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How to Install an RO Water Collection System

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Has this happened to you?

After researching the wonderful benefits of reverse osmosis (RO) water, you decide to take the next step in ultimate water quality control. You purchase an RO unit, and the excitement builds as the package arrives at your door. Upon opening the box, you’re pleased to find very easy instructions, and you are off to the kitchen sink. The unit is placed on the counter, the exhaust line in the sink, and the filtered water line into a bucket on the floor.

Within minutes, this unpleasant scenario unfolds:

  • You start 'er up and quickly notice how slowly the filtered water drips into the bucket.
  • It dawns on you that the RO unit could be hooked up to your sink for days before you get enough for a water change.
  • As the bucket fills, drop by drop, the inconvenience of using your sink for other tasks becomes annoying.
  • To make matters worse, chores at the counter you've put off are noticeably more difficult.
  • Patient and attentive as you are, you completely forget about the running RO unit until you step into a puddle of pure, filtered water on your floor.
  • The excitement fades as you mop up your floor, and the RO unit is relocated to storage at the back of a closet.

A better way
Dust off your reverse osmosis unit. With just a few, easy-to-get items, you can turn an inconvenient process into a breeze. The following setup will automatically get you RO water, condition it, and pump it back into your aquarium with little effort from you!

The 5 components you will need:

  1. Float valve kit.
  2. New, heavy-duty, plastic container with lid. It must not contain any metal that would come in contact with the water. A 55-gallon trash container works great.
  3. Submersible pump strong enough to push water from the container to the aquarium(s).
  4. Flexible tubing sized to the pump output and long enough to go from container to aquarium(s).
  5. 200-watt aquarium heater and floating thermometer.

First, choose a less popular faucet near a drain (utility room and basement sinks work great) that you can dedicate for RO water production.

To use all your faucets while the RO is running, you will need a few extra items. Install a saddle valve for the intake (just like you would for an icemaker) and a drain saddle valve for the waste line. Extra RO tubing may also be needed.

Hook up the RO intake, then place the unit on the floor or on a shelf. Wash out the new container with plain water and a clean cloth. Assemble the shutoff valve and float switch per the manufacturer’s directions. Attach the waste water line to the sink or drain. Now you are ready to make RO water. Cover the container with the lid to protect it against contaminants. It will automatically shut off, so you can run it while you are sleeping or away.

The final steps
After enough water is gathered, set the submersible pump and heater into the container of water and plug them in. This will automatically mix water and bring it up to the same temperature as your aquarium. Then, add a product such as R/O Right to properly re-mineralize the water for freshwater aquariums, or slowly add marine salt for saltwater aquariums.

When correct parameters are met, turn off the pump and heater, and attach tubing to the pump. Put the other end of the tubing in the aquarium to be filled, and turn on the pump. Just turn the pump off when the correct water level is achieved, and you are done.

How do I get the most out of my Reverse Osmosis unit?
For optimal RO water production, temperature of the input water should be between 70 and 77 degrees and the water pressure at 65 pounds per square inch.
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