Back to Back Issues Page
The Goldfish Gazette, Issue #101 When to use salt
May 31, 2022

Goldfish Care Tips

A Free Monthly Resource For Goldfish Enthusiasts
May 2022
Issue #101

In This Issue
When to use salt

Salt should be in every Goldfish Keepers' medicine cabinet as it cures most Goldfish illnesses and acts as an immune system tonic.

When To Use Salt

This Gazette issue number (101) is appropriate for the subject, because placing a sick Goldfish into a salt bath is the first action that should be taken, whether you know what the ailment is or not.

Salt will treat 95% of Goldfish illnesses, so knowing exactly what illness your fish has isn’t too important initially. Salt provides the time needed to diagnose the illness and importantly its cause, as some illnesses can overwhelm a fish within days if nothing is done.

Salt Dosage

I first started using salt for treating fish successfully decades ago without following any specific dosage.

Research later confirmed the most effective dosage is 0.3% in solution or one tablespoon per gallon (4 grams per liter). Salt is one of the few chemicals where an exact dosage isn’t necessary, the only requirement being that enough is used.

Many aquarists use the dosage suggested on packets of aquarium salt of one tablespoon per 5 gallons, but at this strength, it is barely effective. Goldfish can stand up to 0.9% in solution or 3 tablespoons per gallon if it is administered gradually over 24 hours, but this strength is rarely necessary.

Multiple short duration salt baths seem a popular suggestion on some media platforms to treat diseases.

While even a short salt bath will help most conditions, for example, a fish infested with protozoan parasites, any secondary conditions caused by the parasites such as fungus or redness require a prolonged bath until evidence of healing is seen.

Salt can be used with other medications but I tend to lower the dose to one teaspoon per gallon and use it as an immune system boost.

Salt or Epsom Salts?

Salt and Epsom Salts are two different minerals (sodium chloride and magnesium sulfate) and are used to treat different conditions.

Epsom salts are used for treating digestive problems and to relieve swelling in dropsy.

Salt is used for all bacterial, fungal, and some parasitical conditions.

Continuous Use or Not?

There is a lot of debate on whether salt should be added to Goldfish aquarium water at each water change or not.

As we know, Goldfish can tolerate high concentrations of salt in their water.

I will throw a handful of salt in an aquarium if I suspect the fish may not be in top condition.

I don’t add salt to ponds nor do I use salt with fry unless there is a problem.

Aquarists adding salt in small quantities at each water change will not harm their fish whatsoever, and where a water source is low in dissolved minerals, it will actually improve the quality of the water.

I have no proof of this but I suspect some Asian breeders use salt in their rearing ponds. If this is the case, adding salt would benefit fish that have been raised in water with high salt concentrations.

Although Goldfish will be unaffected by small concentrations of salt in their water, be aware that some plants and fish species have a very low tolerance to salt, especially some algae eaters.

Always treat Goldfish in a hospital tank for this reason if you have a planted community aquarium.

Aquarium Salt or Cooking Salt

It is sometimes more convenient to purchase a packet of aquarium salt, but I have never used anything other than plain un-iodized cooking salt available at your local food outlet for a fraction of the cost of aquarium salt.

The cooking salt must be 100% salt only with no additives such as a pouring agent.

If you have a larger requirement for salt, the large sacks of salt sold for swimming pool filters is very cost effective.

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 to be covered.

Next Month's Topic

Tumors in Goldfish

Back to Back Issues Page