Are you guilty of just using whatever salt you can find, or have you ever really given much thought to the salt you are using and why? Salt formulas DO MATTER, and using the wrong salt could be doing more harm than good during your weekly water change.
Knowing which salt is right for you comes down to the needs of your tanks livestock, your maintenance schedule, and most importantly alkalinity. In general, salt comes in two formulas standards alkalinity (7-8dkh) and high alkalinity (10-12dkh) with different manufacturers offering variations in the trace elements.
Most reefers should choose a standard alkalinity mix and aim for stability to avoid alkalinity highs or lows. When all your gear is dialed in, your dosers are working overtime, and your acro garden is ready to thrive that’s when it’s time to switch to the higher alkalinity formulas.
From there each salt comes with precise mixing instructions to achieve the desired specific gravity. Natural seawater has a specific gravity of 1.025 (salinity of 35ppt) and most salts are calibrated to this number. The specific gravity of 1.025 is a good target for reef tanks, while fish-only systems can be maintained at a slightly lower specific gravity as low as 1.020.
Standard Alkalinity Mixes
- Fritz RPM – Reef Pro Mix
Fritz RPM – Reef Pro Mix is manufactured using only the highest quality raw materials. Formulated by researchers and marine scientists, RPM contains all of the necessary major and minor elements of natural sea water that are utilized by living marine and reef animals. Correct pH and buffering capacity, essential minerals and trace elements have been added in precise ratios to ensure a correctly blended mix for the health and longevity of your livestock.
Salinity: 35 ppt (1.0264 sg)| Ca: 400-450 ppm| Mg: 1300-1400 pp|Alkalinity: 8.0-9.0 dKH
- Red Sea Salt
Red Sea Salt contains moderately elevated and balanced levels of the foundation elements (Calcium, Magnesium, Bicarbonates) necessary for sustainable coral growth.
Salinity: 35 ppt (1.0264 sg)| Ca: 430 ppm| Mg: 1290 ppm|Alkalinity: 8.0 dKH
- Brightwell Aquatics NeoMarine Salt Mix
Brightwell Aquatics NeoMarine Salt providing all major elements, minor and trace elements, and elements known to be in natural seawater. The N?oMarine Salt creates a marine environment so chemically-similar to natural seawater it would be hard to tell any difference between water prepared with N?oMarine and filtered natural seawater from tropical reef waters.
134 g per 1 US-gallon (3.785 L) of purified water yields a specific gravity of ~1.025 g/cm3, with a pH of ~8.30 and alkalinity of ~7.5 dKH.
Salinity: 35 ppt (1.025 sg)| Ca: 413 mg/l| Mg: 1290 mg/l|Alkalinity 7.5 dKH.
- Two Little Fishies AccuraSea®1
AccuraSea1 is formulated to simulate natural seawater, and it’s packaged as a plurality of precisely weighed packs. The advantages of this packing are many: You can mix up a batch without ever having to check the salinity. No more back and forth adding salt, mixing, waiting, testing and adjusting until you get it right. Simply put a measured volume of water in the mixing bucket or vat, add the contents of one or more packs depending on the water volume, and you have a precise natural seawater blend.
Fast dissolving. At a salinity of S = 35, AccuraSea1 produces the following target parameters: calcium 420 mg/l, magnesium 1300 mg/l, strontium 8 mg/l, potassium 400 mg/l, Alkalinity 8 dKH.
Salinity: 35 ppt (1.0264 sg)| Ca: 420 mg/l| Mg: 1300 mg/l|Alkalinity 8 dKH.
High Alkalinity Formula
- Fritz Reef Pro High Alk
Fritz Reef Pro Mix (RPM) High Alkalinity Formula is manufactured using only the highest quality raw materials. RPM High Alkalinity Formula contains all of the necessary major and minor elements of natural sea water that are utilized by living marine and reef animals along with enhanced alkalinity. Increased alkalinity has been shown to increase the growth of SPS.
Salinity 35 ppt | Ca 400-450 ppm|Mg 1300-1400 ppm|Alkalinity 10 – 11.5dkh
- Red Sea Coral Pro Salt
Red Sea Coral Pro mix contains elevated and balanced levels of the foundation elements (Calcium, Magnesium, Bicarbonates) necessary for sustainable, accelerated coral growth.
If your goal is to maximize coral growth, then Coral Pro combined with our reef care recipes will enhance growth up to four times their natural rate. Coral Pro’s Alkalinity of 12 dKH makes it ideal for mixed reefs and SPS frag tanks.
Salinity: 35 ppt (1.0264 sg)| Ca: 465 ppm| Mg: 1390 ppm|Alkalinity: 12.0 dKH
- Instant Ocean Reef Crystals
Instant Ocean is a legacy aquarium product found at most local fish stores. This salt mix is neither the best nor the worst, more of the middle of the road type mix. They offer a basic sea salt variety and reef crystal variety formulated for reef aquariums. This high alkalinity mixture tests between 9.5-13 DKh depending on the water temperature. It is important to always mix your salt as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Test your new water batch before adding to the tank to prevent any unwanted parameter swings.
- D-D H2Ocean Dosing Formula
D-D The Aquarium Solution has added a second formulation to its popular H2Ocean salt brand. H2Ocean Dosing Formula is designed for reef aquariums that don’t need a salt with elevated levels because they already maintain KH and Calcium via dosing or a Calcium reactor.
This means that those who already dose 2-part, use kalkwasser, a calcium reactor or other similar dosing regimes can conduct a water change with D-D’s new salt without experiencing a spike in their KH or Calcium levels.