Illness, Health & Nutrition • Epsom Salt

For discussion on fish illness, health and nutrition.

Moderator: Robin

Epsom Salt

Postby davegius » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:19 pm

I am going to treat with epsom salt as a preventative measure after finding a fish that I think died of bloat. My question is this - is it ok to use epsom salt that has a fragrance added? or does it have to be pure magnesium sulfate only?
davegius
 
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: Ohio

Share On:

Share on Facebook Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter

Postby kmuda » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:25 pm

Do not use anything with a fragrance added. Just use plain ole generic Magnesium Sulfate.
100g- Oscar, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 20 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Pleco - 55g - Angelfish
29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 1 Sheltie, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of sub-adults broke back in.
User avatar
kmuda
 
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:17 am
Location: Fort Smith, Ar

Postby davegius » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:57 pm

Thanks for the heads up. The only thing I could find at the store had fragrances added, any suggestions on where to get some without?
davegius
 
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby S&T » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:27 pm

Try the local drug store. I have bought it from there before.... not for my fish though.. lol
User avatar
S&T
 
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:00 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Postby kmuda » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:03 am

I get mine at the pharmacy section of the local grocery store. Wal-Mart carries basic Epsom Salt as well. Any drug store will have it.
100g- Oscar, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 20 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Pleco - 55g - Angelfish
29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 1 Sheltie, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of sub-adults broke back in.
User avatar
kmuda
 
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:17 am
Location: Fort Smith, Ar

Postby Robin » Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:12 pm

Keep in mind that Epsom salt will also raise the GH of the tank. Your fish won't mind a higher GH but make sure you add the salt gradually so that the fish don't stress over a sudden bump in the GH>

The best way to prevent bloat is by keeping your fish as stress free as possible. If you've recently had bloat in the tank first thing you want to do is a good sized water change, (using a good quality declorinator), and siphon the gravel. Make sure there is no major aggression problems and that you're feeding the fish the proper diet and you're not overfeeding. Test the water: you want `0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and below 20ppm nitrate.

Robin
User avatar
Robin
Moderator
 
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: Maine

Postby davegius » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:46 am

Thanks guys! I got the salt and I am adding it in thirds over a 24 hour period. The tank that the problems are in is a 150g tank with 1.5-3" fish, probably 60 or so little guys. The tank gets a 65% water change once a week, using Prime as a dechlor, and I generally feed once a day - so that leads me to think the problem is aggression? With so many fish and at such a small size I would not have thought aggression would be a problem yet. The fish are labs, acei, p. electra, and e. anagenys, so no overly aggressive fish...? Roughly a third of the fish have just been added over the last month - not sure if that has anything to do with it - maybe they had bloat when I bought them? How long should I continue to keep this salt in the water as a preventative measure?

Oh and the tank has been up and running for years now.
davegius
 
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby prov356 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:50 am

How does magnesium sulfate prevent bloat?
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Postby kmuda » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:59 am

I was asking myself the same thing after reading the links in Robins signature.

In South American's, Epsom Salt is commonly used as the first attempt in curing bloat as the bloat is generally caused by intestinal blockage or the filling of the internal cavities with body fluids (or by the swelling of internal organs resulting from a bacterial infection, in which case, Epsom salt is still used in conjunction with antibacterial meds, but it's generally too late once the fish reaches this stage). The Epsom salt serves three purposes. It acts as a laxative, which can cure intestinal blockage. It serves as a diuretic, allowing the fish to flush out excess body fluids, and it increaes the TDS value of the water, which helps limit fluid intake.

After reading the links, it does not sound like any of this applies to Africans. Interesting that similiar symptoms are treated so differently.

In South Americans, the Hex parasite does not result in "bloat". Other symptoms are very similiar, but the fish does not experience bloat.

EDIT: I was just about to start a thread on the same subject, glad you brought it up.
100g- Oscar, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 20 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Pleco - 55g - Angelfish
29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 1 Sheltie, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of sub-adults broke back in.
User avatar
kmuda
 
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:17 am
Location: Fort Smith, Ar

Postby davegius » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:49 am

Ok then so this is not going to help at all as a precautionary measure? I am pretty sure I remember reading here that it was a good thing to do to prevent any other fish from catching bloat. If this is not true are there any other preventative measures that I can take aside from keeping clean water?

I am not 100% sure that the fish died from bloat, but they were not eating, and their stomachs did appear to be bloated out. I lost 3 fish out of 70, 20 of which were new introductions in the last month. Like I said, they are all still pretty small and none of them are overly aggressive fish. Is it possible this is just a case of the weakest fish not surviving?
davegius
 
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby prov356 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:15 pm

It acts as a laxative, which can cure intestinal blockage. It serves as a diuretic, allowing the fish to flush out excess body fluids, and it increaes the TDS value of the water, which helps limit fluid intake.


In Africans no one's sure exactly what the trigger is, but it seems to be some stressor that allows both a parasitic and bacterial problem in the digestive tract. I know Epsom salt is used by humans, but does that translate to successful treatment in fish as well? I've always wondered that, but could never find any studies to confirm it. We take it internally, but of course freshwater fish don't take in water (through their mouths anyway), so how does it get to where it's needed?? Just always wondered, same with any med added to water. Increasing TDS to limit fluid intake makes perfect sense to me though.

Just asking :)
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Postby prov356 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:26 pm

If this is not true are there any other preventative measures that I can take aside from keeping clean water?


I'm not sure anyone's said it's not true, still exploring that question.

A good environment that includes clean water, compatible tankmates, nutritious food, etc is the best preventative. I wouldn't be quick to medicate or think 'additives'.


Is it possible this is just a case of the weakest fish not surviving?


It's possible. Some just don't do well with all of the changes that sometimes occur in the process of getting to your tank.

I think Robin summed it up well.

Robin wrote:The best way to prevent bloat is by keeping your fish as stress free as possible. If you've recently had bloat in the tank first thing you want to do is a good sized water change, (using a good quality declorinator), and siphon the gravel. Make sure there is no major aggression problems and that you're feeding the fish the proper diet and you're not overfeeding. Test the water: you want `0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and below 20ppm nitrate.


Continue to work to keep conditions well in the tank and keep an eye on them.
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Postby Robin » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:02 pm

I've heard many people suggest using Epsom salt as a preventative for bloat. Personally I'm not in favor of adding anything to the tank as a preventative--for anything. So many fish ailments come about as a result of stress and that stress can come in many different forms. Rough handling, poor water conditions, fluctuating water conditions, aggression, poor diet, over-eating, etc. The stress lowers the fish's immunity to disease. I don't know how Epsom salt can do anything about stress. .

But if you already have a case of Bloat in your tank then it's not going to hurt and it may help to add Epsom salt. It'll work as a laxative and so if there is an intestinal blockage it will help to move things along. I've always wondered too if the Epsom salt will help expell the overabundance of intestinal flagellates present in the fish's intestine. Many, noted cichlid authority Ad Konings being one of them, believe that Bloat is caused when the normally harmless intestinal flagellates suddenly increase in such numbers, (due to the fish being under some sort of stress) that the fish is overwelmed.

Parasites or bacterial or both--I don't know. What I do know is that if we take good care of our fish then it's much less likely they will get bloat and if they do get bloat then there are plenty of good medications available.

Robin

Increasing water changes during a Bloat outbreak is also a good idea. It's thought by some that the flagellates have a free-swimming stage so the removal of water will remove some of them. Also bloat is thought to be spread when fish mouth infected feces so siphoning the gravel and doing partial water changes will help prevent it from spreading. :)
User avatar
Robin
Moderator
 
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: Maine

Postby kmuda » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:45 pm

Everything Robin is describing, excluding the "bloat" itself, is entirely consistent with "Hex" in South American cichlids, most notably Angels and Discus.

I have often treated the SA version of "bloat" with Epsom Salt. As stated, it's the first step and I've used it successfully. But there are times the Epsom Salt does not work, at which point we generally move onto antibiotics, with mixed results. From what I've learned here, with how "bloat" is dealt with in Africans, it sounds like I need to add clout to that regiment of treatment (when Epsom Salt does not work). I never considered "bloat" as potentially being caused by a species of Hex parasite. Interesting. I'll have to give it a run to see if we get any higher levels of success than when using antibiotics. I'll also need to dig in and look for prior signs of "hex" whenever working a bloat issue.

When treating "Hex" (which is the parasite it sounds like is being identified as the cause of "bloat" in Africans) in South Americans, Metro is the medication of choice. For me, the tale-tale signs of Hex are a combination of mouthing food and spitting it back out, the fish isolating itself, and white stringy feces (usually a sign of advanced hex). Within the last week I successfully treated an Angelfish with these symptoms using Metro. She ate like a pig today. =D> The key is to catch these signs early. And that may be the differing factor here. South American tanks are almost never stocked with the same level of fish (perhaps bigger bioload, just fewer, larger, fish). So perhaps the early stages of "hex" are caught in a South American tank, before the fish actually "bloats", when... with the larger number of fish in an African tank, the initial signs are not as easily witnessed. Something to consider anyway.

From reading through this forum, it sounds like "bloat" is much more common in Africans than in South Americans, the cause of which I don't quite grasp (although "Hex" is likely equally as common with Discus and Angelfish). I wonder if pH, water hardness, and/or TDS values play a role (when stumped, look for the obvious). Especially if "bloat" and "hex" are caused by the same parasite (various species of hexamitids). So something to search for would be the effects water chemistry have on hexamitids.... or how/if differing body fluid levels (dictated by TDS values) between SAs and Africans plays a role (just thinking out loud, so to speak).

To answer a seperate question, magnesium is one of those elements a fish absorbs via the water, so when dosing with Epsom Salt the fish is able to absorb the laxative via osmosis.

A final point, in reference to the links in Robin's signature, where it is referenced that Clout does a better job treating "bloat" than does Metro. This is potentially a very important point. If the problem is Spironucleus vortens or Hexamita salmonis (the two most common hexamitids), Metro should be a very effective, preferred treatment. If it is not, then perhaps the problem is not caused specifically by a hex parasite, but some other flagellate, something more common to Africans than South Americans. In which case "hex" in South Americans and "bloat" in Africans would still be two seperate ailments, albeit with similar treatments.

One final point. Although it does not relate to this specific thread, another relatively common cause of "bloat" is egg binding. Just mentioned so as not to be overlooked as a possibility (not for the OP, but for others that may experience bloat). I'm sure this is less of an issue in an African tank than an SA tank, as it is much less common to house females without a male or to have females reject a male, although bladder ailments in any fish can result in egg binding.

Sorry for the rambling. I get this way sometimes. :oops:
100g- Oscar, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 20 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Pleco - 55g - Angelfish
29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 1 Sheltie, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of sub-adults broke back in.
User avatar
kmuda
 
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:17 am
Location: Fort Smith, Ar

Postby Robin » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:24 pm

Sorry for the rambling. I get this way sometimes


Your 'rambling' is very much appreciated, kmuda. :)

A couple of things I've learned about bloat in my time here as a moderator/member.
One is that while it is probably one of the most common illnesses it is often mis-diagnosed. A fish that is egg-bound may look bloated but does not have Bloat. Likewise a fish that has overeaten to the point of being bloated and is unable to swim off the bottom without great effort also does NOT have Bloat. In both of these cases the fish is in danger of getting Bloat simply because of the added stress it is under. Whenever I suspect that a bloated fish is either egg-bound or has a blockage due to overeating I recommend Epsom salt and fasting.
If the egg-bound fish also has signs of infection--white/gray fuzzy growth--then I may suggest an antibiotic.

The other thing I've learned about Bloat is that not everyone agrees on what causes it and while I tend to believe in the flagellate-run-a-muck theory, I have no proof. But thankfully once we've determined that it is in fact Bloat, (not always easy to do especially over the computer :roll: ) we do know what meds and treatment approach seem to work.

As with most fish ailments it's really important to look at the history of the illness and order of symptoms when trying to come up with a diagnosis rather than making any kind of conclusion on the basis of a single symptom.

Robin
User avatar
Robin
Moderator
 
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 8:00 pm
Location: Maine

Next

Return to Illness, Health & Nutrition

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests