Sometimes we accept things as they appear just because everyone we talk to says the same thing. This hive mentality can create hype around some products that never really goes away. Some of this is due to marketing, while sometimes it’s just a result of misinterpreted information that gets repeated from reefer to reefer like a game of telephone. If we just do a little research on our own and look beyond what everyone else is saying, we can find the facts. Click for your $20!
There are many items on the market that fall into the “overhyped” category but there are those that seem to have taken on a life of their own. Tropic Marin salt is a great product, nobody is questioning that. It mixes easily and completely in just a few minutes and contains excellent levels of the necessary elements. Then Tropic Marin took it a step further and developed their Pro Reef salt. “Pro Reef” just sounds that much better, I mean how could something that says “Pro” in the name be bad? It isn’t bad, in fact it’s the same great salt that TM originally put out down to the exact levels of all major and minor trace elements.
That makes no sense… why would a company release two of the same product, one with a different name that does the same thing as each other? Tropic Marin did no such thing, to do so would make no sense because surely someone would figure out they were charging more for the same thing and the backlash would be damaging to say the least. If we read the product descriptions for both salts on Tropic Marin’s website they look almost identical. Both have the exact same 70 elements found in natural seawater at the exact same concentrations found in NSW. If we read carefully the information for the Pro Reef however we see there is in fact a difference “With Tropic Marin PRO-REEF, the buffering system and pH-level have been especially adapted to stabilize the natural water conditions and to accommodate the use of calcium supplements or calcium reactors.” What does that mean “adapted”?
Now let’s look at the big picture. If you were using kalkwasser a calcium reactor and a 2 part additive (as mentioned in their descriptions) keeping the PH and alkalinity down where they are supposed to be would be tough. The truth is that the Pro Reef salt was developed for European reefers (TM is after all a European company) that are using calcium reactors, dosing kalkwasser, and using the Balling method. With all of that input keeping your PH and alkalinity at proper levels becomes a daily task. In swoops Tropic Marin with a solution that seems almost too obvious but hasn’t been done before. They release a salt mix with suppressed levels of alkalinity and PH allowing more room for error in our tanks. That’s it. The only difference between the two mixes is that Pro Reef has lower PH and alkalinity out of the bucket than the regular salt and that the Pro Reef usually sells for about $20 more for a bucket. The next time you go looking for salt consider this information. If you aren’t utilizing all of the extra equipment then odds are you don’t really need the Pro Reef and you can save the $20 for something else you need for the tank.
I happen to be a big fan of Tropic Marin salt and this information has been confirmed by Tropic Marin so there are no ulterior motives here other than enlightening my fellow reefers and saving you a few bucks.
Here’s a side by side comparison from Tropic Marin with a few more details.