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Understanding Reverse Osmosis Systems
You may or may not be aware of it, but reverse osmosis systems are not as uncommon and complicated as you think. Any mechanism that makes use of external pressure and a semi-permeable membrane to segregate substances having diverse concentrations are broadly categorized as reverse osmosis (RO) systems. If you want to know what it does and whether it will be any good for home use and keeping an aquarium, here is some information that will help:
Osmosis vs. reverse osmosis - Understanding reverse osmosis systems is so much easier if you know what osmosis is. On the one hand, osmosis relies only on osmotic pressure to keep substances of different concentrations apart, with the semi-permeable membrane acting as a filter. The direction of water movement across the membrane is from low solute concentration to high concentration.
Reverse osmosis systems, on the other hand, work the opposite direction, which is from high to low solute concentration. The semi-permeable membrane then keeps the solutes on one side, allowing the purer solvent to pass through. Another distinct characteristic of these systems is the use of external force to move the solution across the membrane.
Applications of reverse osmosis in households - The process of RO has its widespread use in desalination and renal replacement therapy. Countries with access to modern water utilities have potable water delivered to households with the help of water treatment processes, one of which is RO. For the rest of the world, however, there are home appliances designed to make tap water safe for cooking and drinking. Although there are various filtration and purifying systems available through direct selling, the market share of devices using this process is rapidly growing.
In addition to giving you clean drinking water, reverse osmosis also helps you achieve a healthy aquarium. Water straight from your plumbing systems has been treated with chemicals, and using it to fill your tank can be toxic to fish, plants, and live corals in it. For reef tanks (which are more sensitive to imbalances in water chemistry than standard fish tanks) RO aids in achieving stability. Aquarists find reverse osmosis devices useful in conditioning the insides of a reef tank to achieve a close similarity with natural marine environment. These devices also clear out contaminants that cause rapid algae
growth. If you have an aquarium at home, you should know that excessive algae adversely affect the health of organisms inside your tank.
The pros and cons of using reverse osmosis systems - The main benefit of using these devices is that they don't use chemicals to treat water, so they don't change its taste, neither do they cause abrasion and sedimentation in plumbing and tanks. In addition, they help you save time and money as they don't require much power and frequent clean-ups. You can see examples on our
On the downside, a good percentage of the water used by reverse osmosis devices is wasted and goes directly to your septic tank. Also, the notion that they are "purifiers" is only partly true, as they don't have the capacity to disinfect water from bacteria. Aside from these, they may also remove helpful substances, like calcium and magnesium. RO devices are effective at filtration and less damaging to the environment. But with these benefits, there are also some setbacks that you have to consider before buying one.