Is your salt "breaking down" and do you worry about it?

BRS

Do you worry about your pre-made, mixed saltwater "breaking down" before it can be used?

  • YES

    Votes: 60 13.6%
  • NO

    Votes: 337 76.4%
  • I do now

    Votes: 37 8.4%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 7 1.6%

  • Total voters
    441

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I do. I have two pumps submerged in my mixing barrel to keep the salt from settling on the bottom and the pumps also keeps the temperature around 78.

Dissolved salt cannot "settle" and undissolved salt that hasn't dissolved in a day isn't goin to. :)
 

drblank1

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I make 35 gallons at a time and change water as needed. I've kept saltwater in storage for as long as 3 weeks with no precip. But I do keep it mixing and heated 24/7.
 

R33fDaddy

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Dissolved salt cannot "settle" and undissolved salt that hasn't dissolved in a day isn't goin to. :)
When I say settle, I mean when I pour it in the mixing container the pumps keep the salt from sitting on the bottom of the container.

Before I started using pumps I would have to stir the bottom of the barrel to get all the salt mixed.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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When I say settle, I mean when I pour it in the mixing container the pumps keep the salt from sitting on the bottom of the container.

Before I started using pumps I would have to stir the bottom of the barrel to get all the salt mixed.

OK, I thought we were talking about longer than the initial mixing. Any solids remaining after 24 h of mixing are almost certainly insoluble and are no concern to settle out. Mixing longer is no real benefit unless there are organics in the salt mix.
 

steamman

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OK, I thought we were talking about longer than the initial mixing. Any solids remaining after 24 h of mixing are almost certainly insoluble and are no concern to settle out. Mixing longer is no real benefit unless there are organics in the salt mix.
That is what I was talking about. Sometimes I don't use my mix for a week or two so I keep it circulating. I have actually recently set up a series of storage tanks so that I can do water changes for weeks or months at a time while I am away. I set up side by side 40 breeders with a common header to keep the tanks all operating at the same level. I have an Apex running the heaters as to keep the temperature exactly the same as my display tank. I am using air to keep the water moving and the temperature even throughout. In my mixing barrels I initially mix with a super large powerhead. After the salt is completely mixed I use a very small powerhead to keep the water moving with no heaters in use. When my heated storage tanks run low I can transfer from the barrels to the heated reservoir system.
 
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bReefedBaker

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I recently saw a discussion about people wondering how long their pre-made saltwater would or could last without breaking down. There was also the question that if salt breaks down in your mixing container will it not also just break down in your tank? Then there is the question of what exactly is meant when people say their salt is "breaking down?" Let's talk about it today!

1. Do you worry about your pre-made, mixed saltwater "breaking down" before it can be used?

2. What's the longest you allow your pre-made saltwater to sit until it's used?



image via @FLSharkvictim
IMG_4778.JPG


I hope to learn a thing or two here. I can't seem to hold any premixed SW. It loses its salinity and I'm clueless to why. It's heated and turning. I'm mixing prior to WC 24hrs. ahead. I'd like a holding tank.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I hope to learn a thing or two here. I can't seem to hold any premixed SW. It loses its salinity and I'm clueless to why. It's heated and turning. I'm mixing prior to WC 24hrs. ahead. I'd like a holding tank.

It cannot lose salinity to a detectable extent. It could lose other things...

maybe there's a temperature change that your device is not properly correcting for.
 

steamman

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Only salt water with organic matter (natural seawater, old aquarium water, or the few salt mixes that contain organics) need aeration for storage.
I believe a good reason for keeping the water moving is for oxygenation of the water. However, would circulating the water add airborne contaminates to the water possibly degrading the mix while in storage.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I believe a good reason for keeping the water moving is for oxygenation of the water. However, would circulating the water add airborne contaminates to the water possibly degrading the mix while in storage.

Once the O2 reaches saturation, more mixing will not raise or lower the O2 level. That time might be minutes to hours, but is unlikely to be longer than 1 day.

Nothing in the new salt water is consuming substantial O2 unless there are added organics in the mix, which is why I recommend ongoing aeration for those few mixes.

That said, more mixing is OK as long as you are not concerned about precipitation of calcium carboante in a high alk salt mix due tot eh heating from mixing (Red Sea worries about this).
 

bReefedBaker

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It cannot lose salinity to a detectable extent. It could lose other things...

maybe there's a temperature change that your device is not properly correcting for.

I'm not sure, I'm still doingthe 24hr. prior method. It got to a point with premixed holding I would always have to add more salt to the holding before doing a WC.
 

Bob LI

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I don’t go over two weeks with reef crystals. But I did have an issue with salt that was solidified in the bag before mixing. I had to grind everything down before putting it in the water. It never mixed completely. There were small particulates that looked like styrofoam balls circulating everywhere. When I tested the alkalinity it was at 3.5. I mixed the water foe three days and the particles never dissolved. I threw away the other two "blocks" of salt.
I've had the same problem. I bought salt on sale and it sat around too long in the sealed bags. One solidified and I could not get it to dissolve properly. Had to toss it. There went my savings.
 

steamman

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Once the O2 reaches saturation, more mixing will not raise or lower the O2 level. That time might be minutes to hours, but is unlikely to be longer than 1 day.

Nothing in the new salt water is consuming substantial O2 unless there are added organics in the mix, which is why I recommend ongoing aeration for those few mixes.

That said, more mixing is OK as long as you are not concerned about precipitation of calcium carboante in a high alk salt mix due tot eh heating from mixing (Red Sea worries about this).
If you do not circulate the mix would stagnation be a problem in the long term?
 

Reefvision

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Manufacturers are often not the best source of info in the hobby even about their own products (very disappointing, but true).

That said, some have clearly answered already (Red Sea coral Pro clearly states it goes bad by precipitation if mixed too long; they even have a video of it happening). While that is not always true even for that exact mix, and the wording of their warning lacks scientific accuracy (perhaps due to translation issues), they are trying to provide an answer.
I don’t use Red Sea anymore and switched to tropic Marin to avoid the “messy” precipitation of storage . More expensive - sigh.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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If you do not circulate the mix would stagnation be a problem in the long term?

Not unless it is a mix that contains organics.

I stored normal IO for a month or two without stirring or heating. Even longer is fine.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I use IO RC so I assume that would not need circulation. Now I can save some money on electricity.

IO RC has organics in it. I do not know for sure that the vitamins and metal chelators would be an issue, but it is one of the mixes that I would stir.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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That is what I was talking about. Sometimes I don't use my mix for a week or two so I keep it circulating. I have actually recently set up a series of storage tanks so that I can do water changes for weeks or months at a time while I am away. I set up side by side 40 breeders with a common header to keep the tanks all operating at the same level. I have an Apex running the heaters as to keep the temperature exactly the same as my display tank. I am using air to keep the water moving and the temperature even throughout. In my mixing barrels I initially mix with a super large powerhead. After the salt is completely mixed I use a very small powerhead to keep the water moving with no heaters in use. When my heated storage tanks run low I can transfer from the barrels to the heated reservoir system.

That's what I did without any stirring as I used Normal IO over 1-2 months for AWC. :)
 

Treefer32

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The only thing I wondered about storing salt water for long periods is bacteria. Bacteria is everywhere. Heck we start aquarium cycles, many times, without adding any bacteria, and bacteria magically appears.. Granted we add ammonia / organic sources to get a cycle started. So, could storing water lead to a storage tank of water halfway through a cycle. this is actually my concern the most about storing water for long periods of time. My containers have lids but I don't have them shut because of float valves and cords and stuff coming out the top.

So, organics from dust, bugs (found a fly and a spider floating in the containers once.) Could things like this trigger an ammonia cycle that maybe it finishes cycling before I use it but now it's got nitrates in it as well.... Just wondering. . .
 

keithIHS

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The only thing I wondered about storing salt water for long periods is bacteria. Bacteria is everywhere. Heck we start aquarium cycles, many times, without adding any bacteria, and bacteria magically appears.. Granted we add ammonia / organic sources to get a cycle started. So, could storing water lead to a storage tank of water halfway through a cycle. this is actually my concern the most about storing water for long periods of time. My containers have lids but I don't have them shut because of float valves and cords and stuff coming out the top.

So, organics from dust, bugs (found a fly and a spider floating in the containers once.) Could things like this trigger an ammonia cycle that maybe it finishes cycling before I use it but now it's got nitrates in it as well.... Just wondering. . .
I think you're right about bacteria, but the amount of organics is probably minuscule compared to your tank. I've noticed slime on my pump and heater cords, and I think @flyfisher2 and @stephanjupillat would agree. Unless it's smelly, it's probably not a problem. It is saltwater after all, and imagine all the bacteria and organics in your tank already. The amount of ammonia would have to be very small and easily handled by the bacteria in your tank.
Now perhaps there's some anaerobic bacteria if its smelly. This might be a good reason to leave the top slightly ajar and circulate the water.
 

ClownWrangler

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I had saltwater "curdle" once. I think it had more to do with the way it was mixed than how long it was stored. It was very cold water and the pH buffers never fully dissolved. Some carbonate compounds precipitated out in the bottom and formed white flakes that were insoluble.
 
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