“I’m Out of Salt”

Article by Cody Schmeer, Director of Operations

“Can I use kosher salt, Epsom salt, or traditional table salt?”

We get asked this question many times, especially in the busier summer months. Unfortunately the answer is no. Here’s why…..

KOSHER SALT, TABLE SALT, HIMALAYAN SALT, SEA SALT – There are many varieties of food salt available on the grocery store shelves and the problem with using these in a salt water aquarium ( which is what your lobster tank or Shellfish Spa® is) is that most, if not all, contain anti caking agents which are harmful to live stock. Although suitable for human consumption, they introduce other trace elements that will damage your tanks bio bed, and eventually kill the livestock.  You may find an “all natural” sea salt dehydrated from ocean water (Dead Sea for example). These are OK to use in a pinch but the cost is extravagant and chances are the quantity you need will wipe out the store’s inventory and you’ll spend an exorbitant amount of time opening small containers.

EPSOM SALT – or bathing salt is magnesium sulfate, which breaks down into magnesium and sulfate ions in saltwater. Using this will add way too much sulfates into the water, eventually killing the livestock, and damaging the bio bed.

WATER SOFTENER PELLETS, ROCK SALT, CALCIUM CHLORIDE (ICE MELT) –Absolutely not. Using any combination of these salts will introduce way to much (a toxic amount) of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and other trace chemicals or metals, that are not only deadly to the livestock, but not intended for human consumption. STAY CLEAR OF THESE.


One solution is to use a pet store brand marine salt for reef tanks.  Instant Oceans, SeaChem, Tropical Ocean are to name a few. Be very cautious, however, not to overbuy. These are very expensive alternatives that management may not be too happy about authorizing.  Also stay away from any salt that claims to have higher calcium, magnesium, or potassium content. These are designed for various reef tanks and although not harmful to lobsters or mollusks, they are extremely costly.

Best practices are those users who ALWAYS have an extra box or two of LLS Marine Salt on hand at all times. Never be without a spare box for those times an emergency water change or excessive purging is apparent.

Don’t panic! We’re here to help. Don’t forget to call our 24/7/365 support line that was given to you, or is printed on every box of salt for more advice.

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