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Old 09-09-2005, 09:45 PM   #1
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Cloudy Water/ Low salt levels

I was impatient when first setting up my tank, and added all the salt at once, according to the measurements on the back of the bag. I ended up with so much salt that no matter how often i added plain old fresh water, it just kept getting saltier, probably from some un-dissolved salt getting stirred up.

So, I emptied the whole thing, and started over. First i added fresh water only. There was some salt left in the rocks and coral, so i let it sit for a day or two, before adding salt, so that the stuff left in the rocks/coral could dissolve. Then, every day, or every other day, i slowly added a quarter cup of salt, dissolved in warm water. I've gotten to the point now, where i'm at about 1.012 (specific gravity, as measured by the hydrometer), and havent been able to get above this level, for over a week now, even though i had been adding a quarter cup of salt daily. Why isnt the water getting saltier? The salt buildup on the hood of the tank from evaporation is virtually nonexistant, so it doesnt seem to be evaporating away. What should i do? Add salt faster?

Also, the tank has been set up (no fish) and the water cycling through the filter for several weeks now. I'm still adding salt slowly, but for the last week or so, the water's been really cloudy. I thought at first that it was due to undissolved salt, and let it sit without adding more. However, the cloudiness has not cleared up. Any idea what might be causing this?

Callie
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Old 09-09-2005, 09:59 PM   #2
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What kind of "Fresh" water are you using? If you can't get salt to dissolve, it could mean other stuff is dissolved already. What are you using to move the water? Also, what temp? higher temps dissolve more salt.

Also, throw away your hydrometer. IMO, they're completely useless. Get a refractometer ($40 from drsfostersmith.com)
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Old 09-09-2005, 10:37 PM   #3
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Hydrometers are not completely useless. They may not be AS ACURATE, but they do just fine unless you are needing to be fine tuning the salt as in hyposalinity treatments.

The problem is that you are not dissolving and aerating the saltwater before adding it to
the tank.

Take a bucket of water out of the tank, add salt mix to it, aerate with a powerhead for at least several hours and then pour that into the tank. Repeat the process until the salt level is where you want it.

You probably have undissolved salt sitting in low flow areas of the tank and that will cause problems later. Make sure you take stuff out and get this taken care of by thorough mixing. Also, to clarify a statement you made....when there is evaporation, the salt does not evaporate, the water does. That is why you have to top off the tank with FRESH water to keep the levels stable.
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Old 09-10-2005, 12:07 AM   #4
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Let me see if i understand this..... Put some of the water in a bucket... add more salt... and aerate it.... Whats a powerhead? Will an air pump work?

If I aerate the water, will it clear up? What specifically makes it cloudy?
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Old 09-10-2005, 12:11 AM   #5
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its well water, run through a watersoftener. Thats what comes out of the tap.

So i guess its not technically "fresh" water... But i've let it sit for almost a month now.. hoping the filter would cycle stuff out, or it would mellow on its own.

I'm dissolving the salt in a seperate bucket, as hot as the water gets... again, from the tap. Then, i let it sit in the hot water, stirring occasionally, to get th pieces that settle.... after its totally dissolved (couple hours), then i pour it into the tank.

Am i doing it wrong?


Also, i always make sure to mix up the water before i test it... so that any salt sitting at the bottom is accounted for... since i figure the fish will stir it up as well once they're in there.... The readings arent any different before mixing the water than after. Dont know that it means anything though.
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Old 09-10-2005, 12:15 AM   #6
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A powerhead is a water movement device placed within the tank:



Courtesy: www.thatfishplace.com

I agree with the suggestion, you should be mixing and aerating the water before you add it to your tank as you will not be able to follow your current method with any real animals in the tank. You should make sure the salt reads the correct level before adding it to the tank....a general guideline is 1/2 cup of salt per gallon of water to give about 1.019 but this will vary by brand.

In addition, I think you need a really good book like The New Marine Aquarium by Paletta or The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by fenner to learn about marine tank equipment, tank care, and livestock.
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:52 AM   #7
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You may want to look into a better water source. Your well water could have a lot of dissolved solids that may prevent the salt mix from going into solution. Also, many water softeners exchange the Ca and Mg ions in hard water for Sodium ions. So that also could be adding to the insolubility of your salt. If mixing the SW in a bucket with a powerhead doesn't help then I would look for a source of RO water or RO/DI water. You can find it for sale at machines outside of some grocery stores or look into purchasing the filter to make it...a good one runs $150-$300 though. We just hooked one up to filter our well water for drinking and also to make aquarium water.
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Old 09-10-2005, 12:01 PM   #8
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yes, airstones will work...that's how I mix my 5gals of SW for a water change.

what brand salt are you using? Instant Ocean doesn't always dissolve very well.

I also wouldn't use HOT water...use normal cold tap water, or room temp RO water (hot water will hold more salt than cold water...but the bigger issue is that hot water pipes tend to have more gunk in them than cold water pipes.
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Old 09-12-2005, 03:07 AM   #9
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our pipes are brand new, so it should be that reason. I'm adding the airstone tonight, so we'll see what happens. How soon should i expect to see it clear up? I'm gonna give it a few days, and see what happens, but at what point should it have worked by, if this was the correct solution?
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Old 09-12-2005, 03:10 AM   #10
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It could also be from a bacterial bloom....a combination of issues is what I suspect. Make sure you have at least a basic test kit and monitor your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. The filters running with no bioload in the water will not cycle your tank enough to directly add fish....you should add an ammonia source such as a cocktail shrimp to prepare the tank for your inhabitants. (Google "nitrogen cycle" for important reading).
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