Christopher Marks

How do you measure the salinity of your reef?

126 posts in this topic

refractometer from Drs. F&S...got it on sale about a year ago. I bought one of the swing arms at first but decided to just pop for the refracto from the get go.

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taste test. I like to run my tank between tangy and zesty.

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I am using a swing arm right now. First time I used it on natural sea water I got from LFS. It read 1.029.

I just make sure that I always read 1.029 when I check my tank. Looking at refractometers though...

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Salinity? What's salinity and what bearing does it have on my tank?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kidding! :D I use a refractometer. Some people get lucky and get a semi-accurate swing-arm. Mine was way off. I don't regret paying the money for the refractometer.

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I noticed I got quoted in a post further up the page. It's interesting how opinions can change with a few more years of experience in this hobby.

 

I use a refractometer now, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. I still stand by what I said about the floating-glass hydrometers. They are still head and shoulders above the swing-arm hydrometers. Refractometers are still a superior instrument, all things considered.

 

The nicest thing I find about the refractometer is that all I need is a tiny sample of water, and I don't need to turn off my pumps to calm the surface agitation. The ability to calibrate the unit myself is also very comforting.

 

For the record, I was able to justify the 10x cost when I wound up with sixty bucks in store credit from an online store that I had no interest in dealing with in the future.

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I am also a "Newbie" and after seeing that my swing arm was severly out of calibration, I purchased a refractometer.

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I asked my LFS to test it with a refractometer and compared that number to the one on my hydrometer. It's off by .003, so now I just add that much to my hydrometer tests.

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I'm not sure if this is accurate, but if it is, then it's a great buy.

I'm thinking of getting this instead

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I will never understand how anyone in this hobby could skimp on something as important as a proper salinity measuring device and then turn around and fill their tank with expensive corals and fish.

 

I guess the same people that use those ridiculous little dip strips instead of taking some time to do the API tests properly to get accurate readings. But never fear....you can bet yer ass they will have a fresh post up tomorrow morning wondering why their goby went belly-up during the night...

 

Its like buying a Ferrari and putting 87 octane in it to save a few pennies. Un-freakin-believable.

 

Spend the $35 on a refractometer and be done with it. You can buy that gonipora you wanted next week.

Edited by tweakmon

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Floating hydrometer. I've had it tested at my lfs and it is basically spot on. Drop it into the tank every week after my water change (also use it to test replacement water). If I ever break it I'll probably splurge and get a refractometer, but that hasn't happen yet.

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I use a 40 dollar refractometer and calibrate it with some 53.0mS solution every so often.

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Digi-Lab digital salinity meter. Seems to be more accurate than my refracto is. I haven't used my refracto in months, in favor of the Digi-Lab...

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My swing arm worked for awhile too, then it didn't and I didn't know it. A refractometer is the simplest most accurate way to measure for the money. That eBay item above is not worth the money, as it can't be calibrated and a "real" conductivity meter can cost as much as $2000, but is still electronic so requires power. A refractometer easy to use, easy to clean, and accurate. Who'd want anything more. If you are going to buy something electronic, get a good pH meter or colorimeter for wet tests (phosphate, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, calcium)

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Actually the Digi-Labs CAN be calibrated and come with a 30ppt conductivity solution to do so with. Not screw calibrated like a refracto is done, but it's self calibrating similar to how a digital weight scale calibrates.

Edited by Phixion

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Deep Six swing arm.

I had it tested against my buddy's refrac this weekend to find out how "off" it is.

now I know and can accurately keep my water correct now.

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I use a refractometer and wouldn't have it any other way :P

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Refracto is the only way IMO.

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I use a half cup of salt per gallon of water, plus a smidge more for good measure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No seriously, that's how I get the right salinity. :mellow:

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I use a half cup of salt per gallon of water, plus a smidge more for good measure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No seriously, that's how I get the right salinity. :mellow:

 

wells i used $89.99 Refractometer :P why so much? dont remember lol but still! i like the way mine looks and feels

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I use a half cup of salt per gallon of water, plus a smidge more for good measure.

 

 

2.5 cups to my estimated 4 gallons for me. I still measure with the refractor but it is always spot on.

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Are you supposed to calibrate your refractometer before each use?

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Are you supposed to calibrate your refractometer before each use?

 

no shouldn't need to!

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2.5 cups to my estimated 4 gallons for me. I still measure with the refractor but it is always spot on.

I have a refractometer, but after the hundredth time checking the salinity and it being exactly what i wanted it to be I just put the thing in storage. I just know the right amount of salt to use at this point.

 

Warning: noobs should ALWAYS double check their salinity. do NOT blame me if you don't and things die.

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If my cat will still drink the water I just add more salt.

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Are you supposed to calibrate your refractometer before each use?

 

I recalibrate mine every couple months. If it gets banged around or anything the mirror can wiggle out of place needing recalibration.

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