There seems to be lots of debate about salt vers no salt and if salt what kind and how much. I thought it might be helpful if I started a poll to come up with a consensus of what works. my formula is
1 tsp Kent buffer /10 gals
1 Tbs Marine salt /10 gals
1 Tbs Epsom salt /10 gals
I could not get the poll to have more than one response so I will conduct a separate poll about amounts and mixes. Please feel free to post comments and your mixed on this thread.
There is an article about this on "The Skeptical Aquarist" that I found interesting. I just checked and the site is"under construction" but the jest of it was this:
There is no real evidence that salt (In the sense of Marine salt etc.) is "beneficial" for much of the things it's advertised for. That being said, I for a long time, was one of many hobbyists (I Suspect) who would add marine salt (And/or aq salt, table salt etc.), in small amounts for every water change out of a sort of superstition. The article did a good job of pointing out, at least to me , that I may be doing more harm than good.
I could go into more detail based n memory but let's just hope that site comes back online soon. It might be a disservice for me to recite it from memory :roll: .
I myself have been adding 2-3 tablespoons(kosher) per 5 gallons for nearly 4 years now. I haven't had a single problem. Maybe its luck or maybe it works. I honestly dont know. Someone i trusted that breads alot of vics and Malawians told me to give it a shot. I did and have been doing it ever since. So I have lots of color and healthy fish. Water Chemistry is perfect also. But...i wouldn't go as far to say its needed or because of the salt is why my tank is doing so well. I just happen to use it and haven't had any problems. Call me superstitious but i'm afraid to not use it now...LOL
Two issues with the poll. One is as Nina_b said, the list of items to vote on are used for different reasons. NaCl might be a medical treatment while aquarium salts might be used to increase pH and KH.
Two is that I don't use them, but I also don't need them. My tap water pH and KH is good for cichlids already...no need to add anything.
If I needed to increase pH and KH I would add baking soda. Hope that helps.
'Salt' can mean many things. The poll needs to be 'multi select' (I know, can't do that) or it really doesn't work for reasons stated previously. Different 'salts' are added for different reasons. Some may use one or more and not others. Some may need certain ones and others no depending on source water and species kept. I use certain salts in some tanks and not others. Too many possibilities for a simple poll.
All depends on your water supply I guess. Mine is soft so I add Epsom, Bicarb and occasionally a small amount of Marine salt (NaCl). My fish seem healthy and breed well which I guess is the real indication that everything is hunky dory.
I realize the poll is far from perfect. I wish I could of had multiple choices available. It is effective and did open up a discussion. I use Kent buffer to bring up my ph, Epsom salt for general hardness and marine salt for its additional buffering, trace elements and "in theory" therapeutic action. It has been said that a little salt can help make it easier to maintain osmotic pressure. Or maybe just because of habit and like some respondents they are healthy and are breeding so I keep doing it. that was why I am encouraging everyone to comment. This open discussion may teach us all a little something.
and just add the "salt mix" you are missing. be it Magnesium sulphate and/or Potassium chloride etc etc.
No need for guess work or recipes that do not apply to your tap water or starting point.
No need for expensive commercial mixes.
As for trace elements. Are these not put into any good commertial cichlid food?
Seems a bit of a belt and braces aproch to add them to the water too esp when they are in the tap water already.
For sure never added em and pretty sure my cichlids thrive and breed fine. :thumb:
I used to add aquarium salts that I purchased from my lfs for years until somebody reccomended that I use coarse sea salt that you can purchase from bulk food stores. I used that for a few years, but then stopped after reading many articles on the use of salt. I haven't used salt in any of my tanks for a couple of years now and haven't noticed any increase of diseases or decrease of spawning etc. I think that basically, unless you can measure the amount of salt in the tank, you are going to end up with too much of it in the water.
I see little reason to add NaCl (table, kosher or aquarium salt) unless I'm treating the fish for some ailment. Because my water is very soft, I bump my GH with MgSO4. But- we're talking about a teaspoon per 10 gallons, and I skip that on occasion to account for evaporation.
Your tap water may have plenty of sodium in it already (municipalities commonly use NaOH to raise the pH of tap water to limit lead dissolution in your drinking water), and of course chloride from water treatment is often in abundance.
Na does not contribute to hardness or acid neutralizing capacity, and our tanks are often extremely high in total dissolved solids compared to lake chemistry. So- if we're trying to keep our tanks close to lake conditions, only adding what is necessary is good policy, IMO.