02-09-2009, 01:56 AM
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All fish live in a world that is surrounded by water as well as their bodies having a large amount of water in them. Their ability to regulate the pressure between the two is called their osmoregulatory system. By adding salt to your water, your fish will have an easier time doing almost anything because the pressure of the water outside of it's body is lighter than the pressure inside. Before you think that this is a great thing and start jumping up and down, lets explore what will happen..... All fish have a way to regulate their pressure with most of them using their gills 100% of the time. In saltwater fish, their gills have the ability to excrete salt becuase that is the enviroment that they are brought up in. Same with brackish water fish(just on a lower level). In freshwater fish, they do not have the ability to excrete salt because it is not in their genes(so to say). If the freshwater fish are constantly in a "salty" enviroment, then their stress level will go down, but eventually their bodies will shut down because they cannot handle the salt buildup internally. Long term exposure to added salt can severly shorten their lifespan as well as lead to conditions such as dropsy. Stores like to recommend the use of salt because there is less of a chance that joe schmoe's newly purchased fish will come back to the store dead because of stress. However the serious hobbyist will know that proper acclimation and enviroment will ensure the fish's survival, as well as guarantee a full lifespan because no salt was used. To guarantee the longest life possible for your freshwater fish, it should only be subjected to salt for short periods if it is sick. Also, anytime you add or take away(with water changes) salt, it should be done slowly to allow for the fish adjust to the new pressure. Hope this helps.