Kessil

Making my own salt water?

Meshmez

Supporting Member
I'm using res sea black bucket. I'm planning on managing alk and stuff through water changes and not dosing.
According to these videos, keeping it circulated is actually more consistent. This is actually mixed and heated, but I believe they did another video with just continuous mixing, and I believe they got similar results to the heated trial. I can't find that video though.
 
I'm using res sea black bucket. I'm planning on managing alk and stuff through water changes and not dosing.

Fingers crossed for you. That was my plan as well... Until I put a ton of LPS and SPS into a nano and started chewing through almost a full point of alkalinity and 7 ppm of calcium per day.
 

Rostato

Supporting Member
Uesh Red Sea black bucket needs to be mixed and used really quickly or it starts to precipitate
 

JVU

BOD
Staff member
BRS did that nice series of Investigates videos on salt mixes, definitely worth watching.

In general the salt mixes with artificially elevated Alk levels are less stable and should be used soon after fully dissolving.
 

OnTheReef

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.
I tried Tropic Marin Pro because that's the salt that the guru of reef chemistry, Randy Holmes-Farley uses. I've never looked back. I noticed as you did that it mixes up quickly and the parameters stabilize very quickly as well. When I do water changes with it, my corals do not retract or slime, an issue I've had with other salts. It also mixes up very clean, it doesn't precipitate much at all. I do have to raise the alk a bit to match my tanks, but adding a little sodium bicarbonate in my mixing container solves that for me, with no issues. With a little googling you can easily find a chart of the current salts on the market and what their "mixed as directed" parameters are. One thing to keep in mind is that those parameters are with a specific salinity or specific gravity measurement. I mix for 35ppt or 1.0624 sg, which results in slightly higher parameters than a lot of charts.
 

merickson45

Supporting Member
I struggled a lot at the beginning when buying saltwater from various LFSs. I never found a place that sold water with consistent enough salinity or parameters, so I started making my own and the health/growth of my corals improved by leaps and bounds. Good job for taking what I consider a very important step! I haven't tested many different salts, so I'm not much help there. I use Red Sea blue bucket and have never noticed huge differences in parameters from batch to batch.

Two tips for mixing:

1. Never trust the advertised volume of a container. If you start using a measuring cup to fill different containers, you may be surprised at the results. I have a mixing bucket that I painstakingly filled using a measuring cup, marking each gallon as I went. Only had to do this once, now I can easily know exactly how much water I have.

2. If your saltwater batches are small enough, measure salt by weight and not by volume. You can use an online calculator to estimate the weight per volume the first time you mix, and then adjust as needed after measuring the salinity (the online calculators are never 100% right ime). You only need to do this carefully once, then you know the weight of salt needed.

Doing it this way you have a quick and repeatable method for mixing a certain volume of water to a specific salinity. I always test when I mix each week, but the salinity is always spot on without need for adjustment. Again, this is impractical for large volumes of saltwater, but works well for nano tanks.
 

jccaclimber

Supporting Member
You can still do that with larger systems, it's just a matter of a few details.
When I serviced tanks every tank I serviced had either a small marker stripe in a corner, or a specific piece of rockwork that I knew the height of. Draining to that mark results in a known amount removed. Salt tended to be mixed on site (some customers insisted on tap, others had their own RO in a garage as it cost them less than me bringing water). Fill the 55 gallon drum to a known mark, add in the 50 gallon pre-measured packed of salt (or pitcher filled to X mark, etc).

I no longer keep salt pre-mixed in large containers, but for those that do you can know that X inches of container = the right amount of water for a 50 gallon salt bag (might be 45 gallons actual water, but you get the idea.

Change brands and you may need to adjust, although that was pretty consistent IME. The nice thing about small water changes (even up to say 25%) is that you need to be pretty far off before the replacement water's salinity changes the tank much. If you're 0.01 SG low you just mix the replacement water a bit strong, or the reverse and it corrects its self slowly over time.
 
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Afropenguin

Supporting Member
I use instant ocean reef salts for the last 2 years and its worked fine for my anemone tank :D
I don't do anything special, just fill up a 5 gallon bucket with ro/di water and then dump salt into the bucket until my meter thing says its at 1.025

After watching the brs video on holding saltwater for a long time, i decided to buy a 32 gallon trash can from Home Depot and im going to mix 30 gallons of water at a time so that I can mix the salt less frequently
 
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max_nano

Supporting Member
So salt water is probably added in each day to account for water leaving in bags. And with a high alk salt like Red Sea pro it keeps things in check.

I’ve thought about how you could probably run a nano with just auto water changes with a high alk salt and adjusting it based on testing. But it doesn’t seem as stable in a small water volume. With 600 gal I wonder how stable the alk is over a day with wc as the only addition.

@anthonyvyeda do you do manual top off at the end of the day, or how do you manage the mix of evap and water removed when selling a coral. Where do you normally see alk
 

rygh

BOD
Staff member
If you plan to use the new salt water right away, pretty much any would work.
The premium ones might be a little better, but don't expect any real changes.

HOWEVER: If you let salt water sit for months, it does matter.
For example, If you are using a salt-water-exchange system, or mix a large batch and just use a little per week.
Some of the premium ones have organics. Beneficial if added immediately. But if stored, they rot and turn to ammonia/etc.
Plus, some premium ones have "enhanced" levels of Ca/Alk. That makes them prone to precipitating out.

My suggestion: Red sea BLUE bucket.
I actually use plain Instant Ocean, but only because bulk box comes in 4x50G bags, where I can use one bag all at once in my mixing barrel.
 

max_nano

Supporting Member
I actually use plain Instant Ocean, but only because bulk box comes in 4x50G bags, where I can use one bag all at once in my mixing barrel.
I know it’s a small thing. But this is something I’m really looking forward to when I have space for a mixing station.

No more scooping salt
 

jccaclimber

Supporting Member
It really is nice. When I ran service and had a couple customers who wanted salt mixed on site. I didn’t mind because it meant not having to transport it. One it was cheap salt and treated tap water (borderline FOWLR) and the other nice salt and RODI. Both places used roughly 100 gallons of water, so 2 batches. Every now and then I’d end up with salt that wasn’t premeasured. It’s a very first world problem, but it sure is nice not having to measure.
 
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