Reef salt for saltwater aquariumHaving the best reef salt is essential if your aquarium suffers from poor nutrition and the slow growth of your coral reef.

Many reef salts available in the market focus on only one component and leave out the rest, which can deprive your coral of useful minerals.

That is why we tested some popular reef salts, picked out our favorite ones, and compiled this list based on how much they offer to improve your coral’s overall health and growth.

Let’s begin by looking at the comparison chart below.

Comparison Chart

Product Tank Capacity

(in gallons)

Type Ideal For
Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt

50 Crystals Reef aquariums
Instant Ocean Sea Salt for Marine Aquariums

10 Salt Marine aquariums
Brightwell Aquatics NeoMarine

16 Salt Reef & Marine Aquarium
Red Sea Fish Pharm Pro Marine Salt for Aquarium

55 Granules Reef aquarium
Fritz Aquatics 80243 Reef Pro Mix Complete Marine Salt

200 Salt Marine & Reef aquarium

Review Of Best Reef Salt in 2021

1. Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt


  • Reef salt in crystal form
  • Recommended specific gravity range – 1.020-1.026 at 77 F
  • Maintains a pH of a tank between 8.0 and 8.3
  • Encourages stony coral and coralline algae growth
  • Neutralizes traces of heavy metals
  • Ideal for both hard and soft corals.


  • Not for freshwater aquarium

Instant Ocean Crystals are considered to be one of the best salts for reef tanks by many aquarium enthusiasts. They contain a high concentration of essential ocean elements, which significantly improve the quality of your reefs to make your tank look lush.

The extra calcium present in the reef salt promotes the growth of small and large polyp stony corals and coralline algae. It also has a chelator that can effectively neutralize the hard metals present in your aquarium water, which can harm your reefs.

Also, the trace elements present in the crystals provide extra vital nutrients. They not only boost the growth and survival of corals but also of anemones and other invertebrates. It ensures your saltwater reef aquarium remains vibrant and healthy.

Using these reef salt crystals is also very simple. Half a cup of Instant Ocean reef salt is enough for one gallon of dechlorinated water. Make sure to stir it vigorously till the salt has completely dissolved to ensure a good mix.

Although you can instantly add the solution to your aquarium, we recommend aerating the water first to achieve O2 and CO2 equilibrium. Once the optimal level is reached, the salt crystals will work more efficiently. It is also important to change the water every two weeks to maintain a good quality tank environment.

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If you are fighting low nutrient issues with your reef tank, Instant Ocean Crystals are a perfect choice to fulfill their needs. They take some time to mix but provide a consistent and healthy environment for your fish and corals.

2. Instant Ocean Sea Salt for Marine Aquariums


  • Affordable
  • Superior solubility
  • Nitrate & Phosphate-Free
  • Maintains ideal pH value
  • No special additives needed


  • It is not suitable for hard corals.

Sea salts by Instant Ocean are another great option for coral reef owners. These salts are best known for their affordable price and the ability to dissolve faster than similar products.

Unlike reef salts, which are used to promote the growth of your reef, Instant Ocean sea salts are used to create a natural seawater environment in your aquarium. They are not only ideal for soft corals but also support fish and other invertebrates.

Instant Ocean has accurately curated its sea salt to contain every major, minor, and trace element needed by your marine life and corals. It is very safe as it does not contain any unwanted impurities which might harm your aquarium life.

The trace elements present in it quickly dissolve in the water. Apart from directly benefiting your fish, they remove hard metals, which further help your marine life. Another noteworthy feature is the absence of nitrates and phosphates, which means it won’t support unwanted algae growth in your fish tank.

It is recommended to add salt to the water and not the other way round. The ideal way to do this is by creating a saltwater solution first. Add half a cup of Instant Ocean sea salt in some water for every gallon and create a solution. Add this to your aquarium and stir well till it dissolves completely. The salts will balance your tank water pH, and they will maintain it at suitable levels, which are ideal for your fish.

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Instant Ocean is a reliable brand with highly consistent product quality for over 40 years. Their sea salt mix is a popular choice among marine enthusiasts, as it is affordable and a top-notch product. It dissolves quickly, providing a healthy marine habitat for your fish, coral reefs, and other invertebrates.

3. Brightwell Aquatics NeoMarine


  • Salt blend suitable for marine and reef aquarium
  • Replicates the natural seawater
  • Contains no harmful substance
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Reasonable price
  • No anti-caking agents


  • Foul smell

Brightwell Aquatics is another highly esteemed brand that makes excellent products that cater to all your aquarium needs. If you are searching for marine salts to boost your aquatic life, then NeoMarine is a great option to consider.

It is a sea salt mixture that has been precisely formulated to replicate the natural seawater environment in your aquarium. It is suitable for all types of marine creatures and encourages speedy growth in them.

Similar to Instant Ocean sea salts, NeoMarine also gets rid of nitrates, ammonia, phosphates, and other organic substances to subdue algal growth. However, unlike Instant Ocean, Brightwell Aquatics does not use anti-caking agents in its product.

This feature makes the mixing container easy to clean as it does not leave any residue, but it does produce a foul smell. However, don’t worry, as it disappears once NeoMarine is mixed with aquarium water.

We recommend aerating the tank water before adding the NeoMarine solution to it. It will avoid the formation of thick clouds. And in case it does happen, don’t worry, as the cloudy formation is not harmful to your fish, and it should go away in a few days.

Also, NeoMarine produces heat when mixed into the water. So don’t mix it directly in your aquarium tank, and don’t handle it with wet hands.

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NeoMarine is a great choice for supplementing your fish with additional nutrients. Furthermore, it contains no harmful substances and does not promote the growth of algae. All in all, it is a quality product for a reasonable price. Be sure to handle it carefully, and add in small quantities to ensure a healthy tank habitat.

4. Red Sea Fish Pharm ARE11220 Coral Pro Marine Salt for Aquarium


  • Ideal for all breeds of corals and fishes
  • Works best for 55 gallons of water capacity
  • Reef salt in granular form
  • Promotes vibrant coral growth
  • Lower than natural salinities level
  • Attains a stable, natural pH shortly after mixing


  • Slightly expensive

Coral Pro Marine is a natural and eco-friendly mix that has been a favorite choice for many aquarists. It is a combination of reef salts with a mineral ratio that maintains a balanced salinity when added to your aquarium reef tank.

This mixture gives you the ideal tank environment and promotes healthy growth and enhanced liveliness in all delicate marine life. The minor and major trace elements present in the reef salt get actively absorbed by the corals, which are highly nutritious for them. It works best with SPS coral frags, but it is also suitable for LPS and other soft corals.

Calcium is perhaps the most important element needed for coral growth, which is why the Coral Pro Marine salt mixture contains an increased ratio of calcium. When added in small batches, it ensures homogeneity and consistent mixing. All the calcium gets used up by your reefs and other invertebrates, which helps them in building their exoskeleton or shell.

Shortly after mixing it in your aquarium, you can see that it positively affects both the natural pH and ORP of the water. Adding to this, it is nitrate and phosphates-free and cuts down the growth of algae, which means your marine life won’t have to compete for nutrients to thrive.

Another selling feature of Coral Pro Marine is that the salt clouds clear within 30 minutes. It is quicker than most salts in the market that take hours to do so. Also, Marine Pro does not leave behind any residue, which makes cleaning hassle-free.

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If you are looking for a top-quality, best-seller reef salt, then the Coral Pro Marine would be a great choice. The price point is spot on for such a high-quality reef salt, and it maintains an optimal environment for all types of reefs.

5. Fritz Aquatics 80243 Reef Pro Mix Complete Marine Salt


  • Made of the highest quality raw materials
  • Nitrate, Phosphate & Ammonia free
  • Contains all essential trace elements
  • Attains a stable pH shortly after mixing
  • Enhanced Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium Levels
  • Ideal for 200 Gallon capacity tanks


  • On the pricey side

You can improve your reef health by a lot with Fritz Reef Pro for a little extra money. It is a premium reef salt mix manufactured using only the highest quality raw materials, which explains the increased price-point.

It consists of a mixture of enhanced calcium, magnesium, and potassium levels that promises a surplus growth of reefs. It is a high alkalinity reef-salt formula equipped with all the essential minerals which supplement your coral reefs, invertebrates, and other marine animals with a properly nutritious diet.

If you grow SPS, you are in luck, as this reef salt formula is curated particularly for that variety to enhance their quality highly. A notable feature that makes this reef salt stand out is its ability to dissolve rapidly.

The company manufactures this product by grinding the reef salt mixture into small uniform particles. It gives it an increased surface area, which allows for quick dissolution when added to the tank water.

Like other reef salts, you add the Reef Pro Mix to the aquarium by preparing a solution first as it produces heat when mixed with water. The best way to add it to your aquarium would be to add the salt to water in a separate bucket, mix well and let it sit for 15 minutes. After it is diluted properly, you can safely add this saltwater mix to your fish tank. It is recommended to add Reef Pro Mix in small batches in order to get an optimal pH value.

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Overall, this is a fantastic salt mix for reef tanks, and though it is slightly expensive, you certainly get a lot for a little more money. Reef Pro Mix ensures proper marine growth and contains all essential supplementary nutrients required by your fish and coral reefs.

What Exactly Is Reef Salt?

Reef Salt is a chemical blend of salts that are exclusively manufactured to replicate the natural reef waters. It is formulated to provide the best condition for a reef-friendly environment. It consists of salts and trace elements like chlorine, magnesium, sodium, and calcium, which are also present in natural seawater. When added to the tank water, it preserves the salinity of your aquarium.

This salinity is measured in parts per thousand (ppt), which indicates the concentrations of dissolved salts. An ideal ratio contains 1.2 ounces of solids dissolved in every quarter gallon of water.

When the aquarium seawater evaporates, its salt level also increases. If you further add reef salt, it might sound too much for your fishes and reefs. So it is crucial to know your seawater aquarium salinity concentrations as excessive salinity can be harmful to marine life.

Apart from maintaining an environment similar to the natural seawater, reef salts serve other purposes too. They are rich in calcium and carbonates, which is an essential ingredient used by corals and other invertebrates to build their exoskeleton or shell.

Besides that, they also help clear out heavy elements that can be harmful to fish and reefs. All in all, they provide well-rounded care and nourishment to your aquatic animals.

Does Your Aquarium Need Reef Salt?

Usually, when you put different fish, invertebrates, and coral reefs together in a tank, you run the risk of devoiding them of proper nutrition. Additionally, common reefs don’t survive in freshwater due to increased levels of nitrates and phosphates. In order to balance out such substances and supplement the tank water with additional nutrients, using reef salts becomes important.

If your tank contains saltwater fish and corals, we recommend investing in a good reef salt mix. It will help in creating a perfect saline marine environment, and soon you will notice enhanced growth and longevity in your tank life.

Reef Salt vs. Marine Salt

When searching for aquarium salt in the market, you will come across reef salt, crystals, and marine salts. On the surface, they may look the same, but each one has its different uses. Each product comes with a different combination of major, minor, and trace elements, and it’s important to know which one is best suited for you.

Reef salt consists of higher concentrations of calcium, magnesium, and iodide compared to marine salts. They promote the growth of the coral and invertebrate skeleton, making the tank look lush and full of life. The low levels of nitrate in them hinder the growth of algae, which is important as they steal all essential nutrients from the water.

Reef crystals offer the same thing, but they come in a crystalline form. It takes longer for them to dissolve but function exactly the same.

Marine salts, on the other side, are used primarily to replicate natural seawater environments. They help in maintaining the pH and salinity of water which is essential for sustaining marine life in your aquarium.

Factors to Consider While Shopping For The Best Reef Salt

Before you purchase the best salt mix for your reef tank, consider the below-given points.

1. Creatures in your tank

This is the most important factor you need to consider when buying salts for your aquarium. As mentioned earlier, there are different types of aquarium salts. Within those categories, you can find multiple products from different brands. All of them have varied ratios and concentrations of ingredients.

Some of these salts are only suitable for fish, whereas reefs only favor others. Since there are different types of coral reefs, different brands manufacture salts that target different reefs. This is why, as an owner, you must be aware of the types of creatures living in your tank and buy suitable salts according to that.

2. Salt Composition

Calcium – As mentioned before, calcium is the most important element required by coral reefs and invertebrates to grow. For most aquarium tanks, we suggest maintaining at least a 400ppm level of calcium.

If the reef salt you have chosen contains less than 400ppm, it won’t be sufficient enough to support their speedy growth. On the other hand, if you have to invest in a reef salt with a hefty amount of calcium in it, then dilute it before adding.

Magnesium – Magnesium is another important element that works alongside calcium to maintain the alkalinity levels of the tank water. A healthy level of magnesium lies between 1200-1400ppm. Therefore, ensure the salts you buy can ensure an optimum supply of magnesium.

3. Salt Alkalinity

If you want to recreate seawater conditions in your aquarium, alkalinity is another factor you should look out for. Alkalinity level helps you determine the carbonate and bicarbonate levels in the water. This factor also helps in maintaining coral reef health and initiating growth.

Pure water has a pH value of 7, but adding the reef salts increases that level and makes the water alkaline. The recommended alkaline level range is 8 to 11, so make sure you keep a check on it before adding more salt.

4. Tank Storage

While purchasing reef salts, keep the volume of your fish tank in mind. It is because reef salts don’t come with a long shelf life. So if you have a small aquarium, you should purchase adequate quantities to get maximum value for your money. You should also be mindful of the salt concentration as oversaturating the water can be harmful.

5. Cost

It’s best to purchase reef salts that offer great value for money. You can find many expensive options in the market, but the higher cost doesn’t always mean superior quality.

Before investing, make sure to check the reef salt composition to suit the fish and corals in your aquarium. You should also compare the cost per gallon of different reef salts to get a clear idea of how much you are spending and what you get in return.


The best reef salts not only create a natural sea-like environment for your corals, fishes, and other invertebrates, but they help in the vigorous growth of the coral reefs’ skeletons and shells. Apart from that, they also help neutralize hard metals and maintain a perfect pH level of your aquarium water.

If you are a beginner aquarist, finding the perfect reef salt for your aquarium can be hard. We hope that our list helped you understand the need for reef salts and gave you some valid options to choose from.

Best reef salt for coral growth

If you want our opinion, we suggest checking our Instant Ocean Crystals. Although these crystals take some time to dissolve, it is the most efficient and affordable option on our list, which offers a great value for money. It lasts long and creates a healthy and fertile environment for all your aquarium creatures.

5/5 - (18 votes)


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