Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that uses a membrane to remove ions, molecules and larger particles from drinking water. This in effect creates a pure water source from which we can add buffers to create water to any specification for our shrimps.
This is done by adding salts of some sort to the water, these buffers are species specific so you will need a different one for Neocaridina and Caridina and other types of shrimp. To
measure the amount of buffer you need to add to the water you will require a TDS meter, TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids.
For Bee shrimp, I like a TDS of 150ppm
For Neocaridina I like a TDS of over 200ppm
Remember all water needs to sit and age for at least 24hours before going near a tank.
Once you make the switch to Reverse Osmosis chances are you will never go back to using ordinary tap water and really why should you?
HOW DO REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER SYSTEMS WORK?
Reverse Osmosis works by forcing water through a membrane that allows some things through but not all things, Typically the size of the holes in a membrane range from 0.1 to 5,000 nm depending on the brand.
Think of this process like you would if you were sifting a bag of rubble what you keep goes through the holes while waste is left on top and discarded if you have a TDS which you should have if you own a Reverse Osmosis Unit..you can test this.
- First, test your tap water as a rough guide I will say mines is 50ppm.
- Second test your clean water outlet, this should range from 0-10ppm
- Third test you waste water outlet and see what you get for me its normally around 100ppm.
What about Reverse Osmosis Maintenance?
I will list this in order of what I do because it will make more sense for you this way, let’s start of with the sediment filter these need to be replaced every 3-4 months because they do clog up and become chocked ..tap water is much dirtier than you think and if you ever decide to cut up an old sediment filter I am pretty sure you will be shocked.
Your Carbon filter should be changed again every 3-4 months, I like to run two of them inline on my system so It never gets to the point of failure.
The RO membrane itself can last for years and I change mines out every 3 years or so, they will last longer if you protect them with regular filter replacement in front of it.
New Reverse Osmosis Unit And High TDS
This is very very common in new systems as I think some of the carbon dust from the carbon filters is able to pass through the RO membrane, to fix this all you have to do is let your RO unit run for an hour before you start to collect that water.
Is Pure Reverse Osmosis Water Safe to Use In A Shrimp Tank?
The answer is yes and no so let me explain, Using RO water just for top ups is perfectly fine and this mimics what happens when it rains ..Using RO water this way will also prevent your shrimp tank water from becoming harder and harder, this is a term called TDS creep.
Using pure Reverse osmosis water for large water changes is a big no-no, first you will stress your shrimp because of the huge differences in water parameters, this is a common cause of death in shrimp to understand the why you have to take it to the cellular level ..every living cell has a water content and that water content will also have a salinity content. (This part is probably worth an article on its own)
These cells also have a semipermeable membrane just like your RO unit.
Water with a higher salinity level will try and pass through this wall and vice-versa, in a Shrimps world putting its cells into an environment with very little salinity causes the salt content in its cells to want to leave.. to cope with this the cell tries to take on water and it expands.. A good example of this is in us when we go swimming.
If you stay in the water to long take a look at your hands and see what happens to your fingertips, the water intake of cells in your skin are very visible here so you can imagine how bad this could be for a shrimp if this happens fast.
This is a big reason why people lose lots of shrimp while doing large water changes and then claim that their water was ok, unfortunately, this isn’t true when it comes to shrimp.I don’t want to go to of topic on this subject but this is why the plop and drop method of acclimation doesn’t work.. I have never lost any shrimp to drip acclimation.
What Else Do You Need For A Reverse Osmosis System?
You will need a catchment barrel or tank, I use a large 60liter bin that looks like this, which is large but very slim, in a shrimp room environment this is very very important. which you can check out here