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adverbemonade

0.1% Salt During Cycling?

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My tank just began its 4th week of cycling at 70 F/21 C. I'm also treating my goldfish for flukes, with fenbendazole and 0.1% salt.

Would it be prudent to keep replacing the salt after the treatment, to help protect the fish from the eventual nitrites? I read that salt keeps nitrites from entering their bloodstreams. I'll still be doing frequent large water changes, of course. I just wondered if keeping the tank salted would give my fish an extra protective measure when the nitrites appear.

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During the phase when you are getting extreme levels of nitrites and no ammonia, even a 0.05% salt concentration would be very helpful to have, for exactly the reason you listed. Do you have any ammonia in your cycling tank now? Are you using Prime?

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I do have ammonia now. No nitrites yet. I don't use Prime, but I could get some. With my understanding of Prime, the ammonia is locked away chemically so it can't harm the fish, then it is released a day or so after. But does the ammonia still show up in tests? I would be worried it would do this after I tested and I wouldn't get to do a large water change in time.

Also, may I change the water today to bring the ammonia down to 1 pmm, or should I wait for tomorrow (when the flukes treatment dictates)?

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You can do a water change today, since the fenbendazole should have already done most of its work by now. However, wait until the correct time to start the second round :)

You should actually do enough WCs to get ammonia down to 0.5ppm or less. 1ppm, while good to drive the cycle, can be bad for fish, especially over time.

This is where Prime helps tremendously. It does dissipate after 2 days, and all the detoxified ammonia gets released. What this just means is that you can't use Prime as a substitute to water change. It does mean that you can use Prime to help make your water safe while allowing the cycle to proceed with a higher level of ammonia in the system. What I recommend is to use Prime (double dose each time), and then change out water at the end of two days and add fresh Prime.

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That makes sense. Good to know. I'll get Prime today. Thanks.

What is the optimum level of salt for cycling? And should I begin increasing the percentage of salt now or wait until the fenbendazole treatment is finished?

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Actually, when you are cycling, don't add salt when you have ammonia but no nitrites. There is some concern that salt and high levels of ammonia can cause damage to gills. Then, when you have no ammonia but high nitrites, you can add 0.025% to 0.05% salt, which is less than what you are using now, since it doesn't take much salt to protect against nitrite induced problems.

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From one of the threads on ammonia detoxifiers: "Amquel is a very forgiving chemical. It will bind what ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are in the water, but, if nothing is there, it simply waits, benignly, to be needed."

Is this true of Prime, as well? I like to dechlorinate the water as soon as I refill the tub and buckets after a water change, so there is no way to forget. I wanted to be sure.

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Yup. Amquel+ and Prime basically do the same thing.

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Is it safe to add it on top of the original dechlorinator I used?

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Yes. It should be fine :)

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I am on Day 5 of the fenbendazole treatment, but I think I should do a water change tonight to control the ammonia (the levels of which I am unsure of, since I began using Prime and I have gotten levels that can't possibly be correct). Would a 50% WC adversely affect the treatment, or will I need to add more medicine?

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(I'm treating for flukes while cycling.)

* Ammonia Level: It says 0.25, but this is after a 90% water change and I know it wasn't above 0.25 before, so I think Prime (which I recently began using) is skewing the results.

* Nitrite Level: 0

* Nitrate level: 0

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) Ph: 7.6

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) Ph: 7.4

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Tetra, strips, still. D: I must get drop kits as soon as I can afford them. Only one LFS carries any, and it's an enormous saltwater kit with tons of things I'll never need to test for (copper??), so I will be ordering online when I can.

  • * Water temperature? 70 F/ 21 C
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 30 gallons/113 liters, it's been running since the first week of January.
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Penguin Biowheel 150 with 3 size B polyester floss cartridges in it, carbon removed.
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? I have been changing water depending on the ammonia level and the fenbendazole schedule, every 3 days at most.

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Friday night, 27 gallons.

  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 3, each about 2 inches/5 centimeters long (including tails).
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Top Fin tap water dechlorinator (covers chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals), Tetra SafeStart bacteria starter (entire bottle, as per instructions, added several hours before fish were), Prime since last week in place of Top Fin dechlorinator, Nutrafin Cycle (bit by bit since Friday, as per instructions).
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? 3-4 small sinking pellets per fish, every other morning; peas once a week.

  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No, and all three were added at same time.
  • * Any medications added to the tank? Fenbendazole, Morton's Canning and Pickling Salt (3/4 teaspoon/gallon).

  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. See above, and comment at bottom.
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Simone now looks thin. She has grown the least out of the three fish I've had since January 11th. She has several dark purplish bruises on her chin and belly and around where her pectoral and pelvic fins attach to her body. The bruises near her fins may be missing scales, but she is so tiny I can't say for sure.

  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Simone seemed unusually sleepy even after I removed the first round of fenbendazole, when the other two fish went back to normal. She was worse right after I removed the medication through a water change, but now she tries to eat, only to spit the food back out after carrying it with her for 5-10 seconds. She stays on the bottom, sleeping, and sometimes hits the gravel pretty hard while drifting, which may explain the bruises. I moved the gravel to the side as a precaution. The other lionhead, Bernadette, stays by her side much of the time. Woland acts perfectly normal. Bernadette still gets ridiculously excited about food and responds when I walk over, while Simone won't. On four occasions that I have seen, Bernadette has been able to bump Simone and get her to follow her and Woland around the tank. I don't know what's wrong. Maybe Simone, since she's smaller, is more sensitive to the medication? The bruises have darkened so maybe the salt helped them? I don't know what I should do for her.


  • Additionally, I am on Day 5 of the fenbendazole treatment, but I think I should do a water change tonight to control the ammonia (the levels of which I am unsure of, since I began using Prime and I have gotten levels that can't possibly be correct). Would a 50% WC adversely affect the treatment, or will I need to add more medicine?

Edited by adverbemonade

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No, you are fine to do water change. Resume water change on the appropriate day. Alternately, what is your ammonia? If it is under 1.0 ppm, you could double or triple treat with Prime. Then do a huge WC tomorrow.

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I answered your other thread. Go ahead and do the WC, and don't add back the fenbendazole. Just the salt to 0.1% for now. Let's wait to see how they do over the next couple of days.

Spitting out food is a sign of mouth/gill irritation, and seeing how that happened after fluke treatment, I think it's safe to say that the flukes was definite. Let us try to help her with the eating. The salt should help to heal, and hopefully that is enough.

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If there is another thread, I am thinking we should merge or delete this one to keep track of things. Is everyone okay with that?

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(I wish I still had the internet at home. I'm using the university library, so my updates will be delayed.) After I posted the topic and no one responded after about a half hour, I went home and found Woland being her usual puppy-like self, Simone being pathetic in the corner, and Bernadette scuttling across the bottom to come see me (but with no bruises). I immediately did a huge water change.

I double dosed with Prime again today in case the ammonia is related to this in any way. I'm unsure what my ammonia is currently because I still have these stupid strips that are rendered meaningless by Prime.

What should I do concerning the fenbendazole treatment? Should I treat the tank again when the fish are feeling better? Or is it likely the flukes have been destroyed by this point?

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The nice thing with fenbendazole is that it is quite gentle and effective. There is also less chance of fenbendazole resistance, since I think fewer people/breeders use it to treat flukes.

I think for now let's cease treatment here and see where things go.

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If there is another thread, I am thinking we should merge or delete this one to keep track of things. Is everyone okay with that?

Done... I thought the same thing. :)

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Currently, all three fish are still sleepy and acting pathetic. The lionheads' chins look like they've been lightly grated with a cheese grater, and their gill covers are pale around the edges, but the filaments are bright and look healthy. Simone's bruises (or whatever they are) are going away. I don't see anything wrong with Woland, she's just sleepy. All three half-heartedly eat pellets and spit them back out. The water parameters are the same as I last posted, but with low ammonia because I've been doing huge water changes. Salt is at 3/4 teaspoon per gallon.

Is this a normal result of the flukes treatment? Is there anything I should be doing? It upsets me to see them this pathetic days after the medicine has been removed. I need reassurance or further guidance.

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I don't think it's normal for them to act like that, especially days after treatment. I recently put my fish through the same treatment, and their behavior did not change at all.

What are your water parameter? Could you please upload a video of them?

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Every parameter is the same as when I last posted it, except now the tank PH is 7.4.

Here's a video from yesterday evening.

-You'll notice that there is a small amount of fenbendazole powder on the bottom and some floating around. When I vacuumed the gravel, some got disturbed instead of sucked up, and settled after the water change. I'll get the rest out tonight to make sure there is absolutely no medication in the tank.

-There are also some pellets of food in the bottom that I gave them yesterday morning. None were eaten, I counted out 8.

-You can sort of see that the lionheads have semi-opaque whiteness on their gill covers and tails. I suspected fin rot, but it looks nothing like fin rot. It looks a lot like the few pictures of excessive slime coat I found. It looks nothing like ich, nothing like fungus, and nothing like a bacterial infection.

IMPORTANT: In the last week of January, I moved the big rocks cleaning in such a way that Woland could no longer sleep between them without drifting in the current. So, she started sleeping in the top corner opposite the filter instead. Naturally, when I first found her there I flipped out, thinking she was dead. When I realized she was alive, I thought it was a buoyancy problem, until I noticed that she very deliberately swims up there, she doesn't passively float up or drift there. Now, she does in fact let herself float to the top, because in the last three days her buoyancy problems have gotten much, much worse, as you can see in the video, even though she hasn't eaten.

th_Picture002.jpg

I'm distraught. Please help. I'm trying so hard to be optimistic: Simone's bruises have greatly faded, and the lionheads react when I talk to them and change the water, which they didn't do two days ago.

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I'm sorry that they are still not feeling well. The big problem here is that they are having to deal with parasite issues on top of a cycling tank. So, it's a lot of stress. Hopefully the lionheads are turning around. The best thing that can be done for them now is water changes daily, but please make sure that you match temp & pH.

What kind of fish is Woland? He/she looks very bloated to me, and in the video, I think I saw protruding scales...could you please comment on this?

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Good news! The lionheads are doing noticeably better. Last night, they began swimming around without prompting, but they're still sleeping an abnormal amount. Bernadette is sleeping like she did before and not bottom sitting. This morning, I gave them a little food and Bernadette ate three pellets. Simone spat out the one she tried to eat, and her bruises are almost completely gone.

Woland's head end is now sinking down about half as much as in the video, and she doesn't float sideways. She seems to have an easier time getting to the bottom than she did yesterday. But, since I found her behind the filter intake and I was afraid she'd eventually get stuck, I put her in a net breeding box, with two mushed up peas. She ate a tiny piece of a pea.

(I'm calling them all girls for now because they have slightly convex vents. I don't know if that method is accurate.)

Regarding what looks like bloating and scales sticking out: Woland is a pearlscale. Her scales look like normal pearlscale scales in person, and she hasn't gotten any rounder since I got her. In person, it is easy to see that the scales are not sticking out, they have the thickened domes that pearlscales have.

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Oh, and when I bought the net breeding box, I also bought an API Freshwater Master Test Kit. That store must have been out of stock last time I looked for it.

The kit detected no nitrites, and the ammonia reading was very slightly greener than the yellow that indicates 0 ppm. Each other reading was the same I got with with the strips.

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