Another salt thread!

Soryu

New member
First I want to start by apologizing for starting another thread regarding salt mixes but I'm trying to get a handle on my reef chemistry and I'm having issues with my current salt mix and I'm curious if anyone else has experienced anything similar. My experience in the hobby before starting this tank 10-14-17 was 25+ years ago with a fish only tank when I was a teenager that abruptly ended when I ripped a silicon seal in the middle of the night on my tank. I had this tank for about 1 year and had relative success for the time and experience I had.

Currently I'm using Aquavitro Salinity and I don't think I couldn't be less happy with this product. The product has been the least consistent and most unreliably sea salt I've had the displeasure of using. If I mix it according to the packaging my salinity is always 1.03sg with a Alk of 9.0 Dkh and a calcium that will read in the 430+ range. It mixes cloudy and generally speaking it's okay but to use it in my tank I have to reduce it to 1.026sg which changes these ranges. Letting the solution mix for more than 36 hours and the alkalinity and calcium numbers drop to 6.5.Dkh and 380-400PPM respectively but then the salinity is now correct at 1.026 (I'm assuming precipitation is the case since the bucket is covered in a dust when emptied and all of my mixing equipment is calcified.) All mixing is done at 78F with a 1000GPM pump in my mixing container which is either a 32G brute or a 10G brute depending on the volume of salt I need and volume seems to have no effect in my testing.

If I try to use this salt before 24hours of mixing (usually 6-8 hours) and make all of my parameters correct with diluting the mixture and dosing calc and alk I see a very rapid drop over the next 48 hours in Alk and Calc. My tank goes from 9.4 Alk to 7.6 and my Calcium usually goes from 430+ to around 400 over the course of 48 hours. If I dose the tank properly and maintain those parameters at my desired values of 9 dkh and 430PPM Ca (testing every 24 hours and dosing to try and prevent quick dips in values) my tank begins to stabilize after the 48hour mark. After the 48 hour mark my Alk and Ca consumption stabilizes and drops in half to about .5Dkh and 4-6ppm Ca per day to which I am now dosing BRS 2 part at a rate of about 30-40ML/day when stable. The question is does anyone see these issues with other salts and this salt too? I'm currently in the process of switching to RSCP but the high alk values might convince me to take a different route and just go with reef crystals and dose anything that's missing.

Before you ask,
Temp 78.0 (Infrared and mercury thermometer measurement)
SG 1.026 (calibrated each use with 1.025sg solution every use)
Alk 9.2 (9.0 is the target and since 2-3 daily testing my average is 9.0 but I'm dosing to 9.2 and I'm using both Hannah and Red Sea test kits and correlating data)
Ca 430 (Red sea testing, I have a Hannah checker too but due to the sensitivity of the equipment and the sample used something as simple as rinsing the ampule in tap water causes wildly inaccurate measurements and the Red Sea kit is just easier and faster to use)
MG 1380 (Red Sea test kit)
NH3 16PPB (That's Parts per billion or .16PPM according to Seneye but they've admitted that their sensor needs recalibration but want me to pay for it under warranty)
N02 Undetectable (API)
N03 Undetectable (API)
P04 Undetectable (Hannah)

I've been performing these tests every day since 2-1-19 so I can create a trend of consumption and dial in my testing methods.

This is my setup and livestock. I'm currently using a 65 gallon tank with a Trigger Ruby 36 sump, Kessil H80 in the fuge for Caulerpa in the fuge, Bubble Magus Curve 5 protein skimmer, Eflux DC-Flow pump 6009 (1050 GPH), two Eflux 6006 Wave pumps (2100GPH@30%), With a Kessil AP700 lighting system, and a Carbon and GFO reactor from BRS. I have estimated my total system volume to be approximately 77G US through volume calculations and displacement methods for the rocks. Livestock is a 60+ head Rasta Zoa, 3 head Utter Chaos Zoa, 5 head Pink Constellation Zoa, 1 head Australian torch, 5 head hammer coral, 1 large and 1 small RBTA, 4 clowns, 1 Lemon Coris Wrasse, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Firefin Goby, and 1 Bangai Cardinal.
 

Zalick

My reef tanks my wallet
I use Instant Ocean and dose when necessary. Couldn't be happier. The money I save from the salt, more than makes up for the money I spend on dosing.
 

jgraz

New member
once I started dosing I switch to Regular old IO and couldn't be happier. I add what I need. I find that RC and IO are made in such huge batches that variances from box to box are very low if at all.
 

lapin

New member
I use a mix of Red Sea Coral Pro (black bucket) and Red Sea Regular (blue bucket). I mix 50 /50 and get a steady 9 dkh. I do have a calcium reactor, so no dosing needed.
In my old tank I used IO and Reef Crystals but did not like the fact that there was always stuff floating on top after mixing. With this tank I switched.
 

Soryu

New member
once I started dosing I switch to Regular old IO and couldn't be happier. I add what I need. I find that RC and IO are made in such huge batches that variances from box to box are very low if at all.

So my biggest issue with Salinity is that it seems to be precipitating out my Alk and Ca even after I add it to the tank since I am seeing a huge swing in parameters in the two days after I do a water change. Have you noticed any issues with instant ocean and precipitation or dramatic parameter changes in Ca and Alk if it sits for more than 24 hours? Also, are you dosing anything more than Alk, Ca, and Mg?
 

Soryu

New member
Not Happy- then look for a salt that will mix to the parameters you want & change brands.

I plan to and I'm currently testing RSCP and IO, both opposite ends of the spectrum from my target parameters. I'm hoping to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience other members have in regards to what kind of testing they have done and what influenced their final decision.
 

Zalick

My reef tanks my wallet
So my biggest issue with Salinity is that it seems to be precipitating out my Alk and Ca even after I add it to the tank since I am seeing a huge swing in parameters in the two days after I do a water change. Have you noticed any issues with instant ocean and precipitation or dramatic parameter changes in Ca and Alk if it sits for more than 24 hours? Also, are you dosing anything more than Alk, Ca, and Mg?

I used Kent Marine in the past. Switched to IO and couldn't be happier. Every batch mixes well and the same. Almost no residue in my 100g SW mixing container. Nothing precipitates out. Parameters are always the same. I dose CA and Alk when needed.
 

jgraz

New member
So my biggest issue with Salinity is that it seems to be precipitating out my Alk and Ca even after I add it to the tank since I am seeing a huge swing in parameters in the two days after I do a water change. Have you noticed any issues with instant ocean and precipitation or dramatic parameter changes in Ca and Alk if it sits for more than 24 hours? Also, are you dosing anything more than Alk, Ca, and Mg?

I've used Salinity in the past and found it difficult to mix properly. I'm more of a dump and run guy. IO allows me to do just that. In never concerned about temp and only used a small pump for mixing. I would add about 1/4 of what I needed waited a couple of min and added another 1/4 and so on. Easy as it gets. I only dosed calcium, alk, and mag. And never noticed any crazy swings.
For me it's also the cheapest option as I get 200g boxes at $35 and often cheaper at a LFS. I've used RSCP and liked that as well, it's also a good dump and run but a bit more expensive.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
 

dkeller_nc

New member
Just my experience, so keep in mind things could've changed over time as the salt mix market has gotten more competitive.

In the past (starting in 1990), I almost always used Instant Ocean, and on occasion Reef Crystals. It was certainly consistent. However, over time, after gaining a good bit of experience in the reef hobby, and with the much more widespread availability of accurate test kits (thank you, Salifert), I came to realize that it was consistent in an undesirable way. Specifically, the alkalinity of both Instant Ocean and Reef Crystals was always well above what I wanted it to be (about 10 dKH with IO, 12 dKH with RC).

I also did not like the fact that it'd take 5 to 6 hours of mixing to get the new salt water to clear up, and I'd get a fair amount of sulfates precipitation (brown residue).

So I switched to H.W. Weigandt's MarineMix Reefer salt mix. It's equally consistent as what I experienced with IO/RC, except that the alkalinity is consistently 9 dKH, there is virtually no insoluble residue, and the solution clears in about 30 minutes when mixed to the correct salinity.

The downside is that it is considerably more expensive than IO/RC. The undesirably high alkalinity of IO/RC is fairly easy to adjust with hydrochloric acid, bit it's a bit of a pain to wait on the solution to clear, add the HCl, then test the alk to make sure it's right. The trade-off in expense vs. inconvenience was worth it to me, but I also don't have really large tanks, so the $$ calculation might be different for someone else.
 

Zalick

My reef tanks my wallet
Just my experience, so keep in mind things could've changed over time as the salt mix market has gotten more competitive.

In the past (starting in 1990), I almost always used Instant Ocean, and on occasion Reef Crystals. It was certainly consistent. However, over time, after gaining a good bit of experience in the reef hobby, and with the much more widespread availability of accurate test kits (thank you, Salifert), I came to realize that it was consistent in an undesirable way. Specifically, the alkalinity of both Instant Ocean and Reef Crystals was always well above what I wanted it to be (about 10 dKH with IO, 12 dKH with RC).

I also did not like the fact that it'd take 5 to 6 hours of mixing to get the new salt water to clear up, and I'd get a fair amount of sulfates precipitation (brown residue).

So I switched to H.W. Weigandt's MarineMix Reefer salt mix. It's equally consistent as what I experienced with IO/RC, except that the alkalinity is consistently 9 dKH, there is virtually no insoluble residue, and the solution clears in about 30 minutes when mixed to the correct salinity.

The downside is that it is considerably more expensive than IO/RC. The undesirably high alkalinity of IO/RC is fairly easy to adjust with hydrochloric acid, bit it's a bit of a pain to wait on the solution to clear, add the HCl, then test the alk to make sure it's right. The trade-off in expense vs. inconvenience was worth it to me, but I also don't have really large tanks, so the $$ calculation might be different for someone else.


I've been mixing about 100g/mo of IO the last two years. Prior to that I used Kent Reef Salt. With the IO I have not had any brown residue. The Kent, however, left tons.
 

BlueRoofTang

New member
I use Fritz and it has no residue. It also doesn't seem to clump up if you don't use the whole bag. Seems with IO, I had to chip away big chunks once a bag was opened.


The Fritz also mixes up with lower alkalinity, so I can then dose to keep the tank exactly where I want it.
 

dkeller_nc

New member
If moisture gets into the mix they all clump up.
Happens with a lot of other things we use as well, like mag supplement.

Yeah, in fact if they didn't, then there'd be something seriously wrong with the salt mix, since the sodium carbonate/bicarbonate and the calcium chloride that should be in the mix will react to form calcium carbonate (for our purposes, essentially the same thing as concrete) in the presence of moisture.
 

Soryu

New member
As an update to this topic and after testing several batches of IO and RSCP I haven't had the same issues I had with salinity. While I was able to minimize the amount of fluctuation I get with salinity with by mixing the salt bucket before using it. This allowed me to get some short term stability with this mix but sitting for more than 1 week produced the same results as before. Both RSCP and IO do not according to my testing have this same issue. I was able to get a 10 gallon mix of RSCP to produce 9ALK/430CAL mixed at 1.024SG after sitting for a month mixing and heated. Similarly with instant ocean 1 month later after mixing I had 9.5ALK/420CAL at 1.026SG.

I prefer expensive things regardless of whether or not it makes sense so I switched over to RSCP and things are working well for me.

Thank you again for all of your helpful input.
 
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