04-09-2010, 01:58 PM
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Redchigh has generally answered your question, so my comments will just expand on a couple points for background.
Salt is not something that should go into a freshwater fish aquarium, except perhaps as a treatment for specific issues. I say perhaps because there are some fish that do not tolerate salt and I would never use it for any reason: characins (tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish), most catfish that occur in soft water including Corydoras, Farlowella, etc., and soft water SE Asian species. Livebearers can tolerate salt better, but it is not necessary or advised in general, even with mollies. These latter do occur in brackish water which is why many recommend salt with mollies, but they are freshwater fish and do just as well without salt.
The issue with salt is internal; it is a bit involved, but as fish take in water via osmosis through their cells (comparable to our drinking water), the salinity as well as the pH and hardness of the water has an effect on their physiology. In one article I read, Laura Muha described it thus: "When pH and/or salinity stray outside the ideal range for any given species, the fishes' bodies must work harder and use more energy to maintain the physiological equilibrium." This adds stress to the fish, and stress affects the immune system and other functions. No authority I have so far read recommends using salt with any freshwater fish except as a specific treatment.
Plants will not grow with salt; I have not experimented to see what level the salt has to reach before it becomes detrimental to plant growth, as I never intend using salt anyway. But there is absolutely no question that using salt will cause our common aquarium plants to die; which is one reason why salt treatment for ich was never recommend in planted tanks.
Last edited by Byron; 04-09-2010 at 02:00 PM..