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Salt Dip Procedure


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Warning: A salt dip can be dangerous for a small fish or a weak fish.  If you have not done a salt dip before, get the assistance of a member of the moderating team before starting the treatment.  

The procedure below uses 3% salt, the maximum level we recommend.  A dip using as little as 1% salt  can help, but the higher the salt concentration the more effective the dip.  We usually do a series of dips, so you can use low salt for the first dip and increase it with succeeding dips.  Fish typically become more tolerant of the salt with repeated dips.  

For greatest safety, start with 1% salt.  If the fish tolerates that level of salt for 5 minutes without tipping over, you can use 2% salt for the next dip, (usually the next day).  Do 2% dips until the fish tolerates that level for the full 5 minutes, after which you can do 3% dips. 




1. The dip container only needs to be big enough to hold the fish.  A small bucket works fine. 

To prepare the dip solution, dissolve 30 teaspoons of aquarium salt/gallon of water in the dip container (30 grams/Liter, or 113.7g/gallon).  If you are using a fine salt like Mortons Canning and Pickling Salt, use 23 teaspoons or weigh the salt. This concentration is 3%. Let it match the temp/pH of the tank, and make sure to add de-chlorinator. You can also use tank water, but because you are adding a lot of salt per gallon, you will need to heat up the water. Hence, it's crucial that you cool it back down.


2. Prepare a holding tank. This is a tank that is pH/temp matched with the main tank, and has been de-chlorinated. This can be a 5 gallon tub, with bubblestone, or something bigger.


3. Make sure you have some sort of timer


4. Gently lift the fish out of the tank, and place into temp/pH matched salt solution.


5. Start timer.


6. If the fish stays continues to stay upright, or tilts over but can get back up, keep him/her in the salt solution for exactly 5 minutes.  

7. If at any time the fish tips over and cannot right itself, remove the fish immediately. 


8. Remove fish from the salt, and place in holding tank. The reason why we do this is to: 1) give the fish a place to recover by him/herself, and 2) let the fish purge out ammonia/wastes in a place that is not the main tank.


9. After 1-2 hours, the fish can be moved back to the main tank or hospital tank. It might still be disoriented, but should be fine.


Edited by shakaho
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