Why does everyone always recommend salt as a cure to everything at first?

  • I always remember in Facebook groups or on some fish forums where it seems the first few people always “highly” recommend salt (even when in tanks with plants, shrimp, snails, or sensitive species) as a general cure to every single type of parasite, infection, fungus, or more. Is there any reason for this? I highly doubt salt is a cure all as what is being told.

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  • I believe that it is due to an old tale where salt would magically cure a vast majority of bacterial, external parasite, and some fungal infections due to its properties (and the fact that anything in freshwater really isn’t designed to handle salt at any level). It’s a very common medicine used for general cures due to this, however it can be pretty dangerous if used too frequently (you’ll turn your freshwater tank into a brackish tank, or kill off any snails and plants you may have) and tends to be recommended very incorrectly. A lot of people tend to recommend the same amount no matter what fish you have, which some fish are more or less salt tolerant up to specific levels.

    Is it a generic cure all? No - but it can help with a lot, cure more things that most medicines can (since they are very specific), and does help time to time by allowing for the fish to generate a new, thicker slime coat.

    Are all salts the same? No - there are a few different salts out there that all do specifically different things (for example table salt is not the same as marine water salt). All salts have different compounds o minerals in them that provide a benefit to a specific set of aquatic animals that one may wish to keep in their aquarium.

    Should it be used all of the time? No - since things are freshwater for a reason (and not in brackish water), along with it having dangerous effects to invertebrates who are used to living in absolutely no salt. Plus, other fish can have an extremely hard time processing the salt which can cause for them to slowly die off.

    Do you need salt in your tank? No - I’d only recommend it if you have a known bacterial, fungal, or external parasite that will die from the addition of salt. Otherwise, I’d note to stay away from it all together.

  • I would recommend in the future, to double check the information that is provided by people. Not everyone has proper information on how to fix in tank issues. Salt can help, but so can other appropriate things that can be added to the tank. Really, it falls under the guise of, check twice, add once. Wouldn't want to kill whats in the tank on the first suggested item, as what is in it, is valuable and a living creature or plant. It's like bringing your dog or cat to the vet. Usually there may be something visible that doesn't need multiple checkups to figure out, but there are some things that getting the extra help to figure out, might actually benefit knowing.

  • Aquariu.ms September 23, 2021 at 2:55 PM

    Selected a post as the best answer.
  • It is not recommended to add salt to the freshwater aquariums as rightly pointed out the water would become brackish. The best way to treat parasites and stress in fishes is using the dip or bath method where the fishes are placed in salted water for five to thirty minutes or upon any distress exhibited by the fishes and placed back in the tank.

  • This seems like a frequently mentioned cure-all for human issues too :/ Too bad neither salt nor anything else is a true cure-all for problems aquatic or otherwise.

    To some extent, salt works for certain health issues for fishes while in most cases it doesn't. I think it's more like a myth now, which is why it's always being mentioned always.

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