We've all seen the fantastic aquariums on shows like “Tanked” and dreamed of creating our own bit of tropical paradise in our homes. Reef aquariums can be a beautiful and soothing presence, but many owners struggle with maintaining livable conditions in the tank. One of the most important factors in keeping a tank alive is the best reef salt.
Coral requires safe levels of calcium, magnesium, and strontium, and modern reef salt is designed to help reef aquarium owners keep conditions at optimum levels. But there are a lot of options out there, and finding the best reef salt for your tank can be a challenge. We're here to help take the stress out of that decision with our review of the best reef salt for aquariums.
Best Reef Salt Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Is Reef Salt?
Coral requires saltwater to survive. Saltwater provides important chemicals like calcium and magnesium as well as the pH that coral prefers. The best reef salt recreates the chemical and alkaline conditions normally found in ocean water in aquariums so your coral stays healthy.
2. What Does Reef Salt do?
The best reef salt creates the perfect environment for growing and maintaining coral. Adding reef salt to dechlorinated tap water or purified water ensures that the coral will receive the necessary nutrients and avoid any toxic additives that might damage or destroy the coral.
3. How Does Reef Salt Work?
The best reef salt is a blend of elements that are typically found in saltwater. The major components are usually calcium, magnesium, and strontium, but manufacturers often include other trace elements so the water in the aquarium mimics ocean water as closely as possible. The exact ratio of elements varies among manufacturers, but the best reef salt should include only non-toxic, naturally occurring elements and avoid potentially harmful ingredients like nitrate, phosphate, arsenic, and beryllium.
4. Where Can You Buy Reef Salt?
Reef Salt is readily available at any local aquarium supply store. Many large pet store chains like Petco and PetSmart also sell reef salt in their stores. Petco and PetSmart also have online sites where you can order the best reef salt directly. Sites like Amazon and Wal-Mart are other options for ordering reef salt online.
5. How Do I Know Which Reef Salt Is the Best Reef Salt for My Aquarium?
Choosing the right reef salt can be difficult. Some reef salt is only for specific types of coral, while others are more general and suitable for a wide-range of coral. Our goal with this review is to provide the information you need to select the best reef salt for your aquarium.
Finding the Best Reef Salt - What We Looked for
Several factors went in to our review for the best reef salt. The most important item is clearly the chemical component of the reef salt, but we also looked at any special features that might be offered, the pros and cons of each product, and availability. We combed through hundreds of websites to find products with a proven track record and ready availability. Any reef salt that was too hard to find or too obscure was eliminated from our research. Our finalists for best reef salt were rigorously tested and compared to find that true standout.
Price Range for Best Reef Salt
Comparing prices for the best reef salt can be tricky since there is no set of standard sized packaging. Most major manufacturers do sell a 175 gallon to 200 gallon product, and we've opted to use that as the base for our price range. Higher-end products are often designed for a specific purpose, such as accelerated growth or tank recovery and carry a higher price.
What We Reviewed
Our final group for best reef salt included:
This product is consist of premium blend synthetic salt mix that promotes simulates the natural reefs which is perfect for reef aquarium settings. This Aquaforest Probiotic Reef Salt is considered to be an ideal option for creating optimal conditions for cultured corals to survive. the probiotic bacteria in this reef salt prevents the growth of pathogens that are dangerous in marine aquariums. It also reduces the nitrates and phosphates in the tank to create a healthy environment for the sea creatures.
- Coral pro salt is the ideal salt mix for reef aquariums, encouraging accelerated, healthy growth and enhanced vitality of all corals
- All corals build their skeletons by absorbing the major, minor and trace elements that they need from the surrounding water
- Shown that the ratio between calcium/magnesium/carbonates is paramount for the corals to efficiently takes these elements from the water and grow
- Provides the basis for accelerated healthy growth of all soft, LPS and SPS corals and is particularly recommended for growing out SPS coral frags
- Available in 175-gallon bucket
This reef salt has been harvested from the Red Sea and includes not only the same chemical balance of calcium, magnesium, and strontium as regular sea salt, but also over 70 trace elements. There are no nitrates, phosphates, or chemical binders.
- Tropic marin pro reef 200 galloon-bucket
- Pharmaceutical grade sea salt especially for modern reef aquaria
- Regular use of bio-actif sea salt maintains optimized conditions at a consistent level over the long term
Tropic Marin is made with pharmaceutical-grade, 100% biodegradable salts, so no toxins, fillers, or synthetic additives are included. This is an excellent choice for a first-time setup.
- Number 1 choice of hobbyists, public aquariums and scientific research facilities
- Fast dissolving
- Nitrate and phosphate-free
- Contains all important major and minor trace elements necessary for a healthy aquarium
- Makes 200 Gallons
Balanced formulation makes it a great salt for coral, fish, and other animals and plants that rely on salt. It's easy to find online and in stores.
- FORMULATED SPECIFICALLY FOR REEF AQUARIUMS: Contains essential ocean reef elements in concentrations greater than those found in natural sea water
- EXTRA CALCIUM: Encourages stony coral and coralline algae growth.
- EXTRA TRACE ELEMENTS: Provides vital nutrients.
- EXTRA VITAMINS: Helps promote growth and survival of corals, anemones and other invertebrates in a captive environment.
- DETOXIFIES METALS: Neutralizes traces of heavy metals found in tap water.
The Instant Ocean Reef Crystals contains concentrations higher than those found in natural seawater to encourage growth and survival of coral, anemones, and other invertebrates.
- Cora-Vite technology
- Superior dissolvability
- For fish only and reef aquariums
- Enhanced with calcium, strontium, iodine, vitamins and minerals
- Not for human consumption
Designed specifically for reefs and reef fish, the formula provides all nutritional elements. Kent Marine includes the big three (calcium, strontium, and magnesium) as well as iodine and various vitamins.
The formula for Brightwell Aquatics Neomarine is built on years of testing. It was developed by a marine scientist to achieve perfect conditions and was carefully created in a lab rather than simply removing sea salt from water.
- Replicates seawater chemistry in all its complexity.
- Provide the proper pH and optimal levels of calcium and magnesium
- Only the purest ingredients
- Nitrate and Phosphate free
Coralife is micro-processed to ensure that every bag of product has the exact same blend. It was designed for excellent solubility.
- SEA SALT: Seachem’s Vibrant Sea is a highly concentrated blend of synthetic sea salts formulated for marine and reef aquariums.
- FORMULA: Vibrant Sea contains all essential major, minor, and trace components found in natural seawaters, plus the added advantage of enhanced potassium levels.
- GREAT FOR: Vibrant Sea is ideal for the reef environment and will provide accurate seawater concentrations of magnesium, calcium, and strontium with proper alkalinity and pH for closed reef aquarium systems.
- USE: Vibrant Sea is an anhydrous salt, which allows for unparalleled uniformity from batch to batch as well as the ability to produce more saltwater from less salt. In addition, it is highly soluble and can be mixed and used in the same day.
- CARE: When using Vibrant Sea, mix with dechlorinated tap or purified water, then stir the product well until thoroughly, but not excessively, dissolved. For reef aquariums, 1.020 - 1.025 at 24°C (75°F) is recommended. Never mix Vibrant Sea in an aquarium containing animals.
This is the new formulation of Seachem's Reef Salt. Its highly concentrated formula means less salt is required to create a safe environment. It also includes an enhanced potassium formula for better color.
We found that the best reef salt for your aquarium will depend in part on who you are. For hobbyists, either the Instant Ocean Reef Crystals or the Instant Ocean Sea Salt is the best reef salt. It's easy to mix, contains all of the needed nutrients, can be used with a nice variety of coral and fish, and is usually the lowest priced product on the market.
For more serious aquarists, we would recommend the Aquaforest Probiotic Reef Salt as the best reef salt. Though on the pricier end, it provides an all-natural product that helps not only the coral and fish, but the necessary bacteria and algae as well. It's safe for almost any coral or fish and works quickly. We saw some of the best colors with this one.