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FAQs on (Aquarium, Epsom...) Salts/Use in Freshwater for Ich, Whitespot Disease

Related Articles: Salts (Marine, Table/NaCl, Epsom): Use in Freshwater Aquariums & Ponds by Neale Monks, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, FW Disease Troubleshooting, Freshwater DiseasesNutritional Disease, Ich/White Spot Disease

Related FAQs: Using Salts in Freshwater 1, FW Salt Use 2,
FAQs on: Salt for Treating PopEye, Salt for Treating Bloat, by type of salt: Table/NaCl, Epsom/MgSO4, Seawater, Rift Valley Salt Mix, &
Freshwater Medications, Aquarium Maintenance, Ich/White Spot DiseaseAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease

Salt/heat method.

Related FAQs: FW Ich 1, FW Ich 2, FW Ich 3, FW Ich 4, FW Ich 5, FW Ich 6, FW Ich 7, & FAQs on:  FW Ich Causes, Etiology, Diagnosis, Ich Remedies That Work, Phony Ich Remedies That Don't Work, Ich Remedy Sensitive Livestock, Ich Cases,

E-mail for Neale
Salt use for FW Ich     2/7/13
I was wondering how much salt to treat the Ich in the 46 gallon with angelfish? Angelfishusa.com said 8 tablespoons and 88-90 degrees for two days. I did 2 tablespoons and 85F for four days and the black angelfish is more active,  but still has the Ich or velvet spots. I have the other smaller angelfish in with him, but I think the smaller guy is taking his food. Thank you
<46 US gallons is 175 litres, but you can knock 10% off for rocks and such, so that's 158 litres. So at 2 gram/litre, that's 316 grams. Take out a litre or two of water out of the aquarium into a bucket, dissolve in the salt, then pour back in, preferably in stages across 20 minutes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: E-mail for Neale    2/7/13

So I will leave that much salt in for two days and then do a huge water change??
<Will take more than 2 days… would leave a week, or two. No risk to the fish. 2 g/l is a trivially low salinity -- not brackish water!>
I think I will put the other smaller angelfish back in the 10 gallon.
<Why? They're infected. All fish in a tank where one has Whitespot will very likely be infected, regardless of the lack of symptoms. Treat all at the same time. As Bob would say, do buy, read a good quality fish health book. All this has been covered in depth.>
Thank you
<Welcome. Neale.>

Re: Quick question re: dipping... FW Ich trtmt.    5/31/11
Neale - Thanks for your reply.
<You're welcome.>
I did use the heat/salt on the cardinals, but I caught it too late. I bought the rid-Ich+ well before I started reading at WetWebMedia, and I can vouch for the heat/salt method working better than the medication. Gotten through 2 cases of Ich with zero fish loss using the heat/salt. I do have a question about pH, though. I live in an area where all of our water comes off the mountains and is very hard with high pH. I use a mix of mostly distilled water with a bit of treated tap water when changing the water in my main tank and my quarantine tank. I tested my water a few weeks ago and found the KH was 4, the GH was 6 and the pH was 8.6.
<Although the pH isn't ideal, the general hardness and carbonate hardness are acceptable for South American fish generally. I am a bit confused why the pH is so high. Can you get the pH tested again with a different test kit or device? General hardness (degrees dH) generally doesn't affect pH, whereas carbonate hardness (degrees KH) does. Once the KH value dips below 5 degrees, you should find pH hovers around 7.5, and the lower the KH value, the more likely you'll be to see an acidic pH if there are acidic chemicals in the water, such as tannins. If all else fails, try a 75% RO/25% tap water blend to see if that's better, or else use 100% RO and add Amazon buffer salts as used for Discus keeping.>
In my main tank, I added DIY CO2 until I can afford a better CO2 system.
It's a 35 tall with 5 black Neons, 5 Neons, 2 SAE and several cherry shrimp. The pH dropped down to 7.4 and has held constant there, but I plan on changing the ratio of distilled water and treated tap water to bring the GH down a bit more and see if it doesn't bring the pH down even more. (On a side note, I would like to say that simply adding the DIY CO2 cleared up a stubborn case of black bush algae that was smothering my plants. I have been battling that for months, and adding the CO2 cleared it up in one week.)
<Yes, adding CO2 will do little/no good if the fast-growing plants aren't there to use it, and if you have strong lighting, then again, algae can pick up the slack before your plants get established. It's a tough balance to get right.>
Now that I've reset up my quarantine tank, it's getting the 4 KH, 6 GH and 8.6 pH numbers, too. I want to lower the pH, but don't have any plans to add CO2 to this tank. No plants. But I've read mixed reviews on peat moss.
<Would skip this.>
I don't care about the coloration in this tank. If the water goes tea colored, I'm fine with that.
<And your fish will be very happy. But at low carbonate hardness levels the acidity drop can be rapid and unpredictable. If you do want to do this, try something like Eheim Peat Granulate. Use a small amount at first, perhaps a tablespoon in a media bag in the filter, and leave for a month to see what happens. Check pH at least weekly. Adjust the amount of peat up or down as required.>
But I've read about people having issues with the pH remaining constant, and I'm afraid it still won't lower the pH enough.
<Would not use peat to control pH -- too difficult to predict. Better to use a standard pH buffer such as some brand of Discus buffer/Amazon salts, and then use the peat purely for cosmetic reasons, to tint the water.>
During water changes, I'm only using a half gallon of tap water as it is, and I don't really want to go all distilled, from what I've read.
<Indeed not, 100% RO water without any buffering salts would be dangerous if not lethal for your fish.>
How much will peat moss drop my pH? And what about my water hardness? Will it drop that too much if I'm starting at 6 GH already? And have you heard anything about the peat balls found here:
<Worth a shot, but again, approach with caution, and start off using a minimal quantity until you know what happens.>
Thanks again for all your help,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Fish Tolerance to Aquarium Salt   7/1/10
I discovered today that I have an Ich outbreak in my 20 gallon tank which I attribute to the mollies that I just added. As I am going away for the weekend on Friday, I would like to use the heat/salt method to treat the tank. I am worried, however, that some of my fish will not tolerate the salt. The tank is stocked with: 4 Mollies, 2 Platies, 3 Danios, and 1 Bristlenose Pleco. Is it ok to add salt to a tank with these fish or should I only raise the temperature and skip the salt? If the salt will work, how much would you recommend using? Also, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all good. Thank you in advance for all of
your help.
<At the low dose required -- 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon -- salt will not cause any stress to your fish. Indeed, the key thing about salt is that it is LESS stressful to freshwater fish that the more widely used alternatives such as formalin. That's why you use salt when medicating sensitive fish like stingrays and Mormyrids. In fact I just finished using the salt/heat method to treat an aquarium of my own that contained soft water fish including Corydoras, a whiptail catfish, a cherry-fin loach and Celebes halfbeaks. One quick tip though: add the salt it batches. Count up how many teaspoons of salt you need, add to a jug of warm water, and then add that to the aquarium in 3-4 batches across an hour or two. Cheers, Neale.>

Ick Problem/ Dilemma 12/23/09
I got home from work today to discover one of my platys has Ick. I'm going to visit my parents for Christmas and I leave tomorrow afternoon. I don't have another tank to put the platy in. Should I treat the tank for Ich ASAP and perform a water change right before I leave? (20 hours from now). My room mate was going to feed the fish while I was gone, but I don't think he's going to want/ be able to perform a water change. I will be gone for 10 days.
Thanks again WetWebMedia for the invaluable help.
<Just treat using the salt/heat method.
This will cause no problems for your Platies, and the Ick parasite life cycle will be broken. If you're keeping Platies on their own or with other livebearers, then you can raise the specific gravity up to 1.003 (5-6 grammes/litre). Otherwise, aim for about half that dose. Raise the temperature to 25 degrees C, maybe slightly higher (Platies as you know should be kept cooler most of the time, 22-24 C being the ideal, much above that being stressful over the long term). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ick Problem/ Dilemma

So performing a 50% water change with a good gravel vacuum before I go, treat with aquarium salt, and raise the temperature should be sufficient.
And hope for the best over the next 10 days?
<Well, they will need some food. Feeding blocks are useless, but a couple of blanched lettuce leaves and a wedge of courgette should keep them going, Platies being herbivores. Weight these down with that lead strip used to hold aquarium plants in place.>
I have 3 gouramis and a Pleco in the tank, will this change anything?
<Not really.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Ick Problem/ Dilemma

With a 25 gallon aquarium with fish other than live bearers (gouramis), am I right in assuming I should add 25-30g of salt?
Thanks again,
<In US gallons, you're aiming for 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon. One level teaspoon is about 6 grammes, or 0.22 oz. Cheers, Neale.>

Salt in Freshwater -- 06/07/07 Hey crew, thanks again for all your hard work! <Hello, and you're welcome.> I was in one the chain pet stores the other day and noticed they had bowls of salt in almost every tank. Just small bowls full of undissolved salt. I was told it was a preventative measure, they were not treating anything specific. <Utterly inexplicable.> Since I'm currently treating a small case of Ich using salt and increased temps, I know the uses of salt in freshwater, how to mix, etc (plenty of great information out there on the subject). <Much information, but little value. Salt, that is, NaCl or plain old cooking salt, has no real value in freshwater fishkeeping any more. I cannot express in words strongly enough on a family web site like this how annoyed I get by the widespread use of salt in freshwater aquaria. It's a hangover from the past, when people didn't have access to medications and didn't understand the value of water chemistry. But that time has passed... frequent water changes make the value of salt as a nitrite/nitrate de-toxifier unimportant, and as a therapy for Whitespot and fungus it's less effective than proper medications and likely to stress soft water fish as well as fish adapted to Malawi/Tanganyika conditions. I shudder to think how many fish have died from Whitespot and fungus because people used a "teaspoon per gallon" salt instead of proper medication of some type.> But after hours of searching, I cannot find a reference to this practice of placing a small container into the tank. Everything I have found is very clear that you should dissolve the salt and slowly add it to the tank over a couple of days when treating a health issue. <Correct. Dumping salt in the tank "as is" sounds insane, to me.> What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of simply leaving a cup of salt sitting in the corner of the tank? It just seems like a bad idea. <There are no pros at all. Lots of cons. It's so obviously crazy I can't think why anyone would do this. For one thing, you end up with a bizarre salinity gradient from the freshwater parts of the tank to the hypersaline corner where the salt mound is. While a few brackish water fish might find this kind of funky, I dread to think what Neons and angelfish would make of it. If fish eat mouthfuls of salt for some reason, they're going to go into osmotic shock. To me, this is sort of like dumping a block of uranium in the bedroom and saying its preventative chemotherapy.> Thanks again, Billy <Cheers, Neale>

Salt Treatment For Ich - 10/22/2006 Hi there. I have a few questions regarding the use of aquarium salt as treatment for Ich. My first question involves my husbands Goldfish tank. My husband has a 10 gallon tank containing 3 Fancy Tail Goldfish, 2 Royal Plecos, 1 Rubber Pleco and a yellow Apple Snail. I know the tank is overstocked, the 10 gallon was meant as only temporary quarters. The PH is 7.0, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0 and Nitrate is 20. Temperature is maintained at 76F. A much larger tank is on its way. My husband just purchased the 2 Royal Plecos approx. two days ago. Both appeared fine when he got them and he did not quarantine. I just did a 25% water change on the tank and happened to notice that both Royal Plecos are now lightly dusted with white spots. Dreaded Ich! None of the other fish are showing signs at present so I'm more than fairly certain that the Royals were already infected when they were introduced to the tank. I have successfully treated Ich, using a salt/heat combo, in two of my tanks (Severum/Channel Cat tank and a Livebearer tank) in the past and would like to use salt as my medication of choice. Can the Goldfish, Plecos and Snail all handle the level of salt and heat needed for treatment? I use normal Aquarium Salt. 2 Tablespoons per 5 gallons, raise the temperature to 80F and allow to remain for 10 days. Would this be okay for my husbands tank? I'm most worried about the safety with the snail. Would it be best to move him/her to a covered container (my quarantine tank is occupied so I can't place it there), like an old butter dish with holes poked in the lid, while the salt/heat treatment is happening in the main tank? <IMO salt is the way to go. But the snail gets thirty days in QT without fish, or salt. He can not be infected but he can carry it in and on his shell. A month without a fish host will starve out the parasite.> My second question involves my Angelfish community tank. I have a False Juli Leopard Cory Cat, 3 Peppered Cory Cats, 2 Panda Cory Cats and approx. 20 pea to nickel sized Angelfish in this tank. PH is 7.0, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0 and Nitrate is 25. Temperature is 78F. Yesterday, one of my husband's Goldfish uprooted a plastic plant in their tank so I removed it and placed it into my Angelfish tank. The plant was still wet when I placed it into the Angel tank. I'm afraid that I may have infected my tank via the plant. Is this possible? Nobody in the Angel tank has been acting ill. No flashing or other signs of Ich. Would I be wise to go ahead and use salt/heat in this tank as well? I have several rare varieties of Angels in this tank and don't wish to lose any. I've heard that Corys and Angels don't tolerate salt well but others have said they do fine. Which is true? Would my 2 Tablespoons per 5 gallon be safe and tolerable for both species? Is there a lower concentration I could use that would be just as effective against Ich? Should I wait and see if anyone develops Ich before adding salt to this tank or do you feel I'd do well to head it off before it hits by treating as I would if they were actively showing signs of infection? Thanks for your prompt help. Heather <You are correct to be worried. I would salt the tank now. I salted my Corys while they were in QT without a problem. But this does go against "common knowledge". Something I seem to do a lot. If they seem stressed do a small, salt free, water change to lower the concentration. Another method would be to use heat alone. But you would need to get the temp up to about 90 and add extra airstones. Don>

Salted Fish Hi, First of all, I wanted to let you know that your website has been very helpful in learning how to care for, and diagnosing problems with my fish. About a week ago I bought an Oranda, who resides by himself in a 10 gallon aquarium. Before purchasing him, I had the tank set up with the filter running for about 3 weeks. My fish seemed fine for the first few days in the aquarium (I did partial water changes almost daily to make sure that toxic levels would be low using Nutrafin Aqua Plus and having the water sit overnight, and I've been using Nutrafin Cycle), but then I found him sitting at the bottom of the tank, not moving, with his fins clamped. He would start swimming around feeding time, still having his usual appetite, but would flash and try to scratch his sides along the bottom of the tank when not resting. I did a water change, and tested the tank water, and everything seemed fine. Finally, a few days later, I managed to spot the Ich (he's a calico so it was hard to see at first against the white of his tail). I immediately started salting the tank at 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon every 12 hours (3 doses). The last dose was yesterday, and he has been swimming around the tank looking much happier than he's been over the past few days, though still has a lot of Ich, especially on his tail, and the dorsal fin is still down. Is there anything else I should be doing? Also, this morning I noticed a red mark/hole on the top of his head (it looks like blood), possibly from him trying to scratch at the Ich (there was some on his head). Should I be putting something on it? Do you know what it could be? As of this morning, the ammonia measured just under 1.0 mg with PH being 7.7, and Nitrites about  0.15mg. I will have to do a water change soon, and when I do, should I put 3 teaspoons of salt into the aquarium right away (per gallon of water I remove during the water change), or do I do it in 12 hour installments again? How long should I keep the salt in the tank for? Thank you for your time, any help is appreciated! Lisa <Hi Lisa, Don here. You are on the right course using salt to kill the Ich. But I'm not a big fan of dosing at these high levels when measuring by volume. You really should weigh it or use a refractor. The size of the salt crystals make a big difference in how much salt you are really adding when you measure this way. The proper amount of salt for a 10 gallon tank is 76 grams. With fine grain salt this is around a 1/8 of a cup. With course aquarium salt it is over a quarter cup. Big difference. Please read the two links below. The first is a great article on Ich. Please take note of the lifecycle and continue treatment for at least 2 weeks after the last spot drops. Always do water changes from the bottom using a gravel vac. Mix the same concentration of salt into the replacement water before adding it to the tank. You want the salt high, but steady. If during treatment the fish suddenly looses a large number of spots do a water change. The Ich is not dead. It has dropped off and is alive in the gravel preparing to reproduce. The second link is on freshwater cycling. It was great to allow the tank to run for three weeks before stocking, and even greater that you are testing. But unless you added an ammonia source to feed the bacteria a cycle did not start. Even if you did establish the bacteria the salt will stress or kill them. But the solution for all your problems, even the scrape on his head, is the same. Water changes with salt for the Ich. Do as many water changes as it takes to keep both ammonia and nitrite near zero. 50% daily is not out of line, even twice a day is OK if you see the spots drop. Good luck.>   http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm  

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