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Do you add salt to your freshwater aquarium?

  1. BloodRedPen profile image67
    BloodRedPenposted 8 years ago

    In the U.S. since the 1990s it's been a common practice to add salt to freshwater aquariums to prevent some diseases and balance osmotic pressure. it's been added for so many years that some freshwater fish get sick and die without it. Do you add salt?

    1. profile image0
      Maximus591posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      If you have a salt-free aquarium this doesn't mean your fish will get sick and die. You've been fed poor information there.

      Many of the benefits of salt - disease prevention / healing / inhibition of nitrates - can all be found in proprietary products designed specifically for fish. These would be a better option. But if you really must use salt (because it's cheap and readily available) just add a very light sprinkling. No more.

      Also, just because your fish are looking healthy and vibrant in a salt-added aquarium does not mean it's the salt that is giving your fish their vibrant sheen. Many tropicals can survive quite well even in poor quality water. It's the contrast between different qualities of water that fish struggle with. So, even taking your fish from a low water quality environment and placing them in a high water quality environment could be very damaging, especially if you didn't allow them to slowly acclimatise to their new water environment.

  2. relache profile image90
    relacheposted 8 years ago

    If you add salt, it's not a freshwater aquarium anymore.

    1. BloodRedPen profile image67
      BloodRedPenposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I knew someone would say its not fresh if you add salt - But all the tropical fish farms in florida use brackish water. And most pet stores don't tell you this. You buy the fish -take it home - put it in freshwater and it dies.

      1. rebekahELLE profile image90
        rebekahELLEposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        you have to acclimate the water first. I had a goldfish that lived for 7 years, Fred. now he's buried in the flower garden.

        1. rebekahELLE profile image90
          rebekahELLEposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          oops, meant to say acclimate the fish first into the water. I always used hard tap water and would let it set for 24 hours first.

      2. Deborah-Lynn profile image81
        Deborah-Lynnposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        My tropical fish dealer told me to add sea salt to my aquarium each time I add about 1/3 new water to the tank, mostly for my puffer fish, the added plus is the other fresh water tropical fish loved it and thrived, I think they are most vibrant in color as well.

    2. Jeffrey Neal profile image78
      Jeffrey Nealposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      That's not entirely true.

      I kept African Cichlids for a few years, and they are supposed to have a high Ph...up to 8.0 for the Lake Tanganyika species.  I added "salts" to the water to help achieve the higher Ph as well as using a mix of crushed coral and gravel for the bottom of the tank in order to maintain high Ph levels, and to prevent dips and spikes which are hard on the fish.

      Some of these fish are extremely colorful, and to me, they are as close to saltwater varieties without having to invest in the extra time and expense a saltwater tank requires.  They are technically freshwater fish, though.

      Now, I only keep a couple of straggler bottom feeders who have not been given away and have grown fairly large, and I do not add salt to the water.

    3. Deborah-Lynn profile image81
      Deborah-Lynnposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I have to ask this Relache, I have been reading you in the forums for about three months now and your style of answer is consistantly "haughty", are you a guy hiding under a avatar of a lady?

  3. Wonder_Woman profile image55
    Wonder_Womanposted 8 years ago

    <snipped - do not post copyrighted text which you do not have permission to reproduce on HubPages>

  4. Whitney05 profile image83
    Whitney05posted 8 years ago

    It's best to use aquarium salt over table salt. Sea salt is ok, better than table salt.

    And, it's still a freshwater aquarium even if you add a pinch of salt. There are many freshwater fish who do better with the salt than without; it makes the water a little brackish, which makes it more habitable for the fish.  You just add a teeny bit at a time so the fish gets used to the level of salt. You don't want to pour a ton in there, just a little. The amount will really vary on the species because some fish prefer more brackish water than others.

    Wonder_Woman, you may not want to copy and paste info from other sites to post here. Just a head's up.

    1. Wonder_Woman profile image55
      Wonder_Womanposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      really?? Is it that strict here?

      1. Whitney05 profile image83
        Whitney05posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        It's definitely not recommended. I know you're not supposed to copy and paste into hubs. I don't believe I've ever seen anyone copy and paste (an entire page's content) into the forums. I don't think it's a good idea, and probably still against the TOS.

  5. livelonger profile image94
    livelongerposted 8 years ago

    I used to add a small amount of aquarium salt to my FW tank (since I didn't have crustaceans or nonscaled fish like cats - they are sensitive to salt) because most scaled fish do better with slightly brackish water.

    Aquarium salt is the best, and sea salt also excellent. Table salt is not recommended because they add anti-caking agents to it that can be harmful to fish, and they lack other naturally-occuring chloride salts (potassium, magnesium) beyond sodium that fish tend to prefer.

  6. BloodRedPen profile image67
    BloodRedPenposted 8 years ago

    I want to thank everyone for their posts - I knew I wasn't the only person that used salt in my freshwater aquariums. i was recently at a local pet store and they had cups of rock salt setting in the bottom of some of their tanks - that scared me - I didn't buy any fish at that store.

  7. thranax profile image52
    thranaxposted 8 years ago

    Yes, I put the recommended amount of salt in the freshwater, it helps the fish.


  8. Whitney05 profile image83
    Whitney05posted 8 years ago

    Cups of rock salt is definitely not the best idea. Ha. Good choice not buying from them.

  9. profile image0
    Linda Myshrallposted 8 years ago

    Aquarium fish can survive without it, but salt added to the water does help oxygen pass through the gills.

    Use aquarium salt (1 TBSP per 5 gallons) not table salt.

    Hope this helps.

  10. GeneralHowitzer profile image80
    GeneralHowitzerposted 8 years ago

    yeah it is usually added with some salt to prevent your fishes from getting some ailments...

    But just in small amount, Im not sure better ask your fravorite  pet shop about this... In the wild tropical fishes swims in freshawater that has salinity on it...