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Jul 15, 2009
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Litchfield Park
What is the consensus about using the RO kiosks that are popping up on every corner? In my area $1.00-1.25 for 5 gallons makes buying a RODI unit rather expensive. I might add that I have operated RO units from 100 gpd to 2,000gpd and the initial cost is not the end of your costs. I do acknowledge that just turning on a faucet is convenient.
The answer is in your question. The kiosks only sell RO water, meaning at it's very best you're looking at 5 TDS, realistically 20-30 tds. If you were to purchase from the kiosk then you would have to devise a way to pass the water through DI resin to strip the last of the ions from the water, that requires a dedicated pump (void of any internal metals). It can definitely be done, my reverse ask is, "is it worth the hassle? "

I would boil the choices to 2. first is that you purchase your RODI water from a LFS or second, purchase a unit to make your own. If you choose to get it from your LFS, I would bring a hand held TDS meter with you, I was in a pinch and waiting on replacement filters for my unit, I went to the LFS and picked up 50 gallons only to come home and test it to find it had 10 tds.

Thanks! I'm thinking of getting an ato, but I don't wanna without an apex or something similar due to the fact that it can get stuck in the on position and I don't wanna risk that much water on my floor. What apex controller setup should I get? I've looked at the jr and o think the classic may be a better version for me even if the tank is just a 40g. I go on ski trips almost every weekend so an ato is practically a must
You don't needs an apex to have the piece of mind to prevent a flood from a stuck float valve. there are many ATO's on the market that use optic sensors and programming to prevent that from happening.

Purchasing an Apex is a big ticket item. The only way I would suggest an Apex is if you plan to get one eventually anyway. And even then a stand alone ATO might be a better way to go.

If you choose Apex then any of their products will work. Of coarse as they increase in price so does the options and controlability. I ran the Apex lite for years and recently upgraded to the newest Apex with the idea to get the trident, only to later change my mind. If you check out by build thread, you will see that I went all out, and even with all I did, I could've easily used the Apex lite.

Also there are other options out there for controllers. Some people are getting rid of their Apex for the GHL profilux 4. I have zero experience with it, so I can't speak of how it holds up. But there are other options to think about.

I realize this thread started off asking about RODI water and it snowballed rather quickly. You're finding out first hand everything that goes into keeping a reef tank. I gather through your diligent research that you're peeling this onion and seeing that there is more to it than meets the eye. It's great to see you asking questions, however keep in mind all this equipment that you're asking about doesn't necessarily make for a great final product (reef tank), it only makes things a bit easier all the while making a huge dent in your pocket book.

Most people that come out of the gate swinging, buying all this equipment get burned out rather quickly. Please do your homework, ask questions, and understand just because that guy has that piece of equipment doesn't mean if you purchase it, you will get the same results. Start off slow and find out if you're cut out for it first. then create a budget so you can sustain your thirst for the hobby.


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Aug 21, 2019
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Sunrise Beach, TX
I do not have an Apex, but still have an ATO. Most have a safety feature of some sort to prevent overfilling your tank. When setup properly there is very little risk of an overflow.
Yes my sump has about 8 gallons of extra capacity and my ATO only holds 1.5 gallons. I have to top it off every three days or so but salinity is very stable

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