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Trinket

Using Salt

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Hi,

Recently a lot of people have been asking about salt and which salt is okay to use when they have a sick fish and have been recommended to use the medicinal dose of .3%.

Here is a summary -I have collected this data from various sources including online and books. If this info is somewhere else then sorry, but I couldn't find it in a concise post with an explanatory reference title.

It is possible to use many kinds of salt in the aquarium. In fact even some table salts may be safe, contrary to popular belief. The elements to avoid are listed below. Make sure that you check the list of ingredients in your salt very carefully before adding salt to your tank, tub or pond. If the ingredients are not listed do not use the salt -to be safe.

Do not ever use salt that contains the following:

Salts that are not safe

YPS (Yellow prussiate of soda).

Anti caking agents especially those containing cyanuric acid.

Cow salt blocks or salt containing magnesium and other added minerals.

And iodine.

Iodine will actually not hurt the fish but it will harm your beneficial bacteria and cycle.

Salts that are safe

You can safely use rock salt, kosher salt, sea salt, synthetic reef salt, non-mineralised salt cow blocks,

solar salt, water softener salt and some non-iodised table salts. Check the salt says 99.97% NaCl on the packet as a double precaution. All these salts should say exactly that. The added drying agent in some salts called sodium aluminosilicate is also not dangerous.

Some of these salts will produce carbonates & raise pH slightly. This is not good for tanks showing any ammonia at all. Make sure ammonia is zero before administrering salt.

None of these salts will damage your cycle at a strength of .3% and in fact possibly higher.

How to administer

Using salt at the medicinal dosage of .3%.

You will be adding salt at 3 x 12 hour intervals.

First of all make sure that the tank water is registering 0 for ammonia and nitrites. Nitrates should also be as low as possible. Mix the first dosage of .1 % of salt in a small bucket/cup with a small amount of treated conditioned water or tank water. This means one teaspoon per one gallon. So if you have a 10 gallon tank for example you are going to be adding 10 level teaspoons (one teaspoon is 5ml ) to the bucket or cup.

Mix the salt until it is completely dissolved. The warmer the water the quicker it dissolves. It can take 5 minutes or so. The salt must be completely dissolved before adding it to the tank. There should be no grains of salt visible, only a kind of shiny cloud is visible as you pour the salted water into the tank. Pour the salted water into a heavily aerated area of the tank...under the filter power outlet or fountain spray bar will provide the best circulation of the salt.

Leave the tank and fish for 12 hours. Remember if your fish are sick you are probably not feeding much and if they are stressed a dark cover on the tank can provide welcome shade and comfort. If you are treating for ich you will need to start to slowly raise the tank temp (no more than 2 degrees in an hour)aiming for a final stable temp of 80F.

After 12 hours repeat the dose. That is another 10 teaspoons for a 10 gallon tank pre-mixed as described.

After another 12 hours repeat again. This brings you finally to the recommended .3% medicinal dosage.

With minimal feeding/no feeding and pre tank water parameters at optimal levels you can safely leave the salted tank for several days while the salt gets to work. However if you are treating for parasites including ich it is very important that you do gravel vacs to remove parasite eggs that will be continuously falling on the tank bottom. (Bare bottom tanks are much easier to vacuum when dealing with parasites).

Remember with every gravel vac or water change you are going to need to replace the salt. So if you remove 1 gallon of water after a thorough vac, you will need to replace 3 teaspoons of tank water dissolved salt. It is a very good idea to keep a salt diary by the tank so you can track your salt content- how much is in there.

After the recommended time you can safely begin to remove the salt. This is done simply through water changes. If you add no more, gradually over several water changes all the salt will be removed.

So, I hope this info is useful to anyone who is about to use salt :) .

Imogen.

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This really should be pinned, excellent advice!

I have recently seen some sea salts that have other junk in them, although I am not sure if it is any of the bad stuff or not. But since you listed what to look for now I can tell for sure! Thanks!

LOL, I just realized this is already pinned!

Edited by jen626

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thats really good advice for beginners :exactly

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Thanks. If anyone has any other salt tips or useful comments on salt please add them here. I'd be interested to hear other ways/ faster ways to dissolve salt.

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Really great information Imogen - thankyou!

These type of pinned threads are invaluable :exactly

Only thing I wanted to say was that, whenever you buy any thing labelled "aquarium salt" it's so important to check that it doesn't claim to have any thing in it that salt wouldn't normally have, like an unknown added Ph buffer for example. If buying "aquarium salt", look out for where it specifically says "made from evoporated saltwater" - sea salt :)

Edited by mrbumblebee

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Yes it's true there are aquarium salts out there that also contain a concoction of added extras that are not desirable for sick fish. If you are using salt as a medicine, as oppose to tonic, you should be using it pure & in pristene water not with added buffers & additives.

Even salts saying rock or sea salt should be checked that they do not include hidden extras.

Someone posted the other day about using sea salt that turned out to contain YPS :o

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Yes, I myself have used that very brand once - it's not at all clear on the packaging what exactly is in it, in fact from memory it doesn't even say sea salt, just the term "aquarium salt" and of course you can't see inside the packaging that it's a kinda nasty off-yellow colour either :o

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i have a question - is aquarium salt necessary for goldfish that aren't sick?

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No, not really. Generally speaking, it's better to reserve the use of aquarium salt for treatment purposes only. Goldfish are freshwater fish so don't require salinity for normal functioning and health.

Having said that some people use low dose salting as an occasional tonic without any clear signs of illness or disease being present. Also, I believe there are a few poeple (usually very experienced keepers) who for whatever reason choose to keep their goldfish in a very low dose salinity all the time. However, in general terms, no - goldfish don't need salt unless they are sick :)

Edited by mrbumblebee

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:exactly

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I am treating for ich, and I have used Topfin Conditioning salt. I have a 10gal, and it says use 1 tablespoon for each 5 gals. Soooo, how muc for medicinal purposes, is what I'm wondering. It doesn't say what's in it, but it clumps easily, and is very white. I have 2 tablespoons in there now, like the package says to, but does anyone know if I should add more? I wanted to ask before I did anything, thatnks :) .

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You need to read the labels on salt. I have seen salt that was labeled " Kosher" salt that contained yps. there should only be one ingredient- salt.

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Pickling salt is my favorite. It can be purchasing in a decent sized box with no additives, and it is extremely fine because it is designed to dissolve easily for canning purposes.

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Thanks for the info. That is helpful to know.

1 teaspoon per gallon. So, it would be 55 teaspoon for my 55 gallon tank or does that seem a bit too much?

I'll use a jug, so I can put 55 teaspoon into the jug of water, shake it up violently for 5 minutes then pour it into the tank? Repeat the process 2 more times.

Correct? Just want to be clear on that.

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Yes, 55 level teaspoons (5ml teaspoon) will be .1% salt in a 55 gallon.

Repeat exact same amount after 12 hours to get you to .2%.

Repeat exact same after another 12 hours to get you to .3% the normal recommended medical dose.

Don't ever add the 3 doses at once as you can knock your cycle out and shock your fish.

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I would also like to say that I have used salt on small fish with success. There is a belief out there that salt is bad for small fish. I never had a problem using it.

I do not know what it's effects on "fry" would be, perhaps Trinket can say, since she is experienced with fry.

The fish I used it on were pearlie babies- no bigger than the fingnail on my index finger. They had Ich and were in 3% for about 2 weeks. They both survived and showed no stress.

I have since used it on other small fish. no problems to report.

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Funny you should mention that Chickey as I too have salted fry. One batch of my fry got ich at 7 weeks old. I saw only 3 small spots on a fry tail. I think it was triggered from not matching the temperature properly at water changes. I've made this mistake several times- I have to be more careful. I salted slowly up to .2%. That seemd to be enough because after 3 weeks in .2% the ich must have gone. It never came back and its now 3 months later. I didn't go up to .3% because the fish started to gasp at the surface at .2 and a half so I cut back. They were very tiny. But it did work.

It is something that should be watched carefully- their reaction. You can see how the fish are re-acting to the salt soon after you up the dose. Some people have found their fish do not do well with salt. Personally it has saved many of my fish, many times and all sizes.

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I would also like to say that I have used salt on small fish with success. There is a belief out there that salt is bad for small fish. I never had a problem using it.

I do not know what it's effects on "fry" would be, perhaps Trinket can say, since she is experienced with fry.

The fish I used it on were pearlie babies- no bigger than the fingnail on my index finger. They had Ich and were in 3% for about 2 weeks. They both survived and showed no stress.

I have since used it on other small fish. no problems to report.

Yeah, that is a good point. You can use aquarium salt successfully with small goldfish - although, I think the key word is caution.

Not all will tolerate salt. My understanding is that for very small fish, salinity can sometimes be particularly hard going on their kidneys/homeostasis.

I think with very small fish it is wise to approach the use of salt with caution - to be sure of why you're salting and what you're trying to acheive and weigh up the pro's and con's. To salt slowly and observe closely.

I too have successfully used aquarium salt with small goldfish and have known others who have not, so I think it is advisable to be careful though - after all some adult goldfish don't tolerate salt well either :)

Edited by mrbumblebee

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- after all some adult goldfish don't tolerate salt well either :)

Lol I just read that back and its very late here and I am half asleep and I thought it said 'some adults don't tolerate salt well'.. :P

That's a good point though, not the size but the fish itself. I have also read some people have had a bad result with salt on the scales of pearlscales- causing pearls to pop- mrb, would you know about that ?

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- after all some adult goldfish don't tolerate salt well either :)

Lol I just read that back and its very late here and I am half asleep and I thought it said 'some adults don't tolerate salt well'.. :P

That's a good point though, not the size but the fish itself. I have also read some people have had a bad result with salt on the scales of pearlscales- causing pearls to pop- mrb, would you know about that ?

Time to go to bed I think! :teehee Time for your salt bath too Imogen! :D

Hmmm... I hadn't heard of that on Pearscales though, interesting - anybody else heard of that before? :)

Edited by mrbumblebee

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Salt bath Lol!

I think it was Awrieger that had the theory.

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Another point to make on the salt issue: A salt "dip" and a salt "bath" are two differnet things. I have seen the two terms used inter-changeably.

a salt dip is a high concentration of salt used for a very brief period of time (literally seconds). It is dangerous and should only be used by experienced fish keepers.

a salt bath is a low concentration of salt, gradually increased until the desired level is achieved, and then maintained for a long period of time. Such as is used to treat Ich or as a precaution during quarantine.

These two terms confused me alot when I was considering using salt.

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Some more good points :)

Although, I'd say a "salt dip" of 1.5 - 3% for up to 2-5 minutes is a safe time - it depends what you're trying to acheive, size of fish etc. I routinely "dip" my new fish in 1.5 - 3% salt prior to commencing QT and gradually salting up a salt bath to 0.3% for two weeks, that's just my routine. However, again - some fish tolerate it well, some not.

There are many reasons to salt dip but pre-QT it helps to start it "Off on the right foot" by wiping out the majotiy of parasites etc. held on the slime coat. Salt dips are also great as part of the treatment process for some other problems - although as you say, they must be done with extreme caution and for a purpose and if you've haven't done them before you should research it well and seek advise. I think Daryl has an excellent post on salt dips somewhere on the site :)

Edited by mrbumblebee

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Hello!

Wonderful post! I want to be absolutely certain about this. When using salt to treat for ich, you say it is recommended to not feed or feed minimally? I ask because I am scared now that the salt will make the fishes retain more water than they should and lead to dropsy.

Ok thanks!

hlim

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