deal with problems immediately, instead of having to lug 20 one gallon jugs back to my house.  Then sometimes, the store would be out of stock (probably another reefer cleaned them out), so I'd have to go to another store.  I don't miss that.

And hauling all those jugs inside.  I do NOT miss that, especially when I lived on the second floor!

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2 hours ago, RayWhisperer said:

I don’t get how you’re going through filters so quickly. My tap averages about 400 to 450.  I certainly don’t get the life others have posted, but I get about a year, to 1.5 years out of the membrane. My carbon and prefilters don’t see that kind of life, and my DI resin is usually exhausted at about 6 months, on a good run. 

 

I know we’ve been through this before, but I don’t remember. Do you have a flush? I flush my unit for 5 to 10 minutes after every use. I know I’d get more life if I invested in a water softener. I just hate soft water, so that ain’t happening. However, most like it soft. Do you have one? Also, I ran an extra pre filter. I have the first one a 5 micron, and the second a 1 micron. This does tend to drop my pressure, thus I lose efficiency at the membrane, but I’ve got really crappy source water, too.

I'm not really sure either. I wish I knew why mine has not lasted past 3 mnths. 

 

It's frustrating and expensive. 

 

My system I hook up via faucet, remove hoses after use. I can't permanently plumb mine.

 

No softener either, I'm in a high rise building so we can't do any plumbing in here without the approval of the landlord and them doing it.

 

I do flush mine after every use. 

 

My pressure usually is 60.

 

I run 0.5 sediment filter, 0.5 regular carbon, 1 chloramines carbon, membrane, and di.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Clown79 said:

I'm not really sure either. I wish I knew why mine has not lasted past 3 mnths.  It's frustrating and expensive. 

How do you know all of the filters needed to be replaced.  I get that the sediment filter turned brown and the TDS started to creep up.  It's not that unusual to have to replace your sediment filter more frequently.  And with such poor quality tap water, you might have 10 TDS being filtered through your DI resin (which will make it need to be replaced much more frequently).

 

However, how do you know if your carbon filters need replaced too?  I just think that you aren't running that much water through them, so I wouldn't think that they need replaced as often as your sediment filter.  This can get expensive (especially with two carbon filters).

 

I'm not sure what happened to our resident expert @AZDesertRat, but he recommends a single carbon block and 20" DI to handle chloramines.

On 1/5/2013 at 5:28 PM, AZDesertRat said:

Chloramines are very misunderstood and where most people mess up is by buying the so called "chloramine" carbon blocks when in fact they need to be investing in better DI resin and good DI contact time. Any good 0.5, 0.6 or 1.0 micron single carbon block, not two and not catalytic carbons such as KX carbon manufacturers, is more than capable of removing the chlorine portion of chloramines at normal EPA approved drinking levels. The real problem is the ammonia portion which carbons do not touch and where almost all vendors miss the boat.

 

Spectrapure blends their own resins in house based on their lab testing with chloramines, silicates, phosphates and who knows what else so they are the very best. they also only use full size vertical 20 oz DI canister and cartridges, not the little throw away horizontals you see on many systems, so they get the maximum contact time. Another thing you can do is at your first replacement interval, replace the 1.0 micron sediment and carbon block filters with their 0.5 micron absolute versions for only a few $$ more and also replace the DI with their new Super SilicaBuster version when it needs replacing, now you have the best of everything for chloramines or any other contaminant.

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1 hour ago, seabass said:

How do you know all of the filters needed to be replaced.  I get that the sediment filter turned brown and the TDS started to creep up.  It's not that unusual to have to replace your sediment filter more frequently.  And with such poor quality tap water, you might have 10 TDS being filtered through your DI resin (which will make it need to be replaced much more frequently).

 

However, how do you know if your carbon filters need replaced too?  I just think that you aren't running that much water through them, so I wouldn't think that they need replaced as often as your sediment filter.  This can get expensive (especially with two carbon filters).

 

I'm not sure what happened to our resident expert @AZDesertRat, but he recommends a single carbon block and 20" DI to handle chloramines.

I have no idea how to tell when to change carbon blocks. 

 

Would be great if they could just design an indicator on the systems to tell you.

 

I know he was the resident expert and I respect that but after tons of research, it's highly recommended to use carbon blocks on chloramines.

 

I have not seen 20" canisters or filters here.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

I have no idea how to tell when to change carbon blocks.  Would be great if they could just design an indicator on the systems to tell you.

You could either go by how much water you filter (product + waste), or check for chlorine:

  • https://hannainst.com/products/checker-colorimeters/hi711-total-chlorine.html
  • http://spectrapure.com/TEST-KITS-METERS/CHEMICAL-TEST-KITS/Total-Chlorine-Test-Kit-w-10-tablets
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4 minutes ago, seabass said:

I'd love to order the tester but  I have spent far too much money on the whole rodi. Another $100 On a Hanna tester will not go over well with the significant other.

 

I have no idea how to tell waste to good water ratio.

 

If I had 1 tank under 30g- I'd still use distilled.

 

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

I have no idea how to tell waste to good water ratio.

Simple, instead of running the waste water down the drain, just run it into a bucket.  Then you can measure how much waste water is produced versus how much product water is made.

 

57 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

If I had 1 tank under 30g- I'd still use distilled.

I still think that you are spending more than you need to.  Whether you reconfigure your RO/DI stages or simply change when you replace your filters, I think there are some savings to be had.

 

I'm wondering if it would work better to setup your 5 stage unit like: http://spectrapure.com/manuals/MAXCAP_RODI_MANUAL_REV_1_PF.pdf

  1. 0.5 micron sediment
  2. 0.5 micron carbon block
  3. RO membrane
  4. SpectraPure MaxCap DI
  5. spectraPure SilicaBuster DI

The idea behind the MaxCap DI system is that the MaxCap DI protects the SilicaBuster DI, and is replaced so that the SilicaBuster has an extended life.

 

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5 hours ago, seabass said:

Simple, instead of running the waste water down the drain, just run it into a bucket.  Then you can measure how much waste water is produced versus how much product water is made.

 

I still think that you are spending more than you need to.  Whether you reconfigure your RO/DI stages or simply change when you replace your filters, I think there are some savings to be had.

 

I'm wondering if it would work better to setup your 5 stage unit like: http://spectrapure.com/manuals/MAXCAP_RODI_MANUAL_REV_1_PF.pdf

  1. 0.5 micron sediment
  2. 0.5 micron carbon block
  3. RO membrane
  4. SpectraPure MaxCap DI
  5. spectraPure SilicaBuster DI

The idea behind the MaxCap DI system is that the MaxCap DI protects the SilicaBuster DI, and is replaced so that the SilicaBuster has an extended life.

 

I'm going to check tmw the waste vs good water production.

 

I don't see the maxcap di in Cda besides Amazon and it's between $95-$128 each.

Reef supplies on amazon.ca are ridiculously priced.

 

From what I read and watched on brs,  chloramines destroy the membranes and it's best to use chloramine carbon block before the membrane to prevent that.

 

I also contacted spectrapure and they advised to prevent membrane issues and using a ton of di, the chloramine carbons are best for removal.

 

Here is the worst part of chloramines and chlorine- even rodi systems don't remove them 100%.

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  • 5 years later...
On 6/3/2018 at 2:21 AM, banasophia said:

Yeah, so when I went to one of the best LFSs in my area this evening and mentioned I was going to try using distilled water, and the owner explained it’s no good. When I asked why not, and shouldn’t it be basically pure H2O, I expected him to tell me about the potential for contaminants, but instead he said that’s the problem, it’s “too pure” because they’ve removed all the natural elements so it will be harmful to the corals... he said I should use “purified water” if I want to buy my water from the grocery store. There sure are a lot of different perspectives in this hobby!

That's pretty poor advice. RO strips out trace elements as well. You add that all back with your slat mix and dosing. Grocery store "purified" water could add all kinds of TDS you don't want.

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2 hours ago, pblogic said:

That's pretty poor advice. RO strips out trace elements as well. You add that all back with your slat mix and dosing. Grocery store "purified" water could add all kinds of TDS you don't want.

I agree! Since that time I have used distilled water pretty routinely, though I do have a filter for making my own RODI now, so I just use distilled for my top offs. 
 


Delivery back when I used a lot more distilled:
IMG_1102.thumb.jpeg.aad1483b1d6068b3cedbcf549fb84497.jpeg

 

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