Remane's Artenminimum at the horohalinicum is a fundamental concept in ecology to describe and explain the distribution of organisms along salinity gradients. However, a recent metadata analysis challenged this concept for protists, proposing a species maximum in brackish waters. Due to data bias, this literature‐based investigation was highly discussed. Reliable data verifying or rejecting the species minimum for protists in brackish waters were critically lacking. Here, we sampled a pronounced salinity gradient along a west‐east transect in the Baltic Sea and analyzed protistan plankton communities using high‐throughput eDNA metabarcoding. A strong salinity barrier at the upper limit of the horohalinicum and 10 psu appeared to select for significant shifts in protistan community structures, with dinoflagellates being dominant at lower salinities, and dictyochophytes and diatoms, being keyplayers at higher salinities. Also in vertical water column gradients in deeper basins (Kiel Bight, Arkona and Bornholm Basin) appeared salinity as significant environmental determinant influencing alpha‐ and beta‐diversity patterns. Importantly, alpha‐diversity indices revealed species maxima in brackish waters, i.e., indeed contrasting Remane's Artenminimum concept. Statistical analyses confirmed salinity as the major driving force for protistan community structuring with high significance. This suggests that macrobiota and microbial eukaryotes follow fundamentally different rules regarding diversity patterns in the transition zone from freshwater to marine waters.