It has been just about four months since I started using Captiv8 Aquaculture salt and I wanted to provide my initial thoughts on what I have been seeing with my tanks and also some interesting tidbits about the salt itself.
I had been using Instant Ocean salt for a number of years and for the most part I was happy. My corals looked good and the salt was pretty cheap. I did have to supplement magnesium since freshly made batches of salt tested out at around 1270 ppm for that element. I never tested for calcium and alkalinity so I can’t comment on the consistency of those components.
Another knock I had against Instant Ocean is that it mixed up really dirty. I have been told the residue is not harmful to any tank inhabitants but I did wonder if it impacted the mixing pump I had in my salt water mixing drum. It seized up on occasion despite regular maintenance. The Captiv8 salt mixes up very clean.
A Brown-out Incident
Ok, as for my corals, they had been looking good with Instant Ocean. But there were three browned-out corals in my peninsula tank that started to color back up after using Captiv8 salt. I believe they had browned out due a rise in phosphate but that is just a theory of mine.
I should also mention that I started to dose some Captiv8 Aquaculture trace elements around the same time I started to use the salt. At this point I am still dialing in those traces based on some ICP testing I am doing with Reef Labs.
Anyway, the first of the three pictures below is what one of those three corals, a gorgeous BC Day Glow Millie, looked like before the brown out. The second is a picture of it after it browned out. Now check out the third picture four months later. The pink coloration has certainly returned.
A large Orange Cap was another coral that had lost color, but today the orange is much more vibrant. A Paletta Pink Tip was the third coral that had browned out but today it is looking much more colorful. Did the Captiv8 salt and traces make a difference? I can’t definitively say they did but I did not make any other major changes to my systems during this time frame.
Why Switch Salts When Results Are Good With Incumbent Salt?
Ok, so let’s back up a bit here. Why did I make the switch to the new salt if I was pretty happy with what I had been using? Well, I was worried about some of the major issues that have occurred with certain mass-produced salts. Some inconsistencies in batches for these brands led to major tank issues for a number of reef keepers. Could this happen to Instant Ocean? I don’t know.
When I started to use the Captiv8 salt, Chris Wood, who is the founder and sole owner of the company, told me I would not have to test for any elements when mixing up new batches of salt. He said it was extremely consistent batch to batch. That was a huge plus for me.
He explained the consistency is due to the way the salt is produced. There are four components, two are dry and two are liquids. The raw materials sourced for these components are very pure, greater than 99%. As long as the end user measures these components accurately when mixing up a new batch of salt, the elements in the salt will be very consistent batch to batch. Thus, no need to measure stuff when making up a new batch of salt.
Consistency of Components in Other Salt Brands
This type of consistency batch to batch for other salt brands that use only dry components may be harder to achieve. Let’s say another salt brand uses ten different dry components for their mix. It is likely that the densities for some of these components will be different. Higher density components will gravitate towards the bottom during the mixing process at the factory. Thus, the blend will not be 100% homogenous due to the different densities of the components.
Hey, perhaps there is a way to overcome this mixing issue. I know many folks have had great experiences and no issues with other salt brands. Consider my rationale and observations as food for thought when considering what salt to use for a reef tank.
If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.
As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.
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