Nothing is more stressing when you get your new premium salt and it doesn’t mix completely. Dealing with the manufacture and then using it for the winter.
Note* in my experience, no batch of salt was perfect nor consistent. You will always have to add extras to have whichever desired parameters that you want.
Credentials: Used Instant Ocean x 2, Reef Crystals x 2, Aquavitro Salinity x 2, and H2Oceanx 1.
Elos/Salifert test kits.
Things to do before mixing the salt:
Mix the dry bucket
From flipping it upside down to using a giant stick to manually mix it. Do whatever you have to do to ensure mixing of contents that may have made its way to the bottom.
Calibrate your refractometer at the correct temperature 25C
It may seem like a pain in the butt. It is something worth doing to limit any mechanical errors.
Time to get our mix on!!
Use RO/DI water (Temperature: Cold or Room Temp, then bring it up to 25C)
Reason being, new brands like aquavitro and H2Ocean likes to use highly concentrated salt. Any calcium carbonate found in tap water and other minerals in excess will want to form precipitates. It is also important to mix it while the temperature of the water is normal or cold. Exceptions to this method is Instant Ocean, but applies to most salt that uses highly concentrated formula.
Use a closed container that is not exposed to air
My Aquavitro batch kept forming precipitates no matter which method I used. They asked me to mix it many different ways: from when it’s cold then bringing up the temperature, to adding it slowly. Well, I did all of those even before they suggested me to. However, after getting a mixing jug and just shaking it without the batch being exposed to too much air, the rest of the batch mixed clear. This may be due to the carbon dioxide in the air, then turning into carbonic acid which affects the ph, causing sadness and confusion. (been there too many times in this hobby!)
Test that batch!
I never had an issue using the salt as is. But I never had any significant growth for my livestock either. It is always good to measure the batch a few times during use: once during the first time, again when you’re half way even if the parameters are consistent. Then test for a last time when it is almost done. Heck, we can finally take that dusting test kit to good use! Remember to toss that dry salt around at least three times during use!
Adding the good stuff
The most common deviations for me amongst the batches were Magnesium, I always had to add the magnesium for all of the salt mixes. The best being H2Ocean where I only had to add mg.
Never hurt to test biweekly – Monthly
A lot of things can go wrong in a nano tank or big tanks in a course of a month with no auto dosers. Are you really sure that the levels you added into your salt will still be consistent? Or you’re not overdosing or underdosing elements? I remember that I used to over dose phosphates in a planted aquarium, it got to over 60ppm! it was off the charts. I learned my lesson and never be too lazy when it comes to these.
Sometimes you just get a crappy batch of salt...Then you have the right to hulk smash