Triton method cost - Time to add up how much it costs to run a triton method reef tank - BRStv Reef FAQs
One of the first questions we get when discussing the Triton Method with our customers is “How much does it cost?”. We came up with some clear figures to share with you in order to help you make the right choice for your tank and budget.
To justify paying a premium for something, it needs to deliver results and deliver those results better than the rest. The Triton Core 7 is one of the only calcium, alkalinity and trace element solutions designed for use with a refugium or algae scrubber and the resulting uptake of elements and nutrients.
When looking at total costs of running the Triton Method, outside of the Core 7 base elements, you also need to consider the individual element additives and ICP test kits. Then look at how all of this balances out with the reduction in salt mix costs as a result of less frequent water changes.
Triton Method Core7 Base Elements
A few weeks ago we looked at the cost of various two part solutions. The Triton Method was calculated at $30.61 per month when purchased in the 1 liter size and $21.40 per month when purchased in the more economical 4 liter containers.
Based on our calculations this is considerably more than the $3 per month for the BRS Bulk Pharma set but also less than some of the other more comprehensive solutions that also include trace elements.
Some folks choose to stop here and only use the Core7 additives. The real Triton Method, however, requires ICP testing to dictate when you need a water change and adjust individual elements to match natural seawater with additional additives.
ICP testing and element additives
We suggest one ICP test every 3 months so you get a pulse on how the Triton Method is performing. After everything is stable and you understand the tanks natural rhythm, you can scale that back to twice a year plus the inevitable extra test when you see something odd with the tank.
At this frequency, you are looking at $141 when purchased in the 3 pack or $150 when purchased individually. Just keep in mind this is based on a typical reef tank with a smooth operator, if things go haywire additional tests would be needed.
The ICP tests are going to tell you make some adjustments to individual elements to match your tank with natural sea water. This can vary but on average you are looking at about 4 bottles for year which comes to about $134. These bottles last a really long time and you will likely build a varied collection over time.
Mad scientist mentality
How many of these individual elements you need is directly related to your mindset. Are you a mad scientist or not? The mad scientist will try and correct every last element as soon as it strays even the slightest amount from green to yellow. Most reasonable reefers will only address the critically parameters in the red zone.
With that in mind, these numbers are not indicative of the mad scientist reefer because obviously this type of reefer would spend considerably more in both additives and ICP testing costs.
Our best advice on this front is to be reasonable. Only correct what goes into the red or critical zone and make individual decisions based on trends and the importance of the element in question.
How does it stack up?
Additives and ICP tests will cost about $284 a year combined, so how does that stack up against the fact that you can avoid many water changes with the Triton Method?
This range of $202 - $286 is based on that same 100 gallon tank with 10% weekly water changes and was calculated in our video How much does your salt mix really cost?
This doesn’t tell the whole story because you need to add in costs of RO/DI water, time and equipment. The Triton Method is also not going to get rid of all water changes, just a good portion of them. The exact frequency of water changes really is determined on a tank to tank basis.
To wrap it up, for those looking for a major element solution only and still willing to perform very regular water changes for trace element supplementation and nutrient control, the Triton Method lands in the middle of the pack in terms of cost.
For those wanting to put forth the effort of the full Triton Method, the additional costs are pretty much a wash compared to weekly 10% water changes with one of the best salt mixes available.
The big question is how much can you really reduce the need for water changes by implementing the Triton Method.
In true BRS fashion, we answered this question in our video, Triton Method Reef Tanks - Eliminating water changes in your saltwater aquarium | Reef FAQs based on our prolonged experience and there is definitely a more refined answer than yes or no.