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[APD] Storing large amounts of RO water & reconditioning RO water
My name is Steve Bereyso, I'm a graduate student at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. I posted to the APD a few months back about VERY bad tap water rich in sodium and other elements. Based on the advice from the list and responses I received, I purchased an RO filter and I have set it up and used it once or twice. Thank you VERY much for all your advice.
I have a few more questions I would like to pose to you all. I have never set up a planted tank before, but I have been researching and digging up the dusty corners of the internet learning all I can. So while I may have some "newbie" questions to throw at you, please consider me a "well-read" newbie, or a "more-informed-than-most-newbies newbie" HAHAHA ;-) ;-) I have kept freshwater community fish for over 15 years, but I am only now moving beyond the beginners level and seeking new challenges.
Now, for my first question:
With this RO unit, how do I store enough water to get ready for "the big transition" from my plastic-plants-and-goldfish to my live-plants-and-angelfish tank I envision? I have researched this problem and people mentioned that they store and condition their RO water in "large new trashcans." I have gone looking for trash cans, and they are all very flimsy and thin. Is it possible to store 55 gallons of water in one of these plastic trashbins?
My second question (and a follow-up):
How do I know my water is truly purified by my RO filter? I took an RO sample I bought from my LFS and an RO sample I made with my new filter to a 3rd party tester (another LFS-big-box (petco). The RO water from my LFS was 7.0 pH with 0 salinity (they couldnt test for hardness). The RO water I made was 8.0 pH with 0 salinity. I figure as long as all the salinity (sodium) is removed it is OK, and the pH difference could come from my area water supplier's notorious daily pH swings. If my pH is so alkaline (8.0) today, it could be 6.5 tomorrow.
I know I need test kits for my planted tank. Do you have specific suggestions as to reliable brands and what types (ex: pH, nitrate, phosphate, iron, etc) of test strips or test kits I should buy?
My fourth question (but who's counting? ;-) ):
How do I reconstitute my RO water? I know there is such a thing as "too pure." Do I add crushed coral? Crushed limestone? Baking soda? Aquarium salts? What do you suggest? I "assume" I am starting from pure water and would like to add some kind of RO-Right or remineralization solution.
I have many more questions to pepper you with, but I will hold my fire so that I don't type a message that takes you all hours to read and respond to! LOL
I thank you all for any guidance you might have to offer. If I have irritated any "experts" with newbie questions they've answered dozens of times, feel free to simply point me in the right direction (or at new sources I havent uncovered) :-) Thanks again!
Cheers & Gig'Em Aggies,
Steve Bereyso '05
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