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View Full Version : Best Sea Salt for Reef Tanks?


Reefie
08-08-2011, 09:15 PM
I'm curious to see which brand of Sea Salt is best for reef tanks. I've used a couple brands so far, one caused brown diatoms to break out, so I ended up switching back to the salt I was using previously. However I've recently found out that the brand I use has low concentrations of the essential trace elements (Calc, Mag, etc).

Which brand of Sea Salt contains the actual trace elements that they claim to replenish?

fishytime
08-08-2011, 10:06 PM
Aquavitro made by seachem is the only salt I know of that is individually batch tested.... So that is the only one I would trust the numbers on the bucket..... That being said, I personally use H2Ocean( 3 years)

abcha0s
08-08-2011, 10:07 PM
The trouble is that we all depend on the manufacturers to tell us what's in the salt and they all claim to be the best. You won't have to look far to find a reefer that prefers any one of the brands that you have listed. As the results start coming in, I expect there will be votes for all of the salts (or at least most).

I've seen studies that compare various salt brands and they appear to identify a leader. However, there are criticisms of the studies that show errors in the testing methodology and biases. They are also outdated as new salts have come onto the market.

Even a salt water analysis on a small sample can show very different results than what the manufactures claim. For that matter, the salt at the top of the bucket is likely different from the salt at the bottom of the bucket. When the manufacturers mix in large batches, results will vary.

You also really need to define what criteria make a salt “good”. If you are supplementing calcium, then high levels of calcium might not be a big deal to you. You might look for trace elements instead. If you aren’t supplementing calcium then that same salt might be problematic.

I like “Royal Natural” salt. You didn’t list it on your poll, but if you look around I am sure you can find it. I like it because the manufacturer claims that it is the best, so I assume that it is at least adequate. More specifically, it mixes cleaner than any other salt that I have ever tried. It mixes so quickly that it generally doesn’t even hit the bottom of my mixing barrel.

- Brad

MarkoD
08-08-2011, 10:36 PM
I use instant ocean. I dose kalk. My sps are growing well

Aquattro
08-08-2011, 10:56 PM
I use Reefer's Best, it's a great salt. It's 100 bucks a box. IO is also a good salt, it costs half that. I'm probably going to switch. Used IO for years, never had a problem with it.

lastlight
08-08-2011, 11:01 PM
Reef Crystals here. Considering a trial of the Royal Nature as I am sick of the nasty film/crust/sludge left behind.

Rice Reef
08-08-2011, 11:04 PM
The Poll is a bit unclear. Best Price? Best Quality? For me I am using Instant Ocean for the price and I am dosing regularly.

MarkoD
08-08-2011, 11:11 PM
Reef Crystals here. Considering a trial of the Royal Nature as I am sick of the nasty film/crust/sludge left behind.

Maybe your salt is exposed to moisture and the precipitate isn't dissolving

Cal_stir
08-09-2011, 12:43 AM
I was using IO until I read an article in RK magazine that tested several salt brands and found IO to be very high in the heavy metals, hundreds and thousands of times higher than NSW.

MarkoD
08-09-2011, 12:46 AM
I was using IO until I read an article in RK magazine that tested several salt brands and found IO to be very high in the heavy metals, hundreds and thousands of times higher than NSW.

cant trust everything you read. you never know who's paying this magazine to write this article.

there are many people that use IO and even if these heavy metals do exist, they dont seem to harm anything in the tank

abcha0s
08-09-2011, 01:21 AM
cant trust everything you read. you never know who's paying this magazine to write this article.

there are many people that use IO and even if these heavy metals do exist, they dont seem to harm anything in the tank

I'm pretty sure Coral magazine wouldn't publish that unless there was some evidence to support the claim. People get sewed for stuff like that. Publications do tend to be somewhat more reliable than forums because they are accountable for everything they print and there is more at steak.

However, I do agree with you. You shouldn't believe it just because one study claims it to be true and if it was crashing tanks the word would get out. I think IO is a perfectly good salt choice.

RuGlu6
08-09-2011, 02:31 AM
If your tank is under 100 Gal go with D-D H2Ocean, one bucket lasts me a year+ for a 65 Gal +sump tank.
If your tank is larger then 120 gal and more so if tank is in 240+Gal range use Instant Ocean because you need large volumes of water to be changed.
Simple !

Madreefer
08-09-2011, 02:33 AM
I use IO. For me it's the best because that's all that is available in my town.

bignose
08-09-2011, 03:27 AM
It's hard to vote for this because it would take years for me to try all of them waiting for the results. I voted Salinity because it came in a nice bucket.

Edit. What's the Tunze salt like? haven't heard much about it at all.

Haloreef
08-09-2011, 05:07 AM
I have used IO for the past seven years with out any problems that I could blame on the salt directly.
I have a 300 gal system and just can't bring myself to pay double the price for one of the " high end salts". That being said I do dose cal,alk, and mag. and even with the extra cost of the materials it is still cheaper.
I have tried a couple of the more expensive salts but I did not notice any improvements, to make me keep using them.
I will continue to use IO. I change 30/35 gallons every Sunday, so the savings add up.
I would in no way, shape, or form, call it "the best salt" but it is good enough for me and mine!
Keith,

doch
08-09-2011, 04:55 PM
You know... I've used H2Ocean for a while now, and have been happy with it. This poll however, is REALLY making me reconsider. I think I may be switching back to IO.

ALang
08-09-2011, 05:01 PM
IO, cause it is cheaper and I do lots of water changes. I do dose Cal, Alk and Mag, though.

kien
08-09-2011, 05:35 PM
:pop2:

Aquattro
08-09-2011, 06:44 PM
Pretty sure every single poll, on every board I've seen in the last 10 years shows IO as the majority winner.
If someone is looking for a good and proven salt, IO won't steer you wrong (other than the alk issue 6 or 7 years ago).

Zoaelite
08-09-2011, 06:45 PM
:pop2:

I thought we got you in rehab for that P.C. addiction of yours...

Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk

Ken
08-09-2011, 08:19 PM
Hi, we use aquacraft marine environment 10+ years regards Ken

gobytron
08-09-2011, 08:56 PM
50 million elvis cans can't be wrong....and neither can IO users.

Coleus
08-09-2011, 10:11 PM
The trouble is that we all depend on the manufacturers to tell us what's in the salt and they all claim to be the best. You won't have to look far to find a reefer that prefers any one of the brands that you have listed. As the results start coming in, I expect there will be votes for all of the salts (or at least most).

I've seen studies that compare various salt brands and they appear to identify a leader. However, there are criticisms of the studies that show errors in the testing methodology and biases. They are also outdated as new salts have come onto the market.

Even a salt water analysis on a small sample can show very different results than what the manufactures claim. For that matter, the salt at the top of the bucket is likely different from the salt at the bottom of the bucket. When the manufacturers mix in large batches, results will vary.

You also really need to define what criteria make a salt “good”. If you are supplementing calcium, then high levels of calcium might not be a big deal to you. You might look for trace elements instead. If you aren’t supplementing calcium then that same salt might be problematic.

I like “Royal Natural” salt. You didn’t list it on your poll, but if you look around I am sure you can find it. I like it because the manufacturer claims that it is the best, so I assume that it is at least adequate. More specifically, it mixes cleaner than any other salt that I have ever tried. It mixes so quickly that it generally doesn’t even hit the bottom of my mixing barrel.

- Brad

I am also with Brad on this, I have used reef crystal over years and then try out the Seachem Reef Salt and then Royal Natural” salt.

I am literally don't have to dose any Mg with Seachem Reef Salt but i found it take longer to mix and it also leave some residual. The Royal Natural on the other hand mix very fast, i can mix and use it in 10 minutes with no problem.

However, different salt will give you different level of Mg,Alk, and Calc so i have to retest my water and change the dosing amount to my tank which is the sucky part.

Anyway, i think i am going to stick with Royal Natural salt from now on instead of switching.

kien
08-09-2011, 10:20 PM
I thought we got you in rehab for that P.C. addiction of yours...

Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk

It's all under control. Besides, Sea salt goes well with PC.

I recently tried a bucket of royal nature and have to agree that it mixes the best out of all the salts I've tried. I still don't know which is "best" but I'm also not sure if such a mythical beast exists.

cwatkins
08-09-2011, 10:38 PM
I'm using Royal Nature, and have another bucket of it I still haven't opened yet.

I'm only using it because I got deals on both buckets. $60 for the first one, then $65 for the second one.

I'll be good until next spring, at which time if I cannot find a deal again, then I may go back to H2Ocean or IO.

Myka
08-09-2011, 11:28 PM
I have tried a bunch of different salts over the last couple decades, but I always go back to IO because it is cheap and I have never noticed any benefit to using a different salt.

I have been using H2Ocean for 2 1/2 years in my reef tank. I figured if any salt will make a difference it will be H2Ocean because it is natural salt, not synthetic like almost all other salts. I have to add magnesium and potassium to the freshly mixed H2Ocean saltwater to get the levels right. I have enough H2Ocean salt for two more water changes, and after that I will be switching back to IO. I haven't seen any benefit to using H2Ocean over IO. It will be interesting to see if there is any difference switching back to IO now.

Reefie
08-11-2011, 09:52 AM
Sorry, the poll is for best quality. I, too am using IO and am also dosing regularly. If I had a better salt I could save on dosing. I had tried D-D H2Ocean, unfortunately I had brown algae diatoms breakout. Hence I have switched back to IO, but I'm hoping to find a better salt. Barrier Reef Aquariums in Renton (GREAT STORE!) recommended the Tunze salt, however I cannot find it in Metro Vancouver.

The Poll is a bit unclear. Best Price? Best Quality? For me I am using Instant Ocean for the price and I am dosing regularly.

imisky
08-11-2011, 10:12 AM
Sorry, the poll is for best quality. I, too am using IO and am also dosing regularly. If I had a better salt I could save on dosing. I had tried D-D H2Ocean, unfortunately I had brown algae diatoms breakout. Hence I have switched back to IO, but I'm hoping to find a better salt. Barrier Reef Aquariums in Renton (GREAT STORE!) recommended the Tunze salt, however I cannot find it in Metro Vancouver.

Im using instant ocean as well, I'm adjusting the cacium, alk, and mg with every water change as for other elements in the mix, since i cant test for it I'm not even going to bother, they can tell us all they want in terms of the content, but theres no cheap way for hobbyists to check if what they say is correct. Regardless spending $30 on suppliments for adjusting that can last 1-2 yrs imo outweighs paying a premium just to get the calcium, alk, mg in the correct range.

reefie, alot of people actually refer to the DD H2O salt as the tunze salt. or were you talking about the tunze branded salt , the Tunze Reef Excel Lab Marine Salt I,ve never seen it in any retail store or online in the US if its that guy.

Toongraeme
08-15-2011, 12:03 PM
Hi there, im hopefully moving to Canada from britain soon so have signed up here to give me a head start. The most popular salt brands over here are D-D H2O and redsea coral pro. I used reef crystals for about 5 years and found that really easy to mix, but have been using redsea since January. I find this leaves a film in my mixing tub, and apart from higher alk reading I don't really notice the difference apart from reef crystals costing £10 more for a bucket. How much am I looking at paying for salt in Canada? I'm going to be in Edmonton....

Cheers

Graeme

MarkoD
08-15-2011, 01:56 PM
Hi there, im hopefully moving to Canada from britain soon so have signed up here to give me a head start. The most popular salt brands over here are D-D H2O and redsea coral pro. I used reef crystals for about 5 years and found that really easy to mix, but have been using redsea since January. I find this leaves a film in my mixing tub, and apart from higher alk reading I don't really notice the difference apart from reef crystals costing £10 more for a bucket. How much am I looking at paying for salt in Canada? I'm going to be in Edmonton....

Cheers

Graeme

Instant ocean is 50$ per bucket and 35$ per bucket on December 26

Sebae again
08-20-2011, 05:45 AM
I have used half a dozen different salts over the years. Had the best results with Tropic Marin Pro but no longer available out here so I use IO. Tried Reefer's best but almost wiped out my tank with it.

Gripenfelter
03-14-2012, 09:26 PM
I currently use Tropic Marin. I used to use Seachem Reef Salt but also found it didn't disolve well and I had to always add buffer to keep the PH up.

My sps seems to be doing very well on TM. I have never used the Instant Ocean Reef Crystals.

Has anyone used both Tropic Marin and Instant Ocean Reef Crystals? Which did you like better?

globaldesigns
03-14-2012, 10:15 PM
I use H2Ocean, prior used Reefers best, prior to that Reef Crystals.

Reef Crystals was good, but mixed dirty.

Reefers Best was the cleanest and mixed the best, but expensive and at times you couldn't even get as there was non to found.

H2Ocean, is the best of all worlds, I am getting for great price, mixes clean and is a good salt from what I can see.

Please note: I don't mix my salt ahead of time, I don't give it 24 hours prior to putting into tank, and I don't heat. I mix at room temp, about 2 hours prior to putting into display. My results are based on this method. Reefers and H2Ocean both have always mixed clean, when water is put into tank, it is crystal clear, no residue or crap in it.

Cubeman
03-15-2012, 03:38 AM
Only salt I've used I didn't like was Seachem. It left too much undisolved residue for my liking.

FWC
03-15-2012, 08:24 AM
I use H2Ocean and it serves me well. The coral all seems to do fine with it.

milano07
03-15-2012, 06:46 PM
I use Reefer's Best, it's a great salt. It's 100 bucks a box. IO is also a good salt, it costs half that. I'm probably going to switch. Used IO for years, never had a problem with it.

By the way, Instant Ocean is only $29 bucks at King eds, so that's more like one third of what you pay for the Reefer's Best salt.

I have personally used IO for years without any issues.

MMAX
03-15-2012, 07:38 PM
H2Ocean hands down. After switching to this salt from IO I experienced great sps growth and color without dosing anything at all. Started with regular bi-weekly 20% water changes then cut back to 10%. Before I started dosing, my parameters were bang on except for the alk which was a bit low Recently started dosing Ca, Alk, & Mg, might try cutting back water changes to monthly to save a few bucks on salt.

sphelps
03-15-2012, 07:54 PM
I've had success with virtually every salt I've tried and I think I've tried almost all of them. In the end I'm not sure it really matters but I currently use Reefer's Best because it's one of the few that mixes exceptionally well and has always been consistent. If I had to pay $100 or more for it I'd probably use something else but at $80 I'll continue to use it until the price increases or it becomes less available. I also prefer the box which is easily recycled, I have no need for more buckets.

IO is by far the cheapest and certainly works just fine but I find it requires more work. Takes longer to mix and sometimes needs to be aerated to prevent precipitation, especially if you plan on supplementing with it.