Sea salt

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by Kevin, 11 Sep 2008.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin

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    After browsing arround for a few weeks, I have seen a number of guys have said that natural sea water is better than the artificial mixes.

    Has anybody tried commercially available foodgrade sea salt? Not the stuff you buy off the shelf in Checkers, but the stuff we use in the food industry. It is basically made from drying sterilized sea water, no additives and no chemical washing. The stuff we get in the shops is normally iodated salt which is mined from salt pans which contains lead, copper etc.

    Where I work we use tons of the sea salt, and it is very pure.

    If anybody can tell me what the composition of artificial sea salt mixes is, I can compare it with the composition of dried sea salt which I can do in my lab at work.

    Somewhere at home I have a book with the chemical composition of natural sea water, I will have to go find it.
     
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  3. SIMS

    SIMS

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    wow if so let us know....
     
  4. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    The drying process causes a lot of elements to drop out of suspension. I think Magnesium is on of these.

    Apparently you can evaporate sea water to a fifth of its volumn before this happens.
     
  5. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Interesting. How about conducting some water parameter tests for us.
     
  6. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Kevin - yes please. Test and let us know? I too would be EXTREMELY INTERESTED in this!
     
  7. Kevin

    Kevin Thread Starter

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    Here is the technical data for the sea salt.

    Moisture (water) 0.45%
    Water insolubles 0.15%
    Chloride 59.8%
    Sulphate 0.35
    Calcium 0.12%
    Magnesium 0.24%
    Sodium 38.78%
    PH 7

    Calculations:

    Water solubles 99.85%
    Sodium Chloride 98.58%
    Calcium Sulphate 0.4%
    Magnesium Sulphate 0.43%
    Magnesium Chloride 0.61%




    I will have to get a pack of synthetic salt to compare the percentages of the various components.

    But this is the percentages of the dry sea salt. There are other trace elements present but they are to small to detect without the use of highly specialized equipment. I suppose I could get a quote from the SABS or the CSIR to see if they do the tests and then do a direct comparrison between synthetic and real sea salt.
     
  8. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    tagging along
     
  9. kalkwasser

    kalkwasser

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    do you know any one at the university on your side they have the gear to test it???
    If you can send me a small sample? I can get my buddies at RBM to get a chemical spread sheet on your salt.
     
  10. Kevin

    Kevin Thread Starter

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    Does anybody here know how they manufacture the synthetic sea salt?
     
  11. Kevin

    Kevin Thread Starter

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    Looks like Bob was right, the magnesium is way too low.

    This salt contains way to little magnesium chloride. It should be arround 50% magnesium chloride and 50% Sodium chloride.

    Looks like I will have to scrap this idea for now!
     
  12. kalkwasser

    kalkwasser

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    cant you add the MgCl2 to make up whats missing????
     
  13. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Here is some info I found on the Seachem website, it's a 3meg document so I copied and pasted the text - Seachem Laboratories: Innovative Pet and Aquarium Products

    THERE ARE NUMEROUS SALTWATER MIXES AVAILABLE TO MARINE AND REEF
    hobbyists. The marketing strategies for these salts sometimes makes
    an informed and rational judgment difficult. What characteristics should
    the ideal salt have? Authentic sea water is a good starting point for
    judging any salt, although rational considerations for deviating from
    natural seawater should not be dismissed, since a closed aquarium is not
    the open ocean or even a reef. Some components in natural seawater may
    be of dubious benefit or even be harmful in a closed environment.
    What characteristics of the ionic composition of natural seawater
    complicate duplicating its composition as a solution or a stable dry
    product? The key word that describes saltwater is ionic. This means that
    dissolved components exist in water as hydrated or dissociated ions. When
    you add sodium chloride to water you do not have a “sodium chloride”
    solution, you have a solution of distinct hydrated sodium ions and distinct
    hydrated chloride ions. If you now add some “magnesium sulfate”, you
    have distinct sodium, magnesium, chloride, and sulfate ions. If you were
    to dry this mixture, you would not recover the original sodium chloride
    and magnesium sulfate, but a mixture of sodium chloride, magnesium
    sulfate, sodium sulfate, and magnesium chloride. If you were to add
    “calcium chloride” to the solution you would end up with a solution
    containing distinct sodium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, and sulfate.
    Depending on the ratio of chloride and sulfate ions, you could easily
    obtain a precipitate of calcium sulfate, which does not readily dissociate
    and is thus relatively insoluble. If you were to add some carbonate, you
    could easily get more precipitate as non-dissociable calcium
    carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Likewise, if you
    were to take natural seawater and dry it, you
    would not end up with a mixture that, if
    added to distilled water, would restore the
    natural seawater. Drying seawater results in a
    multitude of insoluble components.
    So, duplicating seawater is not just a
    matter of adding a fixed set of constituents. There
    are several pathways available and each has its own set of
    advantages and disadvantages. This is further complicated by the need
    to have a solid mix rather than a solution. Many of the potential
    component salts that can go into a salt mix are hygroscopic and many are
    reactive. This complicates the problem because some of these can easily
    interact in the solid mix and form insoluble components . One solution to
    this is to add a coating agent such as fumed silica. Small amounts of this
    extremely fine material soak up an incredible amount of moisture while
    staying dry, and also coat and protect components in the salt from
    interaction. Although, in theory, such silica is insoluble and should not
    contribute silicate to the water, mounting anecdotal evidence suggests
    that the material may not be totally insoluble in seawater. An alternate
    approach is to decrease the amount of carbonates (alkalinity) of the salt.
    This approach is very tempting, particularly with the current fad for high
    calcium salts. With high calcium salts it is also tempting to lower the
    sulfate content and increase the chloride content to minimize the
    formation of insoluble calcium sulfate. Decreasing the magnesium
    concentration also eases the task of preparing a salt with marketable
    qualities. Selection of less troublesome components at the sacrifice of ionic
    proportions that match natural seawater is an attractive option.
    What, then, should be striven for in a synthetic salt mix? It should
    contain all the major, minor, and trace components that are essential. That
    is a given that can hardly be argued against. There may be some debate
    about what is essential. Is borate, for example, essential? We think so, but
    there are some who do not agree. All currently agree that phosphate and
    nitrate should not be included in a salt mix, even though they are present
    in natural seawater. Silicate is present in seawater at about 10 mg/L.
    Should silicate be present in a salt mix, even though it may encourage
    diatoms? A silent contaminant of commercial salt is ammonia, arising
    from the use of magnesium chloride as a principal source of magnesium.
    Many sources of calcium chloride are likewise contaminated with
    ammonia. Consequently, most, if not all, brands of salt contain ammonia,
    usually enough to yield between 0.1 – 0.8 mg/L in a freshly prepared batch
    of saltwater. In most instances, this may not be a problem because the
    ammonia is diluted by the existing tank water and the biological filter
    should clear it in short order. But, it is definitely not a promotionable
    feature of any salt, and, for that reason, has remained a well kept secret.
    Must a salt be totally “dry”? That is desirable, but at the cost of
    introducing silica or using components that cannot produce ionic
    proportions typical of seawater? Must a salt yield complete dissolution and
    instantaneous clarity? Again desirable, but at the cost of increasing
    components that increase solubility and clarity and decreasing those that
    compromise these features? Must a salt have a calcium content that
    exceeds natural seawater by more than 25%? There is no scientific basis to
    do so. Must a salt contain every trace element on the periodic chart?
    Certainly not, and salts that recite an endless list of trace elements are
    merely listing contaminants. Important trace elements such as iron,
    manganese, copper, cobalt, and aluminum are fundamentally unstable in
    seawater and need to be stabilized by complexing. Should a salt contain
    vitamins? Except for promotional value, vitamins have no place
    in a salt mix, if for no other reason that vitamins cannot
    survive the harsh environment of a dry salt mix,
    regardless of it composition, nor can they
    survive long in the reconstituted “seawater.”
    Salt mixes have recently multiplied almost
    like rabbits. Many are just private label
    versions of already existing mixes. Despite this,
    Seachem has reluctantly introduced its own salt,
    based on several years of evaluation of existing salts and the
    properties of ionic interactions. Like all other Seachem products,
    Reefsalt™ is produced in Seachem’s own facility under its own control,
    using state of the art equipment and quality control procedures.
    Seachem’s Reefsalt™ contains all the major, minor, and essential trace
    components of natural seawater. It differs from most other salts in that it
    does not follow the fad of elevated calcium. It delivers 400 mg/L calcium,
    the natural seawater concentration. It delivers an alkalinity of 4 – 5 meq/L,
    twice the natural seawater concentration, to provide adequate buffering in
    a closed aquarium system. Since the salt contains no protective agents, nor
    compromises on the proportions or type of component salts, it has a
    slightly moist consistency. This is characteristic of some of the component
    salts and is not a manufacturing deficiency. It is, however, loose, not hard,
    and does not harden with age. The salt dissolves rapidly and virtually
    completely, with excellent clarity, although it may require a few hours to
    acquire full clarity. It contains no measurable nitrate or phosphate. Unlike
    some other salts, it contains no measurable silicate or ammonia. The salt is
    supplied in a sturdy and reusable hermetically sealed black pail, which
    protects the salt from external contaminants and ionic interactions
    catalyzed by light. Although it is not mass produced and does not
    compromise on components, quality control, or even containers, Reefsalt™
    is competitively priced with premium salts. Reefsalt™ lives up to the
    reputation of its manufacturer, the first to bring quantitative testing for
    iodide, strontium, and magnesium to the hobby.
     
  14. Kevin

    Kevin Thread Starter

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    I suppose we could add on top, I will try and find out who supplies MgCl2.

    But without proper analysis it could be a bit of a hit and miss senario.

    I found a site that shows how to make synthetic sea salt from scratch.

    Synthetic ocean salt - Patent 20050193956
     
  15. Wetty

    Wetty Rockford Fosgate Fish

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    Dont u just love human ingenuity....we dont like sumthing....we make a plan;)
     
  16. kalkwasser

    kalkwasser

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    protea chemicals JHB 011 821 3300 Durban 031 468 5424
     
  17. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Hennie, Midasblenny, your input on the above results will be appreciated :)
     
  18. ben lloyd

    ben lloyd

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    because we are always looking for the cheapest way
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 13 Sep 2008
  19. kalkwasser

    kalkwasser

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    well it like my favourite subject pan cake mix!!!!! you buy pan cake mix for R12.99 for 500g just add eggs and milk or you can buy a 2kg bag of flower for 15.99 4x the size of pan cake mix and all you do is just add a pinch of salt, eggs and milk. so that 4x the amount of pan cakes for R3 More.;)
     
  20. Wetty

    Wetty Rockford Fosgate Fish

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    anyone seen Peanut from Jeff Dunham?

    neeeeeooooow. :lol:
     
  21. SIMS

    SIMS

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    :lol: you one of those guys who shop with a calculator?
    I always do the sums in my head at the supermarket...funny how the bigger pack works out more expensive most of the time...check it out next time ;)
     
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