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A. Byrnes

Who sells Calcium Chloride Flakes and Magnesium Flakes locally?

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I have been doing research on two part and think the whole aquarium industry has been selling snake oil to people for years. This is as simple as it seems. It's just calcium chloride flakes, baking soda and magnesium flakes and salt. Bulk Reef Supply has good deals, but all they are doing is reselling and premeasuring calcium chloride flakes, baking soda (Ash) and magnesium sulfate and chloride. When you buy the liquid version (ex. EVS, Two Little Fishes) you are paying for something that has just been mixed and has a fancy label, plus you are paying for the shipping because liquids are heavy. If I could find 50 pound bags of DOW Flake (under $18) and 1 1/2 cups makes a gallon you could run a very large reef tank for basically pennies and nickels never needing a calcium reactor. In terms of the Alk all you need to do is bake Baking Soda on a bake sheet at 300 degrees for an hour to get rid of moisture and you are then ready to mix that in a gallon container.

 

You just have to be careful and not buy the incorrect product. My only concern is keeping the sodium down so my salt level does not increase fast.

 

With all that being said I am having a hard time finding a local place that sells calcium chloride flakes and magnesium sulfate and chloride. If I was a LFS I would jump on this and create my own mix because they could buy large quantities dirt cheap from a supplier and sell cheap to customers while still making a profit. I'm just surprised no one does this? Buying a mainstream 2 part liquid premixed formula is not cost effective, BRS dry DIY version is nice and cost effective, but it is still much more expensive then if you could just buy the items needed locally.

 

Maybe WAMAS could get involved in buying or working with a vendor on getting the dry goods needed to make 2 part with Mag. Just a thought?

 

This could also make for a nice demo at next meeting? Just to show the process and how is makes sense in terms of saving money. Imagine doing 2 part for a large (200 gallon range) SPS heavy tank for around $100 a year.

 

In the meantime does anyone know who sells calcium chloride flakes and magnesium sulfate and chloride locally?

 

 

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I have checked in my area for dow flakes with no luck at all...the dow flakes are food grade which is different from any other calcium you find for sale...I can get 50 pounds of cailcuim chloride for 10. buck a bag but will not work as it is not food grade....I have only been able to find on the internet for sale nothing local in my area...let me know if you find any in your area

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http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-02/rhf/index.php

 

Randy shows a bag here from a Home Depot. Have you guys checked your local Lowe's and Home Depot stores?

 

He also mentions a Dead Sea Works product for Magnesium that the Boston Reefers Club got on a group buy.

 

Perhaps we could find the products online from a single company (DSW?) and setup a WAMAS group buy for a pallet full of the bags...

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If I could find 50 pound bags of DOW Flake (under $18) and 1 1/2 cups makes a gallon you could run a very large reef tank for basically pennies and nickels never needing a calcium reactor.

 

This is what I have been doing for a few years. It costs nothing. My bag od Dow Flake is now solid like a rock so I have to chisel off pieces. If you get it, heep it in an airtite container. If I could find another bag, thats wghat I will do.

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I dose home made two part following randy's recipe here- http://reefkeeping.c...2/rhf/index.php

 

DowFlake (calcium chloride dyhidrate) is repackaged as Prestone heat. You can get a 50 lb bag at home depot for $18- http://www.homedepot...198&R=202353198

 

With that said, 50 lbs is a lot to store and not worry about it absorbing moisture and clumping over the next six years. You can get 7 lbs at brs for $14. That's enough to treat a 100 gallon heavy sps tank for 9 months. It's still a deal. And you don't have to store a huge bag for years.

 

 

For the soda ash, I just buy a box at the grocery store and make a gallon at a time. It's about $3 and makes a months worth for a 100 gallon tank.

Edited by RubberFrog

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Dow Flake is really hard to find, I finally gave up and got a bottle of Prestone Driveway heat which RHF also recommends just use less per his instructions. I saw Peladow at the Southern States last year but the one near me doesn't have it this year, it is the same pellets as driveway heat, just a larger pail and cheaper. Dead Sea Works Magnesium Chloride flake is avalible at Southern States this time of year, Magnesium Sulfate is Epsom Salts available at any walmart or drug store, if someone knows where to buy a larger quantity of epsom salts I'd be interested, using RHF recipes doesn't mix up as clear as the BRS stuff but hasn't been detrimental at all to my tank and has saved me a bundle.

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I dose home made two part following randy's recipe here- http://reefkeeping.c...2/rhf/index.php

 

DowFlake (calcium chloride dyhidrate) is repackaged as Prestone heat. You can get a 50 lb bag at home depot for $18- http://www.homedepot...198&R=202353198

 

 

That's the same recipes that I use from RHF. I haven't seen that Calcium Chloride at the home depot's up my way, it's always something called winter heat that has other additives in it other than Calcium Chloride

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I tried Home depot yesterday and didn't see anything. Ace hardware has a Calcium Chlrodie Flake that I want to check out. They sell it in 20-50 pound bags. I also want to see if Cosco sells anything like Baking Soda in a large amount.

 

I have also contacted a few large suppliers about DOW and Mag flake. They are looking to see if they distribute to anyone in NOVA who has these products. If it came down to it, I wouldn't even mind buying this online and making batches for WAMAS memebers? It all depends on how hard this is to find.

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I tried Home depot yesterday and didn't see anything. Ace hardware has a Calcium Chlrodie Flake that I want to check out. They sell it in 20-50 pound bags. I also want to see if Cosco sells anything like Baking Soda in a large amount.

 

I have also contacted a few large suppliers about DOW and Mag flake. They are looking to see if they distribute to anyone in NOVA who has these products. If it came down to it, I wouldn't even mind buying this online and making batches for WAMAS memebers? It all depends on how hard this is to find.

 

 

I get my Baking soda from Family Dollar. $1 a box.

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Guest thefishman65

I got a bag 2 years ago from Southern State in Manassas of Mag Flakes. At that time there was a question of impurities in different brands. It sounds like several alternatives may have been found.

 

I also use for Magnesium supplement only as posted in the RHF article

 

I still have lots left if someone would like a few pounds.

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Prestone Driveway Heat is all Calcium Chloride according to it's ingredients and RHF. I checked every brand of ice melt I could find at home depot, lowes, walmart, target, etc and they all had other things in them besides Calcium Chloride. There should be a Southern States out that way somewhere that has the Dead Sea Works Mag Flake, might try garden centers or places that rent equipment, alot of the time they have salt melt supplies.

 

There is a place called Harvey Salt Works which is north of Baltimore that has it all, year round, most of the time you only see this stuff during the winter when stores put it out to melt ice, otherwise SS usually has it in their warehouse out back and will try to find a bag at other times of the year.

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I also use for Magnesium supplement only as posted in the RHF article

 

Hang on, never seen that Mg writeup before, It calls for 7.25 cups Mg Flake to 0.75 cups epsom salt and was in the 2006-07 edition of the magazine, the one I've been using calls for 5 cups Mg Flake to 3 cups epsom salts and was in the 2006-02 edition of the magazine. Bulk Reef Supply follows the 5/3 recipe for their bulk materials.

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Guest thefishman65

That is ok, I never saw the other one (trying to hijack the thread to see which way is better - shhh). The one I posted is a magnesium supplement. The first is a calcium alkalinity supplement. IIRC the magnesium needs to be high to keep either (both?) the calcium or alkalinity from dropping out of solution; which is probably why it is in the calcium alkalinity supplement. I use kalkwasser for calcium alkalinit, so only need the magnesium supplement.

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ok according to the msds sheets on prestone drive way heat it is only 90 -92% calcium chloride with other additives included in it...calcium chloride food grade msds sheet shows only calcium chloride and no other additives...I have a call into my calcium supplier to find out the difference in food grade and prestone drive way heat calcium...will pass info on when I get it...

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Ok my supplier called me back and according to him the big difference between prestone and food grade is the food grade is more pure calcium than the prestone is...he said the prestone can contain as much as 100 different impurities that they will only list if there is a certain number of them detected when the batch is run...food grade filters these out as such you get pure calcium with very little to no impurties in it

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That is ok, I never saw the other one (trying to hijack the thread to see which way is better - shhh). The one I posted is a magnesium supplement. The first is a calcium alkalinity supplement. IIRC the magnesium needs to be high to keep either (both?) the calcium or alkalinity from dropping out of solution; which is probably why it is in the calcium alkalinity supplement. I use kalkwasser for calcium alkalinit, so only need the magnesium supplement.

 

OK, did some reading on BRS and Reef Chemistry forum on reef central. When dosing 2 part, calcium and alkalinity, use the 5/3 mix for the Mg portion. When running kalk reactors and Ca Rx the 7.25/.75 mix is the one to use. Is that your reading of what RHF is saying?

 

As for Prestone Driveway Heat being 90-92% calcium chloride there probably are impurities in it but Dowflake isn't pure calcium chloride either, look at the picture of the bag its 77-80% calcium chloride, that's why you use less of the driveheat heat to make a gallon of additive. Both products are recommended by RHF and he's supposedly the reef chemistry expert so I don't have a problem using whichever I can get.

Edited by Big Country

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What I use:

 

Prestone Driveway Heat- I saw a big pallet of it (bags and gallon handles) at Lowe's. Forgot if it was Chantilly or Sterling

Baking Soda- Arm and Hammer bag from Costco

Epson Salts- Big box from Costgo

 

Dow Mag flake- haven't found good source, still using 2 50 lbs bags someone got me

Soda Ash- haven't found good source, still buy from BRS....

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All soda ash is, is baked baking soda. This is what I have found today.

Target has a large thing of baking soda that would probably tripple BRS amount for a total of $3.00, I'm curious to see what a large box at Cosco would cost.

A large container of Epson Salt is about $4.00, agian I bet Cosco has this at even a better price

Merrifield Garden center has Mag Flakes (50 pound bag) for $25.00

Still trying to find the DOW flake. I'm sure there are other brands, but I am looking for food grade calcium chloride.

So all in all if I find a 50 pound bag of Cal I could run a large reef tank for well over a year and a medium reef tank for probably 2 plus years for around $75.

Why would you need a reactor and all the parts, pieces plus bells and whistles? Plus if a reactor ever has mechanical issues or a part just breaks you are in big trouble. If you dose 2 part manually your set, its as simple as feeding fish. If you dose with pumps just replace the moving hose piece every year. This seems so much easier and cost effective? I'm just surprised to see why more people don't use this method.

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For the most part it is more cost effective to dose 2 part than it is to run kalk and calcium reactors. It's just a PITA to hand dose the quantity of 2 part required to keep a larger tank running. A high quality 3 channel dosing pump that is programmable isn't cheap either to automate 2 part dosing. Besides, having all that equipment around to tinker with keeps you busy...lol

 

$25 for mag flake is a little pricey, usually around $18 or so, but with time and gas savings is probably a deal.

 

How large is a large container of Epsom Salts at Target for $4? I think the one I get at Walmart is 2 lbs for $4 but not sure, comes in a blue bag

 

Your best bets for Dow Flake are going to be Harvey Salt in Baltimore or a Southern States store if you're lucky, mine had it last year but not this year.

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For comparison purposes, BRS group buy prices are:

 

$66.39 - 35 pounds Calcium Chloride (CAL)

16 cups/gallon. 5 gallons * 16 cups = 80 cups. 2.5 cups/gallon mixture. 80 / 2.5 = 32 Gallons of CAL mixture.

 

$66.39 - 40 pounds Sodium Bicarbonate (ALK)

16 cups/gallon. 5 gallons * 16 cups = 80 cups. 2 cups/gallon mixture. 80 / 2 = 40 Gallons of ALK mixture.

 

$66.39 - 30 pounds Magnesium Chloride (MAG)

16 cups/gallon. 5 gallons * 16 cups = 80 cups. 5 cups/gallon mixture. 80 / 5 = 16 Gallons of MAG mixture.

 

$67.99 - 40 pounds Magnesium Sulfate (MAG)

 

CAL = $2.07/Gallon of Solution

ALK = $1.66/Gallon of Solution

MAG = $8.40/Gallon of Solution

***************************************************************

Dow Flakes 22,680g = $25. 500g/1gallon. 22680/500= 45 gallons of CAL Solution. $0.56/Gallon of CAL Solution.

Dow Flakes 22,680g = $18. 500g/1gallon. 22680/500= 45 gallons of CAL Solution. $0.40/Gallon of CAL Solution.

 

Sam's Club Baking Soda. 13.5 lb, $6.68. 13.5 lb = 6123.5g. 594g/1gallon. 6123.5/594= 10 gallons of ALK Solution. $0.67/Gallon of ALK Solution.

 

Walmart Epsom Salt, 4lbs. $3.28. 4lbs = 1 gallon of MAG Solution. $3.28/Gallon of MAG Solution.

***************************************************************

Savings of DIY over BRS per 100 Gallons of Solution:

CAL = $151.00-$167.00

ALK = $99.00

MAG = $512.00

Edited by Ryan S

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For the most part it is more cost effective to dose 2 part than it is to run kalk and calcium reactors. It's just a PITA to hand dose the quantity of 2 part required to keep a larger tank running. A high quality 3 channel dosing pump that is programmable isn't cheap either to automate 2 part dosing. Besides, having all that equipment around to tinker with keeps you busy...lol

 

Showing my ignorance with 2 part dosing- why do you use a 3 channel doser for 2 part? Or are we talking about doing Mg too?

 

I have heard that using a Ca Rx is a little better because, by dissolving dead corals, you are also adding inStrontium and whatever other trace elements are needed to build skeleton.

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