I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Learn more.

How to Use Aquarium Salt for Freshwater Fish

Aquarium salt is a fish care product that can be purchased at any pet store. It can also be bought in an online store selling pet merchandise. The salt is made for your fish and will improve its health.

Aquarium salt is taken directly out of ocean water and contains no additives or chemicals. This sets aquarium salt apart from commercial salt products.

Unlike table salt, you won’t find iodine or other toxic substances. Other products can bring harm to your fish tank.

Aquarium salt is all-natural and safe to use in your freshwater tank. Most people think that salt only goes in saltwater tanks. But aquarium salt is designed specifically with freshwater fish in mind. And typically, this product is used for freshwater tanks.

Saltwater tanks use salt as well. They need salt to raise salinity and create the best environment for ocean fish. But this is not typically done with aquarium salt. A special mix of salt is prepared for saltwater fish and their tanks. This is another product entirely.

For freshwater fish, aquarium salt alone can be used to maintain a tank. It also has a number of health benefits and functions for your pet fish.

We will get into these beneficial these in the next section of this post. Just know that aquarium salt can be a great product for any new fish owner!

Benefits of Aquarium Salt For Freshwater Tanks

Most fish experts recommend the use of aquarium salt. This is due to the benefits it brings to freshwater fish’s health. The amount of salt needed and the frequency of its use is still up for debate. Still, many fish owners use this product to boost and improve the conditions of their tank and pet.

Aquarium salt has been used in aquariums for decades. There is no doubt about the effectiveness of it. Fish exposed to aquarium salt are known to breathe more efficiently and heal faster from wounds. Aquarium salt also reduces the level of bacteria and other fungi in tanks.

Really, these are just some of the many improvements possible with this product. And they can make a huge difference in your tank water!

The Effects

What makes some of these effects possible is electrolytes. Electrolytes improve the performance of your fish’s gills. Fish can breathe in oxygen better with electrolytes and they get rid of more ammonia. When fish can breathe well they are less susceptible to disease. You want to do everything you can to prevent illness. Aquarium salt is one way to do this. Even if your fish does get sick, the salt can help.

Many people use salt as a medication to fight fish disease and not without good reason. Aquarium water raises the salinity in tanks. By having higher salt levels in a tank, dehydration takes place in tank water.

The bacteria and other disease-causing pathogens are dehydrated and sucked dry of nutrients and water by salt. As a result, they die, and your water becomes healthier so your fish can heal. Bacteria on your fish’s body and in your water will disappear.

This effect can be useful for aquatic diseases like ich and any kind of fin rot or body rot. However, aquarium salt isn’t a cure-all for all diseases. So do a little bit of research before you use it as primary medicine. Regardless, your fish will do better in a clean bacteria-free environment. So salt can definitely help with the healing process.

Overall, if you want a healthy tank environment, dosing your water with it every once in a while. You can help your fish live a longer and happier life.

When Should You Use Aquarium Salt

Aquarium salt is not something you want to be using in your tank all the time though. It’s meant to be used sparingly on your fish and usually if they are ill. Some people argue for more frequent use but we don’t recommend that.

At most use it once or twice a year to clean your tank out and perk up your fish. When you use salt sparingly, if your pet does get sick, they won’t become immune to the effects of the salt. Still, if you notice that your pet is swimming less, or seems stressed you can try putting some salt in.

Just use the salt in moderation. You can boost the mood of your fish and help them breathe easier. Normally, tank owners put aquarium salt in when they first put a fish in their tank. This helps ease their transition into a tank.

If your fish is sick that is another matter entirely. You obviously want to use aquarium salt till the disease is treated. But other than that use the salt with caution. You want the best results with it, and using it all the time diminishes those results.

How to Use Aquarium Salt

aquarium salt

In this next section, we’ll show you how to use aquarium salt properly. Depending on what you are using it for, you will want a different concentration of salt in your tank water. This will require different measurements of the product. And, you will also keep the salt in your tank for different lengths of time. Keep to these measurements so your fish’s water isn’t overly saturated with salt.

The lowest dose of aquarium salt to give to a fish is one tablespoon of salt for every three gallons of aquarium water. We recommend this measurement for fish that are low energy and seem to be getting sick.

If you catch your fish’s illness early on and put in salt you can prevent further health complications. All you have to do is put the salt in your tank and your fish should get noticeably better.

Alternatively, you can dissolve the salt before you put it in the tank. Just get a small cup with a little water and after it dissolves you can put it in the tank. A few tablespoons of salt won’t treat serious fish illness. It’s only meant to rid your tank of bacteria, and help your fish perk up to fight low-level sicknesses.

Keep the salt in your tank for around four or five days. If your fish is not getting healthier you’ll need more salt in your aquarium.

Higher Concentrations

A higher concentration of salt is required when your fish isn’t getting better. If they have ich or other bacterial diseases you should also use more salt. You’ll want to put in one tablespoon of aquarium salt for every two gallons of water in your tank.

At this level, you can combat more of your fish’s health problems. Put the salt in and keep the salt in your water for around ten days. If five days go by and your fish gets worse, you might want a higher dose of salt. Put a little more in.

If all else fails, try putting one tablespoon of aquarium salt in for every gallon of liquid in your tank. You want to do this with caution. Not every fish can handle this level of salt in their water. But if your fish is really on the verge of death you might need to do this for your pet. With this much salt, your fish should get better.

Watch over your fish and make sure they are handling the increased salinity okay. If they aren’t, lower the dose a little with some fresh water. You can keep your fish in this solution for up to ten days but not any longer. Your fish should be disease-free by the end of this treatment.

Getting the Salt Out of Your Tank

So now you know how to use aquarium salt, but how do you get it out of your tank. The salt you put in your tank does not clear out on its own. It needs to be removed by you. But you won’t want to remove all the salt at once.

Start by getting rid of thirty percent of your water, and replace it with fresh non-salted water. This way, you can see if your fish remains healthy, or needs more salt in its tank.

If your fish is okay, after seven days, you can take out another thirty percent of your water. If your fish still seems ill add a proportional amount of aquarium salt back in. It’s okay if you put a little extra in.

Eventually, your fish will get better. And when that happens you just keep taking out thirty percent of your water at a time. Keep doing this till all your saltwater has been replaced with fresh water.

Other Things to Keep In Mind

Aquariums sometimes have other pets or living organisms. Check to see how much aquarium salt they can handle. You don’t want to cause other problems for your tanks ecology. This is especially salient for people with plants in their tank.

Some plants are not going to do well with extra salt in their water. So keep this in mind as you put in aquarium salt.


[amazon box=”B0010P0ZJK”]

Aquarium salt is a useful tool for freshwater tanks and fish. This product helps keep tanks bacteria-free and your fish healthy and energized.

You shouldn’t use aquarium salt all the time. But it can be useful, especially when your fish is sick. We hope this information helps you with your purchase. Hopefully, you know how to use aquarium salt now!

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

Aqua Movement