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Top Off Salinity


foggysalt

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My 10 gallon tank is four days old. No fish... so I've got some room for error and learning.

 

My sump is filled with 6 1/4" of water. When I get evaporation I fill it back to that level with RO water and go about my day.

 

However, I'm seeing a drop in my salinity level.

 

The water I bought was 1.027

 

I confess to making a pretty big error where my hydrometer was concerned and brought my water down to 1.025

 

With adding a little sea water I was able to bring it back to 1.026 but now, with two more RO top off's it's down to 1.024.

 

That's a pretty significant drop for just four days but if I don't add that much RO water my sump won't be full and I'll dry out my pump.

 

Should I add half and half salt water with fresh?

 

How am I losing salt?

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You can lose salt via salt creep or a skimmer. However, I'm thinking that your hydrometer is causing some of these fluctuations. Make sure there are no bubbles on the "needle" and take multiple readings. You might want to invest in a refractometer instead.

 

1.024 isn't bad at all, I try to keep my reefs at 1.025. You should be able to adjust your salinity during water changes; I would only top off with RO/DI.

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You're not. It's because you're using a hydrometer. Very few ppl can use a hydrometer accurately. A refractometer is a much better choice for someone who's new and starting out. It costs more but it's MUCH easier to read vs a hydrometer.

 

If you want to keep using you hydrometer, make sure there aren't any bubbles on the needle and keep rechecking if you have to until you get a good average. Then slowly adjust from there.

 

*edit* damn u seabass ;)

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That was my initial problem. I had my hydrometer in a place that was getting too much flow and it was reading high so that's why I put a ton of RO water in and brought it down.

 

Then I got suspicious and moved it to the stillest place in the entire tank and sump and Whella!!! 1.025 which is where I wanted to keep the salt level. I've also had pretty consistent readings from the hydrometer after moving it to the new location. But, yes, I do eventually want to get a refractometer.

 

I know that 1.024 is just fine but if I keep up this pattern I'll be down to 1.020 in no time and I know that changes in the salinity that fast are not good for livestock either so I really want to figure out how to keep everything normal.

 

Should I just add a little salt water with my top off's?

 

It seems to me that I pretty consistently loose about 4 cups of water in a 24 hour period. I could add three cups RO and 1 cup sea? But I don't want to jack my salinity level either.

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damn u seabass ;)
:lol: Finally beat someone.

 

We must be right, our answers are almost identical. You know... I have a refractometer and mostly just use it on occasion to check my hydrometer (just seems quick and simple; test, rinse, dunk it in my RO/DI storage, and let it dry out).

 

 

That was my initial problem. I had my hydrometer in a place that was getting too much flow
You have it in your tank at all times? You should be filling it by lowering it in your tank (sometimes I shake it around to remove the bubbles), taking it out, reading the results, and rinsing it out for the next time.

 

Should I just add a little salt water with my top off's?
No.

 

 

Sorry for the delay, I was waiting for doppelganger to respond. :lol:

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I think red sea has an all in one thermometer/ leave in needle that measures salinity. That may be what he's talking about. I would just invest in the refractometer. Much simpler and longer lasting.

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It is a leave in hydrometer. It has 6 holes or so all around the outside of it so if I took it out it would automatically drain.

 

I must confess that the hydrometer was a last minute, "Oh crap, I need one of those" purchases that I just grabbed while I was checking out at the fish store.

 

I have a refractometer in my online shopping cart at amazon but I have to wait until pay day to purchase.

 

But... let's just hypothetically say that I'm not reading my hydrometer wrong and it is giving me accurate readings. What could potentially be the issue? Adding too much RO water? Even though only that much has evaporated out?

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Yeah Pat, I was also starting to think it wasn't a swing arm hydrometer. I was actually looking for a good lab grade floating glass hydrometer, but most of them are calibrated at a cooler temperature. I believe that, even those, are used just during testing, and aren't in the tank at all times.

 

But... let's just hypothetically say that I'm not reading my hydrometer wrong and it is giving me accurate readings. What could potentially be the issue? Adding too much RO water? Even though only that much has evaporated out?
Salt will not evaporate out. You would have to be losing saltwater (via a leak, a skimmer, whatever), or the salt is accumulating on surfaces (salt creep), due to bubbles popping, splashing, etc.
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or the salt is accumulating on surfaces (salt creep), due to bubbles popping, splashing, etc.

Well, this could certainly be happening. My drain bubbles like crazy with lots of popping and splashing and I have a ton of salt crystals building up on the drain tube and on the shelf by the drain.

 

I'm going to try to fix that this weekend so I don't have that ... could that be my issue and how do I compensate for it in the mean time?

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Well, this could certainly be happening. My drain bubbles like crazy with lots of popping and splashing and I have a ton of salt crystals building up on the drain tube and on the shelf by the drain.

 

I'm going to try to fix that this weekend so I don't have that ... could that be my issue and how do I compensate for it in the mean time?

I'm gonna assume the one on amazon is pretty pricey. I got one from here, and chances are its the same (or better) than what is being offered on amazon.

 

http://www.ecrater.com/p/5763399/salinity-...m-ocean-1?gps=1

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I'm gonna assume the one on amazon is pretty pricey. I got one from here, and chances are its the same (or better) than what is being offered on amazon.

 

http://www.ecrater.com/p/5763399/salinity-...m-ocean-1?gps=1

 

Oh yeah! Much better price!! Thanks for the link. I think I will be purchasing a refractometer today.

 

But, in the mean time.. if salt creep really is taking the salt from my tank what should I do about it?

 

Yes, I'm going to try to stop (or at least limit) the salt creep but does that mean that I should put more salt water back in?

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But, in the mean time.. if salt creep really is taking the salt from my tank what should I do about it?
Yes, you can add some pre-mixed saltwater, or even add some to your top offs.
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Oh yeah! Much better price!! Thanks for the link. I think I will be purchasing a refractometer today.

 

But, in the mean time.. if salt creep really is taking the salt from my tank what should I do about it?

 

Yes, I'm going to try to stop (or at least limit) the salt creep but does that mean that I should put more salt water back in?

Look for a way to minimize the bubbling. There must be a lot considering that evap happens non stop. If you add more saltwater to make the tank look fuller, make sure to clean off any salt residue carefully, as undo solved salt floating around in a tank is bad for anything.

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Maintain stable salinity. If it means raising by adding a higher salinity (mixed saltwater) or lowering By adding a lower salinity (RO/DI) solution. No reason to over think it. Just remember to raise and lower gradually.

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if your salt creep is mainly around the drain for your sump, wipe it off into the sump. By the time it reaches your return pump it should re-desolve back into the water, but if not your pump impeller will break it up enough that it won't be a problem. You shouldn't have that much salt creep from your drain though. You could try a filter sock to help decrease the splash, but this will need to be cleaned at least once a week to keep detritus from breaking down and raising your nutrients.

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Look for a way to minimize the bubbling. There must be a lot considering that evap happens non stop. If you add more saltwater to make the tank look fuller, make sure to clean off any salt residue carefully, as undo solved salt floating around in a tank is bad for anything.

 

It's a LOT!!! I've taken filter floss and put it over my drain in the overflow and around the exit to the drain in the sump and I still have bubbles bursting all over the place and splashing and salt creep.

 

It's really annoying.

 

That along with the gurgling sound of my overflow are almost enough to make me want to throw the tank out my window but I'm in this for the long haul and think I should be able to fix it up.

 

I'm making a stockman standpipe and going to get a ball valve for the drain to slow down the flow and hopefully that will stop the bubbles, the noise and a good majority of the salt creep.

 

Thank for all the help!!

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