Salinity issues in my nano saltwater tank!

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gostby88

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I have had my 13.5 gallon Fluval Evo running for about a month and currently have 2 clowns, 5 hermits, and a peppermint shrimp who are all doing great. I’m planning on adding coral soon and have previously been mixing my own salt water with conditioned tap water but am moving towards using pre mixed saltwater from my LFS. Yesterday I picked up some jugs of saltwater there to slowly add during weekly water changes. Today before I did my water change I checked the salinity of the LFS saltwater out of curiosity to see how different my current salinity was. When I tested it to my surprise it read as 1.030. I knew that couldn’t be right so I then recalibrated my refractometer with tap water and realized it was way off when it read as 1.010. After readjusting it so the tap water read as 1.000, I finally tested the salinity of my tank which read 1.012. If that is the true salinity of my tank, I must’ve forgotten to recalibrate my refractometer during the last water change I did. If that’s the salinity of my tank, how have my clowns and inverts survived for a week in this water? I am quite frankly baffled and am not sure if my refractometer is broken, and how I managed to get the salinity so off in my tank. Any ideas what my issue could be? I’m hesitant to change the water any time soon because the fish are doing fine with the current water and don’t want to shock them. Please help!!!

**Edit: Due to the advice of one user I watched a video on the calibration of my refractometer and realized I wasn’t supposed to be calibrating it using tap water which sets my reading way off. It may be possible that I was simply getting faulty readings but my salinity was stable and my fish are safe. I am planning on slowly raising the salinity and hoping all goes well. I appreciate your replies!
 
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Erin1971Texas

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Others will post about how to test/calibrate your refractometer, but once you do, if you do need to raise salinity, do it SLOWLY. The ideal way is to use saltwater at your target salinity for top off until your tank reaches the level you need. Critters can handle a salinity drop much better than an increase.
(Others will also advise you to use RODI water, not tap... There can be a lot more in your tap water than chlorine/chloramine that can negatively affect your system if you use it long term.)
 
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gostby88

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Others will post about how to test/calibrate your refractometer, but once you do, if you do need to raise salinity, do it SLOWLY. The ideal way is to use saltwater at your target salinity for top off until your tank reaches the level you need. Critters can handle a salinity drop much better than an increase.
Is it really possible that my clowns could have survived a salinity of 1.012?? Thanks for your quick reply.
 
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Erin1971Texas

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Is it really possible that my clowns could have survived a salinity of 1.012?? Thanks for your quick reply.
Honestly, I don't know. I believe people run their tanks at hypo to treat some parasites, but I don't have experience with that.
 
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DiloHunter

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What I would say is to raise it slowly. Try to see if you can buy some mixed saltwater from your LFS. Then slowly replace that with your current tankwater. If you change the salinity too rapidly, you could kill everything inside the tank (especially the inverts). I would also invest in installing an RODI filter so that you can mix your own saltwater. I would stop messing with specific gravity when it hits around 1.023-1.025. This assumes if your refractometer is correct. If it is fine then just leave it alone.
 
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jsker

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my tank recently dipped that low due to an overactive protein skimmer while I was on vacation. I lost some corals but otherwise, after bringing up my salinity slowly all was fine.
Been there also.

+1 on bringing the salinity up slowly.
 
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90's reefer

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First thing you need to do is verify SG before changing things.
Take a sample to lfs or a friend to double check.
This is why I use a floating hydrometer.
At the very least get or make some standarized refrac solution.
 
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reefsaver

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I have had my 13.5 gallon Fluval Evo running for about a month and currently have 2 clowns, 5 hermits, and a peppermint shrimp who are all doing great. I’m planning on adding coral soon and have previously been mixing my own salt water with conditioned tap water but am moving towards using pre mixed saltwater from my LFS. Yesterday I picked up some jugs of saltwater there to slowly add during weekly water changes. Today before I did my water change I checked the salinity of the LFS saltwater out of curiosity to see how different my current salinity was. When I tested it to my surprise it read as 1.030. I knew that couldn’t be right so I then recalibrated my refractometer with tap water and realized it was way off when it read as 1.010. After readjusting it so the tap water read as 1.000, I finally tested the salinity of my tank which read 1.012. If that is the true salinity of my tank, I must’ve forgotten to recalibrate my refractometer during the last water change I did. If that’s the salinity of my tank, how have my clowns and inverts survived for a week in this water? I am quite frankly baffled and am not sure if my refractometer is broken, and how I managed to get the salinity so off in my tank. Any ideas what my issue could be? I’m hesitant to change the water any time soon because the fish are doing fine with the current water and don’t want to shock them. Please help!!!

**Edit: Due to the advice of one user I watched a video on the calibration of my refractometer and realized I wasn’t supposed to be calibrating it using tap water which sets my reading way off. It may be possible that I was simply getting faulty readings but my salinity was stable and my fish are safe. I am planning on slowly raising the salinity and hoping all goes well. I appreciate your replies!
I calibrate my Hanna Checker like a good once ever 6 months. And every time I use it I'm so paranoid about hitting the Cal button. Been looking to upgrade to something a bit more high end. Something preferrably better than a refractometer. Hopefully something digital that can automate a readout for me actively at all times.
 
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90's reefer

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I calibrate my Hanna Checker like a good once ever 6 months. And every time I use it I'm so paranoid about hitting the Cal button. Been looking to upgrade to something a bit more high end. Something preferrably better than a refractometer. Hopefully something digital that can automate a readout for me actively at all times.
I have used them all over the years.
I use the Trooic Marin floating hydrometer for my 3 systems.
You need a 500ml graduated cylinder also. It is simple, repeatable, and easy to read.
 
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