Instant Ocean Sea Salt

Best Aquarium Salt Mix | Top 8 Reviews

Which is the best aquarium salt?

One of the most frequently asked questions, especially for a new marine tank lovers is this one. After 8 years of experience with saltwater tanks, I have made a guide that will help you choose the best aquarium salt for your tank.

In this post I will review the top 8 saltwater mix salt and I will suggest which one is the best for you, depending on your tank type.

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Instant Ocean Salt

The most used aquarium salt product in the world. A lot of public saltwater aquariums are using this aquarium salt mix. Why? Because you get the best quality for your money. It is by far the best seller on Amazon .

Instant Ocean is the world’s most trusted brand of marine salt. It’s on the market for more than 20 years, and have never disappointed his users. You can use it in fish only, with live rock tanks (FOWLR), mixed reef tanks and even in Full SPS reef tank.

I have used this salt mix in the begging in my first mixed reef tank and I had great results. To be honest it’s has a bit high level of Alkalinity for my taste, but there are users that don’t mind that. I prefer more natural level 7-8 and that’s why I’m using salt mix with a little lower dKH. Also if you run ULNS (Ultra Low Nutrition System) you will make Alkalinity swings with every water change.

The calcium level is near the natural one, so it’s on a great level. The Magnesium level is also very good, so if you don’t have highly demand SPS tank you will never need to add Magnesium. You can replenish Mg consummation by making regular water change 10% per week

Another thing that I don’t like about this reef salt is that you must wait until it’s fully dissolved. It will help if you put air stone in the mix container or some kind of circulation pump.

               Features:

  • Calcium: 415 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 11 dKH
  • Magnesium: 1350 ppm
  • Size: 200 gallons

                       Pros:

  • Best Value For Money
  • Low Cost Per Gallon
  • Consistent Results
  • Ideal For Any Reef Tank

                   Cons:

  • Slow dissolving
  • High Alkalinity
  • Alkalinity swing if you run (ULNS)

Reef Crystals Salt

This product is coming from the same producer as the previous one. It’s more expensive but it also has more trace elements and can satisfy the most demanding SPS, LPS, anemones… It is like an improved version of Instant Ocean Reef Salt.

Best thing that I like about Reef crystals Salt is that will come in package with four separated bags. So you can use it one bag at a time and the other will stay fresh until you spend the open one.

With this salt you can be clear. If you don’t want to supplement Alkalinity and Calcium on a daily basic with soils or Calcium reactor, you will be more than happy to use it. It has elevate levels of Kh and Ca so you can keep your reef tank happy if you only do regular changes.

On the other side I will not recommended this salt mix if you have demanding corals in your tank that need stability. That means if you want the corals to survive and progress, you must keep your system as much as stable as you can. Making water change with this salt will always make swings in your saltwater aquarium. Imagine if you have natural levels of alkalinity 7.5 dKh and you make 10% water change. The new water will come with 13 dKh. So your reef tank will be stressed with alkalinity swing from 7.5 up to 8-8.2 in a minute. You corals will not like that and they won’t be happy with the change.

You’ll have the same stress with Calcium swing also.

               Features:

  • Calcium: 490 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 13 dKH
  • Magnesium: 1440 ppm
  • Size: 200 gallons

                       Pros:

  • All Trace elements to support most demanding corals
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Extra calcium to ensure stony coral and coralline growth
  • Has all the nutrients and the right chemical balance
  • Can neutralize trace heavy metals often found in tap water
  • Comes in a package of 4 separate bags which keeps the salt fresh
  • Contain Vitamins that can help grow and survival of coral

                   Cons:

  • To high Alkalinity
  • To high Calcium
  • Not for ULNS system
  • Not recommended for NWS

Red Sea Coral Pro Salt

I used this salt in my first saltwater aquarium but not from the beginning. I started to use it when I had full stock reef tank and the results were awesome.  

What I really like about Red Sea salt is that it’s coming with elevate levels of trace elements. So if you do regular water changes you don’t need to worry about potassium, strontium, magnesium or some other elements. They will be replenish completely just with the water changes. The most demanding corals like acropora, montipora, acantasthrea and some other will show a lot of improvements in their colors and health.

Certainly I loved this salt at the time because back than I had alkalinity levels 10.5 and Calcium 460. Water changes weren’t doing any kind of swings. Also I was using a dosing pump for supplementing dKh and Ca and all I had to do after the water change was switching off the pumps for few hours.

On the other side if you have ULNS (Ultra Low Nutrition System) or you are keeping your alkalinity and calcium near the natural sea water you will have the swing. That means that your saltwater aquarium will be stressed after every water change. It is more or less the same story as with Reef Crystals salt mix. dKh won’t be 13 but 12, so a little less stress. Also the calcium level is close to the natural level so you would only worry about alkalinity.

               Features:

  • Calcium: 460 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 12 dKH
  • Magnesium: 1390 ppm
  • Size: 175 gallons

                       Pros:

  • Very Fast Dissolving
  • Very good for full stock aquariums
  • Contains 70 trace elements
  • Hign Ph > 8.2

                   Cons:

  • High Price
  • Doesn’t make difference if you have a new reef tank with few corals

Red Sea Salt

Same as the Instant Ocean Spectrum Brands, Red Sea Company also has two reef salt mix. The second one is a similar product to the first one but with lower levels of alkalinity and calcium.

In red Sea Salt Alkalinity is 8.0 dKh and Calcium is 430. This is what I used for my second thank. It has all the positives like the black bucket but main parameters are like the natural ones. So you can do water change without stressing your system. Also if you visit Red Sea website you can see that they are promoting this salt mix for ULNS and NSW.

               Features:

  • Calcium: 430 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 8 dKH
  • Magnesium: 1280 ppm
  • Size: 175 gallons

                       Pros:

  • Very Fast Dissolving
  • Very good for ULNS and NSW
  • Contains 70 trace elements
  • Hign Ph > 8.2

                   Cons:

  • Some users are complaining about a broken bucket

Tropic Marin Salt

Probably the best reef salt on the market. Unfortunately the most expensive. I have been using it to start my third reef tank and the results were great. All the corals love this salt. It doesn’t matter if you have SPS, LPS or softy dominated reef tank. If you have the money and want to have results don’t waste your time. To be honest I’m not using it anymore because it’s too expensive for me. Also I want to experiment with new brands and at the moment so I’m trying out Aquaforest Reef Salt.

Parameters level are just perfect for ULNS or NSW systems. Tropic Marin Pro reef salt It’s produced from pure pharmaceutical salt and contains all the trace elements that are needed for your corals and invertebrates to be healthy and to grow fast. Dissolving its very fast so you will spend time when you are making water changes.

               Features:

  • Calcium: 450 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 8.5 dKH
  • Magnesium: 1380 ppm
  • Size: 200 gallons

                       Pros:

  • Meet the special requirements of modern reef aquaria 
  • Manufactured from pure, pharmaceutical grade salts.
  • Very Fast Dissolving
  • Very good for all kind of reef tanks
  • Contains balanced trace elements
  • Hign Ph > 8

                   Cons:

  • Very expensive

Aquaforest Reef Salt

Aquaforest Probiotic salt is synthetic salt mix that contains probiotic reef bacteria. Main benefit from probiotic bacteria is to keep Nitrates – No3 and Phosphates – Po4 in control – on low levels. That will reduce the chance for nuisance algae to grow and will also prevent pathogenic bacteria that is harmful. This reef salt is great to use in all kind of reef tanks SPS, LPS, Soft corals…

What I really like is that when you buy the bucket you have a serial number on it and you can go online on their website, enter the serial number to see date of production. They have very strict control on every batch that is produced. Also parameters are like I want them to be, near natural see water. That make aquaforest reef salt perfect for UNLS and NSW systems. Dissolving is very fast to. At the moment I am using my second bucket and I’m very satisfied.

Like the other salt mixes it’s not good for the systems that want to have elevated alkalinity and Calcium. Same for the reef tanks with undemanding corals that want to replenish main parameters only with water changes.

               Features:

  • Calcium: 430 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 7.8 dKH
  • Magnesium: 1350 ppm
  • Size: 175 gallons

                       Pros:

  • Contains Probiotic bacteria,
  • Very Fast Dissolving
  • Great for all kind of reef tanks
  • Contains balanced trace elements
  • Contains vitamins

                   Cons:

  • The producer is a new company

Brightwell Neomarine Salt

To be honest, I have never used this salt mix. My best friend have been for the past two years and has a great results. He is running ULN system so he found this salt very useful.

What he liked the most about this salt mix is that every time he ordered a new bucket it came with the same level on main elements. The company that produced it claims that they have control on every single bucket. Also it’s coming with elevate Magnesium so even if you have full stock reef tank you don’t have to supplement it. It will replenish with regular water changes.

ON the other hand if you like to have elevated levels of alkalinity and calcium you will not like this salt mix because you will need to add a little bit on every water change. It’s not something hard but we want to enjoy in this hobby and not to be like a prisoner to it.

               Features:

  • Calcium: 430 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 7.5 dKH
  • Magnesium: 1380 ppm
  • Size: 150 gallons

                       Pros:

  • Great for ULNS (Ultra Low Nutrition System)
  • Great Price for value
  • Contains balanced trace elements
  • Hign Ph > 8.3

                   Cons:

  • Some users report bad smell when salt is mixed

Kent Marine Salt

Fastest dissolving marine salt on the market. You can make your water ready for change in 5 minutes. Contains elevate level of Calcium and Strontium to support the corals grow. Many users are happy with this product and are using it all the time.
Some users that ordered the salt via Amazon are complaining that it came hard as a brick, while others are saying that boxes often come damaged.

However I have seen a lot of beautiful reef tanks that are using this product. I have never tried and will never try it because of so much elevate Calcium level. It would always make stress for the system and I don’t want that to happen.

               Features:

  • Calcium: 550 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 10 dKH
  • Magnesium: 1450 ppm
  • Size: 200 gallons

                       Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Fast dissolving
  • Great for supplementing Mg
  • Hign Ph > 8.3

                   Cons:

  • Very high Ca level, not good for ULNS
  • Shipping problems

Reef Salt – Buyers Guide

What is the best reef salt for your tank? It depends from your experience and from what type of reef tank do you have.

If you read carefully you can find that there are three main reef tanks types. Softy corals, LPS, SPS. Also there are demanding and undemanding corals in all three types.

So if you are a beginner don’t waste your money and start with proven but cheap reef salt. For that purpose the best one is Instant Ocean Salt. Also, no one can beat the most popular reef salt in the world for starting reef tank. Don’t just throw your money on expensive salt mix buy some better equipment instead.

If you already have some experience and want to try with another brand you can try with the best one, but also a little expensive. Depending on your system parameters there are two ways:

  • ULNS or NSW tanks. My choice here is Tropic Marine but because it’s the most expensive Red Sea Salt will do the great job. You can try also Aquaforest Probiotic Salt.
  • System with elevates dKh and Ca. My choice here is Red Sea Coral Pro. By far the best one without competitors.
  • If you have undemanding corals or nano reefs and you don’t want to supplement alkalinity and calcium you are good to go with Reef Crystals Salt. Using salt mix with elevate dDh And Ca will replenish systems need by regular water changes.

Feel free to visit my reef tank pages and comment about them. Also fell free to ask questions because aquapsycho is here to help.

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