How much salt to add? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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How much salt to add?

Most of my fish has ich now, I am doing the heat and salt treatment.

The problem is the tank has plants and shrimps, and the fishes are all tetras (which don't like salt too much). The upside is the plants are all Anubias (which apparently can withstand salt up to SG 1.005) and the shrimps are red cherry shrimps (which are relatively forgiving).

I raised the temperature to above 30C or 86F (normal tank temperature is at 29C or 84F). The question is how much salt to add. From various sources the salt to add ranges from 1 tablespoon per 10G to 2 teaspoon per G. Which is a pretty wide gap.

Now I am at 1 tablespoon per 5G, which seems to be a rather mainstream recommendation. Everything seems to be fine for now. I measured the tank water with a refractometer, it is not even 1 ppt. WetWebMedia says that most ich can't tolerate 1 ppt and most fish can tolerate up to 2-3 ppt. I wonder if I should push the salt up to at least 1 ppt? I recon I should stay on the conservative side considering the tank inhabitants?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 05:21 PM
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1 tablespoon per 5 gallons is what I did the one time I used salt and heat.

It was after I got a new fish and put it in the quarantine tank with my bala shark and tiger barb who were almost recovered from fin problems. I was not thinking straight and all three fish ended up getting ick.

My new fish didn't live long at all after that. Desperate to save the shark and the barb, I put about 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons into my 10 gallon quarantine tank and raised the water temperature to between 86 and 88 degrees. After a few days, all of the spots were gone.

At that point, I stupidly decided to play with the heater. I turned it down quite a bit for a little while (I think it was because the water was at 90 degrees...) and then left it there, forgetting to check on it for the rest of the day. The next morning, I woke up and checked the qurantine tank. The barb was doing fine, but the shark just kind of floating. Looking closer, I noticed that it was covered in more ick spots than you could imagine. Checking the water temperature, I found that it had fallen below 85 degrees. I turned it back up, but it was too late. The shark died later that day.

So, that led me to a new conclusion: It's not the salt but the heat that kills the ick. Even 2 tablespoons of salt did not save my shark when the water temperature was too low. Since that day, I've treated my fish with 88 degree water for two weeks. Haven't lost a fish since (knock on wood...)

I think that level of salt is okay for your fish. If anything, I'd raise the water temperature just a few degrees more. Due to my experience with my bala, I've become a believer that ick cannot reproduce above 85 degrees.

There's my two cents, hope it's worth it for you.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, that is very helpful.

It seems that in your case, 1 tablespoon per 5G didn't do much killing the waterborne parasite. But the heat did somehow halted the multiplication of the parasite, but not kill them either.

Going by that reasoning, it does made sense to sustain the heat till the parasites expire (not being able to find a host).

It also seems to confirm my guess that at least 1ppt of salt is needed to kill the waterborne parasite.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Btw, before you posted, I am at 4 tablespoons of salt now in 15G of nett water. The water is at at least 1 ppt now, if not 1.5-2 ppt (the division is so tiny).
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 06:44 PM
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Ok first thing you need to understand the temp does NOT kill the ich causing protozoa Ichthyophthirius multifiliis infact all the raised temp does is speed up its life cycle. While the protozoa is infected your fish (white spots) you CAN NOT kill it. So by speeding up its life cycle you can kill the new babies that are born out of those white spots. So if you don't have anything in the water to kill the free swiming protozoa the temp increase only makes things worst.

As far as your salt treatment Navyblue here is some more info

One method of treatment for ich consists of adding aquarium salt until a specific gravity of 1.002 g/cm3 is achieved, as the parasites are less tolerant of salt than fish. This is not practical in ponds because even a light salt solution of 0.01% (100 mg/L; pure water at 4 C or 39 F), would require large quantities of salt. Fish can be dipped in a 0.3% (3 g/L; pure water at 4 C) solution for thirty seconds to several minutes, or they can be treated in a prolonged bath at a lower concentration (0.05% = 500 mg/L; pure water at 4 C).
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 06:53 PM
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Topekoms is correct by saying that the heat will not kill the ick. From what I've heard and experienced, it speeds up the ick's life cycle to the point that the ick cannot reproduce any longer. That is achieved with water above 85 degrees.

The salt is meant to kill either the ick that goes off in search of a place to reproduce or the new, free swimming babies.

It never hurts to use both salt and heat at once, but I find it simpler and less stressful to just use the heat for my fish. As you already have salt in the tank, just get the salinity where you want it and the temperature where you want it and go from there.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 07:05 PM
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Temperatures above 86*F can kill it, the babies (Tomites) are killed. Ich medications kill the tomites. Salt can kill the tomites.

When Ich shows up on the fish that Ich spot is the organism that got onto the fish several days ago. It takes time to grow large enough to be seen.
When you begin treatment more and more Ich will show up on the fish for several days. These are the ones that landed on the fish before you started treatment. It does not mean the treatment is not working.
Ich grows, under the slime coat, protected from medications then falls off the fish.
It lands on the substrate and other things and starts to reproduce.
The tomites that are releases are the stage that are vulnerable to medications (including salt).
Raising the temperature increases the rate at which Ich goes through this cycle, until the killing temperature is reached.

There is a form of Ich that is tolerant of any temperature that is still safe for the fish.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FA/FA00600.pdf
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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From here:

http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/ichthyophthirius

Quote:
Higher temperatures result in speeded-up metabolisms, both for the parasite and for the fish. Above a certain temperature (86F is often quoted) the heat-sensitive parasite will be stressed. Its life cycle is interfered with, and it might even be killed.
While it is not clear that temperature alone would kill them, they aren't immortal. Once they left the host, they no longer have access to nutrient and the clock started ticking before they die. If they can not move onto the next stage of the cycle before they die, it's over for them.

SG of 1.002 is about 2 ppt. 0.05% is 0.5 ppt. Still a pretty wide range, the good news is I am already near 2ppt. So I guess I am good, as long as the shrimps can take it.

Oops, you guys beat me to it.

Thanks TurtleShark, Topekoms and Diana.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-19-2014 at 09:09 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-18-2014, 07:56 PM
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What effect does the salt have on any snails that are in the tank?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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I don't really keep snails, just those tiny ones that hitch hiked with the plants, which I try to remove when I can. Those seems fine to me, I still see them here and there.
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