Thinking of changing salt brands

Discussion in 'Other Reef Talk' started by mediumrare, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. mediumrare

    mediumrare Guest

    So I've been using Salinity as my salt of choice since starting in this hobby several years ago. With the set-up of my new tank this year i've been unsatisfied with the consistency of the salt batches and the persistent low Alk in freshly mixed salt.

    As a result of this I'm reaching out regarding two related items.

    What salt mixes do you all recommend for SPS heavy systems?
    What process should I use in transitioning from my current salt to whichever new mixi decide to move forward.

    thanks !!
  2. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    BRS actually did a video on this exact topic :D

  3. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Key questions:

    1) How long does salt sit after you mix it?
    < 1 day = make sure to get a salt that mixes really well.
    > 1 week = make sure to get a salt with no organics in it.

    2) Are you willing to tweak the mix afterwards, adding calcium/alk/etc.
    Makes a big difference in range of choices.

    For me, cost, consistency, and no organics are most important, so I use simple Instant Ocean and tweak it.
  4. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    Im using Seachem's Reef Salt and I was thinking about changing due to high calcium but after watching my acros just eating the stuff up Ive decided to stick with it
  5. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    What kind of alk values are you seeing with the Salinity and what kind of approach are you taking with the SPS setup that you're considering running? For instance, low alk values might not be a bad thing if you're running a ULNS system (e.g. zeovit) as long as it fits within NSW ranges.

    Also, keep in mind that the current equipment that we're using nowadays are very efficient at stripping the water. This is especially true in newer tanks where there isn't a build-up, and you're running a ULNS system right off the bat whether you intended to or not.

    It's more important that you balance alk and Ca.

    Here's a table for reference:
    dKH- Alkalinity mEq/l- Balanced Ca
    4.50 1.61 393
    4.75 1.70 395
    5.00 1.79 397
    5.25 1.88 398
    5.50 1.96 400
    5.75 2.05 402
    6.00 2.14 404
    6.25 2.23 405
    6.50 2.32 407
    6.75 2.41 409
    7.00 2.50 411
    7.25 2.59 413
    7.50 2.68 414
    8.00 2.86 418
    8.25 2.95 420
    8.50 3.04 422
    8.75 3.13 423
    9.00 3.21 425
    9.25 3.30 427
    9.50 3.39 429
    9.75 3.48 431
    10.00 3.57 432
    10.25 3.66 434
    10.50 3.75 436
    10.75 3.84 438
    11.00 3.93 439

    I consider switching out salt not too long along but decided that it wasn't worth it (using IO) since it matches the range that I want to run on the tank and I can deal with the high alk values by using muriatic acid (which is what a lot of the heavy SPS guys are doing as well).
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
  6. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I feel it's not critical to match Alk and Ca values for a balanced ratio. As long as they are close. Between 8 - 10, the Ca values are within the testing noise in our hobby grade test kits.

    I believe stability is key.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. mediumrare

    mediumrare Guest

    I've was recording alk levels of like 6-7 dkH, and Ca at somewhere around 350 before i got regular 2 part dosing under way. right now i'm aiming for 9dkh and 420 ish Ca. I've managed to get the Alk up to 8.5 ish but CA is taking longer to increase but it is going up slowly, where as Alk is fluctuating between low 8 and mid 9s. The issue for me, based on all of those alk/ca/mg articles may be low MG that i have, granted its not critically low (currently around 1220).
    I have an air leak in one of my stand-alone dosers that once i fix ill be able to dose mag.

    Edit: I am dosing the following volumes of b-ionic two part
    Alk: Midnight to noon - 45ml, noon to midnight 30ml (alk is yoyoing a little)
    Calc: midnight to noon -30ml, noon to midnight 40ml. (Calc is increasing ~ 15-25ppt/day)

    Also, i have no idea what my pH is, but that's less important. Red Sea test kit reads 8.3-8.4 ish (slightly purple solution after mixing). Neptune double junction probe calibrated with Hannah fluid is reading 7.94-8.02 (am/pm).
    I have lab-grade ThermoFisher calibration fluid coming on wednesday. you know.... for science....
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2016
  8. mediumrare

    mediumrare Guest

    Oh, and the salt i've decided to go over to (because i know german manufacturing will be meticulous and consisten) HW- marinemix reef. It does have amino acids (apparently) So, i'll just have to be better about mixing salt closer to when i'm doing a water change.
  9. mediumrare

    mediumrare Guest

    What is this about muriatic acid and high alk and sps? id love to hear more.
  10. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    So, certain salts measures consistently high for Alk. IO is one of those salts. My current bucket of IO is running at an alk value of ~10. This is in line with some people that run their tanks along the lines of 10-12 dKH. What others, that primarily keep acroporids and other SPS, found out is that it isn't better to run alk at a higher value, and that keeping alk at a value closer to sea water levels at ~8 dKH yielded good, if not better results for growing SPS.

    Muriatic acid is used to drop the dKH down and the amount to use is as follows:

    Measure alk, then subtract desired alk. Multiply this by the number of gallons of new water, then multiply by 0.123. This will give you the number of mL of muriatic to add to new water.

    I change ~7 gallons of water on my tank on a weekly basis. So with that in mind, the amount of muriatic acid that I would add to the newly mixed water is as follows:

    2 (dKH drop desired) x 7 (gallons of water) x 0.123. This comes out to be 1.722mL of muriatic acid. I can't exactly tell where 1.722mL is on my graduated dropper, but it does have 0.5mL measurements marked up to 5mL so I just eyeball approximately 1.75mL of muriatic per water change.

    Do not use the mixed water immediately after the addition of the muriatic acid. The muriatic acid drops the pH of the mix down into the 7s and you have to let it sit over night so that it climbs back up. Also, with acid, always add acid to the water and not the other way around.
  11. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    I'm not trying to be argumentative but if saltwater is naturally acidic and you're adding more acid to it wouldn't the ph go up not down?
  12. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    It's all relative. I doubt that your saltwater is gonna be more acidic than muriatic acid (at 1 mM, it has a pH value of 3). For reference, the pH of my tank varies from 8.1 to 8.3 through the course of the day.

    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  13. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Natural sea water is basic at 8.3ph. Adding an acid to it (ph below 7) will make it more acidic than it was so essentially lowering its ph.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    ltb420 and Ibn like this.
  14. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Interesting post / topic for sure. I have never heard of doing this.

    I haven't had the same results in my tank re: SPS doing better with lower alk. They do fine with a DKH of 8, but I have had stress and RTN with the DKH dropping below 7.5. This can happen over night, so I started aiming for a DKH of 9.5-10 to keep it from dropping below 8 with swings. The tank is much more stable and I have had good color and growth with DKH as high as 12. I do see stress in some of my LPS and softies the few times this happened, but no change in the SPS. I don't dose any carbon source (vodka or vinegar), and I had read it is better to keep a lower DKH if you do.

    Do you dose a carbon source? Wondering if that is the difference?
  15. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Possibly that's the difference. I was in the 10-11 range prior to this as well, but had issues with RTN, tips burning, and general unsatisfactory colors and growth at those figures. I was testing the big 3 at the time, but not nitrates. I finally picked up a nitrate test kit and tested it where it came out to zero (confirmed with two other test kits). So while not dosing a carbon source, I was running a very lean tank, with the heavy skimming and my regular water changes. While chatting with a buddy of mine, he suggested that I drop my dKH lower, which after perusing a number of SPS tanks (RC) seems to be the norm for a lot of successful SPS tanks (many of which run on the leaner side with respect to nitrates/phosphate levels). I've been getting consistent growth, colors (regaining colors in some while deepening of colors in others), and polyp extension running the tank at the current set of numbers. This will most likely change as the tank matures and I'll probably have to tweak it down the line.

    Currently, the tank is still running very lean even with the decent amount of food I pour in (3 cubes of frozen daily and a silverside for the eel every other day) and I dose nitrates at every water change to get nitrates to show up.
  16. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    That's where my mistake was. I just recently read an article where the author was saying that NSW was acidic. Personally I can never seem to remember so I just use the pH values. It makes complete sense now.
  17. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    You dose nitrates?

    Always had zero nitrates.....presumably because of my massive skimmer, and large amounts of Rock and sand. Why do you like to have a trace of nitrate? Just cause I don't know. ;).

    My issues have been largely with Phosphates. I like to feed, cause I like fat and happy fish. I feed a mix of mysis, brine, krill and clam once a day. I feed Nori every other day and I feed pellets at night. If I maintain my water changes every two weeks, and change my GFO and Carbon every other water change (once a month) I seem to keep my phosphate around .05. This has shown to be ideal for my SPS and LPS / softies. My SPS will do even better with a lower Phosphate, but my softies and LPS start showing stress around .03 or less.

    On the higher end, my SPS start showing stress when the phosphate gets to .1 or higher (rtn and algae on the tips), but the LPS and softies seem to LOVE a higher range. Algae of course gets out of control over .1.

    I believe my tank crash last year was actually from high phosphates. This is why my LPS and softies did great, but the SPS died off. It was a slow and painful process. During the 4 month academy, I probably did 3-4 water changes total, and forgot to change out the media all but maybe once. I was checking ALK, mag and calcium because that was what normally caused my issues......assumed I was just causing too many swings. When I checked my phosphates (always check after a water change as a rule) they were in the .10 to .15 range. I wasn't really reacting to it. I finally changed the GFO, and started getting back onto regular water changes and the SPS finally started to respond. Too late at that point. :( Lesson learned.

    Sorry to hijack this thread.......... For what it's worth, I was using the "Microbe lift" reef salt........that company sold and they haven't put out the new stuff yet. I loved that salt and had great success. I have started using "reef crystals" in the meantime, and quite frankly. I am pretty happy with it. I might just stick with it for a while. Alk is high at around 8.5-9 (which I like.....this is after sitting for 24-48 hours). I haven't checked mag levels. I liked the microbe lift because it had high mag and I didn't have to dose anymore. I might need to start again with reef crystals, so I need to get on that.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  18. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Most guys running sps heavy tanks run uln. But it's Ultra Low Nutrient. Not no nutrients. Sps have been shown to have better color and growth with ultra low nitrates and phosphates. With 0 nitrates/phosphates, colors are lighter and slower growth.

    So many have started to dose nitrates back into the system to bring back a little nitrate.

    I've resorted to not running a sock and letting a little excess food go into my sump. My sump cuc will take care of the bigger chunks but the smaller stuff will decay and provide just a little nudge to the nitrate levels.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  19. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Interesting, thank you. I stopped using socks years ago, accept a day or two before I am gonna have people over. Just to polish up the water a bit. Maybe I have more nitrate than I realize. Although it always reads zero when I test (I haven't tested nitrate in......... Well since the tank crash, and it was zero at that time as well). I do feed a lot as well.

    Appreciate the info. I don't spend as much time researching and reading through threads as I used to. Seems like I am finding more time lately, but when time is short, that's the first thing to go. Seems I have missed out on new standards. Thankfully the tank is really taking off again, so maybe some minor tweaks will help too.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  20. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Yep, having a little nitrate is better than having no nitrates. I take pics of my corals pretty regularly so that I can track some of the differences.

    Wild Aussie A. sarmentosa

    Pic on the left was taken on 7/5 and the one on the right just awhile ago. The white balance is slightly off (taken at different times during the day with the different light cycle), but hopefully you can see the darker colors as well as the area where either a branch was cut or had snapped off. That part is basically filled in at the moment. Also, the polyp extension is better than it was two weeks ago and is actually better than in the pic (I had to rotate it to get a similar angle and by moving it the polyps retracted a bit.

    Another Aussie piece that I've been tracking - Wild Aussie SSC

    Lost the pink on the tips as per usual for wild pieces (SSC seems to be notorious for this even when compared to other sps). Colors are slowly begin to show up again and you can see the better polyp extension to what basically wasn't there a couple of weeks ago. I almost threw this one away when I did a quick glance of it and thought it had RTN, but the polyps saved it.

    Both pieces came in the same batch and obviously bleached, but I did have both of them for over 9 days before the 7/5 pics and there was no improvement in the colors or polyp extension. Testing my nitrates at that point brought up a reading of zero. I feed pretty heavily and you would suspect that would be enough, but apparently not. My oversized skimmer, my relatively deep sandbed (2.5" at the shallowest point to just slightly more than 3" at the deepest areas), and my water changes are stripping the water. I've been adding nitrates to bring my levels back up to around the 2 ppm mark and there's noticeable improvements.
    Kmooresf likes this.

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