Using whole house filtered water as RO substitute?

underthereef

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Hi All! I just want to start out by saying I’m new to the forum! I’m just getting into saltwater tanks. I’ve had successful planted freshwater for 6 years and have wanted to go saltwater the whole time. Lol.
I’m getting ready to do my first build mixed reef. I’ve been doing research for quite a while now and finally signed up on the forum! Tons of great info I’ve found on here.
However, I can’t seem to find a clear cut answer on whether you can use a whole house water filtered and softened water for maintenance instead of RO? I’m not opposed to RO or anything, but the set up doesn’t seem very feasible. I live in SoCal in a urban home with no basement or extra rooms with large sinks and places to put water bins and such.
It would be much more feasible to use my house filtrated water and mix it and add it to the tank. It should remove the contaminants and things like that? Also still treating it. I also believe it’s a myth that softened water is high in sodium. Otherwise everyone who drank it would have sodium levels off the charts. Lol. It should already be filtered back out. I’ve talked to the filter company about this as well and they confirmed there should not be sodium in the water. Possible small traces right after flushing. I water my indoor plants with it and they thrive which people also used to say not to do. Lol. Anyway, any expert input on this would be nice? Is RO required? Thank you!
 
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underthereef

underthereef

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P.S. I should have added, I do actually already have an RO small faucet by my kitchen sink but it has an alkaline boosting filter integrated into it for drinking purposes.
***also don’t really want to be buying RO water constantly so if it is required I’d rather try and find a solution to have it set up still*** my main concern is where to set an ro system up and store water. I have a garage but no sink in there. If my house water is an option: what additional precautions or steps can I take to monitor or make sure it’s safe?

P.P.S. I’m sad about the Tangs :( Lol
 
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dieselkeeper

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I had the same thought as you when I started. I'm on well water and added a 1 micron house filter. Hair algae grew like weeds in my tank. Took 6 months to get rid of it after installing a RO unit. My advice is to measure the TDS of the water you are going to use. Don't use it if it is above 5 ppm. You will probably find it is in the hundreds.
 
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underthereef

underthereef

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I had the same thought as you when I started. I'm on well water and added a 1 micron house filter. Hair algae grew like weeds in my tank. Took 6 months to get rid of it after installing a RO unit. My advice is to measure the TDS of the water you are going to use. Don't use it if it is above 5 ppm. You will probably find it is in the hundreds.
Okay thanks! So would my main concern with the house filter at that point is only making sure the TDS would be below 5 PPM? Otherwise for sure go RO?
 
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underthereef

underthereef

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Welcome to R2R!!!

This is the TDS meter I use, it literally took maybe 5 minutes to install and it works great.

HM Digital DM-1 In-Line Dual TDS Monitor, 0-9990 ppm Range, +/- 2% Readout Accuracy
Thank you!
Have you thought about setting it up outside off a hose spigot?
That’s a good idea! I didn’t think about that. Lol. I actually already have an extra spigot coming from the filter too right next to my normal hose spigot. So I should just be able to set it up off that outside and it’ll be fine?
 
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Tonycass12

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Thank you!

That’s a good idea! I didn’t think about that. Lol. I actually already have an extra spigot coming from the filter too right next to my normal hose spigot. So I should just be able to set it up off that outside and it’ll be fine?
Yup I see your in southern California you shouldn't have any issues at all. May want to get a cheap little garden shed to house things or build a box just to keep it protected from the sun.
 

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Thank you!

That’s a good idea! I didn’t think about that. Lol. I actually already have an extra spigot coming from the filter too right next to my normal hose spigot. So I should just be able to set it up off that outside and it’ll be fine?
Just make sure the hose is getting filtered water. It depends on how the hoses are plumbed.
 

Pistondog

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I have a whole house filter and use rodi system. You shouldn't have to change the filters as often.
Tds into rodi system is < 3 ppm, but tds does not measure other stuff the rodi removes.
 

ying yang

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I just installed my rodi unit under my sink.it had cold mains and waste pipe there and out of sight in cupboard. Just fill up my containers.and mix my salt up in a cupbaord.
 

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underthereef

underthereef

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I have a whole house filter and use rodi system. You shouldn't have to change the filters as often.
Tds into rodi system is < 3 ppm, but tds does not measure other stuff the rodi removes.
What are some of the other things I’d be worrying about that RODI removes that TDS doesn’t measure? Or that isn’t removed by the whole house filter?
 

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Using an RODI depends mainly on what you intend to stock. If you plan a FOWLR setup, your house water will be fine for all but the most delicate species. I ran my old tank on tap water for 2 years with no issues, but as soon as I added inverts, that's when bad things happened.

It's not just about TDS. Some of the things in municipal water are absolutely deadly to inverts. Copper being the first one that comes to mind. A TDS meter can't tell you what actual elements are present in your water supply. It simply tells you how many PPM of "something" are present. I would send a sample to a lab and have it analyzed to find out exactly what is in your water before any attempt to use it in a reef system that contains any form of inverts.

Just my $0.02
 
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underthereef

underthereef

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Using an RODI depends mainly on what you intend to stock. If you plan a FOWLR setup, your house water will be fine for all but the most delicate species. I ran my old tank on tap water for 2 years with no issues, but as soon as I added inverts, that's when bad things happened.

It's not just about TDS. Some of the things in municipal water are absolutely deadly to inverts. Copper being the first one that comes to mind. A TDS meter can't tell you what actual elements are present in your water supply. It simply tells you how many PPM of "something" are present. I would send a sample to a lab and have it analyzed to find out exactly what is in your water before any attempt to use it in a reef system that contains any form of inverts.

Just my $0.02
But so a five stage whole house filter wouldn’t be removing that stuff? This is a pic of the filter composition. It says it takes out heavy metals etc. That’s why I’m just trying to figure out what exactly is left that’s harmful that requires RO. I’m planning on having a mixed reef with corals and fish and some inverts most likely.
 

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underthereef

underthereef

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another thought, I have the RO system next to my kitchen sink that has the alkaline filter added. Would that be unusable because the alkaline filter adding minerals back into the water would be bad?
Attached is a pic of my whole house filter. Maybe it’ll help for me to understand what’s left that can still be harmful for a mixed reef. I’m just trying to gain a larger understanding of water chemistry for saltwater aquariums to keep everything safe :)
Or is it really more that my water “might” be perfectly safe but RO is just making sure absolutely nothing harmful is possibly in it? And getting the most purest water possible. Lol

F1584A83-E6C4-4FCC-824B-E4A08320C692.jpeg
 
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