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Catch and Release
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I know I am going to strike up several different opinions on this, but here are my opinions on salt...

1. Salt is nature's remedy for fish. Whenever a fish is sick, add salt before adding medication. This will be safer for the fish and reduce the number of chemicals in the water.
2. Fish don't "require" salt. I have never known of a freshwater community fish that cannot survive without salt. Livebearers that say they require salt do just fine without it.
3. Some fish do better with salt. Mollies are a brackish water fish. They don't require salt but it has been known to prolong their lifespan by several months. Since they have such short lifespans (2-3 years) this adds up. Goldfish will be more active and have a brighter color if they have salt in their water.
4. One fish CANNOT have salt. I have noticed that of all fish, bettas don't seem to do well with high salt concentrations. When changing my water, the only fish I would ever lose were the bettas. I quit adding salt, and the bettas survived.

If anyone has any input on this, I would love to hear it! I want to get my facts straight at have other people's opinions and experiences when it comes to aquarium salt...
 

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Water Chemistry/ LiveBearer Specialist
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I have only used salt and elevated temperatures to treat ich in my own tanks and that was a case of not noticing it on the fish before they came home. The reason I didn't notice the ich was because the fish had been housed in little plastic cups. You are all correct, they were betta splendens. In my case they were females and were intended to go into a sorority tank. When I saw the ich it was too late so I gave my bettas a full salt treatment with an extra week for good measure. It did not seem to do them any harm but I went slowly returning their water to normal salt-free conditions.

On my favorite salt subject of mollies, I have noticed that my mollies do very well with no salt added. They live in a community with other fish that do not tolerate salt well so they don't get any. These are common aquarium mollies, not specific known species mollies, so I can't say what their particular ancestors may have lived in. A molly that only lived 2 years would be a real disappointment to me though. My tap water is hard and has a high pH, which is a condition that can be simulated by adding sea salt to softer water. I specified sea salt because I have seen people use "aquarium salt" to make "brackish water" for their fish. Brackish water is a mixture of freshwater and sea water, not a mixture of freshwater and table salt. Aquarium salt is pretty much the same thing you have on the dining room table, it is not appropriate for any permanent set up that has fish in it. The sea salt effect on pH and mineral content may be why people who live in soft water areas think that mollies need salt, aquarium mollies certainly do need a high mineral content and a high pH.

If you check by using a google search and really looking through what comes up, you will find that there are well over 20 species of fish that have the common name of molly. (I am not talking about the silly color variations and fin variations of aquarium mollies, I mean real different species) Some of those fish come from the same kind of water conditions as you would use for angels so please don't just salt a molly thinking it will be a good thing. If you know exactly what you have, you may be OK but salt can also kill some mollies.
 
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Basically, I see salt as only necessary when:

A.) Treating illness
B.) In a brakish or marine aquarium ;)

However, salt should NEVER be used as a tonic in a freshwater aquarium, it does NOT benefit the fish whatsoever, IMO. It is hard to keep up with the correct dosage, and does irritate freshwater fish. It can also kill many species of scaleless fish and catfish.

tim
 

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Good, Bad Or Ugly, I have used salt in freshwater aquariums since day one, which was quite a few days ago, and have been blessed, with virtually NO. Disease problems, That having been said, i cant say if that blessing was because of the salt, or just keeping up with a good water change routine, including gravel vac. doing everything possible to insure a low stress level on my fish, or paying close attention to the fish i buy, and ALWAYS using a quarantene tank for a week or so before adding any fish to my main tanks. But i would like to think the salt played some part :)
 

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I never use salt in my aquarium because it kills live plants. It is similar to putting salt on a slug. It causes them to loose all their water and moisture by osmosis.

If you want to avoid/treat ich, raising the temperature alone should be enough. I keep my tank at 86C and have never had ich...knock on wood. ;)

As far as treatment, if I had to treat the main tank I would go with Melafix and Pimafix. However, my first option would be to isolate the fish with the problem and treat in a seperate tank with the strongest medicine possible, if I can catch it early enough. I have kanamycin, erethromycin, and Paraguard on hand.
 

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Water Chemistry/ LiveBearer Specialist
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Jim, I also have almost no disease in my tanks and never use salt. I do have the hard water of a typical midwest location and I do not hesitate to change water at he slightest hint of anything amiss. With that said, I clearly remember the one ich treatment I have done because that is all I have done in the way of treatments for any illness in the 7 years since I got back into keeping fish. Before that I have kept fish since about 1955 to 1957, who can remember accurately that far back, and have had very little disease trouble in the whole time except when I became convinced to put salt in all of my tanks. At that time I had incredible troubles with many of my fish because I used salt instead of trying to find out what was really bothering my fish. Since I figured out that doing a huge water change at the first sign of trouble almost always took care of things, I have had almost no trouble at all.
 

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I agree with the salt is bad for plant thing:) never been good with plants (salt or not) 86degrees wow, not since my run with Discus :) and Oldman, you shot my salt theory lol, but re-inforced my water change law, thanks :) dont you love calm, civilized discussion. Sure makes for a pleasant place to be HUH !!:D
 

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If you don't know what is wrong and what to do about it, do a large water change then ask for advice. I find that by the time I ask for advice, the problem is often gone. Right you are about semi-civilized discussion Jim.
 

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Catch and Release
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Discussion Starter #10
It gets annoying when people have heated disagreements about simple opinionated ideas. That is how I got booted off of another site I was part of. I argued with a moderator as to whether or not dwarf platies were an actual breed. The mod got mad and when I tried to return I was banned from the site.

This is how debates should work. Everyone giving their own opinion, and working together to compile good ideas.:D
 

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There is one thing I want to add about raising your temperature:

During the winter time I added temperate water to my tank and the next day I had fish breathing at the top. I thought I had an ammonia spike or perhaps my CO2 was off. I did a 50% water change and the next day a few fish were dead! It turns out that in the winter (depending where you live) your water is colder and uses more hot water from your house's water heater. This warm water is oxygen depleted sitting at over 100F.

So if you need to raise the temperature of your tank, do not add warm water, adjust your temperature gradually with your heater and make sure you aerate your tank better (more surface tension). I learned my lesson and now when I do a water change, I fill a 20g trashcan the night before and stick a heater and pump in it. Then I add the temperate water to my tank.

Yes it's a discus tank. :D
 

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There is one thing I want to add about raising your temperature:

During the winter time I added temperate water to my tank and the next day I had fish breathing at the top. I thought I had an ammonia spike or perhaps my CO2 was off. I did a 50% water change and the next day a few fish were dead! It turns out that in the winter (depending where you live) your water is colder and uses more hot water from your house's water heater. This warm water is oxygen depleted sitting at over 100F.

So if you need to raise the temperature of your tank, do not add warm water, adjust your temperature gradually with your heater and make sure your aerate your tank better (more surface tension). I learned my lesson and now when I do a water change, I fill a 20g trashcan the night before and stick a heater and pump in it. Then I add the temperate water to my tank.
oh wow i would have never thought of this, thanks for bringing it to everyones attention
 

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There is one thing I want to add about raising your temperature:

During the winter time I added temperate water to my tank and the next day I had fish breathing at the top. I thought I had an ammonia spike or perhaps my CO2 was off. I did a 50% water change and the next day a few fish were dead! It turns out that in the winter (depending where you live) your water is colder and uses more hot water from your house's water heater. This warm water is oxygen depleted sitting at over 100F.

So if you need to raise the temperature of your tank, do not add warm water, adjust your temperature gradually with your heater and make sure you aerate your tank better (more surface tension). I learned my lesson and now when I do a water change, I fill a 20g trashcan the night before and stick a heater and pump in it. Then I add the temperate water to my tank.

Yes it's a discus tank. :D
This discussion could be another whole thread, but since its already headed that way, and this is all good stuff, I wanted to add that i use water directly from my well, which is also oxygen poor, right out of the tap, but i never change more than 10% at a time so its never been an issue. But the hot water thing is nice to know as well :)
 

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I use tonic salt in my FW setups from time to time just to prevent disease rather than cure one. I also fined that algae is far easier to wipe off the glass shortly after dosing the water.
 

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Catch and Release
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Discussion Starter #15
There is one thing to remeber about higher temperature. The dissolved oxygen in the water decreases. Therefore, add an airstone or turn the filter level higher so that the DO will be replenished.
 
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