Do You Need To Use RODI Water In A Saltwater Tank?

Do You Need To Use RODI Water In A Saltwater Tank?

rodi water in saltwater tanks

If you want to have your own saltwater aquarium, there are a lot of things you’ll want to take into consideration. One of the most important decisions you will have to make is the type of water that you use in your tank. You’ll want to learn more about water for saltwater aquariums so that you can decide how to proceed.

Can you use tap water in a saltwater or reef tank? Yes.

Should you use it? NO!

From experience, I can say that you will regret using tap water in your tank.

Although it is possible to use tap water in a saltwater tank, it isn’t recommended. Instead, you should use either reverse osmosis water or RODI water in your tank.

If you have questions about using proper water like RODI in your fish tank, you’ll be able to find the answers that you need below.

How Can You Use Reverse Osmosis Water In Saltwater Tanks?

Reverse Osmosis water, or RO water, is considered by many to be one of the best options for saltwater tanks. A Reverse Osmosis water unit will allow you to mimic the same conditions that saltwater fish have in their natural habitats. If you want your fish and corals to thrive, this is an option you will want to look into.

The reverse osmosis process drives water through a permeable membrane. This allows water to be purified in a way that is safe for fish and corals. RO water doesn’t have any of the pollutants that tap water does.

Reverse osmosis water is readily available. Most grocery stores sell it by the gallon, and most fish stores offer it as well. You can also produce your own reverse osmosis water by investing in an RO unit. An affordable RODI filter system that works great is easy to find. With that said, you won’t want to use this water in your tank as-is. Because the water is extremely soft, you’ll want to make a few adjustments so that the water is safe for your fish to use.

You’ll want to add minerals and other nutrients to the water so that it has everything your fish and coral need. You should be able to purchase a solution that you can add to the water at your local fish store. More on this shortly.

What Is The Difference Between RO Water And RODI Water?

RODI stands for reverse osmosis deionized water. This water is similar to RO water in many ways, but there are a few distinct differences.

RODI water has gone through the reverse osmosis process. However, the water has also gone through another process known as deionization. During this process, positive hydrogen molecules and negative hydroxyl molecules are exchanged with both positive and negative contaminant molecules in the water.

This process does not remove all of the contaminants that are in the water on its own. However, because the process is combined with reverse osmosis, it results in water that is extremely pure. Like with RO water, minerals will have to be added to the water so that you are providing a safe and hospitable environment for your fish.

How Can You Get RODI Water And Filtration Units To Make Proper Water At Home?

If you’d like to avoid purchasing water for your fish tank, you will want to purchase an RO/DI unit that you can use to make safe water for saltwater aquariums. You can purchase these units from a local fish store, or you can order the unit that you need online. I like to use the AquaFX Barracuda RO/DI System. Great value for the price. 

Before you invest in one of these units, make sure you have the proper place in your home to fit it and that all connections and taps are compatible.

Why Do You Need To Measure Total Dissolved Solids?

You’ll want to make sure that the water in your fish tank has an acceptable level of total dissolved solids, also known as TDS. TDS refers to the number of heavy metals, salts, and organic compounds that are contained within water.

Having some TDS in your fish tank isn’t necessarily going to be a problem. However, you’ll need to make sure that your tank is within acceptable levels. Ideally, you want to aim for a TDS of 0. Most RODI units will ensure you are using 0 TDS water.  Anything above 0, can cause deposits in your water, which can cause harm to your fish and corals. Also, nuisance algae like green hair can cause trouble and are not visually pleasing to see in your tank. Thankfully, it is easy to measure the TDS levels of your water and make adjustments to your tank as needed.

These TDS meters are all you really need. They work great and are affordable. Some RODI units will have built-in TDS meters, but in case you have one that doesn’t, these are a great option.

What Should Be Added To The Water In Your Aquarium?

As mentioned above, you’ll want to add minerals to your aquarium so that the fish and corals have everything that they need. This is more of a concern for corals than a fish only saltwater tank.

When making water for your aquarium, you will need to mix it with salt. Most salts contain all the mineral elements you need. Although some are better than others and some salts are better to use for reef tanks. Like the Red Sea Coral Pro Salt mix. You are looking for things like calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity.

If you have a heavily stocked tank, your corals will use up the minerals quite quickly, and the tank will require more than what the salt will provide. Keeping the levels in check is very important for corals to thrive and stay healthy. Therefore you will need to add CA, MG, ALK and any other minerals into the tank either manually or use a dosing type system that automates the process. You should be able to purchase a mineral balance system like the AquaForest 123 system, which I currently use and love it. This will provide your fish and corals with what they need.

You’ll want to make sure that you add the right kinds of minerals to the water, and you’ll also want to make sure you add the appropriate quantity of those minerals.

What Are The Benefits Of Using RODI Water?

As mentioned above, RODI water is clean and safe for your fish. When you have RODI water in your fish tank, you won’t be exposing your fish and corals to substances that will cause them harm. The water that your fish are swimming in will be similar to the clean water that they can find in their natural environments.

The filter on your fish tank will also be able to remove any harmful substances from the water. However, if you try to use ordinary tap water in your tank, your filter will go through a lot of strain. When you use cleaner water in your fish tank, it is far less likely that your filter will have problems or break down.

Using RODI water also gives you more control over your fish tank. The purified water that you place in your tank will completely clean and fresh. It will be free of any outside substances. You can choose to add additional substances to the water in order to create a better environment for your fish.

Not all saltwater fish and corals have the same needs. When you use RODI water, you’ll be able to address that. You’ll be able to create an environment that is perfectly suitable for the fish in your tank.

You will also be able to achieve crystal clear water in your saltwater tank by using RODI versus tap water.

What Happens To A Saltwater Tank When You Don’t Use RODI Water?

You can maintain a successful saltwater tank if you don’t choose to use RODI water in the tank. However, experts say that RODI water is your best choice when it comes to water for saltwater aquariums. I can agree with that!

If you opt to use tap water in your aquarium, you could wind up experiencing many types of problems. One of the biggest issues with using tap water is that it contains substances like chloramines and fluorides. These substances can be toxic to fish. Tap water also contains more nitrates and phosphates, which means you’ll have more issues with algae in your aquarium.

When you do use tap water, the TDS levels in your tank are only going to increase over time. Even if your fish are fine for now, you might wind up experiencing serious problems later on. If you want to give your fish a safe and healthy environment, then you need to use RO or RODI water in your tank.

If you’ve been exploring your options for water for saltwater aquariums, your choice is clear. You need to make sure you have clean and safe water in your tank so that your fish will be able to thrive. Caring for saltwater fish isn’t easy, which is why using either RO or RODI water in your fish tank is absolutely essential.

Here is a great video from BRS Bulk Reef Supply explaining more about RODI units and water for your saltwater tank.

Thanks for reading!

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