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Red Sea Salt Mix-Many of you have reliability problems?

Webbed Feet

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Over the last number of months water changes seemed to not be resulting in chemistry parameters being moved in correct directions as expected, especially using Red Sea blue buckets.  So I thought "why pay for more chemicals" when I could mix in or just use Red Sea black bucket to help push tank parameters back up with a partial water change, that have gotten lower than desired.  I comprehend that a partial water change will not completely put parameters where the fresh mix is at, but should result in pushing things in the right direction gently dependent on if the change is 10% or 30%, etc.  10% should be difficult to measure much change.   Mysteriously at the time, livestock responses to water changes were not showing the expected positive changes, and upon recheck of the tank water I was having to supplement quite a bit more than expected regardless of the fact that I had reduced overall livestock in the tank (rate of livestock draw should have declined as far as demand for calcium, etc.).   

Classic mistake on my part (I make em all), I was relying on manufacture representations without testing my fresh mix results.   A blue bucket I'd almost finished off was way under the parameters claimed for the certain salinity.   I opened a new black bucket and made up 30 gallons of RO/DI using 80% black bucket and 20% blue bucket, let mix for 24 hours, and measured calcium at 380 at 1.024 salinity.  If you know the parameters on Red Sea blue and black mixes... that is ridiculously low if 80% black bucket mix has been used at 1.024.   Alk and Mag were both also too low both just hitting what a bucket of blue at 1.025 should produce. 

Anyone else finding such results?

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I mix to 1.026, and have been using the black bucket for a while. I test everything down to n03 and p04 so I can match the numbers to what I want before the water enters my display. I found that typically the black bucket mixes 10.3-10.6. I reduce it down to 9.2 with organic white vinegar before it hits my display so everything can maintain stability. I'm gonna switch to the blue bucket and start supplementing alk, cal, and mag in the water change water. I feel as though itd help a bit more with stability if I could get dead on the numbers I'm looking for. I run a calcium reactor so my main tank stability is relatively easy to maintain as long as I ensure all water going in is near identical levels. All it takes is losing a few corals to water change water that mixed low before you start testing everything.

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On the black buckets (RedSea Pro Mix) it says to not mix more than 4 hours. I've also seen charts on BRS youtube videos that show alkalinity dropping off after a day or so. From a reefcentral topic thread:

"The basic idea is the salt should be a little higher in the things your tank uses up because you aren't replacing all the water when you do a change. So it has to be over saturated to make up the difference. But water can only hold so much of those elements before they won't stay dissolved, so you want to get it in the tank where it can spread out.

I'm not the most experienced reefer, so I just try and go off the instructions (max 4 hours of mixing). 

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