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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In the planning/design stage of the various components of my first viv and would be grateful for some input.

I'm planning to have some sort of water feature in the viv, in what form I don't know yet. And I thought to put an old fish tank in the cabinet to use as a sump. To get a larger volume of water to work with and be able to put it through some simple basic filtration and heating.

My next idea is to use the cleaned and filtered water from the sump as an input to the RO filter. With the right media and steps (sediment + active coal) in the sump I believe this is highly doable.

And as the output of the RO filter is much higher than what the fogger/misting needs I thought that I could let the RO filter run as a last step in the water circulation within the viv, to basically let the output from the RO filter go to the beginning of the sump flow chart so to speak when it's not needed to fill up the RO reservoir.

Will this be just a waste of membrane so to speak and should I just save the RO filter for the fogging/misting?

I made a quick flow chart of my ideas as they are now. If you see any issues with this I would be very glad if you let me know! :)

The idea with the java moss section is just to pick up nutrients from the water.

 

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Okay I have to ask what is the purpose behind trying to do all of the filtration to the RO system as it seems pretty wasteful in time and money to very little if any benefit (I'm leaning towards pretty much no benefit).
Consider that your RO system is going to have waste water so your going to have to make up that additional volume of RO to keep the system working or else it is going to run dry. That means either an additional RO system to top off the first one for misting or a solenoid or other process to automatically switch between the water being processed from the tank to the one to the tap. It would be much more simple to just go right from the tap.

Second while water features are popular among a wide number of hobbyists, depending on the frogs, the water feature might be a waste of time for the frogs as some do not use them for tadpole deposition sites (much like bromeliads are a waste for some frogs as they do not use them for tadpole deposition sites). If your doing it because you like it that is something else but your going to have to work out a way to prevent saturation of the substrates as that causes all kinds of problems for the plants as well as the frogs (http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/general-health-disease-treatment/78657-terribilis-foot-rot.html). Normally this can be accomplished through a permanent air gap between the top of the water and the bottom of the substrate but many people find this look unappealing ...

some comments

Ed
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Okay I have to ask what is the purpose behind trying to do all of the filtration to the RO system as it seems pretty wasteful in time and money to very little if any benefit (I'm leaning towards pretty much no benefit).
Consider that your RO system is going to have waste water so your going to have to make up that additional volume of RO to keep the system working or else it is going to run dry. That means either an additional RO system to top off the first one for misting or a solenoid or other process to automatically switch between the water being processed from the tank to the one to the tap. It would be much more simple to just go right from the tap.

Second while water features are popular among a wide number of hobbyists, depending on the frogs, the water feature might be a waste of time for the frogs as some do not use them for tadpole deposition sites (much like bromeliads are a waste for some frogs as they do not use them for tadpole deposition sites). If your doing it because you like it that is something else but your going to have to work out a way to prevent saturation of the substrates as that causes all kinds of problems for the plants as well as the frogs (http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/general-health-disease-treatment/78657-terribilis-foot-rot.html). Normally this can be accomplished through a permanent air gap between the top of the water and the bottom of the substrate but many people find this look unappealing ...

some comments

Ed

Ed, you always come in and hit the nail on the head with good and tough questions lol.

My thought process has been something like this:

- If I have some form of water feature I want to throw in a sump in the cabinet underneath the viv. It's easy and cheap and useful (seems like it to me anyway).

- I need RO water for the misting/fogging

- Producing my own RO water would save both money and hassle in the long run.

- According to a bit of research online I need to prefilter the water before the actual RO filter (sediment + active coal)

- So why not put that filtration in the sump and let the intake for the RO system take it's water from there? The water feature can also benefit from some filtration

- The reservoir for the misting (with pure RO) will be separate from the sump and might have automatic refill control


I know I have a tendency to, in the early stage of projects, over complicate things :)p) so that's why I threw these thoughts out there. But in my mind it doesn't really seem that complicated (IF i decide to go with some form of water feature (and sump) which I'm well aware of can pose special considerations and problems).

Thanks again for your reply Ed!
 

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The problem with using any of the sump water as part of the feed into a RO filter means that you are not only going to have to prefilter it but pressurize it so the RO filter will be able to work but this also has the down side, there is going to be a not inconsiderable amount of rejected water with impurities present. As a result your not going to get as much water out of the system as you put into it initially so this is where you are going to need either an extra RO system or a way to alternate its function with the water output from the sump while still pressurizing it.

Running it through a sump gets around a lot of the issues inherent with many water features as you can better control water quality and dissolved oxygen to avoid anaerobic condition. When designing the system you want to avoid areas where the water can stagnate which means that you need a way to drain the whole area of bottom of the system and a sump is a good way to manage that problem.

Just some thoughts

Ed
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The problem with using any of the sump water as part of the feed into a RO filter means that you are not only going to have to prefilter it but pressurize it so the RO filter will be able to work but this also has the down side, there is going to be a not inconsiderable amount of rejected water with impurities present. As a result your not going to get as much water out of the system as you put into it initially so this is where you are going to need either an extra RO system or a way to alternate its function with the water output from the sump while still pressurizing it.

Running it through a sump gets around a lot of the issues inherent with many water features as you can better control water quality and dissolved oxygen to avoid anaerobic condition. When designing the system you want to avoid areas where the water can stagnate which means that you need a way to drain the whole area of bottom of the system and a sump is a good way to manage that problem.

Just some thoughts

Ed
Thanks again Ed for your replies! Means a lot! And yes, with such small water features that's normally the case in vivs, using a sump just seems to be a good thing as you raise the actual volume of water significantly and are able to monitor and maintain it better than if it's just circulating inside the viv. I have a few ideas how to keep the water feature fully separate from the substrate.

I'm not totally familiar to RO filters yet but my thought was to get one with a pump of its own so to speak. I've seen a few on Ebay.

I guess what it boils down to is that I'm just trying to get rid of the need for another tank/reservoir under the viv with tap water. Just seems to be convenient to be able to hook up the intake to the RO setup to the last section of the sump.

I've modified my sketch/flow chart a bit. When I first heard about the sediment pre filter I thought that a sedimentation section in the sump might be enough. Just a tall deep slow moving section where sediment could fall down. But now I've seen that normally filter media with around 1µm is used, sometimes even smaller. So now my idea is to just use the normal under the sink filters for both pre and RO filter but still let it be fed from the last section of the sump. Am I still in trouble? I mean I can always go the other route and feed it tap water somehow, It's not a super big issue. It's about this time I'm glancing at your signature Ed... :D:rolleyes:

 

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You can do it that way if you don't mind cleaning and replacing the misting heads or replacing the humidifiers. The reason you want to work with RO or DI water is because the dissolved materials will clog the misting heads, ruin the membrane in the humidifier and/or result in deposits on the glass that detract from visibility.
The problem is that if you go with a misting system in your current configuration it would have to be set-up like this

sump-> diaphragm pump -> RO unit -> second diaphragm pump for RO system -> mist heads with a diversion at the RO unit for the waste water to either a large sump or to the drain
so in addition to the above you need the following system

tap -> RO -> storage -> make up water for enclosure.

If you went with the basic RO system you would have the following to work with...

tapwater -> RO filter (if your tap water has enough pressure you can skip the second pump here) -> reservoir -> diaphragm pump -> mist heads

So yes your avoiding a second water reservoir but you are instead taking up the space with a second pump and tubing. There are home under the sink kits that use a small tank for holding the RO water so it is on demand.

Now depending on the amount of dissolved materials in the water you could go with a couple of DI resin cartridges but this can get expensive quickly if your water has a lot of dissolved minerals etc in it.

Keep in mind that in the second configuration you could have a second storage area and then feed multiple enclosures from it. It would just have to be sufficiently close that the pump can push the water to the misting heads with the proper pressure. My one reservoir is in the basement and the tanks are plumbed to drain to a sump which when close to full I bleach, and then discard.

some comments

Ed
 

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@Kalle,

R/O filtering produces alot of waste water that is unsuitable for further use. You'll only increase the amount of waste water produced if you add another source of contaminants to the water (in this case, passage through your viv water feature and sump) before you send it to the R/O system.

Additionally, the intensity of filtration you want/need for a water feature is different from what you want from an R/O system. Water features need mostly particulate filtration since the biological filtration is carried-out by all the surfaces the water flows over both inside and outside the filter chamber. R/O systems are really about removing much smaller impurities - think molecules rather than comparatively large bits of uneaten food or sediment.

In the setup you propose, the R/O filters & resins would need to clean both particulates and molecules like tannins from your water feature before they got to the other impurities. The result would be faster clogging of your R/O filter media. R/O filter media is more expensive - and a bigger hassle to replace - than traditional water filtration media for a canister filter (for instance).

Instead of connecting the water feature and R/O system this way, I would suggest you keep the water feature as separate system with a sump. You can add an overflow from the sump such that you can add clean R/O water just be pouring it into the sump or water feature. The excess water would then overflow down the drain.

With an overflow like this, you could then consider having a continuous low flow from the R/O system into the water feature if you wanted to avoid the need to manually top-off the water feature.
 

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In my experience, I'd drop the in line RO filter. It isn't going to get you the results you want and will likely leave you frustrated. Just place a small sump in the cabinet for the misting system and/or humidier and feed it RO water from somewhere else.

I think it's a good idea to filter your water feature water, too. You want it clean and fresh, not brown and stagnant which is will certainly do if it is not moving.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You can do it that way if you don't mind cleaning and replacing the misting heads or replacing the humidifiers. The reason you want to work with RO or DI water is because the dissolved materials will clog the misting heads, ruin the membrane in the humidifier and/or result in deposits on the glass that detract from visibility.
The problem is that if you go with a misting system in your current configuration it would have to be set-up like this

[...]

some comments

Ed
@Kalle,

R/O filtering produces alot of waste water that is unsuitable for further use. You'll only increase the amount of waste water produced if you add another source of contaminants to the water (in this case, passage through your viv water feature and sump) before you send it to the R/O system.

[...]

Thank you both for good replies! I understand your concerns and I'm much wiser now.

And I love the feeling of getting closer day by day to being able to start up this project for real. It will be a while still though. But it's also great fun to go over the planning stage in detail over and over and slowly panning out the best solution for what you want to accomplish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In my experience, I'd drop the in line RO filter. It isn't going to get you the results you want and will likely leave you frustrated. Just place a small sump in the cabinet for the misting system and/or humidier and feed it RO water from somewhere else.

I think it's a good idea to filter your water feature water, too. You want it clean and fresh, not brown and stagnant which is will certainly do if it is not moving.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
I will probably just buy RO water for a while. I have many other holes to put money in at the upstart of a bigger viv lol.

But what's the problem with in line RO filters in your opinion?
 

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I will probably just buy RO water for a while. I have many other holes to put money in at the upstart of a bigger viv lol.

But what's the problem with in line RO filters in your opinion?
It adds unnecessary complexity. I understand what you're trying to do with it but RO units really need a clean supply source as well as a drain for waste water and I'm afraid this won't work as well as you would like.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It adds unnecessary complexity. I understand what you're trying to do with it but RO units really need a clean supply source as well as a drain for waste water and I'm afraid this won't work as well as you would like.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
It didn't hit me until now what you all three were telling me, and that I hadn't realized before, that an RO filter uses more water than it outputs as clean water. Wow, yea, that changes a few parameters. :D

Thanks again guys!
 
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