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The above is from article published in Journal of Aquariculture and Aquatic Science.

Ammonia is very deadly in a reef tank. The slightest amount can reak havoc.

I've always said Kent salt is crap. Here is the analysis that says so.

I have been using Sea Chem for a long time and have been preaching the values of their products for a very long time. I think you know why now. Tropic Marin is considered the absolute best and purest mix available. However a bit more pricey than Sea Chem. Of course the values are not complete values but will probably hold true along all component testing like mag, alk, PH, etc....

There are several factors to choosing the right salt mix for example,

Tropic Marin reef. A great all around salt. High in all levels, pure, and buffers for a really long time.

Tropic Marin Pro. For the serious reef enthusiast that also has Kalk reactors or CA reactors, Ozone, and custom doses. The values are lower so the the hobbyist can easily fine tune the supplemants.

IO, Instant Ocean. A good fish or Fowlr salt mix. Not very high in reef minerals.

Reef Crystals is actually an Instant Ocean product meant to distract you from IO's low quality. Kind of like A Scion is a Toyota is a Lexus. The comparison here is that IO is a Scion and RC is the Toyota.... To bad they don't have a Lexus line.

Red Sea, dehydrated sea water. The package makes it sound like reef gold however it is actually the leftover byproduct from civilian desalination plants. The water is pumped from the sea and through an RO unit. The salts are removed and laid out to dry. The salt is then packaged for hobby use. You never know what you get. If a tanker where to leak in the harbor.....

Red Sea claims to be working on a new reef formula with elevated levels.

Instant Ocean is creating a new salt that is for RO/DI users only. In fact most of the laboratory grade salt mixes are intended to be moied with RO/DI water. To guarantee he analysis you'd have to use pure water or the levels could swing all over the place.

Kent and Oceanic have long been considered bad products. In fact the entire Kent product line is being shunned by most reefers as being made solely to sell to people, not enhance our tanks. I went to a trade show put on by Kent. The main stressor that was stated over and over again was about how Kent packages their products in so many sizes and actually repackages the same products in different bottles with different names with the intent to fool the customer. Being said was that customers are far more impressed by a product line that fills the shelves with 40 different produtcs and SKU numbers compared to Sea Chem's paltry 6 product line up of reef supplements. Don't get me started on what garbage Kent RO units are. Their membranes have horrible rejection rates when new. Kent was bought out by the largest pet products company recently. This means that they are now primarily a PetCo PetSmart type of brand. Sea Chem, tropic Marin, and ESV Labs are the power house companies.
 

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Mike,
I noticed your comment about the Kent/Oceanic line... and you are correct about them having been bought out recently... but as for being "petco/petsmart type brand", then I have to ask what you think of AllGlass and Oceanic aquariums? The companies that merged with Kent are AllGlass, Oceanic, and a few others. The name of the company now is Central Aquatics.

My husband works there, in tech support department. We just ate dinner at the company Christmas party with one of the lab/research techs. While I wasn't fond of many of the Kent products before, I am now interested because they are making improvements and changes. Don't give up on them or trash them just yet, please? Give them a chance, they're still hiring their permanent staff. Changes are coming... changes are always coming...
 

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bettababy said:
Q 1. of AllGlass and Oceanic aquariums?


Q 2. they are making improvements and changes. Don't give up on them or trash them just yet, please? Give them a cthey're still hiring their permanent staff. Changes are coming...

Answer 1. Oceanic used to be the best commercial company around. Not so anymore. As of about October of 06 everything changed. Oceanic was bought out and moved to Lansing MI with All Glass. Allglass makes a decent product and I've always recommended their tanks over Marineland/Perfecto tanks. That does not mean I think they are a great product. They skim corners and have to add all kinds of bracing to their products because of substituting thinner glass. Oceanic has always used heavier glass reducing the need for bracing. Since buyouts generally mean one thing, make money for stockholders, you wouldn't buy out a company just to lose money right, I do not expect to see the type of quality that used to be in the tanks. All Glass merging with Oceanic means one thing to me, that a larger company bought a name not way of doing business. When the Oceanic guys start asking for an expensive piece of equipment or are seen hand building each tank those practices will be shut down for more efficient, not better, methods. Let's also be quite frank here, the best of the best from Oceanic did not move with the company. Instead they moved to Dallas and started a new company Oceanic is only a shell name now. All Glass only got a name, not a staff. Don't forget that Central Aquatics is not the only "owner" Central Aquatics is owned by yet another "pet industry giant". What it boils down to is a giant conglomerate pumping out brightly packaged poorly made crap for the masses, not the hobbyist or purist.

Answer 2. Now about Kent. You say don't give up on them. Huh? I said I gave up on them years ago. I stand by that. When their products can stack up against Sea Chem for quality and price I'd think about it. But even then I'd just stay with known quality put together with the diehard hobbyist in mind. Think of Kent as Tetra from now on. Just an old designer name to place ont he shelves at PetCo to make them seem legitimate. Their whole practice of "more SKU's to dupe consumers" will be kindly taken to heart at the giant retailers.
 

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I've always used instant ocean and have never had a problem with any thing.
 

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usmc121581 said:
I've always used instant ocean and have never had a problem with any thing.
I'm only going to say one thing. You may have never had a problem with it but what if your tank grew faster and more colorful if it's needs were better met? Remember who nudged you towards MH lighting and the results you got from that.
 

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caferacermike said:
usmc121581 said:
I've always used instant ocean and have never had a problem with any thing.
I'm only going to say one thing. You may have never had a problem with it but what if your tank grew faster and more colorful if it's needs were better met? Remember who nudged you towards MH lighting and the results you got from that.
I have always wanted to get MH lighting put you are the one that pushed me over the edge. I have thought about tring different salt but the wife would say way change it is nothing is wrong. But What I'm saying is you might have pushed me over this cliff too.(you can stop doing that now) This weekend when I do a water change I'll change brands then.
 

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ya mike have you seen any change sence you started doing water changes again? I alway wondered how you kept your nitrates at exeptable level without doing water changes. Y would mike want to get a expensive brand of salt? he already tests and doses all the good chemicals rite?
 

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ya mike have you seen any change sence you started doing water changes again? I alway wondered how you kept your nitrates at exeptable level without doing water changes. Y would mike want to get a expensive brand of salt? he already tests and doses all the good chemicals rite?
I would say there was a little difference but its hard to tell if it was the water changes. Because at the time I added the new lighting to the tank. So its hard to say that the water changes made the coral do better. Now when I did the modification to my seaclone my nitrates and and phospates lowered to almost zero within a month. I dose every thing, Iodine, Coral-Vite, essentail Elemants, and something else. I double dose with B-Ionic every night to. What CRM is stating is that maybe my corals will produce quicker then there are now if I use better salt. I wanted to try it a while back but never did it because my water chemistry is so good. Never wanted to mess that up.
 

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insufficiently ansered question

Hello to all. I was asked to join this Website by my wife. This will actually be my first post. If I may introduce myself first. My name is Rob. I am the Product Lines Tech Support Technician for Central Aquatics, which is a division of Central Garden and Pets based out of California. I do the Tech Support for Energy Savers Unlimited (coral life, avian, r-zilla which was formerly esu reptile), Kent Marine, All-Glass Aquarium, and Oceanic Aquarium.
I read this thread and felt that Rogergolf66's question was not entirely answered.
The origional question was rather brief, but I thought a good one. There are many brands available and a few select are more complete than others. caferacermike was correct in that SeaChem and Tropic Marin are at the top, but their price is as well. I cannot dispute that. Over the years I have used over a dozen different salt mixes. Some I wouldn't touch again. The most recient salts I have used are Red Sea and Oceanic salts. I found that I got a bit more algae growth with the Red Sea (has a bit more Iron in it). Oceanic salt has actually done very well for me over the past year.
As to which salt you should use, your wallet may dictate that. If you don't mind paying the money, then yeah, by all means go for the the two with the two top brands. If money is an issue then you will want to go with one of the mid grade brands. Coral Life and Oceanic are good, and Reef Crystals isn't too bad either.
Most salts are pretty similar now days as most companies have done chemical analasys on everyone elses salts. My recomendation is to pick one that suits your finances and give it a run for a year. If you decide you don't like it then change. I do suggest mixing the old and the new for a few water changes in case there is something in one that is lacking in another (some animals can be sensitive to this). Unfortunately there isn't any scientific data to support which are and which are not sensitive to it. It is just a good precaution to use.
As for salts for fish or reefs, over the 20+ years that I have been keeping saltwater, and 9 years in fish retail I have found that it doesn't really matter which salt you use as I have not seen much difference in the fish, or corals, one to another. Find out what is available to you, pick one and run with it. What works for one person may not work as well for another person.
Don't let anyone tell you that "you have to do it this way or that way". The saltwater hobby is still in its experimental infancy when looking at the overall picture.
 

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Welcome aboard, Elpescado.:wave:

:shock2: Great post.:thumbsup:
 

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I also thought I should clear up some misinformation.

caferacermike had posted a lengthy one bashing some of the products that I feel need to be cleared up.


caferacermike wrote:

Oceanic used to be the best commercial company around. Not so anymore. As of about October of 06 everything changed. Oceanic was bought out and moved to Lansing MI with All Glass.

Oceanic is actually still one of the highest quality tanks. All-Glass (a Franklin, Wisconsin based company) purchased Oceanic a few years ago. Oceanic was maintained in Texas and All-Glass in Wisconsin. They were kept as their individual entities. About a year and a half ago ( give or take), a Carson, California based company called Central Garden and Pet purchased All-Glass and Oceanic and also Kent Marine. The most recient purchase (but not by much) was Energy Savers Unlimited (makers of Coral Life Products).
The Oceanic name suffered a slight setback when it moved northward, but is beginning to make its come back. There are some origional Oceanic people that made the move, but unfortunately a lot did not want to relocate to Wisconsin. If was a great loss. The new crew with the old crew are coming up with some great stuff that will be seen in the coming months.

caferacermike wrote:

All Glass merging with Oceanic means one thing to me, that a larger company bought a name not way of doing business. When the Oceanic guys start asking for an expensive piece of equipment or are seen hand building each tank those practices will be shut down for more efficient, not better, methods.
Actually all of the All-Glass and Oceanic tanks are had made by people. The only thing that is automated is the cutting of the glass and the drilling of holes. Central Aquatics has no such plans to automate the tank assembly. We are actully experimenting with new techniques to make the tanks better.

caferacermike wrote:

What it boils down to is a giant conglomerate pumping out brightly packaged poorly made crap for the masses, not the hobbyist or purist.
It is not good practice to assume anything. Actually Central Aquatics is in the middle of assembling a top notch R&D (research and development) team. Any defective product that I come accross we send the customer a prepaid return label (call tag) to have the product sent to the Product Validation Technician in R&D for analasys and testing. All problems are logged and any malfunction trend is being presented to the place of manufacture for correction. This is in efforts to eventually provide the best quality products on the market.
Don't get me wrong, I use a lot of products that are not made by the company I work for, and I would not switch from them. They work, and work well.


As for the slam on Kent products, what Kent Marine is doing is offering the consumer what they asked for. I have always been a big supporter of Kent products even when I was in retail sales. We also promoted Sea Chem. I can't knock Sea Chem as it is an awesome product, but a bit limited in what they do offer. With aquariums, not everyone is alike. Where one tank requires more the addition of a lot of magnesium (for use of discussion), another tank may over abundant. There is a place for everything offered by Kent.
As for the relabeling of the same product. It is only good buisness to cater to the masses. Kent doesn't hide the fact that the same contents have more than one label. The ingredients are on the container for anyone to see. It would be nice if the larger companies would cater to the diehard hobbyist, but the simple truth is that companies that limit their product, keep prices high, and eventually sucomb to being phased out. For the longest time Sea Chem was not the greatest product, but did some company alterations and turned themself arround. If you look at their history, they have come out with more and more products.

caferacermike, I was curious when the chart was published. The testing that was done to develop this chart could not have been done reciently as there is some data that does not match some of the recient data available.
Most salt mixes available use amonium salts in the mix. The ocean has amonium salts present in it. When mixed these salts will give about .25 to 0.5ppm ammonia readings. There are a select few that do not. Red sea used to be dried sea water, but in recient years it is now formulated in the same maner as the other available salts.

caferacermike Wrote:

Ammonia is very deadly in a reef tank. The slightest amount can reak havoc.
Actually, most fish are sensitive to ammonia levels above about .3 to .5ppm ammonia. Other reef inhabitants are not so sensitive. The Zooxanthelae algae in the tissues of corals will utilize ammonia more efficiently than they can nitrite or nitrate. Ammonia is readily used by plant life. It is a good source of nitrogen. I have seen coral go thru 10.0 plus ammonia levels without any reaction. Even crustaceans did not react until levels approched 5 to 6ppm. I'm not saying to keep levels up, only that it is not as deadly as made out to be. It is best however to maintain as ballanced as an ecosystem as possible.

As I said before, I respect others opinions (caferacermike), and everyone has a right to their own. I just don't think it should be preached as gospel, only as an opinion. I also don't believe that one person can speak for the aquatic comunity, as there are equal opinions on both sides of the fence.
For anyone reading this post (sorry for the length), do not take any one persons word for it. Check arround on other boards, aquarium societies, and informational websites.
Compare information form a number of sources and make your own conclusions.

Happy aquarium keeping.
 

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My own error correction

Sorry, I have mis spoken on the way salt is made.

I had written:

Most salt mixes available use amonium salts in the mix. The ocean has amonium salts present in it. When mixed these salts will give about .25 to 0.5ppm ammonia readings. There are a select few that do not.
I did some checking and ammonium salts are not used in salt mixes. Ammonia finds its way into salt mixes by way of being a contaminate. Ammonia is used to extract calcium chloride and magnesium chloride for use in the salt mix. There is some residual ammonia left over.
Salts such as Tropic Marin and Sea Chem most likely use Calcium sulfate and magnesium sulfate instead, which would increase the sulfur content of the salt.
Although I use Oceanic salt now and I get good results from it, I did some digging and actually in the overall scheme of things Instant Ocean salt is the best available when it comes to impurity content. It has the lowest impurity content of any of the available salts and Tropic Marin actually has one of the highest impurity levels. But even at that, it is in my book one of the best for reef tanks.

caferacermike had posted a bar graph that showed ammonia content, and I showed it to one of the R&D technicians. He pointed out something that I totally overlooked.
If you check the graph on the first page of this thread it shows the ammonia-nitrogen concentration that some of the salts contain. The NSW stands for Natural Sea Water. At first glance at the graph a few of the salts appear to be loaded in ammonia. If you look carefully, the highest is Kent at 11.9. This looks like a lot, but it is micromoles/kg. This works out to the 0.167 mg/kg which is equal to ppm. Most test kits cannot read this, and the biological filter will use this up rapidly. All in all, most of the salts that are available to us for purchase are good salts to use and one, in all reality can't use ammonia levels as a grounds for deaming a salt "crap" Ammonia levels in them are just to low for anyone without laboratory equipment to measure acurately.
 

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Actually, most fish are sensitive to ammonia levels above about .3 to .5ppm ammonia. Other reef inhabitants are not so sensitive. The Zooxanthelae algae in the tissues of corals will utilize ammonia more efficiently than they can nitrite or nitrate. Ammonia is readily used by plant life. It is a good source of nitrogen. I have seen coral go thru 10.0 plus ammonia levels without any reaction. Even crustaceans did not react until levels approched 5 to 6ppm. I'm not saying to keep levels up, only that it is not as deadly as made out to be. It is best however to maintain as ballanced as an ecosystem as possible.

As I said before, I respect others opinions (caferacermike), and everyone has a right to their own. I just don't think it should be preached as gospel, only as an opinion. I also don't believe that one person can speak for the aquatic comunity, as there are equal opinions on both sides of the fence.
For anyone reading this post (sorry for the length), do not take any one persons word for it. Check arround on other boards, aquarium societies, and informational websites.
Compare information form a number of sources and make your own conclusions.

Happy aquarium keeping.
I'm sorry I'm not going against you but were did you read that "Zooxanthelae algae in the tissues of corals will utilize ammonia more efficiently than they can nitrite or nitrate" becaus every were I have read or seen states that corals and sucjh actually feed of of some of the nitrates in the tank. Recently I read some where that its actually not good to keep a reef tank at 0 nitrates. I just want to know for future reference.
 

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ammonia and algae

Oh....my...... I will have to dig out my old Algology text book, but I can dig up the chapter on Dynoflagelate nirogen consumption. That is a fundamental we had to learn for one our exams. I took Algology in college about 10 years ago. I still remember that lecture. The Prof brought in doughnuts for the class. After 18 years of school, and the only part I really remember were the last 2. My Marine Biology degree is based in the field of Aquatic Ecology (how animals and plants interreact with each other and their environment). I had to take classes like Invertebrate Zoology, Limnology, Animal Physiology, Botany, Algology, Fisheries Management, Ichthyology, Comparative Anatomy, etc., etc., etc.

Anyway, out on the reef, nitrogen based compounds are not all that plentiful. If you take water samples from different locations, almost all samples will test zero for nitrogenous waste. It is utilized that rapidly. Zooxanthellae are members of the Pyrrophyta algal division. The Pyrrophycians are the dynoflagelates. They are unique in having both prokaryotic and eukaryotic charactaristics. Of the nitrogen compounds NH3,NH4, and NO3 are the most commonly used. We read in many places that corals will feed on fish waste. What is the first nitrogenous compound that is resultant from decaying fecal matter and urea? Ammonia is the first. The ammonia/ammonium is the first nitrogen based compound available to the Zooxanthellae. It is the most imediately abundant nitrogenous compound available to them to utilize. Hence more ammonia/ammonium is used than nitrite or nitrate. There are even some genera of dynoflagelates (Exp: Histioneis) that are symbiotic with blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), that fix nitrogen into ammonia that the dynoflagelate uses.
I guess the word "efficiently" wasn't the best word to use, though it can be true in many cases. A good experiment is to culture a bare tank full of dynoflagelates (not to difficult for many reefers), and add equal concentrations of Ammonia/ammonium, nitrite, and nitrate. Take a sample of water every ten minutes and test them. graph the results, and just from my own personal observations and dinking around, you will most likely see that the ammonia/ammonium is used first and at a faster rate. The others will get used up as well.
I can see what I can dig up for you for literature if you like. Actually there used to be a really sweet site called seahorses.com that had all sorts of cool books, master's thesises, and doctorate discertations you can buy. All of them dealt with aquatic environments. I don't know if the site is still active. I try to stay away from it as money burns a hole in my pocket every time. I can't afford to spend $300.00 on a published doctorate discertation.
 

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I like Instant Ocean Reef Crystals. I used Oceanic at first, but was dissatisfied as it mixed badly IMO & also I felt it wasn't consistent with the salt levels. Reef Crystals mixes real easilly. If I were going to try something else it'd be Tropic Marin most agree that is great. Just pricey though.
 
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