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FAQs on Seawater, Synthetic or Natural 6

Related Articles: Synthetic or Natural Seawater, Saltwater Impressions (Synthetics Review) By Steven Pro, Specific Gravity, Water Changes/ChangingpH, Alkalinity, Marine Alkalinity

Related FAQs: Seawater 1, Seawater 2, Seawater 3, Seawater 4, Seawater 5,  & FAQs on Mixing, Supplementing, Storing, Moving, Physical/Chemical Troubleshooting/Fixing... By Make/Manufacturer: Natural SeawaterSynthetics: Aquarium Systems (Instant Ocean, Reef Crystals), Aquacraft (Marine Environments, BioSea...), Central Garden (Oceanic), Kent Marine (SeaSalt), Red Sea (Red Sea Salt, Coral Pro Salt), SeaChem Marine (Marine Salt, Reef Salt), Energy Savers (Coralife), Tropic Marin, Other Brands... About Buying Pre-mixed Seawater, About  Synthetics Manufacturers Advertising Claims... Treating Tapwater For Marine Aquarium Use, Reverse Osmosis Filtration 

A Carcharhinus galapagensis in HI...

Mixing natural seawater and synthetic sea water   1/21/11
Hi,
<Hello Denice>
I have a 200L reef tank (aquarium has a chiller, protein skimmer, wet/dry trickle filter, surface skimmer, sand filter with a large amount of live rock and a variety of corals and fish), which we normally use natural
seawater in since we live in beautiful Queensland, Australia where the water is almost always blue and clear. However, due to the recent large amount of rain and flooding, the salinity of the ocean has dropped and is probably full of pesticides and other pollutants so I'm reluctant to use it for upcoming water changes. What would happen if I was to use made up synthetic salt water (mixed with RO water) for the water change?
<Should be fine. There are more potential issues "going the other way", i.e., back to natural>
What would I have to keep in mind when it comes to the parameters such as pH, salinity, phosphates (shouldn't be a problem since it's RO water), Trace elements (most are incl in reef salt mixes) etc. Would this be to much of a shock for my corals and fish?
<Not too much of a shock... mostly one needs pay attention to temp., pH, alkalinity and salinity>
Thank you for your expertise and assistance.
/D
<Welcome! Bob Fenner> 

Creating The Best Reef Water/Marine Water Quality 6/16/10
<Hello Dan>
Can you create a series of steps to outline the creation of high quality reef water in 5g buckets? Including the addition of buffers, aeration, and salt.
1. Fill a bucket with RO/DI water.
2. ?
<Is posted, do search our site before writing. Read here and linked files found in header.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm>
Thanks,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Dan

Seawater... Buy Bottled Or Make It Yourself? (I Think That's What This Is About) -- 07/24/07 Hi, <<Hello>> I hope this isn't too stupid of a question? <<Only if you don't ask>> Am I better off using 2-month cycled water with no nitrates or is R/O water mixed a day before fine for a partial monthly water change? <<Hmmm...not sure what you mean by 'cycled water' here...>> I was thinking that R/O would have to cycle a bit with a water change. <<It is best to let it 'mature' (aerated/moved about with a power head) for a day or two before use, yes...and if/when mixed with salt, to let all continue to mature for another couple days or so>> Is there any benefits either way? <Maybe I'm being thick this morning, but I'm not real sure what you are trying to ask here. Maybe this will help: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rofaqs.htm>> My son likes to drive and buy cycled water for a buck a gallon and I told him that premixed is fine? Can you settle a disagreement? <<Do you mean 'premixed' seawater? Best to do-it-yourself in my opinion...more economical in the long-term, better quality control, etc.>> Thanks Rick and Rick Jr. <<Still not sure I answered your question. EricR>>

Re: Seawater...Buy Bottled Or Make It Yourself? (I Think That's What This Is About) -- 07/24/07 Hi, <<Hello again, Rick and Rick Jr.>> I guess what I am asking is my son likes to go buy water from the LFS that is out of their 8,000 gallon reef for a buck a gallon for partial water changes and I said and always have mixed my own with R/O water. <<Mmm, I see...so the store is selling their 'discard' water for other folks to use for their water changes...and darned expensive too!. Though there is no real way to tell, this water will be lacking in trace elements (have been utilized by the organisms in the reef) and may even contain pest organisms. Cheaper and better to mix your own>> The LFS store's water is perfect with 0 Nitrates and my son he likes to use that because he thinks his tank might crash if he mixes his own. <<Sounds like superstition to me>> Could it? <<Stands to reason that it would not considering the majority of hobbyists and commercial aquarium facilities use their own mixed saltwater every day>> I have always just premixed mine and did a 20 to 25 percent a month. <<You are in the vast majority>> Can a tank crash if you do a big water change with premixed R/O water. <<A tank can 'crash' for many reasons, including doing too many/too big water changes...but not because the change was done using R/O water and a properly prepared quality salt mix>> Thanks for settling this. Rick and Rick Jr <<Hope this helps. EricR>>

Severely frustrated... questionable LFS pre-made synthetic saltwater   7/4/07 I have tested the water (that I get from my LFS) that I use for water changes and got some results I don't know what to do with. The water is free from NH3 and NO2, but the NO3 reads about 5-10 ppm... and there is a modest coating of brown algae on the bottom of the container used to store the water (the water is a tad old, as well, maybe a month or so). <Mmmm...> I am not sure that that amount of NO3 would provoke the terrible algae growth in my tanks, but I guess it can't help. What do you suggest I do with these results? <Take them to the store, pose your concerns to the management> I plan on informing the store of this issue, procuring a new source of salt water (or still there, if it was just a faulty membrane) and raising calcium in my tanks to increase competition from corals and coralline algae. Any other advice or comments? <Yes... get/use your own water filtration device (likely a modest investment... Reverse Osmosis alone will very likely do...) and a couple of pieces of gear (a good trash can... my fave is the Rubbermaid "Brute" line, a cover, a pump, likely a heater, electrical multiple outlet cord to shut off when emptier...) and make your own water... IS much easier, cheaper in the not-so-long run... and far more satisfying to have control, quantities of water on hand for use of known make-up> PS I found this rather humorous---there is a stalk of xenia in my larger tank that was overgrown by hair algae, but now it is attached to the free end of the strands of hair algae, floating unperturbed in the current, with the "roots" left on the rock where it formerly was growing new xenia "buds." This stuff never does die! <Is tough indeed. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Severely frustrated... questionable LFS pre-made synthetic saltwater  7/7/07 Yet another delightful surprise...the RO water I was buying from the LFS to top off the tank had more NO3 in it than the salt water did! I think I will be taking your advice to make my own water... <Yes... as I suspected... Cheers, BobF> Instant Ocean Changing Formula? 12/3/06 Hey Guys. I have been hearing rumors about Instant Ocean changing the formula and people were having some problems. I use it weekly and haven't experienced any bad effects but I am concerned about long term use .Is there any basis to this? I've been reading along for years. You guys are great. <Mark, I'm not aware of such.  Will send this along to Bob Studt of Aquarium Systems.  Will post his reply on the dailies, probably won't show up until Tuesday.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, <You're welcome> Mark

Instant Ocean: if it's good enough for Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, it's good enough for me!   12/4/06 Hey guys. <And girls - you've got Jorie here tonight!> I have been hearing rumors about Instant Ocean changing the formula and people were having some problems. <I haven't heard this.  We, too, use Instant Ocean exclusively in our SW and BW tanks.  Plus, if Chicago's own Shedd Aquarium considers Instant Ocean to be good enough for their 750,000+ gallons of seawater, that's approval enough for me!> I use it weekly and haven't experienced any bad effects but I am concerned about long term use .Is there any basis to this? <We've never had a problem in the 5 years or so we've been using it.  What was the source of the rumor you heard? Perhaps contact MarineLand directly to ask them if it's true?>   I've been reading along for years. <Me too!> You guys are great. <On behalf of WWM, thank you.> Thanks, Mark <Best regards, Jorie>

Re: Instant Ocean Formula Change? No formula change. Rest assured that any formula changes are not made lightly and that they would only be made to improve the product. Bob Studt (for Aquarium Systems) Instant Ocean Formula Change? Good morning Bob,  Bob,  received a query today which I've pasted below.  Told the gent I didn't believe so.  Has the formula been changed?  "Hey Guys. I have been hearing rumors about Instant Ocean changing the formula and people were having some problems. I use it weekly and haven't experienced any bad effects but I am concerned about long term use .Is there any basis to this? I've been reading along for years. You guys are great.   Thanks, Mark" James Gasta, Wet Web Media

Re:  Instant Ocean Formula Change?  12/6/06 Hey Girls And Guys. Thanks very much for your reply and I rest assured. I've always been happy with Instant Ocean. <A good product, reasonably priced.  I've been using it for 30+ years.> Thanks again, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Mark

Saltwater Lifespan - Synthetic and NSW 12/1/06 Hi Crew, <Hey Mohamed, JustinN with you again> I was told the synthetic SW mix should only be kept for a week at most or else it loses its properties but reading on WetWebMedia it can be kept for months. <If kept in a closed container and circulated, this is the case.> Must the synthetic SW mix be kept in a certain way by using an air stone, etc or in a bucket will be fine? <An air stone or powerhead, and a heater would be best... I personally use a powerhead and a heater in a covered food-grade trash can.> Likewise on NSW, how long can it be kept and under what conditions? <About the same as artificial sea water. Hope this helps you! -JustinN> Thanks    Mohamed

Air pump Sel.    11/29/06 Hello, <Hey Greg, JustinN with you tonight>          I'm wondering what is the  quietest, highest quality air pump on the market to be used for aerating a six  gallon saltwater tank. Thanks, Greg <Just about any commercially available air pump should do the job, but Tetra makes a quality pump for a specific brand. Hope this helps you! -JustinN> Mixing Salt 10/23/06 Hi Guys! <And Gals> I have decided to switch from Oceanic salt to Instant Ocean. After learning/getting advice from this forum, I noticed that I may be mixing wrong.  My reef has been up and running for about 2 years now and even though I am new to the hobby, things have been going well. Normally, I drip RO/DI water into a 25 gallon Rubbermaid container and as soon as the container is full, I immediately add the salt. After verifying that the temp and salinity were correct, I proceeded with the water change. I do not add any additives at all. This process normally takes approximately 6 hours start to finish. I do this approximately 2-3 times per month. It equates to an approximate 25% water change every time I do it. I have had problems with low PH and this was the main reason to search for a new salt. But, after reading the forum, I see that I should be heating/aerating the water for approximately 24 hours prior to adding salt and then letting it sit for approximately 24 hours longer before doing the water change. <I aerate the water for 24 hours.  This will remove most, if not all, of any CO2 present, which will lower your pH.  After 24 hours of aeration, I then add the salt and let mix for another 24 before making my water change.  And yes, you should equalize temperatures.> My questions are; with my current practice, have I done any irreversible damage to my tank inhabitants? <No.> And, what are the benefits of waiting 24 hours prior to adding salt and again 24 hours after adding salt? <As above, and, letting the salt mix 24 hours will ensure a good mix of the elements present in the salt.> Thanks and I apologize for the lengthy post. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jeff

Storing Premixed Water - 10/18/06 I have a 215G aquarium that I have filled with R/O water and mixed with salt that I was going to start adding cured live rock to this week. I have since decided to purchase uncured live rock and do the curing myself in some separate Rubbermaid containers. I was told that I didn't need to use purified water for curing the live rock since the water will have so much organics in it from the process.  I have well water that should work since it contains no chlorine.   Since this process is likely to take a few weeks, I'm now concerned about the water that I have in my aquarium. Will my premixed water be ok to store for a few weeks if I keep this water circulating in a dark & cool room?  I'm hoping that I won't have to purify and mix another 215G of water.   Thank you for your advice. <Kevin, should be no problem doing so.  James (Salty Dog)> Kevin   

Salt Water for water change 10/17/2006 Hi Yesterday morning I mixed up about 40 gallons of salt water for a water change.  I use a submersible pump that I got from Home Depot. The hose is long and it got a slight kink in it so over time the pump ran hot. Last night I checked the salt water mix and it was very hot to the touch... I guessed about 100 degrees and when I dropped in my thermometer, I found that temp to be accurate. <<Wow that's hot.>> So I unplugged the pump to let the water cool down.  I'm now using an aerator to keep the surface agitated and oxygen levels up. The water has cooled down to about 77 degrees. My question is - is it okay to use this water for my water change given the fact that it got so hot? Did the 100 degree temperature change the chemistry of the water? <<Not likely.  So long as the pump doesn't have anything on it that is harmful, it should be fine (I am unfamiliar with said pump).  Do aerate for some time. Lisa>> Sally S.

About source water, salt mix/ing - 10/22/2006 I have been reading your site and am still a little confused. My question is regarding the preparing of saltwater before use. I was not told to do so and have learned I'm doing it incorrectly... We have well water, can this be used? Can spring water be used? <Yes and yes> Can you tell me the  proper way to premix the water? <This is posted... please use the indices and search tool on WWM> Last question, what to do if an emergency occurs and you have no premixed water? <In a pinch, if there is less harm to mix and use... Best to always pre-mix and have stored for ready use> I need to do a water change and would like to do it properly.  I hope you can help for the sake of my Fish and myself! Thanks <Do please read over the FAQs files and Articles archived on WWM re treating/using source water, synthetic salt mixes. Bob Fenner>

Water Preparation 10/12/06 I have a few questions concerning salt water. Here is my current tank set up: I have a 60 gallon DAS tank. We have 80 pounds live rock and about 110 pounds live sand. We have some Nassarius snail, blue leg hermits, astrea snails and a sand sifting star (which I will be giving to my local fish store soon), a pulsing xenia and a hammer coral. The tank has been set up for about 4 months. <Sounds nice> My questions are as follows. 1) What is the "best" salt to use for my tank? What do you recommend and why? <Ask ten people and get ten different answers.  Honestly I don't think there is a big difference between them.  I use Instant Ocean, it is the most popular and very easy to find.  Also for what it is worth it is the brand the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago uses.> 2) I have purchased a RO/DI setup how do the trace elements get back in the water from the salt? <Use a marine buffer and the salt mix should put in everything you need.> 3) How long can I keep a RO/DI or salt water solution bottled up before it goes bad? I am wanting to make the RO/DI a weekly for top offs. The salt water I would like to have it made a week ahead of my water changes, is this safe for my tank and the creatures that dwell in it? I plan on storing this water both salt and "fresh" ro/di on 5 gallon jugs that are and have only been used for water in my garage with lids. <Should be fine, just remember to match it temperature to the tank's before use.> Thanks for your continued help. Have a great day, Mark <Chris>

Dissolved solids OK?  9/23/06 Crew, <Rob> I have read all the FAQ's on salt mix, and understand that the undissolved solids I see when I mix up a batch of salt water are normal. I mix up 4 gallons of salt water in  5 gallon bucket with a lid, along with 2 tbs of baking soda, and aerate it for a week with a maxi-jet 1200 submersible pump before I do my weekly water changes. <The solids you are seeing are more than likely from the baking soda.  Not a good idea to mix this in with the salt. Wait till the salt mix is completely dissolved before adding, and then, mix the baking soda with fresh water before adding to the tank.> I use Oceanic salt mix, but from my reading will probably switch to Instant Ocean when I need to buy mix again. My question. is it better to stir the sediment up in the bucket, and add the cloudy water to the tank for the water changes, or should I try to avoid getting the sediment in the tank? I have been doing the stir-up beforehand method thus far, and while it clouds up the tank pretty badly, it clears up in a few hours. My thoughts are since nothing but tap water, baking soda, and salt mix goes in the bucket, the my tank probably needs whatever doesn't dissolve anyway. Is that wrong? <Yes, you should not have any sediment in the fresh mix.  Try my method and I believe this problem will disappear.  Instant Ocean is my choice, been using it 30+ years.  I know, but I started very young:) Thanks for the help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>   Rob

Water Preparation/Storage - 09/21/06 Wet Web Crew, <<Gary>> First of all, this is the only place I go now for trusted Reef information, no more LFS misinformation! <<Mmm, sometimes the need/desire to "make a buck" can be a negative influence indeed.  But still, there are some good stores giving good advice out there...up to us, the hobbyist, to "learn" to tell the difference.  Thank you for the "vote of confidence" to our efforts here>> You all have been a great help getting me past my 'infant' stage of Reefing and have helped me keep my reef tank alive and thriving for almost a year now (a new record for me). <<Redeeming to hear>> Again, Thank You. <<Most welcome my friend>> Q: I have an RO unit that I use to make 5gal water bottles for drinking and water changes on my 2 tanks.  TDS water in is about 160ppm going in and about 35ppm out, but when the water bottle sits upside down in my water cooler (standard office water cooler) for a week and I test it, it's only like 12ppm,  why? <<Hmm, don't know really.  Maybe something to do with the manner of orientation and the fact that water (and settled heavy molecules/dissolved solids) have been drained from the bottom?  Do want to mention here the output from your RO unit should reduce the input TDS reading by a factor of about "ten", meaning, with an input reading of 160 your output TDS reading "should" be about 16ppm.  Since your output reading is 35ppm you may want to consider checking/rinsing/replacing your filter membrane>> From other articles I have read I should let my bottles of water for changes sit with aeration for a while before doing the change, correct? <<Correct>> If so, can you please give some more details on this? <<What do you want to know?>> How long should it sit before adding salt? <<A minimum of 24-hours...with aeration to blow off CO2>> Should I put the aeration in right away? <<Yes>> How long should it sit after salt is added? <<The longer the better (to a point).  Newly mixed seawater is very "aggressive" and a real irritant to your livestock.  Even though the salts appear to be dissolved, there are still chemical "processes" taking place for a time.  I like to mix my salt and then let the water "mature" for a week before using.  You can also use this time to monitor/adjust earth element levels, pH , etc. (don't ever leave everything up to "any" salt manufacturer without testing first)>> Should I do pH and ALK adjustments to the water before adding it to tank? <<Ah!  Yes!>> How long is TOO long for the water to sit before a change? <<If in a dark, covered container...a couple weeks at the least>> Is it bad to let the water bottle sit in the sunlight to get the phytoplankton to start growing? <<Mmm, yes...the possibility of die-off/fowling of the water is too great>> Am I putting too much thought into this? <<Not at all...wish most hobbyists gave more thought to water prep/chemistry/storage/use.  Many simply mix it up and pour it in their tanks...'cause that's what it said on the bag to do'...>> Thanks for ANY help you can give me, <<I hope I have...>> Gary <<Regards, EricR>> Re-2: A Tale of Two Dead Naso Tangs   9/19/06 Hello Eric, <<Hi Patrick>> I searched your site and was unable to find articles on RO top off pro/cons but going through some other users' questions have a basic understanding of the concern of not using raw RO. <<Ah good...and maybe time for me to stop procrastinating and "put pen to paper" re.  And here are some articles worthy of your perusal:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water.htm ... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm ... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i4/RO_systems/reverse_osmosis.htm ... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watchgantart.htm ... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/marineMaint.htm>> I am without question going to change my procedures on the water change water, actually I understand now why I have to keep adding alk buffer as much as I do. <<Indeed!  Considering the volume of the tank, your water change routine, and the fact you have but a few corals at present, regular supplementation of earth elements should not be required>> Some new challenges are with the top-off water. <<...?>> I have serious space issues and need to find more information on what other people are doing to pre-treat their RO top-off water. <<Should be mentioned in one or two of the articles I've provided.  But is a simple matter of utilizing a suitable storage container (plastic trash cans are common) to hold the RO water, adding aeration/water movement for 24 hrs to blow-off CO2, then adding buffer to raise pH and alkalinity.  I like to use a 2 to 1 mixture of baking soda and Seachem's Reef Buffer...you can use baking soda alone but you won't get much of a pH rise without "baking it" first (spread on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour) to drive out the CO2 used in its manufacture>> <Interesting. Making some of this sodium carbonate... RMF> The RO unit has an ASOV (a fast flush as well, forgot to mention previously) so putting a float switch in the sump was not a problem. <<Understood...and not an uncommon though ill-advised practice>> What are some standard solutions, mechanisms used? <<Whatever your imagination/budget allows.  My configuration consists of a 55g polyethylene barrel sited in my garage which is fed automatically by my 5-stage 100gpd RO unit.  I control water flow to the RO unit through use of an "air-pressure" water-level switch that turns power on-off to a solenoid valve I installed between the water line and the filter unit.  The 55g drum is plumbed through the attic to a 20g reservoir positioned above my display tank.  A push-button "momentary" switch allows me to easily and conveniently fill the reservoir from the drum in the garage.  Top-off to the sump is controlled by a Tunze Osmolator which feeds water from the reservoir to the sump through a DIY Nilsen reactor (use of the reactor precludes the need to buffer the water beforehand).  This was "my" solution to the "top-off" issue...think about your needs/what you want to do and come up with an idea/a plan and I'll be happy to discuss it with you>> Seems to me I would need a container of some sort with a pump and float switch and a level controller in the sump? <<See...you're half way there <grin> >> Any help in the area would be appreciated.  Just an FYI Big Al's sells Tropic Marin fairly cheap.  A 200gal mix shipped is around 60 bucks. <<Not bad...but still decidedly more than Instant Ocean...which I also consider to be an excellent and consistent salt mix...and probably the best value for the dollar re>> I don't know if I feel any better having a better understanding on how the tangs died, but I walk away knowing more about a number of things and plan to make a number of changes based on your advice. Thanks <<Is all we can do my friend.  And the more we learn...the better we come to understand...the greater the benefit to the hobby will be.  Regards, EricR>> Water Change Query 9/11/06 Dear Sirs: <Hi> First of all, this is the only place I go now for trusted Reef information! <Thanks, but make sure your research extends beyond WetWeb.>  You all have been a great help getting me past my 'infant's stage of Reefing and have helped me keep my reef tank alive for almost a year now (a new record for me)  Again, Thank You. <Congratulations on your success.> Q: I have an RO unit that I use to make 5gal water bottles for drinking and water changes on my 2 tanks.  TDS water in is about 170ppm going in and about 45ppm out, but when the water bottle sits upside down in my water cooler (standard office cooler) for a week and I test it, its only like 18ppm,  why? <Heavier dissolved solids most likely sink to the bottom and are removed as the water is used.> From other articles I have read I should let my bottles of water for changes sit with aeration for a while before doing the change, correct? <Yes> If so, can you please give some more details on this? How long should it sit before adding salt? <I like to buffer and let sit for 24 hours before adding salt.> Should I put the aeration in right away? <Yes> How long should it sit after salt is added? <24 hours> Should I do PH and ALK adjustments to the water before adding it to tank? <Yes> How long is TOO long for the water to sit before a change? <Can be kept until it becomes biologically alive, which can be quite a while as long as the container is covered.> Is it bad to let the water bottle sit in the sunlight to get the phytoplankton to start growing? <Yes, not really phytoplankton that is growing, just unwanted algae most likely.> Thanks for ANY help you can give me, Gary <Anytime> <Chris>

Water changes   9/2/06 Hi Crew, I know that we need to aerate our water before adding it to the tank, but here is my question......We have well water at the house and we have an Odor Oxidizer on our water system (basically it removes odor from the water by mixing it with air, our water coming out of the faucet is white from the air bubbles). Do you think that I should still aerate the water for 12hrs or do you thing that this is not necessary with this Oxidizer? Also about the PH and the Alk. when I make water for water changes should I use NatuReef Alkalinity Plus and Hardness Plus to bring it up to where I want it to be or should I use something else (I'm about to do a 60Gallon water change in my 150Gallon Tank due to the fact that I have used straight well water so far, but just received my RO/DI system and want to do some good water changes) Thanks for all you help, Diana <<Diana: Once you install your RO/DI unit, get a TDS meter.  If all goes well, you should have a reading on your well water of 000.  At that point, your well water won't have any hardness at all.  You can then mix it with your preferred brand of synthetic salt.  I don't think you will need any other additives at the time you mix the salt.  Best of luck,  Roy>>

Sediment in synthetic salt mix   9/2/06 Hello, I wasn't able to find any information on this topic at all so I decided to send you guys a mail - thank you very much in advance for taking the time to answer this. I have been using Instant Ocean salt mix for about 1 year now. I have a RO filter set up on my municipal water supply faucet and mix my saltwater in a plastic bucket before adding in to my tanks. I have found that there is a large amount of sediment that does not dissolve when I mix my salt  in my mixing bucket, I have a large power head in the bucket and after waiting 24 - 48 hrs there is always a large amount of white sediment that has settled at the bottom of the bucket. I maintain temperature of the mix at 80 - 82 C and this seems to be happening every time - does anyone else get the same problem or could there be something wrong with the water supply itself? Should I try and change the brand of salt mix I am using (I have heard good things about Instant Ocean) Although the sediment does not seem to be causing any problems I am a little perplexed as to why there would be this amount of sediment still remaining in the plastic bucket. As always your teams help and input would be greatly appreciated. Best regards, Aehsun <<Aehsun:  When I mix up a 30 gallon batch of IO, I usually have about one or two spoonfuls of sediment left.  It may not be the thing to do; but, I usually dump the excess into the sump.  Best of luck, Roy>>

Comparison Of Salt Mixes   8/30/06 Hi Crew <Hi Peter> Hope you are all well.  I have spent hours reading your expert advice recently - keep up the good work.  Sorry if my questions are naive, but I  am useless at all science and understand little after rereading umpteen  times. I am having problems with the calcium level  and alkalinity of my  tank, so I have been trying to track down an article or chart I once saw  that compared salt mixes for calcium, alkalinity etc after mixing. Do you recall this article/chart or know of anything similar? <Do not know which one you are referring to, but here is one of the better comparisons.   http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2005/11/aafeature1> The salt mix I am using seems to come out at 240 for calcium after mixing -   can that be right?   <Yes> Woud <Wood or Would?> the Tropic Marin remineral for marine I am using   help both calcium and alkalinity? <Can, but when choosing a salt mix, do choose a mix formulated for reef systems.> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Peter Hosier

Mixing saltwater in high temperatures   8/23/06 Greetings and thank you for your great website. <Howdy and welcome> I am new to the saltwater aquarium hobby and I have a couple of  questions about mixing saltwater.  I would like to mix saltwater for my weekly water changes in my garage due to lack of space and a two year old son that is fascinated by all things fish related. <Heeee!> Here lies the problem:  I live in the desert and after brewing the saltwater for a few days in the garage, the temperature is close to a hundred degrees when I go to use it, even if I "harvest" it early in the morning.   My plan is to mix the water in my garage but at a high SG for several days and then bring the water into the house; add cold RO water (no salt) that has been stored in the refrigerator; mix it for another hour or two; and then adjust for PH, SG, and temperature to match that of the display tank.  I understand that temperature affects SG and would consider it when mixing my "recipe."   Does this sound like a plan that will lead to optimal water quality?   <Sounds like a very workable plan> In addition, I am having difficulty maintaining the PH in my display tank but absolutely no problem maintaining it in my quarantine tank. <Mmmmm>   My display tank (24 gallons) has about 20 lbs of live rock and a 1/2 inch layer of live sand while the display tank is bare bottom with just PVC pipes, a heater, and a power filter.  I use the same water in both tanks.  Is it likely that the PH problem has to do with inadequate aeration in the display tank? <Mmm, possibly a contributing factor... but not alone>   And would an airstone added to the filtration compartment of the display tank help stabilize PH in the tank?     <Might, worth trying...> Thank You, Ande <Do you have an alkalinity test kit? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Salt Mix Precipitate - 08/22/06 Greetings once again from Nebraska! <<Hello from South Carolina!...though I just returned from five "really long" days in Alliance, NE <grin> >> Thanks again for the superb service that you provide.  Your information has been a great help. <<Is a collective effort, we're happy you find it of service>> I have a quick question regarding an unusual occurrence I noticed the last time I mixed up replacement water for a water change.  I have a 75g, lightly inhabited tank with a fair amount of live rock.  Mostly fish, but I also have a huge Sebae anemone.  The system has been set up for nearly 4 years. <<Okay>> I've used the same procedure for mixing replacement water from the beginning.  I have three square food grade buckets that I fill with RO.  I place the buckets in our attached garage and aerate for anywhere from 2 days to a week. <<Excellent>> I then slowly add and stir the Instant Ocean until I get the salinity desired (as measured by a refractometer at 35 ppt). <<All good>> I keep the aeration going until I'm ready to use the water, which can be anywhere from a day to 2 weeks. <<The longer the better in my opinion...just because the salt "dissolves", it doesn't mean it is "mixed"/that chemical processes aren't still taking place>> (I try to change 12 gallons every 2 to 3 weeks).  Usually, right after mixing, I notice whitish debris at the bottom of the bucket.  It isn't adhered, but moves around if I stir the bucket.  It goes into solution within a day.  The last time I did a water change, everything appeared normal after mixing.  A couple of days later, I peeked into the aerated buckets, and didn't notice any debris at the bottom of the bucket.  When I was ready to do the water change, about 4 or 5 days later, I noticed a heavy white deposit at the bottom of each bucket.  This deposit was firmly adhered, and I later removed it with a vinegar soak and scraping.  I'm just wondering what happened this time to cause the precipitate.  It was fairly hot in the garage (lower 90s), but this isn't uncommon during the summertime.  I've used this method since I set up the aquarium several years ago and this is the first time I've had this problem. Thanks in advance for your help! Ed <<Well Ed, what you describe sounds like some of the calcium/alkaline earth elements precipitated out of the mix and deposited on the bucket (the precipitate won't go back in to solution).  This may have been caused by adding the salt mix too fast allowing it to accumulate on the bottom of the bucket where localized concentrations could exceed solubility levels...or possibly the salt mix was "contaminated" by moisture intrusion "in the bucket" before you mixed it (you don't say which portion of Nebraska you are from...is high humidity a factor?).  I've used Instant Ocean myself for three decades and I see this from time to time and I've never considered it a real "problem".  But, I will also say that it seems the buckets/batches obtained during the occasional "super salt sale" seem to be the most affected/likely to have heavy precipitate...possibly from sitting around for very long periods in hot and humid warehouses?...or maybe even sitting exposed and unprotected from the weather?  Admittedly, just speculation on my part.  I'm surprised this is the first time in four years you have experienced this.  Obviously your mixing "technique" works very well...I wouldn't change a thing.  Regards, Eric Russell>> Ph & Alkalinity/Salt Mixes & Buffering - 08/22/06 Hello crew, thanks for taking the time to provide valuable experience and information. <<Is my pleasure to assist when/where I can>> I use Oceanic salt for my FOWLR system.  The pH is generally 7.9 to 8.0, I don't monitor alkalinity but have read through your site that Oceanic brand sea salt mix does not have adequate alkalinity and a slightly lower pH than sea water. <<Mmm, indeed...better (proven) brands to be had (Instant Ocean, Tropic Marin)...but you can improve on this a bit with some buffering of your make-up water>> I haven't had any issues using Oceanic in my FOWLR systems for the last few years. <<Ok>> Should I be more concerned about this or is it not a concern as I am not trying to maintain a reef system which will require more control of these water parameters? <<The reef system is more demanding, true, but you should still strive to maintain natural saltwater chemistry for any marine system.  If the alkalinity of your salt mix is below NSW levels you can try buffering with simple sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).  This "may" also give an increase of a tenth of a point or so to your pH (aerate for 24 hours after adding to drive off the carbon dioxide used in the manufacture of the baking soda).  You might also want to consider replacing/adding some new live rock to add fresh buffers/earth elements to your system>> Thanks again for your help. <<Always welcome.  EricR>>

Salt mix recommendation   8/17/06 Hello crew. <Hey there, Leslie in for the crew this evening> Without a doubt this is the best site for information. <Well, thanks so much, glad you are enjoying it and finding it helpful. > Thanks again for taking the time to help out this newbie. <Your most welcome. We were all new at least once.> I have used Oceanic in FOWLR set-ups for the past 2 years and the pH is consistently around 7.9.  I haven't bothered to pH up the system as all the fish seem happy, but as I try to improve my system I wanted to switch to a salt mix that can consistently hit around 8.2 without additional buffering. Could you make a couple of recommendations so I can find a source that is affordable.   <My favorite is Marine Enterprises-Crystal Sea Marine Aquarium Salt. I think it is quite reasonably priced. I get it online at Aquarium Supply Store http://www.aquariumsupplystore.com/Productspages/marine_enterprises_int.htm There was a study done on it along with some other popular salt brands. If you are interested you can read about it here'¦. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-03/rs/feature/index.php> Thanks again. <Your most welcome, Leslie>

Switching Synthetic Salt Mixes - 08/15/06 Hello. <<Howdy>> I just wanted to know if it is ok to mix different types (brands) of salts. <<I've heard accounts of "some" folks experiencing problems when changing salt mixes but for most I don't think it is an issue...my own experiences included.  I've been pretty much using the same brand (Instant Ocean) for three decades, but I admit to "trying out" a couple other brands in that time>> I have been using Instant Ocean because it is easy to get, not too expensive, and seems to be working ok. <<Indeed...IO is the best "bang for the buck" when it comes to synthetic sea salts, in my opinion>> I recently changed to their Reef Crystals salt which is supposed to be better for corals. <<Mmm, a larger measure of calcium...may or may not be worth the extra expense.  I'm happy to stick with Instant Ocean and let my calcium reactor/Kalkwasser reactor earn their keep>> I recently read a forum on WWM that suggested using Tropic Marin. <<Considered by some to be the "premier" salt brand>> I have never heard of this brand and definitely never seen any for sale. <<How strange...this salt has been available/popular since before I had my first saltwater aquarium (1976).  In fact if memory serves, Tropic Marin and Instant Ocean were about the only "readily available" commercial synthetic salt mixes around back then>> What is your opinion on this brand? <<If money were no option?  ...is what I would be using.  It is a great salt mix...but I find IO gives me good, consistent results for a bit less cash>> I found some reasonably priced and was wondering if you thought I would benefit from switching to this brand. <<Mmm, maybe...  There's much more to this hobby than which salt mix you are using.  Making the change won't hurt anything...and if your maintenance habits/husbandry skills are up to snuff then yes, the salt mix may foster an improvement>> If so, are there any negative effects of mixing different brands of salt? <<Don't try to change all at once...make the switch slowly by introducing the new mix during your regular water change routine>> I have the Reef Crystals in the tank now, and would use the Tropic Marin for future water changes.  Would this be ok? <<Ah...you're ahead of me <grin>.  Yes, this is fine>> Thanks Jon <<Happy to help.  Regards, EricR>> Klunzinger's Wrasse Acting Strange/Proper Preparation of Natural Seawater - 08/13/06 Hi Mr. Fenner, <<EricR here this morning>> Hope everything is fine there'¦ <<Yes, thank you>> Here is a problem which I don't know yet whether it's a big problem or a small problem. <<Hmm, let's see then...>> It's about the behavior of my Klunzinger's Wrasse (Thalassoma klunzingeri). <<A very neat/attractive fish>> He has been acting totally weird lately.  He was the type to cruise around the tank searching for food (ate very well) and even when I clean the tank he never hides. <<Typical, yes>> But 2-days ago he never came up to the surface from his hiding place inside the sand bed.  So I thought he was tired or something but the next day also he never showed up so I was obviously scared as I thought he was dead. <<Not necessarily...have observed this behavior in other/similar species>> Then I put my hands inside and tried to search for him inside the sand then suddenly he just came out moved around like lightning and vanished under the sand again. <<Yikes!...I wouldn't do this, quite stressful to the wrasse>> I repeated my actions again once but got the same results & since then he is hiding. <<Best to leave the wrasse be>> My water quality: Ammonia 0.02 & Nitrite 0.05. <<Mmm, s**hould be "zero"...and may be what is affecting/mal-affecting the wrasse>> I use normal seawater for monthly 20% water changes which I collect from the shallow sea so I don't think I can maintain my Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate at '0' levels. <<This is distressing to read.  Unless you are properly "processing" this water (please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm) you are likely introducing pollutants and pathogens to your system>> Am I right??? <<Indeed my friend...this is "false economy"...and may likely mean the ultimate demise of your fish/system>> I didn't check for Nitrate as my test kit is over. Salinity: 1.020. <<Salinity should be 1.025/.026>> My tank is 80G and has only another Blue tang and a Bannerfish which are normal at this moment. <<Mmm, must mention...this tank is too small for the tang in the long-term...and marginal for the Bannerfish...in my opinion>> My green algae growth is fine <<I'll bet...>> & I have a lot of live rock.  What do you think about this situation? <<I have seen these "burrowing" wrasse hide before for as long as seven days when pestered.  In this case I think the problem is environmental (water chemistry issues/pathogens)>> What's up with him? <<Something in your system/water is bothering the wrasse>> Will he be normal again or should I expect the worst? <<Properly quarantine/treat/buffer the NSW, or better yet, convert to synthetic, and you will likely see an improvement>> Thanks, best regards, Rachel   <<Cheers my friend.  EricR>>

Maintenance/Mixing Salt Water  7/15/06 Hi there, Just a quick one.  I have just started mixing my own salt water.  I have it mixing with a heater, air stone, and a power head. What I was wondering was how long can it be left mixing, as my LFS has told me only 3 days, but I would like to have some on the go at all times as I do a 5% water change twice a week and  need new water all the time. <If that were the case, wouldn't our display tank water only be good for three days?  As long as there is water movement/aeration, there really isn't a time limit.  If you wish to keep for extended periods, it is best to keep in a covered, light proof container, such as a new Rubbermaid trash container.> Also what is the best way to add everything to the R/O water? Heat water first then add salt? <Aerate (heater running) the freshwater 24 hours before adding the salt.  After the salt is added, let this mix run for 24 hours before using.  Aeration will remove any CO2 present which can lead to a lowering of dkH and pH of the new mix.> Many thanks for your help J.C. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Re:  Water Changes...Natural Or Artificial Seawater  - 07/18/2006 Thanks ~James. <You're welcome.> With me only doing 10% a month, I will easily be able to afford the salt mix.  We pay 3 or 4 times what you lucky people do in the States.  Doh! <Mmmm, I'm sure shipping from the States would be rather expensive based on it's weight/distance.  Any suggestions here, Bob?> <<Look about... RMF>> Many thanks for keeping me on the right track. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> James. Fish deaths and water preparation 6/26/06 I've had my 25 gallon saltwater with 30 pounds of live rock for three months now. After cycling, I added a black and gold damsel, two blue-green Chromis fish, and a scarlet cleaner shrimp. After seeming healthy for about a month, one blue-green Chromis had a cut on it from the other Chromis attacking him, so I put him in a plastic quarantine within the tank, so that the other fish would leave him alone while he healed. After two or three days he died. <Was this a solid container?  Was there any circulation within the container?  I don't really like these, prefer a proper QT/hospital tank.> About two weeks later, the other blue-green Chromis started not eating as much as usual, but had no visual signs of illness other than that. A few weeks after that he began looking a bit thin, and then was unable to swim and started sinking to the bottom. He died a few hours later. <Many possible reasons, intestinal parasite, cyanide poisoning, harassment, water quality.> The black and gold damsel and shrimp are both healthy and seem to be doing fine. I've taken my water to my fish store and they tested my levels and said everything was normal. <Normal is relative, get hard numbers next time.>  I change about 10% of my water every week. But, when I do water changes, I add my salt mix into a bucket with water treated with reverse-osmosis (the kind you get from the machines at the grocery store), mix for a few minutes, check the salinity, add a little buffer and then add to the tank. <Not good> Am I supposed to be letting the water sit for 24 hours? <Yes> Could this be killing my fish? <Would be a quick death if that is the problem.>  What's the benefit of mixing the water 24 hours in advance? <Gives time for the Ph to stabilize, salt to really dissolve, plus fresh mixed water is quite corrosive.> Thank you! <Anytime> <Chris>

Help! pH non-anomaly with new water   6/8/06 Hi there.  It's Chris again with yet another ph issue.  My tank has consistently been at 8.5 to 8.6 for the last 10 days.  I've also had 5 gallons of replacement synthetic seawater "brewing" in a large plastic container for a week.  This water was made with RO water, instant ocean salt mix (salinity at .025), and Seachem Marine Buffer. After one full week brewing in  this covered plastic container, with a powerhead, the ph is a consistent 8.5 to 8.6.  What am I doing wrong in that I simply cannot get my ph in the 8.1 to 8.3 range?   Thanks, as always. <Mmm, nada... this is "about right" considering the salt mix brand, the buffer product added... and not a worry... will drift down over time/use. I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help! pH non-anomaly with new water and Zoanthids   6/8/06 Thanks, Bob. <Welcome Chris> Should I consider a premium-brand salt mix? <Mmm, no... or I wouldn't... Instant Ocean is a mighty fine product... consistent, well-formulated...> On another note, I have recently purchased a Zoanthus colony, which looked great at my fish store, however, since adding it to my tank on Saturday (today is Thursday) it has yet to fully bloom. <This/these can take a while to adjust...> In fact, I would say that it's blooming at about 15% of capacity.  Is this a ph issue? <Doubtful>   I'm adding Reef Solution daily (1/2 capful), <I'd hold off on this...> have it placed very high in my aquarium. <I'd start new cnidarians lower, lowest...> The colony had been placed near the middle so I moved it hoping for better bloom. <And not move them around much at first...>   I also just recently started adding phytoplankton. <Most cnidarians don't eat much of this...> By the way, the tank is a 37G "high" tank with 130W of compact fluorescent lighting. Thanks again, your expertise is invaluable. Chris <Do please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm and the linked files above. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Salt Mix Opinion  - 5/18/2006 Hey guy and gals! <Hello Christine> I was wondering what you guys thought about 'Red Sea Pro Coral Salt'.  It is supposed to be for use with RO water.  Here is the description: "With the increasing popularity of Reverse Osmosis water filtration systems Red Sea addressed the special needs of this advanced hobbyist with the development of Coral Pro Salt. Unlike traditional water filtration systems Reverse Osmosis filtration strips the water of several essential elements, which were never factored into the salt formulas available today. Since the reverse osmosis process strip virtually 100% of the calcium from the 'tap water' the hobbyist is left with a seawater mixture that is significantly low in calcium from the start. In addition to calcium there are a few other natural minerals and chemicals left at inadequate levels such as magnesium. Coral Pro salt when mixed with Reverse Osmosis water faithfully replicates natural seawater and has the desired calcium and magnesium content to support delicate reef life. Chemically balanced formula to support the most delicate corals and other marine life. Free of nitrates and phosphates." Does this eliminate the need for RO right/other buffers? <Not familiar with this new product.  Why don't you talk to the horse at Red Sea.  Email "Pinky" here:  redseainfo@redseafish.com> Thanks! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Christine

Re: Salt Mix Opinion - anyone but salty dog  - 05/19/2006 Thanks for the email address, but I was really hoping to get an objective opinion on the salt mix.  My previous email is repeated below: Hey guy and gals! I was wondering what you guys thought about 'Red Sea Pro Coral Salt'.  It is supposed to be for use with RO water.  Here is the description: "With the increasing popularity of Reverse Osmosis water filtration systems Red Sea addressed the special needs of this advanced hobbyist with the development of Coral Pro Salt. Unlike traditional water filtration systems Reverse Osmosis filtration strips the water of several essential elements, which were never factored into the salt formulas available today. Since the reverse osmosis process strip virtually 100% of the calcium from the 'tap water' the hobbyist is left with a seawater mixture that is significantly low in calcium from the start. In addition to calcium there are a few other natural minerals and chemicals left at inadequate levels such as magnesium. Coral Pro salt when mixed with Reverse Osmosis water faithfully replicates natural seawater and has the desired calcium and magnesium content to support delicate reef life. Chemically balanced formula to support the most delicate corals and other marine life. Free of nitrates and phosphates." Have any of you tried this product? Does this eliminate the need for RO right/other buffers? Thanks! Christine <Mmm, did see the original response (and query). For my part I have not used this product (is relatively new), but am familiar with the company's main brand and this has proven inconsistent and inferior. I would post your query on some of the various specialty BB's (ReefFrontiers, ReefCentral...) for a broader, user-based response here. Bob Fenner>

Salt Mix Opinion Query  - 05/19/2006 Another irritating querier.  I gave her my answer stating I'm not familiar with the product and even gave her an addy to Red Sea.  How can I give an "objective opinion" when I never used the product or am familiar with it.  She doesn't want me to respond and I won't, already gave her all she should need.  ARRGGHHH.   James <Thought about this as well... I'd've given about the same response... I have no experience with this salt... but their main brand is inconsistent, inferior... I would next, perhaps will refer this person to the specialty BB's for a wider net of experience, input. BobF>

Water woes ... mysterious goings on with synthetic salt mix, mixing   5/17/06 Greetings oh Wet Ones! <Andrea> I recently started a 75 gallon tank and decided to up my saltwater production (a 5 gallon bucket isn't gonna cut it anymore).  However, I am having a great deal of difficulty getting the "new" water to the correct parameters. <Mmmm> I filled a 30 gallon plastic garbage can with RODI water and added baking soda to buffer (2 teaspoons per 5 gallons).  I then used a Maxijet 900 PH with venturi attachment for aeration and circulation.  After 24 hours the salinity was a bit off so I added more salt (I use Tropic Marin) and waited another 24 hours.  When checked again the salinity was perfect for my tank (SG 1.025), but the water had become cloudy, the pH was low (around 7) and there was a white residue on the sides of the container. <Mmm... may be the container itself is/was unsuitable...> I turned off the venturi on the PH, added some more baking soda (not sure of measure, just dumped some in) and waited another 24 hours.  The water cleared, the SG was 1.025, but the pH is still about 7.  I tested the dKH and it was approximately (had to extrapolate) 21!   I'm at a loss.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your help, Eric <Or the salt mix... I would try mixing up a small batch in a glass jar/container... Bob Fenner> Saltwater pH, Buffering For Use  - 04/27/2006 Hello crew! <Hello Wayne, Josh here from IMAC.> I've got a question that I couldn't find on the site. I'm sure you'll be able to help. <Hope so.> I currently buffer my top-off water with Reef Buffer by Seachem.  I buffer it until it reached 8.3 before adding to the tank. I also plan to use this same water to mix with saltwater for water changes. I use Instant Ocean salt mix.  When mixed with unbuffered water, the PH is up around 8.3.  Should I mix this salt with un-buffered or buffered water? <Well, I bet you won't have a problem either way, but remember you can always mix and then buffer.> By mixing this salt with buffered water, won't I run the risk of having the pH be too high? <Doubtful with this salt mix.> Thanks again! Wayne <Sure. - Josh>

Shanghai salt - 26/4/06 Hello WWM crew, I am the owner of a synthetic sea salt manufacturer based in Shanghai, China.  We have been in business coming on 7 years now with our primary markets in Japan, Taiwan, China and the USA.  We believe strongly in our current products; however, in an effort to make sure we are always delivering what we believe to be the best product possible and to expand our product line into some specialty groups (augmenting chemicals), I would like to hire for consultancy a person of reputable background in this field.  I have a university full of chemists behind me already; but in China there is little background (especially in academia) with marine fish keeping, hence the desire to find someone who is not only knowledgeable about chemistry/physics but has broad range of experience in reef and marine fish keeping as well.  After an exhaustive search and read on the WWM site I see that Tom Frakes may be your recommendation (if available), can you place me in touch or make a similar referral? And if I may, a quick plug for my company: we are big enough to serve, yet small enough to make it personal.  We custom manufacture for commercial applications in batches as small as 1,200 lbs and stock our bulk standard mix in Los Angles.  We are working hard to expand the market in China but feel our aggressive pricing would benefit any person, business or institution looking to keep costs down. Thank you for producing such a fantastic site, T. Norman PS - Have referenced your website on ours ( http://www.finssalt.com/faqs.htm). <Hi Timothy. I'm putting this back in the general box for Bob to see and squarely answer your question. However, I'm in Shanghai and would be interested in corresponding further. I'm currently exporting (very low volume, start-up) aquatic goods to the UK and think would be interested in learning more about your salt. Best regards,  John>

Seeking chemical consultant... salt mix   4/26/06 Hello WWM crew, I am the owner of a synthetic sea salt manufacturer based in Shanghai, China.  We have been in business coming on 7 years now with our primary markets in Japan, Taiwan, China and the USA.  We believe strongly in our current products; however, in an effort to make sure we are always delivering what we believe to be the best product possible and to expand our product line into some specialty groups (augmenting chemicals), I would like to hire for consultancy a person of reputable background in this field.  I have a university full of chemists behind me already; but in China there is little background (especially in academia) with marine fish keeping, hence the desire to find someone who is not only knowledgeable about chemistry/physics but has broad range of experience in reef and marine fish keeping as well.  After an exhaustive search and read on the WWM site I see that Tom Frakes may be your recommendation (if available), can you place me in touch or make a similar referral? <I will bcc him here. He will respond if interested> And if I may, a quick plug for my company: we are big enough to serve, yet small enough to make it personal.  We custom manufacture for commercial applications in batches as small as 1,200 lbs and stock our bulk standard mix in Los Angles.  We are working hard to expand the market in China but feel our aggressive pricing would benefit any person, business or institution looking to keep costs down. Thank you for producing such a fantastic site, T. Norman PS - Have referenced your website on ours ( http://www.finssalt.com/faqs.htm). <Thank you for writing. Good luck in your business. Bob Fenner> Ozone  problems ... Toxic Water "Disease", Synthetic Salt Mix Use, Ozone Use...  - 04/25/06 Hi, <Greg> I have a small undersized ozone generator on my reef system of 300 gallons (30mg/hr max). Here's the link to the generator... http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/iid/7945/cid/1966 <Good company> I should also mention that the age and wear/tear of the generator is unknown. It was given to me by a aquaculture research facility. The room they took it out of was very humid and my gut feeling was that this generator has some build up inside. <Can be tested... just running some air through, into a water sample should raise the pH discernibly...> I do not run an air dryer. The ozone goes into my skimmer and the outflow pour into carbon. The ORP reading peaks at about 350. <Might be working...> After about 2 weeks of running ozone my LPSs corals start to die. <... not from ozone> The flesh begins pulling off the skeleton. My Tri color Acropora starts to bleach out. My mushrooms start to shrivel up. Feather dusters pop there tops and begin dying. Fish start showing signs of ill health (black blotches, ick) My red sea O3 residual test kit reads "safe". This can't be caused by a sudden light increase because It effects feather dusters in the shadows as well as fish. Carbon is fresh and plentiful (about 8 oz). <Thirty milligrams per hour going into a skimmer, or even directly into the tank is not at all likely to create troubles> After 1 week of stopping ozone, things slowly begin to improve in health. Acro stops bleaching, LPS stop reseeding, etc. 1 month of no ozone things stabilized so I started it back up again and experienced problems all over again which confirmed it was ozone related. The feather dusters actually died and most of my fish are now sick. <Bizarre... and frightening... I can't think of what a small corona-discharge unit like this might be doing to produce such negative effect> My best guest at this point is by-products from the ozone. Possibly caused by the ozone generator itself or maybe some weird chemical reactions with my salt (here's my salt... http://www.aquariumsupplystore.com/Productspages/marine_enterprises_int.htm Interesting break down of salt mixes including mine... http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2005/11/aafeature1 <Interesting speculation> Thank you for your consideration, Greg <Thank you for sharing this. Am archiving under Toxic Water "Disease", Synthetic Salt Mix Use, Ozone Use... and sending, sharing with Mike del Prete, Ron Shimek. Bob Fenner> Maintenance/Water Changes/Snowstorms    4/16/06 Hello crew <Hello Wayne> I have a specific question relating to "snowstorms" that I couldn't find on the sight.  Hope you can help. I just started using an RODI system about 3 weeks ago, on top of that I just started aerating my weekly "water change" (10gal) water for 24 hrs, then adding baking soda (4 teaspoons), aerating for another 24 hrs, then adding my salt mix (Instant Ocean) for another 24 hrs, only to add it into my tank every Sunday. Well, the past 2 times I've done this, the saltwater mix is extremely cloudy.  Even after 24 hrs of mixing.  Could this be the "Snowstorm" that I've read about?  I've never had this problem before, until I started buffering with baking soda.  If not, than what could this be?  Just a bad batch of salt? <I'd mix the salt first, then add the buffer, see if that doesn't help any. If not, try a product such as Reef Builder (Sea Chem) and see if the results are the same.  James (Salty Dog)> Please help. Thanks <You're welcome> - Wayne Aquarium salt  - 04/05/2006 I was recently at an aquarium store to get aquarium salt and they were out. They suggested I go next store to a Lowe's and get some water softener it would work exactly the same. I would like to know if this is safe to use in my aquarium, or  if it would be harmful to the fish?  <I have no idea why they would tell you this.... sometimes shortcuts are OK in life, but this isn't a place I'd make them.  Aquarium salt is specially formulated to be as close to pure ocean water as possible - special additives are needed, and there also needs to be no nitrates or phosphates.   I would NOT use a substitute here, nor would I get anymore advice from this store.  Jen S.> Set Up/Natural Sea Salt vs. Marine Salt   3/16/06 I am using natural sea salt not marine salt, is that okay?  Not  the stuff you put on food. I bought it at a  pet store.  <The only natural sea salt I'm aware of is made by Red Sea.  Is this what you are referring to?  James (Salty Dog)> Salt Water Shelf Life   03/9/06 If you use RO water and a quality salt mix  to make your salt water and keep it  buffered/ heated/ aerated, how long is it good (to be used for water change)? Is two to three weeks ok?  <Be just fine, just keep it covered and away from direct light.  James (Salty Dog)> Kent Re: quandary with Oodinium infection ... ammonia, sources, sea salt - 03/05/06 Once again thanks so much for the help!  I've been doing water changes on my QT tank and didn't think the ammonia levels were coming down enough... so I started testing my water, both just the RO and the RO after it was mixed with salt and aerated.  Testing a jug of RO I get about a .25 ammonia reading and testing my water aerated and mixed with Crystal Sea Bioassay formula to 1.022 I get .5ppm. <It's likely the salt mix...>   So I thought my kit might be bad so I grabbed another kit and got the same readings. Hmmmm....so now I'm really confused...then I read a FAQ on this site about a cat box in the same room....and bingo!  What I don't understand is how water in a 5 gallon jug with a lid could absorb ammonia from the cat box (could the test tube used to test absorb? <Not likely... try mixing the salt outside... testing> ....course I rinse right before testing).  The really hard part is convincing my wife we have to move the cat box.  Is the cat box really the culprit here...the quest for knowledge and ammonia free tank water continues....... George W <Again, my strong urging to pre-mix, store new synthetic seawater... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm Bob Fenner> Salt Choices - 03/03/06 Good morning crew!   <<Nighttime now...Howdy!>> I have searched through your FAQs and message boards and such and just can't find the answer I am looking for.  I suppose that there is no one answer for this question. <<Likely the case, as with most everything <grin>.>> I have been using Crystal Sea salt mix for about 2 years now without any problems that I am aware of.  Have had 2 humbug damsels and a serpent star for that length of time.  Unfortunately, to get the Crystal Sea, I have to travel 1 hr. one way to a pet shop or order it online and pay heavy shipping. <<I see>> I have considered changing brands to something more local.  My local choices are Instant Ocean, Red Sea, or Oceanic.  IYO are any of these better than Crystal Sea? <<Instant Ocean gets my vote, hands down.  I've used this salt for nearly 30 years.  I've "experimented" with many of the others from time to time (though never used Crystal Sea), and always find myself coming back to the IO.>> If you think Crystal Sea is better, I will keep using that. <<I think the switch to Instant Ocean is very much worth a try.>> I guess with rising gas prices, I am looking for a short cut.   Looking in your archives, I found that there are some people who like each of these.   <<Indeed>> At this time in a 30 gal tank, I have 1 dwarf pearl-scaled angel, 2 fire gobies, 1 blue devil damsel (who was so scared when the humbugs were in there, <<I'll bet!>> *they were moved to another tank for being bullies* that she doesn't bother anything), 1 spaghetti leather coral, a small rock with a bunch of hairy mushrooms on it, and of course the serpent star.  All seem to be doing well.  Battled green hair algae, but recently bought RO/DI unit so that is coming under control quickly. <<Ah, very good.>> Please advise on the salt.  Like I said, if you think Crystal Sea is good, I will stick with it. <<I'm confident you will be happy with Instant Ocean.>> Thanks, Donna <<Welcome, EricR>> Table Salt To "Cure" A New Tank? - 02/04/06 Hi WWM Crew, <<Howdy>> Many thanks for the advice so far on my new reef setup -- managed to get some water in last night to leak test & it's all looking good so far ;o) <<Great!>> 24' cube main tank, 23' x 10' sump.  Just a couple of questions if I may - <<Ok>> I have read somewhere (on a different site I think) advice to run a tank destined for salt water with cheap domestic table salt mixed to an approximate SG in order to cure pipe work and ensure that anything which may be attacked/dissolved etc by saltwater in the system is attacked/dissolved by this temporary (and cheap) salt mix, subsequently drained & disposed of prior to filling with real salt mix (IO is my current brand).  I can see the thinking behind this and it strikes me that it might just be a good idea, what do you think? <<Mmm, more than thirty years in the hobby...never heard or known anyone to try/do this...is unnecessary in my opinion.>> The tank currently has fresh tap water in for leak testing which will need to be drained & disposed of so chucking some cheap table salt in would be no problem. <<Actually, I would simply add the (marine) salt (with carbon and/or Poly-Filter in the filter path) and be done with it.>> The system is of the 'ecosystem' 'miracle mud' design & I intend to have a substrate in the main tank (about ½' deep to avoid the dangerous zone of 1' to 3').  I understand that this will be aesthetic rather than functional <<Yes>> (other than providing a more natural environment for livestock than a bare bottom) & I know I do not want crushed coral -- been there done that!!  Should I be looking for sugar sized aragonite? <<Will depend on your water flow...a larger grain-size may be preferable.>> What size is sugar sized? <<Um...the size of...sugar...>> What other grade/sizes would be suitable?-- as you can tell I'm a little confused here so any advice would be great <<Anything in the 1mm-3mm range would be fine too.>> -- brand names available in the UK would be most useful if at all possible. <<Hmm...I had a reef tank when I was over there in the late 80s/early 90s...I know different grades of substrate were available but don't remember any "brand names."  CaribSea is a popular brand here in the states that may be available in the UK as well.>> Also would this depth of sand bed be too shallow for narcissus or similar cleaners? <<Nassarius (snails)?  No, will be fine.>> What cleanup crew would you advise for such a shallow sand bed? <<The afore mentioned Nassarius snails...I also am a fan of Cerith snails.>> On the same topic, the sump will have a miracle mud area (11 ½' x 10' x 1'deep) lit with Chaetomorpha algae which will hopefully flourish-- what cleanup crew would you recommend here if any (including a guide to numbers/quantities if you could please) <<None needed really, but a half-dozen Nassarius snails won't hurt anything either.>> Cheers, Chris <<Regards, EricR>>

Natural Saltwater Treatment - 02/01/06 Dear Eric <<Akila>> Thanks for the advice again and again. <<Is why I'm here my friend.  I do hope it has been useful.>> You seem stressed out with all your work? <<Mmm, a bit...yes.>> Do you run your own aquarium shop?  Where is the shop located? <<Gosh no!  I'm only working 65 hours a week...not 85 hours a week <grin>.>> Sorry to bother you but I need to explain you something and get some advice. <<Is what I do...>> So here it goes*| In Sri Lanka it's impossible to find marine salt. <<Pity...though I'm sure shipping charges would be "killer.">> This is because aquarists directly use saltwater from the sea as it is a very easy procedure here in Sri Lanka as the beaches are easy to reach in the city of Colombo (capital of Sri Lanka. It has the most beautiful beaches. You should visit here). <<God willing and the creeks don't rise...maybe someday...>> So I buy saltwater from LFS and pump it into my tank.  Because of this I am not sure whether there are any parasites in the water. What do you think? <<I think this is a valid concern and a very real hazard if the water has not been properly "treated.">> Is there anyway I can sterilize the water before I add fish? <<Certainly.  Add a small amount of bleach, stir and let set for a bit, decant the clean water above what has fallen to the bottom of the container to another (dark/covered) container and aerate until use.  Have a look at this article and follow the links for more info:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm >> Do you think using copper is a good idea? <<No, I don't...many fish are sensitive to copper...and I don't have to tell you what happens when it is misused, eh.>> Now my water is running for about 1 A 1/2 weeks and I see those small white copepods are running around on the glass at night.  Is this a sign of good water quality? <<Maybe...but more a sign of a lack of predators me thinks.>> I think those creatures are in my tank because I use direct sea water, right? <<More likely introduced on/in your live rock.>> In my quarantine tank (40G) I have 2 Damsels and a Sebae Clown fish for a week now.  I am trying to quarantine them for at least a month until my main tank is ready. <<Excellent!>> Three days back I saw some small white spots on my clown but only about 4 or 5 white spots (not like sugar coated like before) and they are not increasing in size or quantity.  And the clown seems to be in fine health.  He eats and swims fine.  The damsels show no signs at all.  What do you think these are? <<Maybe Ick, maybe sand grains.  Keep a close watch and treat if the situation worsens.>> I make 10% water changes every other day with direct sea water. <<Very important this water is treated as outlined.>> Do you think it's enough? <<If this keeps your nitrates below 30, yes...if not...increase the percentage/frequency.>> Oh I also dipped the fish in freshwater with Methylene Blue before putting them in the QT. <<This goes a long way towards prevention...very glad to see some of this is get through to you my friend.>> Do you think I should treat my clown with copper sulfate in the QT?  Or lower my gravity to around 0.0010 (putting A 1/2 freshwater and A 1/2 direct sea water to the QT)? <<I would do neither unless the clowns condition worsens...and then only the copper treatment...and maybe another dip beforehand.>> I am not going to introduce these fish to my main tank until I am 100% sure of their health.  What do you think I should do? <<You're doing it.  Keep reading...>> Appreciate you response immensely Thanks Best Akila
<<Cheers, EricR>>



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