Question Regarding RO/DI.

NanoLuke

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I have had a 20 Gallon Nano aquarium up and running with a small amount of livestock (3 fish, 1 Kenya Tree Coral, and 2 Hermit crabs), for about nine months now. During this time I have been using Prime to treat my city tap water for the tank. This has worked fairly well right now, but I think that the diatom outbreaks I have been having are due to the silicates that I remain in my water. Plus, I know that in general it is best to use RO/DI, particularly if you have long term plans with the tank, which I obviously do. As a result, I will be purchasing a Bulk Reef Supply RO/DI system very soon so I can start getting some clean water and slowly getting the junk I have now out of there. In comparison with tap water across the US, my local tap water is not horrible but not among the purest US tap water either. My big concern is the chloramines. I have not tested the water myself but according to my towns water report, the highest level of chloramines detected in the system was slightly higher than 1 ppm. I know from research with BRS that chloramines take a bit more work to filter through RO/DI, so my question is, do I need a 5 or 6 stage system? BRS says that 5 stagers work with small amounts or chloramine, while 6 is a bit more aggressive and should take care of higher concentrations. Can I get away with a 5 stage or do I need a 6 stage?
 
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Shirak

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You need a carbon block that can process chloramines. So even a 4 stage (sediment,carbon,RO,DI) will work if the carbon block is the proper type. I would contact BRS and explain you have chloramines and want the chloroguard/chloroplus carbon instead of the matrix carbon.

Personally I like having extra stages. It allows me to run separate anion/cation so I can change each as needed. I also like having the tds meters and the pressure gauge is nice so you can replace the sediment filter only when needed.
 
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NanoLuke

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You need a carbon block that can process chloramines. So even a 4 stage (sediment,carbon,RO,DI) will work if the carbon block is the proper type. I would contact BRS and explain you have chloramines and want the chloroguard/chloroplus carbon instead of the matrix carbon.

Personally I like having extra stages. It allows me to run separate anion/cation so I can change each as needed. I also like having the tds meters and the pressure gauge is nice so you can replace the sediment filter only when needed.
Thanks! That really makes my day because I don't want to spend an exceptional amount of money if I can. And I am seriously considering getting a TDS meter add-on because I think that would be really beneficial. One other question is, how often do you think I would have to replace cartridges and material in the system with a tank my size with an evaporation rate of around 1/2 gallon to 1 gallon a day and 10 percent weekly water changes?
Thanks! That is really good to know!
 

Mical

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You can always start with a 4 stage and upgrade along the line. RE: replacing cartridges, that all depends on how much water you make & local water quality.

I started with 4 stage when I lived in condo in a community that had city water and could go 9 mos to a year before replacing DI resin. Carbon block & sediment filter I replaced yearly. Now that we live in a rural community that has city treated well water I had to "up" my setup but with BRS gear it was easy

RODI.jpg
 
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Shirak

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Thanks! That really makes my day because I don't want to spend an exceptional amount of money if I can. And I am seriously considering getting a TDS meter add-on because I think that would be really beneficial. One other question is, how often do you think I would have to replace cartridges and material in the system with a tank my size with an evaporation rate of around 1/2 gallon to 1 gallon a day and 10 percent weekly water changes?

Thanks! That is really good to know!
The carbon block Mical linked is good too and will process 3500 gallons roughly before needing replacement due to chloramines. A decent RO system with good city pressure and water that's not too cold will on average put out 1 gallon of RO water and 3 gallons of waste. So if you do 10% water change and figure about 5 gallons of water a week for top off, you are needing about 7 gallons/week RODI. To make the 7 gallons it will take about 30 gallons of water.. so 30 gallons/week.. roughly 100 weeks :) your mileage may vary! So you can replace it every 12/18 months and be well within the specs of the block. Provided or course you are only sending about 30 gallons/week through it. You can easily calculate roughly how long it will last based on your actual water processed when in use.

Sediment filter probably won't need replacing often as most city water is pretty clean? They are pretty inexpensive. DI you will need to replace the most often.

Little tip.. I have a t valve after the RO out that lets me collect some water before sending it through the DI when I first turn on the system. This will give your RO membrane a few minutes to clear out and start producing low TDS water. It will save your DI resin ALOT. Plus this RO water is really good for the espresso machine and the house plants!

I have added several more of the DI canisters since this photo was taken
IMG_3175[1].JPG
 
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NanoLuke

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Little tip.. I have a t valve after the RO out that lets me collect some water before sending it through the DI when I first turn on the system. This will give your RO membrane a few minutes to clear out and start producing low TDS water. It will save your DI resin ALOT. Plus this RO water is really good for the espresso machine and the house plants!
Thank you so much for all your help. Thanks for sharing this tip in particular as it is very helpful and I likely would not have known otherwise. I will be sure to get a t valve for that very purpose.
 
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NanoLuke

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Okay so I did some more digging with the four stage, and I have a couple of questions. Firstly, I see that it comes prepackaged with a carbon block that would NOT be ideal for chloramines. So, my question is, can I buy the correct block and use the prepackaged one first? I was thinking that the only difference between the two is that the one rated for chlorine only with be depleted substantially quicker with chloramines. Since I will get the full deal with a TDS meter, pressure gauge, etc. I figured I would be alerted by the system fairly early and be able to swap it out. Will this work? I just don't want to waste the other carbon block if I can help it. My other question is, I see that BRS offers both color-changing and non-color-changing DI resin. Would it be best to spend the few extra bucks and get the color-changing or can I get away with the cheaper stuff? I just thought that perhaps I would be aware of depletion with the TDS meter anyway, but perhaps I am mistaken.
 

Shirak

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Okay so I did some more digging with the four stage, and I have a couple of questions. Firstly, I see that it comes prepackaged with a carbon block that would NOT be ideal for chloramines. So, my question is, can I buy the correct block and use the prepackaged one first? I was thinking that the only difference between the two is that the one rated for chlorine only with be depleted substantially quicker with chloramines. Since I will get the full deal with a TDS meter, pressure gauge, etc. I figured I would be alerted by the system fairly early and be able to swap it out. Will this work? I just don't want to waste the other carbon block if I can help it. My other question is, I see that BRS offers both color-changing and non-color-changing DI resin. Would it be best to spend the few extra bucks and get the color-changing or can I get away with the cheaper stuff? I just thought that perhaps I would be aware of depletion with the TDS meter anyway, but perhaps I am mistaken.
From my understanding the regular carbon block will not remove the chloramines. I would buy the correct one. Chloramines getting past the carbon could damage the RO membrane and may not be fully removed by the DI resin. Maybe you can sell the other one to a fellow hobbyist?

The color change resin is nice since you can see at a glance where it's at and gauge when it will be time to change it. That way you can have resin on hand and not have to order it way in advance as it is best when it's fresher. Yes the meter will work to let you know when it's time to change it. So you could just monitor with the meter and skip the color changing resin. Be aware the resin will need changing before it's totally changed color.
You will probably find it will last a long time if you are only sending 7 gallons a week through it. Especially if you divert the first gallon of water that comes out of the RO unit each time you use it.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Okay so I did some more digging with the four stage, and I have a couple of questions. Firstly, I see that it comes prepackaged with a carbon block that would NOT be ideal for chloramines. So, my question is, can I buy the correct block and use the prepackaged one first? I was thinking that the only difference between the two is that the one rated for chlorine only with be depleted substantially quicker with chloramines. Since I will get the full deal with a TDS meter, pressure gauge, etc. I figured I would be alerted by the system fairly early and be able to swap it out. Will this work? I just don't want to waste the other carbon block if I can help it. My other question is, I see that BRS offers both color-changing and non-color-changing DI resin. Would it be best to spend the few extra bucks and get the color-changing or can I get away with the cheaper stuff? I just thought that perhaps I would be aware of depletion with the TDS meter anyway, but perhaps I am mistaken.

IME, and in the experience of many reefers I sent a kit to for testing, normal carbon blocks are adequate for chloramine.

I'd try normal ones first, before spending extra money. Any cheap total chlorine kit can be used to see if it worked. No need for a special chloramine test.

This has more:

Chloramine and the Reef Aquarium - Reefkeeping.com
 
https://www.youtube.com/c/ReefStache
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NanoLuke

NanoLuke

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IME, and in the experience of many reefers I sent a kit to for testing, normal carbon blocks are adequate for chloramine.

I'd try normal ones first, before spending extra money. Any cheap total chlorine kit can be used to see if it worked. No need for a special chloramine test.

This has more:

Chloramine and the Reef Aquarium - Reefkeeping.com
Interesting! Thanks for sharing this with me and I will look into your research.
 

Opus

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Also, chloramines will not destroy the ro membrane like chlorine will. If chloramines make it thru the di should take care of them but it will eat thru the di. As Randy stated the regular carbon blocks will take out chlorine. It is all about contact time. I prefer for my carbon block to be .5 micron but most go with 1 micron or 5 micron. You can try the 4 stage and if it isn't working for you, then you can add an extra carbon block fairly cheaply. BRS sells the canisters for $17. You would just need the canister, the extra carbon block and some extra hose to plumb it into your system.
 
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NanoLuke

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@Randy Holmes-Farley I read you article and really enjoyed it, finding the results very interesting. Here are two videos by Bulk Reef Supply and their testing. I am not sure if you have already seen these, but they obviously argue in favor of the specialized chloramine block which would make since for them from a marketing perspective, so there could be a bias. If you have the time, could you watch these and if there are any flaws or strange issues with the experiments they do and point them out?


 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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This has been around for a while and, IMO, it convinces some people to spend money that may not be needed.

If people do not mind spending the extra money for special carbon blocks to gain peace of mind, by all means do it.

Instead of trying to explain why they got what they got when real reef users often seem to get different answers, I would suggest following their advice and test for yourself. The savings on one carbon block will offset the cost of a total chlorine kit.

If you get a significant chlorine result in the final effluent, then a better carbon block may be in order.

Many people with chloramine do not have levels as high as they used in testing (I do not, my water supply has half as much). They also did not actually test an RO/DI, but just the carbon block without sediment filter, membrane, or DI, which together can serve to lower chloramine further.
 
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