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View Full Version : Who tests their water-change mix?


lastlight
11-20-2009, 04:21 PM
I'm onto my second change tomorrow and haven't tested my water (any of it beside ammonia and nitrtite) and I got thinking about this. I plan to test the tank every week or so I *think* but not sure I want to bother with each 25 gallon batch. I roll my pails well before use.

banditpowdercoat
11-20-2009, 04:40 PM
I only test Ca/Mg/Alk in tank and WC water. Then adjust WC water to acheave tank levels I want

lastlight
11-20-2009, 04:56 PM
How often do you do WCs?

For me this would mean 2 tests of each. Every week.

banditpowdercoat
11-20-2009, 05:01 PM
Definately not often as I should 3-4 weeks :( but have relatively low Bioload

lastlight
11-20-2009, 05:07 PM
See if I did monthly changes no biggie I'd test both without hesitation. I just think testing is a royal pain and each time I do tests my mind is aware that the hobby kits are all crap anyways. I'm sure I will test the big 3 weekly but I need more votes for 'yes' to guilt me into it.

kien
11-20-2009, 05:09 PM
I only test new buckets for Alk, Calc and Mag. (ie, the first WC from that bucket). Once I have an idea of what the parameters for that bucket is I'll dose the WC to compensate. However, I'm finding that I don't really need to do this. I've been using the basic Instant Ocean salt for as long as I've been salting and the parameters have been more or less the same since day one. I like consistency.

lastlight
11-20-2009, 05:15 PM
Yeah that's a great idea. I think if you roll pails well you can assume the mixes from it will be consistent enough.

kien
11-20-2009, 05:21 PM
Yeah that's a great idea. I think if you roll pails well you can assume the mixes from it will be consistent enough.

Yup, pretty much. My son has now taken up the task of rolling. He thinks it is great fun. er.. is it considered child labour if they are having fun?? :noidea:

Delphinus
11-20-2009, 05:21 PM
I test for Ca, Alk and Mg for every new BATCH of salt (new bucket or new bag). After that the first water is made, I don't bother with it again (ie. don't test for every water change).

I have been burned far too often by being caught unawares that a salt is not living up to its credo for params. The irony is the more expensive salts have always been the worst offenders too. Just because you pay more doesn't give you an assured QA process, apparently (and I love how it always gets turned around on you so that it's the "users" fault that a salt has no Mg or Alk because they didn't "mix the salt before mixing the water". I think that's totally absurd, but yeah, I guess you have to do it since you can't rely on the salt makers to adequately prepare their product before they send it to market). Although I would go so far to suggest that the times I noticed that Alk was woefully low, or dangerously high, or Mg was half the advertised claim, that pre-use mixing the salt didn't help - the problem was the salt itself.

So, I don't bother with premium salts anymore. If I have to dose Ca, Alk and/or Mg into a salt I figure I might as well save a few bucks because the price of chems is far less than the increased premium price on the salt itself. So I use IO, I accept that I'll have subpar Ca, Alk and Mg, so I dose accordingly for each new batch of salt. (The surprising thing is these numbers are usually not as bad as you'd think, to boot.) The nice thing is that once I know how much a batch needs for one makeup bucket, I know how much to add for the next water change.

But it does mean I *have* to test each new bag or bucket.

lastlight
11-20-2009, 05:26 PM
Because I'm using the new Reef Crystals I figure all 3 should be on the slightly high side based on a few user's tests. I should test of course to make sure but I've been putting it off and right now the tank is just cycling.

I figure I won't have to open my box of chems for a while with this salt if what they claim and what tests have shown.

Kien I loved the bit about child labour. Careful a loved one doesn't fall under a rolling bucket and get flattened. I know you've seen that part in UHF...

mark
11-20-2009, 05:27 PM
Like others I'll do a couple of samples of each new pail of salt for alk/Ca/Mg and record and adjust my supplementing from there. For the makeup water between the sample batches it's just TDS for a check of the ro/di then match S.G. to the display.

Delphinus
11-20-2009, 05:35 PM
I really strongly urge you guys to continue testing. Yes, it's good if you find yourself questioning why you do it, but trust me, it's happened to me 4 or 5 times now where a salt wasn't what it was before. The first time I lost over a thousand dollars worth of SPS. *Don't* let it happen to you!

I thought I learned my lesson and I never used that brand again but it happened at least 3 times since then each time with different "premium" based salts that everyone on the boards was ranting and raving about. "Oh it's so awesome!" No it's not awesome. It's a SALT. It's a commodity produced in tremendous bulk quantities and the onus is on you to protect your tank inhabitants. Test it test it test it test it test it!

lastlight
11-20-2009, 05:39 PM
Good point Tony. I'm pretty much decided on testing my first batch out of each pail and recording and adjusting based on that until the pail is gone. I'll test the tank every week to 2 weeks I think.

shrimpchips
11-20-2009, 05:42 PM
I test every batch I make up - it takes an extra 5 minutes, but it prevents any large swings in parameters.

Delphinus
11-20-2009, 05:53 PM
You edited your post. :p I was going to scold you about testing monthly (that's not enough). One week to 2 weeks is a perfect schedule though. :)

In the interest of full disclosure though, there are times I'll let testing slip and it becomes a monthly thing. But, 50% of the time, it's been regrettable. I was always able to guess by observation when Ca and Alk were slipping, but it's taken a while to figure out the tells of a Mg slip and so those other 50% times were times I usually found my Mg had totally crashed. Nowadays though I can even tell when Mg is slipping (the anemones in particular are surprisingly quick to respond to Mg). So I'm sort of falling back into two weeks but the "do as I suggest, not as I do" part of me still wants to suggest weekly for testing. If you think of me as a hypocrite, look at my tanks RIGHT NOW and then tell me if me telling you not to do as I do is a bad thing (I have no idea if that last sentence makes any sense. I just reread it and it makes my head swim. I'm going to let it stand, though.)

lastlight
11-20-2009, 06:19 PM
Wow you saw that eh? Yeah I pulled a frantic edit on that sucker to no avail. Guilty as charged. I guess even weekly a kit will last me a long time so no excuses.

BlueAbyss
11-20-2009, 09:36 PM
I did exactly as it seems some others have, mixed the salt well, tested the first batch and I've gone by that since. I really should test it again, that was a couple months ago.

When you guys have been talking about testing in the last few posts, were you talking about tank parameters or your water changes?

(I'm a little guilty about letting myself slip on the testing lately... lost a few zoas but even my tests haven't shown anything out of order. :redface:

lastlight
11-20-2009, 09:39 PM
I think what Tony is suggesting is to test the first batch you mix out of each bucket and to test the tank weekly.

GreenSpottedPuffer
11-20-2009, 09:47 PM
I used to test at least once each new bucket but I honestly have not for along time now.

This is a good reminder.

PoonTang
11-20-2009, 11:09 PM
Ca/Alk/Mg each new bucket so i get a reference as to what I need to add to each WC batch to it matches my tank parameter targets. When doing a WC I just mix up a batch, suppliment, check SG and go. After waiting a bit I check all of my tank parameters and adjust to my desired targets.

lastlight
11-20-2009, 11:15 PM
Oh so you calculate what batches from that bucket require. You add to the tank and let it settle. Then you make sure the TANK is good to go and if not dose directly to it?

StirCrazy
11-20-2009, 11:35 PM
I test salinity, PH and temp for my water change water. the others are kinda mute point unless you are doing a masive waterchange like ovewr 50%. you can adjust Mg, Alk, and Ca once in the tank.

my reasoning for this is if you do a 10% water change like most do weekly, then if you tank is 400Ca, 11 Alk, and 1400mg

and you add 10% new water that is 300 Ca, 10 Alk and 1200mg

then you are going to end up with a tank level of
aprox 390Ca, 10.9 Alk and 1370-1380Mg

nothing that realy scares me and minor to corect in the tank.

but if your PH and salinity are out while they will only afect the tank a little they are ones that your live stock are more supseptible to changes in.

Steve

PoonTang
11-20-2009, 11:44 PM
Oh so you calculate what batches from that bucket require. You add to the tank and let it settle. Then you make sure the TANK is good to go and if not dose directly to it?


yep thats pretty much it. I dose Kalk with my ato and have it pretty much dialed in. After i have done my WC then I just use Randys 2 part to tweek my levels.

banditpowdercoat
11-21-2009, 12:42 AM
Oh so you calculate what batches from that bucket require. You add to the tank and let it settle. Then you make sure the TANK is good to go and if not dose directly to it?


That is pretty much how I do it too.

RuGlu6
11-21-2009, 04:26 AM
I test for Ca, Alk and Mg for every new BATCH of salt (new bucket or new bag). After that the first water is made, I don't bother with it again (ie. don't test for every water change).

I have been burned far too often by being caught unawares that a salt is not living up to its credo for params. The irony is the more expensive salts have always been the worst offenders too. Just because you pay more doesn't give you an assured QA process, apparently (and I love how it always gets turned around on you so that it's the "users" fault that a salt has no Mg or Alk because they didn't "mix the salt before mixing the water". I think that's totally absurd, but yeah, I guess you have to do it since you can't rely on the salt makers to adequately prepare their product before they send it to market). Although I would go so far to suggest that the times I noticed that Alk was woefully low, or dangerously high, or Mg was half the advertised claim, that pre-use mixing the salt didn't help - the problem was the salt itself.

So, I don't bother with premium salts anymore. If I have to dose Ca, Alk and/or Mg into a salt I figure I might as well save a few bucks because the price of chems is far less than the increased premium price on the salt itself. So I use IO, I accept that I'll have subpar Ca, Alk and Mg, so I dose accordingly for each new batch of salt. (The surprising thing is these numbers are usually not as bad as you'd think, to boot.) The nice thing is that once I know how much a batch needs for one makeup bucket, I know how much to add for the next water change.

But it does mean I *have* to test each new bag or bucket.

We should all go back to IO !

shrimpchips
11-21-2009, 04:50 AM
you can adjust Mg, Alk, and Ca once in the tank.

Why wait till it's in the tank? I know my parameters are dead on at Ca 420, Alk 7.5, Mg 1300, so I adjust the WC water before it goes in - why have swings, even if they are small when you can avoid them by doing the same thing in the bucket first.


SG I forget stupidly to check surprisingly often though....like today for example. I just remembered 12 hours after the fact that I forgot to check ONLY the sg. Stupid.

StirCrazy
11-21-2009, 05:00 AM
Why wait till it's in the tank? I know my parameters are dead on at Ca 420, Alk 7.5, Mg 1300, so I adjust the WC water before it goes in - why have swings, even if they are small when you can avoid them by doing the same thing in the bucket first.


SG I forget stupidly to check surprisingly often though....like today for example. I just remembered 12 hours after the fact that I forgot to check ONLY the sg. Stupid.

Cuz I usaly don't have to adjust Ca, Mg, or Alk as the Ca reactor and Kalk reactor take care of them. and I know IO is real close to what I want so I only need to adjust Mg once and a blue moon.

shrimpchips
11-21-2009, 05:11 AM
Ah, makes sense. But if you have larger changes to make, I'd certainly do it in the mixing vessel first. My salt required me to adjust the Ca (separate additive), so it has to be done out of the tank first.

BlueAbyss
11-21-2009, 06:22 AM
I just realized I haven't tested pH in a VERY long time... I think my testing schedule needs an overhaul.

fishay
11-21-2009, 06:32 AM
Usually don't but I found the calcium in my tank to be low (320ppm) so I tested my water change mix and turns out my current bucket of instant ocean is responsible for the drop because it also read 320ppm.

lastlight
11-21-2009, 06:36 AM
What would you really do if your ph wasn't what you wanted?

Drip Kalk?