Salt is a necessary part of a lot of aquariums. If you have a reef tank then you will need some special reef salt in order to get the correct level of minerals in the water. You can’t just add any salt as it lacks the special ingredients that are necessary like calcium and magnesium.
What to Consider When Buying Reef Salt
One thing that you will want to consider is the specs of the alkalinity, magnesium and calcium. What this means is that certain amounts of minerals are necessary for aquarium health.
Calcium plays a few roles in the health of the aquarium. Corals for example use it to build up their skeletons, as well as other types of tank dwelling invertebrates. The recommended amount of calcium is roughly 400 ppm which means that for every million parts there should be 400 parts of calcium.
Another very important mineral in the reef salt is magnesium. The recommended amount that you want is about 1250-1400 parts per million. It works together with calcium to maintain the water alkalinity.
Pure water is actually not acidic or basic but when salt is added to the mix it changes it to be more alkaline. The range that you want your tank to be in is around 8-11 dkh. This will ensure the best coral growth.
A debatable thing among aquarists is that the price of the reef salt makes no difference. We would tend to agree to a certain point. You need to look beyond just the price per box or container. Rather you want to calculate the price per pound and then pick a reputable brand which we will help you to pick as we have reviewed the top few.
Top Rated Reef Salt Mixes
Here are our top picks for the most affordable and highest rated brands of reef salt on the market today. If you don’t feel like reading all of this then just go with the affordable and quality Instant Ocean Mix.
1. Instant Ocean Reef Crystal and Sea Salt
This is one of the most popular choices with the main reason being that it is very affordable. For that very reason it is used by public aquariums and even low budget research groups.
- Has the necessary elements included to keep the fish tank healthy
- Fast dissolving
- Very affordable
- Doesn’t have phosphates or nitrates
- Not many, what you see is what you get
2. Aquaforest Reef Salt
This one is slightly more expensive than the Instant Ocean brand. It has 6.5 to 8DKH, calcium is 410-440 ppm and magnesium is 1230-1320ppm. These stats make it a good fit if your tank corals need more saltwater than normal.
3. Red Sea Salt Mix and Coral Pro
The Red Sea salt mix is again a bit more expensive than the Instant Ocean and is know by many to be a premium salt mix. The reason for the higher price is that it has biologically advanced levels of the elements calcium, magnesium and alkalinity. It contains 70 chemical elements with carbonates at 12.2 dKH, magnesium at 1340 ppm and calcium at 450 ppm.
So you may be wondering how this salt will be better than a cheaper brand. There are people that report that this brand improved the growth of their coral and made their fish tank appear brighter and more colorful. Whether that’s enough reason to buy it is completely up to you of course.
4. Brightwell Aquatics NeoMarine Salt
If you’re looking for a mid range price item and don’t want either of the IO or Red Sea brands then this may be the product for you. The specs of this one are 420 ppm of calcium, 1380 ppm of magnesium and 11 dKH alkalinity. Some people say it has a bit of a smell but on the plus side it mixes well!
We hope that we were able to shed some light on the subject of reef salt mixes. If you already have a brand of reef salt in mind then check out some other products.