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The Goldfish Gazette, Issue #054 -- Salt - The Wonder Chemical
June 30, 2018

Goldfish Care Tips

A Free Monthly Resource For Goldfish Enthusiasts
June 2018
Issue #054

In This Issue
Salt - The Wonder Chemical

If you keep Goldfish, you must have plain un-iodized cooking salt on hand to deal with the inevitable emergencies that crop up.

Salt - The Wonder Chemical

I often receive emails from distressed Goldfish owners because one of their fish is displaying symptoms of illness, or they have sustained an injury and they want to know what to do.

If you follow any of the Goldfish Facebook groups, you will know a large number of posts are made up of videos or images of sick fish.

Before even knowing what ailment a fish has got, it should be placed in a plain un-iodized salt bath.

What is Plain Un-iodized Salt?

Plain un-iodized salt is pure salt (sodium chloride) that can be called by a number of different names; cooking salt, plain salt, rock salt, aquarium salt.
Some cooking salt can have a pouring agent added which should be stated on the packet. It is usually added to table salt, along with iodine, so never use table salt to treat Goldfish diseases.

Plain salt can be found in any food store or supermarket and it is very cheap. The packet should say plain salt or cooking salt. Just make sure the label states the contents are at least 99.97% NaCl with no other chemical additives. Other sources, if you have a bigger setup are swimming pool chemicals suppliers. I buy 25kg sacks of salt used in swimming pool filter systems which lasts me for a year or more.

Uses For Un-iodized Salt

Quoting Dr. Erik L. Johnson, D.V.M, author of Fancy Goldfish, A Complete Guide to Care and Collecting, “Salt is the greatest bath treatment of all time. Salt is both tonic to fish and toxic to parasites.” (Dr. Johnson was referring to ciliated protozoan parasites such as Costia). Un-iodized salt should be used in the treatment of all diseases and injuries.

I specifically used the words “in the treatment of all diseases” because it doesn’t cure all diseases, but it does boost the immune system of the fish. It will also help prevent secondary diseases which is common.

An example of this is flukes. Salt won’t kill flukes (unless used as a dip), but it will stop bacterial or fungal attack of areas damaged by the flukes. Often a fungal attack is the first symptom that a fish has flukes.

Salt can and should be used alongside all other medications being used to treat an illness.

For injuries, salt is useful for maintaining the chemical balance of a fish that may be bleeding or the abdominal cavity has been punctured. The internal cavity of a Goldfish is slightly saltier than the surrounding water. If the abdominal cavity is punctured, the salts (electrolytes) inside the fish will leach out into the surrounding water. By adding salt to the water, this balance is closer and therefore the fish doesn’t lose vital electrolytes.

Emergency First Aid

Salt is the first medication to be administered to any sick fish. This buys you time until you have diagnosed what disease the fish has by controlling any secondary disease, boosting the immune system, and is possibly all you will need to treat the fish.

Salt Dosages

Goldfish can take quite high levels of salt in their water, especially if it is added gradually over 24 hours or several days.

As a tonic, I add 2-3 tablespoons of salt per 50 liters (13 US gallons, 11 Imp gallons) every total water change.

For most bacterial diseases, body or fin redness or general un-diagnosed sickness, I use a tablespoon per two gallons. (US tablespoon per US gallon, Imp tablespoon per Imp gallon). This produces a 0.15% salt solution.

To kill protozoan parasites the dosage needs to be at 0.3% solution or 1 tablespoon per gallon.

Goldfish can take up to 0.9% salt solution, but this can be too stressful for weakened fish. Always add salt to the water gradually over several hours and closely observe the fish. If it starts to tilt over on to its side, the solution is too strong.

To read more about emergency first aid, click here.
To read about other medications available to treat diseases, click here.

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine and tell me what you think, or what topics you want covered.

Next Month's Topic

Environmental Poisons

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