Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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itsonlybarney 11-11-2012 03:51 AM

Bristlenose and Aquarium Salt
My Bristlenose Pleco disappeared last week as we were moving over to a larger tank, there were no signs of the body and we suspect that other tank inhabitants ate the body.

However we are still stumped as to why s/he died in the first place. We had 0 ammonia and nitrites, <40 nitrates at all times. The only things we have been adding to the tank is Seachem Prime to condition the water before adding to the tank, Seachem Stability at each water change to boost bacteria levels, and aquarium salt as suggested by my LFS.

From my understanding nothing there seems to be the reason behind my bristlenose disappearing, but I have read that aquarium salt can be bad for BNs. Am I correct in the thinking, and should avoid adding aquarium salt in my tank?

fish monger 11-11-2012 06:19 AM

I, personally, wouldn't add salt unless all of the species in the tank absolutely needed it to be in top form. In that instance, I would use a product such as Instant Ocean rather than aquarium salt. There are folks who swear by the pinch of salt theory; however, I don't understand the benefit for the typical freshwater tank.

Byron 11-11-2012 02:17 PM

There is no benefit to any type of salt in a freshwater aquarium on a general basis. You can read why in this article, and also learn what this is doing detrimentally to the fish:

Catfish are sensitive to salt, more than some other fish. A while back we had a member who posted photos of a pleco who was actually burnt by salt in there water, and was slowly dying. Removing the salt via massive water changes got the poor fish back to health, though the patches on its body were a sorry sight.

While Stability is not (or should not be) problematic, I would wonder why it is being added. In an established tank this is not necessary, as the colony of nitrifying bacteria will be capable of handling the nitrogen. Or it should be, if the tank is not somehow compromised biologically.

The nitrates is also an issue, and may have contributed. It is now known that nitrates above 20ppm do affect all fish to some extent, and here again catfish are in the group of sensitive fish that will be more adversely affected than some others. I would look into the nitrates; are they in the tap water at all? If not, then inside the aquarium one has to consider the volume, fish load, water changes, live plants.


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