Salt as general remedy?


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I just finished installing a 300-gal tub pond with 40-gal bog filter. I suspect water quality was low for a couple of weeks but is now good with full pond and running bog. However, my older fish - several 4-inch goldfish - started dying three days ago - obvious fin rot, clamped fins, and maybe other issues. My life is chaotic right now - no time to do close analysis - so I'm wondering if just a therapeutic dose of salt would be a good interim measure until I can devote more time to figuring out the problem? Or should I just wait to see if improved water quality will improve situation? Thanks for any advice.
 
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Have you tested the water? Since the pond has been recently been set up, it's starting the nitrogen cycle which can be hard on the fish.

Please test with liquid tests, not strips which tend to be inaccurate and read up on the nitrogen cycle. You need tests for pH, KH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Also get some Prime. It dechlorinates the water and can protect your fish from the ammonia and nitrite being produced in the system.

Salt is usually recommended only for using when nitrites are present. But Prime will do the same and a lot more.

If you do use salt be sure it has no additives. Don't use table salt.
 
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Past episodes of poor water quality may have weakened them and you’re seeing the results now. Please test, and then you can do partial water changes if necessary. Is it hot where you live? If so, you might be seeing low oxygen as well. How many fish in your 300 gallons?
 
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Have you tested the water? Since the pond has been recently been set up, it's starting the nitrogen cycle which can be hard on the fish.

Please test with liquid tests, not strips which tend to be inaccurate and read up on the nitrogen cycle. You need tests for pH, KH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Also get some Prime. It dechlorinates the water and can protect your fish from the ammonia and nitrite being produced in the system.

Salt is usually recommended only for using when nitrites are present. But Prime will do the same and a lot more.

If you do use salt be sure it has no additives. Don't use table salt.
Thanks for the advice! I was finally able to get into town and had the water analyzed - all parameters perfect except for very high ph - could it have been caused by the addition of the pea gravel in the bog filter? Would a ph of 8.4 have caused gradual fish die-off, just one or two per day? My understanding is that it's just river gravel, not limestone. I added a product to lower ph to 7, which it did. A day later - yesterday - I also did a 25% water change - can't believe I hadn't thought to try that from the beginning. The fish seem to have improved energy, and no deaths today. Fingers crossed.
 
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Past episodes of poor water quality may have weakened them and you’re seeing the results now. Please test, and then you can do partial water changes if necessary. Is it hot where you live? If so, you might be seeing low oxygen as well. How many fish in your 300 gallons?
Thanks for the water change idea - can't believe I hadn't thought of that. About 50" worth of goldfish and shubunkins in 300 gal. pond, so it wasn't overloaded. Temps have been in 70's & 80's, but none of the fish were gasping at surface - just clamped fins and lethargic. I did finally make it into town and had water tested - all fine except for pretty high ph - 8.4. Fixed that and also did 25% water change, and remaining fish seem to be livelier. Fingers crossed!
 
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Your pH is not too high. That would not cause your fish to die. Goldfish can happily live in pH levels from 7 to 10. Many of us here have pH levels the same as yours and have had for years with no problems. There is some other reason your fish are dying.

I have sworn to never take advice from pet store workers. They don't mean any harm, and may be genuinely trying to help, but I have found them to be very inaccurate with their advice.

Please don't try to lower your pond's pH. Chances are it's right back where it was before by now, since other factors in the water are wanting it to be at the original level. If it hasn't already, it will likely just return to that level and if you lower it again, it will do the same. Those fluctuations in the pH are very stressful to the fish and that is not something you can afford to be doing right now.

Your original pH was fine. There is no need to add more stress to your fish by trying to lower it.
 
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Mmathis

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Back to the beginning….. A remedy is something you use/do when you know what the problem is. In this case, you don’t know what the problem is…..

The most most basic factor for a healthy pond is water quality…..and balance.

To start out, do some research on the nitrogen cycle so you can understand how the pond ecosystem interacts. Smaller bodies of water are more of a challenge to keep balanced.

Next step is buy a liquid water test kit (API Freshwater kit, add the tests for KH and GH) and learn how to test your own water. It sounds “technical,” but really it isn’t and is kinda fun once the “light bulbs“ start going off and you can actually “see” what’s going on with the water. You can get these test kits from most pet stores that sell fish, or you can order online.

Also, it never hurts to get a thermometer to see what the water temp is — especially with the current heat wave. Warm water doesn’t hold as much dissolved oxygen, so sometimes we have to do things to help cool the water (for example, provide shade, add more water movement).
 
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Your pH is not too high. That would not cause your fish to die. Goldfish can happily live in pH levels from 7 to 10. Many of us here have pH levels the same as yours and have had for years with no problems. There is some other reason your fish are dying.

I have sworn to never take advice from pet store workers. They don't mean any harm, and may be genuinely trying to help, but I have found them to be very inaccurate with their advice.

Please don't try to lower your pond's pH. Chances are it's right back where it was before by now, since other factors in the water are wanting it to be at the original level. If it hasn't already, it will likely just return to that level and if you lower it again, it will do the same. Those fluctuations in the pH are very stressful to the fish and that is not something you can afford to be doing right now.

Your original pH was fine. There is no need to add more stress to your fish by trying to lower it.
Thank-you, but I'm still left with dying fish - another shubunkin today. The problem started when I added the bog filter: a rubber tub that had fish in it before, pvc piping, pea gravel - well-rinsed. I covered the exterior of it with a product called Rock-on-a-Roll, which I've used in previous ponds with no problem. That was attached using both pond foam and clear silicone caulk. I wondered about the silicone, but if it were at all toxic, wouldn't all the fish have died at the same time? I've been losing just one or two a day for over a week now, (except yesterday.) In case it might be some disease of the fish that's spreading among them, I'm taking the latest casualty to someone who knows more than I about that sort of thing, but I can see no obvious problem. Just now I did another partial water change, using filtered water.
 
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Back to the beginning….. A remedy is something you use/do when you know what the problem is. In this case, you don’t know what the problem is…..

The most most basic factor for a healthy pond is water quality…..and balance.

To start out, do some research on the nitrogen cycle so you can understand how the pond ecosystem interacts. Smaller bodies of water are more of a challenge to keep balanced.

Next step is buy a liquid water test kit (API Freshwater kit, add the tests for KH and GH) and learn how to test your own water. It sounds “technical,” but really it isn’t and is kinda fun once the “light bulbs“ start going off and you can actually “see” what’s going on with the water. You can get these test kits from most pet stores that sell fish, or you can order online.

Also, it never hurts to get a thermometer to see what the water temp is — especially with the current heat wave. Warm water doesn’t hold as much dissolved oxygen, so sometimes we have to do things to help cool the water (for example, provide shade, add more water movement).
Thanks for your input. I appreciate everyone taking the time to try to help. I do understand the nitrogen cycle - I've had two previous successful ponds, both small - a 600 gal. and a 110 gal. - using biological filtration. Four days ago I watched the chemistry graduate who tested the water with the API liquid test kit: zero chlorine, zero nitrites, zero ammonia. We didn't test the kh and gh, but these fish were in this water before the dying problem started, so I don't think it's the water in general. I've been keeping track of water temps - ranging between 72 and 82 as the days cool and warm - again, that's never been an issue before. The problem started when I added the bog filter: a rubber tub that had fish in it before, pvc piping, pea gravel - well-rinsed. I covered the exterior of it with a product called Rock-on-a-Roll, which I've used in previous ponds with no problem. That was attached using both pond foam and clear silicone caulk. I wondered about the silicone, but if it were at all toxic, wouldn't all the fish have died at the same time? I've been losing just one or two a day for over a week now, (except yesterday.) In case it might be some disease of the fish that's spreading among them, I'm taking the latest casualty to someone who knows more than I about that sort of thing, but I can see no obvious problem. Just now I did another partial water change, using filtered water. I'm stumped. Thanks again for help.
 
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Can you post a picture of the dead fish? Have you seen any abnormal behavior?

I don't know what is causing the problem, but I'm confident it isn't the pH.

If this all started when you put in the bog, my reaction would be to remove that from the equation and see if the problem stops. Can you re-route the water to bi-pass the bog?
 
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Thank-you, but I'm still left with dying fish - another shubunkin today. The problem started when I added the bog filter: a rubber tub that had fish in it before, pvc piping, pea gravel - well-rinsed. I covered the exterior of it with a product called Rock-on-a-Roll, which I've used in previous ponds with no problem. That was attached using both pond foam and clear silicone caulk. I wondered about the silicone, but if it were at all toxic, wouldn't all the fish have died at the same time? I've been losing just one or two a day for over a week now, (except yesterday.) In case it might be some disease of the fish that's spreading among them, I'm taking the latest casualty to someone who knows more than I about that sort of thing, but I can see no obvious problem. Just now I did another partial water change, using filtered water.
A rubber tub could be your problem. Ever drink from a garden hose that's rubber nasty...

it's not the bog in principle BUT if you allowed water in there and left it sitting for or a week. Hydrogen sulfide may have developed. Where you have shubunkins and they are dieing try making a rescue tank . And water add declorinator and air stone , acclimate the fish to the temp home. Like you would do any time you add fish.

Silicone caulking can be toxic if not dry and in a small pond. Or even if dry certain types are not fish friendly.
 
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Can you post a picture of the dead fish? Have you seen any abnormal behavior?

I don't know what is causing the problem, but I'm confident it isn't the pH.

If this all started when you put in the bog, my reaction would be to remove that from the equation and see if the problem stops. Can you re-route the water to bi-pass the bog?
Yes, I think the bog must be the problem. The tub itself is fine - I kept the fish from our old house in it all winter in the garage - so it must be either the rock-on-a-roll covering or the silicone caulk. But if the caulk is toxic, would the fish be dying slowly a couple at a time? Wouldn't they have all died more quickly? Time to try tearing that all off, I guess.
 

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A rubber tub could be your problem. Ever drink from a garden hose that's rubber nasty...

it's not the bog in principle BUT if you allowed water in there and left it sitting for or a week. Hydrogen sulfide may have developed. Where you have shubunkins and they are dieing try making a rescue tank . And water add declorinator and air stone , acclimate the fish to the temp home. Like you would do any time you add fish.

Silicone caulking can be toxic if not dry and in a small pond. Or even if dry certain types are not fish friendly.
The rubber tub is fine - I kept the fish from our old house in it all winter in the garage - but that's good info on the silicone caulk. (But if it's toxic, would the fish be dying slowly a couple at a time? Wouldn't they have all died more quickly? Almost all the 2 - 3 inch fish have died now, but there are some little ones left.) Time to try tearing off the covering and removing the silicone caulk, I think.
 
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let me guess when you brought the fish in for the winter you shut down the pond? including the bog?
The bog in principle will not be the problem but it can be human error.
i hate trying to figure whats wrong with a pond without pictures its often very obvious from a few photos
 
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Thanks for posting those pictures. So sorry they didn't make it. Nothing jumps out as abnormal.

Some fish are stronger than others so some will survive longer than their pond mates.

If the problem is with the new bog, I would suspect the caulking.
 
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I agree with @WaterGardener - the tub itself shouldn't be the problem unless it was either dirty or a chemical was used in it. The caulking is most likely the issue. They can be toxic. Rock on a roll is fine, I have had in in my pond for 10+years and have had no issues. If you want to seal something, I recommend PL roof sealant. A lot of members here use it and I haven't heard anyone say they have had a problem with fish dying from it.
 
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I agree with @WaterGardener - the tub itself shouldn't be the problem unless it was either dirty or a chemical was used in it. The caulking is most likely the issue. They can be toxic. Rock on a roll is fine, I have had in in my pond for 10+years and have had no issues. If you want to seal something, I recommend PL roof sealant. A lot of members here use it and I haven't heard anyone say they have had a problem with fish dying from it.
I have since tried pls30 OMG its skin time is like 7 hrs and cure I think was 7 days . Not my first choice that's for sure I'm not that patient though we preach patience time and again.
 
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