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marine salt and plants experiment

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my 90g is a somewhat high tech set up with co2, lots of ferts and medium-high light. i have noticed over the past few months that the substrate i used (safe-t-sorb) is absorbing too much. it works similar to eco-complete in my experience but my ph/gh/kh is lowering, which is natural with co2 and this substrate, but i want to raise it.

i decided to run a little experiment and, hopefully, not kill all of my plants. i picked up this bag of reef salt:


it is high in calcium, magnesium, and other good minerals. i would just use crushed coral but i want to see if i can use salt in a planted aquarium to benefit my goldfish. one of my goldies ripped his tail on some driftwood (i did some rescaping and hopefully fixed the issue) and i want some salt in the water to help him a little. plus who doesn’t love running experiments.

tank: 90g

dosage: 30%, i decided to start off light and work my way up slowly. this bag treats 10g up to a salinity of 1.021 which is way way too high. i decided to dose it like regular aquarium salt with 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons. i dosed for 30 gallons to start off with. 

it has only been 2 days so too soon to tell but my plants didn’t keel over overnight lol. ill keep this dose for the next week and add another 3 tablespoons. ill just keep repeating this weekly till i start seeing some negative effects on plants.


arthur with his ripped fin, some stress veins around the area of course but overall not looking too bad


all my vals are looking healthy


i was concerned about my emersed plants but the pothos is springing a new leaf today and the monstera is still fine. usually you see negative effects pretty quickly with houseplants and salt.



new monstera leaf uncurling, on sunday it was still tightly wound so the salt hasn’t had any immediate negative effects.


also as a small sidenote, the roots outgrew the diy pot so i just removed it. these are mostly peace lily roots with some pothos thrown in. they’re still holding on to a lot of eco-complete, i didnt bother removing the plants to rinse them.



now i know this is a low dosage to start out with but i didn’t want to just bomb my tank from the start with how much work i put in. ill keep this thread updated as i raise the dosage and the effect it is having on the plants. 


anyone have any experience with marine/reef salt and plants they’d like to share?

Edited by yannachka
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it’s been a week and there are no bad side effects in the plants so far. im gonna up the concentration from 30% to 40%. 

the plants actually seem to be thriving more with the salt? my giant jungle val has sent off a bunch of runners randomly when it has been very slow to send any prior to adding the salt


floaters spreading like a weed like always, i was expecting those to show some side effects. 

my emersed plants are still fine, here is a monstera leaf slowly uncurling


and a new leaf that finished uncurling




gh: 11

kh: 12

ph: ?, i have used two test kits (one expiring in 2021 and one in 2025) and cannot get a proper reading. id appreciate any help with this. 

from left to right it is: 2021 ph, 2021 high range, 2025 high range, 2021 ph, 2025 high range for tap, 2021 ph for tap.


they all measure between the highest standard ph at 7.6 and at 7.4 on the high range ph. the tap looks like it may be 7.2 in the photo but it is the same color as the other in person so it’s just the lighting.


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  • 3 years later...


That's a very intriguing subject!

Specially when it comes to treating the parasites & pathogens and other infections  in a planted aquarium.

Recently have  been facing a lot of cotton wool disease on cardinal tetras, rest of the fishes in the same tank are alright, but only cardinal tetras are being affected, so in-short, that's lead me to this way, finding a cure for cotton wool disease in aquariums and paludariums.

Haven't done my experiment yet but thanks @yannachka this article was helpful and will do my experiment and keep you guys posted too! (Hopefully) 

Im certain nerite snails will thrive with marine salt and kinda sure shrimps with too, however I'm wondering what would happen to plecos, catfish & rabbit snail.

If anyone has any knowledge about that... it would be much appreciated 

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