From the Archive: Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday AM Quick Tip #28: Thinking of Switching?

Every single saltwater tank needs salt and if you are going to change the source of your salt, make sure you follow this tip.


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Comments for this article (14)

  • Mark H. says:

    Good tip Mark but I am guilty on this one… 🙂

  • Adam Blanden says:

    Hey Mark,

    If you are switching salt brands, wont simply changing the brand you use in your weekly or biweekly water changes be gradual enough? For example, if you do a 10% weekly water change with a new brand of salt, you will only have changed your actual tank water by 50% in 7 weeks, and wont reach >90% of actual tank water changed until 22 weeks.

  • Dave says:

    hey Mark, just wondering what brand of salt do you prefer over the others for your reef tank………….there seems to be so many different types that all claim to be better than the others. I’ve been using Reef Crystals(probably didn’t spell it right) for two years now with good results, but I guess that if it ever didn’t become available at the LFS , I would have to find another alternative. Buying that stuff online can be more expensive due to the heavy package charge..thanks for your time and happy fishing

  • Dave…I’m of the opinion that unless you are running the super high end salts like Tropic Marin BioActif (which is what I use), then the reef salts are mostly the same. Sure some have higher Mg or Ca than others, but I’d rather dose those supplements to make up the difference vs. trying to nit-pick my salt brands.

  • Jason says:

    Hi Mark. Do you see a vast improvement using Tropic Marin BioActif over something like Instant Ocean? Some people claim the Tropic Marin is just marketing hype but I trust your opinion over theirs.

    On a different note did you hear any release dates from Neptune’s Water on Floor detector you showed us in your MACNA coverage?

  • Stephanie says:

    Great tip! I switched over a while back doing a 20% water change and my corals did not like it!

  • Adam…When I was making this tip I also thought that with small regular water changes then a sudden switch of salt brands shouldn’t be an issue. Reading the labels on the salt mixes and asking several salt manufacturers, they all suggested a gradual switch to their brand of salt.

    Keep in mind lots of salt brands are all white labeled mixes – i.e. one company makes the salt and puts different labels on the salt containers. So one brand of salt could have exact same makeup as other brands. Of course, no manufacturer will say if they are white labeling their product so the best thing to do is to be safe and make a gradual switch.

  • David says:

    How about an actual process for doing this? e.g. mix some of the new salt into the almost empty old salt bucket and mix from that? Or carefully measure out a gradually increasing fraction of new salt into each new batch of water? An imprecise method I’ve used in the past was to just put the last dregs of the old bucket in on top of the new bucket – each scoop then gets a lot of old, a little new, until that top bit is gone and it’s all new.

  • Jerry says:

    @David: That’s how I’ve always done it, of sorts. I start with 75% of the old and gradually decrease until I’m using the new. I’ve only switched once, from IO to Kent, due to the higher calcium in Kent, for the same price, and I had no ill effect

    As for the Bio Actif, Mark; in your personal opinion, is it enough of a superior product to justify the price difference? I’m in the process of finishing my 425g basement sump and have been seriously considering the Tropic Marin Bio. I’ll want to do the switch before connecting my tanks to the new sump, so I won’t have to switch that volume over as well! Every review I’ve read has been extremely positive but one never knows the actual experience level of the reviewer so it’s not that helpful for a recurring expense of this level. I’d love to know your opinion on it

  • Eli Gonzalez says:

    What if your starting a new tank and have to change your corals and into the new tank. Same brand but I’m going from regular tropic Marin to bio active. Will that be a major shock.

  • Dan says:

    Hi Mark, EMERGENCY,EMERGENCY!! Last friday the 2nd, I instaled 2 koralia 1400 fans in my tank (130 gal water inc.sump)to increase water flow in the tank.Less than 24 hrs latter I lost 2 zebra fish and 10 hrs. latter My dog face puffer died. I have been having trouble getting the nitrates down below 20ppm.When I noticed the first fish going I checked the nitrates and they where off the scale(at least 150ppm)I then did a 50gal.water change and got the nitrates down to 20ppm.Is thare any thing I can do to save the rest of my fish? I still have 3 fish that look rather sick. I will be doing another 75 gal water change in a coupel of days when my bulk salt order comes in. Is thare anything fast I can do or add besides more water changes to save my other fish? THANK’S DAN

  • Jason says:

    Look for any more dead fish in your tank and remove them if you find them. They could be rotting and producing nitrate.

  • Dan says:

    Thank’s Jason.
    I only had 7 fish and a snowflake eel. Got all the dead fish out,been slowly adding RO water to help (tank can withstand a good drop in salinity) get the nitrates down. Just tested the nitrates again and it is holding at about 17ppm.. Hope it holds til I can do another major water change.
    Best to ya: Dan

  • Eli…it could be. I’d switch to the bioactif salt slowly

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