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Related Articles: Synthetic or Natural Seawater, Saltwater Impressions (Synthetics Review) By Steven Pro, Specific Gravity,  Water Changes/ChangingpH, Alkalinity, Marine Alkalinity

Related FAQs: Seawater 1, Seawater 2, Seawater 3, Seawater 4, Seawater 5, Seawater 6, & FAQs on Mixing, Supplementing, Storing, Moving, Physical/Chemical Troubleshooting/Fixing... By Make/Manufacturer: Natural Seawater. Synthetics: Aquarium Systems (Instant Ocean, Reef Crystals), Aquacraft (Marine Environments, BioSea...), Central Garden (Oceanic), Kent Marine (SeaSalt), Red Sea (Red Sea Salt, Coral Pro Salt), SeaChem Marine (Marine Salt, Reef Salt), Energy Savers (Coralife), Tropic Marin, Other Brands... About Buying Pre-mixed Seawater, About  Synthetics Manufacturers Advertising Claims...  Spg 1, Treating Tapwater For Marine Aquarium Use, Reverse Osmosis Filtration 

Marine Environments (Crystal Seas) Hw (Marine Mix) Sera Natures Ocean (Nutri-Sea Water)

Coral Reef Salt by TJK Marine 11/12/08 I was unable to locate any info on Coral Reef Salt by TJK Marine Research, Sunnyvale, CA . <I can't either.> It is used by a local aquarium maintenance company. Before placing in my tanks, I wanted to check with you and see if it is better than Instant Ocean, Coral life or Red Sea, the only other salts available in my area. <I don't really know, but most the commercial mixes really do about the same thing. Voodoo you hear aside, just test the water after mixing. The results will tell you if you want to use it or not. The trace elements many salts claim make them special are actually in all salts, extra junk left in the stuff in minute amounts.> I have a 75g FOWLR and a 12g Nano with fish and corals. More worried about the corals in the nano being affected by inferior product. Thanks for your help and the vast amount of info you provide. Sid <Welcome, Scott V.>

Tunze reef excel salt mix   10/4/08 All, <Matt> Just wanted to tell you what a great site you have. I only have one question that regards synthetic salt mixes, well only one brand. I see that Tunze is now manufacturing a lab quality synthetic mix. They call it "Tunze reef excel". Their claim is that the composition is based on the latest international marine biological findings as well as analyses, and that it contains traces and bio elements in quantities which are identical to those in natural sea water and that it is a further development of hw brand sea salt. Do you have any experience with this salt mix <I do not, but have "heard" only good about it> and would you recommend it. I am a big user of Tropic Marin <I as well> and have used it for over three years with good results, but I am always looking for something better for my fish and corals. Regards Matt <Well... in general I'm an old "fuddy duddy" re changing anything for changes sake... "If it isn't broke...", but up to you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tunze reef excel salt mix  10/6/08 Mr. Fenner, <Matt> Thanks for your expert advice, I love your site and read it everyday. The reason I was asking about reef excel is that I am getting a little older <Heeee! I'm getting a lot older!> and do not like the ideal of having to clean the glass on a daily base due to the green film algae that I seem to always have with the Tropic Marin salt. I just want to set back and enjoy all my hard work that has gone into my reef set-ups. So if you or know of a good salt mix that compares to Tropic Marin but does not have the film algae issues please let me know. <Don't think it/this is the salt here... likely "just" "recycled" nutrients from foods. I'd take other avenues... bioaccumulation, transport... maybe assiduous use of chemical filtrant/s> I have used IO and s few other salt mixes but seem to always go back to Tropic Marin. <Is a mighty fine, consistent product> I currently have a 90 gallon soft and mushroom coral set up. My other set-up is a 125 gallon LPS/SPS with two Tridacna clams. The 90 gallon unit has two Sunlight Tek T5 (HO) light fixtures each with 4 x 54 watt Giesemann T5 (HO) lamps. The 125 gallon has two Giesemann Reflexx light fixtures, each with 4 x 54 watt lamps. I use Giesemann Powerchrome "Aquablue, midday and one pure actinic lamp in each set-up. <Good fixtures> With this set up I have had orange tube coral (Tubastrea aurea) reproduce into separate colonies in my LPS/SPS set up. I do a 25% water change every Sunday in both set-ups and do not add any additives to the tanks. <Good for you> In fact my corals grow so fast in both set-ups that I have to sell frags back to my LFS. There is so much stuff on the internet these days, some of it true and some of it so very untrue, that one really should seek the advice of a true expert like yourself or the WWM crew before they just decide one day that they want to have a marine set-up and go out and jump into the hobby. By the way in my 125 gallon set up which I have had up and running for five years now, I Have the following list of fish: One (1) Copperband butterfly (I have had it for 3 years) One (1) Blue and Yellow Hippo Tang (I have had it for 2 years) One (1) Sailfin Tang Desjardini (I have had it for 3 years) One (1) Yellowstripe Maroon Clownfish (I have had it for 4-1/2 years) One (1) Court Jester Goby (I have had it for 2 years) One (1) Green Mandarin (I have had it for 4 years) One (1) Flameback (African) Angelfish (I have had it for 3-1/2 years) One (1) Ruby Head Fairy Wrasse (I have had it for 4-1/2 years) One (1) Scott's Fairy Wrasse (I have had for 1 year) In the 90 gallon set-up I have the following fish: One (1) Purple tank (I have it for 1 year) One (1) Spotted Mandarin (I have had it for 1-1/2 years) One (1) Clarkii Clownfish (I have had it for 1 year) One (1) McCosker's Flasher Wrasse (I have had it for 2 years) My feed all my fish the following: H20 life frozen fish food, H20 life Aquarium Seaweed, New life Spectrum pellet fish food, Ocean Nutrition pellet fish food and Nutramar or reef nutrition live Copepods. Thanks For all your hard work. Matt <Ahh, thank you for sharing input re your success. Bob Fenner>

Bad batch of salt burning my corals? Oceanic   6/27/08 I have a question about some oceanic salt i purchased which happened to coincide with a sharp downturn in my corals, snails, and starfishes' health. <Okay> I didn't notice the problem until the 3rd water change I did, which by that time the corals were already distressed. I put 12 scoops of salt in my water change tank, then added the water, used a power head to stir up the salt and dissolve it, and I put a heater in to get the temp up. I used R.O. water, and the salt dissolved almost immediately like Oceanic does, and it looked fine, I came back about an hour later, and the water was milky white. In addition to the water being white, there was a very fine silt settling on the bottom and sides of the tank, and the powerhead. <Alkaline precipitant.. insoluble calcium carbonate> How it ended up in my tank was I had previously been using white buckets, and hadn't noticed the cloudiness, I noticed it a little when I put the water in, but it seemed to go away really quickly and the fish in the tank were, and still are seemingly in perfect health, so I didn't think much of it. I had the water tested and the parameters were fine according to my LFS, <For future use, I would recommend purchasing your own testing kits so that you can keep an eye on your aquarium. LFS testing is usually done with cheap, inaccurate dip strips, and their view of 'fine' often isn't.> no ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, calcium was 450, and alkalify was in the 3.75 range. I am thinking that the silt that seemingly reconstituted after initially dissolving may be settling on or coming in direct contact with the corals and burning them. <Most likely not burning them, a precipitate is inert, but irritating yes. Other things may also be at work here.> My questions are, any idea what this silt might be? Also, I switched salts, and using the same water did not have the problem, so I am pretty sure it was the salt. <I have had only bad experiences with Oceanic salt. You get what you pay for.> As far as getting rid of this stuff so my corals and anemone can come back home from the friend who is keeping them for me, what might you suggest? I am thinking 15% water change each week till I have the water completely turned over, and in addition to this lightly targeting the top of my sand, and my rock to get rid of anything that settled. <Just do a couple big water changes to get rid of any remaining particulate matter, and you should be fine.> I know it is still there because my friend gave me a small piece of xenia to use to see if the water had improved for corals, and it turned white overnight. <Could be because of lighting, water chemistry, moving, fragging, etc. Not a single-variable test by any means> My parameters as of now, and which have been steady are: ammonia 0, ph 8.4, nitrate, 0 creeping up to 5 or so by the day i do water changes, nitrite 0, phosphate 0, calcium 450, alkalinity 3.75. Again, through all this my fish are showing absolutely no signs of stress, have no visible spots or injuries, aren't scratching on rocks, and are eating great. Sorry for being so long-winded, but I have not been able to find any insight into what might be causing the corals and certain inverts to die like this while the fish do so well. Btw, I did buy a kit and test for copper too, there was none. <If things have actually died, I would begin to suspect things other than just precipitate from alkalinity troubles...metals in the tank, medications, etc. Otherwise this should just be a problem of corals irritated by the grit in the water.> Any help would be greatly appreciated, Chris. <Best of luck. Benjamin>

Salt mix recommendation   8/17/06 Hello crew. <Hey there, Leslie in for the crew this evening> Without a doubt this is the best site for information. <Well, thanks so much, glad you are enjoying it and finding it helpful. > Thanks again for taking the time to help out this newbie. <Your most welcome. We were all new at least once.> I have used Oceanic in FOWLR set-ups for the past 2 years and the pH is consistently around 7.9.  I haven't bothered to pH up the system as all the fish seem happy, but as I try to improve my system I wanted to switch to a salt mix that can consistently hit around 8.2 without additional buffering. Could you make a couple of recommendations so I can find a source that is affordable.   <My favorite is Marine Enterprises-Crystal Sea Marine Aquarium Salt. I think it is quite reasonably priced. I get it online at Aquarium Supply Store http://www.aquariumsupplystore.com/Productspages/marine_enterprises_int.htm There was a study done on it along with some other popular salt brands. If you are interested you can read about it here'¦. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-03/rs/feature/index.php> Thanks again. <Your most welcome, Leslie>

Nutri-SeaWater HI !  My name is Peter and I have a question about Nutri-SeaWater. What is your opinion on it is it worth of try. Thank you .Peter! <Peter, never heard of the product and the only reference I could find was written in a foreign language.  James (Salty Dog)> <<James, Peter, try this: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-27,GGLD:en&q=Nutri%2DSeaWater RMF>>

Re: Nutri-SeaWater Hi James (Salty Dog) it's Peter again. About Nutri-SeaWater. www.naturesocean.com it is natural live ocean saltwater. It has all ``planktonic`` natural live marine bacteria. How do you think is it any good. Thank you for your time. <Peter, I guess I would weigh it with cost vs. product.  I'd have to believe 50 gallons of it would cost more than a 50 gallon mix of Reef Crystals.  Shipping cost would have to be a killer.  Let me know what it costs.  James (Salty Dog)> Peter.

Crystal Seas Salt - 8/17/03 When I started my reef several months ago, I had no basis for choosing one salt over another, except Ron Shimek's study, so I ended up using Crystal Sea Bioassay.  Everything seems to be going fine, except I'm concerned by reports of some hobbyists who reported problems after switching from IO to CS.   <with over 10 years experience in the hobby/industry... and one who has long used commercial quantities of sea salt purchased in 8,000 gall mix skids... I will tell you that I would not take CS brand for free> I'm hoping there are legions of satisfied CS users, who, as is human nature, do not publicize their praise as readily as those who publish their complaints.   <perhaps> Can I continue on with peace of mind or should I be thinking about switching my salt? <if you are not having any trouble (common complaints include suffrage of echinoderms and gastropods, e.g.), my advice is to stick with CS believe it or not. If its not broke don't fix it, as they say. FWIW - I don't regard CS as a very reliable product. I use IO because of value and long-standing consistency/quality. But if you ask me to recommend the highest quality among popular brands IMO... I'll tell you to buy Tropic Marin. Best regards, Anthony>

Crystal Seas Salt II - 8/17/03 Ouch.  That's what I feared you would say. <heehee... and I stand in a long line if the complaints we have heard over the years is any indication> Since my tank is still very young and my investment in livestock is relatively limited, wouldn't I be better making the switch now, rather than waiting for problems a year from now (after much growth and more dollars spent)? <oddly enough... perhaps not. Hate to admit it as I might, you might very well go a lifetime and never have a problem with it as other folks do. Yet if we add up the complaints heard per brand and use that as a point of referral, then yes... I would suggest that you consider switching to IO or Tropic Marin early on> P.S.  what is "suffrage of echinoderms and gastropods"? <my fault... a common thread in complaints has been starfish and snails in particular often stunned (and then die after days)... also some complaints with corals bleaching although I have never had that problem. Of course, the reason I've never had that problem is because I've never trusted the mix to be used with them... just on fish and macro-motile inverts <G>> P.S.S.  Based on your writings, can I fairly state that you would not regard my DSB in the display tank another gaff? <excellent choice in my opinion... 4 or more inches always. Never less than 3". Best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Crystal Seas Marinemix Dr. Ron is at it again...heavy metals.   <sometimes I'd really like to know what he's smoking> Now he claims that Crystal Seas Marinemix is the salt to use. <yes... formerly of "Forty Fathoms" infamy! Change the name and suddenly it isn't so bad anymore <G>> However some of my friends have used it and tell me that their corals have undergone substantial bleaching (after the 30% water change recommended by the dear doctor). <I have had commercial experience with this salt and from it would not personally take that product for free nowadays> What is your take on this subject ?   <not surprising from above comments... have chatted about this at length in the WWM archives and on RC over and over again... the theory is fundamentally flawed and bunk IMO> Is there really a major difference in the composition of this salt that would benefit my tank? I use Tropic Marin  and unless I see hard evidence that it is detrimental to my tank, I want to continue to use it. <Tropic Marine is tried and true... and one of the finest salts available. Continue to use it my friend if you want my opinion. Best regards, Anthony>

Salt mixes cloudy... Hi  Again I am already setting up a 150 gallon aquarium. I put 400 pounds of live sand and I am waiting for a Euro-reef skimmer that I already bought (CS8-2). I am also waiting for Hamilton lighting 2 Reefsun with metal halide bulb 14000k, but I am having some problem with the salt I bought here in Colombia, Crystal sea from Marine Enterprises International.  I mixed on Friday and today Monday 14 is all cloudy.  The temperature at the aquarium is of 72 F. and I have been moving the water with 2 pumps for 4000 LPH what can I do? I bought this salt because I read an article in reefkeeping online magazine about the good quality for invertebrates.  Marine Enterprises advertise in their web page that this salt will clear in minutes I wonder if it is solar minutes Best Regards, Andres Saravia Colombia, South America <Hi Andres, You don't mention your source water, if it is filtered with reverse osmosis or DI and if not, it's hardness and pH. If this is RO/DI water, I would aerate and heat it for 12-24 hours before adding salt, then continuing mixing and aerating for an additional 12 hours. If this isn't RO/DI water, then I would suspect this is a reaction with the hardness mineral content of the source water.  I hope this helps. Craig>

Sea Salt Brands/woes and excess light 5/14/03 Hello, I recently tried the Crystal Sea salt <by Marine Enterprises International> and have experienced a major problem in the tank I tried it in. <for what its worth... I have had experience (a few thousand gallons over a some years) and I would not presently take this sea salt for free!> The tank is a 50 g (18 x 18 x36) reef that's been up since about 1994. I thought I would be safe by doing a 5 gal change with a mix of 75% IO and 25% CS (normally this would have been a 100% IO 5 gal - so the only diff was the CS). I immediately noticed my pipe organ retracted its polyps and when they did come out in a day, they were drastically shrunken and a bright un-natural lime green. A Pavona (3 yrs) that was med. green over a dKH reddish body turned bright lt green over the whole coral. Within a week a encrusting short tentacle Goniopora that I have (3 yrs) had started to turn brighter green. A rock (6 yrs) covered with brown Zoanthus w/ small dk grn cntrs and green zoos w/ brown fringe - they were fine for 1 1/2 wks but are now closed and the brown is totally bleached and the green cntr is lt gr, the other Zoo is now a very lt green w/ no brwn. Waving hand anthelia faded to a light bwn in a day. Xenia is fine (2 types). Pink Pocillopora - fine. In about 1 - 1.5 weeks the following changes happened :Yellow leather - bright yellow (the only color change that actually looks better than the original color). Teal blue zoo's that I just got from Trop bleached to a light green. Lime green Nephthea - fine. Lime green Caulastrea - lighter grn. Caulastrea w/ green cntr and red-brwn perimeter - red brwn is starting to fade. Bwn Lobophytum (8 + yrs) is now light tan heading toward white. Green mushrooms - brighter grn even thought they are partially shaded??? Blue Indo sponge is fine. 7 yr old pink bubble tip Anemone is fine. 8-9 yr grn/ wht flower A is also fine. To me it looks like everything affected is suffering from severe light exposure. Any suggestions - I am cutting back on the lighting. <do not cut back on lighting unless you know that was the problem (changed to new lamps, excess photoperiod, increased intensity, cleaned bulbs or increased water clarity after long period of neglect). Reason being... The OK corals and the zooxanthellae left in the struggling ones will be further challenged to feed their host with the diminished light. Terrible idea. Please keep the photoperiod the same... never make any sudden changes... and try to feed the stressed corals a little better to compensate until zooxanthellae recover> At first I thought I could just wait but after getting back this weekend, I noticed that the changes are just getting worse. The pipe organ and bwn /grn zoos are now totally closed and some of the fading corals are even more faded. Not sure what to do??? The corals affected are high and low in the tank, lighting is 4 - 95w VHO's that are over due for a gradual change. I would estimate 2 are 9 months old and 2 are 14 old. The rock w/ zoos has them on top and down each side. Its about 9" x 9" x 9". All zoos at all exposures are affected - even where slightly shaded by algae. Only thing changed was use of CS salt. <yes... do check the other message boards for similar experiences. You are not alone> I would appreciate your thoughts. At this point I am also tempted to do an all IO water change. <not a terrible idea... but the water change (with either brand) could have just been done a little inaccurately and caused the stress just the same (harried with temp or salinity adjustment?)> I was wondering if there is something in the CS that makes the zooxanthellae more sensitive to light? <many possibilities here> The reactions all seem to be as if the light level has drastically changed. <possible if a change of carbon after a long period of neglect coincided with the water change... or the cleaning of a very dusty/dirty lamps or lenses> This amount and timing of the water change is on my normal schedule (actually a little ahead of schedule). The water removed was not in bad shape i.e. heavily tinted. I had not used activated carbon before or after but I did add Kent Tech I right after (maybe 2 days later). <wish you would use carbon or do larger water changes... but no worries on the Iodine> Right now my photo period is 15.5 hours. <yikes! that is a very long photoperiod with any lighting system. I did not guess photoinhibition at the top of this query... but it sure is possible. 6-10 hours with halides... 10-14 hours max with fluorescents> Its now been 16 days and there have not been any losses yet. I was thinking about moving some of the corals to a different tank. <no way, bubba... too stressful. > Corals seem willing to eat, so I have been feeding a little heavier. <excellent> Fish and inverts are fine. Algae is fine. Aquarist is not fine. Thanx for your time. Tim <best regards, Anthony>

Sea Salt recommendations 5/22/03 Anthony what is the best sea salt that money can buy . <Japanese money can buy a mix from Tetra that is hailed as the best in the world, quite expensive... and only sold in Japan as I understand it. For us, I'd be hard pressed to say anything other than Tropic Marin. Yet that is not what I use. I have been quite happy with Instant Ocean and Omega brand sea salts for getting reliability and the most "bang for your buck". As of late, I'm inclined to stray towards Omega... may stay there too. Quality, price, and the fact that they have employed the brilliant chemist and all-around good guy, Tom Frakes, for consultation [original formulator of Instant Ocean... a pioneer]> Hope you are well. RGibson <keeping very busy, my friend... but well :) With hope for you in kind. Anthony>

Using sodium chloride (rock salt) to cycle a marine aquarium Hi: I am setting up a fish only 300 gal marine aquarium. I plan to cycle it using ammonium chloride. After the tanks zeros out I plan on a 100% water change to rid to system of the high nitrate aftermath. Because the cost of replacing 300 gal of marine water is expensive. I am wondering if I could use sodium chloride (rock salt) to cycle the tank? and then replace it with Instant ocean. If this will not work could please tell me why not! Or is there another inexpensive way to go, Lobster salt etc. Thank you kindly: Rick Luckert <There are cheaper lines of salts from a few of the manufacturers (e.g. Instant Ocean, Marine Environment) if you can find them... but I would just look for the "200 or 300 gallon buckets on sale" and use the "standard" brand from your manufacturer of choice. Bob Fenner>

Salt (mix) question Hi Bob, Why do you consider Tropic Marin salt better than others. <Better, more consistent composition, more ready dissolution w/o pH anomalies> I'm using red Sea Salt, what do you think about its composition? <Not a consistent product, particularly in terms of calcium, alkalinity. Bob Fenner> Thanks Lorenzo OmegaSea-Salt 7/1/03 Anthony-I got some OmegaSea-Salt from north coast it rapidly dissolves in minutes just like they say it will and becomes very clear not like some other sea salt that I used for years. <indeed... I was surprised myself, and not inclined to switch brands from something I was previously content with. I do wish them the best for the future... seems like a fine salt/brand/company> Thank you for telling me about it. And now you and Bob go out there and sell lots of books, I hope you will get time to finish the one you have started. Have a good day.    RGibson <best to you too, my friend. Anthony>

Formula ! (salt mix) Hi there. I saw your particulars at the Wet Web Media Site. Is it possible to get the sea salt formula to prepare salt at home. I live in Calcutta, India and at times it gets very difficult to get good quality salt mixes. Getting chemicals is no problem though. Thank you, Vidul <There are printed works that offer such formulae. See Stephen Spotte's "Fish and Invertebrate Culture in Closed Systems", or a university library if interested. By and large this is not a worthwhile approach... better to just buy a pre-made synthetic. Bob Fenner>

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