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Easy method of melting salt in water



Chris wrote:
>All the water softening salt that I have seen comes in large chunks
>(crystals?).  Is this true of Solar Salt, as well?  If so, doesn't it take a
>long time (and /or a lot of work)  to dissolve?

We all know that if you put a quantity of rock salt (or any other kind of
salt larger than granulated) into a tank, that the salt sits on the bottom
of the water and you have to put alot of energy into it to have it all
dissolve.  Aeration, stirring, heat, whatever.  If the water is very still
in the tank, the salt that dissolves will form a denser, heavier layer at
the bottom and will not mix into the middle or upper levels without some
kind of agitation.  Also, it is more difficult for the crystals to dissolve
when they are sitting in the dense salty layer that will eventually form at
the bottom.

I learned this 'trick' from Wayland Lee, master killifish breeder and
photographer in San Francisco, at a B.A.K.A. program he gave on moving
water in fishrooms (i.e. fishroom plumbing).  Wayland uses this method to
melt salt for hatching baby brine shrimp (bbs) in 20-gallon tanks, I think.
 I use it for dissolving a couple of tablespoons of rock salt in unagitated
tanks for killies most susceptible to Velvet.  It is an elegant alternative
to using high energy to dissolve salts in aquariums.

Hang a aquarium fish net across the top edges of the tank, with the netting
hanging into the water.  Put the dry salt granules or chunks into the net.
The upper surface of the tank water is freshwater and will dissolve the
salt hanging in the water quickly.  The dissolved saltwater solution, being
denser, will instantly move straight down to the bottom of the tank.  A
convection cell movement will start up as fresh surface water moves in
towards the salt-filled net, dissolving more salt, until the salt is all
gone.  The downward motion under the net 'drives' freshwater upwards away
from the net and then towards the net along the surface in a circular
motion from all 360 degrees.  Come back a little later and all the salt
will be gone.  The dissolved salt will be more mixed throughout the water
column with this method, compared to just pouring crystals or chunks onto
the floor of a still tank.

Bill
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