Issue with low parameters from Red Sea salt

Necrodaemus

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I currently use both Red Sea Coral Pro and blue bucket in a 50/50 mix. Based on the MyBatch results from each, and averaging the parameters of each, I should be expecting:
Ca: 450
Mg: 1309
Alk: 9.9 dKH

I just mixed up a fresh 2 gallon batch to do a water change and test results using Salifert tests (still in-date/exp 2024) are showing:
Ca: 420
Mg: 1200
Alk: 9.9 dKH

To take testing further, I did separate 1 gallon mixes using each of the salts and the results are as follows:
•Red Sea (blue bucket) - Ca: 400ppm, Mg: 1080ppm, Alk 7.8 dKH
•Red Sea Coral Pro - Ca: 420, Mg: 1170, Alk 11 dKH.

Both of them tested further below the guaranteed analysis and MyBatch ICP results from Red Sea….well below any slight variations from titration tests (Salifert).


These parameters were tested after mixing unheated water to 35ppt for an hour. Refractometer has been calibrated to 0ppt with distilled water then checked with BRS Refracto Juice and it is spot on 35ppt.

I’m simply dumbfounded on why the calcium and mainly magnesium is so low?! I’ve been struggling to keep magnesium above 1200ppm in this tank for the past few months.
 

Ben.QLD2

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Ok, if using tap water I was going to say that perhaps the salt mix wasn't dissolving properly.

This could still be the case slightly if the water is cool. Try using a heater for the next mix maybe.
 
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Necrodaemus

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Ok, if using tap water I was going to say that perhaps the salt mix wasn't dissolving properly.

This could still be the case slightly if the water is cool. Try using a heater for the next mix maybe.
I actually tested it while at a low temp (now that I think about it, I recall the temp being right around 69F when I put the glass thermometer in to start heating it) and also tested it after bringing temp to match tank temp which is 79F. Both times it tested out to be the same….significantly lower than what it should have been. Red Sea specifies that the water should be around 68F when mixing to avoid precipitation.
 

Ben.QLD2

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Maybe a batch issue then, but unusual it would affect 2 different products. Unless the pro salt is just the regular salt with some additives, which seems likely.
 
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Necrodaemus

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Maybe a batch issue then, but unusual it would affect 2 different products. Unless the pro salt is just the regular salt with some additives, which seems likely.
That’s exactly what I’m wondering. It’s just strange that the Red Sea MyBatch ICP analysis results show that everything is within normal ranges on both of them. ‍
 

Ben.QLD2

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I think that the my batch service is most likely just self service. If anyone can correct my pessimistic/realistic self, with evidence to the contrary, please do but I'm pretty sure Red Sea wouldn't voluntarily report a bad batch and the my batch numbers are most likely just randomly selected from within the acceptable range.
 
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Necrodaemus

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I think that the my batch service is most likely just self service. If anyone can correct my pessimistic/realistic self, with evidence to the contrary, please do but I'm pretty sure Red Sea wouldn't voluntarily report a bad batch and the my batch numbers are most likely just randomly selected from within the acceptable range.
You very well might be on to something. Here’s the kicker…I had actually spoke to an employee from Red Sea because when I entered BOTH batch numbers, it didn’t dispatch anything to my email. According to him, the batch results from both of the buckets hadn’t been uploaded yet he was able to have the results emailed to him and then he forwarded screenshots to me. I’m seriously hoping that this just a matter of my Salifert (Mag and Cal) being off. *shrug*
 

Ben.QLD2

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I would have thought that batch testing results would be released/published long before the end product was on a retailer's shelf.
 
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Necrodaemus

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Update: The Salifert test kit is at fault. I tested it with a Red Sea Mg kit and it’s spot on where it should be. Thank you both for your input. :)
 

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It’s your salinity. When all parameters are low (or high) it’s your salinity.

It is well documented that Red Sea magnesium kits are inaccurate. They tend to read 100-200ppm high. Mine was 200ppm high
 
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Necrodaemus

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It’s your salinity. When all parameters are low (or high) it’s your salinity.

It is well documented that Red Sea magnesium kits are inaccurate. They tend to read 100-200ppm high. Mine was 200ppm high
It’s not my salinity. It was cross checked with another calibrated refractometer and a Hanna salinity checker. All show 35ppt.
 

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According to your own tests, your numbers were almost spot on after mixing 50/50 to what was expected. Then your 1 gallon numbers are low.

Are you weighing your salt or using “cups” to measure how much salt to add? Weighing is always the better option.

I am not a fan of Red Sea salt at all but for every parameter to be low, would be odd IMO. Not out of the realm of possibility though.
 

spsick

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Seems like only the mag is really low on both salts which leads me to believe your mag test is bad (which would surprise me I’ve never had a bad Salifert kit) or extremely coincidental that both of their blends from 2 different batches have low magnesium.

I will say as others have mentioned it’s very easy to have what you think is a calibrated refractor be off. Randy has a recipe to make 35ppt test solution with table salt might not hurt to check as the calcium numbers do seem a hair low as well.
 
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Necrodaemus

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According to your own tests, your numbers were almost spot on after mixing 50/50 to what was expected. Then your 1 gallon numbers are low.

Are you weighing your salt or using “cups” to measure how much salt to add? Weighing is always the better option.

I am not a fan of Red Sea salt at all but for every parameter to be low, would be odd IMO. Not out of the realm of possibility though.
I use a Pyrex measuring cup to add it to the water. Once it’s fully mixed/clear, I check salinity and add more salt or dilute with RODI until it’s 35ppt. Once it’s done mixing and warmed up to tank temp, I recheck salinity. You stated that Red Sea test kits are known to read 100-200ppm high, yet went on to say that my 50/50 mix tested nearly spot on to what was expected, despite the magnesium testing nearly 100ppm lower. That all being said, my tank water tells a different tale. I have been struggling with “chasing Mg numbers” (bad I know) and couldn’t figure out why daily tests kept showing it dropping despite dosing 10ppm daily. I just tested it with the Red Sea test and it’s reading 1500ppm where the Salifert test reads 1190. Sorry, but I’m convinced that the Salifert test is faulty.
 
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Necrodaemus

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Seems like only the mag is really low on both salts which leads me to believe your mag test is bad (which would surprise me I’ve never had a bad Salifert kit) or extremely coincidental that both of their blends from 2 different batches have low magnesium.

I will say as others have mentioned it’s very easy to have what you think is a calibrated refractor be off. Randy has a recipe to make 35ppt test solution with table salt might not hurt to check as the calcium numbers do seem a hair low as well.
Right. Salinity was my first thought as well. But after testing with another refractometer and a Hanna checker, each using 3 different 35ppt solutions (BRS, Hanna and Brightwell) and all of them measuring right at 35ppt after calibrating to 0 with RODI and distilled, I very highly doubt salinity is the issue here.
 

spsick

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Right. Salinity was my first thought as well. But after testing with another refractometer and a Hanna checker, each using 3 different 35ppt solutions (BRS, Hanna and Brightwell) and all of them measuring right at 35ppt after calibrating to 0 with RODI and distilled, I very highly doubt salinity is the issue here.

Oh yeah if you have multiple redundancies then that would be pretty unlikely.
 

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