PiMag Water System FAQ

I have received a lot of questions about the Nikken PiMag water systems, so here are some answers. If you have a question that I do not answer here, please leave me a comment at the bottom of this page and I will answer you directly and add it to this list.

The PiMag Waterfall water filter and replacement parts are available here.

Disclaimer: I am an independent distributor and I do not speak for Nikken. These are my answers to the questions based on my everyday use of the PiMag water systems. They are not “official” in any way.

Click on the question link to get to the answer farther down the page.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Nikken Shower Filter Questions

General Questions

Maintenance and Troubleshooting Answers

Where can I get a manual for my Nikken PiMag water system?

Aqua Pour gravity water system manual – click here
Aqua Pour Deluxe gravity water system (water cooler version) – click here
PiMag Waterfall – below the description on the
Nikken Waterfall page
PiMag Ultra Shower System – click here
PiMag MicroJet Shower – below description on the
Nikken MicroJet page

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Water from my Nikken Aqua Pour or Waterfall tastes funny or bad

If the water tastes bad and you have NOT changed the filters recently then it is probably beyond time to replace them.

If you have just replaced your filter cartridge or you are setting up your system for the first time then the cartridge needs to be rinsed out. During shipping the cartridge can get knocked around a lot and shake some of the filtration material loose. The easiest way to rinse out the cartridge is to fill the top tank and let it drain completely into the lower tank. Once complete, drain the water out through the spigot and pour it back into the top to drain through again. Two or three cycles through will take care of it in most cases though sometimes I have seen it take six to eight cycles for the taste to go away completely. The water is still safe to drink.

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How do I use the Aqua Pour micro sponge or ceramic dome pre-filters?

The Aqua Pour ships with two pre-filters, the micro sponge and the ceramic dome. You can only use one of them at a time, so you have to choose one or the other.

The micro sponge pre-filter: The micro sponge comes as a hard, dry disk. If you choose to use it you will need to soak it for about a half hour to let it expand out then place it in the well at the bottom of the top tank on your Aqua Pour. If you don’t let it soak up water first then it will be too small to stay in place and will float to the top. It takes about 45 minutes for the top tank to drain completely into the bottom tank when you use the sponge.

The ceramic dome pre-filter: To use the ceramic dome you will need to prepare it for use first. Take it out of the packaging, turn it upside down, and fill it with water through the little hole in the bottom. Then place it in a bowl of water and let it soak over night. After it has soaked, keeping it upside down and as much water inside as possible, screw on the spacer to the threads around the hole, then place the top tank upside-down over the spacer so that the dome is inside the tank and attach the nut that holds the ceramic dome and spacer in place to the bottom of the tank. Now turn this assembly right side up and set it on the Aqua Pour.

This process will soften the ceramic material and keep air out of the interior of the dome so that water flows through it easily. It should take about 5 hours for the top tank to drain completely when you use the ceramic pre-filter.

See the Nikken Waterfall and the replacement parts.

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How do I prepare and assemble by PiMag water filter?

The PiMag Waterfall is the current water filter from Nikken. It comes assembled in the box though you have to disassemble it to install the filter cartridge once it is prepared. The video below from Nikken shows how to do this.

If you have the older Aqua Pour then you want to prepare the filter cartridge as you would for the Waterfall. See the video above. The Aqua Pour has a choice of two pre-filters, a micro sponge or a ceramic dome. You only use one or the other. If you choose the sponge, put it in the water with the filter cartridge as in the video above. If you choose the ceramic dome then prepare it as described in the Pre-filter answer above here. Once everything is prepared, this video shows you how to assemble your Aqua Pour.

See the Nikken Waterfall and the replacement parts.

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When do I change the filters in my Nikken water filter?

The manuals have a recommended schedule for changing the replaceable filtration components and mineral stones.

PiMag Waterfall

Filter cartridge – change every 3 months
Mineral stones – change every 12 months
Click here for help preparing the filters for use.

Aqua Pour and Aqua Pour Deluxe

Filter cartridge – change every 6 months
Mineral stones – change every 12 months
Ceramic dome pre-filter (if used) – change every 24 months
Microsponge pre-filter (if used) – change at lease once every 5 years
For more information about the Aqua Pour pre-filters go here.
Click here for help preparing the filters for use.

Counter-top and under counter water systems

Filter cartridge(s) – change every 12 months
Click here for the manuals for further assistance.

See the Nikken Waterfall and the replacement parts.

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How do I clean my PiMag Aqua Pour or PiMag Waterfall?

The best time to clean your Aqua Pour or PiMag Waterfall is when you change the filter cartridge. Disassemble your water filter and dispose of the parts you are replacing. You can wash out the tanks with hot water and a very mild detergent then rinse them thoroughly. You can rinse the stones under running cold water if you aren’t replacing them yet. Use only cold water on the filter cartridge and any of the seals.

Once clean, reassemble your unit. Click here if you need help reassembling your unit.

See the Nikken Waterfall and the replacement parts.

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General Questions – Answers

How do I buy a PiMag Waterfall or replacement parts?

Go to my PiMag Waterfall page and either click on the Waterfall itself to order a new unit, or click on the picture of the replacement parts to order the filter cartridge and/or the mineral stones.

Nikken recommends that you replace the filter cartridge every 3 months and the mineral stones every 12 months.

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Are Nikken water filters BPA free?

Yes. The Aqua Pour and PiMag Waterfall systems as well as the current water bottle are all BPA free.

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What pH can I expect from my Nikken gravity water filter?

PiMag Waterfall – Nikken claims a pH range of 8.5 to 9.5 for the Waterfall. When the cartridge is new you should get water that is close to 9.5 pH and it will gradually come down to 8.5 pH over the 3 month life expectancy of the filter cartridge.

PiMag Aqua Pour – Nikken never made any specific pH claim for the Aqua Pour. I usually had around 7.5 pH from my Aqua Pour.

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What is a gravity water filter? How do I use one?

A gravity water filter is a water filter that is powered by gravity.

In the case of the PiMag Waterfall, it is a stand-alone water filter. You pour water into the top tank, usually called the “fill tank.” Over time, gravity pulls the water down through the filter cartridge into the bottom tank, the supply tank.

The supply tank on the Waterfall holds just under 1.5 gallons, so water is always available as long as you add more water when you take some.

If the filter cartridge is prepared properly the water flows through it pretty fast. I haven’t timed mine but I’ve never had to wait too long when someone forgets to put more water in after draining it.

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Do the Nikken Aqua Pour and PiMag Waterfall have the same size lid?

No. The Aqua Pour is round and the PiMag Waterfall is oval shaped.

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How long can PiMag water sit?

I heard all the other distributors debate about this back when I started out as a distributor.

The water should last as long as you need it to in the supply tank of the filter. If you decide to take it out of the filter and refrigerate it, then it should maintain its properties over night.

It really comes down to how much water you drink. If you drink the recommended amount of water every day then you should be draining and refilling your Waterfall at least ever other day if you are the only one using it. If you have a family of four and use the water for cooking too, then you probably drain and refill it a few times every day.

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What are the benefits of a Nikken water filtration system?

There are many benefits to a Nikken water filtration system.

Check out one of my blog posts about how to get great tasting water for a more in-depth answer. I’ll summarize some of the benefits here.

A PiMag water filter will remove many of the impurities in your drinking water, including most of the chemicals, like chlorine that cities put into it.

They make the water alkaline. The PiMag Waterfall adjusts water to somewhere between 8.5 and 9.5 pH.

The PiMag Waterfall is a stand-alone gravity water filter. That means it doesn’t use electricity or water pressure to filter your water. It isn’t in the way at your sink. And it holds water so you don’t have to go without when the power goes out.

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How does the PiMag Waterfall ionize water?

Yes, the PiMag Waterfall does ionize the water to a small degree. They made a big deal about it when it first came out but they don’t talk as much about it now. The ionization provides a minimal benefit and they hype was created by another water filtration system (an outrageously expensive one that requires electricity and a connection to your faucet).

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What is PiMag water? How do the Nikken water filters work?

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Which Nikken water filter should I use?

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What is alkaline water? Is alkaline water good for you?

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Is the water from the Nikken PiMag filters alkaline?

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Do the Nikken PiMag water filters remove fluoride?

Nikken doesn’t claim to remove fluoride because they can’t remove better than 95% of it. I’ve always been told that it removes between 60-65% of the fluoride.

Fluoride is notoriously hard to remove from water. I was researching other systems that claim to remove fluoride but found that a lot of them don’t do a whole lot better. It appears there is a big difference between “removed fluoride” and “eliminates fluoride.”

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What does the Nikken PiMag Optimizer do?

The PiMag Optimizer used a magnetic field to create a water vortex within the Optimizer pitcher.

The vortex added air and more minerals to the water to make it slightly more alkaline. My water never reached 8 pH, so the Waterfall does a much better job by itself.

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Nikken Shower Filter Answers

How often do you change the filters in the Nikken shower head?

Nikken carries replacement filter cartridges for both of their current shower filters – a hand-held unit and a wall-mounted unit as well as the previous wall-mounted unit.

Actually both the current and previous wall-mounted shower filters use the same filter cartridge.

PiMag MicroJet Hand-held Shower Filter – Nikken recommends that you change the filter cartridge every 3 months. The replacement cartridges come in 2-packs so you only need to order new ones every 6 months.

PiMag MicroJet Wall-Mounted and PiMag Ultra Shower System Filter – Nikken recommends that you change the filter cartridge every 6 months.

All of the PiMag replacement parts are available here.

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38 Responses to PiMag Water System FAQ

  1. Nina says:

    Since the water pitcher for the optimizer is plastic, doesn’t plastic migrate into the water??

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Nina. You use only cold water with the Optimizer, so that shouldn’t be much of a problem. Also, water is only in the Optimizer pitcher for 9 minutes, so you don’t have a lot of time for plastic to leach into the water. Heat and time are two of the biggest drivers for the plastic to leach into your water. Still, the Optimizer and Optimizer II are old systems so the pitcher isn’t going to be the better quality plastic that is used in new products like the Waterfall, so I understand your concern.

      I still use my Optimizer II with the original pitcher.

  2. Anya Spielberg says:

    What am I doing wrong if the water is not running through. Unless we open the lid a crack and pull the sponge up a bit, the water doesn’t move through the system. It just stays on top.

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Anya. Usually it is because there is air trapped in the system. I think you have the Aqua Pour since you say you can pull the sponge back. The easiest thing now with the filter cartridge already installed, is to pull the sponge back far enough to expose the hole underneath to let the trapped air out. You will want the top tank to have some water in it so that more air doesn’t get in there. You may have to do it once a week for a few weeks until all of the air works its way out of the cartridge.

      The better solution going forward, for both the Aqua Pour and the Waterfall, is to soak the cartridge in water overnight before you install it. For the Waterfall you have to take the top off the cartridge and remove the sponges inside. Put the cartridge in a pitcher and fill it with water up to the top of the filtration media in the cartridge. That allows the water to seep in through the bottom and the air to escape out the top. It’s worth taking the extra time to do this. I don’t think I’ve had any problems with my filter cartridge as long as I soaked it first.


  3. Breanne says:

    Would the Waterfall system put sufficient minerals back into distilled water? And what is the official time it takes for the full cycle of water to gravitate through the system?

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Breanne,

      The real issue with water purified with either reverse osmosis or distillation is that the purification process removes everything, then the pure water starts to absorb carbon dioxide from the air as soon as it comes into contact with it. That makes the water acidic. The Waterfall will clean the water, then the clean water sits in a tank where the mineral stones offer up minerals for the water to absorb so that it doesn’t absorb carbon dioxide when it comes out of the spigot. The mineral content makes the water slightly alkaline instead. Alkaline is better than acidic and trace minerals are better than carbon dioxide. We breathe out carbon dioxide, not breathe it in.

      It takes about 45 minutes for a full tank on the top to filter completely through to the bottom if the filter cartridge is properly prepared.

  4. Jaime Brinkley says:

    I have an aqua pour express that I bought over a decade ago. I stopped using it a few years ago for some reason that I don’t recall. But I want to start using it again. I don’t have the finances to buy the new waterfall system currently, but I do want to purchase a new filter and sponge for the one I have. I’m assuming from your article that the filtration of the aqua pour express would be comparable to the aqua pour you had and thus not be the best at removing contaminants. Am I correct? I live in San Diego now and the water is pretty hard and full of contaminants. I have a regular water filter for my drinking water now. But do you think it would not be worth my while to get another filter for the aqua pour express I have? Thank you for your help!

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Jaime. While I feel the newer Waterfall is better, I still think the Aqua Pour is a great water filter. And yes, the Aqua Pour Express is comparable to the Aqua Pour, just a little smaller. The Express filter cartridge is still available.

  5. Nina Groth says:

    I recently bought a nikken water optimizer system. The container that holds the water is plastic and I’m worried about the plastic migrating into the water. Is this a problem? Also, I have run four containers of water through the optimizing process but there is still a strange flavor in the water. Do you think it’s just a matter of running it a few more times? One more question is that I do drink a lot of water so I make up they optimized water ahead of time so I have it ready to drink. I let it sit On my counter overnight. Will it still be beneficial in the morning?
    Thank you so much for your help! Nina

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Nina. The Optimizer has been discontinued for several years, so it is reasonable to assume that your unit has been used before. Fortunately, the replacement ring is still available. So, the first thing I would do is make sure that everything is clean and you have a fresh, unused ring in the bottom of the pitcher. From there, yes it can take running it several times to get the loose stuff out of the ring, which is what causes the off taste. It should at least be getting better after a few runs. Either way, the loose mineral material is not harmful, so I would go ahead and drink it.

      Finally, I think after sitting overnight the water will lose most of the additional benefits by morning.

  6. Lucinda says:

    How do you prevent calcium buildup on the spigot from the water that I have which has a lot of calcium?

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Lucinda. Other than installing a water softener I don’t know what you can do. What do you do with your other appliances that take water?

  7. betco says:

    When I plug our pimag optimizer II appears 984 on the screen. What will I do?

    • Wayne says:

      My best guess, considering how old the PiMag Optimizer is, is that the elements in the display are beginning to fail. If it still runs and spins the water then you can continue to use it.

  8. Matthew Evan Herreman says:

    My pimag waterfall is somehow leaking water from the bottom. I would estimate it to leak about 250ml per 8 hours. Has anyone experienced this before? My unit is brand new.

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Matthew. In my experience, there are 3 possible reasons for the PiMag Waterfall to leak.
      1) The most obvious reason is if there is a crack somewhere, in which case the tank needs to be replaced.
      2) The most likely reason is when you overfill it. There isn’t a seal between the top tank and the bottom one. So if you put more water into the top tank than will fit into the bottom, then it will leak out between the top of the bottom tank and the plate that sits on top of it.
      3) Sometimes the spigot is loose when you unpack it from the box. The spigot on the outside is the “screw” threaded into the magnet “nut” on the inside of the tank. To check and tighten it, take off the top tank and the plate so that you can reach into the bottom tank. Hold the spigot on the outside and turn the magnet on inside at the bottom of the tank until it is tight. I have only heard of this happening once before, mine, when it was brand new.

  9. Emmett Quigley says:

    Have an older PiMag system with either the “snow cone” ceramic filter or the sponge. We tried to use the “snow cone” but after a few weeks it stopped flowing. We figured it was because of the hard water here at our new house. In any case we switched over to the sponge version and after a few weeks it turned hard as rock on the top and edge and would not flow water. Is there a trick to using either one of the pre filters in a hard water environment?

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Emmett. It sounds like you have the Aqua Pour. It’s a great system and still supported by Nikken. First, I recommend using the sponge because the ceramic dome can be difficult to use under ideal circumstances. Both pre-filters can trap air under them that restricts how easily water flows through them. That doesn’t appear to be your problem though.

      I think I would try rinsing the sponge off under your faucet once every week or two and see if that helps. Wiping the sponge with your thumbs while under cold water is usually enough to clean it up.

      Beyond that, I would consider a water softener installed where the water comes into your house. If the Aqua Pour is having trouble with your water after a few weeks, then the water is probably going to have an effect on your pipes and other appliances too over time.

  10. Alan Maddocks says:

    How do I decide which filter to use Sponge or Ceramic?

    • Wayne says:

      The easy answer is to just use the sponge. The ceramic dome is too much of a hassle unless you really need a stronger pre-filter. The current system, the PiMag Waterfall, doesn’t have a ceramic option.

  11. Wendy Hayes says:

    Should I put my Pima waterfall system in the fridge to keep the water cold?

  12. Nancy says:

    Hello! I have the old Nikken aqua pour. It had been in storage, so I purchased new filter, rocks etc. I’ve assembled it according to the directions and everything was great, except the tap is not working. If I take it apart from the front and remove the spigot and take out the silicon piece the water pours out, but when I put it back on, it does not. The spigot flange is very loose. Any thoughts? Thank you

    • Wayne says:

      When you move the flange back or forth it should open the valve to let the water through. If I understand you correctly, it sounds like something in there broke, which would make the flange very loose. The valve isn’t providing any resistance. You should be able to call Nikken and get a replacement spigot assembly.

  13. Mark Smith says:

    We have the Pimag Waterfall. It seems the faucet is not flowing, about half. Should I run some vinegar thru it next cleaning?

    • Wayne says:

      The Waterfall and the Aqua Pour are both gravity systems. I’m guessing from your other comment that maybe you have the older Aqua Pour. Either way, they work pretty much the same. If water is restricted through the spigot and you’ve checked the obvious things, like the water level in the tank is above the top of the spigot opening, then I would remove the spigot and the magnet, visually inspect them, and clean them out with a pipe cleaner. That would be easier to see if the problem was something other than mineral buildup over time, so something like that.

  14. Troy Manning says:

    We bought a new filter and mineral rock and assembled the new ones the way the video showed but the red light is still blinking. Why? Does it get reset somehow?

    • Wayne says:

      Hi Troy. To reset the LED you need to press and hold the button below the LED for about 10 seconds. The LED will flash, then stay on, and finally go out. Then you can let go of the button.

  15. Margaret Enright says:

    I need a step by step instructions on how to assemble the pimag water system

  16. Zee says:

    Has anyone notIced that there is a calcium build up even when I use the water in my kettle? Is that normal for sit not remove calcium?

    • The Nikken water filters don’t remove all of the mineral content in your water. Actually, the mineral rocks add minerals to the water after filtering. Boiling water in a kettle could build up a mineral scale over time if it isn’t cleaned regularly.

  17. P. Wilcox says:

    I received my Pi mag waterfall last Thursday evening. I set it up and followed the manual directions on Friday. My filter had water leaking around the purple rubber seal down to the second level. I tried to re secure the band. And then also we again watered the filters and squeezed potential air from the four small and one large white filter. after several attempts, finally the top of the filter stayed in place and it appears to not leak period but now it takes 20 minutes or so for water to fall to the second unit- that is with only 5 or 6 cups of water poured from Top. Of course the company was closed over the weekend. And I am still not sure what to do

    • Hi P. I will definitely help you get your Waterfall straightened out.
      If water is leaking around the filter cartridge then it is either 1 of 2 things.
      1) The purple seal has become dislodged – which you took care of.
      2) The filter cartridge isn’t pressed all the way into place. It goes in very snuggly. When I insert a new filter I hold the top tank underneath to support it so that I don’t feel like I’m going to break the plastic.
      Now for water flow. There are a few things that can affect it, and usually that involves air bubbles getting stuck somewhere.
      1) Soak the filter cartridge overnight. Put it upright in a bucket and fill the bucket to just below the purple seal. That will allow all of the air to escape out the top of the filter cartridge. Then drop the white pieces in the water beside the cartridge. I usually squeeze them under the water to get the air out so that they sink.
      2) When I install the filter cartridge I leave the white pieces loose in the top tank until I know water is flowing easily through the cartridge.
      3) When I am satisfied with that, I install the white pieces and put the cap on the filter cartridge. I do this with the top tank about 1/4 full of water so that I don’t trap any air between layers.
      That should take care of everything.

  18. Eileen says:

    It says to replace the filters about 250 fillings or 3 mos. How often do the mineral rocks have to be changed. That would be really expensive to change both out every 3 mos

    • Hi Eileen. Nikken recommends that you change the rocks every 12 months.
      Nikken has an autoship where you can have a new filter cartridge sent to you automatically every 3 months, or 2 of them every 6 months. That would save you 10% on your filter cartridges. The last time I checked the math, you save the most by ordering everything you need for the year all at one time. You pay the regular price for the parts but you end up spending a lot less on shipping, especially in Canada where the shipping charges are even higher than for the US.

  19. Rachel says:

    What is the best way to dispose of a used filter cartrisge? Can the contents be composted?

    • Ben says:

      Hi Rachel. You should be able to compost all of the contents of the filter cartridge except maybe for the little white marbles. The filtration media is mostly carbon and the rest of it is also mineral. The marbles are ceramic and won’t harm the soil but I don’t think they will decompose very quickly.

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