Polish reef care brand Aquaforest has expanded its salt portfolio to include two new recipes. Sea Salt, Reef Salt, and Probiotic Salt are now joined by Reef Salt +, a synthetic salt with elevated parameters, and the all-singing, all-dancing Hybrid Pro Salt, which contains actual flakes of sea salt as part of its complex, otherwise synthetic makeup.
Reef aquarium salts are traditionally made in one of two ways, from dry raw materials mined inland and mixed together to a synthetic recipe, or from evaporating actual seawater, leaving the dry elemental mix behind, ready for rehydration by the user. Both methods are popular, used worldwide, and proven hundreds of thousands of times over. As here, evaporative salts are often massively oversimplified in their description as if you just evaporate seawater you will in theory also get dead algae, bacteria, and other organisms left behind. But you don’t.
And if you take existing Red Sea and D-D evaporative salts they come from the same source seawater yet are in four different recipes, so more than a little tinkering and purifying go on with that original natural seawater before it gets to the bucket and your tank. And if you took the Pepsi challenge on reef tanks using synthetic or evaporative recipes you’d most likely fail as both can and do produce epic results.
A synthetic foundation
Up until this point, Aquaforest’s three salts have been firmly sat in the synthetic salt camp, that is until now. After ICP testing the water from reefs in Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, and Fiji, Aquaforest has again produced another probiotic salt to aid nutrient control but this time they’ve also added amino acids to the synthetic mix, elevated its levels of Iodine and Strontium, and flakes of actual sea salt from evaporated seawater to produce a salt which Aquaforest says is almost identical to natural seawater. They themselves admit that reef tanks running on natural seawater can also work, so they’ve combined synthetic salt, evaporative salt, and the Probiotics they’re known for into one homogeneous mix.
But they haven’t stopped there as at the same time they’ve developed a stand-alone elevated synthetic salt called Reef Salt +. Buy into the Aquaforest coral coloring methodology and it’s all about creating parameters that are similar to natural seawater, then lowering nutrients with probiotic bacteria, Balling Method-based dosing, and the use of amino acids, vitamins, and individual elements to enhance coral color. But with Reef Salt + they’ve broken from tradition and produced a synthetic salt with way higher values than natural seawater, yielding a dKH of 11.8, Calcium of 459mg/l, and a Magnesium level of 1427mg/l when mixed to 35 ppt. This says Aquaforest is for reefkeepers who want to maintain parameter depleting hard corals but who don’t want the hassle of dosing microelements and just want to do regular water changes instead. Elevated KH, calcium, and magnesium levels can therefore be depleted quite a bit before they become low enough to be inhospitable for corals. Bouncing Alkalinity levels are not recommended either.
Which to choose
So Aquaforest now has a fish-only salt, a reef salt, a probiotic salt, an elevated synthetic reef salt, and a hybrid reef salt. They produce a ready mixed synthetic seawater too called AF Perfect Water, and the only one missing from their saline portfolio now is a full evaporative salt.
Some reefers (and retailers,) may question if this is too many, and which one the average reefer with an average mixed reef should use. From experience, the powerful properties of probiotic salts are not for everyone and are best left to hardcore Acro enthusiasts who choose to walk the tight rope and aim for ultra-low nutrients. And to truly test the benefits of changing over to another salt would take months of testing and observation while removing all other variables at the same time. The most popular choice for many is their ordinary Reef Salt. But the additions that have gone into Hybrid Pro Salt demonstrate just what is possible from these probiotic salt pioneers when you have your own salt factory, your own ICP-OES lab, take regular trips to coral reefs, and a little imagination.
Proposed pricing is 81.90 Euros/$88.90 for the Hybrid Pro Salt, and 77.90 Euros/$84.55 for Reef Salt +. Like the other three Aquaforest salts, both the new recipes will be individually ICP-OES batch tested and will come in 22kg/48.5lb buckets.