Softened RO water

Niall

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Hi
I am planning my 19l nano at the moment and I have a question on water.
I have a water softener fitted in my house and it is right at the main feed into the house so there is no tap with water that is not softened. For drinking, cooking etc. I have an RO unit in the kitchen it also has a built in remineralisation cartridge that puts back in magnesium and calcium. Is this suitable to use in a high tech setup?
Thanks
 
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Not sure about Ireland but I thought here in the UK it was mandatory to have a mains water tap? The softener installers normally need one for routine testing.

Sorry I can’t help with your question but do you have or could you fit a water butt enabling you to use rain water? I think you get more rain over there than we do?! :lol:
 

Niall

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I don't think it's mandatory I'll have to check that one out! I went for a clack water softener quick was the best I could find here with a service interval of 10 years unlike Chinese ones that have a 1 year service interval so I won't have to worry about a test for another few years lol!
I do have a water butt for carnivorous plants but it's only small and if we get a summer like we did last year that won't be an option!
 
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We’ve got a couple of 210L water butts. I’m using the water from them at the moment in my 10L Nano along with some occasional carbonated water. I’m surprised you need a softener, I stayed in Galway for a weeks holiday years ago and the water was very soft there. It was sucked out of a local stream and went through some kind of filtration system. At the time I don’t think it was working very well as when I ran a bath the water was tinted brown, almost like weak tea!
 

Niall

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I'm about 2 hours from Galway so defenitly a different water plant. My water wasn't that bad I installed it mainly to look after appliances and combi boiler. I think my water but is 100 litres and that's needed for plants.
Hopefully someone can advise me on my plans to use remineralised RO water. Not sure what I'll do if I can't lol!
 

Edvet

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House water softeners mostly run on salt ion exchanger, so a nono for a tank, RO water is fine . If you can bypass the remineralisation cut it with raw tapwater 50/50. Or use rainwater indeed
 

Niall

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Than
House water softeners mostly run on salt ion exchanger, so a nono for a tank, RO water is fine . If you can bypass the remineralisation cut it with raw tapwater 50/50. Or use rainwater indeed
Thanks for that Edvet, I understand the softened water is a no go for tanks but what about when it's run through an RO to remove sodium etc. afterwards? My RO unit has the remineralisation built in so unfortunately I can't bypass it. Will the calcium and magnesium be harmful?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
We have a water softener and hard tap water for drinking and our outside tap. We get through a lot of salt.

Have a look at <"Water softeners and aquariums">
I am planning my 19l nano at the moment and I have a question on water.
Rain-water is your way forward, you live in a famously wet country and it is a small volume tank. If you have some-where you can put a water butt? In the long term the ~30 euro you spend on a water butt is the <"cheapest (and greenest) option">.

cheers Darrel
 

Niall

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Hi all,
We have a water softener and hard tap water for drinking and our outside tap. We get through a lot of salt.

Have a look at <"Water softeners and aquariums">Rain-water is your way forward, you live in a famously wet country and it is a small volume tank. If you have some-where you can put a water butt? In the long term the ~30 euro you spend on a water butt is the <"cheapest (and greenest) option">.

cheers Darrel
Thanks for that Darrel
I can attach another water butt to my existing one. If the water is sitting for say a month or so does it not become stagnant? I thought parasites and the likes might be an issue.
My rainwater is about 25ppm and my RO water is about the same.
I thought the RO unit would take out what's put in by the softener no?
 
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The rainwater from my water butt sometimes appears to have a very slight tinge* to it but smells fine. The butt is thick green plastic with a fairly good black lid. It comes off a large shed roof that is covered in a black pond liner type material, the gutters are plastic as well. The last time I measured it, it read 60 ppm.

* I’m running the filter with some carbon in it and the tank looks clear.

You could always filter the rainwater through say a coffee filter if you’re worried about bugs etc but I’ve not needed it so far but I’ve only got plants in the tank at the moment.
 

X3NiTH

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I see elsewhere that the RO unit is an Aquaphor, from reading up on this device it looks like the cartridges are interchangeable (twist lock fittings, no faffing with pipes and connections), you could swap out the remineralisation cartridge for another cartridge that doesn't remineralise when you want to pull water for the tank, swap it back out after. I don't know if your unit is configured to fully remove everything from water (whatever the softener is adding before your mains feed you don't want it in your water afterwards), ideally you want the unit to give you near 0TDS to be sure the softeners are gone before the remineralising cartridge stage adds some back. Not a straightforward unit and the details on what it exactly does (the numbers) do not appear to be available. If you can get near 0TDS out of it you will still have to remineralise the water manually before using it, to what level is up to you.

You might be stuck with rainwater.
 

Niall

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I see elsewhere that the RO unit is an Aquaphor, from reading up on this device it looks like the cartridges are interchangeable (twist lock fittings, no faffing with pipes and connections), you could swap out the remineralisation cartridge for another cartridge that doesn't remineralise when you want to pull water for the tank, swap it back out after. I don't know if your unit is configured to fully remove everything from water (whatever the softener is adding before your mains feed you don't want it in your water afterwards), ideally you want the unit to give you near 0TDS to be sure the softeners are gone before the remineralising cartridge stage adds some back. Not a straightforward unit and the details on what it exactly does (the numbers) do not appear to be available. If you can get near 0TDS out of it you will still have to remineralise the water manually before using it, to what level is up to you.

You might be stuck with rainwater.
I remember getting the figures before I ordered it but that was a couple of years ago. Yes you are right the cartridges can be swapped out but it's not an easy job where the unit is.
I do remember it is suppose to remove all chlorine, fluoride and sodium they are the main reasons I went for it.
Would the calcium and magnesium that it puts back in be a bad thing?
 
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If as you said earlier the TDS from your RO water is only about 25ppm I wouldn’t have thought it would be a problem?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
If the water is sitting for say a month or so does it not become stagnant? I thought parasites and the likes might be an issue.
No, you are fine. I keep a few Daphnia in the water butts to <"act as a canary">.
My rainwater is about 25ppm and my RO water is about the same. I thought the RO unit would take out what's put in by the softener no?
Yes, like @Aqua sobriquet says that is still pretty close to RO.

Twenty five ppm TDS is really a conductivity measurement, and that is only about 40 microS. To give some idea of scale good RO water would be less than 10 microS, hard, clean "chalk stream" water (calcium & bicarbonate rich) about 650 microS and sea water around 53,000 microS. If you lived in the SE of England, and you had a combination of hard water, depressed water table and eutrophication (from sewage and agriculture) you might get up to 1000 microS in the tap water.

cheers Darrel
 

ian_m

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I have a water softener fitted in my house and it is right at the main feed into the house so there is no tap with water that is not softened
Is it an ion exchange water softener that uses salt to periodically recharge ? Or some other form of "softener", phosphate injections, electromagnetic ?

With these (in UK) it is mandatory to have a "hard water" tap before the softener for drinking and cooking, as the softened water contains sodium which may or may not be good for you, especially babies and people on low sodium diets.

Water from ion exchange water softeners has no place in aquatics due to presence of sodium, though if you are rich, you could always recharge your softener using potassium chloride which would then give water with potassium carbonate in it, which will be "scoffed" by you plants as soon as it gets in your tank.

In many US states (and also in certain areas in Europe) potassium chloride has to be used in ion exchange softeners as the local sewerage plants cannot cope with waste sodium salts, sodium carbonate and leaked sodium chloride, being present in the domestic sewerage.
 

Niall

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Is it an ion exchange water softener that uses salt to periodically recharge ? Or some other form of "softener", phosphate injections, electromagnetic ?

With these (in UK) it is mandatory to have a "hard water" tap before the softener for drinking and cooking, as the softened water contains sodium which may or may not be good for you, especially babies and people on low sodium diets.

Water from ion exchange water softeners has no place in aquatics due to presence of sodium, though if you are rich, you could always recharge your softener using potassium chloride which would then give water with potassium carbonate in it, which will be "scoffed" by you plants as soon as it gets in your tank.

In many US states (and also in certain areas in Europe) potassium chloride has to be used in ion exchange softeners as the local sewerage plants cannot cope with waste sodium salts, sodium carbonate and leaked sodium chloride, being present in the domestic sewerage.
Not periodically like cheap units, it measures what water is used in a 24hr period and then it's set to treat at 3am every day. My water is not very hard I got it more to look after appliances and a combi boiler. The RO unit is there for drinking and cooking as it should be taking out all sodium.

Maybe I can tee into the mains in my garage where the softener is and use mains untreated for my tank?
 

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