Daro – Aquarium Salt
Should aquarium salt be used in freshwater tanks? Some people recommend dosing it all the time to provide fish with essential electrolytes, while others say it’s mostly used for treating diseases. After years of testing with hundreds of fish, we’ve witnessed the true power of salt. Sodium chloride (NaCl) is one of the best, all-encompassing “medications” on the market that’s effective against bacteria, fungus, and external parasites. We love it because it’s cheap, readily available in all countries, never expires, and can be easily used in low to high concentrations.
However, the reason why we typically recommend our trio of medications to beginners is because different kinds of fish have different tolerance levels to salt, and it can be hard to figure out and remember the correct dosage for each species. Another disadvantage is that salt cannot be used with most live plants and snails. Finally, it’s easy to accidentally overdose salt, which may kill everything (not just the bacteria) in your freshwater aquarium. Nevertheless, with accurate measurements and careful usage, both new and experienced fish keepers can benefit from this highly effective remedy.
How Does Aquarium Salt Work?
Salt essentially causes death by dehydration. By raising the salinity of the aquarium water, water is sucked out of the bacteria, fungus, or parasite as osmosis seeks to balance the salt concentration on each side of its membrane or skin. These tiny microorganisms dehydrate faster than the fish (because the fish has more mass and stored water), and therefore the pathogens end up dying before their hosts do. However, some microorganisms can withstand higher salinity, which is why salt is not a 100% bulletproof solution.
Through the power of osmosis, aquarium salt is able to eliminate many pathogens and parasites on fish.
Should I Use Salt All the Time?
No, sodium chloride salt should not be used on a daily basis as a preventative measure or health booster. It would be like a healthy person misusing antibiotics and taking a pill every day to minimize risk of infection – eventually a superbug may appear that is resistant to the antibiotic and then your treatment options are greatly limited. In the same way, any fish disease that gets past your protective “salt barrier” will be quite resilient and require a much higher salt concentration to cure, which may be detrimental to the fish. Instead, if you use salt sparingly only when necessary, it becomes a powerful tool to add to your arsenal.