Water is a very important part of your fish tank, as it makes up 99.9% of the volume and is the very substance that your marine life will swim through. So when it comes to selecting the right water for your tank, it will be crucial that you find the right type, as the well-being of your fish and plants will depend solely on it.
When it comes to adding water to your fish tank it will be important to test your water before adding your fish to it to ensure that they won’t die.
Reverse Osmosis water or RO water is a purified kind of water that you might often associate with drinking. RO water goes through a process of being pushed through a membrane to remove it of any impurities.
Bacteria, minerals and chlorine are too large to move through the membrane, which gives you a much cleaner water source at the other end. RO filtering has been proven to remove up to 99% of contaminants.
However, often it can also remove minerals and nutrients that you will want to preserve to keep your fish healthy for longer.
Should you bother with buying RO water for your fish tank? What benefits and drawbacks are there to including RO water in your fish tank? Where can you find RO water and how much will it set you back in terms of price?
Well, don’t worry, fish lovers, because we certainly have the answers to some of those questions. We’ll give you a breakdown of what RO water does and what it’s good for, as well as some other types of water and how they’ll affect the fish and plants in your aquarium.
What Is RO Water?
You can set up an RO water filtering system under your sink if you want the purest form of water on demand. RO water is certainly healthy enough to drink, removed of plenty of harmful bacteria and chlorine.
What an RO filter does is run the water through a semipermeable membrane that filters out larger matter such as chlorine, bacteria and certain minerals to purify the water.
There are many different stages in an RO filtering system:
- Pre Filter - prefiltration is usually the first stage where water is run through a carbon filter and a sediment filter to remove the chlorine and sediments that could damage a larger membrane filter.
- This water is then placed in a storage tank until you want to pour it out for drinking purposes or using in your fish tank.
- Post Filtration - post-filtration is when the water is pushed through another semipermeable membrane to finally remove it of any further contaminants.
RO filtering removes many different materials such as fluoride, salt, sediment, chlorine, arsenic, VOCs, herbicides and pesticides as well as many other contaminants. However, it does not remove certain viruses or bacteria. For complete eradication of bacteria, you want to subject your water to UV treatment.
However, although purging your fishtank of these impurities might seem like the best way to achieve a healthy and balanced fish tank, there are certain things that water contains that will be essential to keeping your fish healthy.
Is RO Water Good For Your Fish Tank?
Some of the minerals you find in water are very good for your fish, essential for processes such as osmoregulation and keeping a stable pH level.
Luckily there are plenty of products that will enable you to reintroduce these healthy minerals back into your fishes’ ecosystem.
Remineralizers such as Seachem Equilibrium will restore the balance to your fish tank. You can also add regular sea salt which contains all the good salts and sodium that you might find in the ocean.
To purchase an RO system for your fish tank could cost you anywhere between $50 and $300, depending on whether you want prefilter and postfilter facilities. The filters in your RO system will have to be replaced regularly as salt deposits will build up around their porous holes.
If you are filtering hard water, you might have to replace your filter every 6 months. Soft water requires a less regular change of 2 years. Check your area to see whether there is hard or soft water where you live and adapt accordingly.
Is Tap Water Better Than RO Water?
A popular choice amongst casual fish owners, as it’s literally available on tap. Most people will be tempted to simply put their fish in some tap water and expect them to thrive. Most of the time this approach is perfectly acceptable.
However, the quality of the water will depend on what area you live in. Certain regions have hard or soft water, and you might have to check with your local authority before using a tap source for your fish tank.
Remember: when it comes to using tap water, make sure you dechlorinate it first! Chlorine is introduced to most water supplies to kill bacteria.
However, chlorine doesn’t discriminate between good bacteria and bad bacteria. The good bacteria in your fish tank is the whole reason your fish are thriving in the first place. Without good bacteria, your water will soon become toxic and your fish will quickly die.
Where Can You Get RO Water?
You can purchase RO water in prefiltered jugs where you can just remove the cap and pour straight in.
However, if you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can pick up your very own RO filtering system for your sink. These filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, allowing you to filter the water which you can then drink or use to fill your aquarium.
RO systems tend to last anywhere between 10 and 15 years, which will certainly be more value for money. The system itself might have a long lifespan, but the RO membrane and filters will have to be changed periodically.
For hard water areas, your filters will have to be replaced every 6 months, whereas soft waters can last upwards of 2 years. RO membranes will have to be replaced every 2 to 4 years.