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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2008
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    Complicated water assistance (long).

    I'm getting desperate so I'm posting here. I've been working on water problems for a few years and don't know what is causing it. I have a small saltwater tank but we are purchasing RO water for this. I would love to go bigger but our water made that impossible. I'm posting here because you guys take care of expensive setups and have probably more water knowledge than freshwater forums. I am an OVAS member but this is fairly high level and don't think I'd get a reply on OVAS anyhoo (Just Joking kind of).

    Please please please help or point me to a water guru :b8:

    The problem I have is that my tanks though VERY understocked and overfiltered - the nitrate level is not in proportion to feeding and ammonia. There is something in my water that is being converted to nitrate and I'm not sure if an RO unit will take this out. Does this make sense? It seems like the water itself results in a nitrate level of 25 right off the bat after the biobugs convert what ever is feeding it in the water. (Salifert Nitrate test kit).

    I bought a six stage RO unit but haven't set it up yet. I wasn't told that because I'm on a well I needed a pressure booster. Now I'm not so sure an RO unit will even dent the problem.

    I don't know whether to invest in water tests to find out exactly what is wrong with my water or if an RO unit is the answer. The nitrate levels are my biggest source of frustration and my fish seem to constantly be dealing with health issues. I am anal about water quality and water changes.

    Summary:
    Well water (not sure how deep)
    Iron, Iron bacteria
    Sulpher
    Sediment
    Ammonia of .5
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 0 (out of the tap). If I add biological media to the trickle bin setup in the basement that I use to pre-aerate the water to gas out sulpher and get the ph to go from 7.6 to 9.0+ the nitrate level goes to 25 in 24 hours. And NitrIte goes to 2.0-4.0. Ammonia drops to 0. .50 of ammonia would not result in 25ppm of NitrAte.

    Without the biomedia added - ammonia stays at .5, NitrIte doesn't show up, NitrAte stays at zero. But once the water is in my tanks, the biomedia in the tanks convert what ever is in my water to high nitrAte levels.

    I've tried nuking the water with up to 20ppm of Potassium Permagenate and this doesn't stop the Nitrate from forming. (I might have been out in left field even trying this).

    So what do you guys think? Specifically:
    Any ideas what is actually in my water that could be causing the nitrate level?
    Will an RO unit most likely take care of it or am I screwed.

    I really hope you guys can help me.

    Thank you. Karrie (in Rockland).

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2007
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    210
    The first thing I would do is test the RO water you are getting.
    29g Biocube, 2x90w Aqua Illumination LED light modules, Vortech MP20, Sapphire BC29 skimmer, GHL Profilux Plus II with 3pump doser.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2008
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    The RO unit is still in the box. If it doesn't take out the stuff thats feeding the nitrogen feeding bacteria then I'm not going to set it up. A pressure booster is $400. I'd prefer not to spend that to test it to see if "it" works. I'm hoping a water expert will be able to give some insight. I'm not sure who to turn to online.

    I've even tried emailing RO unit companies. They are all marketing. They all tell me I'll end up with pure water. Sure, but it doesn't remove sulpher so that isn't accurate. What else doesn't it remove.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2007
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    RODI water from a brand new system will be excellent! You have nothing to worry about. Test the water after you make it and see for yourself.

    I have an RODI system and I only get 22psi. I could use a booster pump but I only make small amounts of water at a time. It's not a big deal to me.

    How much pressure can you get to the RODI system?

    Keep in mind that nitrates is not toxic to saltwater fish. Ammonia on the other hand is.
    29g Biocube, 2x90w Aqua Illumination LED light modules, Vortech MP20, Sapphire BC29 skimmer, GHL Profilux Plus II with 3pump doser.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    I really want some ideas for what exactly is causing the nitrates and what "doesn't" an RO unit remove. I think that would tell me if its a waste to set up or not. If it doesn't remove what is causing the nitrates to appear in the aeration bins then its a waste of my time and money. I can sell the unit brand new and put that money towards a fix to my problem.

    The problem is I haven't found a forum or a person that knows what I'm dealing with. I can explain the problem but most people have no exposure to what I'm dealing with.

    Also when standard hobbiests set up an RO unit they are dealing with standard water problems for the most part.

    I found a site today that said:
    Most ROs are not capable of taking nitrates out at sufficient EPA recommended levels. RO will not remove chemicals or bacteria. The RO membrane itself will not remove chlorine. A few of our units (as well as some others) have a carbon pre-filter which will. Many types of bacteria have to be killed before going into an (any brand) RO. Some bacteria have the ability to grow through the RO membrane. Once on the other side of the membrane, the bacteria can start new colonies.
    But since I have no idea what is feeding the nitrate converting bacteria I have no idea if its covered by the RO unit. It isn't ammonia that is all I'm sure of.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2008
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    190
    Have you tried posting here?
    HTML Code:
    http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=112
    With any luck Randy Holmes-Farley will reply.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    No I haven't tried there - thanks : )

  8. #8
    ijo
    ijo is offline
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    0.5 to 25 in 24 hour sounds extremly fast for nitrate levels. Have you tried testing with another test kit? what brand are you using? I'm also certain the RO/Di unit will lower the TDS levels that are more than likely fueling your nitrate problem.

    IJO

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2007
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    612
    The RO booster pumps are $90 - $150. If someone is trying to sell you the booster pump for $400, I hope you haven't previously bought anything from them. The 50 and 75 GPD membranes apparently function more efficiently under lower water pressures then the 100gpd membranes. The booster pump does help get you the best quality water out of your membrane, but isn't essential at the moment. I currently have a 100gpd unit, but my well pump is set to 30/50 psi, and I don't have any problems. Your well pump is probably set to the typical 20/40 psi.
    I'd say hook the unit up. I think you're making things more complicated then they should be with these test kits from what is coming out of your well before you've even installed the unit. If you're truly anal about water quality, set the RO/DI unit UP! The pre carbon filtration should really help reduce these issues. Change filters when they should be changed, or even sooner then later. Hook everything up, and just go by your TDS readings with your ro/di unit (after the membrane before the DI) and (tds level after the DI). Let the water aerate for several days, then maybe do tests and see what happens... My well water is very hard, I'm almost at 400ppm from the tap. 10 after the membrane. and 0 or 1 after the DI.
    120g AGA~145 lbs Haitian LR~DA Reef Keeper 2 Controller~Dual 14k 250 DE MH's~Dual Overflows~Dual 250w Jager Heaters~Dual 96W Actinics~30g Sump/Refugium~Mag 12 Return~140 lbs Reefgrade Caribsea Aragonite~BubbleKing 180 Skimmer~Phosban Reactor~GEO Kalk Reactor~Powerheads:MP40w/Seio 820/modified Powersweep 270 with Hydor rotating deflector~Digital lighting timer for moon/fuge lighting~7 stage RODI filtration~Quarantine: modified 12.5g Marineland Eclipse

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone.

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