Reverse Osmosis & Deionized Filters For aquariums
The Dangers of Tap Water
The main component of your aquarium tank is the quality of the water. Without it, nothing in your tank would live very long! Tap water contains all sorts of contaminants such as fluoride, chlorine, chloramines, nitrates, phosphates and even heavy metals. One of the major problems from using tap water for your aquarium comes from fertilizers. Fertilizer contains large amounts of phosphate and nitrate and when it rains, the fertilizer is washed into our water supply. Phosphorus is usually present in natural waters as phosphate. These compounds can fuel aggressive algae growth and can be highly toxic to marine life. Algae only require a small amount of phosphorus to live which causes extensive algae growth called blooms. Algae growth will continuously be a problem within your aquarium since every time you change the water you will replenish the tank of these contaminants.
The majority of water pipes are made from metals and when water runs through them it picks some of these metals and distributes them in the water. Copper is a common metal found in pipes that can be fatal to fish, even at low levels. Reverse osmosis & deionized filtration removes all of these impurities and is becoming more and more popular among aquarists.
Reverse Osmosis Purification
Reverse osmosis is the best purification method for making the water extremely clean and pure. It filters by pressing the water against a semi-permeable membrane allowing water molecules to pass through and leaving the rest behind. Reverse osmosis will remove up to 99% of all contaminants in the water to provide fish with the safest water quality that they need to thrive. It is a point of use system that can easily be placed anywhere with a water source. A reverse osmosis filter is not used to filter water that is inside the aquarium. It is used to filter water to refill and topoff aquariums with pure water necessary for marine and reef aquaria.
Deionization (DI) cartridges are designed to remove nearly all electronically charged contaminants from the water. Deionization can remove some heavy metals but not as wide of a range of contaminants as reverse osmosis can. DI filters are most commonly found after RO filtration as the last stage to ensure that the water is stripped of absolutely all organic and inorganic minerals. DI units by themselves can produce pure water but are expensive to use and not as efficient as RO systems. DI resin will last only about 1/20th as long as when used without any additional filtration. They are most useful when included as the final stage on a reverse osmosis. The deionized filter will last much longer as the last stage filter and the combination will just about ensure zero total dissolved solids in the water.
Now the water is ready for your fish!
Reverse osmosis and deionized filtered water can be thought of as a blank canvas. It is purified water completely free of contaminants; empty and waiting to create the ideal environment for aquarium inhabitants. Fish are usually not kept in pure water with 0 ppm of total dissolved solids since extremely pure water is not what they are used to from the wild. You can purchase necessary ingredients from your local fish store to make the water suitable for your fish. It will always be best to do some research on the type of fish you are planning to breed to best prepare for the water conditions they strive best in.
Reverse osmosis filtration is the same technology used by most bottled water companies. It is the most convenient and effective method of water filtration. To make the best use of your RO system you can use the system for drinking water and enjoy the water more than your fish do! Please enjoy responsiblity for both your human and fish family.