New Tank Shopping List - Salt Mix & Additives
Salt mix is one thing you simply can't go without. After all, it's what makes a saltwater aquarium a saltwater aquarium! Aquarium salt mixes differ from standard table salt, however. Not only do these mixes contain sodium chloride (salt), but they also contain dozens of major, minor, and trace elements that are critical to the health of the animals in our care. When picking a salt mix, we suggest deciding on your target alkalinity level and selecting a salt mix with a similar dKH level. This will help you avoid big parameter swings when performing water changes.
Major elements like calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium are critical for a thriving reef aquarium. Without them, corals with a skeletal structure will not be able to grow and form their hard calcium carbonate base, leading to brittle skeletons, slow growth, and mortality. These elements can be added to the aquarium in several different ways, however, two-part dosing is one of the most popular methods out there. If you're not sure which two-part dosing system is right for you, read Best Two-Part Reef Aquarium Additives of 2023.
While major elements have been the focus of the last few decades in the saltwater aquarium hobby, trace elements are finally getting the attention they deserve. Corals use up these trace elements as they grow, so it's important that they be replaced. Often times, water changes are used to replenish trace elements, but water changes are time consuming, expensive, and can only do so much for the trace element levels in your aquarium. For that reason, we recommend using a bottled trace element product such as Tropic Marin A- & K+ Elements.
Amino acids are basic organic molecules that form the foundation of proteins. In corals, they aid and stimulate the growth of new tissues while amplifying their vivid colors. We especially like to use amino acids for corals that are visually stressed or pale in color because amino acids are in a form that is extremely easy for the corals to utilize.