Knowing when to use aquarium salt for betta is crucial for any aquarist, both beginners and experts alike. It’s because adding salt can either be extremely beneficial or dangerous for your fish. So, it’s important that you are able to differentiate between each situation.
Today, you will find out the right way and time to use aquarium salt. This includes the right dosage and conditions. When done correctly, it can be an incredible medicine for various diseases.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
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What Is Aquarium Salt?
So, what exactly is aquarium salt, and what makes it so special? Seen with the naked eye, they may look exactly like your regular salt. Both types of salt actually have the same chemical formula, which is a 1:1 ratio of chloride to sodium. However, it is not the same as giving table salt for your betta fish!
Aquarium salt does not contain the same additives as table salt. While the former is simply evaporated seawater, the latter is usually mixed with flavoring, coloring, and other chemicals for eating.
Remember never to use your standard salt in an aquarium, as it can disrupt the water quality and harm the residents. This includes table salt and marine salt.
Aquarium salt can be extremely beneficial, but it’s also known to replenish important electrolytes that can help maintain the health of betta fishes.
Now that you know what aquarium salt really is, let’s see what its benefits are.
Benefits of Aquarium Salt For Bettas
Aquarium salt can be great for a betta tank not only because it can treat specific diseases, but its other health benefits. There are mixed beliefs on whether it works as a preventative measure, but plenty of evidence shows that it is effective.
Note that it’s still crucial to stick to a minimum dosage daily, which we will get into later on. Meanwhile, here are how aquarium salt can benefit your bettas:
Keep water clean from parasites
One of the most common causes of infections and diseases is harmful parasites. These creatures can and will attack betta fish and other species, and wreak havoc in your tank. The solution? Keep your aquarium as clean as you can.
The good news is that aquarium salt can suppress their population, as they generally can’t thrive in salty waters. Of course, it’s difficult to completely eliminate all parasites from a tank, but at least this will inhibit their reproduction process.
Reduce nitrate and nitrite levels
In addition, aquarium salt can help reduce the amount of nitrates and nitrites in your tank. An abundance of these compounds can cause methemoglobinemia, which is a type of blood disorder. Check out our complete guide to the nitrogen cycle to know more about nitrates, nitrites, and other nitrogen compounds.
Improve betta’s coat, gills, and health
Many hobbyists have found that adding aquarium salt can help a betta improve its slime coat. This in turn protects them from parasites, fungus, and bacteria. Similarly, it makes their kidney function more efficient too as they can now remove water more easily from their body. The same goes to their gills!
The most important benefit of aquarium salt: it can cure diseases and treat some conditions. It’s not a serious medication that is guaranteed to cure your fish but is often a great starting point to treat a disease, especially mild ones.
First, aquarium salt for betta fin rot is a popular remedy. Symptoms include decay on the fin, red spots, discoloration, and other bodily damage. The most common cause is poor water quality, so you have to act quickly once you notice the tank water looking cloudy and dirty.
Ich is also a common problem in betta tanks, which can produce white spots on their body. Infected fishes will also lose their appetite and energy. Meanwhile, dropsy is a dangerous condition that causes your betta to be antisocial and refuse to eat. Their body may show unusual scales shaped like pinecones.
Finally, aquarium salt can be used to treat mild cases of velvet. This is caused by bacteria that latch on your betta’s body as gold-like dust. If your fish is infected and suffering from velvet, they may feel itchy and rub their body against gravel or plants.
Using Aquarium Salt for your Betta Tank
It’s mostly advantageous to add some aquarium salt to your betta’s home, especially if they are alone in a tank. However, know when it would be inappropriate.
Not if you have live plants
If there are lots of live plants in your aquarium, it’s generally better to avoid aquarium salt. Plants are fragile and may not be able to survive in saline conditions, so they will only break down and die. This would add unnecessary dirt to your tank.
But if the living plants are Java Fern, Java Moss, and Anubias, then adding aquarium salt would be no problem.
Not if you have any scale-less fish
You also should not do this if there’s any scale-less fish living in the tank. In fact, it is dangerous for a fish with no scales to come in contact with salt. It will dry their slime coat and make them much more susceptible to infections. Plus, this will weaken their immune system too.
How Much Salt to Use in an Aquarium?
Using too much aquarium salt in a betta tank can be more harmful than beneficial. So, how much aquarium salt should you add per gallon of water?
When trying to perform a salt bomb, which should only be done during severe cases only, you’re trying to expose your betta to a lot of salt in less time.
Prepare two containers, one containing a gallon of water and some aquarium salt, and another with a gallon of water and 1/4 of the recommended amount from the manufacturer. Heat up the water to around 80F.
Move your infected betta to the first container for 8-10 minutes, which will help them adapt to the new environment. Make sure not to leave them longer than this! Then, move them to the second container for 5 minutes.
Once they have re-adapted, the betta fish can return to their regular aquarium. This is one of the safest ways to treat your betta with a salt bomb.
What About Regular Salt?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, adding table salt in a betta tank is a massive no-no.
You may think you can just use regular salt instead of worrying about buying aquarium salt. However, this should be avoided at all costs.
Regular salt has additives in it which are going to be harmful or even lethal to your betta. Table salt contains dangerous additives that may be harmful for a betta fish. You should only do this treatment using special aquarium salt.
When it comes down to its, adding a bit of aquarium salt to your betta tank can be quite beneficial. Just do it with care and moderation, and not before you do your research. This could even be a great part of their care. Good luck!