I’m new to making salt. Am I being efficient?

Miami Reef

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My tank is 250 gallons. I used to have NSW delivered, but now I’m doing all my water changes at home.

This is my current system:
44 gallon brute with float valve. I add the salt to this bucket. Mix. And add a pump inside with a tube to transfer to tank.

I find myself having to always check to salinity. I can never get it to consistently match and I feel like I’m wasting my time.

Also, If I don’t use all the saltwater (now I have QT tanks) then I either have to dump it out, or save it and play guessing games because now my RODI isn’t pure RODI. So I’ll have to add small amounts of salt and keep testing.

I really don’t have the time to play with salt.

Can someone tell me what is the best method for me?

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coralfishreef

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Setup a mixing station and separate RODI reservoir if you have a dedicated place and the space.

A typical setup would be to have 1 container for RODI, 1 mixing container, and 1 mixed saltwater container. Depending on the salt, the mixed salt could sit in the mixed container for months unused.
 

Lost in the Sauce

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I can't tell you the best, but can share what's working for me.

RODI fills the Brute with clean water on a float switch. This always stays full of rodi in case I need to mix up more fast.

Small pump transfers water into the 55g where there is a permanent pump mixing/circulating.

I add the salt in a few batches. 10 cups, let it mix a while, 5 cups, repeat, test SG. Normally need to add one or two more cups. This water sits mixing until used.

I fill to 60g of salt and only use 45-50 during large water change weekends leaving some. Back to the top. Transfer rodi to top off, add salt, test.

My station lives in my garage which stays higher 70 degrees so I never need to worry about adding a heater.

It seems like a lot of steps but actually isn't. I've also anecdotally noticed that the salt seems to mix much faster when done in smaller batches. Not 18 to 20 cups all at once.
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Lost in the Sauce

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I know it looks messy but I can dedicate room for this water change system. I just need to know if it’s possible to do this.
For sure. Nice to have a water supply and drain already. Depending on how far that room is from your tank, You may eventually want to buy a transfer pump and long enough section of hose to reach the tank. I'm moving my tank in a few months and it'll be about 40 ft from my mixing station. Rather than carrying 10 5-gallon jugs, I'll be running a hose line from the garage to the tank. Saves my back and a lot of irritation.
 

Jedi1199

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I do basically what Lost in the Sauce described... One 32g Brute can for fresh cold water, one 20g brute with fresh water at tank temp, and one 20g can on wheels for salt water. As described above, I keep the salt water heated and circulating constantly. I always have a supply of water ready to go when I need it.
 

New&no clue

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I agree with two buckets, one for straight RODI and one for Saltwater. It seems you are already pumping water from the container to your tank, so you can still do this if you move it to the garage. You will just need a longer tube/hose and possibly a bigger pump.

As far as mixing the salt to have a consistent salinity, do you premix your salt mix. If salt mix sits for some time, it needs to be mix again before adding to your water. After that, you should have some consistency. For example, I know it takes ten scoops of salt in my mixing station. If I only use 80% of the water and fill it up again, I know next time I only need to add eight scoops.

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NormanB

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So, I change 10 gallons a week with a water change, thus I only make 10 gallons of saltwater each week. I have 2 old salt buckets that I have marked at 1 gallon intervals. Fill to the 5 gallon mark with RODI water. I've experimented with salt amount by weight for about a year and found that each new bucket requires a small adjustment of salt to product 35ppt in 5 gallons of water. Currently, I'm at 840g of salt per 5 gallons of water. It has ranged from 835g to 860g depending on the bucket of salt.

I no longer have a heater in the buckets as I was seeing more crud/precip over just having a pump in the bucket and adding to salt to room temp water. The system is in the basement and summer temp runs about 72 and winter 68. The pump warms the water enough to get it very close to system temp of 78.
 

chunkylovah

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As others have said two buckets, I also measure the amount of saltwater I use on my water changes and mark that amount inside my bucket. Sometimes I need different amounts so ill mark one for my normal big water change and how many gallons it is, then mark another line for small water changes with the amount of gallons. Then I measured the exact amount of salt mix needed for the lines I made and remember them for the future so its not a guessing game.

Not sure if I worded that in the best way.
 

SuncrestReef

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I have my mixing station in the garage, about 30 feet from my aquarium, and like yours, there's a step down into the garage. I use a long braided vinyl hose with a cam-connect fitting that I can use to pump large volumes of water into the aquarium when needed, but disconnect and coil it up out of the way when not needed. I also have 1/4" tubing going through the wall into the house for small day-to-day auto water changes.

I posted a complete parts list for my mixing station setup here:

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mrlavalamp

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My approach is fairly simple.

I fill a brute up with RODI same as you, I dont use float, I use an optical sensor and solenoid. I marked a line about 6" down from the top of the brute can so I place the sensor at the same height every time.
I use a big plastic cup (not sure on exact size) to "measure" my salt, I know it take about 8 of these cups to get me in the neighborhood, likely to be a little low if not perfect. I heat and mix the water for a few hours, then measure the salinity and adjust from there.
Mix overnight
Next day I prep for water change by wheeling my brute over to the tank, pump out the sump into a sink with a long hose. My sump is pretty small so after its empty I siphon the display down to a predetermined level I have marked on the back corner where its not really obvious to everyone else.

I used masking tape to get this level right as the first few times I had leftover saltwater. Once I had it dialed in where I used exactly the entire brute can of water I converted the tape to a little mark with a white paint marker

I wish I had the space for a dedicated set of tanks for storage/making, as is I must pull the brute into the kitchen to make my water .I have a little nook there that works for me and luckily the misses tolerates it, but just barely.
 

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