Aquarium Salt vs Table Salt - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-24-2011, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
Aquarium Salt vs Table Salt

I'm wondering if I can hear several opinions on table salt vs aquarium salt as a treatment for freshwater fish. I know that it is for preventing infection and helping wounds heal cleanly and a little more quickly, not as actual medication for anything. I'm wondering more about the differences between them.

I've heard strong opinions for both sides - that aquarium salt and table salt are both safe to use, and that table salt is absolutely not OK to use and is very different from aquarium salt. To be honest, I'm not sure what aquarium salt is that's so different from table salt.

I'm hoping to hear from both sides. If you have a strong opinion, please let me know why you feel that way and give me some factual information to back up your theory. Don't just tell me "table salt has iodnine," but explain to me why iodine is bad and what the effect will be, etc. If regular NaCl is OK to use, please tell me why the iodine doesn't matter, or anything else that may be added to table salt that isn't in aquarium salt.

No looking to start a fight or anything, just trying to gather information to be better informed about this issue.


(BTW - I have 2 female bettas in a divided 5 gallon at work and discovered this morning that one had found a way through the divider and they'd been fighting all weekend. Fins are shredded, so I will be isolating both of them into smaller bowls and treating with salt for a day or two - this is what lead me to this question).
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-24-2011, 11:12 AM
DKRST's Avatar
I'd recommend against using table salt!
While it is true that "salt is salt", it's the extras that may be found in table salt that can cause problems. Table salt typically has iodine added (required micro-nutrient for humans) and may have anti-caking agents added to keep it from clumping.

Iodine, in sufficient quantities will kill organisms, including humans. What that cut-off level is for aquatic organisms is, I don't know. I don't know the precise biochemistry behind iodine's toxic effects, but it is toxic. It's a strong anti-microbic and could not possibly be good for the bio-filter. That antiseptic effect is why things like iodine/betadine are used to cleanse the skin before surgical procedures.
Anti-caking agents may or may not cause issues, but I think it's safer just to avoid potential complications by using either "pure" salt or an aquarium saltwater mix with trace elements.
Why salt works is easier. Salt changes the osmotic environment for potential pathogens, causing them to lose cellular water to the environment, disrupting the organism.

I don't use salt in any case since I have a dozen Plecos!

Last edited by DKRST; 10-24-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-24-2011, 03:14 PM
zof's Avatar
Totally agree DKRST is right on, of course just because you can't use table salt doesn't mean there aren't other packaged salts you cant use, take a look for ice cream salt, I believe it is just pure salt but check package to make sure its only ingredient is NaCl, might have to crush it though because they might come in giant granules.
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-24-2011, 10:12 PM
Yeah iodized table salt is not suitable. Any natural non-iodized salt is okay as long as it has no additives.

.... I'm probably drunk.

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