Jestersix

Making my own salt water?

Srt4eric

BOD
Staff member
So for the past 6 months I have been buying my water from Neptune's. That really hasn't been an issue since I've only had my Biocube 16 and Neptune's is right down the street from me. Now that i have my larger tank up and running I'm not really liking the thought of lugging around 20 gallon in my car every week. I have an RO/DI setup so thats not an issue. Looking online at salts is kind of overwhelming. My question is what salts does everyone use and why do you use that brand. Any tips would be greatly appreciated also seeing I've never mixed my own salt water before.
 

Meshmez

Supporting Member
I have used instant ocean and reef crystals for years, because it's cheap and it seems to work alright. It (RC especially) can have pretty high alk, and it's pretty dirty/ leaves a residue in the mixing bin.

Just switched to Tropic Marin Pro because it gets lots of good reviews. Haven't started using it in the tank yet, but I'll say this, it mixes SUPER fast and clear.
 

Wlachnit

BOD
Staff member
Ask 10 different reefers, you will get 10 different answers. I currently use Fritz RPM mostly because it mixes up really quickly and IME left much less residue and crud in my mixing container than the previous salts I used which included Kent´s, Coralife, Reef Crytals, and a couple others that I dońt recall.
 

JVU

BOD
Staff member
None of them are horrible, and none are obviously superior in every way.

They mostly fall into 2 categories, ones with high Alk/Ca/Mg because you’ll do water changes instead of dosing, and those that have more normal levels of those elements, and then you dose to keep levels. So you need to decide which category you are.

If you are going to dose, then you want to approximately match your Alk as was said already.

Beyond that, there are some differences in dissolving speed, left over insoluble material, etc, that are much less important overall but generally justify the cost difference of the higher-end salts for some people.
 

Srt4eric

BOD
Staff member
I think I'm going to stick with the water change method. I'm kind of intimidated with dosing. And the trident and stuff is a bit out of my price range for now.
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
So for the past 6 months I have been buying my water from Neptune's. That really hasn't been an issue since I've only had my Biocube 16 and Neptune's is right down the street from me. Now that i have my larger tank up and running I'm not really liking the thought of lugging around 20 gallon in my car every week. I have an RO/DI setup so thats not an issue. Looking online at salts is kind of overwhelming. My question is what salts does everyone use and why do you use that brand. Any tips would be greatly appreciated also seeing I've never mixed my own salt water before.
To me TMP is the way to go.
Tried fritz, redsea both blue and othe bucket and before that tried couppe other brands.
TMP was the cleanest to mix and always yeild same parameters. Almost all others every now akd then will yield diffrent parameters and when u ask you will be told to mix and shake the bag before using it..etc
 

jccaclimber

Supporting Member
Hah. I use to buy the 300G prepaid card and schlep water home regularly. 30- 40G at a time. Did it for a long time, too...

I use IO reef myself. Optimizing for cheap...
I knew a guy who worked at a LFS where one of the perks was free salt water so log as you carried it out yourself. Every 6 months or so he would do a really large water change on his 210. He would drive his truck to work and basically fill the bed with those 5 gallon jugs each time.
 

Meshmez

Supporting Member
I knew a guy who worked at a LFS where one of the perks was free salt water so log as you carried it out yourself. Every 6 months or so he would do a really large water change on his 210. He would drive his truck to work and basically fill the bed with those 5 gallon jugs each time.
To be 100% honest this seems horrible! That sounds like such a hassle, and a back breaker.
 

jccaclimber

Supporting Member
To be 100% honest this seems horrible! That sounds like such a hassle, and a back breaker.
Back in his college days he played football for an SEC team, he could handle it. The alternative wasn't great either. He was in a small 1 bedroom apartment with his wife, and I still knew him after he left that job. The alternative was storing brute trash cans somewhere, pulling them into the kitchen, spending 2 days filling the trash cans, buying salt, and still having to move it all (pumps, etc.).

With the jugs he could put them on a cart, back to the truck, another cart to get them inside, do the water change, and then put all the jugs back in the truck. No clogging up the kitchen for 2 days.
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
I knew a guy who worked at a LFS where one of the perks was free salt water so log as you carried it out yourself. Every 6 months or so he would do a really large water change on his 210. He would drive his truck to work and basically fill the bed with those 5 gallon jugs each time.
A LFS do not look for keeping coral long term. Their practices are not exactly something inwoild recommend to a home aquarium.. my 2 cents
 

jccaclimber

Supporting Member
A LFS do not look for keeping coral long term. Their practices are not exactly something inwoild recommend to a home aquarium.. my 2 cents
It was a mildly amusing story in reference to a post above about bringing home 30-40 gallons of water at a time seeming like a lot. No more, no less.
While this particular store didn't do a great job in their store, the individual referenced above kept his 210 as an SPS tank that was the envy of everyone in the local reefing community who had the privilege of seeing it. If he was still living I'd ask him for a picture. Who are we to say he was doing things wrong?

I'm aware that people with larger tanks who do water changes and know how to balance a budget typically choose to make their own water and salt. I do this, and the OP seems to as well. I'm not trying to dissuade them.

If you want something directly on topic:
You may find that a lot of the price differences between salts balance back out when you discover that they tend to rate their volume mixed at different salinities, so take that into account.
I happen to use Red Sea Coral Pro because at the time I was running a higher alk tank and servicing lower alk tanks that used water changes as their replenishment method. I also like to keep my Mg higher than most salt mixes come in at. Once I did the math on cost per volume corrected to the same salinity it wasn't really any different in price than using Reef Crystals. At the time I picked a salt (years ago) Fritz had recently shipped a bad batch of salt to the LFS which caused a pile of problems. Knowing that Red Sea would provide a per batch lab report, I decided that was a better risk. I know several people who use Fritz and have never had an issue, so I don't mean to single them out.

My short form advice on salt is: Pick the alk you want, normalize price to a constant salinity, and either stop there because it really doesn't matter much past that, or go with your personal preference and recognize that it's a bit like religious preference at that point.
 

Meshmez

Supporting Member
It was a mildly amusing story in reference to a post above about bringing home 30-40 gallons of water at a time seeming like a lot. No more, no less.
While this particular store didn't do a great job in their store, the individual referenced above kept his 210 as an SPS tank that was the envy of everyone in the local reefing community who had the privilege of seeing it. If he was still living I'd ask him for a picture. Who are we to say he was doing things wrong?

I'm aware that people with larger tanks who do water changes and know how to balance a budget typically choose to make their own water and salt. I do this, and the OP seems to as well. I'm not trying to dissuade them.
My intention was not to say he was doing anything "wrong" just that even if it was free, if possible, I would make my own water over a truck full of 5gallon buckets. Sorry if it came of as anything other than that.
 
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