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Old 02-22-2014, 01:29 AM   #1
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Salt levels in freshwater tanks

Hello,

Knowing SOME salt is actually healthy for freshwater environments, I want to maintain the optimal salt PPM for my system.

29 gallon tank, filtered with a Fluval 206. Three 4-inch fancy/fan tail goldfish, one medium-sized Anubius plant (and one small snail).

Currently, I've barely got a reading on my "Instant Ocean" hydrometer —*it's about 2ppm — or between 1.000 and 1.004 on the specific gravity reading.

I'm in Las Vegas, we have MISERABLY HARD WATER in this town. I'm always mixing-in a well-rounded tablespoon of API Salt with my 5-gallon water changes, about once per week. I fear this is far below what is needed, especially to counter-act the hard water.

Where should the specific gravity readings be for a healthy environment?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer an answer —*GREATLY appreciated!

- MM007
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Four Zebra Danio; 2 Tiger Barbs. Aquarium is approx. 2 years. 29 gal freshwater; Fluval 206 (bio-mech/ammo-carb/polisher), Whisper 40 air; Current Freshwater LED. 4 Anubis plants (various sizes); one small drift wood log. Pea gravel substrate, approx. 1-1/2" deep. Avrg. Chems: Ammo=0, Rates=10ppm, Rites=0, pH=7.0, Temp=78degF
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:08 AM   #2
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At 1.000. Idk where you heard some salt is beneficial. It is not really proven that salt helps fish health IMO.
For example, Amazonian fish will die in anything above 1.000, actually most fw fish will. Just know those hydrometers are pretty inaccurate as well.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:25 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bribo12 View Post
At 1.000. Idk where you heard some salt is beneficial. It is not really proven that salt helps fish health IMO.
For example, Amazonian fish will die in anything above 1.000, actually most fw fish will. Just know those hydrometers are pretty inaccurate as well.
+1 unless you are targeting specific fish that are proven to line some salinity to their water I wouldn't bother trying. This mostly revolves around guppirs and.mollies but even then its not necessary.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:51 AM   #4
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This is for three 4" goldfish: (1) fancy tail and (2) fan tails. They're in a 30 gallon tank, filtered with a Fluval 206. Naturally, I'm battling nitrites and ammonia. I change water (about 5 gallons) once/week.

I condition my tap water with Aqueon Conditioner, and add approx. one rounded table spoon of salt per 5 gallons.

Water here in Las Vegas is ridiculously hard water - so it needs all the help it can get.
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Old 02-22-2014, 04:23 AM   #5
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The addition of salt is to aid osmoregulation - the process the fish uses to expel water and excess mineral salts etc from its body. Salt in the correct amount reduces external pressure and therefore moderates the flow of water through the skin.

The ideal salt solution for carp and goldfish is 0.3% (3g per litre)
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:46 AM   #6
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Is that 14g to a tablespoon roughly and 4 litres to a gallon sooo

3g to a litre = 12g per gallon (4litres)?

So about the same?

I don't quite understand how salt helps in very hard water?
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:19 AM   #7
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I'm in Vegas also, I put at least a table spoon (sometimes more) of sea salt in all of my tanks almost everyday, and everything seems to be good. I started out doing this to heal fins(which has helped tremendously) but I just kept up with it and I see no harm.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:57 AM   #8
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It's with the hard water that has me confused. I think a water softener will swap Na for Ca and Mg and then get rid of the Na but I don't see how this could work in a tank? Just curious.
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Old 02-22-2014, 10:55 AM   #9
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Salt levels in freshwater tanks

Salt is not needed in a FW tank unless the fish have some health issues. How does salt help hard water?
And how hard is your water, any readings?
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Old 02-22-2014, 12:27 PM   #10
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Delapool:
I do have a water softener in this house, but it bypasses the kitchen's cold water line, which is where I get the water for water changes. If I used the hot water, then I'd be shocking the fish with drastic water temp swings, not good (unless I let that water sit out for hours before adding — something I hadn't considered until this very moment...)

I'll get some readings as soon as I buy my API Test Kit (I've been using inaccurate strips for months, supply is almost depleted now)...

Gilpi:
My fish just underwent a three-week treatment for a bowel parasite; and I'm chasing some high nitrite and ammonia readings as well. So, my LFS agrees that some salt will be a good thing. I'll get some readings on the water's hardness as soon as I can get my hands on a means to read it. As it is, the test strips I use just scream at me that the water is ridiculously hard water. I'm sure this ultra-hard water is having a negative impact on both, fish and the water.
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Four Zebra Danio; 2 Tiger Barbs. Aquarium is approx. 2 years. 29 gal freshwater; Fluval 206 (bio-mech/ammo-carb/polisher), Whisper 40 air; Current Freshwater LED. 4 Anubis plants (various sizes); one small drift wood log. Pea gravel substrate, approx. 1-1/2" deep. Avrg. Chems: Ammo=0, Rates=10ppm, Rites=0, pH=7.0, Temp=78degF
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:04 PM   #11
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You can use salt to battle high nitrites. 1/15th teaspoon aquarium salt per 10g water to counteract 1ppm nitrite.

Also your not doing nearly large enough WC's. I've kept very large fancy goldies off and on since the 70's and since they produce copious amount of waste and ammonia you have to do at least 1 or 2 50% WC's weekly to keep levels low. Right now you need to do a large 50% WC, wait a couple hours, retest for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, then do another large WC as needed. You can do up to 3- 50% WC's safely in a day. Also using Prime according to directions will help ammonia and nitrites convert into a less toxic form for the fish. GF filters also need to be kept clean and usually needs cleaning more often than other types of fish tanks.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:21 PM   #12
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Rivercats,
If I may ask a few follow-up questions, given you have such experience with these larger GF:
When I clean out/rinse-off my Fluval filter elements, how far do I go with rinsing, before I damage the filter's bacterial colonies? As it is, I thoroughly rinse-out the filter elements in the sink, using straight tap water. I DO NOT rinse the ceramic or mesh mech, I leave that undisturbed. I do thoroughly rinse-out and ring-out the sponge filter material and the polyfill-like filters get rinsed thoroughly too. I do this weekly.

3 WCs per day?? Schnikees!! The only way to do that, is to use copious amounts (as prescribed of course) of the Aqueon water conditioner, add my table spoon of salt per 5 gallons, etc. Won't such WC activity harm the tank's bacterial growth? We're drifting a little off topic here, but it's all related I suppose...

I also recently scraped-away a lot of brown algae which began taking hold three weeks ago. Once the medicine treatment wrapped-up (for the parasite) and I replaced the charcoal element back into the Fluval 206, the brown algae growth seems to have slowed. I've also cut-down on the lighting. We use to run the light all day and all night...

FWIW - I feed the three 4-inch GF two frozen cubes every other day. (cube content varies between spiraling, brine shrimp, blood worms, and homemade mashed green peas)

Thanks everyone, this is all very useful info. Learning, learning, learning!
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Four Zebra Danio; 2 Tiger Barbs. Aquarium is approx. 2 years. 29 gal freshwater; Fluval 206 (bio-mech/ammo-carb/polisher), Whisper 40 air; Current Freshwater LED. 4 Anubis plants (various sizes); one small drift wood log. Pea gravel substrate, approx. 1-1/2" deep. Avrg. Chems: Ammo=0, Rates=10ppm, Rites=0, pH=7.0, Temp=78degF
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:34 PM   #13
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I use an Aqueon water changer which makes WC's very easy and I use Prime for my water as you need very little of it.

I too use Fluval 406's on my GF tanks which has 2- 8+ inch fancy's per 55g tank. I would clean every other week and first would throw away the Polyfill and add new, rinse the sponges out under tap water till the water runs clear, but I rarely ever rinse the bio-media unless it has a lot of detritus and use tank water to do this if needed.

WC's won't affect your bacteria at all since most of it lives in your filters. BB doesn't live in the water column so doing WC's won't affect it (unless you forget to declor your water).

You also shouldn't run lighting 24/7. Fish need a dark cycle so running lighting from 8 to 10 hours is enough as long as you don't have algae issues. If algae begins to form you need to lower your photoperiod.

Right now you need to do the large WC's to bring ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels down to safe levels. It can be a chore keeping water parameters good in goldie tanks but if you love them you have to do what it takes.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:15 PM   #14
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Indispensable help here Rivercats, THANKS!!

What specifically is that Aqueon "Water Changer"? Is this some pump/filter mechanism? I was speaking of Aqueon's "Water Conditioner". I'm quite liberal with it, given what's at stake, almost a double-dose of what's asked for, given how miserable our tap water is.

I will conduct the first 50% WC of the day in about 30 minutes. I'll wait 5 hours or so, and do another.

When using "tank water" to rinse bio-mech and/or filter elements, you're speaking of using water which was just removed from the tank, correct? I deduce that this measure protects the bacteria in the filter elements, correct?

One last one: What exactly is "Prime"? Is this a brand name or a specific type of treatment?

Thanks a bunch! I do indeed love our fish, as does my wife and daughter.
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Four Zebra Danio; 2 Tiger Barbs. Aquarium is approx. 2 years. 29 gal freshwater; Fluval 206 (bio-mech/ammo-carb/polisher), Whisper 40 air; Current Freshwater LED. 4 Anubis plants (various sizes); one small drift wood log. Pea gravel substrate, approx. 1-1/2" deep. Avrg. Chems: Ammo=0, Rates=10ppm, Rites=0, pH=7.0, Temp=78degF
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:38 PM   #15
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Maybe I missed something but can you tell us what the "high" pH reading is?
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:48 PM   #16
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gilpi:
Just tested (albeit with test strips) the readings are as follows:

Nitrate: ~80 "unsafe" - doing a 50% WC in about 30 minutes
Nitrite: .5
Hardness: ~300 "very hard"
Total Chlorine: barely registers, assuming it's zero
Alkalinity: 70-80 ppm "moderate"
pH: can't get exact reading, but ~7.4-7.6

I am now aware how unreliable these strips are; working on obtaining the API test kit - next week.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:52 PM   #17
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gilpi:
Just tested (albeit with test strips) the readings are as follows:

Nitrate: ~80 "unsafe" - doing a 50% WC in about 30 minutes
Nitrite: .5
Hardness: ~300 "very hard"
Total Chlorine: barely registers, assuming it's zero
Alkalinity: 70-80 ppm "moderate"
pH: can't get exact reading, but ~7.4-7.6

I am now aware how unreliable these strips are; working on obtaining the API test kit - next week.
7.4-7.6 ! That sounds perfect to me! I have 8.2 in my tanks and I grow just about every type of fish you can think of? I'm wondering... Did someone tell you this reading is high? I "personally" would not worry so much about the "hardness".
I think too much focus is being placed on certain water readings.
I would concentrate more on bigger water changes which is a lot more beneficial than any salt you can add to the tank. If you have gravel, vacuum it often as well, gold fish are big bioloaders.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:20 PM   #18
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Thanks so much gilpi.

No one specifically said I had pH issues. More so, I've been concerned about hard water issues, knowing how insanely hard the Las Vegas water is. It's brutal on all household plumbing fixtures and fittings. We have a water softener on the house's lines, as well as an RO filter under the kitchen sink (for drinking water). I've suspected this "hard" aspect of water condition as being a contributing factor to other critical water factors, such as ammonia levels and chlorine, and the all-important nitrates.

Before discovering/coming to this forum, I was relying on a "big box" pet store advice. Gradually seeing inconsistencies in their "advice", I've come to trust the advice/info provided by my local fish store. BTW, I'm on guard for the "up-sell" type of advice.

I think, at times, pH has been as high as ~7.8. Again, this is all measured by "Tetra" Freshwater strips. I've learned these strips aren't as "exact" as a liquid test kit, but they seem to get me in the ballpark of knowing what's up with my water.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:45 PM   #19
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With regard to sponges in the filter, I personally would rinse them in water from the aquarium. Filter sponges have a huge surface area that is colonised by BB and rinsing in chlorinated tap water will kill the bacteria.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:03 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by mapexmac007 View Post
Thanks so much gilpi.

No one specifically said I had pH issues. More so, I've been concerned about hard water issues, knowing how insanely hard the Las Vegas water is. It's brutal on all household plumbing fixtures and fittings. We have a water softener on the house's lines, as well as an RO filter under the kitchen sink (for drinking water). I've suspected this "hard" aspect of water condition as being a contributing factor to other critical water factors, such as ammonia levels and chlorine, and the all-important nitrates.

Before discovering/coming to this forum, I was relying on a "big box" pet store advice. Gradually seeing inconsistencies in their "advice", I've come to trust the advice/info provided by my local fish store. BTW, I'm on guard for the "up-sell" type of advice.

I think, at times, pH has been as high as ~7.8. Again, this is all measured by "Tetra" Freshwater strips. I've learned these strips aren't as "exact" as a liquid test kit, but they seem to get me in the ballpark of knowing what's up with my water.
There is nothing wrong with your tap water. Goldfish actually do best in high ph, hard water. High GH and KH levels also are not a factor in your ammonia, nitrate or chlorine levels. The issues with toxin levels are likely primarily related to lack of water changes in an overstocked tank. Increasing the wc schedule substantially will help as will investing in a larger home for these guys.

Goldfish are stenohaline fish and their salt tolerance is limited. Long term use can result in nephric, metabolic and endocrine damage (among other problems). It's perfectly acceptable for use as a med and should be respected as such. Heavy use of salt will also negatively affect your nitrifying bacteria but as Rivercats mentioned, a very low level has a protective effect from nitrites.

I would focus on a hefty water change schedule with a good conditioner such as Prime to keep toxin levels below .25ppm and nitrates under 20ppm (preferably under 10ppm). Nothing else needs to be added besides healthy water and Prime. Please ask if you have questions!

http://skepticalaquarist.com/salt

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ed-227851.html
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