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TOPIC: (Not) Using Salt in your Oscar tank

(Not) Using Salt in your Oscar tank 4 years 4 months ago #162

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...by Saluki

I already posted this in the Salt thread, but I feel it is important enough to bear repeating. I am on a roll today.

It has already been beaten to death, but I will lay it out one more time clearly:

1. Salt is something that helps under certain circumstances (injury, some infections), but only under medicinal doses, which are much higher than most aquarists would use as a "tonic".

2. Salt used at medicinal dosages will mess up the osmotic processes of (non brackis) freshwater fish over the long term, and should only be used for short periods (a few weeks at most) for treatment of specific conditions.

3. It really does not matter what salt you use. Table salt will work, even if it is iodized. The iodine concentrations in table salt will not be harmful to your fish over the short term.

4. Some fish, particularly scaleless fish are particularly sensitive to salt and special care should be taken when treating problems with these fish. Generally, the dosages will need to be lower.

5. "Tonic" dosages, in other words dosages much lower than medicinal dosages used continuously, will not benefit your fish, and can cause potential problems if you are not very careful about keeping up with your dosing schedule. Salt does not evaporate. The only way it leaves your tank is through water changes. Keeping salt levels constant requires knowledge, recordkeeping, and consistancy. For these reasons, I strongly recommend against its use as a tonic.

6. In most cases, your tap water has plenty of minerals/electrolytes/etc. for your oscar.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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(Not) Using Salt in your Oscar tank 4 years 4 weeks ago #3574

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A little confused about number 5.
I have been using a "tonic" dosage of salt after every water change in my 55 gal. tank for about 4 months now, so should I continue to keep up with this or should I stop? What would be better. I have an Oscar, Plecco and 3 African Cichlids. I figured a small amount of salt in the tank would help keep any harmful bacteria/infections/etc. at a minimum. I have had no problems my fish since I began this.
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(Not) Using Salt in your Oscar tank 4 years 4 weeks ago #3577

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What concentration are you using? You say you had no problems since starting. Did you before?

I use straight tap water treated with Prime for all my fish. I don't bother checking temp, pH or anything. Nice big water changes too. Adding stuff just complicates things.
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(Not) Using Salt in your Oscar tank 4 years 4 weeks ago #3584

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I can't tell you the exact concentration...I just follow the directions for the API aquarium salt... About 2/3 cup for 55 gal. I don't have a hydrometer yet, so I couldn't tell you the exact salinity/gravity. This is like every week to two weeks, when I do the water change. And I change anywhere from 25% to 50% water depending on how dirty it is.
I had some issues with fin rot before I started salt, but I also had a large group of African cichlids, so there was a lot of fighting and biting. I got rid of mostly all of them and only have two now, the friendlier pair.
I just heard that if I kept a small quantity of salt in my tank it would help heal injuries/ cure diseases, etc. But this is the first time I have ever played with any salt before, and it seems to be working great, but I'm worried about any long term effects and I'm worried about my plecco... I have no algae build up in my tank because of the salt, he eats the algae pellets that I feed him, but shouldn't he have some live algae to munch on too? some people say that he should.
Also, I don't mess with the pH unless its very bad, which this almost never happens. I keep my heater set to 72 so it doesn't get too cold and it never goes above 80 during a hot week, so I never have to worry about the temp either. Most of the time I do nothing to my tank, just the basic water changes, filter changes, salt addition and occasional pH.
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(Not) Using Salt in your Oscar tank 4 years 4 weeks ago #3585

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Oh and treated tap water also with a primer/ dechlorinater.
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(Not) Using Salt in your Oscar tank 4 years 4 weeks ago #3587

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Of course there are exceptions.
Kmuda has an Oscar that develops pitting if salt is discontinued.
If there is sufficient tank space and filtration, and the water quality is maintained with frequent water changes, it usually is not required.
I would stop using it and see what happens.
If you see fin rot, first ensure all your other standard parameters (ammonia/nitrite/nitrate) are OK.
If your PH is stable anywhere between 6 and 8 is no problem.
Far more damage is done by attempting to change PH than by it being off some imaginary number.
My PH is 7.4 to 7.6 and I've kept Africans and SA cichlids with no apparent issues.
If they all check out, see if it improves by adding salt again.
Fin rot is usually a water quality issue.

:)
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