If you’re lucky enough to live by the sea, you may have found yourself trying to decide between using Natural Sea Water (NSW) or mixing your own Artificial Salt Water (ASW). And for the hobbyists living too far from the ocean, are you really missing out on anything? Both options undoubtedly work and why a hobbyist would choose one over the other can be due to an array of reasons not related to your proximity to the ocean.
Here’s some points to consider when making that decision.
-Collection may involve your manual labour to collect it.
-It’s pretty much free.
-May require filtering to remove ocean debris or sediment.
-Consider having a large storage space for collecting more when the water is clear or getting it delivered in larger amounts.
-Will almost certainly contain small organisms that can be as harmless as Phytoplankton or potentially a parasite or pathogen, knowing what they are is often impossible for the average person so consider the gamble.
-Lasts indefinitely when stored properly in a cool & dark place but is prone to growing algae if you store it in the sun.
-Sometimes the parameters fluctuate slightly due to heavy rainfall or tidal movements, so you may need to test each batch you collect to ensure your next water change won’t cause a problematic parameter swing.
-Will usually require a mixing station or multiple buckets/drums to mix the amount you need.
-Great to have on standby if you use NSW and can’t get a clean supply.
-Lots of quality brands to choose from with a diverse range in quality and price. Some brands of salt are even batch tested using ICP-OES technology to ensure consistent quality.
-Stores indefinitely if kept cool and dry in the bucket.
-Some brands offer various salts tailor made to specific aquarium types such as fish only or mixed reef.
An important thing to remember is that salinity is the most crucial chemical parameter to consider no matter your preference in water. Always use an accurate meter or refractometer that’s regularly calibrated to check your aquarium and the water you change out.
Which option do you prefer for you Aquarium?