Salt Mixes ... Looking for a balanced mix - Group buy?

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Salt Mixes ... Looking for a balanced mix - Group buy?

Postby Mark on Sun May 08, 2005 11:35 am

Hi folks -

I'm sure I'm not alone in this situation, but I've grown dissatisfied with how most salt mixes available mix up in terms of Calcium, Alk, Magnesium, etc.

IO mixes quite low for Ca/Magnesium, Oceanic is low on Alk [and other trace elements] ... and while I've presently settled into using Reef Crystals [which for me mixes up to decent #'s] ... I'm not really that totally thrilled with this salt either.

Looking around - I see that the Dr.'s up in Rhinelander sell salt for quite cheap [$30/IO bucket, $35/RC bucket] ... and am intrigued by the Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt they have [$60/200g container] as it is reputed to mix up to very good #'s and be a well-liked salt mix.

I'm planning to order a sample next weekend to mix up and test ... and was thinking about getting a bunch of folks together with their test kits - and to test the heck out of a sample of a variety of salts, post all our results, and just discuss ideas on group-buys/trips.

I know I'm not alone in looking for a salt that mixes up to good chemistry without needing Ca/Mag/etc additions. Given it's 3 hours to drive to Rhinelander + get cheap salt ... I'm more than willing to take a trip a year to group-buy for folks ... and with another couple folks interested - we could probably all save a bundle, get whichever salt we want for nice and cheap.

----

Who else is interested?
Anyone have access to high-quality water testing equipment?

I'm planning to use my Saliferts for Ca, Alk, Mag, + Strontium ... anyone have additionals to add? Interested in testing this salt yourself? Have a salt mix you'd throw into the testing?

Let me know ... I know I'd prefer not to spend $60 for 200g of a decent salt, but find that preferrable to $45 for 160g of salt that I need to add chemicals to.

Anyone else in?
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Postby BraenDead on Sun May 08, 2005 3:21 pm

I would definately be in on this. I currently have no access to testing equipment, but I still have a few contacts at UW I may be able to talk to (see how well I remember my training). Actually, I do have a digital density meter for measuring salinity (measures accurately to 0.0001 +- 0.0001) which automatically compensates for temperature (to 0.1F). Other than that, just the standard Salifert tests.

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Salty subject matter

Postby Toddah on Sun May 08, 2005 7:01 pm

Hey Mark,
I would would be all in for a group buy salt run. I have always run IO but only because I was afraid to try changing anything to drastic because I was always fighting one problem or another. I feel like my tank has finally gotten fairly stable with good numbers for about 2 or 3 months now so I feel I could try another salt mix and be able to judge the result. I don't have any good testing aids but if you need a grunt to help I would be gald to pitch in.
So far as the group buy I would go for whatever is needed to make it worth while, I will buy salt anyway so I may as well try and help in a cost saving adventure for all of us.
Count me in.
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Postby tzenda on Sun May 08, 2005 7:19 pm

i am in need of salt i only have a couple of weeks supply left.
i have been usin IO but was thinkin of goin with reef crystals this time though.
but if something with higher #s is found i may try that instead

i am in for a trip up there sometime if you want some company on the trip
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Postby Mark on Mon May 09, 2005 5:30 am

I wouldn't hold out on salt until the group-buy. Personally I'm doubting it will be under a month until we have it in-hand.

Personally, I was hoping to have the salt to test on-hand and mixed/tested for the next meeting in two weeks.

Then, armed with test results - go and discuss at the meeting.

As for when to go on the trip - much depends on how many folks, who all is in, and timing. I know personally I'm wanting to save $$ for a while so that I can buy a few buckets worth of salt. So we're probably talking June at least - as the summer is busy and when I consider when I'll have a weekend free ... it'll be a while.

But - VERY glad to have interest in this.

Who else would have a water sample to test? IMO a second RC mix would be good - and I think I'm out of IO.
I think maybe a week from Saturday would be good for me for testing-day ... what do others think? [should we just test at the next meeting?]
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Postby boonbee on Mon May 09, 2005 8:28 am

I have saliferts for ca and alk. I can test my IO at any point if that will help. I find that I have to add alk to my IO more than adding calcium. I bet a lot depends on what corals are in the tank. Nancy
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Postby Ereefic on Mon May 09, 2005 9:03 am

I've got IO we can test, as well as a little RC too. The RC is the same stuff you tested Mark.

I have Alk., Cal., Mag., Phos., and Strontium test kits, all Salifert.
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Postby Rueg on Mon May 09, 2005 12:10 pm

I would be interested in this. I have Oceanic salt right now which sounds like it has already been tested, but different batches can result in different numbers. I think PH would be good to test also. I have salifert tests also. Depends on the weekend though. I am going out of town on one of them. Not sure what one though. I may be intrested in going in on a group buy for salt. Just depends on the timing.
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results

Postby stevenliu on Mon May 09, 2005 8:13 pm

I am not sure how much of a help I can be in participating in this salt testing but would definately be interested to hear the result. By the way, what is the average salinity you guys have in your reef tank?
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Postby Mark on Tue May 10, 2005 5:31 am

I run my tanks at 1.026 by my refractometer.

---
As for the `when' ... I'll be ordering the TM Pro Reef to test this week ... figure later next week or the weekend I'll have it mixed and ready to test.
[Friday or Sat the 20/21 seems about ideal for me]

Given the meeting is on Sunday - do folks want to do this there?
[suppose we should ask Bob and be polite :)]

Otherwise, I'd gladly have folks over for a test-off. I think it would be useful to run most common tests [Ca, Alk, Mag] on two seperate kits if possible as I've found results to vary from kit to kit often ... and figure two should give us reliable results.

As it stands, looks like we're testing:
IO
Reef Crystals
TM Pro Reef
-would love some Oceanic to test too

any others?

---
I'm assuming there will be some variance with the SG [though it sounds like we've got a very accurate tool for measuring this] ... but think this will at very least sponsor some good discussions.

Very happy to hear from so many folks, happy to have everyone's input. It always seems these sort of projects go better with good company, like I've got here :)
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Postby moujon on Tue May 10, 2005 6:51 am

The May meeting is on the 21st (Sat).

I'd be interested also- I've got 4 brands of salt right now from IO, Reef Crystals, Oceanic, and at least one other. Some I bought, and what was included with the 180.

Let me know if you want me to mix up a batch of each.
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testing

Postby Toddah on Tue May 10, 2005 7:48 am

Not to butt in but the ex Engineer in me might suggest 3 tests with different kits of each salt mixture? otherwise you will have a hard time if the two tests are different to determine which one to go with.
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Old Vs New

Postby Toddah on Tue May 10, 2005 7:50 am

As long as we are discussing this, I wonder if there are changes to salt mixtures as they age or are exposed to humidity, sunlight and such. anyone have any thoughts?
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Postby BraenDead on Tue May 10, 2005 8:01 am

There should be relateivly little change in regarding exposure to humidity. UV (sunlight) can break down complex structures, however salt mixtures will mostly contain ions and simple molecules. The composition should not change much as long as a clean container is used, kept free of impurities, and allowed to mix for an adequate period of time.

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Postby Mark on Tue May 10, 2005 8:19 am

Todd ... sure, 3 sounds fine too.
If we're going through the bother in the first place ... why not?


Perhaps some ions [Strontium comes to mind] we may not have 3 test kits for ... but for all we can it sounds to me a great suggestion.

To follow your thought - it probably would be useful to have multiple samples [perhaps different people] of the salts we can. I know when I tested RC that Eric and I mixed up [separate batches + mixings] ... I got very different #'s from the 2 batches on Magnesium. I know I personally will try to bring a sample of RC, IO, and TM-PR - but I'd be all for another sample [two?] of these salts just to compare between batches/mixing.


I'll probably get some `chart' on who can provide what test kits, salts, etc posted within the next few days. Given the great response, it sounds like it will work out better than I could have imagined.
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