• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.



Blue Ring
Nov 10, 2004
Is there a preferred type/brand of salt that we should be buying? We are using Tropic Marin which states it includes all 70 trace elements found in natural seawater. Is this ok?
I will start out by saying I'm no expert with salt
I only go by how my corals react .

IMO, almost any quality salt works as good as any other quality salt.

I often change to what brand is on sale for my reef tank.
I've only noticed a problem with 2 brands,
I think one was Oceanic, (comes in blue buckets)
I had cyano growing after the switch for 2-3 weeks
the other was some POS salt that had ammonia after mixed.

I personaly have had no problem with
Instant Ocean
Tropic Marin
Reef crystals

Hope that helps
Having used Red Sea and Instant Ocean for quite a while, I am now a firm Tropic Marin addict...mixes faster, smoother, and seems more stable...my favorite!
Real interesting thread this!!

I was just reviewing one of Jason's (aka squidviscious) reports here and stumbled upon this.

Apparently 'Instant Ocean' seawater lacked the element Strontium; in the absence of which proper development of the statolith in cephalopods was prevented. The squid were referred to as 'spinning cephalopods', as balance in the water column was not possible, and they were unable to capture food, in addition to having abnormal embryo development (Hanlon 1990).

Now I'm not familiar with these artificial salts, and 1990 was a few years ago and the problem may well have been remedied by now, but if anyone has a packet of this 'Instant Ocean' I'd be quite interested in finding out whether Strontium is identified as one of the trace elements.

Jason's ref is (so I hope he has these details correct!!):
Hanlon, R.T. 1990. Maintenance, rearing and culture of teuthoid and sepioid squids. Pp 35-62 in 'Squid as experimental animals'. Gilbert, D.L.; Adelman, W.J.; Arnold, J. (Eds). New York, Plenum Press.
Here's an interesting link for analysis of salt water. The poll shows that over 50% of people responding used Instant Ocean. (I've always used Kent myself) Anyway, there are tables comparing the various mixes.
and links to articles and other discussions.

Saltwater Aquariums Charts, Tables, Diagrams and More

It would appear from the table that Instant Ocean contains a high amount of strontium now.

Although I've never followed the discussions too closely, I've noticed that some mixes may require the addition of other elements, and some are supposed to replicate seawater.

went and had a squiz as promised........no contents listed on the box!!!! Just as well Nancy found the contents list elsewhere!! BTW if you use it seal the container! ours has turned to liquid on top and solid on bottom....we forgot to reseal the packet properly :oops:

If you look at the poll (around 4000 people responded), it shows over 50% using Instand Ocean, and the rest dispersed over a number of brands. I think some of it may depend on what the LFSs are carrying locally. I would have to order Tropic Marin over the internet, unless some far off LFS carries it.

Hmm. the store I buy from specializes in reef setups, and they mostly carry Tropic Marin...and that is all they use in their tanks too. (good selling point). Perhaps you could talk your lfs's into carrying it? Once you use it, it is hard to go back to red sea or instant ocean...the mixing alone is amazing!!!!!

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