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Old 07-31-2013, 10:16 PM   #1
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water changes = bank breaking?

so today i realize how expensive the saltwater hobby can get. here's the story: i just got a 30gal SW tank from a friend and today i decided to get some equipments and necessities

Salt: one bucket of salt is anywhere from $50-$80 and only make close to 150gal of seawater. so if you do a massive water change, you're literally out of $30 or greater. how often do you guys do water changes and is 20% a good percentage for a week?

DIY possible??? there's got to be a way of maintaining the water changes to keep water clean and save money at the same time. all the equipments aside (skimmer, phos reactor, etc), how can people make water changes without breaking the bank? in freshwater, there's no such problem because tap water is generally safe most of the time. How do you make sea salt? these companies obviously have a way of doing so. maybe dry up the sea water and collect the salt crystals?

one last question: i know that morton salt is not a replacement for sea salt. but can you mixing the sea salt and morton salt together if you're in an emergency and the pet stores are closed? maybe a ratio of 1:3 for morton salt to sea salt?

I'm a noob when it comes to SW, i know some questions are silly but, again, please be gentle.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:50 PM   #2
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I buy fresh salt water from my LFS, it cost me $2 for a 25litre (which is around 5gal) drum and I get three. I have a 200L (55g) tank and change one drum a week. I also get one rodi for top offs so I only visit the store once a month. Total cost - $8 a month. Plus I really like going to the store, always end up coming home with something new for the tank
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:12 PM   #3
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that's not bad at all. in my case today, i did a 10gal water change for my 30gal and i bought the instant sea salt from Petsmart for ~$9 and i'm not even near where i want the salinity to be.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by huizheng1988 View Post
that's not bad at all. in my case today, i did a 10gal water change for my 30gal and i bought the instant sea salt from Petsmart for ~$9 and i'm not even near where i want the salinity to be.
Look at Kent Reef salt mix. Its about $50 for a box of salt that makes 200gallons at 1.025. I usually only get about 170 gallons but anyway. It mixes completely and has all the correct Ca, Mg, Alk etc. EVEYTIME. Plus it comes in resealable bags at 50 gallons each. Best deal ive found and ive had sucess with it on a full reef tank with LPS SPS and softies for the last year and a half. Seems like i get less algae than my old salt mix. but maybe thats just because its cheaper so i tend to change more water at a time.
What salinity are you trying to get to? Fish only or Reef?
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:13 AM   #5
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one last question: i know that morton salt is not a replacement for sea salt. but can you mixing the sea salt and morton salt together if you're in an emergency and the pet stores are closed? maybe a ratio of 1:3 for morton salt to sea salt?
I would say Absolutely not. Like you stated look at how much you spent on the hobby already and will probably spend more as you become an addict. Why risk crashing a tank or harming your tank inhabitants? Also i dont see you making your own salt mix being very cost effective plus the accuracy of geting all you levels correct will take a very precise measuring system I would think. Stick to the kents and you'll be fine. Just do a water change of roughly 10-20%(5 Gallons) EVERY WEEK AND DONT SLACK and you shouldnt have a parameter issue as long as you dont overstock your tank or feed excessively.That would make your salt mix last 8-10 months roughly. I change out 25 gallons every 2 weeks in my 200 gallon and have never had an issue.
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Old 08-01-2013, 03:34 PM   #6
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Salt is generally mined. Some salts have extra calcium and other minerals added to support Stoney coral growth. Do not use table salt.

It is very possible to build some of your own stuff to save money.
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Old 08-01-2013, 03:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tkey3425 View Post
Look at Kent Reef salt mix. Its about $50 for a box of salt that makes 200gallons at 1.025. I usually only get about 170 gallons but anyway. It mixes completely and has all the correct Ca, Mg, Alk etc. EVEYTIME. Plus it comes in resealable bags at 50 gallons each. Best deal ive found and ive had sucess with it on a full reef tank with LPS SPS and softies for the last year and a half. Seems like i get less algae than my old salt mix. but maybe thats just because its cheaper so i tend to change more water at a time.
What salinity are you trying to get to? Fish only or Reef?
so far it's fish only with live rock. i will proceed into the reef realm in the near future once i have my hands "dirty" a little bit. i plan on buying the reef salt from kent, i know it's not necessary for now but i'm just planning ahead of time for the corals and inverts. thanks for all the help. i'm such a noob to this area of fish keeping and i thought anemones are corals, don't laugh too badly at my ignorance, lol
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bectan01 View Post
I buy fresh salt water from my LFS, it cost me $2 for a 25litre (which is around 5gal) drum and I get three. I have a 200L (55g) tank and change one drum a week. I also get one rodi for top offs so I only visit the store once a month. Total cost - $8 a month. Plus I really like going to the store, always end up coming home with something new for the tank
lucky you. i called my lfs and they charge $1.50/gal. i think it's better if i mix my own saltwater i suppose
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:23 PM   #9
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I buy the box which I get at the lfs for around 50 bucks. It makes 200 gallons. I do 15 percent a week.
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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I buy the box which I get at the lfs for around 50 bucks. It makes 200 gallons. I do 15 percent a week.
is it a brand name or a generic type of sea salt? the salt from my lfs is straight up north of $50
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