Mixing own Marine Salt Water

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by hansiemyburgh, 17 Mar 2014.

  1. hansiemyburgh

    hansiemyburgh

    Joined:
    7 Jan 2014
    Posts:
    431
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    JHB - East Rand
    Hi guys, is it more cost effective to make your own salt water? I know the start up to get all the equipment is bit costly. What salt to buy?

    I have the following equipment
    RO Filter - The Waterboy
    TDS Meter
    Drums
    Heater
    Circulating pump

    Need a Refractometer still.

    Awaiting your views?
     
  2. AdS Guest




    to hide all adverts.
  3. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    14 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    16,769
    Likes Received:
    582
    Location:
    Sandton
    only if you making 1000's of liters and have the time to do it.

    its not entirely impossible, look at Glennf thread here on masa
     
  4. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,142
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Centurion
    smaller than 200L system, buying the salt already mixed from the LFS can be cheaper. IF you can walk out without buying a nice zoa, fish or any other temptation.

    Remember that you need water for top up and saltwater. RO top up works roughly out to 10% per week. So on a 200L system, one 20L drum a week. Plus if you do water changes, 10% per week, that is another 20L drum.

    Forget the water change first, as their are loads of different opinions.

    Just on RO top up. Can you get to the LFS at least twice a month? How much do you need a month? Current price per Liter of RO?

    Work that out against the once of cost of getting a RO unit, and a drum or two. OK, yes, at some point you will need to replace the filters in the RO unit, can get that TDS pen later.

    If it is worthwhile on RO only, then yes, get the Refractometer and extra drum and do your own saltwater.

    But then again, setting up a 1000L new system, it will be better to start with all the things to make your own saltwater. Just imagine getting 1000L from your LFS in 20L drums. And then to carry that into your house. 50drums... No need to go to the gym for weeks after that. If you can still bend your back thereafter.
     
  5. hansiemyburgh

    hansiemyburgh Thread Starter

    Joined:
    7 Jan 2014
    Posts:
    431
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    JHB - East Rand
    @dallasg, the thread about the beast tank with no water change?

    I only need 100lt salt water a month maybe. :blush:

    And then normal RO water for top up.
     
    Last edited: 17 Mar 2014
  6. hansiemyburgh

    hansiemyburgh Thread Starter

    Joined:
    7 Jan 2014
    Posts:
    431
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    JHB - East Rand
    Thanks RiaanP.
     
  7. Zandy

    Zandy

    Joined:
    10 Oct 2012
    Posts:
    2,504
    Likes Received:
    10
    I would suggest you rather purchase if you only going to need around 100L per month. (4 x 25L containers). Easier and sure it will work out cheaper than getting the TDS , refractometer and salt. Plus then you still have to make your own RO Water too. For this amount of water i would rather buy....
     
  8. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    It is far better to mix your own salt water using a brand of salt.

    1) One does not have to buy large buckets of salt mix. Smaller 5 or 6 kg buckets are designed for small usage users. These smaller buckets make up about 150 to 200l.
    2) By mixing your own salt one can mix to the salinity you choose and be consistent in mixing it.
    3) To mix up your own salt "recipe" is not recommended. Use a brand of salt.
     
    Last edited: 17 Mar 2014
  9. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

    Joined:
    12 Nov 2012
    Posts:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Manzini / Swaziland
    I would definitely mix my own salt. considering that you already have a RO unit, TDS meter and drums it will cost you far less even in effort to mix the salt water yourself.. and besides.. even if you decide to buy already mixed water from a LFS you will still need a refractometer to monitor the salinity in your tank at least once a week and adjust if necessary.
     
  10. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,142
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Centurion
    What corals do you plan to keep.

    Also ask the LFS which salt brand do they use to mix their SW. Doubt they will use the top of the line salt brands. Running SPS and certain salt mixes are better tailored for having high Magnesium levels. Where as other mixes from same salt company are more suited for softies.

    Shops will use the cheaper options to mix their SW. And different shops will use different brands. So unless you keep on supporting one shop only, you could end up using different salt each time. Especially corals that is more sensitive, for them keeping to one brand and mix is better.

    Back when I started out, I too bought SW at the local LFS. First time I got a refracto, I realized that they did make it 1.023. Still acceptable. OK for fish only. So yes, even if you buy your salt water, it is still better to test it.
     
  11. hansiemyburgh

    hansiemyburgh Thread Starter

    Joined:
    7 Jan 2014
    Posts:
    431
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    JHB - East Rand
    @Zandy, I have all the equipment just need the Refractometer. I have worked it out if I buy from LFS salt water will cost me R2460 per year. To make my own salt water will cost about R1500. This price does not include the unit cost of water, but that is a small amount.

    @Nemos Janitor, was hoping to get your input. Would you mind sharing more info to mix own salt. Like brands etc.

    @HOT SAUCE, I am going to try and mix own salt....

    @RiaanP, corals for now is only Zoanthus & Mushrooms, but would like to add Kenya tree, Torch Coral, Xenia.
     
    Last edited: 18 Mar 2014
  12. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

    Joined:
    12 Nov 2012
    Posts:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Manzini / Swaziland
    I use Red Sea Coral Pro salt which has been designed to assist with coral growth with Ca, Mg and Alk levels optimised for faster growth. one of the main reasons why I use this particular salt is because is available at most pet stores around South Africa and I'm a firm believer in sticking to one brand of salt just like other members recommended above.. there are many different brands of salt and all claim best results so I guess its up to you to choose what you want to achieve with your salt.
     
  13. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

    Joined:
    12 Nov 2012
    Posts:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Manzini / Swaziland
    a friend of mine recently bought a bucket of Aquavitro Salinity as it was recommended as the best salt money can buy.. unfortunately it turned out to be a nightmare to even mix the salt with RO water and after that there was precipitation of undissolved salt on the bottom of the container even 24hours after mixing.. the water also goes very cloudy for very long.. now this is not not say that I am suggesting that Salinity is not a good salt or that Red Sea makes better salt its just my experience. I would use what works for me but after a quick Google search we found out that we are not the only people who have experienced this with the brand of salt.. if you also Google Red Sea salt you will also find people complaining about the water parameters being inconsistent with what is supposed to be for example instead of the calcium in the water being at 430 as advertised on the bucket coins be less or note but to be honest I have not experienced that yet and have not bothered to test as well.
    another good brand of salt is TropicMarine.. unfortunate its only available at few shops around SA and if you run out and can not find more at your LFS you might have to order from far or use a different brand.
     
  14. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,142
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Centurion
    For a softy system, the normal Red Sea Salt would be 100%

    The Red Sea Coral Salt is more for SPS systems.
     
  15. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    All brands of salt have a different iron makeup. Some higher calcium others higher magnesium. But all good brands will give you what levels of the major irons you can expect when mixed to a certain salinity. The choice of which brand is entirely up to to the reefer when considering the closest set of iron parameters to the aquarium type.

    Some of the cheaper lines of some brands do not have the calcium, magnesium and alkalinity that the more expensive brand lines have. This does not make the cheaper lines unusable for full blown SPS reef systems. It just means a lot more diligence and effort in adding the additives before water changes are done. Of course you cost saving on the cheaper line is eaten away by the additional cost of additives. However these cheaper lines are very cost effective when it comes to tanks with very low levels of alkalinity and calcium usage.

    Some of the premium more expensive brands give an option to mix at different salinities. Typical would be...

    S=31 for fish only aquariums
    S=33 for reef tanks with fish and a few soft corals and invertebrates
    S=35 for full blown SPS and LPS reef setups.

    What is to be remembered is that the lower the salinity you mix your salt at the less magnesium, Calcium, alkalinity and other trace elements you will have in the makeup water.

    I have used the following brands through my reefkeeping days and most are very similar. Some just make it easier to be consistent. (Instant ocean, Aqua Medic, Reef crystals, Tropic Marine, D-D H2Ocean,) I have not used (Seachem, Red sea, and a few others that don't come to mind right now). But just because i have not used them does not mean that they are not good salts. They have very good reviews. Naturally because we market the D-D brand i would be biased towards it.

    You say you are looking at purchasing a refractometer. There are two main types that are sold for the aquarium trade that measure salinity. The cheaper ones are calibrated for brine water and the slightly more expensive ones are calibrated for sea water. Whilst both are acceptable the brine refractometer reads about S=1.7 lower than the seawater one. Just keep this in mind. If you purchase a Sea Water refractometer make sure it saus Sea Water on the scale.

    In our maintenance programs we mix all our water to a salinity of S=35. This way we keep parameters stable.
     
    Last edited: 18 Mar 2014
  16. mariusmeyer

    mariusmeyer

    Joined:
    7 Jul 2009
    Posts:
    3,054
    Likes Received:
    210
    Location:
    Jukskei Park, JHB
    Another reason to mix your own salt water is for that emergency water change at 19:00 at night that you did not plan on.
     
  17. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    My guess is that in the case of the red sea salt it was not mixed to the correct salinity.

    Could be the reason why both D-D and Red Sea and a few others are bringing out sea Water refractometers. :p
     
  18. hansiemyburgh

    hansiemyburgh Thread Starter

    Joined:
    7 Jan 2014
    Posts:
    431
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    JHB - East Rand
    @Nemos Janitor, where can one get a proper sea refractormer?

    Thanks for all the other comments & info...
     
    Last edited: 18 Mar 2014
  19. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

    Joined:
    7 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Joe's Mountain
    Most LFS sponsors can sell you either a D-D Sea water refractometer or Red sea refractometer. Try wild on pets, Jungle aquatics, Idol marine, Dory pets, Exotic aquariums etc.
     
  20. hansiemyburgh

    hansiemyburgh Thread Starter

    Joined:
    7 Jan 2014
    Posts:
    431
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    JHB - East Rand
    Thanks.
     
  21. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

    Joined:
    12 Nov 2012
    Posts:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Manzini / Swaziland
    I have a DD Oceans refractometer.. probably one of the best items I have bought since I started the hobby.. I would recommend this refracto over any other. also reading the specific gravity or salinity is very easy compared to other models as the scale is so big ... you can actually get half readings for example 1.026 and a half.. awesome tool really worth the slightly higher price compared to other refractos.
     
Recent Posts

Loading...
Similar Threads - Mixing Marine Salt Forum Date
Mixing play sand and marine substrate for DT General Discussions and Advice 5 Oct 2009
Mixing Dwarf Angels - Info on Potters Angel Marine Fish Discussions 29 Apr 2016
Salt mixing and normal garden hose General Discussions and Advice 27 Mar 2016
Mixing Certain Additives Water Parameters and Additives 23 May 2015
Mixing your own chemicals Anything DIY Related 4 Apr 2015
Mixing water Beginner Discussions 6 Feb 2015
Understanding mixing salt poll General Discussions and Advice 11 Mar 2014