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Recommended RODI filters for freshwater.


Tedrock
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While I can totally geek out with tech, I would like some recommendations on RODI systems.  I am hoping to do caridina shrimp and this is pretty much a requirement.  I never had one before and do not know what is best.  I don’t plan to go saltwater anytime soon so a simple system with low waste is preferred.  What are your thoughts?  
 

Many thanks, Tedrock.  

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The general sentiment that I've noticed from the experienced fish-keepers is that RODI water isn't necessary for keeping fish unless you are doing something that really requires specific water. I've been RCS for a month in water around 7.8pH and haven't run into any issues yet. That being said, I do have an RODI system that me and my roommate, that has a saltwater tank, has worked well for us. I have water at 8.4 out of the tap, and use the RODI to get the pH down a bit.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00204CQF6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

 

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I'm not sure this is permitted so I apologize in advance if not. I have an old The Filter Guys 5 stage reef RO/DI so I  can't help there, but I bought some replacement filters and resin from Marine Depot that worked well.

 

Caridina shrimp can be sensitive to KH so RO and remineralize with GH only could work with that. It is also helpful with me to add top off water to very hard water tanks 530 to 670 ppm tap with chloramine. The ammonia can be challenging with newer set up tanks or hospital tanks. So my unit sees some use. I originally bought it to get into saltwater, but decided on freshwater.

Edited by David Ellsworth
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1 hour ago, Daniel said:

I my opinion the highest quality for the money are those offered by Bulk Reef Supply. I have been very happy with mine. 

I agree with @Daniel

I use their 6 stage water saver filter, which has a second RO membrane. It's been running great for for me, I'd recommend getting a booster pump for better efficiency. 

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@Tedrock I got a setup for RODI from aquaFX. Seems to be the same quality as the Bulk Reef Supply RODI units. Mine is three stages -- sediments filter, carbon block and a mixed bed resin (well technically four?  including the RO membrane itself). But, if I had to do it again, i'd purchase mine through BRS, because some of the AquaFX components aren't easily mix-able with some of the AquaFX ones, without modification. 

A simple entry-level, three-stage setup is perfectly good for Caradina shrimp. I make RO, remineralize it with SaltyShrimp GH+ and use Fluval shrimp substrate for KH buffering. I've raised hundreds of crystal reds super easy with this setup.  

More deep-dive-y things to know about RO in general that I've learned over the past few years--

  • A booster pump is not necessary if your water pressure is consistently above 40psi BUT I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend one as your first upgrade. Boosters significantly increases the efficiency of the unit, and increased efficiency leads to longer term operating cost reduction. RODI units waste a lot of water. For every gallon they create, they send a jillion gallons (ok less than a jillion gallons) of waste water down the drain. This is a consideration if you're paying for city water. This can be remedied somewhat by using a dual RO membranes, as @MickS77 suggests. 
  • Depending on the makeup of your water, you could go through a lot of mixed-bed DI resin. Mixed-bed resin contains both cation resin and anion resins. Mixed-bed is the most typical resin in simple starter units. So, depending on your water, one typically depletes faster than the other and you're potentially throwing unused resin of the other type in the trash when you replace resins. To fix this, you can have separate canisters dedicated to each type of resin, so you're replacing them at the rate they individually get consumed. I'm guessing @MickS77might have this setup as well?
  • Buy bulk resin and pack the cartridges yourself. Super-easy. Bulk Reef Supply sells it in bulk, but I'm sure you can find resin other places as well. Much cheaper over the long run to buy bulk.
  • You can further optimize/reduce costs of your system by installing a flush (or auto-flush value). You can research these online, and at the Bulk Reef Supply youtube channel. Flushing the membranes helps increase the overall life of resin and RO membranes a lot. It also helps with something called TDS-creep, the details of which I won't go into here.
  • If you're a DIY'er, you can recharge the resins yourself and save a ton of money over the long haul. Plenty of online threads about doing this -- typically these are on the reef forums. This involves making lye and muriatic acid solutions (and sometimes brine). But if you can wear rubber gloves and splash goggles, it's easy. Or you could be like me and throw caution to the wind and burn your hands! (Actually I just irritated them significantly cause I'm forgetful and rinsed my hands in the lye bucket instead of the fresh water bucket! Woops!). You can also separate and recharge mixed-bed resins, but that has some extra steps.
  • The good of all this is all the units are modular and expandable. So start with a simple unit, and build onto it as your needs require. No need to start big. 

Anyway, that'm my brain dump after doing RO for a few years now. At this point, I only do it for shrimp which means I make maybe 5 gallons a week, tops.

Also, I have found that Bulk Reef Supply's YouTube channel is the go-to place for learning about most of the above (except resin recharging). They have a TON of helpful videos on RO unit setup, usage and optimization, and as well as basic information about how all this stuff works.

Sorry for the long response. It's one of my best or worst traits, depending on who you ask.

Also you mentioned you like to 'geek out', so my feeling is that this is probably a good topic for you. Much to deep dive into here, if that's your inclination.

Edited by tolstoy21
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2 minutes ago, Tedrock said:

I found these In my search but wondered how they stacked up against more expensive models.  Thank you for the info.

The BRS RO stuff is high-quality for our purposes in my experience. 

I don't have a saltwater aquarium, and probably never will, but I love that place and watching their YouTube channel. Super crazy informative in general. They definitely geek-out and deep dive into gear, and sometimes the info there is applicable to understanding equipment and other things in the freshwater world.

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4 hours ago, Tedrock said:

There is so much to unpack here.  

Yeah, there's a lot to know if you want to know it. Sorry if my post was information overload. 

Honestly, you can just start with a simple unit and go from there. Learn and expand later, over time. That was my path. 

A simple unit is enough to get you running and enjoying some shrimp without breaking the bank. I'd start there, with the goal of enjoying shrimp, and not getting too caught up in all the details.

All the rest are just things you can optionally think about over the long term, if you decide you'll be doing this (making RO) for many years, and then think, hmmmm . . . am I spending too much on all of this? How can I reduce costs? How can I geek-out? if you enjoy going down those kinds of rabbit holes. 

I went down that path because I was depleting resin like mad and got tired of buying so much of it. So I set out to figure out what I could do to make the hobby less expensive long-term with series of tweaks to how I treated and prepared water.

 

 

Edited by tolstoy21
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In reference to a booster pump how does that work? I have The following system I got off Amazon and so far I love it. I guess I really don’t understand how this works since I had no idea a waste so much water! I am on city water and I have very high nitrates and nitrites coming from my tap. I originally started using the system because I was keeping shrimp but I just use it for everything now because I don’t trust my tapwater. I do remineralize but I have not heard of salty shrimp so I’m still using up my Seachem remineralization stuff. Anyway how would I add a pump to make this system more efficient? I wish it was upstairs where all my fishtanks were so any suggestions on that would be awesome. 🤦‍♀️😂 right now we fill 1 gallon jugs and drag them upstairs. 
thanks!

Nicole

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The first half of this video shows how to install a booster pump. This is from aquaFX, but all booster pumps should install the same in relation to your RO unit. 

You only need to install the pressure switch shown in the video if you have a setup that stops the water once your bucket is full with a float or solenoid valve.

 

Edited by tolstoy21
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On 10/31/2020 at 6:21 AM, Daniel said:

I my opinion the highest quality for the money are those offered by Bulk Reef Supply. I have been very happy with mine. 

 

 

 

BRS is great.  I've been a customer of theirs since 2013 and I've never had an issue.

With BRS you also get great customer support so if you ever have a question, they're just a phone call away unlike something you buy off of Amazon.  

Edited by jefferz
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On 10/31/2020 at 7:21 AM, Daniel said:

I my opinion the highest quality for the money are those offered by Bulk Reef Supply. I have been very happy with mine. 

 

 

I would agree with Bulk reef Supply as well. I bought an RO/DI unit through them when I had a reef tank and the quality and price is better than anything else I've seen. And, their customer service is spot on if you have any questions or issues with their products.

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  • 5 months later...
10 hours ago, ererer said:

Interesting, I have my booster pump setup after the micron filter and carbon block but before the RO. I saw this suggested somewhere but don't remember where right now.

Interesting.

I believe as long as the booster is before the RO membrane, you're fine.

The total flow rate of the system (independent of pressure) will be governed by your flow restrictor which is situated after the RO membrane.  If the other filters require a certain flow rate for optimal contact time to be efficient, the rate will be the same through the whole system independent of the booster pump.

The booster is there to increase the efficiency of the RO membrane rejection rate, which saves on DI resin and makes the whole system work better. I'd just wonder if the booster effects the amount on water in the canisters situated before it to any degree, but I'm guessing not, as you'd probably have seen that and changed the setup.

Edited by tolstoy21
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@tolstoy21 I have the smart buddie booster pump, which incorporates an auto shutoff and a backflush setup with the booster. I'm impressed with it. The instructions show to put the pump after sediment and carbon and before the RO membrane. 

https://brsinstructions.s3.amazonaws.com/brsAquaticLife/Smart_Buddie_Manual_061318.pdf

I don't think the sediment or carbon filters need the extra pressure, but I don't know if having the extra pressure shortens the useful life of those filters, or if putting those filters before the booster pump potentially extends the life of the pump?

Edited by ererer
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