Does anyone test the salt mix before it goes into the tank? Numbers are WAY off!

kurfer

New member
Iv'e been fighting low mag levels on my reef, I end up dosing so much mag because I am constantly at 1050-1100 after water changes (weekly 15%) on my 150G.

I decided to test my red sea coral pro (35ppm/1.026) heated to 78 degrees in my mixing container.

Mag: 1050
Alk: 6.9
Calc: 360

I thought maybe I had a bad batch when I tested this but my latest order from BRS came in and I ordered two additional buckets. I made a quick batch out of each and the numbers are practically the same out of each additional bucket!

Is this normal? I would think anyone that doesn't dose that relies on the salt params via water changes are starving corals.

I can only wonder if the other levels are low, how low are trace elements? Testing iodine tonight since I just got the red sea kit.

In a hobby where every little detail matters, it's hard to understand how they advertise such high alk/calc/mag when the actual numbers are low. Iv'e also calibrated my Sybon refracto with the 0 solution it came with as well as the 35ppm solution from them; also had my LFS test my water to verify my mix is in fact 35ppm!

:hmm5:
 

woodnaquanut

Premium Member
Those numbers seem way off for RSCP.

How old are your tests? Do you get lots of precipitation in the mix container?

Do you mix up the bucket before using it? Salts can settle. PIA, that's just one reason I use ESV. I'm not sure that settling would be enough to cause those numbers.

Have you contacted RS?
 

r1racer

New member
I usually check a new batch and they've always been close to what's advertised (red sea pro) except the alk which is sometimes a bit lower.

Definitely need to make sure the salinity is correct and that you were not over mixing. Directions say for 20 minutes max or stuff begins to precipitate out.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
You put stuff in your reef you don't test?

I use a test strip, its accurate enough for the purpose and takes a minute :)
 

kurfer

New member
You put stuff in your reef you don't test?

I use a test strip, its accurate enough for the purpose and takes a minute :)

Iv'e always been fine with the fact that it's 35ppm. I am wondering if my Sybon refracto is off? I've purchased the 35ppm test solution and it's dead on but I also read that the Sybon calibration is not for seawater and it's off? Wonder if my salt is actually lower than I think it is?

I am guilty of mixing for more than 20 minutes, I also scoop the salt out of the bucket bag and don't mix the salt. That could be my problem! I am sure it's user error because this salt has such great reviews. I'm just trying to figure out what's actually wrong at this point!
 

kurfer

New member
Well i'm at a loss. Went to an LFS today and purchased a new smaller tub of red sea coral pro. Dry mixed it, took half out into another empty tub, rolled it mixed up put it all back in mixed some more.

I pulled out 5 gallons of RODI, mixed for 15 minutes let clear up and tested salinity.

35ppt

Tested Alk: 10
Test Calc: 400
Test Mag: 1080 ***!?!

I'm at a loss of words, what could I be doing wrong here?
 

JPMagyar

New member
Over the years I have used many different salt mixes and tested most if not all prior to doing a water change. In my experience what you are finding is not unreasonable. The salt mix that was most consistent and closest to NSW on the Great Barrier Reef was ESV. I tested Red Sea several times and had considerable variation and one batch even tested positive for phosphate. (DD salt also tested positive for phosphate once.) I will not use Red Sea salt mix. Surprisingly enough good 'ole Instant Ocean is consistent in my experience. The numbers are goofy because when you mix for 35ppt salinity you get high alk and low Ca and low Mg kinda like Red Sea but then I just add some Ca and Mg after the water change and I'm good to go.

Bottom Line: My personal experience is that your numbers are "in the ball park" for Red Sea salt mix.
 

Vapour1ze

I'm an Addict.
Test kits bad?

Re - test?

Have a LFS test.
Compare results.

Truth be told, I don't test it. I make water, get it to temp, put salt in, mix for 2 hours, in the tank.

Never had an issue.

Reef Crystals and RSCP for me.
 

cma

New member
My LFS is very lazy and won't replace the ro/di filters. tested the nitrates and they where at 30 that's higher than my tap water.
 

kurfer

New member
Over the years I have used many different salt mixes and tested most if not all prior to doing a water change. In my experience what you are finding is not unreasonable. The salt mix that was most consistent and closest to NSW on the Great Barrier Reef was ESV. I tested Red Sea several times and had considerable variation and one batch even tested positive for phosphate. (DD salt also tested positive for phosphate once.) I will not use Red Sea salt mix. Surprisingly enough good 'ole Instant Ocean is consistent in my experience. The numbers are goofy because when you mix for 35ppt salinity you get high alk and low Ca and low Mg kinda like Red Sea but then I just add some Ca and Mg after the water change and I'm good to go.

Bottom Line: My personal experience is that your numbers are "in the ball park" for Red Sea salt mix.

According to BRS calcs I have to dose 1000ml of mag mix to bring my numbers back up. I am going to go broke on mag mix! :(

Never thought this would be such an issue!
 

cloak

New member
I've never tested my newly mixed salt water. At 10-20% each week, it's not really going to sway anything one way or the other. Dosing is what keeps things in line regardless. (if you need to at all)
 
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JPMagyar

New member
According to BRS calcs I have to dose 1000ml of mag mix to bring my numbers back up. I am going to go broke on mag mix! :(

Never thought this would be such an issue!

1 L of Mg mix in a 150 is not terribly surprising as an adjustment when you are low. Now if you get back to 1250 or so on Mg and it drops back below 1100 in a week then I'd start to get suspicious and begin asking questions. If you are changing 20 gallons and the Mg is at 1050 in the new water then you should only be adding 250 to the water change water and the rest is what your tank is using up. Personally that's why I ultimately bit the bullet on a calcium reactor. Before I switched to a reactor I was dosing HUGE volumes of 2 part and magnesium. The reactor was a true PITA to setup, but now that it's "dialed in" I barely add anything and NEVER add magnesium even though I frequently use IO which is low in Mg. In fact I tend to have the opposite problem, too much Mg.
 

Mishri

Active member
Over the years I have used many different salt mixes and tested most if not all prior to doing a water change. In my experience what you are finding is not unreasonable. The salt mix that was most consistent and closest to NSW on the Great Barrier Reef was ESV. I tested Red Sea several times and had considerable variation and one batch even tested positive for phosphate. (DD salt also tested positive for phosphate once.) I will not use Red Sea salt mix. Surprisingly enough good 'ole Instant Ocean is consistent in my experience. The numbers are goofy because when you mix for 35ppt salinity you get high alk and low Ca and low Mg kinda like Red Sea but then I just add some Ca and Mg after the water change and I'm good to go.

Bottom Line: My personal experience is that your numbers are "in the ball park" for Red Sea salt mix.

Did you ever test oceanic? That was the one everyone used to swear by 12 years ago, and I'm still using it today...
 

kurfer

New member
1 L of Mg mix in a 150 is not terribly surprising as an adjustment when you are low. Now if you get back to 1250 or so on Mg and it drops back below 1100 in a week then I'd start to get suspicious and begin asking questions. If you are changing 20 gallons and the Mg is at 1050 in the new water then you should only be adding 250 to the water change water and the rest is what your tank is using up. Personally that's why I ultimately bit the bullet on a calcium reactor. Before I switched to a reactor I was dosing HUGE volumes of 2 part and magnesium. The reactor was a true PITA to setup, but now that it's "dialed in" I barely add anything and NEVER add magnesium even though I frequently use IO which is low in Mg. In fact I tend to have the opposite problem, too much Mg.

So a calcium reactor helps keep mag levels up too?

I am currently dosing 2 part with the Apex DOS.
 

kurfer

New member
So I did some reading on Calc reactors.

I may change my neptune dos into a daily water change system and install a decent calc reactor and add a mag supplement to it. Seems the best case scenario!
 

CoralBeauty13

New member
I test right before water changes, levels, temps, and top my ater off before doing anything, but I'm having that problem right now, and seem to have been for the last two months. I've even invested in an expensive refractometer and new test kits, which are not cheap, still can never get a right answer. Tank has been looking like crap for a while now. I'm not sure, could be a reason that $70 bucket continues to go on sale for $55. Mixed up a batch yesterday and can not get all the salt to dissolve. I have been using this brand for two years, and the last two buckets have been bad. I've checked online,but minimal issues other than a few years ago. Not sure, but it doesn't feel right.
 

JPMagyar

New member
Did you ever test oceanic? That was the one everyone used to swear by 12 years ago, and I'm still using it today...


I did test Oceanic but it was years ago and I don't remember what the readings were. I wrote it down in my journal so I'll look it up today when I clean my skimmer, but I think I recall Oceanic was very high in Mg like 1500 or something. Maybe I'm confusing it with something else.


So I did some reading on Calc reactors.

I may change my neptune dos into a daily water change system and install a decent calc reactor and add a mag supplement to it. Seems the best case scenario!

Be sure to read this article if you go the reactor route. I went for years just guessing at how to run the reactor and having to dose all the time in addition to running the reactor. Once I took the time to get my effluent to the right alkalinity and flow rate my life became much easier in regards to keeping a constant alk and Ca. Also, I'm pretty sure the reactor media has all the elements including Mg so in theory you shouldn't have to dose anything. I don't, and my corals are looking unbelievably spectacular these days. That's not totally true because I've been carbon dosing with NO3PO4X for about 2 months and I do dose amino acids once a week and like I said above I have my reactor set so it doesn't quite meet all the alk needs so that way I dose about 500 mls of ESV B-Ionic once a week. I like to do that because ESV as all kinds of trace elements mixed in, the list on the label is quite impressive. My old mentor Chris Jessen once called ESV B-Ionic "Crack Cocaine" for corals, and I couldn't agree more.




Calcium Reactor Setup Help






IMG_1891_zpsh5bdcza0.jpg


IMG_1888_zpshlwruyrg.jpg
 
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ReefKeep66

New member
I'm doing a 15% wc on my 75g reef today. I mixed the water last night. I usually always never let it mix more than 4 hours, but my tank runs at ca 450ppm, alk 9.8dkh, and a mg around 1300. I decided to let the mix go overnight to hopefully drop the alk a bit so it won't be a huge jump in difference. I let the water slowly heat up overnight and so far it doesn't appear any precipitation has occurred.
 

kurfer

New member
I did test Oceanic but it was years ago and I don't remember what the readings were. I wrote it down in my journal so I'll look it up today when I clean my skimmer, but I think I recall Oceanic was very high in Mg like 1500 or something. Maybe I'm confusing it with something else.




Be sure to read this article if you go the reactor route. I went for years just guessing at how to run the reactor and having to dose all the time in addition to running the reactor. Once I took the time to get my effluent to the right alkalinity and flow rate my life became much easier in regards to keeping a constant alk and Ca. Also, I'm pretty sure the reactor media has all the elements including Mg so in theory you shouldn't have to dose anything. I don't, and my corals are looking unbelievably spectacular these days. That's not totally true because I've been carbon dosing with NO3PO4X for about 2 months and I do dose amino acids once a week and like I said above I have my reactor set so it doesn't quite meet all the alk needs so that way I dose about 500 mls of ESV B-Ionic once a week. I like to do that because ESV as all kinds of trace elements mixed in, the list on the label is quite impressive. My old mentor Chris Jessen once called ESV B-Ionic "Crack Cocaine" for corals, and I couldn't agree more.





Great info! Thanks so much! You mentioned you use the B-Ionic product...I know they make a 2 part (2 jugs/part 1+2) and a single bottle product called the calcium buffer.

Is this what you use?

E.S.V. B-Ionic 2-Part Calcium Buffer
http://www.marinedepot.com/E.S.V._B...ives_Supplements-E.S.V.-EV1111-FIADTP-vi.html

I assume this doesn't offset calc/alk? Wouldn't it be better to just dose trace elements? (not questioning you, just asking for learning purposes)

Since I will have my Neptune DOS freed up if I move to a reactor I may switch my bio-pellets to dosing vodka or NO3PO4X...I assume you prefer the NO3PO4X over vodka?

Thanks again for all your info!
 
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