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What Is Reverse Osmosis – Ro/Di Defined: Marine Aquarium Acronyms



As most marine aquarists will tell you and as we point out frequently here at Saltwater Smarts using purified source water for initial aquarium ‘fillups’, partial water changes, and freshwater top offs is essential to maintaining top-notch possible water quality in a saltwater system. One of the more common methods hobbyists use to achieve this purified source water is reverse osmosis/deionization, better known as RO/DI. What is reverse osmosis?

deionizationReverse osmosis involves forcing water from your tap through a semipermeable membrane that allows water molecules to flow through but excludes a variety of the contaminants and impurities dissolved in the water.

Pressurizing the water on the side of the membrane with the higher solute concentration reverses this process. This process is called reverse osmosis as long as water passing through a semipermeable membrane normally flows from an area containing a lower concentration of solutes to an area with a higher concentration of solutes.

They’re more commonly purchased as part of multistage systems that often incorporate a sediment filter and a carbon block filter ahead of the RO and DI components, while RO and DI units are available individually. Chlorine/chloramines, nitrate, phosphate, copper, lead, and traces of pesticides or herbicides are just a sampling of the contaminants that should be present in tap water and might be detrimental if not deadly to sensitive marine life. Then again, rO/DI system will remove all of the impurities and a great deal more. Oftentimes such ain’t the case. It seems logical that water fit for human consumption ought to be pure enough for marine organisms right out of the tap. Of course, these systems are usually rated in consonance with the total number of gallons of purified water they produce per day 35 GPD, 60 GPD, 100 GPD, etcetera Many also come with a TDS meter for testing the purity of the product water.

What is deionization?


deionization It might be possible to get by simply treating the water with a dechlorinator/dechloraminator before using it in your saltwater aquarium, if you live in a municipality that boasts tap water of exceptionally high quality.

And therefore the tap water that had been acceptably pure suddenly ain’t and your livestock may suffer thence, so this approach is a major gamble especially if you plan to keep corals and identical sensitive invertebrates. Also, others can fuel undesirable algae blooms. There’s more info about it on this website. Most of the contaminants that can be present in tap water are outright deadly to corals and similar sessile invertebrates.

If it’s good enough to drink….

The source of water quality problems, just like elevated nitrate or phosphate levels, can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint and resolve. Whenever washing cars, flushing toilets, and stuff it can be challenging to continually come up with practical uses, me find creative uses for this water, just like watering the garden and houseplants. Allowing all that waste water to run down the drain can really rub ‘conservation minded’ hobbyists the wrong way. That helps eliminate plenty of guesswork and makes it easy to focus your troubleshooting efforts more effectively. Now look. One drawback to RO/DI units is that they tend to produce considerably more waste water than purified product water. On top of this, ‘well maintained’ RO/DI system and you do run into problems, you can pretty much rule out your source water as the cause of the big problem right off the bat, if you routinely purify your tap water with a quality.

My friend gets by using only dechlorinated tap water!

deionizationPerhaps a certain amount you experienced salties out there have other uses for RO/DI waste water to recommend?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below, if so. Jeff Kurtz is the Cofounder/Editor of Saltwater Smarts, former Senior Consulting Editor for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, and the aquarist formerly known as The Salt Creep. Notice that he was an aquarium hobbyist for a new generation of marine aquarium hobbyists while helping them succeed with a saltwater system. Learn More Saltwater Smarts is an unique online resource created to inspire and entertain a totally new generation of marine aquarium hobbyists while helping them succeed with a saltwater system. Eliminate the guesswork. What is reverse osmosis? What to do with all that waste water, am I correct? What is deionization? If it’s good enough to drink…. My friend gets by using only dechlorinated tap water! Eliminate the guesswork.


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