Aquarium Salt For Tropical Freshwater Fish
One of the most important, cheapest and least promoted fish care items is aquarium salt. Aquarium salt can cure and prevent a multitude of common fish sicknesses, including white spot, fin rot and other fungal conditions that commonly plague tropical freshwater fish. It is also equally useful for cold water varieties of fish.
If you're new to fish keeping, you
should invest in a bag of Aquarium Salt, available from your local
pet store. No, you cannot substitute table salt for aquarium salt.
Aquarium salt is not iodized and does not carry impurities that can
make your fish ill, whereas table salt is often treated with chemicals that make it unsuitable for use with fish.
As a preventative dose, add Aquarium Salt to your tank at a rate of one rounded tablespoon per 20 liters. The only caveat to this is if you have sensitive fish like loaches, you may need to reduce the base level, as some fish have a low tolerance to salt.
Other fish, like fighting fish, which are very much prone to diseases like fin rot and white spot and other similar conditions, will need the full dose. You must remember when doing water changes to replace the salt in equal parts to how much was removed. For instance, if you remove 10 liters of water, you must then add half a tablespoon of salt to the tank. Salt does not evaporate, so it is important not to overdose in successive water changes.
I have personally seen aquarium salt work wonders in a range of situations, and in some cases it can take the place of expensive and potentially dangerous medicinal treatments for your fish. If you see a case of fin rot or white spot, try raising the temperature to around 28 degrees Celsius and adding aquarium salt as directed above. Aquarium salt kills a wide range of infections without the need for antibiotic treatments.
Antibiotic treatments should only be reserved for serious infections, as it is very possible to create antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria which will then rampage through fish populations.
Aquarium salt can also be used in higher doses for very brief periods of time in what aquarists call a 'salt bath'. A salt bath means using double the recommended rating for tank water and allowing a fish to swim in that water for half an hour to an hour. One must be careful to observe the fish for signs of distress and remove the fish if any are seen. This treatment is good for killing off the initial bloom of bacterial disease and putting your fish in a better position for long term recovery once it returns to the tank.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that every fish keeper should own, and use aquarium salt. It is, quite literally, a life saver.