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Do I need less Co2 with softer water?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by fablau, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Hello everyone,


    I have a sort of basic question about Co2.


    My tap water is pretty hard (KH 7, GH 13-14) and I usually pump enough Co2 to drop the pH from 7.6 to 6.25 in about 2-3 hours. Two days ago, I mixed my tap water with RO, nut that much, about 25% RO, and for the past 2 days I have noticed the pH drop during Co2 injection has increased, dropping down to 6.15 or even 6.10... Well, what does that mean? Does it mean that I need to pump less Co2 with softer water, or what else?
     
  2. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    You've only decreased your KH. Your pH drop is probably the same, if you haven't adjusted the CO2, so you're just working in a different range. I find that after that kind of change in water composition, the pH monitor needs recalibration.


    The osmotic difference might be a bit of a shock to your livestock. I'd raise the percentage of RO by maybe 10% with each change.
     
  3. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Thanks Cristophe, I think you are right, I might need to calibrate the probe. I usually calibrate it every month, that's why I was wondering that.... but I'll calibrate it again today and let you know.


    So, in any case, it shouldn't change the pH drop, but just the KH, right?


    Thanks also for suggesting to increase the percentage of RO gradually.
     
  4. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    Yeah, it just changes the range you're working in -- if you think you're going to keep going further with higher percentage blend of RO, wait on recalibrating the probe until you're where you want to be. The swing will probably still be accurate, but I've noticed the baseline setting drifts a bit over changing water composition.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If you step back and think about how much gas you add, say 80 mls/min. And you dissolve all of it..............


    The KH will not matter........................over the ranges of CO2 we add and the fact that we almost never get below 0.5 KH.


    So if you add 80mls/min of CO2, the CO2 content of the water will be the same in soft or hard water.


    Some plants like low KH, not the pH so much. A very few, prefer higher KH.


    So as long as the rate CO2 gas being added is the same, the CO2 ppm shall be the same.


    Some get mixed up with acid buffer chemistry.


    But CO2 and KH only form 1: carbonic acid out of the 400 CO2[aq] gas molecules. So 99.75% is still dissolved CO2.


    So basically the accounting addresses the 0.25%, but for our purposes, it's all dissolved CO2.


    Since only 0.25% reacts, you do not need very much KH, even if you wanted 350 ppm of CO2, you'd only need 1 ppm of KH to keep things measureable and a buffer in place.


    Even if you removed all the KH, as long as the rate of CO2 being added is the same prior, you would have the same ppm. But you could not directly measure it with pH/KH since the denominator goes zero, which is undefined.
     
  6. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Thank you guys, everything is clear now. I'd like to reach 50-50 RO and tap, I just need to get organized with the water change, making 40gl of RO water takes a while with my current RO system.
     
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  7. kilauea91

    kilauea91 Lifetime Members
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    I would suggest setting up a fully automated RO station be your next priority if possible, I had been there trying to make 40g of RO + periodically pumping the brine water to my back yard. It's dreadful and usually waste a whole day babysitting the process. And it's absolutely no joy doing that in winter.


    Everything becomes much easier when I got my RO station setup like most reef people have, minus the need for extra barrel for salt mixing..


    I can complete pure RO water changes on all 3 tanks(120P hi tech, 60F and 10g shrimp tank) under 40mins like a breeze, using a cheap pump sending water to tank from the reservoir. Comparing to all sorts of gadgets I have wasted money on in this hobby, it is for sure the best investment/DIY project I have ever done.
     
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  8. Dennis Singh

    Dennis Singh SynKing!

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    kilauea91 Can you explain this more in detail please? It maybe something worth of investing for me. Elimination of waste water is a huge plus. Is this just a system you simply buy? Can it be hooked up in the hose in the backyard? These run at about $600 correct?
     
  9. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Yes, very curious myself as well...
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've put in 700 Gallon reservoirs for RO and then another Tap line for 2 client tanks. Generally I'll mix mostly RO and then add some tap for the GH/KH.


    Like I said above, you do not need much KH.


    I like low KH tap frankly. High GH is good though, but not needed. 1-2 dGH extra is fine if you add a GH booster.


    You can also use Ca(NO3)2 and use K2SO4 etc and MgSO4.
     
  11. kilauea91

    kilauea91 Lifetime Members
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    No it will require some DIY. Please give me a couple of days to collect some info and photos, I'll explain my RO system in a new thread as I don't want to go off topic here, probably in "Article" sub-forum. Stay tuned.
     
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  12. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Wow, 700gl??!! That's a swimming pool... do you have them buried underground? Just wondering... that's a lot of water. Good to know about the fact that little KH is needed, if I am correct Tom, you mentioned 1dKH is enough to avoid dangerous pH drops, right?
     
  13. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Sounds great! Looking forward for that


    For now here is how I have arranged the system for me: considering I can't do what Pikez (Vin) is doing, which is dripping RO directly in the tank at night time (my tank is too close to my bedroom, so that would be too noisy for me at night), and also I don't wanna have my tank maintenance in the evening before WC, so I need to process RO in a separate tank. My fish tank is a 75gl, so I have calculated that if I want to mix 50-50 RO and Tap, I'd need just a reservoir of about 20gl, right? In other words, every time I make a 50% water change, I need about 20gl RO and 20gl tap. So... here is what I have done (easy!):]


    1. Bought this 27gl heavy duty tote from Lowes (just $14)


    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Centrex-Pla...ap-Lid/3551290


    2. Connected the RO unit to a water outlet I have in my backyard, and let the tote to be filled by RO water. I tried to day for the first time and took about 6 hours with my unit to fill about 25gl of water. The waste water gets collected in two 70gl reservoirs that I use to collect rain water as well as the wasted fish tank water (no water gets wasted here in California!) and use the water for gardening.


    3. Tomorrow morning I'll perform my water change after the usual tank maintenance, and I'll use a spare 1000 l/h pump connected to my usual water change hose to pump the water from the tote back into the fish tank (25% water tank). It should be simple. Then I switch the same hose to using the tap to fill the remaining 25%.


    That should work pretty well... eventually I'll buy a hose switch/timer to be programmed to fill the tote automatically every Friday night so that on Sat morning RO water is ready to be used :)


    Thoughts?

    Save

     
  14. kilauea91

    kilauea91 Lifetime Members
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    Since we are talking about RO system in this thread so I will just follow.


    Here is my RO setup major component list:


    RO unit


    booster pump with pressure shut-off switch


    Brute 32 Gallon can - RO reservoir with float valve


    Rubbermaid 32 Gallon outdoor trash can


    sump pump with float switch


    garden hose - length depends on your need


    PVC pipes, adapters, union(1/2" and 1")


    garden hose bibb


    drip irrigation polyethylene tubing


    My system is pretty much similar to what you can find on internet/youtube. I place the RO filters and reservoir is in the garage to minimize temp fluctuation. [​IMG]


    My RO unit has dual membrane filters, one of them is recycled from my old RO filter. By doing this, it can double the permeate output while reduce the brine waste by half to make it closer to 1:1 permeate/waste ratio. My house water pressure is a bit less than 50psi To run a dual membrane unit, 60psi or above is recommended so I added a booster pump adjusted to about 75 psi while running. The booster pump has a pressure switch which will cut off the power once the permeate line pressure reach 40 psi or above when the float valve inside the reservoir is closed. [​IMG]


    The brine water travels 30ft in distance through irrigation polyethylene tube to another trash bin in my backyard, and I placed a sump pump retrofitted with a float switch bought from Home Depot. Just keep in mind there are 2 types of float switch - for draining or refilling. You will need the former. Sump pump output is connected to a regular garden hose send to water my backyard lawn/garden. I would throw some mosquito dunks in there to prevent larvae in the summer. [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Here is the pipe connection feed to the tank. 1" PVC pipe is connected through a Uniseal bulkhead near the bottom of the brute can wall so the water is gravity fed. It was fitted with a union so that it is easier to disassemble in case you need to clean the reservoir. The water line split into 2, one goes to a hose bibb/faucet so you can have a manual source to RO water. I found it very useful when I need water to top off my tanks with a small bucket.The other line is connected to a union valve remain closed until you are refilling the tank doing water change.Then it's connected to a used eheim 1260 pump cost me $40 off craigslist, The pump output spout can be hook up to water changing hose. I need to overcome a head height of about 9 feet to my tank, The eheim pump can do just right. [​IMG]


    I can do water change fairly quickly with minimal effort with this, the only thing I need to do is to connect the water changing hose, open the ball valve and turn on the eheim pump and doing the reverse when done. Tap water feed and the waste drainage is completely automatic. Just keep in mind that my brine water line has to push through 30 ft of 1/4" polyethylene tubing meaning increased back pressure of the RO filter, it may shorten the RO membrane life. But as we all know California is suffering from severe drought in the past few years(hopefully we will get a big relief this year) so importance of better utilization/ of the water is above all else to me.


    I sourced almost all the parts and components from Bulk Reef Supply or Home Depot. It took me about 6 hrs to hook up all the things. BRS has many useful youtube video on how to setup RO system with the booster pump and pressure switch, there are quite a lot of Youtube videos where people showing their RO station.


    Not only the tap water here is like liquid rock(KH/GH > 10), I found it's very inconsistent through out the year. TDS measurement run wild ranging from 200 to 450 depending on the season, which is why I decided to go with RO.


    If you can do dripping water change setup that would probably be the best. But my wife doesn't allow me to drill holes in the house so I gave up the idea.
     
    #14 kilauea91, Nov 19, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2016
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  15. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Wow, this is a fantastic setup Kilauea! And thank you for sharing such detailed information with pictures, I really loved it.


    That's something I might consider in the long run.


    i am curious: where are you located in California? I am in Orange County and water here is pretty hard as well, not like yours though (KH 7 and GH 13-17). KH here is very stable (it has been 7 for the past 10 years) GH instead can vary through the seasons from 13 to 17.
     
  16. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Oh, also, what's your tank size? How much RO water do you mix with your water change?


    I love the idea of the double membrane by the way!
     
  17. kilauea91

    kilauea91 Lifetime Members
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    I live in East Bay of San Francisco Bay Area. We Bay area folks are not equal. SF/Oakland and surrounding cities get 100% Hetch-Hetchy reservoir water in Yosemite, dubbed "magic water" by local SFBAAPS club. TDS is in double digit ppm and soft. Other Bay area tap is usually a mix with other local sources, The further away from SF/Oakland,the less percentage of the magic water you get in general. Even in my city(Fremont) not all resident get water from the same source, Residents in north may get a tiny share of Hetch-Hetchy in the mix, we sad folks/hobbyist in the south only get "surface treated water" according to regional water report,


    I have 3 tanks, 120P(~60gallon) high tech planted, a 10g CRS and a 60F(~8gallon) Taiwan bee. I do water change with 100% remineralized RO(with Equilibrium/Salty Shrimp) on all 3.


    I only do water changes when cleaning the canisters filter on shrimp tanks, (every 3 month on average). Usually 1-3 weeks on 120P, depending on my fert dosing and I top-off


    all 3 with pure RO.


    Double membrane with proper inlet pressure indeed double output rate and reduce waste. It can get the 32G brute fill-up from empty in about 4 hours. In the beginning, I used


    a cheap aquaticlife RO intended only for my CRS shrimp tank and another now retired 10g (Synthogonus/Erio) tank, I can't help starting to use the RO in 120P after seeing its benefits


    A year later, I decided to put together this system just to save time and labor.
     
  18. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Fascinating, sooner or later I'll give a visit in you area since I wanna go visiting the Tesla factory (!!), so I'd love to meet with you and see everything with my bare eyes.


    Your system looks fantastic and I'll try to emulate at least part of it.


    I am just wondering why don't mix RO with tap just to save some water, is that because makes you save time doing the way you are doing (pure RO remineralized)?
     
  19. kilauea91

    kilauea91 Lifetime Members
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    You can call me a control freak who always take thing in his own hands :p . But seriously, like I mention before, my tap water is very inconsistent over time, pure RO is my way of eliminating one of the variables and save some headache. At least it has been working very well for me. And believe or not, My household water usage is only ~80% of the average usage of like sized household according to my water company. I also found using RO is quite forgiving if you slack in water changes when you have other more important stuff to attend to.


    Shoot me a pm if you get the chance to come to meet. I would love to show you my tanks.


    Here are the picture of them in the current state:


    Not much of a scaper, but plants grow very well and is getting there: High tech 120P


    [​IMG]


    My no fert/no carbon/low light CRS tank, the monte carlo has grown to 5" thick bush that I had to cut the middle open to see my shrimps.


    [​IMG]


    Taiwan bee tank, again no fert/carbon/low -med light


    [​IMG]


    Forgot to mention, this is a small planted "iwagumi" style bowl for my wife's office since she keep nagging me to get her one. Again, another low light/no fert/no tech "tank"


    [​IMG]
     
    #19 kilauea91, Nov 20, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2016
  20. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Wow, beautiful tanks! I have never seen a Montecarlo bush like that, amazing!


    Do you dose EI? in all thanks? Do you use Co2 in the big one?


    I'll definitively let you know when I plan coming. Thank you again!
     
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