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Salt - Measuring vs Weighing


number20121

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This is why I prefer weighing salt out over measuring it out.

I used a regular teaspoon as well as a measuring-teaspoon, both level, both yielding 7grams instead of 5grams. That is 40% more than recommended, with this, by not weighing the salt out, many of us may actually use much more salt than we think we do, which may cause problem in fish that are more sensitive to this.

Adding the fact that most aquariums do not hold as much water as they are rated for makes it even worse.

For example if a 55g is filled with 50g of water, and 55tsp of salt are used for a 0.1% salinity, we are adding 385grams of salt.

Considered that 50gallons are 190liters, this means that in this case we are actually bringing the salinity to 0.2%.

What we then think is 0.3%, may actually be 0.6%.

This again makes me wonder about salt baths. Without weighing out the amount of water and salt for the bath, the fish may be exposed to a significantly higher dose of salt.

It might not be much of a big deal in general, but I find this important enough to go out and buy a digital kitchen scale for $ 20 so I can weigh out the salt in grams :)

Also, on a side note: By using coarse salt, like API Aquarium salt, I guess each teaspoon could be only about 5grams due to this salt's lower density compared to fine salt.

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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Exactly. It probably is no big deal when adding "0.1%" for minor issues, but whenever we go up higher - or use salt to treat tropicals, many of which are more sensitive to it than goldfish - this could cause problems. :(

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This is a really good point, and I have an example that relates to this. A couple of years ago, I was treating my fish for suspected ich and I was using API aquarium salt (this is the coarser grain stuff) to do this. I thought I was maintaining a salt concentration of .3% in my 75 gallon tank. I brought one of my fish to the vet in a 5 gallon bucket of water taken directly from the tank, because I needed the vet to do some microscope checks on the fish for me.

It turned out that she had an electronic device to measure salinity, and she offered to test my tank water just to check on the salt concentration. Guess what it was?

It was .6%! :o I was so shocked because I thought I was even being conservative in measuring out the salt (using a little bit less than 1 full teaspoon with each scoop). But still, the salt concentration was twice what I was intending! The fish had been bottom-sitting and I couldn't figure out why, because I didn't see any more ich spots on them. After finding out the salt concentration was that high, I did a big water change right away. And the fish stopped bottom-sitting.

So just to clarify, 5 grams of salt per gallon of water is .1%? I think in the future I'll measure it out in grams instead of in teaspoons.

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This is a really good point, and I have an example that relates to this. A couple of years ago, I was treating my fish for suspected ich and I was using API aquarium salt (this is the coarser grain stuff) to do this. I thought I was maintaining a salt concentration of .3% in my 75 gallon tank. I brought one of my fish to the vet in a 5 gallon bucket of water taken directly from the tank, because I needed the vet to do some microscope checks on the fish for me.

It turned out that she had an electronic device to measure salinity, and she offered to test my tank water just to check on the salt concentration. Guess what it was?

It was .6%! :o I was so shocked because I thought I was even being conservative in measuring out the salt (using a little bit less than 1 full teaspoon with each scoop). But still, the salt concentration was twice what I was intending! The fish had been bottom-sitting and I couldn't figure out why, because I didn't see any more ich spots on them. After finding out the salt concentration was that high, I did a big water change right away. And the fish stopped bottom-sitting.

So just to clarify, 5 grams of salt per gallon of water is .1%? I think in the future I'll measure it out in grams instead of in teaspoons.

Not exactly, actually. To get 0.1% you need 1 gram per 1 liter.

1 US gallon is only 3.8 liters, which means that even the 5grams/1tsp per gallon are already too much! :yikes

If anything, considered 1tsp holds about 7grams of salt, you'd be more accurate by using 1tsp per 2 US gallons. That would bring you closer to the 0.1% than the 1tsp per 1gallon :)

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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This is a really good point, and I have an example that relates to this. A couple of years ago, I was treating my fish for suspected ich and I was using API aquarium salt (this is the coarser grain stuff) to do this. I thought I was maintaining a salt concentration of .3% in my 75 gallon tank. I brought one of my fish to the vet in a 5 gallon bucket of water taken directly from the tank, because I needed the vet to do some microscope checks on the fish for me.

It turned out that she had an electronic device to measure salinity, and she offered to test my tank water just to check on the salt concentration. Guess what it was?

It was .6%! :o I was so shocked because I thought I was even being conservative in measuring out the salt (using a little bit less than 1 full teaspoon with each scoop). But still, the salt concentration was twice what I was intending! The fish had been bottom-sitting and I couldn't figure out why, because I didn't see any more ich spots on them. After finding out the salt concentration was that high, I did a big water change right away. And the fish stopped bottom-sitting.

So just to clarify, 5 grams of salt per gallon of water is .1%? I think in the future I'll measure it out in grams instead of in teaspoons.

Not exactly, actually. To get 0.1% you need 1 gram per 1 liter.

1 US gallon is only 3.8 liters, which means that even the 5grams/1tsp per gallon are already too much! :yikes

If anything, considered 1tsp holds about 7grams of salt, you'd be more accurate by using 1tsp per 2 US gallons. That would bring you closer to the 0.1% than the 1tsp per 1gallon :)

Gotcha, thanks. I'm not good at the maths. :P

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Well, I think the metric system makes things so much easier. 1 gram of salt per 1 liter of water is easy to remember, and easier to figure out how much salt you need if you know how many liters your tank holds :)

And with the smaller units, it makes things much more accurate.

Even after 5+ years in the US, I'm still having the hardest time with ounces, inches, Fahrenheit etc. :stars They make no sense to me.

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so anyone know what a 5 gal bucket from home depot would actually be? is it actually 5 gals? what would 5 gal weigh ? and how do you measure how many gal you

actually have in a tank? i have 75 gal with 3 inches substrate in it.

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You could take the inner measurements of your tank, and then calculate the volume out. There are several websites that will do this for you if you have the exact measurements. http://www.firsttankguide.net/calculator.php

When measuring this out, only measure the height up to the water line, since you usually do not have the tank filled to the very rim where it would spill over :)

To figure out how many liters your 5g bucket has, you can take a 1 gallon water bottle and keep filling the bucket, and keep count how many 1gallon bottles/jugs you need to fill it. :)

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Great topic Fang :) I do think we should be recommending weighing out salt whenever possible and resorting to tsp only when there is no scale available :)

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If you're thinking about buying a scale why not buy a hydrometer instead so you can test how much salt is in the water?

You could, but a digital scale is probably slightly more useful. You can not only use it for weighing salt but also for weighing your fish, and of course weighing ingredients for general cooking ;)

I personally already had digital scales in my kitchen :)

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If you're thinking about buying a scale why not buy a hydrometer instead so you can test how much salt is in the water?

Because I can weigh out the salt before adding it to the tank, and the scale is useful for a lot of other things too (including cooking :D )

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If you're thinking about buying a scale why not buy a hydrometer instead so you can test how much salt is in the water?

Hydrometers are inacurate at the best of times.

When I had my guys in QT and I followed the 1tsp per gallon rule which these guys are saying is overkill, I did test the water on my refractometer and it's almost not noticeable. My .1% salt came to less then 1 point on the scale... so 1.0005. Thats way to much room for error and over/under dosing.

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Fang, which salt did you use? With the Morton's we have to use only 75% of the recommended amount, since the grains are so fine, and more will sit on the spoon.

In any case, I've addressed this topic somewhat in my article linked in my signature, but it's worth bringing up again in this context:

1. I absolutely agree with Fang. Having a scale is something so useful that every fish keeper should put it as one of the items on the top of their lists. You need scales to weigh fish, to weigh food, and to weigh meds, such as salt. When not using for fish purposes, you use it for other things in the house, like weighing the amount of food your dog eats daily, which is what I am doing. See? Indispensable! :rofl

2. Although I definitely think a scale is a must have, it has to be understood that even if you don't have one, it's OK and that you still can go ahead and do your treatment, whether it's a dip or a bath. The recommendations put forward by members of the mod team have this consideration built in, so that you will not be harming your fish by over salting. It does mean that you need to follow the recommendations exactly, because in these cases overextending time of use may end up with salt related issues.

So, get a scale if you can, but if you cannot, it's OK. Just make sure that you do not use salt beyond the recommended treatment times for each case. :)

Thank you, Fang, for this reminder. It is important to know. :)

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Goldfish can survive a salt concentration of 0.9% so an accidental overdosing would be difficult to do. Normally on this forum we use salt at the highest concentration of 0.3%. Sometimes a salt dip will have a higher concentration.

Salt is used as a treatment. It will stress a fish out, no matter the concentration make sure you can observe the fish while using it. This should be said for almost any medication you are using on a sick fish. If you notice there are concerns while a fish is in salt, bring it up here or use your judgement, whether the fish needs an immediate water change or a lesser dose of salting.

The D&D forum is available so people can confirm their amounts and dosings prior to using them if they are concerned. I am very glad that people recheck their doses when they are concerned and that they update their threads so dedicatedly.

Primarily, we salt for the promotion of healing from injuries either from a physical altercation or from microtears caused by external parasies. At high concentrations, it strips the slime coat covering allowing any medication to reach affected areas. At low concentrations it aids in osmoregulation and helps gill function if it's been compromised by nitrite poisoning.

I'm very glad that scales are becoming common use and that we have so many people committed to accuracy when dosing their fish. Using teaspoons and tablespoons however, will not cause an overdose if it's measured out accurately. Check, double check and re check with the very knowedgable sources on this site and the members. As dnalex said, many of us have salt links in our siggys for measurement info :)

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