A while ago iQuatics announced their own line of synthetic marine salt mix called "Ocean Reef Pro Coral". (Not to be confused with Red Sea's Coral Pro
I acquired a 10KG bucket of it, (it comes in 10KG or 20KG sizes).
It's only natural for reefers to be very sceptical of switching to or even trying out a new salt mix as; their current salt mix probably works just fine, and it's a big risk with lots of money invested in stock if things go wrong. So it seems an unnecessary risk to take. So iQuatics have undercut the competition a little on price to compete, which is tempting when you have a larger sized tank and synthetic sea salt is a monthly expenditure.
The salt arrived well packaged, but it needn't have been. The bucket it comes in is the most sturdy salt bucket I've ever seen. It's very well made and if anything, over-engineered. These buckets will certainly be useful for many years after the salt has been used up!
While I had a lot of trouble getting into the salt initially;
- as I misunderstood how the lid is sealed shut, and the firm plastic of the lid is quite stiff. There is a little plastic tab which you're supposed to break, and then I understood that you peel the edge of the lip up all the way around, as with some reef salt mixes, the lid detaches as soon as you've lifted this flap all the way around. With the iQuatics Ocean Reef Pro Coral... Salt bucket, this lip is supposed to be ripped off all the way around. The lid clips down internally, the lip isn't needed for that.
Inside, the salt is contained in a bag, useful to prevent it absorbing moisture and clumping. The salt itself definitely looks like salt. There's not much to say there. Although I did taste it (i know...) and while most marine salts don't really taste that salty, they taste more "burny" and chemically, than salty, almost like washing powder (don't ask) - the Ocean Reef Pro salt does taste salty. (hey, don't say I'm not thorough!)
Initially I only used about 1KG of the salt to raise the salinity of my tank from 1.025 to 1.026~. (as it creeps down over time with skimmate removal, etc).
A few weeks later (last weekend) I mixed up a decent quantity of the salt mix, 200L.
Comparing this salt's mixing speed with others, previously the mixing speed champion is Red Sea Coral Pro, which mixes very quickly, doesn't really settle once stirred and the water goes clear within a few minutes of mixing. The iQuatics salt mix is no quicker, but certainly no slower. So mixing as fast as the fastest mixing salt can only be a good thing.
It's now 4 days since I did a 200L water change on my 600~L system, and there have been no adverse reactions to the new salt. The softies appear to be slightly more plump, the LPS slightly more extended, and both my Porcelain crab and Skunk Cleaner Shrimp moulted that night, and the following night respectively, probably because of the boost in iodine levels, although those things could be as much attributed to the water change itself than which salt was used.
To summarise the salt, it comes well packaged, mixes easily and quickly and is competitively priced. I see no reason why I won't buy this salt in the 20KG version in future. My only disappointment is that 20KG is the largest size. For those marine fish keepers with larger tanks, 20KG won't get very far, as the 10KG bucket only did me just over 1 water change. I could probably get 3 water changes out of 25KG of salt.