I work at Petco, and we have cups of aquarium salt sitting in the tanks at all times with a little note on it that says "Petco uses and recommends aquarium salt!", but I don't really like it. I have never been a fan of aquarium salt, but I was thinking to myself that maybe I just don't know enough about it. I was wondering if the people of the forum could tell me the pros and cons of using aquarium salt, and if it can be detrimental to fish who are strictly from fresh waters and to invertebrates such as snails. Please help me help my customers!
Aquarium salt is used for 2 main things...
1- to aid in the assistance of treating ich along with raised temps
2- for fish who like it such as mollies and guppies and a lot of cichlids.
Aquarium salt can be deadly to fish as it is sodium chloride... if you google sodium chloride you can read about what that stuff can do.
There are a few members on here who I know can go into great detail on this.
And yes, snails can easily be killed with this stuff.
Some fish do prefer a little bit of salt. I am Ok with puffers, mollies, platies (although it is just fine without it, maybe better), some species of african cichlids, monos (young monos, but older ones need a brackish setup), "dragon fish" aka prehistoric goby, etc,. However, I do not appreciate Petco using aquarium salts on many of the species I didn't list. Especially snails and corydoras.
I think it is just something that makes Petco's fish less likely to get a diesase (but I could be wrong, it may not have that effect long-term), and also an attempt to get people to buy their aquarium salts. I just don't think it is right for most of the fish there.
I do occasionally use aquarium salts (made for freshwater, not talking about my saltwater) from time to time. Not very often, but it is a good thing to have ready. Very useful if not mis-used.
That is all I can say. You deserve better, though. I know there are some very knowledgeable people who deal with aquarium salts, so lets hope they stumple over this thread.
Guppies can benefit from small amounts as it can prevent fin rot and ich. I keep my guppies in a very very low concentration (1 tsp per gallon) and it works a treat, never had any problems with them or it :-D
For any fish that requires a brackish/saltwater set up, Aquarium salt is unsuitable as it does not contain the minerals etc that these fish require, for these types of fish always use a pharmaceutical grade MARINE SALT
Aquarium salt should never be the replacement of good water quality, which I know isn't the case with Pufferfish22's fish, it is just what some people think.
Here's an excerpt from another thread as to why salt has no place in a tropical freshwater tank:
(courtesy of Byron)
"Salt is detrimental to freshwater fish and plants in varying degrees. To understand why, we must understand what salt does in water.
Salt makes the water more dense than the same water without salt. The aquarium contains water. The bodies of fish and plant leaves also contain water [just as we do--we are, what is it, 70-some percent water?]. The water in the aquarium and the water in the fish/plant are separated by a semi-permeable layer which is the cell. Water can pass through this cell. When either body of water is more dense, the other less-dense body of water will pass through the membrane to equalize the water on both sides.
Water is constantly passing through the cells of fish by osmosis in an attempt to equate the water inside the fish (which is more dense) with the water in the aquarium. Put another way, the aquarium water is diluting the fish's body water until they are equal. Freshwater fish regularly excrete this water through respiration and urination. This is the issue behind pH differences as well as salt and other substances. It increases the fish's work--the kidney is used in the case of salt--which also increases the fish's stress in order to maintain their internal stability. Also, the fish tends to produce more mucus especially in the gills; the reason now seems to be due to the irritant property of salt--the fish is trying to get away from it.
I have an interesting measurement for fish. Dr. Stanley Weitzman, who is Emeritus Research Scientist at the Department of Ichthyology of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and an acknowledged authority on characoid fishes, writes that 100 ppm of salt is the maximum for characins, and there are several species that show considerable stress leading to death at 60 ppm. 100 ppm is equal to .38 of one gram of salt per gallon of water. One level teaspoon holds six grams of salt, so 1 tsp of salt per gallon equates to more than 15 times the tolerable amount. Livebearers have a higher tolerance (mollies sometimes exist in brackish water) so the salt may be safe for them. Use of salt for treatment purposes should first consider the level of tolerance of the respective fish in the aquarium; any medication is likely to cause some stress to fish, but those species that are particularly adverse will be significantly weakened further by salt.
Plants: when salt is added to the aquarium water, the water inside the plant cells is less dense so it escapes through the cells. The result is that the plant literally dries out, and will wilt. I've so far been unable to find a measurement of how much salt will be detrimental to plants; all authorities I have found do note that some species are more sensitive than others, and all recommend no salt in planted aquaria."
I wanted to post that because I have been to petco and in almost all of the aquariums that they have in display they have little containers of aquarium salt. I hope you can do something about that Cornelius:|
as long as petco carries fishes that have a high potential to carry protazoan parasites and refuse to give them there own non connected systems let alone a quarintine for them the salt will remain in there aquariums...i always quarintine my petco fish..if i have to shop there.
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