!!!REEF 911 with Adam at Battlecorals!!!

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pandaparties

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Wh... why? My current membrane is over 5 years old (the one it replaced was over 10 years old). My prefilters (including carbon blocks) are coming up on 3 years old.
Shane backer has some amazing SPS and he swears by changing the membrane and pre-filter way more often. Thought it would be worth a shot
 

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No, its not my new podcast lol. Not yet at least...

But anyway, I know this entire forum basically serves this exact purpose collectively. But, I'd like to create a space with a direct line where I can publicly help people with the most dire of tank issues. And by that I mean the "head scratcher". Those problems where you've been throwing solutions at the wall for some time and not getting anywhere. That rare instance when the simplest or most obvious solution isn't the answer. You're at the end of your rope and about ready to call it a day even.

I have been there all too many times and it is enough to make you go bonkers. In fact, I believe I am, in some form or another in constant state of this myself. Comes with the job. Be it major or minor. The good news however, is that I do believe there is always a solution and I have developed a relatively simple protocol for troubleshooting these kinds of problems. You are going to hear me talk about source water a lot, because that always where I start but wherever we end up, a healthy tank and happy brainwaves are the ultimate goal.

So, I guess what I am saying, is that I am making myself as available as I can be in an effort to help personally put this accumulated wisdom I've managed to collect and hoard over the years to good use. And with any luck, help you solve your own tank "head scratcher". So we'll see how it goes. Obviously my primary expertise is sps, but I'm not limiting myself at all here. I will do the best I can whatever your inhabitants are. Now I promise I will also do my best to stay active and keep this thread as up to date as possible. But I may only be able to address a few individuals at a time.

My hope is that this will kind of document my general system of blind troubleshooting in realtime, and ultimately serve as a resource once it's built up a fair amount of info. again, not unlike this entire site lol.




Reef 911.png
I would be totally down for this to be a podcast!

Futurama Buy GIF


shut up and take my money GIF

shut up and take my money GIF

boondock saints buy GIF
 

1mbrews8

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And phosphates consistently read at .06.

i’ve tried dosing TSP to get to .1 because I heard that helped somehow bond with nitrates, or get them to go down more, at least during water changes, but I started getting a bit more algae and the coral didn’t look great, so I figured I would wait on that just in case I was creating phosphate issues

Just to continue mine with a group of questions I saw about another's that might help..

  • do you know the waste ratio? - No, but it is a BRS 5 stage
  • is it a single membrane unit - Yes
  • do you have a water softener - no
  • assuming you feed it with cold water then? - yes
  • lastly, well water or Municipal? - city water
  • any copper treatments done in the tank or with that tank at all? - no
nitrates read 0 in the rodi and FSW, don't think I've checked for phos in them, but like I said, I'm dosing TSP now to try to even things out nitrate/phos wise/keep at .1..
 

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Just to continue mine with a group of questions I saw about another's that might help..

  • do you know the waste ratio? - No, but it is a BRS 5 stage
  • is it a single membrane unit - Yes
  • do you have a water softener - no
  • assuming you feed it with cold water then? - yes
  • lastly, well water or Municipal? - city water
  • any copper treatments done in the tank or with that tank at all? - no
nitrates read 0 in the rodi and FSW, don't think I've checked for phos in them, but like I said, I'm dosing TSP now to try to even things out nitrate/phos wise/keep at .1..
So the waste ratio is 4 to 1 on any BRS without a second RO stage. I would say check your pressure, make sure it stays above 60psi. Lower pressures really cut down on the efficiency. You may wish to run an additional GAC in between the carbon blocks and have your sediment filter in a separate canister before the BRS RODI so you can see what comes out of the municipal supply collect at the bottom.

Chloramines passing through the last three stages would be a prime culprit for your nitrates, as well as a host of other issues.
 
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Just to continue mine with a group of questions I saw about another's that might help..

  • do you know the waste ratio? - No, but it is a BRS 5 stage
  • is it a single membrane unit - Yes
  • do you have a water softener - no
  • assuming you feed it with cold water then? - yes
  • lastly, well water or Municipal? - city water
  • any copper treatments done in the tank or with that tank at all? - no
nitrates read 0 in the rodi and FSW, don't think I've checked for phos in them, but like I said, I'm dosing TSP now to try to even things out nitrate/phos wise/keep at .1..
hey really sorry for the radio silence there. thanks for the info though!


so by any chance is your ro a dual membrane unit run in serial configuration? this is another no-no. Everything I know about this particular subject I learned from AZDesertRat who is an authority on the subject. He's had post after post about why this is a very bad idea and I quickly subscribed to his ethos on this myself years ago.

I'll see if I can plug in some links to his threads. very pertinent info. however no idea if this relates to your issue yet of course.
 

1mbrews8

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So the waste ratio is 4 to 1 on any BRS without a second RO stage. I would say check your pressure, make sure it stays above 60psi. Lower pressures really cut down on the efficiency. You may wish to run an additional GAC in between the carbon blocks and have your sediment filter in a separate canister before the BRS RODI so you can see what comes out of the municipal supply collect at the bottom.

Chloramines passing through the last three stages would be a prime culprit for your nitrates, as well as a host of other issues.
pressure is 50-60.. I heard over 60 is too much? I actually have a reducer on it since it is 100+ psi outta tap..

rodi results look good?


here are results from ATI germany at last send in..

tank
//lab.atiaquaristik.com/share/5fba0089914383cfac9f

RODI
//lab.atiaquaristik.com/share/3ee90652749ba13432ba
 

1mbrews8

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hey really sorry for the radio silence there. thanks for the info though!


so by any chance is your ro a dual membrane unit run in serial configuration? this is another no-no. Everything I know about this particular subject I learned from AZDesertRat who is an authority on the subject. He's had post after post about why this is a very bad idea and I quickly subscribed to his ethos on this myself years ago.

I'll see if I can plug in some links to his threads. very pertinent info. however no idea if this relates to your issue yet of course.
no sir... just one membrane
 

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Awesome thread, Adam! Thanks for all you do for our community!!
 

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A Young reefer

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My corals are suffering from shading and there is a lot of die off at the shaded regions.
I have an AI hydra 32 and 2 prime hds.
What would you recommend for supplemental lightning, orphek perhaps?
I would’ve went with T5’s however they weren’t an option at the time.
 

spsick

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hey really sorry for the radio silence there. thanks for the info though!


so by any chance is your ro a dual membrane unit run in serial configuration? this is another no-no. Everything I know about this particular subject I learned from AZDesertRat who is an authority on the subject. He's had post after post about why this is a very bad idea and I quickly subscribed to his ethos on this myself years ago.

I'll see if I can plug in some links to his threads. very pertinent info. however no idea if this relates to your issue yet of course.

Can you expand on this @Battlecorals? What is the downside and how else would one run multiple membranes?
 
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Can you expand on this @Battlecorals? What is the downside and how else would one run multiple membranes?
Absolutely. running dual membranes in serial where you take the waste line from one, and feed a second TFC membrane can foul the second membrane pretty rapidly in some cases.

The reason being is you’re not flushing it properly while running it at a 3:1 or 4:1 waste ratio. Essentially squashing it down to 1:1, this is asking a lot from a typical Tfc Membrane and runs the risk of fouling the second membrane.

I did experience this about 10-12 years ago running a dual membrane set up myself actually. Had really high water bills and was looking for a solution to kind of bring that down. so I started running the dual membrane at 1:1 just to save on water. Wasn’t too long after, I ran into sone issues I couldn’t explain that I eventually traced back to the bad membrane.

Again it was @AZDesertRat that educated me on this subject back when I was dealing with it. He is be far a better authority on this specific issue. I should look up sone of our old chats and post them. Would help clarify I’m sure.

Anyway. The best way to run two or more membranes would be in parallel. Were you just split the line and you feed both membranes individually, and have two separate waste lines and probably a booster pump as well
 

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Absolutely. running dual membranes in serial where you take the waste line from one, and feed a second TFC membrane can foul the second membrane pretty rapidly in some cases.

The reason being is you’re not flushing it properly while running it at a 3:1 or 4:1 waste ratio. Essentially squashing it down to 1:1, this is asking a lot from a typical Tfc Membrane and runs the risk of fouling the second membrane.

I did experience this about 10-12 years ago running a dual membrane set up myself actually. Had really high water bills and was looking for a solution to kind of bring that down. so I started running the dual membrane at 1:1 just to save on water. Wasn’t too long after, I ran into sone issues I couldn’t explain that I eventually traced back to the bad membrane.

Again it was @AZDesertRat that educated me on this subject back when I was dealing with it. He is be far a better authority on this specific issue. I should look up sone of our old chats and post them. Would help clarify I’m sure.

Anyway. The best way to run two or more membranes would be in parallel. Were you just split the line and you feed both membranes individually, and have two separate waste lines and probably a booster pump as well
Interested thanks Adam. Compelling reason to look more closely at it and possibly change membrane #2 more frequently. I only have 200ppm TDS coming in and change both membranes annually which might be unnecessary but $80 a year is cheap insurance.

You’re super on the money with source water being often overlooked important part of sps keeping. A lot of people only change their sediment and carbon blocks annually which is crazy to me.
 

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I still don’t understand why running multiple membranes in series is a bad idea if the output water is still at 0ppm. I get that the input tds into the second membrane will be higher and it would reduce the life of the membrane, but how is that detrimental to the tank?

I am currently running 3 membranes in series but I have a diy controller that opens a solenoid to flush the membranes at the beginning and end of running, then for a minute every 30 minutes of runtime. I do have the advantage that my supply water tds is fairly low at around 100ppm. When it’s cold outside my output from my membranes is 1ppm and after di it’s 0ppm.

Putting the membranes in parallel will still produce water quicker but it won’t help with your permeate to concentrate ratio.
 
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I still don’t understand why running multiple membranes in series is a bad idea if the output water is still at 0ppm. I get that the input tds into the second membrane will be higher and it would reduce the life of the membrane, but how is that detrimental to the tank?

I am currently running 3 membranes in series but I have a diy controller that opens a solenoid to flush the membranes at the beginning and end of running, then for a minute every 30 minutes of runtime. I do have the advantage that my supply water tds is fairly low at around 100ppm. When it’s cold outside my output from my membranes is 1ppm and after di it’s 0ppm.

Putting the membranes in parallel will still produce water quicker but it won’t help with your permeate to concentrate ratio.
Ultimately, as it was explained to me, is that by not running an RO with at least proper 3:1 or 4:1 ratio does not allow the membrane function properly. You’re not flushing it as you make water which is essential to membrane longevity.

At 1:1 or less even, problematic Brine can build up and foul the membrane. Causing bad bacterial buildup, or essentially just a breakdown of the TFC membrane completely.

Very welcome to have anyone chime in if they can correct me on this one, but it is my understanding that for a TFC membrane to function properly It needs to be flushed while it's making water. The flush kits that are provided with commercial units don't operate in the same way. They essentially don't do anything in that regard to actually flush the membrane clean.

compared to operating at a 4:1 where the membrane is being flushed constantly while in use. this is the key element.
 
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Gtinnel

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Ultimately, as it was explained to me, is that by not running an RO with at least proper 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 ratio does not allow the membrane function properly. you’re not flushing it as you make water which is essential to membrane longevity.

at 1:1 or less even, problematic Brine can build up and foul the membrane. Causing bad bacterial buildup, or essentially just a breakdown of the TFC membrane completely.

very welcome to have anyone chime in if if if they can correct me on this one, but it is my understanding that for a TFC membrane to function properly It needs to be flushed while it's making water. The flush kits that are provided with commercial units don't operate in the same way. They essentially don't do anything in that regard to actually flush the membrane clean.

compared to operating at a 4:1 where the membrane is being flushed constantly while in use. this is the key element.
I wonder at what point manual flushing would counteract the lack of water running over the outside of the membrane during water production. If more manual flushing is beneficial I may change mine to flush for 1 minutes every 10 or 15 minutes of run time.
 
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I wonder at what point manual flushing would counteract the lack of water running over the outside of the membrane during water production. If more manual flushing is beneficial I may change mine to flush for 1 minutes every 10 or 15 minutes of run time.
this is a direct quote regarding manual, flush kits for what its worth

AZDesertRat said:
I wouldn't waste my money, flush kits have no proven value. The 4:1 waste ratio when a RO membrane is in use is what flushes the membrane and keep its fresh.


Unless you plan to make water wate manually and flush the membrane each and every time you shut the unit off there is no way you will benefit from it. The only possible good would be to use it every time you shut the unit off to flush the accumulated solids away from the membrane before shutting it down. If you miss flushing, the solids would build up as they normally do and solidify on the membrane and at that point no amount of flushing will develop the velocity needed to scour the membranes surface.
 

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this is a direct quote regarding manual, flush kits for what its worth

AZDesertRat said:
I wouldn't waste my money, flush kits have no proven value. The 4:1 waste ratio when a RO membrane is in use is what flushes the membrane and keep its fresh.


Unless you plan to make water wate manually and flush the membrane each and every time you shut the unit off there is no way you will benefit from it. The only possible good would be to use it every time you shut the unit off to flush the accumulated solids away from the membrane before shutting it down. If you miss flushing, the solids would build up as they normally do and solidify on the membrane and at that point no amount of flushing will develop the velocity needed to scour the membranes surface.
Yes but with my setup based on this, my manual flushing would be beneficial. Mine flushes at the beginning, end, and then periodically during running. This statement essentially says if you don’t flush regularly and at the end then it won’t help.
 
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Yes but with my setup based on this, my manual flushing would be beneficial. Mine flushes at the beginning, end, and then periodically during running. This statement essentially says if you don’t flush regularly and at the end then it won’t help.
truth is I think he went on to say that if your not flushing manually with DI water even, like the big Spectrapure UHE's do its not nearly as effective either.

Still, id keep an eye your RO. and at first sign of any odd tank issues that is were id head for sure

curious why do you feel you need to run 3 membranes?
 

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