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Salt mixing

8520 Views 18 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  RayPollett
I see some people keep salt mixed up all the time and do not just make it before they do a water change. This brings up a question for me.

Can you age your new salt mix too long before using it?

Thank you,
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BBB said:
Can you age your new salt mix too long before using it?
The biggest problem with mixing synthetic seawater is not storage, but that it hasn't had enough time when initially mixed to be able to fully develop the carbonate/bicarbonate buffering system, and for CO2 to contribute to this system at saturation. So long as the water is well-circulated, aereated, kept at aquaria temp and stored in an open non-reactive container (to maintain CO2 and O2 saturation with the atmosphere), there is little reason not to keep seawater in storage for periods of up to a week at a time. There may become an issue with microbiological growth after a week in a container where there are no filter feeders or other biological filtration processes occuring (speculation on my part, not a known fact). Biggest concern would be evaporation of surface water, as it would change the salinity of stored water. If you store it, check the salinity, temp, and pH and adjust any variations accordingly prior to using it in a system containing live creatures.

my experience and opinion only, your milage may vary :rolleyes:
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thefatman said:
...I mix my saltwater exactly 3.2 seconds before adding it to the tank...

Most of the time premixing about 3 to 6 hours prior to use after a well-agitated mixing will be sufficient to both completely dissolve the salts and to allow for complete saturation by atmospheric gasses. I go personally with 24 hours, but that is because I'm lazy and my own method allows me to leave it in the mixing barrel after 5 minutes of agitation, then come back the next day and it is at the correct salinity and temp as well as the gas saturation, etc. I still test it, but it doesn't require adjustment.

btw, If you're REALLY in a hurry (like you have an emergency waterchange, etc), Craig Bingman did an evaluatioin of an emergency 5 min procedure at this web page on Animal Network. Although I personally prefer the 24 hr equilibration, in a pinch, this will work.
RayPollett said:
So much overkill in this hobby...

yeah, there is a degree of overkill in some things, on this one it can make the difference between surviving and thriving...

Most of the things folks new to the hobby consider overkill are the things that do not present themselves as problems immediately, the use of RO/DI is a great example. Although there are parts of the country where tap water has less than 20 PPM TDS, those areas are few and far between. Many municipalities use water softeners and additives that make the water OK for its initial use for top-off or ASW, but over time, these substances accumulate in the tank (only pure water evaporates off, leaving behind all the additives to accumulate in the water column). Even well water is subject to the vagaries of the local agricultural activity in terms of dissolved nitrates and phosphates in groundwater. This is one of the things that will make the difference between having a beautiful alga-free tank and a stinking morass of uncontrollable cyanobacterial mats: the number one reason folks leave the hobby.

Ray, don't take this as flaming, it is just my pointing out that there is much to consider when thinking of the many details associated with this hobby as "overkill."
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