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Old 01-28-2004, 03:24 PM   #1
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correct way of doing water changes.

what is the correct way to do a water change? I have never done one before and i need some help. thanks!
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Old 01-28-2004, 04:08 PM   #2
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You should be using only R/O water. It is best to let it sit for at least 3 days before adding to your tank. You should also have a power head & heater in the water to ensure complete salt mixture and that the temp going in is exactly the same as going out. Thats pretty much it... Everyone does this a little different... The key is never add anything you cant test for this includes water..
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Old 01-28-2004, 05:11 PM   #3
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I get RO water from a store machine, take home, put freshwater in a bucket with a powerhead and heater. Add my salt mix, fire up the PH and heater and let the salt mix for about 24 hours with the PH aerating feature hooked up. Test the water's specific gravity to be sure it is close to that of the tank water. Siphon out the tank water and pour in the new saltwater. I slowly pour in the new water using a cup. The first few times with a new salt mix I test for pH, alkalinity, nitrate, calcium and phosphate just to be sure those levels are within acceptable ranges but once I've used the salt for awhile I only test specific gravity. Its a good idea to do a full bout of test every time you get new salt just to be sure nothing is wonky with it.
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Old 01-28-2004, 05:12 PM   #4
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Mix the water, I would not wait 3 days but aerating for 24hrs at least is a good idea. Reason being, RO water is very low in dissolved oxygen and if added in large amounts could potentially cause a big problem. There are also a few chemical reactions occurring in newly mixed water, although there effects if added even immediately after mixing are normally not detectable. I would be sure to verify the same PH, temp, salinity, and also alkalinity in the new water before adding it to the tank. I then siphon out the amount and siphon back in the mixed water.
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Old 01-28-2004, 05:21 PM   #5
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The first few times with a new salt mix I test for pH, alkalinity, nitrate, calcium and phosphate just to be sure those levels are within acceptable ranges but once I've used the salt for awhile I only test specific gravity.
Glad this topic came up actually, I recently experienced the downside of this. I always test the first few batches of new salt for quality and then assume things will be normally as well. This proved fatal for my 55g tank in the last few days. Something, as of yet undetermined, happened to my salt in the past few weeks and when I did a large water change and went to bed, but by morning something was very wrong. I immediately thought some form of contamination and used a new bucket and hose doing another immediate water change. Little did I know I made things worse.

Soon after by recommendation I tested for alk and learned that the salt which was producing and alk of around 10dkh was now not even registering on my test kit. The tank went through a massive alk spike and the resulting PH crash and calcium precipitation. I lost every single coral in my tank, luckily my fish were stressed but survived.

I'm still working on finding the cause of the problem with the salt, but it is safe to say that anyone using buckets of salt should consider testing every few water changes to ensure the proper parameters. My bucket was stored as I have been for years, tightly sealed and in a small coat closet away from chemicals, etc.
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Old 01-28-2004, 06:35 PM   #6
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I'm still working on finding the cause of the problem with the salt, but it is safe to say that anyone using buckets of salt should consider testing every few water changes to ensure the proper parameters. My bucket was stored as I have been for years, tightly sealed and in a small coat closet away from chemicals, etc.
When I was having problems with IO, it was suggested to me that it could be settling. That the salt should actually be mixed dry before each use as the smaller grains will work their way to the bottom, kinda like mixing sand grain sizes. Which will cause an uneven distribution of elements. My bags always tested consistantly high in alk throughout the bag, but you might experience a greater effect on a bucket. It was actually suggested to me to mix the entire bag at once and then use the water, but I don't have anywhere to store 50g of water for the 5 months it would take me to use it, LOL.

As for waterchanges...This thread has a few different methods for changing water. I don't think it mentions it, but I do agree with testing the newly mixed water before use.
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Old 01-28-2004, 07:08 PM   #7
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Interesting Kevin, I used to take the cup I used and mix around the salt out of some weird habit....but I doubt I ever really mixed up more than a few inches at a time. Is this to your knowledge a possible IO issue, or do you think it holds for all salt brands?

The alk produced was beyond "high" for me, as I literally stopped at 50 drops (translates to dkh) before I used up the whole test kit. I may contact Aquarium Systems directly to get some theories.
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Old 01-28-2004, 07:33 PM   #8
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8O wow.. im kinda confused.. but i think i got it. i should basically just mix some salt with some RO water and make sure the specific gravity is the same.. than let it sit for 24hrs with a power head in it.. than mix in slowly the next day.
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Old 01-28-2004, 07:36 PM   #9
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Fine....but I would also make sure temp is the same, and that PH and Alk are at proper levels.
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Old 01-28-2004, 07:40 PM   #10
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how can i test for alk? i dont think i have a tester to test this..

by the way.. thanks for all your responses!
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