Should I add salt to freshwater?
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Should I add salt to freshwater?

This is a discussion on Should I add salt to freshwater? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I know the topic is, supposedly, widely debated and often discussed, BUT I did a search and turned up poor results. Here's the situation. ...

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Should I add salt to freshwater?
Old 09-24-2009, 06:36 PM   #1
 
Question Should I add salt to freshwater?

I know the topic is, supposedly, widely debated and often discussed, BUT I did a search and turned up poor results. Here's the situation. Short and simple mind you. Went to usual trusted fishstore to pick up miscellaneous part. Wound up talking with the owner for a while. Discussed problem I was having with wife's 10g tanks. She has two mollies, bala shark, angel, and two albino cories. One of her mollies' face looks like it has suffered some poor water quality deterioration. Mentioned it to owner and he suggested adding API freshwater aquarium salt to the water. It's said and he agreed that it helps with the fishes electrolytes and helps cure disease. Now here are my two questions...
1. Should I go ahead and add the salt as the fish store owner said it would not hurt the other fish and should definitely help with the mollies issues?
2. I mentioned my tank was a community tank with nothing but a variety of tetras plus 4 cories and 1 brushynose pleco and he said I could add the freshwater aquarium salt to my tank also and it would not hurt anything. Is this true? Should I add it?
***I read the product label and it did say it helps add electrolytes to the water to help fish health and color...***
Please help me out is it safe or am I risking hurting or even worse, killing my fish and my wife's? Thanks guys as always!
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:51 PM   #2
 
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Only add salt for ich. I have a few Questions do you have a bigger tank to put the bala shark and the angel in when they get bigger.? They get way to big for a ten gallon tank.!!!! What are your temps, ph, nit, amoni? your par reading. We need to know all of that to better help you>.
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:04 PM   #3
 
No, Don't add salt. Just by seeing your that you have Cory catfish, you should no add any. The salt will burn the cories.
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:47 AM   #4
 
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More importantly than you adding to salt to your tank (which agreed with the above two posts, shouldn't be done unless ich is present) you really really need a bigger tank....that bala shark and angel fish need much bigger tanks to kepe them healthy.....the bala shark needs atleast a 55G tank with proper aquascape (caves, etc) and the angel needs atleast a 30G tall tank......

do you have any means of getting a bigger tank? maybe check craigs list?
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:39 PM   #5
 
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Salt should not be added to a freshwater aquarim containing freshwater fish.

Higher lifeforms (which includes fish) require a specific electrolyte balance; these have an effect on hydration and blood pH, and are critical for nerve and muscle control. Each living species contains internal mechanisms to keep what we may term a strict control on these processes. As mentioned by the "knowledgeable" fellow in the pet store, salt has to do with electrolytes. Adding salt to the water when such is not biologically required by the fish species is obviously going to have an impact on the fish's internal metabolism and body functions. I find it imossible to believe that something which is affecting the fish's metabolism negatively--by forcing the fish to adjust to what is abnormal--is going to prevent any health problems. It makes more sense that stressing the fish to such an extent will make it more susceptible to disease and parasitic invasion by weakening it's immune system. When the fish's energy is being chanelled into working against the salt, it is not going to be able to fully combat an invasion by parasites or bacteria as effectively as it otherwise would.

I do not even use salt in a medicatory role; there are safer medications available for straightforward parasitic infections like ich. When the infestation is severe enough to warrant intervention, they are preferable. But maintaining stable and suitable water parameters will go a long way in preventing such problems from even arising.

Byron.
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Old 09-26-2009, 01:44 AM   #6
 
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I agree with everything above. Considering the problem, that seems to be affecting only the Molly/Mollies,, I suspect the water is too acidic or soft for the molly. Livebearers like mollies,guppies,swordtails,and platy's all prefer,(need) basic ,alkaline water or hard water, as some like to say. pH values between 7.4 and 8.0 would be common for water best suited for them.
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Old 09-27-2009, 03:21 PM   #7
 
I have found a tiny bit of tonic salt does wonders. In fact, I added rather a lot when getting my tanks back up to proper health again (they had been neglected for some time) and there were no side effects whatsoever (central and south american cichlids).



Useful link!: http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u...article_id=335

Last edited by willieturnip; 09-27-2009 at 03:22 PM.. Reason: Link
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Old 09-27-2009, 05:45 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willieturnip View Post
I have found a tiny bit of tonic salt does wonders. In fact, I added rather a lot when getting my tanks back up to proper health again (they had been neglected for some time) and there were no side effects whatsoever (central and south american cichlids).



Useful link!: Frequently asked questions on using salt | Practical Fishkeeping magazine
The article linked is quite good; others should read it. I note that except for medication, none of the individuals mentioned suggest adding salt to freshwater fish aquaria. As Dr. Peter Burgess says, "Unless the species has a natural requirement for salt, then we should not add salt to an aquarium (or pond)." Which is precisely what I maintain.

The article also makes mention of the inability to judge any consequences of using salt on freshwater fish. To say you use it and it has no side effects is like saying you smoke but you don't have cancer. How do you know you won't have it ten or twenty years from now? And similarly, how do you know the salt did not have some internal effect on the fish that may cause problems later? You don't, and neither do I. My approach is not to inflict the fish in my aquaria with something that is not in their natural habitat unless it is absolutely essential. That seems the safest route to follow, and the authorities cited in the linked article, as with those I have previously read, are not in disagreement.

Byron.
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:30 PM   #9
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
The article linked is quite good; others should read it. I note that except for medication, none of the individuals mentioned suggest adding salt to freshwater fish aquaria. As Dr. Peter Burgess says, "Unless the species has a natural requirement for salt, then we should not add salt to an aquarium (or pond)." Which is precisely what I maintain.

The article also makes mention of the inability to judge any consequences of using salt on freshwater fish. To say you use it and it has no side effects is like saying you smoke but you don't have cancer. How do you know you won't have it ten or twenty years from now? And similarly, how do you know the salt did not have some internal effect on the fish that may cause problems later? You don't, and neither do I. My approach is not to inflict the fish in my aquaria with something that is not in their natural habitat unless it is absolutely essential. That seems the safest route to follow, and the authorities cited in the linked article, as with those I have previously read, are not in disagreement.

Byron.

Equally, you don't know the effects of keeping fish in captivity without salt in the tank..
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:52 PM   #10
 
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Neglecting your tanks and then adding salt to get them back to proper health?..............How about maintaining your tanks and their would be no reason to add any kind of salt............Water changes, would do the same thing, but i guess your looking for a easy way out of maintaining your tanks..........No reason ever to add salt, unless treating for Ich.....The effects of salt on fish in captivity..............Hmmmm, if there was salt in their natural habitat, then the norm would be to add it, but considering their isnt why add it?..........Simulating a fishes natural habitat is the best possible scenerio for them.........Their is no arguing that, unless you believe your better than the fishes creator at giving them the supreme habitat they need........
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