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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; --> Originally Posted by willieturnip Equally, you don't know the effects of keeping fish in captivity without salt in the tank.. I would think we ...

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Should I add salt to freshwater?
Old 09-30-2009, 03:01 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willieturnip View Post
Equally, you don't know the effects of keeping fish in captivity without salt in the tank..
I would think we do, or at any rate we can be more certain. We know that salt has an irritating effect, as described in the linked article. We know that the fish in nature would not be subjected to this, and that is an absolute, because these fish only inhabit specific watercourses where the presence of any salt is impossible. So the fish have evolved over thousands and indeed millions of years to live in certain water. Providing water parameters in the aquarium that are as close as reasonably possible to the natural water is logically going to allow the fish to live more naturally and free of stress, and we certainly know that means healthier. Stress causes fish to contract a number of diseases and parasites because it weakens their immune systems by diverting energy to deal with the stress. This is (not surprisingly) no different than with humans.

In an article in the December 2006 TFH, Laura Muha dealt with factors affecting fish growth. She contacted a number of qualified biologists and ichthyologists (she named them) in researching her article. On the issue of pH and salinity, Ms. Muha wrote that subjecting fish to a degree of pH and salinity that is outside its preferred range [determined by its natural habitat] affects the normal functioning of the complex physiological processes that work to maintain a certain blood pH, feed the tissues, and keep its immune system functioning. When the fish has to expend more energy to carry out these basic functions, the stress weakens the fish in several ways. The analogy of driving a car up a hill was used; it takes considerably more energy and fuel to maintain the same speed, and this is additional wear and tear on the car.

Just as we (hopefully) listen to the advice of our medical professionals to maintain our own health at optimum levels, it makes sense to listen to the scientific data and information to provide the best environment in the aquarium.

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Old 09-30-2009, 04:51 PM   #12
 
Thing is though.

Chocolate isn't good for us, but we still enjoy it...




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Old 09-30-2009, 05:53 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willieturnip View Post
Thing is though.

Chocolate isn't good for us, but we still enjoy it...




We at least have the ability to eat or not eat chocolate, much as the fish can eat or not eat the food we give it. But the fish has no power to avoid the salt because it lives in a (basically) closed system and is forced to accept whatever we put in the water. If you were in a closed air-tight room, comparable to a fish tank, and someone decided to put just a bit of gas into the room, you would probably be panicked because you had no way of escaping it and no way of knowing what would follow. Yes, you might manage to "exist" for months if the level of gas was minor; but the effects would be long-term. We must have better and higher regard for our fish than merely tossing substances into the water because we think maybe it might do something. Which brings me to FishinPole's very pertinent comment (which I believe 1077 alluded to previously) that good aquarium management is the only good and effective preventative; using any chemical, salt or whatever, as an "easy" alternative, is not responsible.

Aquarists have a difference of opinion on the use of salt. Those who use salt regularly hold the view that it prevents certain disease, though this has never been shown [I'm not meaning treatment for parasites or whatever, but general "tonic" to prevent diseases from occurring]. Others of us recognize the real possibility that this may cause long-term harm to the fish, and are not prepared to take that risk when there is no proven benefit.

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Old 10-01-2009, 05:47 AM   #14
 
I'm only messing around, I would never put salt in the aquarium.

Tonic salt on the other hand, goes in readily. Tonic salt is nothing to do with sodium chloride at all.
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:06 AM   #15
 
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Pftttt!
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