Tropic Marin Syn-Biotic Salt - a working review

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BanjoBandito

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I'm going to switch to Tropic Marin Syn-Biotic salt shortly. WC/integration will start next week, since there isn't a great deal of info on this salt, I've decided I'm going to document any changes and experiences I have with it long term. The tank will be my work nano tank (12 gallons).


tank1.jpg



Reasons for switch -

1. currently using Coral Pro and having issues maintaining stable ALK. Losing .3 - .5 ALK a day, without much impact on Ca and Mg. Coral Pro is very high in ALK and knowing the "see saw" type relationship between ca vs. ALK, my assumption is the super high Ca is fighting the ALK number? WHO KNOWS. My goal is an ALK of 8-9....current ALK as of today is 9.1 and I usually dose to keep it above 8. Using Alkalin8.3 - P by Brightwell as primary dosing method. 1tsp per day-ish.

2. I don't store water here. I mix it, I use it. I run it through my lil' 50 GPD ROBUDDY unit and then mix it up and dump it in. Run the tap water through the RO around 80 degrees and blammo.

3. This is a "new-ish" tank established with existing live rock (about 20-30% from a prior nano) - I plan on adding more livestock in the future

4. It gives me the opportunity to be snobby about using Tropic Marin salt. LOOK AT ME, I MUST BE GOOD AT THIS....I USE TROPIC MARIN.

5. Phosphates - my phosphates climb. Sales pitch on the bucket says it'll help "establish" lower "nutrients" in the tank. I'm not a huge fan of dosing, so if the salt can do my dosing for me....GREAT. My understand is this has REEF ACTIF in it, with some other STUFFS.


Here's my parameters as of yesterday (Take all test results with a grain of salt, as we all know....everything is a lie)

SALINITY - 1.025
PH - 8-ish (I say this because I have a dirt cheap PH stick that I just check and see for swings...it usually reads around 8.1)
ALK - 9.1
Ca: 430
Mg: 1270
Phosphates - .6 ppm
Nitrates? No where to be found. Always seems weird to me, but I use a Red Sea test kit and it's consistently shown .2 ammonia EVERY TIME I use it....so who knows. I have a Hanna nitrates checker, but ahhhhh "NO" not using that. SO WE WING IT.


I've tried to use Phosphate removers, liquid and granular, but on this small tank I have no media reactor and liquid dosing seems to really tick off my softies.

Tank is about 2 months old

My coral is growing, good encrusting from my war coral, porites, psammacora....all are starting to "wrap" the plugs. Montipora digitata is showing a "growth bump"....Zoas sprouted another head....so that seems "good"

Livestock - pistol shrimp/yellow watchman goby, 2 emerald crabs (including an absolute UNIT crab), 3 turbo snails, 2 nassarius snails and some hermits.

FLOW - I use a IM wavelink usually tinker around with settings just to spice things up.


I generally feed mysis shrimp to the goby - I'm obviously overfeeding. I'll use pellet food too.



"CHANGE A SALT WHAT NOW?"

tank2.jpg


THE UNIT - gotta be 1.5" across the carapace. He doubled in size last molt....somehow.

tank3.jpg





Anyways, Hopefully I can provide some insight into this new salt and it'll improve my tank (reduce need for "tinkering")



Thanks.

Ryan.
 
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CMMorgan

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Been using this for a little while. Oddly enough, since I started using it, my ammonia shows as .2. Never showed anything above 0 before. My tank is well established. I'm just going to roll with it for now, a dash of Prime and away we go. I really bought the salt for my new DT. I'll follow along and once the new DT gets going, we can compare notes.
 
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BanjoBandito

BanjoBandito

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UPDATE: I performed a approx. 20% water change with the new salt, it indeed mixes a lil' cloudy, but cleared up within 20-30 min. of being in the tank. Biggest changes I've seen is the ALK. I went from RS Coral Pro (high ALK) to the TM and my ALK hovered about 7.1 today, where I usually run it in the 8's. So I've dosed a bit of ALK today to bring that back up. My Ca and Mg levels have lowered slightly - was 440/1270 now today it's 400/1170.

Inverts, Goby and most of the corals did not care or notice. My zoas are a little *****. Hammer coral isn't real keen on opening up but it's getting there.

Zoas - bob marleys are at about 80% open, pinwheels are at about 70% open and the poochsters don't care at all and are just blazin' it up wide eyed. My kenya tree is closed and shrunk, but this kenya's been through HELL AND BACK, I have no doubt he's fine.

It's helped my Phosphates level SLIGHTLY - went from approx. .5 ppm, to .3ppm today, without me doing anything. Could be from the water change? Seems dumb to assume it MAGICALLY CREATED bacteria to eat phosphates or whatever the jug says so I'm not ready to go that far and make that statement.

My salinity is a little lower than I'd like....it's at 1.023 and I usually run 1.025 so I'll be slowly creeping that back up over the next couple days. I blame that on a "light" mix and a overactive ATO.

So far so good. Salt mixes nice and doesn't 'clump' to the mixing cup like my RSCP salt. I am expecting my Ca and Mg levels to settle in at a little lower than it was prior due to the super high levels in this RSCP...but as stated earlier...it would precip. ALK pretty quickly once added/mixed, causing me to have to dose ALK in levels I am not comfortable with in this nano tank (12 gallon). From everything I understand about chemistry you cannot jack up the Ca levels and expect the ALK to stay high. There's a give and take there....so hopefully the new TM salt over time will "settle" my parameters a bit.

Happy reefing! See ya next week!
 

CMMorgan

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20% water change with the new salt, it indeed mixes a lil' cloudy, but cleared up within 20-30 min. of being in the tank.
How long did you mix before adding to your tank? I have never had it still be cloudy when I added it to the tank. It turns clear in the mixing bucket rather quickly.
 
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BanjoBandito

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How long did you mix before adding to your tank? I have never had it still be cloudy when I added it to the tank. It turns clear in the mixing bucket rather quickly.
If I'm being honest I maybe let it sit and spin with a power head for about 10-15 min after vigorous shakin'. I only mix up about 5 gallons at a time and I was pinched for time at work so it had to happen. Usually I'll let salt sit for an hour or so before I use it. So by my own admission, I prob. didn't let it sit long enough to clear out. I'll follow up next week once I have some more time.

I own a small business with 2 locations and we are GANG BUSTERS busy at the moment so sometimes my office nano has to deal with my schedule. lol.
 
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Short update:

Week 2 water change - Mixed it up and let it sit under current for about 30-45 min and it was crystal clear when it went into the tank

My magnesium and calcium has "settled" in around 425-450 to 1275, which IMHO is perfect. Alk is generally right around 7. I still bleed a lil' ALK (approx .3 Dkh per day) but that's an easy enough fix and expected. I've been dosing with AF component 1,2,3 (balling) to put the Alk back in.

Corals have had minor reactions - Most have improved in "fluff", with only the zoas and hammer being temperamental. Honestly, after the initial WC and this one, I doubt they'll react much. I've been trying to watch for immediate, day of WC reactions. I have not seen much. I'm trying to find a sweet spot for my Leptoseris, but that's more to do with everything but the salt mix.

My PH is slightly down. I appear to be running around 8-8.2 throughout the day (I don't test at night). I've been doing AM tests and PM tests to check stability and it's stable, but appears slightly lower than before. Nothing in terms of PH has changed, other than how I dose ALK, which could be it.

I've had salinity stability issues. I suspect it's from the random nature of how long I'm waiting to use salt. There's definitely a sweet spot and it's not "immediate" so hopefully I can figure out the best "sitting" time for this salt. I'm running at 1.026 right now, I'd rather be at 1.025. My ATO has always been "overactive" so I'm sure it'll do the job for me here the next couple days.

Again, nothing major. Some minor adjustments but so far so good.

I went from having 10-20 ppm in nitrates to ZERO, so I'm trying to correct that a bit. My Phos was giving me trouble and consistently climbing....so my readings went from a typical ".6" to now sub .2, with me trying to keep it around .2-.1 or lower. I've been using Phosphat-E to knock it down, and in min. dosing, but still hoping as this goes along it'll get to the point I don't need to do that.

Copepod population has died down. I feed with enriched brine shrimp, so I don't know if that's hurting/helping or this is a natural cycle of boom and bust.



Sorry for all the detail, but to just say "THIS SALT GOOD" or "THIS SALT BAD" seems too broad. What i can tell you is that over the last 10-14 days things have settled - especially in the Ca/Mg/ALK department. Is it all the salt? I DON'T KNOW. This review is kinda turning into a weekly blog on my tank. lol. ANYWAYS, I have some livestock coming next week, so I'll report back.

So far - it seems like a good salt mix, I'm not sure it's worth the change drop though? This salt (by my understanding) is to promote "stability", and it seems like it's trending that way. One thing I have not done is test the mix prior to putting it into the tank...yeah, I know....so I will correct that issue next week. Thanks.
 
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I seem to be having large algae blooms....a lot of GHA and still some brown diatoms accumulating. I'm going to put the leg work in today to really CLEAN everything real good...no idea if it's the salt or just normal "ugly" but it seems extreme. Will report back.
 

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i'm totally aware...TM synbiotic is loaded with all kinds of un-necessary organic crud that is fueling your algae problems...my advice above is based on 45 yrs in this hobby...either take it and succeed or switch to NSW if your circumstances allow..I did and have no nuisance algae issues anymore
 
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i'm totally aware...TM synbiotic is loaded with all kinds of un-necessary organic crud that is fueling your algae problems...my advice above is based on 45 yrs in this hobby...either take it and succeed or switch to NSW if your circumstances allow..I did and have no nuisance algae issues anymore

45 years in the hobby doesn't permit you to be abrasive and rude online. As a business owner I can tell you this, I've put guys out of business that had 50+ years of experience because they are close minded and think they are the best wrench turner this side of the Mississippi. I would also tell you this - 45 years is just that. A measurement of time. It has no bearing on success/insight/resources.


In and effort to be productive please answer me these questions:

1. Have you used TM synbiotic
a. If yes, HOW LONG? What type of system? Age? Overall impacts (estimated)?

2. "Organic Crud" - please define, as it's been near impossible to determine exactly what is in it

3. You mention switching to "cheaper" TM, which I'm sure you know is not "cheap", if that's the case why not just run IO? Why even use TM at all?


Thanks.
 

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45 years in the hobby doesn't permit you to be abrasive and rude online. As a business owner I can tell you this, I've put guys out of business that had 50+ years of experience because they are close minded and think they are the best wrench turner this side of the Mississippi. I would also tell you this - 45 years is just that. A measurement of time. It has no bearing on success/insight/resources.


In and effort to be productive please answer me these questions:

1. Have you used TM synbiotic
a. If yes, HOW LONG? What type of system? Age? Overall impacts (estimated)?

2. "Organic Crud" - please define, as it's been near impossible to determine exactly what is in it

3. You mention switching to "cheaper" TM, which I'm sure you know is not "cheap", if that's the case why not just run IO? Why even use TM at all?


Thanks.
yes, long enough to know I didn't like it . jaubert plenum system that had been running well for 2 yrs prior.
that's right - so thats why I refer to it as crud.
Basic TM has no crud..I bought my 1st 200 gal sack of basic TM in circa 1978...It is still a way better salt that IO or RC..look into to the way it's made , the way it's blended and you'll know why it is superior to IO, etc...
 
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yes, long enough to know I didn't like it . jaubert plenum system that had been running well for 2 yrs prior.
that's right - so thats why I refer to it as crud.
Basic TM has no crud..I bought my 1st 200 gal sack of basic TM in circa 1978...It is still a way better salt that IO or RC..look into to the way it's made , the way it's blended and you'll know why it is superior to IO, etc...

This is absolutely useless information. You sound like a grumpy old baby boomer shaking a stick at clouds. I'm well aware of how TM is made. Also, "superior" is a subjective term.
 
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BanjoBandito

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I'd also remind you that this salt is targeted at "new-ish" tanks and is designed to help/hold low nutrients....so when you are that deep in a sand bed system I'd think that'd be the last thing you'd be after. You had to make the switch for some reason...most people don't just cherry pick new products without a reason...it really sounds to me that you spent too much money on the salt, got mad because you got caught up in HYPE, didn't understand what it was for, and are just grumpy about the poor results.
 
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Bio-Acif has two additives over Pro salt. They are TM Reef Actif and a bacteria product. Cloudyness is present and not a defect.

Reef actif is an interesting concept. It is a form of powdered seaweed as a mild carbon source. I prefer to feed a mix of seaweeds to tangs instead. My fish do love eating the Two Little Fishies Red Seaweed the most.

I am wearing black socks but not a grumpy old man...
 
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Bio-Acif has two additives over Pro salt. They are TM Reef Actif and a bacteria product. Cloudyness is present and not a defect.

Reef actif is an interesting concept. It is a form of powdered seaweed as a mild carbon source. I prefer to feed a mix of seaweeds to tangs instead. My fish do love eating the Two Little Fishies Red Seaweed the most.

I am wearing black socks but not a grumpy old man...

I'm sorry man, I've grown up on the internet. Manners and being polite is a pet peeve. I don't do well when someone doesn't think before they type (or speak). Thank you for the info!!!!

As I stated before...I can't seem to get a straight answer on what exactly is in the salt that makes it "special". I'm going to email TM and I"ll follow up with everyone.
 

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No worries. It is a difficult hobby at times.

I would suggest everyone go more and more basic. I use Tropic Marin Pro salt and 50 cc/min Kalk dosing pump and disperse 2 liters over the day.

Forget vendors and just strive for stability. T5's and Kalk can work! Bio Actif is more of a niche product. Hobby is very challenging without live rock. Dead rock takes a year to grow SPS well from my experience.
 
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No worries. It is a difficult hobby at times.

I would suggest everyone go more and more basic. I use Tropic Marin Pro salt and 50 cc/min Kalk dosing pump and disperse 2 liters over the day.

Forget vendors and just strive for stability. T5's and Kalk can work! Bio Actif is more of a niche product. Hobby is very challenging without live rock. Dead rock takes a year to grow SPS well from my experience.

Yeah, dry rock has been tough. I'm not used to it. I've always used live rock. I just got bit by a bad bunch of live rock last time and I didn't want to repeat those mistakes. Ironically, it's a whole new set of mistakes with dry rock.
 
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Here's what TM wrote if anyone is interest:

Thanks for your email, and your interest in Tropic Marin.



The Synbiotic salt version has the carbon dosing Reef Actif, and probiotic compounds in it that the Pro Reef does not. SO you are correct that it has a very mild carbon dosing effect. However, this is usually NOT enough, or the correct type of carbon dosing, that would foster algae growth or bloom of any kind.



I would say that if you tank is 2 months old, it is going through the normal maturation process that almost ALL new reef tanks do. This is a stage that is difficult, but a necessary one to go through.



If you would like to chat more about this, just give me a call in the office, at the number below, and we can talk about your specific situation. That being said, this tank maturation with an algae or cyano bacteria bloom is something that you can read a lot about inline in any of the salt water forums as well.
 
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