I used Red Sea a few years ago, and had major cyano bacteria problems after about 6 months. The sales rep. told me that the salt actually came from a desalinization plant! I couldn't believe they where selling that stuff! It was awefull. Since then I heard they changed that, but I'm afraind to try it. So then I go hooked on Tropic Marin (the best in my opinion - especially the pro-reef). Someone told me Hawaiian Marine Mix was even better (the price was higher). After a year my phosphates where through the roof! I tested the salt mixed with only pure R.O. from a commercial unit, and the Phosphates where 2.0 ppm!!! So now I'm back to Tropic Marin. In between I've used Oceanic (I think they stopped making it), not a bad salt. I use Instant Ocean in all my fish only tanks (it has low calcium levels). Coralife has very little Magnesium, and Reef Crystals is just like I.O., but has more calcium and magnesium, it's a pretty good reef salt.
One of the articles I read back in the '80s was about someone who tried to start a marine tank in the '50s. They were just trying to keep simple fish like damsels using table salt. The had no success until they almost gave up and just let that tank alone. Being as it got direct sunlight algae took over the tank and to the amazment of everyone the damsels thrived.
A famous (so famous I forget the name LOL) chicago marine aquarium (epps?) used to ship in railroad tank cars of actual sea water for water changes. Until the commercial salt mixes became available.
Just the way it was back in the day.
I have often thought about mixing up my own salt mix and the major components (salt, calcium, carbonate, magnesium, phosphate) are really inexpensive. But the minor stuff gets expensive really quick. besides I don't do water changes so it wouldn't make that much difference to me anyway costs wise.
I have just switched over to the using Tropic Marin's Bio Actif in my smaller 60 gallon mixed SPS LPS reef and have kept using their standard Tropic Marin Salt in my main 90 gallon reef to see what benefits the new salt has. I have always been happy with their products and I'll keep you posted as I see the results from the new salt. From the literature I have read, the Bio Actif Salt sounds like it should produce some great results.
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