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I posted this in another thread, but thought I should share it here as well. I'm a long time user of Instant Ocean, have been for decades. This past weekend, the 200g box I opened had the bags hard as bricks. I tried to break it, but it just shattered the bag and spilled salt on my driveway...

I decided to try and mix it up anyways, but at 1.0264 (which was super hard to get to with the inability to measure) it had 1275 Mag, 5.04 Alk and 370 Cal. Over the course of a few days, I got everything dosed up to normal levels but the one thing I can't keep level is the Alk. I dose to 7.5 and it slowly precipitates out. I've never had this happen with IO before. Usually it tests out around 10-11, I dose acid and drop it to 7.5 and it holds steady for a month. Now I'm seriously considering dumping the entire 40g I mixed up and start over with a good box of salt. I'm afraid that if I do a WC with this salt that I may have trouble keeping up Alk in my tank as well. Thoughts?

Regarding the bricked salt, I found out a few things. First, Spectrum Brands (IO manufacturer) is going to send me two new boxes. I will say they really stand behind their salt. Thanks to some other members informing me, it sounds like Spectrum changed their bag material around the end of 2019 and that material allows in moisture which bricks the salt. They've "supposedly" since fixed the issue and this is no longer a problem. I can confirm that a box I have from 01/2020 (purchased just a month after the bricked boxes) is fine.
 

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I posted this in another thread, but thought I should share it here as well. I'm a long time user of Instant Ocean, have been for decades. This past weekend, the 200g box I opened had the bags hard as bricks. I tried to break it, but it just shattered the bag and spilled salt on my driveway...

I decided to try and mix it up anyways, but at 1.0264 (which was super hard to get to with the inability to measure) it had 1275 Mag, 5.04 Alk and 370 Cal. Over the course of a few days, I got everything dosed up to normal levels but the one thing I can't keep level is the Alk. I dose to 7.5 and it slowly precipitates out. I've never had this happen with IO before. Usually it tests out around 10-11, I dose acid and drop it to 7.5 and it holds steady for a month. Now I'm seriously considering dumping the entire 40g I mixed up and start over with a good box of salt. I'm afraid that if I do a WC with this salt that I may have trouble keeping up Alk in my tank as well. Thoughts?

Regarding the bricked salt, I found out a few things. First, Spectrum Brands (IO manufacturer) is going to send me two new boxes. I will say they really stand behind their salt. Thanks to some other members informing me, it sounds like Spectrum changed their bag material around the end of 2019 and that material allows in moisture which bricks the salt. They've "supposedly" since fixed the issue and this is no longer a problem. I can confirm that a box I have from 01/2020 (purchased just a month after the bricked boxes) is fine.
I wouldn't use it personally. I get the idea that the water absorption (making it hard) caused precipitation and who knows what is depleted now. I thought I remembered RHF talk about this at some point but I could be mistaken.
 
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I wouldn't use it personally. I get the idea that the water absorption (making it hard) caused precipitation and who knows what is depleted now. I thought I remembered RHF talk about this at some point but I could be mistaken.
Yeah, what's weird is that it's not just the initial precipitation. I can understand how the hardening depleted everything, but once it's all dissolved and in water, you would think I could dose up and keep them steady. That's what's super weird is that it continues to precipitate...
 
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Ok, I've been doing a bunch of trimming and coraline culling the past week so I had piles of debit that needed removing. So I limited my WC this week to just 5g and refilled using the questionable water. Cross your fingers! I think I figured out why the Alk was precipitating so much. The pH of the rock salt mix is off the charts high.

I dumped the other 35g I have spent the past week trying to get right. It hurt, but it was the right thing to do. I'm mixing up a brand new batch using good salt for next week. This rock salt is going bye bye. ;Woot
 
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The good, the bad & the ugly...

Let's go in reverse order!

The Ugly: Wednesday night I was getting ready for my usual 10g weekly water change. I dropped a heater in my premixed brute in the garage and closed the lid. A couple hours later I was headed to bed and happened to check the garage. There was a strange burning plastic smell... Looking all over I opened the lid of my WC brute and noticed that when I haphazardly dropped in the heater, I didn't notice the the tip was sticking out of the water. It of course was touching the side of the brute and had burned a hole in the side! It's a small hole, but the brute is now useless for holding water and the heater is shot. :eek:

Note to self: Always make sure your heater is underwater! ;Facepalm

$100 later and I had a new heater and brute on order. I did some soul searching on whether to still use the water. It had burning brute plastic in it and the water smelled like burning plastic. The heater had not actually exploded, but it had cracked in the water. I decided to dump the whole batch and take a week off my water changes. Better safe than sorry!

The Bad: I picked up a new brute yesterday and got it all cleaned out and sharpie marked for volume (I mark every 5g on a 44g brute). I had picked up a new 200gpd RODI system from BRS over BF and I had already burned through my first set of factory installed filters. So I swapped them out with a replacement kit I also picked up over BF. After the usual flush and several minutes of running the lowest I could get the output to is 4 tds... I tossed the filters and tried the next replacement kit...4 tds. I called BRS and they were super helpful as always and suggested it may be the DI Resin and are mailing me out a new pack. I'll try it out and if that solves the problem, they'll replace the rest. I had 4 total and all were bad... THIS is why I love BRS. They stand by their products.

The Good: There is always good, let's stay positive folks! I happened upon a nice chunky frag of JF Homewrecker this week and introduced it to the tank. Hopefully this will be my first successful one and I can keep the amazing colors the previous owner had achieved. To be clear, I've never killed a HW, but I can hardly get them to grow and they always turn green on me... Cross your fingers this will be my turning point.

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