RODI producing chloramines

andiesreef

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so my town has used chloramines for years now. when I got into keeping freshwater fish a while ago, I had no problems simply dechlorinating the tap water and adding it to the tanks. for over a year this has worked well for me.

however, today something happened in my 2 month old 20g long cycled reef tank that shocked me. after one of my shrimp was sucked up by the HOB filter on the tank, I removed it and performed a 25% water change with normal RODI water from my RO Buddy unit mixed with instant ocean salt to remove any ammonia or excess nutrients, just to be safe. later that day, I returned to the tank to find something terrible happening. my fish and CUC were all ok, but my 5-6 soft corals and my acan were all closed up. I performed tests for nitrite, nitrates, ammonia, and PH and found ammonia at 1 ppm. I was so confused and ran a test on my RODI water. turns out it was letting ammonia through the unit! I assumed it was chloramines and was glad to have found the root of the issue. I quickly dechlorinated the tank water, my ammonia dropped to <0.25 ppm, and I'm hoping my biological filtration is still intact. my fish all seemed fine after this, with a few corals even showing signs of re-opening! I was relieved that my very first reef tank seems ok, at least for now. but I have a lot of questions. what happened to the RODI water that has been chloramine-free for 2 months? I ordered a TDS meter and it should be here within a few days just to be able to more closely manage my water quality. what can I do to ensure my water quality is safe for my tank? is there something I should know about RODI units? and why did this happen now? I recall my RODI water smelling a tad funky today, but that's all that was out of the norm for me. all input is greatly valued.
 
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mdb_talon

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A TDS meter is a good idea, but not really that relevant to chloramines as i understand it. I believe you can have 0 tds yet still have chloramines. Change carbon filters frequently is best option.
 

Rybren

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If you have anything other than 0 TDS coming out of your DI stage, you could be releasing ammonia into your water. Your DI resin may be depleted.
 
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andiesreef

andiesreef

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A TDS meter is a good idea, but not really that relevant to chloramines as i understand it. I believe you can have 0 tds yet still have chloramines. Change carbon filters frequently is best option.
thanks for the input. i bought the meter just to have extra peace of mind and make sure nothing else is coming through. the last thing i want is additional pollutants making their way into my tank!
 
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andiesreef

andiesreef

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If you have anything other than 0 TDS coming out of your DI stage, you could be releasing ammonia into your water. Your DI resin may be depleted.
my di resin has a color-changing depletion bar and it only looks about 1/3 to half used. could it be a carbon filter issue?
 
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andiesreef

andiesreef

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If it were me, I wouldn't (and don't) rely on the colour change. When TDS hits 1 after the resin, I change it. @Randy Holmes-Farley may be able to provide more insight.
I think I'm going to try a new carbon filter first and use my TDS meter on it that will be coming tomorrow. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from my understanding chloramines and issues with TDS are different?
 

Crevalle

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Personally if you’re at 0 TDS and getting chloramines and add a little prime change the carbon filters and call it a day.
 

mdb_talon

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I do need to check my TDS which I will do tomorrow, and if it reads 0 then my plan is exactly that.

If longevity of your RO is a concern you want to remove chloramines prior to the RO membrane as it will shorten its life. Again why the cheap carbon filters should be changed frequently. If your carbon prefilters are working properly then chloramines should not be an issue.
 

DaddyFish

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My community well system owner company likes to play around with chloramine levels. That's why I invested in a 3-stage whole house system that runs upstream of my 5-stage RODI system. Peace of mind, pure and simple peace of mind.
Dwell time is a big factor in the efficiency of carbon filters to remove chloramines. And chloramines won't show up on TDS meters.
 
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dhnguyen

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I checked out the RO Buddie and to be honest I'm not impressed at the design. That's a 3 stage system at best.
You would be a lot better off adding another carbon block and take out that DI to replace it with a larger canister of DI resin. RO/DI isn't all that difficult to do.

Just get a couple canisters, one for DI and one for carbon and hook them up to yours.


Connect them in stages like this

sediment > carbon > carbon > RO > DI and voila now you have a 5 stage RO/DI filter
 

mijan

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I had an RO Buddy. It says clearly in the instructions that their unit does not filter out Chloramines. They do sell a carbon block that will filter them out but that is an extra purchase to get that.
 

dhnguyen

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I had an RO Buddy. It says clearly in the instructions that their unit does not filter out Chloramines. They do sell a carbon block that will filter them out but that is an extra purchase to get that.
Like I said just get a couple canisters and put carbon and DI in them. It doesn't cost that much (the standard 10" canister is like $17) and is not difficult to connect up.
Hell, even cheaper on Amazon

RO/Di canister
 
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SteveC847

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I just move to a place that has chloramine in the city water supply. As I am moving into a new home and setting up new tank, I have decided to separate my drinking water solution from my fish tank water solution.

I will probably use BRS 7 stage for tank but have decided on APEC 5 stage for drinking (HI-90). I have talked to APEC about chloramine and they recommend replacing both of their carbon filters (2nd/3rd stage) with the chloramine versions as they have catalytic carbon which handles chloramine effectively (regular carbon does not). Even if you don't buy APEC I would recommend going to their site for info...you will understand more.

For those reporting not seeing chloramine in effluent for fish tank, their resin canister at end is most likely reducing. All sources I have read (not just APEC) say regular carbon filters will have little/no impact on chloramine. There is also some commentary about chloramine damaging the membrane stage, even if resin stages catches it later. The catalytic carbon filters do cost more than regular carbon, but they also do double duty (perform regular carbon role as well). So sediment first stage, then two catalytic carbon, then membrane, etc...

BTW: I did notice old BRS video tried to split up the problem using catalytic filter only in second carbon stage and a modified regular carbon filter in first stage to save some money. Personally, I think they were just complicating the rock fight for a couple of dollars savings (and removing the redundancy/safety of second one). May make more of a difference on large scale. Personally, I will just go with APEC recommendation of buying two catalytic carbon filters (going out on a limb here and assume APEC probably knows more on this subject than Ryan/BRS). :)
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I do not agree that special carbon blocks are always needed.

There's nothing wrong with using one or two, but do not assume they are needed just because your water company uses chloramine.

In my studies using real world reefers, regular carbon blocks usually worked fine.

So I'd test and use them if needed, and don't bother spending the extra if normal blocks work for you (as they did for me).
 
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