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Stephanie

Reasonable to use potassium/calcium chloride to prevent nitrite poisioning?

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As an avid aquarium hobbyist, I understand the benefits of maintaining salinity at .5-1% and even more with certain types of fish to prevent nitrite poisoning risks, but would it make more sense to use potassium chloride or calcium chloride instead of sodium chloride, since the plants would benefit from the potassium and calcium?  It seems like this would be a better strategy but maybe I'm missing something?

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Seal Salt contains a large range of minerals - in addition to its nitrite-mitagating qualities - so I'd just go with the seal salt.

 

You can use potassium hydroxide - and calcium hydroxid - on alternate weeks - to maintain pH….and, at the same time, put  potassium and calcium into your system.

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)

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Thanks for the replies Gary and Rupert. You guys are awesome and I appreciate you putting up with my newbie questions.

Do you worry about excess sodium causing nutrient lockout though. I would think calcium and potassium chlorides would be "consumed" better by the plants and still leave elemental chloride for the benefit of the fish, while sodium chloride, even in the form of a more diverse salt mix like sea salt, would end up stockpiling sodium and possibly magnesium, causing issues.

Edited by Stephanie (see edit history)

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I use calcium chloride, potassium chloride and sodium chloride in the tilapia hatchery. Sodium chloride is the primary salt used by far, but potassium and calcium chlorides probably account for about 1/8 of the overall amounts routinely added. We maintain an overall salinity level around 0.7%, but occasionally increase this up to 1.5%, or even 2% temporarily. When we do raise the salinity level from the norm, we primarily rely on calcium and potassium chlorides for this "extra" portion. There are reasons why we do this, but that's a subject for another thread. :)

We exchange some of the water with a hydroponics/aquaponics growing system and an aquatic plant system on a batch basis. The only other thing we add to the hydroponic side is a very small amount of chelated iron. We return water from the hydro and aquatic plant systems on a batch basis as well. We are regulated as a "zero discharge" facility, so we have to be a little creative with how we handle water at the facility. We've become pretty good at that, as it's very expensive to have waste water hauled off. The setup would probably be described as a "dual loop" system by aquaponics people, but it's really a more traditional RAS with a very small, somewhat decoupled plant module addon. The aquatic plant portion is more robust, as we sell aquatic plants as a (small) part of the business. Terrestrial plants are not a focus at the facility. They are only viewed as a moderate nitrogen sink and a free bonus harvest for our employees. We don't experience any obvious plant nutrient deficiencies in this system, but if we had a more appropriate amount of plant holes it might be a different story. Still, I attribute some of the success with the plant system to the fact that we use more than just the usual sodium chloride. It's anecdotal though. I can't really back that up.

Long story short, I believe there are merits to using Ca and K chlorides in rotation with NaCl, particularly with more heavily planted fruiting crops like tomatoes, cucumbers and similar plants. Sea salt has been mentioned as well, and that shouldn't be discounted. It's a very good amendment (beyond just a chloride source) that has a fantastic mineral profile. We happen to be right in the middle of the US (far away from the oceans or Salt Lake), making sea salt a bit expensive compared to the "pure" salts, so we mostly stick with the stuff that is cheapest for us, and easiest to acquire in bulk.

In my personal AP systems (seasonal systems), I've used mostly a combination of sodium chloride (salt), dolomitic lime, potassium carbonate and a little chelated iron on occasion. Sodium Chloride for the fish and dolomitic lime and potassium carbonate for pH maintenance and mineral supplementation. Chelated iron... for iron supplementation. I don't think I've ever added calcium or potassium chloride to them, as far back as I can remember. Go figure. :)

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Thanks for the replies Gary and Rupert. You guys are awesome and I appreciate you putting up with my newbie questions.

Do you worry about excess sodium causing nutrient lockout though. I would think calcium and potassium chlorides would be "consumed" better by the plants and still leave elemental chloride for the benefit of the fish, while sodium chloride, even in the form of a more diverse salt mix like sea salt, would end up stockpiling sodium and possibly magnesium, causing issues.

 

Hi Stephanie,

 

I don't have a problem with sodium build up…..or corruption of any other type….because I advocate water replacement.  In other words, we'll draw water out of our recirculating aquaculture systems for any use that would otherwise require fresh water……like our aquaponics or wicking bed gardens, tree watering, etc.   We then top up our RAS' with fresh rainwater.

 

If you read this article on my blog, you'll get a better appreciation of my views on water replacement.

 

Gary

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)

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