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Skimmer going nuts after adding RO water

Discussion in 'Tank Chemistry' started by Caspertheghost, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. Caspertheghost

    Caspertheghost Copepod

    I recently acquired an RO unit to make my own top off water. I fill a clean 5g bucket with RO water next to the tank. There is a clean water pump and switch to control it. I PH the water to 8.2 with a buffer.

    Every time I add water to the tank my skimmer goes crazy and fills the collection cup really fast.

    I checked the water out of the RO unit with a TDS meter and it shows 002.

    Any idea why this keeps happening? Thanks in advance
  2. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Cuttle Fish M.A.S.C Club Member

    Is it changing the level of your water making it skim super wet?
  3. Dr.DiSilicate

    Dr.DiSilicate Kraken M.A.S.C Club Member

    Plus 1

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. Caspertheghost

    Caspertheghost Copepod

    It's only changing water level by about 1/4", if I turn down the skimmer when adding water, then turn back up after 30+ minutes it doesn't do it.
  5. projectx

    projectx Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    Did you flush 5 or so gallons through the RO unit after setting it up?
  6. Caspertheghost

    Caspertheghost Copepod

    Yeah, I got it used and replaced the 5 micron filter and the carbon filter and cleaned the housings. But I still ran 5+ gallons through it and tossed that
  7. Dr.DiSilicate

    Dr.DiSilicate Kraken M.A.S.C Club Member

    Do you have a picture? What skimmer is it?

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  8. Caspertheghost

    Caspertheghost Copepod

    The skimmer is a coralife 65g super skimmer ( I know it's not great or even recommended )

    The RO unit is a 3 stage seachem pinnacle.

    What would you like a pic of?
    monkey4life likes this.
  9. Caspertheghost

    Caspertheghost Copepod

    The PH with alk buffer is: aqua vitro eight.four

    Here is the RO unit:

    And here is the skimmer:

    ​​​​​​​The pics would not turn the right way no matter what I tried. Sorry

    Attached Files:

  10. jda123

    jda123 Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    The specific gravity drops when the RO is added (becomes brackish) and the bubbles are not as small. Add the RO after the skimmer chamber.
    timnem70 likes this.
  11. Caspertheghost

    Caspertheghost Copepod

    Thank you! I will give that a try.
  12. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C President M.A.S.C Webmaster

    +1 Those coralife skimmers are particularly troublesome too and easily knocked out of whack. Putting the RO near the return pump instead will likely help quite a bit. Also I would move away from the buffers if you can and either use Kalk in the top off water or look into switching to a dosing system for alk. If your Alk, and calc are in line, and the water is sufficiently oxygenated the PH will take care of itself. In my experience buffers can often times make your numbers swing more then they should and can ultimately lead to more issues then they solve. kalkwasser or 2 part make for a much better and more stable solution.
  13. jda123

    jda123 Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    If you must use buffer, then baking soda will do the exact same thing. ...it probably is the same thing, just not dissolved in water. Dowflake or Prestone Driveway Heat is the same thing that is in the calcium supplements. No need to buy anything from a reef store or reef product. Baking soda and Dowflake has grown truly awesome tanks for more than twenty years.

    BTW - don't chase or even check PH. Just check the alk and keep it in line. The main factor in your PH is the CO2 in the ambient air - the more CO2, then lower the PH. In a well aired home, the ambient CO2 level will be just fine - this is only really an issue in basements where the home is closed up with the AC or heat on for months at a time.
  14. Caspertheghost

    Caspertheghost Copepod

    I did not realize that... thank you for the tip. Looks like I need to invest in a PH probe and auto doser. I just know that my RO water is testing below what my high range kit can detect and evap due to higher temps means I have to top off more frequently and it dropped my PH to 7.8
  15. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C President M.A.S.C Webmaster

    +1 Your RO water will always test out of range as it is completely neutral and has 0 ph, but once you add it to the tank that will change. 7.8 is an acceptable ph limit, although on the bottom margin. The way to raise thisis not through buffers, but through added oxygen to the water. You can achieve this by several methods, the easiest of which is to keep a window, that is near the tank, cracked open and some fans blowing on the sump. This will bring in fresh outside air and naturally stabilize your ph level.
  16. aquarius

    aquarius Copepod

    Not true, RO water has a ph of 7 as it is completely neutral. Hobby grade test kits often swing one way or the other as the chemicals in them be it alk based or acid based can swing the reading given because the water becomes no longer neutral. Anywhere from 7.8 - 8.5 and your reef should be fine provided your other parameters are in check. Oxygen will raise ph whereas co2 lowers it and the open window with fans is a good idea. I second the use of Dow flake and baking soda for two part they are much more cost effective than buying two part from a reef store and they are easily found.
    Caspertheghost likes this.
  17. Caspertheghost

    Caspertheghost Copepod


  18. Fitz19d

    Fitz19d Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Yes, BRS has a video on why buffers are bad and shouldnt be used. Forget which one it's buried in.
  19. Fitz19d

    Fitz19d Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Also for extra air, can run airline from skimmer intake out a window or hole in wall to avoid the open window in winter deal. Though I'm a little weary of it myself since I'd think that much cold winter air might make heaters work a lot more and during summer my town sprays for mosquitos I figure cant be good.

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