Does the brand of salt I use really matter?

Lou Young

New member
I have been doing a little clownfish breeding on a off for a few years now and have always used Instant Ocean salt because it's the least expensive. I was wondering if I switch to a higher grade salt if that would effect the clownfish larvae? Anyone know?

I doubt it would have much if any effect. Just keep an eye on PH and Alk and you should be fine using any salt. The higher end brands are really more for corals and consistency. If you monitor your parameters then there is nothing to worry about.


New member
I've used IO now for about 23 yrs, initially in all my reef tanks and then in my seahorse tanks and seahorse fry set ups as well.
In addition to IO I also make up my own DIY salt water that I mixed with IO, 50/50 in seahorse/fish only tanks and about 30/70 in reef tanks.
As my DIY salt water is NOT including a lot of elements contained in commercial salt mixes, I would have to say that if I can raise seahorses over the years with what I'm using, you shouldn't have any problem raising clownfish in IO alone.


New member
Not sure about the brand mattering if you are getting the element levels you are after.

However I would think it would not be wise to shift back and forth from one to the other


ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
I don't think so. I've always used a moderately priced salt ( Coralife) for about 10 years ; I prefer it for it's lower alk vs IO for the coral systems. Raised seahorses with it as well a clowns.


New member
Yes....brands of salt matter in terms of ratios of the big 3; calcium, bicarb and magnesium. The real question is the how much their production deviation actually changes from the base numbers we measure here.

For instance, you'll typically find RC to have higher calcium and dKH freshly mixed than I/O or tropic marine pro. In fact, I've found RC to have a base dKH 4-5 point higher than more 'pro' oriented brands. The reason for the later is typically those users are running reactors and don't want a big alk spike where as tank owners who rely solely on water changes typically want the higher initial calcium and alk.


New member
The biggest difference between the salt mixes as already basically touched on by everyone is consistency and ratios. Some have higher alk, some have higher Calcium, some higher mag, some more trace elements. They are all good salts for the most part with a particular customer in mind. If Instant Ocean is serving you well in a FOWLR tank with Clownfish then there is little reason to change. A new salt just means a new learning curve and adjustments to your current equipment. If there is something you wish your salt did better at, right out of the bag, then do your research and find a salt that does that better.