Crafting your own saltwater might initially seem perplexing or daunting, but the process is actually quite straightforward! You might have come across the option of purchasing saltwater from a nearby fish store. While that’s a valid choice, it tends to be more costly over the long haul, especially for larger tanks. Given that most saltwater enthusiasts perform water changes on a weekly to monthly basis, the volume of saltwater you’d use in a year can accumulate significantly.
Now, let’s delve into the savings potential of producing your own saltwater. For instance, when dealing with 200 gallons of saltwater, creating it yourself could save you approximately $115. Of course, this figure might vary based on your local store’s prices, but regardless, making your own saltwater will invariably prove more economical in the grand scheme of things. Take a moment to watch the video below and delve into the following details to discover the step-by-step process of crafting your own saltwater!
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The Gear You Need To Make Saltwater
While creating saltwater is a relatively straightforward process, having the right equipment is essential for producing high-quality and efficient saltwater.
Salt Mix – Various types and brands of salt mix can be used, and they all tend to work well. If you’re uncertain, you can opt for the Red Sea Salt in the blue box, which is a dependable choice.
Food Grade Bucket or Trash Can – For smaller tanks (up to 30 gallons), a standard five-gallon bucket with a lid is suitable. For larger setups, we recommend a 20 or 32-gallon food grade Brute trash can equipped with wheels (dolly).
RO/DI Filter – Consider the MD Kleanwater 4-stage advanced RODI system, priced at $200. Alternatively, if your budget allows, the Aquamaxx Puratek Deluxe 4-stage system is a solid option. Never use tap water! If an RODI system isn’t feasible for you, you can purchase distilled water or RODI water from your local fish store.
Powerhead – Opt for a Newa mp 1200 or an equivalently strong powerhead. This assists in ensuring proper mixing of the salt within the water.
Heater – Any standard heater will suffice. MD offers options like Eheim Jager, ViaAqua, and Hydor glass heaters. These options are cost-effective yet effective in maintaining the desired temperature. Remember, the RODI water should be close in temperature to your aquarium water to maintain consistent salinity levels.
Refractometer – A refractometer is crucial for accurately measuring salinity. Different brands offer similar models that serve the same purpose effectively.
The Step-by-Step Instructions
Ensure you have all the necessary equipment ready, along with a couple of towels for any potential spills.
- Acquire an ample supply of RO/DI water. You can conveniently purchase pre-made RODI water from your local fish store or opt for distilled water from a grocery store.
- Fill your chosen bucket or trash can with freshwater, leaving a few inches of space at the top to accommodate the addition of salt.
- Insert the powerhead and heater into the container, then plug them in. Adjust the heater to match your aquarium’s temperature and strive to achieve a close match.
- Adhere to the instructions on the salt mix package and estimate the required amount of salt. Gradually introduce the salt into the water using a measuring cup.
- Take your time during the salt addition process, avoiding the sudden dumping of large quantities, which could result in precipitation. Precipitation can impact calcium and alkalinity levels, and even coat your pump and heater.
- If a powerhead isn’t used, ensure consistent stirring of the water.
- To help keep track, vocalize or otherwise note the number of the scoop you’re using, as it’s surprisingly easy to lose count. It’s normal for the water to appear slightly cloudy during this phase.
- After a brief interval, employ a refractometer or salinity probe to test the water’s salinity. Adjust by adding more RO/DI water if the salinity is excessive, or more salt if it’s insufficient. Allow a few minutes for the adjustments to mix before retesting.
- For optimal results, allow the newly mixed saltwater to blend for several hours, or even up to an entire day. Making a new batch right after a water change is advised for readiness in the coming week.
- If you intend to use the freshly prepared saltwater immediately, ensure the temperature closely matches your aquarium’s, and that no unblended salt clumps remain.
- Avoid adding salt directly into your aquarium, as it could harm or endanger your aquatic life.
- To store saltwater for an extended period, follow these steps: Seal the container tightly to prevent evaporation, keep the container light-free to inhibit algae growth, store the container in a cool area, and consider leaving the powerhead and heater operational to maintain proper mixing, ensuring readiness in case of emergencies.