In this article, I will do a complete review of the RO Buddie filter from Aquatic Life.
If you plan to keep a saltwater tank healthy, it’s important to only use RODI filtered water.
Using tap water should not be an option as it contains substances like fluoride and chloramines which are toxic to fish.
Tap water can also contain high nitrate and phosphates which are harmful to a saltwater tank.
Any water that is used for top off or water changes should have a TDS of 0. You will never achieve this using tap water.
The Aquatic Life RO Buddie is very effective in removing harmful chemicals and making your tap water safe for saltwater aquarium use.
There are both positives and negatives to using the RO Buddie which I will explain.
But if you are looking for a great RODI filter system on a budget, the RODI Buddie is for you.
RO Buddie overview
This RODI filter is designed to make tap water safe for aquarium use. It is similar to other brands on the market except it is a smaller version of other RODI filters with fewer bells and whistles.
The RO Buddie is available in 2 models. 50 GPD and 100 GPD versions. This is the maximum amount of water it can filter each day or 24 hour time period.
It is also available in a 3 stage RO unit and 4 stage RODI unit.
The RO Buddie includes sediment and carbon cartridges. These are self-contained units that are easy to remove and replace when necessary. It also includes a TFC membrane.
In the package you will receive the following:
- RO unit
- Faucet adapter
- Membrane wrench
- Wall mounts
Depending on the model, you will also receive:
- Sealed DI cartridge
- ¼” polyethylene tubing with quick connects
- Mounting brackets
Features and specs:
- Small design is easy to mount under cabinets or wall mount
- Available in 50 GPD or 100 GPD models
- Easy to replace cartridges
- Membrane housing accepts all standard 11-¾” membranes
- Includes faucet adapter for a standard garden hose
- Includes quick connects making filters easy to remove and replace
- Mounting brackets for easy installation
- Wrench included for removal of membrane cap
- RO Buddie can be upgraded to RODI filter system
The membrane being used by the RO Buddie is a standard size which is interchangeable with other brands if desired. The standard size is 11-¾”.
Both the sediment and carbon cartridges are a specific size and replacements are specific to the Aquatic Life brand. They are available at most saltwater fish stores and online.
The RO Buddie RODI filter will include color changing DI resin. This resin is easy to replace by purchasing resin separately. You do not need to buy the whole cartridge which will save you money.
How long does the DI resin last?
This is difficult to answer as there are many variables. Not all tap water is the same so the length of time in between DI resin changes will vary.
The TDS of tap water will be different depending on your location.
Also depending on how many water changes and water top offs you do each month, the amount of time for the resin to be exhausted will vary.
On average expect to get at least 1 month out of the DI resin. The great thing is it will change color when it’s exhausted and needs to be replaced.
It will change from a dark blue color to an orange color as it gets used.
The RO Buddie uses a standard ¼” polyethylene tubing with the quick connects.
The included tubing is long enough to run waste water into a close-by sink but if you need to run it for longer distances greater than a few feet, you will need to buy extra tubing.
It is not expensive and very easy to find.
Installing the RO Buddie filter
One of the great things about the RO Buddie is how easy it is to install. I have used other units which can be very difficult and frustrating to hook up.
This unit can be installed in minutes and comes with everything you need.
Install the proper threaded adapter onto your sink faucet. Or use the garden hose adapter for hose tap. Insert the polyethylene tubing ⅝” into the fitting and insert the blue quick connect into place.
Connect the water supply to the RO Buddie by removing the blue quick connect and inserting the polyethylene tubing ⅝” into the supply sediment cartridge.
Connect waste and filtered water tubing. Remove the quick connect, install tubing and direct filtered water tubing into the collection container or sink to flush the carbon cartridge in the next step.
Run water through the RO Buddie to flush the carbon cartridge. Do not use this water. Flush the carbon cartridge for 5 minutes.
Install the RO membrane. Use the included wrench to remove the twist cap. Insert the cartridge with the black gasket towards the top. Replace the cap and use the wrench to tighten. Then install the inline carbon cartridge tubing into the membrane and connect the blue quick connect clip.
Flush the membrane prior to use. Flush for 30 minutes and discard both the filtered and waste water.
Install the DI cartridge. Attach the 2 mounting brackets onto the membrane cartridge and snap the DI cartridge into place. Attach the filtered water polyethylene tubing into the bottom of the DI cartridge. Then attach the tubing into the top of the DI cartridge which will now produce 0 TDS water that is safe to use in your saltwater tank.
RODI Buddie pros and cons
The RO Buddie is an affordable water filter that is effective and easy to use. I have been using this unit for many years and have no major complaints.
It is best used for smaller tanks if you have the 50 GPD unit. It can take quite a long time to make a small amount of water.
You can expect the 50 GPD unit to produce around 5 gallons of water in 2.5 hours.
This is an approximate number.
There are factors to consider which will change the rate of water produced but this is my experience with it.
Of course, the 100 GPD unit will produce filtered water at a faster rate.
My last 5-gallon jug of RODI water was made in 2hr:15 minutes. This is about 2.22 gallons per hour or 53 GPD. Which is better than advertised.
The RO Buddie will produce waste water at a 1:4 ratio. For every gallon of filtered water, it will produce 4 gallons of waste water.
- Easy to use
- Easy to install
- Replacement cartridges available and affordable
- Basic RODI system that works great
- TDS meter not included
- PSI meter not included
- 50 GPD produces a lot of waste water
Smart booster pump
Aquatic Life rate the amount of filtered water produced each day under ideal conditions which are 100 PSI water pressure @ 77 degrees F.
If your tap water has a lower pressure, your RODI filter will not be as efficient and will produce less water.
Knowing how much water pressure is running into the unit is important.
If you have lower water pressure under 45 PSI you should consider using the Aquatic Life Smart booster pump.
Most RODI filter systems will work fine at a PSI of 60, but they will be more efficient if you can boost this pressure even higher. 80 PSI or more is even better.
The Aquatic Life Smart booster pump can be used on either the 50 GPD or 100 GPD system.
They will increase your water quality and output, allow the filter to be more efficient, and prolong the life of the filters and DI resin.
Check out the Smart booster pump at Marine Depot here.
The Aquatic Life RO Buddie is a great filter system that will make your tap water safe for your saltwater tank. These units are very affordable in comparison to other units.
If you have a smaller tank, then the 50 GPD unit is suitable. If you have a larger tank, then I recommend the 100 GPD unit.
Combined with the Smart booster pump, the RO Buddie will be an efficient, reliable, awesome RODI water making machine.