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NO MORE DECHLOR: Tap Water Filter Shopping List & Easy Assembly


Bill Smith
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My Southern California water is hard, high-pH, and contains high quantities of chloramines. I have 13 tanks at last count. That's a lot of buckets to dechlorinate on water change day!

About a year ago, I took the plunge and researched what it would take to pre-filter my tap water so that I could refill tanks directly, I'm really glad I did, because in the long run, it has saved me more hours than I can count!
 
Thankfully, it's a lot easier than it might seem. Below I will walk through the steps the average household can take to set it up, to show how easy and effective it really is!
 
Plan on a $100 total expense.
 
(All links are non-affiliate)
(I have ripped off illustrative pics from the internet. He had it coming.)
(Apologies to our overseas friends; this is how I did it in the U.S.)
 
I'm assuming you know how to connect push-fit quick-connectors: Push, then pull, then insert a blue clip.
 
PARTS:
 
1. 2 x Clear filter housings for 10" x 2.5" filters: 1/4" ports ($28) (clear is useful to see how dirty the sediment filter is)
2. Sediment Filter Cartridge: 1 micron ($7) (you could get 5 micron, but at this cost, why?)
3. Chloramine Carbon Block Cartridge: 1 micron ($20) (this cartridge is overkill if you're only treating for chlorine)
4. RO Canister Wrench ($7) (must-have for opening/tightening canisters)
5. Threaded fittings for RO canister housings: 1/4" ($7) (this is a basic selection; you can get more fancy here: elbow, direct connection, etc.)
6. Water supply RO adapter ($11) (basic is generally fine)
7. 25'-50' of 1/4" RO hose ($9) (how much do you need to reach your tanks?)
8. Assorted RO hose fittings ($12) (buy them all; you'll use more than you think!)
9. Vaseline or silicone grease
10. Teflon tape.
 
STEP 1: Tap into the Cold Water Supply
 
Pick a room with running water. I used my kitchen sink because of its proximity to big tanks, but bathroom or laundry hookups will do.
 
Right where the cold water supply feeds the faucet, you can easily install the adapter valve.
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To install, simply:
 
1. Place a towel under the cold water shut-off valve.
2. Turn off the cold water valve.
3. Disconnect the hose to the faucet.
4. Install the adapter (use teflon tape for the threads!).
5. Close the new adapter's valve.
6. Reattach the faucet hose.
7. Turn the water valve back on!
 
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Here's a not-very-helpful picture of my installation. I have a RO-drinking water unit, so I had a similar adapter already installed:
 
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I do not worry about water temperature when refilling my tanks. I can't prove it, but I've heard that a quick blast of cold water simulates a rainfall and can stimulate breeding and other behaviors. Otherwise I will lose gallons of water trying to get the mix just right every time. Maybe if I had a fish room, but for 13 tanks, cold water alone is just fine. I change 50% in every tank every weekend.
 
STEP 2: Load the Canisters
 
Each of the filter canisters has a black o-ring in its housing. You'll want to gently pry it out, coat it with some vaseline or silicone grease, and push it back in. 
 
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You can then load the filter cartridges in each one and screw the housings into the lids. Use the wrench to tighten them.
 
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STEP 3: Connect the Filter Canister Tops
 
An RO threaded fitting needs to be screwed in both ports on each of the two canisters. You must use teflon tape or you'll have leaks!
 
Once closed up, you can use some RO tubing to connect them to your home water supply adapter.
 
Take note of the "IN" and "OUT" markings on the lids. Run a short length of tubing from the new adapter on your plumbing to the "IN" port of the canister with the sediment filter. Then, run a very short tube from the "OUT" of that same canister to the "IN" of the canister with the carbon block. The remainder of your tubing can be attached to the "OUT" port of that second canister, and will hopefully reach your tanks.
 
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Be sure and put a ball valve (you bought several) on the end of the tubing to your tanks, so that you'll be able to turn it on and off at that point!
 
STEP 4: Check for Leaks
 
I had to do this several times until I had used enough teflon tape or vaseline grease on the o-rings. It's worth paying attention at this stage to save yourself grief later!
 
I closed the valve on the very end of my tubing, and opened up all the others. I keep it in this state indefinitely.
 
STEP 5: Flush out the Carbon Powder
 
I ran my unit for about an hour into the sink, until the water came out with the lowest TDS and clarity. 
 
STEP 6: TEST!
 
I have a chlorine test kit that measures total and free chlorine; this allows me to infer chloramine quantities when I compare with an ammonia test. None of this is necessary, in my opinion, except maybe for peace of mind.
 
I found that water coming out of this unit tests at zero for chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia. I suppose maybe the ammonia could read as much as 0.25 ppm, but it's my opinion that it's not enough to hurt fish, and any bio filter will snap that up right away.
 
STEP 7: USE IT!
 
I keep all the valves open at all times, except for the one on the very end of the hose that goes in the tanks to refill.
 
The water coming out of this unit is not high pressure; it runs about 1 gallon per minute for me. I prefer that.
 
Now, I just uncoil my hose to any part of the house I need, and coil it back up under the cabinet when I'm done! Clean water from the tap!
 
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STEP 8: ADDITIONAL TIPS
 
1. You can drink it too. 🙂 Unless you're already drinking RO water, it's MUCH better filtered than that stuff that comes out of your fridge icemaker or Brita filter.
 
2. The hose is so small I can put a tiny hole in my wall and get it to a tank for a permanent installation: Think auto-water changing!
 
3. You can add stages to improve the filtering capabilities. For example:
  •  A 5 micron sediment filter before the 1 micron will increase the lifespan of the latter. I haven't needed this; at seven bucks I plan to change it once a year whether it needs it or not.
  • If you just want to take care of chlorine and not chloramines, you can go for a less restrictive carbon filter, which will boost your water pressure.
  • For more neutral water and low-pH applications, you can add an RO membrane or DI resin. And so on.
 
4. For filling my rack, I went nuts:
 
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Hope this has been helpful. Thanks for reading!
 
Bill
 
Edited by Bill Smith
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45 minutes ago, pedrofisk said:

I am working on something similar but I am going to run it through a thermostatic mixing valve first. Our cold water in the winter time can get really, really, cold out of the tap.

Good point, my cold water is never ice cold, and it does warm up a little on its way to the tank. In summer, it probably comes through in the high 70s anyway. 🙂

As pointed out in another thread, everyone's water is so very different!

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2 hours ago, Bill Smith said:

Good point, my cold water is never ice cold, and it does warm up a little on its way to the tank. In summer, it probably comes through in the high 70s anyway. 🙂

As pointed out in another thread, everyone's water is so very different!

Yea I can't complain though. Our water is crazy soft and has almost zero to sometimes actually zero chlorine. Perfect for soft water fish. NYC is known to have the "Champaign of tap water", and I am not making that up, it's an actual saying. Buying bottle watered instead of drinking from the tap here is a silly waste of money.

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8 hours ago, StephenP2003 said:

Any idea how much? Just curious how it compares to here, which is around 1ppm chloramines, 120ppm KH, 0ppm GH. 

This is where my lack of expertise comes in. I think it's ~2-3 ppm.

My chlorine test kit reads 3ppm total chlorine and less than 1ppm free chlorine. Which leaves 2+ ppm that isn't free...therefore chloramine.

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48 minutes ago, Bill Smith said:

This is where my lack of expertise comes in. I think it's ~2-3 ppm.

My chlorine test kit reads 3ppm total chlorine and less than 1ppm free chlorine. Which leaves 2+ ppm that isn't free...therefore chloramine.

Does your city publish a water quality report? Might give you an idea of highest ranges. 

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  • 2 months later...

I was googling all kinds of things trying to figure out how I am going to set up my new and first full fish room so I can make things as easy as possible.  In a moment of brilliance I decided to come search the forum and my man @Bill Smith comes through for me again.  This is exactly what I am looking for, an easy way to get dechlorinated water for all my fish tanks.

Now the add on question - do you think something like this could be set up with an auto water change system in mind?

I'm not fully sure I am going down that route, but am curious if this type of system could potentially do it.  My thought is that in this case, you might be constrained by the water flow.  For an auto change system where you are changing multiple tanks at a time, you may need a stronger GPH flow.  Or, on the flip side to over come the GPH flow, you may need to run some type of drip change system to allow for more tanks?  So many things to figure out.  Would be open to any thoughts.

 

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1 hour ago, Ryan S. said:

I was googling all kinds of things trying to figure out how I am going to set up my new and first full fish room so I can make things as easy as possible.  In a moment of brilliance I decided to come search the forum and my man @Bill Smith comes through for me again.  This is exactly what I am looking for, an easy way to get dechlorinated water for all my fish tanks.

Now the add on question - do you think something like this could be set up with an auto water change system in mind?

I'm not fully sure I am going down that route, but am curious if this type of system could potentially do it.  My thought is that in this case, you might be constrained by the water flow.  For an auto change system where you are changing multiple tanks at a time, you may need a stronger GPH flow.  Or, on the flip side to over come the GPH flow, you may need to run some type of drip change system to allow for more tanks?  So many things to figure out.  Would be open to any thoughts.

 

Thanks for the kind words!

Yes, I absolutely use this for a continuous-drip system for my tanks. But I do it in the reverse style of most auto-water change systems: I use the draining to trigger refilling, not vice versa.

I should probably do a real write-up, but here's the short version:

1. Drain Siphon: This is airline tubing, continuously draining water from the tank, through the kitchen wall, into the kitchen cabinets, to the drain under my kitchen sink. I use a Ziss valve to control the flow. I hooked up a medical IV drip inline, so that I can see and regulate the actual drip rate.

2. Refill Line: Using the same path to the kitchen, I run my tap water filter output back to the tank.

3. Sump Filter: The two tanks I have hooked up to this system have sump filters, which makes all the refilling hardware less visible.

4. Float valve: On the end of the refill line in my sump, I've hooked up a float valve that regulates when the water should be allowed in. As the water level in the sump lowers, the float valve opens. This has the added benefit of compensating for evaporation. Here's a pic (ignore the text callout...that was for a different post):

doser6.jpg

If I wanted to convert this to an on demand auto-changer, I would simply enlarge the drain line and control that valve to change water as needed.

Hope that helps!

Bill

 

Edited by Bill Smith
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Any idea on the life of the carbon vs gallons cleaned?

Edit: found this spec sheet on the filter listed. https://www.appliedmembranes.com/media/wysiwyg/pdf/filters/pentek_chlorplus_chloramine_ametek_filter_specs.pdf

Says it removes chloramine for 1000 gallons at your flow rate. 

 

Are you changing the filter every 1000g? Have you tested beyond? I have been looking into using filter like this for pairs or egg tanks on a daily constant water change. It has made changing all of my tanks with it an issue. Would have to replace the cartridge weekly.

 

 

Edited by s1_
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On 12/3/2020 at 5:09 PM, Bill Smith said:

Additional note:

These days, I do kind of feel that a sump is overkill for freshwater. What I would probably do next time is use a @Cory-style drilled drain on the back, and hook up the RO incoming line to a solenoid valve on a timer. Boom, water changes on demand.

I do water changes on demand with an incoming RODI line like @Bill Smith envisions. It is the best thing I have ever, ever done to make fishkeeping easier. Boom, water changes on demand!

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36 minutes ago, s1_ said:

Any idea on the life of the carbon vs gallons cleaned?

Edit: found this spec sheet on the filter listed. https://www.appliedmembranes.com/media/wysiwyg/pdf/filters/pentek_chlorplus_chloramine_ametek_filter_specs.pdf

Says it removes chloramine for 1000 gallons at your flow rate. 

Are you changing the filter every 1000g? Have you tested beyond? I have been looking into using filter like this for pairs or egg tanks on a daily constant water change. It has made changing all of my tanks with it an issue. Would have to replace the cartridge weekly.


Replacement rate it is going to vary wildly by use and the quality of the incoming water. I wouldn't trust any spec sheet that indicates numbers of gallons, for the reasons:

1.They can't know the quality of the incoming water.

2. They can't know how many stages you're using, of which kinds of cartridges before that one.

3. They're going to be extra conservative, regardless.

In my case, I change over 100g per week, and I have not changed the cartridges once in over a year. I test the water every 2-3 weeks with a chlorine test kit and a TDS meter. This month I'll be switching out my cartridges for the first time.

As I understand it, carbon filters don't technically "remove" chloramine. They break the bond between chlorine and ammonia, leaving both free to be removed by your carbon and bio filter, respectively. 

And for the anecdotal side of things, I use this water to change 12 tanks and 7 ponds weekly. I can't recall ever losing a fish the same day as a water change. I am hatching multi fry weekly.

I think it's worth your time!

Bill

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Thanks for the reply I agree with everything you said which is why I was most interested in your real world experience. a real person who's actually done it is worth more than any spec sheet could ever be.

I have racks of drilled tanks. a thermostatic mixing valve and quarter inch water lines running to all the tanks already. I just open a valve, dump, add water/safe. I will be installing your filter system in the next few days. Will likely change to constant in some tanks and stay on scheduled water changes in the others.

 

Prior to your post I was thinking of adding the cartridge filters per tank or per bank of tanks. that would let me buffer or alter the incoming water to those specific tanks staying on the same water change system

 

Thanks again.

s1

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6 minutes ago, s1_ said:

Prior to your post I was thinking of adding the cartridge filters per tank or per bank of tanks. that would let me buffer or alter the incoming water to those specific tanks staying on the same water change system

Awesome, sounds like fun. Please keep us posted!

Since you've already done the plumbing, it sounds like you will always have the option of upgrading per tank or per bank if it comes to that. So it's a pretty low-risk thing to try.

It might also be interesting in your case to try "stacking" cartridges, like using 1-2 cheap carbon cartridges before the carbon block, to extend the life of the latter.

Good luck!

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On 12/3/2020 at 4:09 PM, Bill Smith said:

Additional note:

These days, I do kind of feel that a sump is overkill for freshwater. What I would probably do next time is use a @Cory-style drilled drain on the back, and hook up the RO incoming line to a solenoid valve on a timer. Boom, water changes on demand.

Bill, do you have experience with a solenoid valves that might be good to try for this application?  Thanks for all your help!

Open to anyone elses thoughts on good solenoid valves to use for auto water changes. 

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8 hours ago, Ryan S. said:

Bill, do you have experience with a solenoid valves that might be good to try for this application?  Thanks for all your help!

Open to anyone elses thoughts on good solenoid valves to use for auto water changes. 

No, sorry, never tried them. But they seem plentiful online. Here's some with power cords already attached:

http://autotopoff.com/Solenoids/index.html

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
s-l400.jpg
WWW.EBAY.COM

1/4" Push-In Connectors, Normally Closed. 1/4" PUSH-IN Connectors. It is intended to be used in pressurized...

I got these. Plan to hook to orbit bhyve 8 zone wifi controller. 

They sell in different voltages including wall power. 

 

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14 hours ago, s1_ said:
s-l400.jpg
WWW.EBAY.COM

1/4" Push-In Connectors, Normally Closed. 1/4" PUSH-IN Connectors. It is intended to be used in pressurized...

I got these. Plan to hook to orbit bhyve 8 zone wifi controller. 

They sell in different voltages including wall power. 

 

Can someone explain how you hook these up to power?  Seems like none come with a plug in.  How is it best to connect them?  These seem to clearly be out of my league currently.  

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If you wanted one to work with wall power you would have to buy one with 120 v AC coil. These have a 24 volt ac coil made to work with sprinkler timers they also sell ones with DC coils of varying voltages.

 

For wall power you would need to wire one side hot and one side neutral to a plug and then have a Wi-Fi timer or some other plugin wall timer tell it when to open by turning on

Edited by s1_
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