I got about 1/2 bucket of Instant Ocean Reef Crystals given to me. I mixed it in with 30 gallons of RO
water and noticed a couple odd things.
First, is wasn't very dry, though the top was sealed on well, it was clumpy and moist, not sugar-like in consistency.
Second, when I mixed it in (I a pump running at the bottom of a 44g BRUTE trash can) it did not completely dissolve overnight. Usually, there is some sitting at the bottom and I just blow it with the power head and it dissolves in no time, but this was different - there were small particles suspended in the water and floating on the surface, like super-tiny beads. When I scooped them up and mushed them, they dissolved. I put a second, stronger power head in pointed up and 2 300W heaters and cranked them to 89. This did the trick, it looked like everything was dissolved.
The third issue was salinity. I unplugged the heaters and let it stir for another day and tested it with my refractometer (I always calibrate before and after testing with RODI
water) at 76F. Now, I usually put 1 cup per 2 gallons and then add about another 1-2 cups depending on the amount of water I'm mixing up, and this usually brings it to about 29 or 30, maybe 31. I put in about 16+ cups for roughly 29 gallons and got a salinity of 25 - way past the possible margin of error I'm come across using this method hundreds of times.
I added 2 more cups of salt and am having the same issue with dissolving the salt, had to put the heaters on again. 3 hours later, still particles undissolved at 83.5F and I am noticing a white buildup on the pumps, heaters, and inside of the trash can.
Is this strange, or is it me?
Is this salt OK to use? Does IO/RC go bad? I can't imagine it does, but this just seems strange.
Is it possible that the older the salt, the less concentrated this mix, which would explain the low salinity compared to freshly bought salt?
The only difference I can see is that I always buy the 200g mix in the box, and this is in the 160g bucket with the twist-seal lid.
Would appreciate ANY insight!!!