I am looking for ways to easily prepare artificial sea water. The chemical composition doesn't have to exactly match that of natural sea water. On-line I can find recipes to prepare sea water. But I was wondering, can I just buy natural sea salt and dissolve it in fresh water (Until I get the required salinity ).

The commercial shrimp farms in my region, that use natural sea water cause enormous environmental damage. That is the primary motivation behind my interest in artificial sea water. I want to explore if artificial sea water can be a eco-friendly sustainable alternative.

My intention is not to breed shrimp, but just to grow the shrimp that I get from hatcheries. And yes, I am planning to get the help of people with relevant expertise in this. I just want to gain some prior knowledge and experience before I go for their help.

Some of my present concerns are similar to those of oceanarium though on a much much smaller scale :-) Like them I also want to prepare sea water, which I can control to my exact needs. Locally we get these "raw sea salt" used for industrial purposes, which are claimed to be very similar to natural salts found in sea. They do not contain iodine, caking agents or any other additives etc. I am guessing probably the sea salts that oceanarium imports might be same as these (probably of much better quality).

  • $\begingroup$ Well it seems you're not entirely unaware of the issues, so that's good, but I don't have enough knowledge to advise you on much more. All I can say is that the younger the shrimp start off, the harder it is to cultivate them properly, because different phases in their life require specialized conditions, including hormonal dosage. Shrimp farming is a fairly popular industry where I am, and from what I've been told it's no walk in the park. Try in small scales and work your way up, but be prepared to spend a lot of effort on getting it to work. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2015 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Jason If you preserve the cookies in your browser, you can ask questions as an unregistered user. If you are uncomfortable with your Google "real name" being shown, you can use one of the other OpenID providers, which don't have that restriction. That's a Google requirement, not one from Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Feb 13, 2015 at 0:03
  • $\begingroup$ If shrimp farms cause environmental damage they do so because they return water to the sea. Making your own water won't help that: not returning to to the sea will. So don't try to make you own sea water, use the abundant source of sea water (the sea) and fix the problem with discharging back into the sea. $\endgroup$
    – matt_black
    Dec 24, 2015 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ There is sea salt and then there is sea salt. What is bought as sea salt in a grocery store is almost entirely sodium chloride. So potassium and calcium are almost none existent in such salt. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Feb 23, 2016 at 10:06

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is possible though not easy to make artificial seawater by mixing sea salt and fresh water. An interesting example of this happens at the oceanarium in Lisbon, Portugal, which is one of the largest in Europe. After considerable investigation, it was found that the seawater present in massive quantities just outside the building could not be economically filtered, purified and adjusted to attend the surprisingly demanding and delicate needs of the marine organisms to be displayed. The chemical composition of seawater is actually quite complex, varying significantly with the location and time of collection. As with all life, marine life can be very sensitive to small changes in concentration of compounds, not to mention possible biological incompatibilities between the micro- and macrobiota present in seawater from different regions. The solution chosen for the Lisbon Oceanarium was to import some 16.5 metric tons of sea salt monthly from the Red Sea in Israel and mix it with local fresh water in order to replace the tank water. [1] [2] (Couldn't find a reference in English)

Having said that, you really should consult people experienced in setting up seawater aquariums before trying anything yourself. Seawater aquariums have significantly tougher upkeep and maintenance requirements compared to fresh water aquariums; you can't just mix any old cooking sea salt into water, it has to be in the right concentration, and replacement of the tank water has to be more gradual and frequent, not to mention that the salty water will corrode the actual aquarium more quickly. A good aquarium supplies store should be able to better inform you.

Edit: Now I realize you may actually be interested in cultivating shrimp rather than putting them on display. That's a whole different matter, many many times more difficult. You really need to contact some experts in marine cultivation.


Yes. If you do however, that would likely unsaturate the solution. I don't know if certain animals need certain amounts of salt, but doing this without adding salt might kill them.


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