FAQs on (Aquarium, Epsom...) Salts/Use in
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 Diseases, Nutritional Disease, Ich/White Spot Disease,
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FAQs on: Salt Use for
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Bloat, by type of salt: Table/NaCl, Epsom/MgSO4, Seawater, & Freshwater Medications,
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Can Epsom salt be used for Ich?
Hope you are doing fine. Thanks for maintaining an incredible website,
it is so helpful.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
A quick question: Along with heat, can we use Epsom salt instead of NaCl
to treat freshwater ich?
I am not getting a definitive answer from the interweb. In case we can,
what will be a ballpark gm/US gallons mixing advice?
I was wondering if the osmotic pressure difference between the Ich
protozoan's tissue (in the free swimming stage) and the water is what
them. In that case any salt that is not detrimental otherwise should
<In theory that sounds fine, but Epsom salt has other properties, such
as its laxative effect, that sodium chloride does not; therefore the two
Or is there something special about NaCl and ich biochemically?
<Might well be, but the research is lacking. If you visit Google Scholar
you'll find much research involving Ichthyophthirius and sodium
but so far as I can tell, none at all re: Ichthyophthirius and magnesium
Re: For Neale Monks (Salt Use, article)
Byron; please excuse the kibitzing, but am on this side of "the pond" (Neale's
in the UK), and have scanned your msg. (the rising pH is okay...)
and want to know if you'd consent to our posting your attached article (on WWM)
for others edification. Bob Fenner
Re: For Neale Monks
I would be very honoured. Is anything therein amiss...need any corrections I
<I don't think so; do run grammar/spell-checks on everything in time though>
<Again, thank you. Bob Fenner>
Re: For Neale Monks 12/9/15
Well, after a week, I think I have some success to report. I have no method to
weigh salt, so I used your 1 tsp = 6 grams and over several hours increased the
salt content accordingly a week ago Sunday (Nov 29), having earlier raised the
temp to 82F/28C as well. I lowered the water an inch so the filter return
splashed quite a bit, to ensure good oxygen exchange.
Aside from increased respiration, no abnormal effects, so stayed with this until
this past Sunday (Dec 6) when I turned down the heat to 25C and did a 50% water
change. I saw almost no flashing during this past week, and have observed none
yesterday or this morning. Respiration has slowed but is still a bit more than
"normal," but the barbs and lemon tetra are no longer remaining directly in the
filter stream with clamped fins. I will continue to monitor. Obviously there is
some salt still present, and I will do the next water change next Sunday, as
normal, unless something develops in the interim.
On the pH buffering...it was 6.2 before any treatments, and after the aragonite
I mentioned, it went up to 6.4 and has remained in the 6.4 to 6.6 range now for
over a week, tested daily at the same time. I assume this is OK.
I understood about the water volume and had calculated accordingly. This is a
90g, and I assume there is probably about 70-75 gallons of water taking into
account the substrate and wood and rock. I use the 70g for medication purposes
as it is probably safer.
I also fully accept about the uselessness of salt on a general regular basis.
I wrote an article on this a few years back for a forum I was on, when the issue
kept coming up. I used your articles as some of my references.
I've been lucky in my 25 years of fish keeping, with no disease issues until
quite recently. I've dealt with ich a couple times, and Velvet once, many years
ago, but otherwise nothing. I never quarantined fish. As I say, it was just
luck, coupled with good sources. But all this changed about four years ago when
some internal protozoan came in with new fish, twice in
three years. I cured both with Metronidazole in the food. This present problem
that turned up over a year ago and has persisted on and off is only my third
real disease issue in 25 years, and all three have originated with fish from the
same source store. Since that second protozoan issue, I have been quarantining
new fish for several weeks, at least five, sometimes more; this last "parasitic"
whatever got through my quarantine. I won't even enter that particular store,
and now only deal with direct importers or two local independent stores, and I
have never had any disease with any of their fish.
I QT regardless, as I say; I learned the hard way, as many do.
I will let you know of any developments with this particular issue. On a more
general note, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss some things with you
now and then, if that is agreeable. I have read most of your articles, and
regular advice in PFK, and I have often used your name and advice in threads on
Tropical Fish Forums where I am presently "living." I don't want to be a
Kind regards, and thank you so very much for your continuing assistance.
Yes, am on the Old World side of the Atlantic… at the moment rather sick as
well, so not been checking in to WWM as often as possible.
I assume adding the salt caused no apparent stress in your fish? I hope not. It
does sound as if the infection has cleared up a bit if the flashing has stopped.
It will take a few days for fish to regenerate damaged gill tissue, so slightly
laboured breathing may persist. I’m wondering if Velvet was your problem here.
Velvet seems to go for the gills first and often remains in tanks at a
below-obvious level (unlike Whitespot) stressing the fish without killing them.
It’s also slightly more difficult to kill compared to Whitespot in my
experience. Also note that there are some strains of “super Whitespot” out there
that resist standard medications and need two or three rounds of treatment to be
As Bob rays, the rising pH is fine, and as ever, a more neutral pH is rather
better than a pH closer to 6… better for the bacteria, I mean, which prefer
alkaline conditions, and if the filter bacteria are happy, then the fish tend to
be happy too. Outside of specialist tanks (Discus, blackwater, etc.) and
breeding tanks, there’s little value aiming for a pH of 6.2, say.
Thanks for your kind words.
Byron Hosking's Salt for FW Use Article
Byron; would you please re-send your salt use article? BobF
Here it is Bob. B.
Posted w/ credit to you: Salt and the Freshwater Aquarium by Byron Hosking
Re: For Neale Monks 12/11/15
Thank you indeed.
<Thank you Byron. BobF>