Larry

Reef Crystal Test Results - 3 Batches

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Larry   

The following is a report on 4 tests of 3 different batches of Instant Ocean Reef Crystals. Considering the popularity of this salt mix brand, I thought the forum might be interested in the results. As background, the reason these tests were made was that I noticed that after each 60 gallon water change in my 200 gallon tank there was a sharp drop in the Mg level. I decided to start testing the water change mix in order to determine the reason. To eliminate the possibility of having received a ‘bad’ batch, the tests were conducted on three different 200 gallon salt mix boxes, each with a different batch number. To eliminate the possibility of the components of the mixes having separated and stratified, each bag was poured into a sterile 5 gallon bucket and mixed thoroughly.

The water testing was conducted as following: Mg and Ca were tested using a Red Sea Test Kit, Alkalinity was tested with a HANNA Alkalinity Meter, and Ph was tested using a Hagan Ph Test Kit. Specific Gravity was determined using a PinPoint Salinity Monitor. Each batch was tested twice to insure repeatability. The Hagan Ph Test Kit was not particularly sensitive, but all of the Ph results fell in the range of 8.2-8.4.

 

Date & Batch

Temperature

F)

Specific Gravity

Alkalinity

(dKH)

Calcium

(ppm)

Magnesium

(ppm)

5/29/16     #1

79

1.0243

10.70

410

1000

7/3/16       #2

79.6

1.0201

8.96

380

1140

7/20/16     #3

81

1.0207

9.63

400

1120

8/13/16     #3

80.5

1.0221

9.24

380

1110

 

 

The tests show that the values of Ph, ALK and Ca all fall within acceptable limits for reef keeping. The one consistent concern, which I had noted previous to the tests after water changes, is the Magnesium levels. The results show that the mixes all fell significantly below the accepted Mg parameters of 1250 to 1350 ppm.  It would be interesting to see if others are getting similar results.

 

I have attached a PDF which shows the results in a table which is easier to read.

REEF CRYSTAL TEST RESULTS.pdf

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bif24701   

I have noticed that RC are lower in Mag than others though I still supplement those also. Did you mix an entire bag each test, a portion, or entire box?

Aaron

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Larry   

Yes, since I was mixing 50 gallons at a time the whole bag was used. I also made sure each bag was thoroughly tumbled to insure any elements that had separated out were thoroughly mixed in with the salt mix as a whole.

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goheel   

Thanks for bringing this up. I'm using reef crystal as well. What's the best way to supplement Mg? Or just using a different salt mix?

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Larry   

I have been supplementing with the BRS Mg mixture, but I am switching to HW MarineMix Reefer for the next 3 water changes. I plan to test and report on it. Reef Crystals overall has worked well, except having to dose the extra Mg. What bothers me is the thought that if they are not paying attention to something as basic as Mg, what else are they letting slide that we can't really test for?

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AWDJosh   

I switched to Aquavitro Salinity and have never had better results, to the point thay I quit dosing and just do 30g(30%) water changes every two weeks. The tanks waste water gets repurposed for my macro tank.

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bif24701   

I switched to Aquavitro Salinity and have never had better results, to the point thay I quit dosing and just do 30g(30%) water changes every two weeks. The tanks waste water gets repurposed for my macro tank.

Honestly that is ideal, with a light calcium/ALK demand it's possible without increased cost. I did lot for a long time. Always want to try Salinity, however I think I'll stick to the box of reef salt I get from BRS and still keep RC around for emergencies.

Aaron

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Larry   

I still try and do 50 gal water changes every two or three weeks, but the demand in the tank for elements is so high I still have to dose ALK and Ca. I am curious to see the results when I switch to HW Reefer in a couple of weeks.

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mdw2589   

I noticed all of the salinity levels were below 1.026. I wonder what the mg levels would be(along with everything else) mixed at 1.026?

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kbass   

mdw2589 -- that's a nice observation. In order to be a really good test, the salinity really needs to be consistent. I personally think it will still mix low.

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AWDJosh   

Honestly that is ideal, with a light calcium/ALK demand it's possible without increased cost. I did lot for a long time. Always want to try Salinity, however I think I'll stick to the box of reef salt I get from BRS and still keep RC around for emergencies.

Aaron

I have very high demand for cal/alk and the Salinity seems to keeping up just fine. Then again I'm changing out alot more than suggested at 30% of total volume, yes it increased costs but not by much as I'm less worried about dosing and testing and just doing the wc now. If my system was any bigger I'd probably be alittle bit more unwilling to use so much expensive salt but its worth every penny as of now.

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bif24701   

I have very high demand for cal/alk and the Salinity seems to keeping up just fine. Then again I'm changing out alot more than suggested at 30% of total volume, yes it increased costs but not by much as I'm less worried about dosing and testing and just doing the wc now. If my system was any bigger I'd probably be alittle bit more unwilling to use so much expensive salt but its worth every penny as of now.

That's great, there is a lot less testing and supplementing that way. Salinity must have a great ALK and cal profile to make that happen.

Aaron

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bif24701   

I've been using RC since the beginning, but always wondered if there was something better.

But have you noticed a problem? Better is relative, IO and RC have been proven for many years. Something better? There sure is. Are you willing to pay for it and/or is it worth it? These are the questions I ask.

Aaron

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SalinFL   

But have you noticed a problem? Better is relative, IO and RC have been proven for many years. Something better? There sure is. Are you willing to pay for it and/or is it worth it? These are the question I ask.

Aaron

No problems per se, but not having used anything else, I don't know any better

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bif24701   

No problems per se, but not having used anything else, I don't know any better

You are right. As far as salt goes difference in quality seems to really come down to consistency as what I think the OP is trying to discover for us.

Aaron

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Larry   

The reason I started this thread is I noticed the consistently low Mg in my test of Reef Crystals. As I said, it worries me a bit that if they IO is not paying attention to consistency of such a basic component, what else are they ignoring or letting slide?

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bif24701   

The reason I started this thread is I noticed the consistently low Mg in my test of Reef Crystals. As I said, it worries me a bit that if they IO is not paying attention to consistency of such a basic component, what else are they ignoring or letting slide?

And I feel is valid and worth while. Someone with a system of softies and some LPS might not notice any problems but someone else whom requires more strenuous testing will. Thus the consistency is an issue.

Aaron

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Larry   

As you can see from the first post and attached PDF, the calcium was in an acceptable range of 380 to 410. The alkalinity was also within a good range. It was just the Mg that was consistently low.

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bif24701   

Magnesium is crucial to ALK/cal stability this very important for systems with demands for both. Most tend to keep each at the higher end of recommended values to ensure that it never drops to unacceptable levels. That's why mag is important to make sure your Cal/ALK are precipitating out before being utilized by livestock.

Aaron

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I think if the only noticeable problem is the magnesium it is easily solvable. If you are running a heavily stocked sps tank and not testing new salt for mag, cal, and alk you should probably be slapped no matter what salt mix you use. Most of us mix 30-50 gallons of water at a time so testing for those three are relatively easy. And almost as easy to move them within the limits that each reef keeper sees as acceptable. Whether that be a little higher than current tank water to buffer or exactly the tank so your dosing does not change is each persons choice.

I think Larry's big concern is if they cannot get something so simple correct are they bothering with the trace that we cannot test for.

My guess is still you will get enough of your needs through regular water changes and feeding. Those that change water rarely are probably dosing for those things as well.

For me personally I go reef crystals all the way. A little buffering of my mixed water is easy for me and I have been using it for years. Other than the precipitation in the mixing container(could that be the mag problem) I have never had any issues. But at the end of the day it's just another choice each of us must make.

Richard

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