Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday Am Quick Tip #97: Check the Date and Prosper

Bananas, uncooked meat and whiny girlfriends…all items that expire after a certain amount of time.  Believe it or not, one item that you use (or should use) frequently around your saltwater tank can expire too.  Here’s what to watch for and why it is important.

Links in this video:

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Comments for this article (23)

  • Mark H. says:

    Thanks Mark, amen to that.

  • Matt says:

    Easily forgotten and often a source of frustration when you can’t find the cause to a problem or find a problem that isn’t really there!

    Nice one Mark 😉

  • Beetle says:

    Ditto to what Mark said !

  • Darsh says:

    Does this apply to unopened kits too yeah?
    Are there some kits that go off quicker than others? As in do Nitrate kits go off quicker than Ammonia kits?

  • Darsh…it does apply to unopened kits. Not sure if some kits expire faster than others. I would recommend buying kits from a high-volume retailer which will help ensure you get a fresh kit.

  • Darsh says:

    Thanks Mark that’s good to know because last week I got a few test kits for free that my LFS was throwing out because they had expired. They’re obviously no good so.

  • Richard says:

    Good morning all, do you have a suggested list of vendors {Kit Mfgs} and test that you recommend?

  • Richard…yes, those can be found via the link I mentioned in the show:

  • Cassandra says:

    Mark, will using natural (but filtered) salt water from the ocean have any negative effects on my tank?

  • robert says:

    Hey mark.have asked u a few questions now with no answer.I do get the random odd email about the the guide on to start a marine be honest if I was not to start my marine aquarium intill I had had them all, I would probably be Eather grey or very I guess I hope u get round to reading this and atleast get back to me ……

  • RalfP says:

    Thanks Mark,
    more than once, I refused to buy a expired testkit in a LFS.
    Seems to happen quite often.
    Personally, I’d prefer to buy a “Standard” (a bottle with a fluid, that contains exact amounts of the different reef-related molecules/ions).
    I’am checking “old” Tests with that Standard-solution and continue to use expired test, if they proved reliability with the Standard.


  • Kathy says:

    Hi Mark,
    Does the boxed or bagged salt expire? I opened a newly purchased box of reef crytals to find the bag inside has a production date of 2009. Also seems to have clumps in it.

  • Kathy…if it is clumping that means it has been exposed to moisture. It is likely fine for a FOWLR tank, but for a reef tank I’d check the levels of Alk/Ca/Mg to make sure it is mixing up close to the levels advertised for reef crytals.

  • david long says:

    hi mark, i recently discovered your videos on youtube. i’ve been watching a lot of them, great stuff. i was wondering wear do you get your cool fish t-shirts. are they online? i particularly like the shark in a plastic bag.

  • david long says:

    i should of wrote where not wear. duh

  • Jacob Jones says:

    Hi mark i have a problem with my reef tank. i have been having diatoms on the sandbed. i have a sump with a protein skimmer and i run gfo and carbon i ran phosphate sponge a couple days ago i have more flow on the sandbed my nitrates are fine corals are growing better then ever anything else i can do please help

  • Jacob…are you sure they are diatoms? Diatoms usually pass within a month to 6 weeks of a system being setup. What you are seeing could be algae growing on the sandbed.

  • Jacob Jones says:

    Mark… my tank is well over a year old. i do think its diatoms because it has bubbles at the tip of the algae. it grows so quick every night when i shut off the lights i stir it up a little the sand. i can let it grow out and have photographs of the alga i can link you to my website when i have pictures of my reef tank if that sounds like a plan.

  • Jacob…sounds like it could be dinoflagellates as well which are tough to beat. Send me a picture and I’ll have a look.

  • Jacob Jones says:

    Mark… i have to let it grow in i will have pictures by tomorrow or Saturday night ill keep you posted. i won’t do my maintenance on sandbed that i usually do i have real bad cold so i wasn’t probably wasn’t going to do it anyway. also a good fish on the fringe choice that i highly recommend to anyone with the correct size tank are dwarf angels i heard they can live up to 30 years but i am not sure my coral beauty dwarf angle does help with the sand bed issue i have and others i have plenty fish on the fringe recommendations that most people don’t know of feel free to ask me.

  • Jacob Jones says:

    mark… It is just algae on the sandbed i did have dinoflagellates but there went away a while ago. its a green and brown algae on the sand bed the problem is it grows back 2 hours after i stir it up. it comes in small patches not all over the sandbed which is good. i run my gfo about how much i should have for my tank size maybe even a little more. i consider getting a sand sifting starfish problem is they need a really deep sand bed to survive. i keep my lighting on for 8 hours a day and my skimmer running. i do regular tank maintenance water changes. any other inverts or things to help my problem. i could consider a refugium but that probably wont help much of anything.

  • Jacob Jones says:

    Mark… i got pictures of the algea where can i send them

  • Jacob…use the contact form on my site.

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