Best Reef Salt Mix in 2021: Reviews with Comparisons

Best Reef Salt Mix

When we think of seawater, we imagine water with high salt content. After all, that’s the big difference between seawater and freshwater, isn’t it? However, natural ocean water is also high in other minerals and nutrients fish need and can buffer water against rapid changes. Aquarists know that if you want healthy saltwater fish, you can’t simply add table salt to water – you need a professional reef salt mix. But which one is the best reef salt mix? Let’s find out.

Best Reef Salt Mix Reviews

Instant Ocean Sea Salt for Marine Aquariums

Instant Ocean has been a favorite name in reef salt mixes for decades, and many aquarists swear by this mix. The scientifically formulated blend contains every element that marine fish and invertebrates need to grow and thrive. Therefore, you don’t need to add any supplements.

In addition, it quickly achieves and buffers the right pH balance and is free of nitrate and phosphate.

Instant Ocean Sea Salt dissolves quickly, with a crystal-clear, ready-to-use solution in just minutes. Plus, it is well-packaged to exclude moisture.

The balance of elements and nutrients in reef salt mixes is vital. Unusually, a brand with the reputation of Instant Ocean does not clearly publish critical parameters like salinity, calcium, pH, magnesium, etc.

While many hobbyists have researched and tested the elements in this reef salt, it is unusual that the company does not do so.

Because the exact parameters of this mix are unclear, a beginner may want to choose a different reef salt mix until they have more experience measuring, mixing, and monitoring a reef aquarium.

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Fritz Aquatics 80243 Reef Pro Mix

The Fritz Aquatics 80243 Reef Pro Mix is formulated by researchers and marine scientists. It contains all the major and minor nutrients needed by marine and reef animals. It contains essential minerals and trace elements while buffering pH to protect water quality.

This includes 35 ppt salinity, 400-450 ppm calcium, 1350-1450 ppm magnesium, and alkalinity of 8.0-9.0.

It also contains strontium and potassium. It’s also used by public aquariums, zoos, adventure parks, and research facilities worldwide.

Fritz Aquatics mixes and manufactures their reef salt mix in their own facilities in small batches to ensure quality and freshness, with a lot number for quality, purity, and traceability.

In addition, their salt blending equipment is used exclusively for aquatic products. This reduces the risk of contamination.

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Red Sea Coral Pro Salt

The Red Sea Coral Pro Salt is formulated especially for the growth and vitality of corals. It is particularly recommended for growing SPS coral frags. It has the major, minor, and trace elements that corals need in biologically balanced levels.

Also provides 450 mg/l calcium, 1350 mg/l magnesium, and 11.5 dKH, with a salinity of 34.0 ppt.

Red Sea Coral Pro Salt is harvested from the Red Sea using a natural evaporation process. It contains no nitrates or phosphates. It has low moisture content and no chemical binders.

Because this salt is formulated for the needs of corals, it may not be compatible with FOWLR and other heavily stocked fish tanks.

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Brightwell Aquatics NeoMarine – Marine Salt Blend for Reef Aquarium

The Brightwell Aquatics NeoMarine is a balanced blend that replicates the natural seawater ratios of major, minor, and trace elements. This formula is designed by marine scientists for all marine organisms, suitable for fish and reef inhabitants.

It contains anhydrous-only forms of major elements and has 413 ppm of calcium, 1290 ppm of magnesium, 399 ppm of potassium, and 8 ppm of strontium.

Brightwell Aquatics NeoMarine is manufactured in the USA under strict quality standards, with the highest grade ingredients.

In addition, it contains no ammonia, nitrate, phosphate, or organic substances and creates crystal-clear water.

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Kent Marine Saltwater Aquarium Salt Mix

Kent Marine Saltwater Aquarium Salt Mix has more calcium, magnesium, and strontium than natural seawater to promote coral growth and reef vitality.

It contains 425-450 ppm calcium, 1150-1250 ppm magnesium, with a pH of 8.2 and a specific gravity of 1.021-1.0123. When mixed to a specific gravity of 1.024 for reef aquariums, calcium and magnesium levels rise accordingly.

Kent Marine Saltwater Aquarium Salt Mix is manufactured with micro-processing so every container has the correct ingredients. Ingredients are selected for purity, consistency, and solubility, and it is free of nitrates and phosphates.

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Buyer’s Guide

When choosing an aquarium reef salt, here are the key features to look for:

Element Formulation

All reef salts provide calcium and magnesium. They also provide other trace minerals, and increase alkalinity in a reef tank. They replace the need to supplement these elements individually by pre-mixing them.


Nothing is more harmful to your aquarium than sudden changes in water chemistry. Therefore, Aquarium reef salts need to be consistent, from the first opening of the package to the bottom and from package to package. To ensure consistency, here are a few things to look for:

Laboratory-Made Ingredients

Elements that have been manmade in a laboratory are purer and more consistent than elements that have been evaporated from natural seawater. Thus, while natural seawater evaporation may seem more organic and healthier, it may not be consistent.

Uniform Particle Size

Reef salts are processed so that all the ingredients in the mix are the same size as the particle. This helps the components mix more evenly in the package without larger or heavier particles settling on the bottom. It also helps the salts dissolve more quickly and uniformly in water for faster and safer use.

Product Testing

High-quality reef salts are tested after processing. This ensures every batch meets the manufacturer’s standards. Small batches, lot labeling, and testing all help ensure consistency.

Product Reputation

Look for reef salts that aquarists have been successfully using for years, rather than opinions based on a single package.

Mixing at Home

When you use reef salts, mix them when you receive them and before every use to ensure that all the elements are distributed evenly throughout the package.


Because aquarium salts are, well, salts, they will fuse into a single large lump of salt if exposed to moisture. Look for packaging that keeps the product sealed and dry from the warehouse to your door.

Composition for Your Aquarium Inhabitants

While there are many factors to consider based on how you stock your saltwater tank, the most significant factor to pay attention to is whether and what type of corals you have.

Hard corals require higher amounts of calcium and carbonate and benefit from calcium-rich, very alkaline water.

Soft corals require less calcium, and some fish prefer water that isn’t as alkaline. You can always choose supplements that add the desired nutrients to your water.

Choose the calcium levels appropriate for your aquarium, whether you have hard corals, soft corals, invertebrates, or fish only.


What’s the Difference Between Reef Salt and Reef Crystals?

The truth is, these terms can be confusing because they are often used in the same way. Reef salt is designed for healthy fish-only saltwater tanks. Reef crystals are intended to foster other invertebrates’ growth in a reef tank.

Therefore, if you use reef salts in a reef tank, you may need to add other elements to support the growth of corals and other reef organisms.

What’s the Difference Between Reef Salt and Aquarium Salt?

To make the names even more confusing, “aquarium salt” is simply pure sodium chloride with no other minerals or elements. In contrast, “reef salts” are salts that give fresh water all the minerals and elements found in seawater.

Aquarium salts can treat certain health problems in freshwater fish. However, it cannot create healthy water for saltwater fish.


The best reef salt mix for corals is the Red Sea Coral Pro Salt. It’s formulated for coral growth and provides everything that soft and hard corals need to thrive.

Red Sea is a brand that aquarists and experts have loved for years. This biologically balanced salt blend is the best choice for coral reef aquariums.

For reef aquariums containing fish, the best aquarium reef salt mix is the Brightwell Aquatics NeoMarine.

These reef salts have been used by professionals for decades and are suitable for all marine organisms. It’s made in the USA from high-quality food-grade ingredients and is an excellent choice for all saltwater aquariums.