Tropic Marin’s new BioActiv Salt mix has finally landed on US shores and retailers have been getting it out to customers for over a month now. We were sent our 25kg test bucket over several months ago. Here is what we have found in months of testing the Bio ACTIF system from one of the reef aquarium capitals of the world, Germany. What is the Bio ACTIF system and should I use it on my reef?
I’m going to start by saying that this salt was sent to us free of charge. We’re required by law (FTC Regulations) to inform you the (public) about this. However like all reviews here on Reef Builders, this is a honest and open review of the salt.
Tropic Marin did something completely different when it launched their Bio Actif system, and more specifically when they launched their new salt. They added something that is usually left out in most salt. Organic Compounds. A book by Sorokin on Coral Reef Ecology states on page 66 that content of reef water in organic C is around 1 to 3 ppm. If the natural reefs of the world have a range of organics why wouldn’t we put them in our man-made glass reef houses?
Chemist and Guru Hans-Werner is the man behind the salt. He works for Tropic Marin and was able to sit down and help us explain why this salt differs from other salts. He tells us that organic substances are an important component of natural seawater, especially over reefs, a saltwater within these organic substances should be closer to natural conditions than a saltwater without organics. Organic substances can alter the solubility and bioavailability of trace elements and can even achieve a codegradation of refractive organic substances like yellow substances and organic toxins.
Organic compounds that you might be familiar with could include Vodka, vinegar, sugar or vitamin C. We don’t know what specific organic compound is being added to the Bio Actif salt, but we would assume its one of the above. The salt creates more hydrophobic compounds and bacteria then traditional salts which increases the load of your protein skimmer. You shouldn’t be using this salt without a decent protein skimmer. The reaction to the skimmer was so impressive in fact its like pouring Sodium lauryl sulfate into running tap water. Not to that extent but hopefully you’ve gotten the point. Run a good protein skimmer. To expand, good here refers to a efficient bubble making device with a needle-wheel, mesh-wheel, etc.
Mixing the salt to its recommended dosage yield the following results when testing the water:
Calcium CA 442 PPM
Magnesium 1348 PPM
Also a quick note: The salt dissolves fast with no residual aftereffects common in some salts.
You’re probably wondering where the before/after photos of the corals in the test tank. I’m not showing them. Its very subjective to show before/after corals. A true multivariate test is almost impossible to achieve with all the different parameters that goes into running a reef aquarium successfully. However, I am willing to agree with other positive results that users have been seeing including corals being more vibrant in color and larger swaths of florescence. If you’re into the organic compounds part of advanced reef keeping then I suggest to go buy a box of the stuff out and test it out for yourself.