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Old 02/08/2018, 12:17 PM   #1
BaleKlocoon
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Storing Water

I'm brand new to the hobby, I just bought a used 90 gallon tank from craigslist. Looking into buying an RO/DI unit and I have some questions about storing the water. I'm store the unit in the attic or something when I'm not using it. I'd like to make 55 gallons at once and store it until I run out. Looking into buying a 55 gallon drum that seals, and a bunch of 5 gallon buckets with lids. How long can I store the mixed saltwater in my garage? If it is in the shade in the garage, what could go wrong? If storing the saltwater is not an option, I assume I could store the RO/DI indefinitely and just mix salt 24 hours before I need to use the water? What if I ever have to do an emergency water change? It seems like if it doesn't go bad in a sealed container in the shade, having plenty of saltwater on hand ready to go would be a good idea.


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Old 02/08/2018, 12:41 PM   #2
ReefNomad
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Generally, you want to keep most of your storage water as RO/DI, mainly for the ease of storage. RO/DI water is inert, meaning less wear-and-tear on the container and any equipment. Also, in case of an emergency RO/DI can be used for any water needs while premixed saltwater is good only for your aquarium. It definitely doesn't hurt to have enough saltwater for a worst-case scenario, but keeping vast reserves isn't necessary.

With premixed saltwater, you're only limited by your ability to keep the salt evenly mixed in the water over time. In a container, salt mix can slowly precipitate back out of the water and settle to the bottom. As the salt settles out, lower salinity water sinks and lower salinity water rises, creating an imbalance in salinity throughout the container.

In the shop, premixed saltwater in the big vat stirs 24/7 via a small powerhead to prevent this. In a smaller container, like a bucket or a deltang jug, you could simply use a powerhead to stir the water thoroughly before adding it to your system.


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Old 02/08/2018, 03:49 PM   #3
Zalick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaleKlocoon View Post
I'm brand new to the hobby, I just bought a used 90 gallon tank from craigslist. Looking into buying an RO/DI unit and I have some questions about storing the water. I'm store the unit in the attic or something when I'm not using it. I'd like to make 55 gallons at once and store it until I run out. Looking into buying a 55 gallon drum that seals, and a bunch of 5 gallon buckets with lids. How long can I store the mixed saltwater in my garage? If it is in the shade in the garage, what could go wrong? If storing the saltwater is not an option, I assume I could store the RO/DI indefinitely and just mix salt 24 hours before I need to use the water? What if I ever have to do an emergency water change? It seems like if it doesn't go bad in a sealed container in the shade, having plenty of saltwater on hand ready to go would be a good idea.
I keep 100 gallons of saltwater in a 100g container at all times. I have a pump on a timer that mixes it for 1hr 2x per day. When I don't keep up on my water changes, it will stay there for a month. Never had any issues.


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Current Tank Info: 300g deep dimension mixed reef
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Old 02/08/2018, 04:51 PM   #4
PatW
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You want to store RODI in a food safe container. I use a Brute trash can. They are food safe, come in a variety of sizes and you can put them in wheels.


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Old 02/08/2018, 05:04 PM   #5
hijinks
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I like to keep enough salt water on hand where I can do 2 50% water changes over a 24-48 hour period.


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Old 02/09/2018, 06:56 AM   #6
Mknuwet
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Keep it aerated/circulating if it’s already mixed. With the lid on if possible


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Old 02/09/2018, 10:14 AM   #7
BaleKlocoon
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Thanks for the info everyone. So what happens if I store water in containers that are not food grade? ie. home depot 5 gallon buckets, as they are cheap.


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Old 02/09/2018, 10:26 AM   #8
HBtank
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Most non-disposable plastics are fine, but for long term use with saltwater you want "polyethylene", or PE, and specifically "HDPE", which is higher density and more resistant to most common chemicals, UV light etc..

Buckets, including Home Depot, are HDPE.

"Food grade" is being misused in this thread. Brute trashcans are not designed for food processing... lol, but they are HDPE.


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Old 02/09/2018, 10:27 AM   #9
Zalick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaleKlocoon View Post
Thanks for the info everyone. So what happens if I store water in containers that are not food grade? ie. home depot 5 gallon buckets, as they are cheap.
No problem using home depot buckets. I did that for years when I had a 20g. Always kept a 5g bucket with saltwater.


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Current Tank Info: 300g deep dimension mixed reef
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Old 02/09/2018, 09:34 PM   #10
ramseynb
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I'll go against the grain with what some have said. I'll store RO/DI water long term but not NSW. The reason being is precipitation of various elements. I like to mix my salt and water and use it right away (well, as soon as it's completely mixed which happens quickly with ESV salt and when it's circulated and heated).


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Old 02/10/2018, 08:30 AM   #11
Pet Detective
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I use a 55 gal plastic "rain barrel" with a threaded screw on top, it's fitted with a hose bib to drain into my water buckets when needed, I placed the barrel on 3 inverted 5 gal buckets with a piece of ply wood on top to achieve the proper pouring height. I use a power head and heater [72 degrees] inside so that the water is always circulated and never too cold to add to any of my tanks, I've used this setup for 20+ years now, never any issues. I only keep RO/DI water ready, I mix the salt a few hours before using.


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Old 02/14/2018, 08:37 AM   #12
BaleKlocoon
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Thanks everyone. I went ahead and spent the money on a 55 gallon barrel that is rated food safe and HDPE and can seal tightly. So, it seems like the main reason people have to not mix salt in for long term storage is that the salt concentration will become not uniform if it is not constantly agitated. Would stirring vigorously for a few minutes before use not solve that problem?


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Old 02/14/2018, 08:44 AM   #13
Zalick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaleKlocoon View Post
Thanks everyone. I went ahead and spent the money on a 55 gallon barrel that is rated food safe and HDPE and can seal tightly. So, it seems like the main reason people have to not mix salt in for long term storage is that the salt concentration will become not uniform if it is not constantly agitated. Would stirring vigorously for a few minutes before use not solve that problem?
I would personally stir longer. I have mine setup with a pump on a timer that stirs every few hours. Sometimes I turn that off and let it sit for a few weeks. In either case, I turn on the pump the day before and let it mix for 24 hours prior to using.

You can just open the top and drop in a mag or similar sturdy pump.


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Current Tank Info: 300g deep dimension mixed reef
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Old 02/14/2018, 08:23 PM   #14
ramseynb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaleKlocoon View Post
Thanks everyone. I went ahead and spent the money on a 55 gallon barrel that is rated food safe and HDPE and can seal tightly. So, it seems like the main reason people have to not mix salt in for long term storage is that the salt concentration will become not uniform if it is not constantly agitated. Would stirring vigorously for a few minutes before use not solve that problem?
I'm more concerned about elements like calcium. Every time I've stored NSW long term, my pump, container, etc had a layer of calcium or other stuff crusted on it. I didn't bother enough to test before/after since I switched to mixing my salt and using very soon after it's all mixed/heated but to me that was an indication that things were precipitating so I most likely was not getting the level of elements in my tank that i would have otherwise. I'm sure someone's done the testing and knows more though. Just try it and take a look at your pump and heater in your salt barrel after a couple of weeks.


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