What’s the best marine salt to use?

We often hear in store and even more so on social media people ask “What is the best salt to use?” Ask that question on Facebook and you will get 26 different replies with 26 different brands and types of salt. So let’s look at the fundamentals of our reef keeping hobby the Salt.

Two Main Types 

Here at Kraken Corals we can break down the salt types available into two main types

Manufactured Salts (synthetic) (made in factories, such as ATM Hot Salt, Aquaforest Reef Salt, Fritz)
Natural Salts (evaporative) (dried out sea salt with additives such as H2Ocean and Red Sea Salt, a bi-product of desalniation plants)


We can then again break down the available salts into three categories which are related to the way we keep our reefs.

Fish only Salts, these contain lower levels of calcium, magnesium and KH and are generally lower cost salts for keeping marine fish and soft coral only (example, Aquaforest Sea Salt)

Natural Level salts, which try and emulate the natural levels of the ocean (example, Fritz Blue, Aquaforest Reef Salt, Red Sea Salt, ATM Hot Salt) the KH of these salts usually sits around the 7.5-8 dkh mark.

Elevated Level Salts, which have elevated levels of KH, Calcium and Magnesium in one or many combinations (examples such as Red Sea Coral Pro, Fritz Red) the KH of these salts is usually higher in the range of 10-11 dkh


How do these types affect me?

So we at Kraken Corals view these salts in a specific way, we recommend;

Natural Level salts for those who want consistent reefs, SPS Coral Keepers and general use. We would call these a “Dosing Salt”. Because the KH levels are a more natural level the corals in your tank will use the elements driving the levels below natural levels, we will then use a doser or manual dosing of elements to maintain these levels at a consistent level to keep equilibrium in our tanks. This is our preferred method for keeping our display and coral trays within our store.

Elevated Level Salts, while these are sometimes called PRO salts we view these the other way around. They are good for customers who want to maintain higher level of KH whilst dosing which we understand people do like to do. Generally however we view these ideal for those who are trying to keep the hobby simple and rely on water changes. During the week the corals will consume KH and the levels in your tank will fall, when you water change with your elevated level salt on the weekend you will top back up these consumed levels.


In Conclusion

What suits one doesn’t always suit another, there is no “Best Salt” its very subjective on your tank and your inhabitants. We would generally recommend using the salt is readily available to you at a cost you can afford and that matches the way you run your tank and the levels you want to run your reef at.

Some salts have a lesser mixing time (these tend to be the laboratory built salts) some have slightly higher levels than others and some require quicker use than others (for example Aquaforest reccomend using the pro-biotic salt within an hour of mixing). Thesedays with ICP tests making the process of salt testing more accurate you’re going to be hard pressed with such a competitive industry for all the big brands to find a salt that’s completely unsuitable for your needs.


You can view our full range of salts here.