We all know how important it is to use only high quality water in our aquariums.  Many of us use reverse osmosis filters or reverse osmosis filters with a final deionizing stage to provide us with the highest quality water possible.  Unfortunately, we may be doing this all for naught if we aren't using our RO and RODI filters properly.

Most RO / RODI filter owners know what TDS is - and know that it is something they want to keep as low as possible.  What some may not realize is that while the RO filter is working properly, the water they are adding to their aquariums on a daily basis may be little better than the tap water coming in from the municipal supply.  How could this possibly be happening???

Every time an RO filter starts producing water after being shut off for any period of time, the initial output is of very low quality.  Luckily it's likely devoid of chlorine thanks to the carbon filters, but it is very high in total dissolved solids (yep, "TDS") for the first couple minutes.  After a few minutes the product water is as pure as it can be - but if the filter doesn't run for several minutes at a time the water quality is never as high as it could be.  That's where the problem lies.

Many aquarists have the output of their RO filter hooked directly up to their sump with a mechanical float valve.  Whenever the water level drops just a tiny bit due to evaporation, the RO filter dutifully produces just a little water and then shuts off.  Often it produces water for just a few seconds at a time - a few seconds during which only high TDS water is added to the aquarium.  That ultra-pure water the RO filter is capable of producing never makes it into the aquarium!  RODI filters can generally rely on the DI stage to mop up all the high TDS water that makes it through the RO membrane, but then the expensive DI resin is very quickly exhausted, making the RODI filter costly to use.

Fortunately the solution is simple!  The addition of a relatively small (10 to 15 gallon) top off bin greatly reduces the TDS creep, or the buildup of TDS in your top off and makeup water over time, by limiting the number of times your RO filter is cycled for a given volume of water.  The best possible scenario is to wait until the top off bin is nearly empty and then turn the RO or RODI filter on and refill the entire bin all at once. Yet this creates still another problem - production of water through an RO or RODI filter is slow!  And it's definitely no fun to start to top off your sump, only to realize that you don't have enough water in your top off bin to do the job.

Aquarium Specialty has you covered.  The Genesis Reef Systems STORM™ Specialized Top-Off & Replenishment Module not only monitors the water level in your sump and automatically tops off for evaporation, but also monitors the water level in your top off bin and controls the production of water through an RO / RODI filter to automatically refill the top off bin whenever it is nearing depletion!  This extends the life of your DI resin and makes sure that only the highest quality water is added to your aquarium.

The STORM™ Specialized Top-Off & Replenishment Module clearly isn't your standard top off device.  It can be run in three different top off modes, tailored to your choosing.  One mode will monitor the water level in your sump and frequently adds small volumes of water frequently to keep the salinity (and water level) as stable as possible.  A second mode monitors the water level in your sump and adds a slightly larger volume of water than necessary as you instruct it, resulting in fewer top off cycles.  And a third mode allows you to top off from a calcium reactor using a very low flow rate pump.  There are numerous layers of redundancy built into the STORM™ so you don't have to worry about overfilling your sump or top off bin.  Since the STORM™ automatically refills your top off bin you never have to worry about having enough water on hand - in fact, you'll never need to lift another finger to keep your aquarium perfectly topped off with ultra-pure water!

As an added benefit, the STORM™ integrates seamlessly with the RENEW™ Automatic Water Change System, also designed and manufactured by Genesis Reef Systems right here in the USA.  Whenever the RENEW™ removes water from you sump for a water change, the STORM™ recognizes that the water removal was intentional (not evaporation), and it won't accidentally add fresh water while the RENEW™ is doing its job.

There are two STORM™ models to choose from.  The STORM™ Basic will monitor your sump and top off whenever needed, and the STORM™ Pro will monitor your sump and top off bin, topping off and refilling as necessary.  If you have any questions about the STORM™ please get in touch with us here at Aquarium Specialty.  We'll be happy to help you choose what is best for you!