Salt Mix Videos

  1. Top Mistakes Using Tropic Marine Salt Mix

    Tropic Marin Pro Reef, Classic, Bioactif, Synbiotic Salt Mixes, Which One Right? How to Use Them?

    Learn how to choose the right Tropic Marine Salt mix and get some helpful advice for mixing and using saltwater correctly.
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  2. DON'T make these same Salt Mix mistakes we've made! Trust us...

    DON'T make these same Salt Mix mistakes we've made! Trust us...

    Ryan and Randy bring us the Top 15 Salt Fails which is the first episode of a brand new series in which we talk about some of those unfortunate yet common mistakes many of us have made and learned the hard way.
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  3. Best Salt Mixes of 2019: The Final Four

    Best Salt Mixes of 2019: The Final Four

    Ryan and Randy are back at it with another Best of 2019 list and this week the focus is salt mix. We cover not only the best selling salt mixes but also the top performers from our recent BRStv Investigates series in which we tested eight different salt mixes for purity, mixing time, storage capability, and stratification.
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  4. Will salt mix stratify or separate before we get the chance to use it for our saltwater tanks? | BRStv Investigates

    Will salt mix stratify or separate before we get the chance to use it for our saltwater tanks? | BRStv Investigates

    A majority of saltwater used in home aquariums is made by mixing a dry salt mix with RO/DI water. Some folks have access to sterilized natural seawater, but this is very limited for the most part. Whether you are mixing it yourself or buying from a local fish store, it is very likely being made using a manufactured salt mix specifically for aquariums. Salt mix is made up of a variety of different minerals and compounds mixed together to ultimately constitute everything found in natural seawater. It is often packaged in 5 gallon buckets or large bags that you would then only pull the amount of dry salt mix you need to mix a batch of saltwater for a water change. Within the mix, the individual compounds will vary in particle size, shape and density. This means that as the salt mix is shipped, stored and then ultimately delivered to you, it only makes sense to think these various components will separate and create a dry mix that is not homogenous from top to bottom. This certainly raises some concerns and questions; to think that your first batch of salt mix from the top of the bucket may very well differ from the last batch of salt mix from the bottom of the bucket. We plan to find out if salt mix will stratify or separate before being used and if it does, should we be concerned about it. The Experiment Using a digital scale set to measure in grams, we weighed out the precise amount of dry salt mix needed to mix up 4 gallons of saltwater at a salinity level of 1.026 specific gravity or 35 ppt. We did this for all eleven salt mix brands and mixed up two samples of saltwater from each brand using salt collected from the top of the bucket for sample #1 and salt from the bottom of the bucket for sample #2. All 22 samples were then sent off to Triton for an ICP-OES evaluation to include all 37 available elements. Since there is no direct test for Alkalinity included in Triton’s services, we tested Alkalinity using the Hanna Instruments dKH Checker manually before mailing the samples. By comparing the test results from the “top of bucket” sample to the “bottom of bucket” sample, we were able to identify those parameters that shifted and then calculated a change percentage based on the difference between the top and bottom sample. The Results Because each of the 22 samples were tested for a total of 38 parameters, we are only going to focus on those which showed a drastic change. Any brand that displayed a change of 5% or less, we considered it to be a homogenous mix and of no concern. The brands showing a 5% - 10% change are of little concern and any parameter with a change greater than 10% should be mixed before use. Remember, we are not trying to prove that any one salt brand is better than another. The results from a test like this will likely vary from bucket to bucket, even within the same brand. We chose 11 different salt mixes for the sole purpose of making a fair and accurate judgement about salt mix stratification, no matter which brand you choose to use. We divided it up alphabetically by brand name and you will find links to the full ICP results from both the top and bottom of the buckets. AquaForest Reef Salt - From the major element standpoint and alkalinity being right on the cusp of what we considered homogeneously mixed, there doesn’t seem to be much difference from top to bottom in this specific bucket of AquaForest salt mix. Same case when we look at the Triton ICP results in which only 4 of the 37 elements showed a variance greater than 5% with manganese being the largest variance at 18.8%. Combined with the major elements, AquaForest does not raise any major concerns regarding significant stratification going on inside the bucket and is nearly fully homogeneous. Brightwell Aquatics Neomarine - For major elements, we do see a difference in alkalinity and magnesium levels around 9% from top to bottom which is not terrible, but certainly enough to alter parameters. The Triton tests revealed a total of 10 out of 37 elements with a variance greater than 5%. Together, these results certainly indicate the mix is not completely homogenous and could benefit from a little bit more mixing of the dry material either at home or in the warehouse. ESV B-Ionic Seawater System - ESV is unique in that instead of being a single dry mix like all the others, they include 4 different components. Two are dry powders and then two liquids which are intended to be mixed together in a specific order to eliminate precipitation and provide precise parameters when making your own saltwater. The single component powder ingredients defend against the risk of stratification because only one compound means nothing can separate. The liquid components then contain the remaining necessary elements. When performing our tests, we simply scooped the appropriate amount of powder from the top and bottom of the containers and then added the liquids. As expected, ESV is one of the most homogeneous mixes we tested with less than a 1% difference for all three major elements and a total of only 3 of the 37 elements from Triton showing greater than a 5% difference from the top and bottom of the bucket. HW Reefer - For major elements, calcium and magnesium showed very little difference but alkalinity came in with a 9.8% difference. When we combined with the results from Triton we saw a total of 9 elements score over the 5% change which bumps HW Reefer just over the threshold and therefore it will be smart to mix the dry material thoroughly before use. Instant Ocean Standard - For major elements, calcium and alkalinity both show minimal change around 1% but magnesium was a big outlier with a total change of 10% between the top and bottom water samples. With 8 elements from the Triton results showing a change greater than 5% and 5 of those being above 10%, we do think Instant Ocean could be mixed a bit more before use. Instant Ocean Reef Crystals - The major element results in our Reef Crystals samples are the worst yet with all three coming in with a greater than 10% change, calcium being the greatest with an 18% change. This was also reflected in the Triton results with a total of 16 elements showing a 5% or more change. This is the first bucket of salt we see today where we’d likely expect to see a significant benefit of mixing the dry salt at home before use or possibly more mixing at the factory to more evenly blend the components. It’s difficult to know for sure if the stratification happened during transport or from the manufacturer directly but either way, it is showing a drastic difference from salt on top vs the salt on the bottom. Red Sea Coral Pro - All of the major elements tested a less than 5% change so based on these results the bucket is good to go from top to bottom. When taking into account the Triton test results the bucket still looks to be fully homogenized with only 4 elements testing higher than a 5% change. Red Sea Blue Bucket - The blue bucket results again show very consistent parameters from top to bottom for both the major elements and the Triton results. This time there were 6 elements that showed a greater than 5% change but 3 of those came in at a greater than 20% change. This puts the bucket right on the edge meaning it could probably use a bit more mixing at home but not so terrible that it would cause significant changes in your tank. Two Little Fishies Accurasea 1 - This salt mix is unique in that they separate the box into four 50 gallon mix bags making it easier to mix smaller batches of salt while preserving the remaining salt mix. Even with the individual bags, we did show some variances in major elements as follows: 5.5% change in calcium, 2.25% change in alkalinity and almost a 7% change in magnesium. The Triton results further separated the TLF Accurasea 1 from our less than 5% threshold with 12 of the 37 elements testing above a 5% change. All in all this is a unique situation because the bags of salt mix are individual and most reefers will make the entire 5-gallon batch like we did, there’s really not an opportunity for us to blend the box of salt better at home without defeating the purpose of single use packaging. Further mixing would need to be done prior to packaging in smaller bags. Tropic Marin Classic - Tropic Marin Classic is up next and all three major elements tested above a 10% change. With the numbers from this batch it would seem that it could defiantely use a bit more mixing before use. When looking at the Triton test results we are showing 18 of the 37 elements with a greater than 5% change from top to bottom. 16 of those are above 10% and 4 elements rose above a 30% change. In this case, it was surprising to see a quality brand like Tropic Marin essentially be the worst performer but, regardless, we definitely think further mixing would be a good idea. Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt - Tropic Marin redeemed themselves with the Pro mix which showed some of the best numbers so far for all three major elements. Virtually no change in calcium and alkalinity and less than 1% change in magnesium. The Triton results showed only 5 elements testing above 5% and based on these numbers it really is not worth the extra effort of mixing further because the bucket appears to be very homogeneous. Will salt mix stratify or separate before we get the chance to use it for our saltwater tanks? Out of the 11 salts we tested, based on the major three elements that most reefers are concerned about we said that 2 of them could benefit from further mixing and 3 of them were riding the fence. From the full 37 element Triton ICP tests we determined that 3 salts could be mixed a bit more while 4 were somewhat of a wobbler, so with that in mind we give this a 4 out of 10 on the Reef Fantasy scale. A majority of the salts represented meet reasonable standards for a homogenous salt mix but a few seem that they could benefit from additional mixing at the factory or before use in our home. It is tough to really assign these results to a specific brand because the results will likely vary from bucket to bucket and it is best to think of it as a test for stratification in general which appears to be less of a concern than what we originally predicated. Is stratification a major concern for...

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  5. ESV B-Ionic Salt Mix Performance - Is it the Best? | BRStv Investigates

    ESV B-Ionic Salt Mix Performance - Is it the Best? | BRStv Investigates

    We put the E.S.V. salt mix to the test to see how their unique four-part system holds up against the competition and if it is truly worth the extra cost and effort. Using the results from our previous BRStv Investigates experiments about salt mix we have the data for comparison to not only identify the best performers but most importantly help you choose the right salt mix for your reef tank.
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  6. DIY salt mix? Mixing up ESV B-Ionic Salt Mix - #AskBRStv Live

    DIY salt mix? Mixing up ESV B-Ionic Salt Mix - #AskBRStv Live

    How about a little Live demonstration from Ryan and Randy?! Today we mix up a batch of ESV B-Ionic, which is about as close as you can get to DIY-ing your own that comes with all the parts you need.   #AskBRStv Live Streams are available in Podcast form! Check them out on iTunes and Google Play below! Check out BRStv on Itunes - https://brs.li/AskBRStv_iTunes_Podcast   Ches out BRStv on Google - https://brs.li/AskBRStv_Google_Podcast...

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  7. Mixing reef salt mix, the best method for the saltwater aquarium - FAQs

    Mixing reef salt mix, the best method for the saltwater aquarium - FAQs

    Mixing reef salt mix CORRECTLY will result in less precipitate and brown crust in your mixing and storage containers, more stable initial water parameters and presumably avoid any negative health benefits associated with dosing undissolved salts into your saltwater aquarium. It is safe to assume exposing fish gills and coral tissue to undissolved salt crystals is not healthy, even if it isn't immediately toxic. We are not talking about the bare minimum process to mix salt and keep the tank alive. Instead, we want to provide all of you with the absolute best practices for mixing saltwater yourself for optimal parameters and reduce build up in your mixing and storage bins Over the last few months, we have been performing all kinds of salt mixing experiments. This is essentially the combined results from many of those experiments and in typical BRS fashion, there will likely be more coming so keep an eye out as this story progresses. Follow the instructions, it’s a no brainer! The first thing we learned is you should always follow the instructions on the bucket, they are printed for a reason. All of these salts come from different sources of mined, evaporated or purified synthetic salts and have different levels of major elements. Some even contain extra additives such as chelators and clarifiers which will change how the salt mixes up. While all of the available salt mix options we carry will support marine life, they are not the same, particularly when it comes to the mixing process. Some are less dependent on strictly adhering to the instructions for optimal results but if you are looking for best practices, the manufacturer is going to be the best place to start. Mixing Saltwater We asked the reefing community over at Reef2Reef how long they mix their salt and for such a necessary process, the answers were surprisingly all over the place. 29% of you said you only mix for an hour or less, another 3rd of the poll participants said 12 hours or more, so which one is correct? In our experiment of unheated water with two powerheads mixing up 20 gallons of saltwater, the necessary length of time to create visually homogeneous saltwater varied dramatically...

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  8. Switching marine salt mix brands safely for a saltwater tank - BRStv Reef FAQs

    Switching marine salt mix brands safely for a saltwater tank - BRStv Reef FAQs

    All marine salt mixes are not created equal and we have uncovered some very interesting facts about mixing saltwater at home in our recent series of BRStv Investigates videos about testing salt mix. Abruptly switching salt mix brands for use in your saltwater tank often comes with setbacks. So we set out to answer the looming questions on this subject and provide you with the best approach to switching salt mix without putting your tank through the ringer. Why does switching salt mix cause problems? The presumption that switching from a lower to higher grade salt mix will only benefit your tank is not always exactly true. We can confidently assume this has to do with the different chemical make-up of the various brands and the way corals respond to their environment. The ratios of major, minor and trace elements are different in each salt mix brand, some more desirable than others. Abruptly switching the mix will surely throw off the balance in your tank. Choose a new salt mix that closely matches your current tank conditions or previous salt mix with similar major elements of calcium, alkalinity and magnesium levels. In many cases, however, the reason for switching is to either significantly increase, decrease or otherwise change the water parameters in your display tank so choosing something similar would be counterintuitive. Making a slow and incremental transition to a new saltwater mixture is best to prevent stress on the tank inhabitants. The second part of it is the varying impurities which is inherent because of the different sources that manufactures use to acquire the major components of a salt mix. These source materials go through varying degrees of purification ranging from adequate to intense pharmaceutical grade processes which then leave us with varying degrees and types of impurities. What happens in your tank is that corals, being amazingly adaptable creatures, get used to the impurities and general chemical make-up of your chosen salt mix over time. So when you switch it up abruptly, the corals get stressed without the appropriate time to adapt to the new conditions. Just like pretty much all aspects of successful reefkeeping, making large and “fast” changes almost always ends up in disaster. Slow and steady wins the race every time. Do you really need to switch? First things first, decide if you really need to switch because if your tank is doing well and meeting all your goals just stop in your tracks and don’t bother switching. Don’t switch because some brand has a better label or marketing hype either, instead look for a more definable aspect in your new salt mix. 1. Cost - the most economical option that works for you is obviously attractive. 2. More closely matches the desired calcium, alkalinity and magnesium levels than your current salt mix. 3. Mixes faster - meaning it is ready for use in a few hours rather than a few days. 4. Mixes easier - some salts require heating and prolonged circulation for successful storage. 5. Doesn’t contain visible contaminants - not all salt mixes will leave crust or create brown organic foam on the surface during mixing and storage. 6. Provides clear sustainable quality or purity standards beyond the typical marketing hype. For example, Red Sea’s MyBatch ICP test results or Aquaforest’s Quality Certificate. Topic Marin’s approach of meeting an independant standard of quality by using only pharmaceutical grade raw materials is another example. Don’t be fooled by promises of “...it grows coral better or worse than another” because this is completely anecdotal and subjective. While it is true that one salt will certainly perform better than another, don’t focus on the “best” because it doesn’t exist. Instead pick one of the better options that has some aspect that will make your life easier in terms of keeping a healthy reef tank. How to switch salt mix There are two distinct paths based on your water change schedule that will limit the impact on your tank or essentially avoid any drastic changes in water chemistry. When performing small frequent water changes at the rate of 10% weekly or using an automated water exchange system for daily water changes in the 1-3% range, than you can just mix up a batch of 100% new saltwater and proceed as normal. The small incremental water changes means you will not run the risk of making major changes to the tank’s chemistry, it will happen slowly based on this water exchange schedule. This approach is becoming more and more popular because of the great results and advancements in aquarium technology making it much easier to implement. If you are on the more classic regime of 20% bi-weekly or 30-40% monthly water changes, you will want to adjust your mix as follows. 1st Water Change - 25% new salt and 75% old salt 2nd Water Change - 50% new salt and 50% old salt 3rd Water Change - 75% new salt and 25% old salt 4th Water Change - 100% new salt from here on out When doing this, do not mix the old and new dry salt mix together at the same time. Instead, mix up your old saltwater separately from the new saltwater, both to your desired salinity level. Then follow the ratios above and replace the water from your tank after you have mixed each brand of salt separately. Of course, pay attention to how the tank responds and slow the process down if you think the tank would benefit. Every tank is different and this is a general guideline that will provide you with an idea of how to make a slow transition to a new salt mix. Related Content________________________________________________________________ View Playlist: All the BEST Salt videos Watch Video: Which Tropic Marin salt to use? Subscribe on YouTube Join the #ASKBRSTV Facebook group! Sign-Up to win FREE STUFF Join the conversation on Reef2Reef.com...

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