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View Full Version : Just a thought on salt water changes...



DavidNZ
01-28-2012, 01:14 AM
In my research on salt water tanks (and mainly the cost of the salt to maintain one) this has led me to a source of salt water that I have very easy access to. Clearly I am talking about the sea! Can one not take water from the sea on a clear calm day and put in in their SW tank?

There is a guy at the LFS who does this and he has not had any issues in a few years... He gets his water on a calm day where the water is crystal clear and adds 10% fresh water to it, that is all!

I am also considering this too, but being a little (or really a lot) more cautious and setting up a bare tank of a few 100L (I have my eye on a 400L tank with all the required stuff decently cheap) with a HOB skimmer, powerheads and a UV Sterelizer running at a really low flow to kill all living organisims. skimmer would get rid of all the excess protein in the water etc, so it would leave me with pure salt water. (in theory)

What are your guys thoughts on this?

megaphoenix
01-28-2012, 01:24 AM
Not being a saltie, I have actually heard of people doing this but just know that there is always a risk of parasites and other things that you can't see. I would suggest aging the water and perhaps even warming it up quite a bit to discourage some of the parasites from growing into a nuisance.

Wildisme
01-28-2012, 01:34 AM
Not being a saltie, I have actually heard of people doing this but just know that there is always a risk of parasites and other things that you can't see. I would suggest aging the water and perhaps even warming it up quite a bit to discourage some of the parasites from growing into a nuisance.


Agreed. Here's the thing. The chemistry of SW in the oceans are different then what u get from making ur own salt.

If this is to be a FOWLR then u might get away with it. Just watch for parasites. If you plan to run corals, I'd recommend mixing ur own.

DavidNZ
01-28-2012, 02:36 AM
Yeah, I know the risk of parasites, That is why I thought a uv stereliser with a low flow rate would kill off anything living.

There is only 1 chain LFS within a 3 hour round trip and they don't really have much in the way of corals, so I was thinking of starting out with a FOWLR and an anemone etc and then moving into a reef tank, but I would like to keep both as some fish I would like are not reef safe.

Would dosing additives be a substitute for using ocean water in a reef tank?

Wildisme
01-28-2012, 06:46 AM
I would dose either way. Usually need to dose calcium and trace elements if doing a reef.

megaphoenix
01-28-2012, 06:26 PM
David, are you talking about the UV sterilizer being on the tank or putting it on quarantined water seperate from the tank. I personally would keep a bucket and sterilize the water outside of the tank just to make sure nothing in the tank can be damaged before the sterilizer can take the nasties out of the picture.

DavidNZ
01-28-2012, 08:05 PM
The thought was to have the uv on the water only tank, not the main fish tank. Maybe one on the main tank as well though, but that is irrelevant.

megaphoenix
01-28-2012, 08:12 PM
The thought was to have the uv on the water only tank, not the main fish tank. Maybe one on the main tank as well though, but that is irrelevant.

Oh yeah David that was what I was actually suggesting but I was asking if that was your thoughts as well. Yeah I would definitely recommend doing all water treatments before the water even touches the main tank. :thumbsup:

Just seeing if we were on the same page. :beer:

DavidNZ
01-28-2012, 11:00 PM
Yep sounds like we are on the same page. Just had a look at the prices of salt, at the LFS, a 22kg bucket of it (with all trace elements for corals) was $208 and made 660L, so I figured about $13 a week in salt doing a 20% fortnightly water change or a 10% a week change (based on 400L tank).

Compared to the $300 for a skimmer (unless I DIY one) and $150 for the UV filter and a circulation pump and heater. In saying that, I would probably have the circulation pump, heater in there anyway for stuff that I had pre-mixed.

Though water from the sea still has risks and the fish are so expensive...

DeBrito
01-30-2012, 12:17 AM
I'm sure many will not agree with me on this one, but In MY experience, I've had a salt water tank for about 7 months, and I've tried many different things. I have had a low tank with 4 bulbs, dosed calcium, and did weekly water changes of about 25%. Had a prizm skimmer rated for 100 gal (it was a 33gal long tank). My tank was alright. I moved into a 55 gallon tank, same lights (which turned out not so great, less output for the depth), same skimmer, weekly water changes, 25%. My tank still wasn't too good, something just wasn't right.

Well my skimmer's pump went so i pulled the skimmer off, I added one more circulation pump, and plumbed my tank into a wet dry filter with only bio balls. I now run a skimmer-less, I guess you can call "reef" tank (only a few softies) with 4 Normal Output t5's, plumbed into a wet dry, with 2 circulation pumps, and haven't done a water change in 2 months, just strictly top off every few days.

So far everything has looked better when I just leave it alone, then when I was doing weekly water changes. I say mix your own water to begin with and do water changes as necessary with water quality, only topping off with fresh water to keep your salinity stable. I'm sure you'll find a balance for water changes and I bet you'll find that you will need less water changes then you have planned. Once that's done, I would imagine keeping fresh saltwater would be alot less convenient as it would evaporate and cost more to keep than to just mix on demand. Just my experience and my opinion, but good luck to you! If I had easy access to fresh saltwater I would build my tank strictly around straight "ocean". ;)

DavidNZ
01-30-2012, 01:03 AM
Thanks for your input! It is always great to hear the experiences of people who have it already set up!

Do you test for nitrates at all? I am just wondering what your parameters are after 2 months of no water changes.

DeBrito
01-30-2012, 01:38 AM
If I remember tomorrow (10 hour shift D:) I'll test and let you know, I too am very curious lol. But from the look of my fish and coral, I don't expect the nitrates to be too high. I'm going to build an algae scrubber soon anyway to take care of any nitrate any how.

DavidNZ
01-30-2012, 03:14 AM
Also your PH. I got some interesting results tonight... Turtle tank with 40 - 80 ppm nitrates at PH around 7.4 - 7.8 (same as water supply) and Fish tank with nitrates less than 20 was at a PH of 6.2. I really thought the PH would be the other way around!

Wildisme
01-30-2012, 06:46 AM
Idk if u have rocks in ur tank. But if u have natural rock with the turtles that can keep ur PH up.

Most corals can do okay without a skimmer. However once u set one up and see the crap that comes out. It really makes u want to keep that stuff out.

I am runnin a 46g bow front, 200w heater, 750gph circulation pump, and a 250gph pump running to a HoB fuge that has the built in slimmer rates for 100g.

I would recommend u have a fuge or sump with macro algae In it. It will keep ur nitrates and phosphates down. Hence low nitrates, and no hair algae or cyano.

With good water, Kalk and Calcium dosing and good lighting. Even hard to grow SPS can grow up to 1/2" a week.

Im in no way saying what ur doing it wrong, but remember, just cause ur corals are staying alive, doesnt mean that they are thriving as they should.

DeBrito
01-30-2012, 10:18 PM
Wildisme, you make a great point. What I got should be covering the tank by now. I do plan on revamping my whole tank, literally pulling everything out and changing a few things up as I've made a huge mistake with my super fine substrate, and what have you, therefore keeping it minimal is my best option for right now. As far as SUSTAINING life, my tank has been doing a pretty good job, however it could be alot better.

It's just an example to support my opinion on balancing with water changes. If you can sustain life being bare minimal with very few water changes, then a tank with the right equipment should be more than capable to sustain life with few water changes, even if it is to experiment with whether using pure sea water or using mixed salt water is the most cost effective option in this case.

DeBrito
01-30-2012, 10:50 PM
Nitrates are at 0ppm and pH is at 8.0

DavidNZ
01-30-2012, 11:38 PM
Wow, that is really interesting!