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This subject was covered at length in this thread if you'd like to read all of the opinions.

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/water-change-now-152987.html

In a few words, what it comes down to is the quality/purity of the water, and how good the salt mix is (aka how well/quickly it dissolves).

Even under the most urgent emergency I'd never wait less than 1 hour.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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Yeah, I did the "test" in the link and found that my mix of Instant Ocean was stable within two hours. While I will not say that the 24 hour rule is a myth, it does look like it is safe to use once the salt is completely mixed and clear. Instant Ocean claims that the new salt water is safe to use immediately but they do suggest that one aerate the salt til there the new salt water is O2/CO2 equilibrium. I guess there is some reason to the 24h rule but it really depends on how well the salt is mixed. New salt should not "burn the gills off" your fish unless you mix the salt in the water that the fish are swimming in.
 
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