Salt or no salt?

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Starting up a new pond . . . . I was told by our local pond store that if we were going to have fish in our pond, we had to have salt. Now, I've seen comments on some research I'm doing on plants that a lot of aquatic plants don't like any salt. Did I make a mistake adding salt?
 
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Ugh! Why is this happening? Why is everyone suddenly being told to add salt to a freshwater pond??

Sorry @DenMare - it's not you! It's the trend we've been seeing here lately, and I just don't get it.

Did you make a mistake? No. You trusted someone who should know better. Do you want salt in your pond? Also no. You are correct that plants - not just most, ALL - freshwater plants will die if you put salt in your pond. Salt is also an irritant to a fish, which is why it's used in a temporary hospital tank. The salt irritates the fishes skin which causes the slime coat to thicken which can help rid the fish of parasites and heal wounds. But salt in the pond all the time - not helpful.

Tell us more about your pond - how big, how many gallons, what kind of filtration, what kind of fish and how many? The more details the better! Then we can talk about de-salination! And then you can go talk to your pond shop.
 
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Starting up a new pond . . . . I was told by our local pond store that if we were going to have fish in our pond, we had to have salt. Now, I've seen comments on some research I'm doing on plants that a lot of aquatic plants don't like any salt. Did I make a mistake adding salt?
DenMare, I agree with Lisak1. I’ve never seen any emperical data proving that constant salt use is beneficial. In my opinion, use it by exception. Just slowly remove it over time as you do partial water exchanges. If you do decide to keep the salt and your plants die contact me and I will suggest some brackish tolerant plants.
Stephen
 
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Pond is approximately 6x8x2’ deep and is around 450 gallons when accounting for ledges etc. I was told to add two cups of large sea salt crystals which they said was on the conservative side. It’s had water in it for about 3 weeks. I just added the salt this past Saturday. The pond is rock-lined and we use a bubbler rock instead of a waterfall.
 
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If there are no fish, I would drain the pond and fill again.
Start the establishment of a nitrifying bacteria population by using ammonia as the source of nitrogen and measure ammonia, nitrite, nitrate until ammonia and nitrite are zero. Then you can add the fish.
Do not add any "beneficial bacteria"
Do use a liquid test kit, not test strips.
Here are some instructions how to perform a fishless cycle.
http://spec-tanks.com/how-to-fishless-cycle-a-new-aquarium/
It should take about 1 month.
 

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Agree with everyone. Skip the salt. As Lisa said seems like recently a lot of people have been asking about salt in ponds. Not sure why so called pond experts advocate this to new pond owners. Instead of focusing on proper husbandry practices in the pond, ie,Ways to maintain water quality, proper stocking populations for ponds, etc. Would have a lot more successful new pond owners.
 
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Would have a lot more successful new pond owners.
Exactly! It's getting so weird, the number of people who have posted about this in the last few weeks. Has something changed in the pond supply world? Some great salesman pushing pond salt on all the pond stores? Like an aggressive pharma sales person pushing the latest drug and suddenly everyone is on it!
 

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You can hope for rain or keep adding water to get the salt level down .Just don't go back to that place ,I would not trust them again for any advice
 

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Water changes have to be done to remove salt unless you overflow the pond. When we first started with koi 20+ years ago we were told to keep the salt level at .15 and increase if there were fish health issues. Did it for years, then got tired of buying salt and test kits. I still have a 40lb bag in my basement! Haven't touched it unless to treat in a quarantine tank.
 

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Agree with everyone else. People who have dedicated koi ponds (DKP’s) do things vastly different from what garden ponders do. With DKP’s, they tend to be be more “extreme” and are meticulous at keeping the water parameters under a tight rein. That’s where the idea of adding salt comes from, IMHO. Garden ponders are more about allowing Mother Nature keep the pond balanced. There’s nothing wrong or right with either philosophy, but ponders should be aware of these differences. Too bad that [apparently] pond stores don’t differentiate between the 2 types.
 
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Keeping salt in a pond with fresh water fish seems strange to me, when I bought my koi fish I was given a crash course from the woman who sold them to me. I was told learn how to manage my water, add plants, and keep monitoring, and testing my water and watching my fish's behavior. She also advised not to add salt, it is only a medicine, as it has become a popular choice in ponds. Considering she has dealt with fish just over thirty years with a good reputation, I have no reason to doubt her advice. I would say the choice is yours in the end.
 

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Keeping salt in a pond with fresh water fish seems strange to me, when I bought my koi fish I was given a crash course from the woman who sold them to me. I was told learn how to manage my water, add plants, and keep monitoring, and testing my water and watching my fish's behavior. She also advised not to add salt, it is only a medicine, as it has become a popular choice in ponds. Considering she has dealt with fish just over thirty years with a good reputation, I have no reason to doubt her advice. I would say the choice is yours in the end.
From what I understand, as you mentioned, salt is mainly intended as a medication. In fact, as with medications, there are parasites that are developing a resistance to salt. That’s not a good thing, and is a very good reason to NOT use salt on a routine basis.
 

sissy

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They say salt gives the fish well needed electrolytes I contacted several pond stores and they all said the same.I forgot how many pounds they said per gallon ,forgot to write it down DARN
 

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If you look up “salt or no salt,” yes, the articles can contradict each other. But I have found that sometimes is you include the word “veterinary” as one of your search words, you can come up with a different set of answers, maybe not 100%, but hopefully more scientific than a pond or a pond retail supply web site.

I found one article from Texas A&M that dealt with freshwater hobby fish in general, so I guess that means koi and GF, as well. Basically, it acknowledged the “electrolyte” issue, but the focus was on salt as a therapeutic agent: dips and baths.

Found this one (petcha.com):
Q. An article recently published by a veterinarian stated that adding 2.5 pounds of salt for each 100 gallons of pond water will help reduce parasite problems like ich, anchor worms and fish lice. I have had serious anchor worm problems every summer and I wanted to add salt to my ponds this spring. However, some of the “old hands” in our local goldfish club insist that the salt will have no effect. Who should I believe?

A. Believe the old hands. They are right. The concentration recommended by the veterinarian is roughly a 0.3-percent solution. While a number of hobbyist publications have claimed that this concentration inhibits external parasites, well-controlled studies in laboratories and fish farms show that it has no effect of any kind. Indeed, some freshwater ectoparasites actually thrive in slightly salted water.

It is true that salting the water stimulates the production of fish slime, which has some degree of anti-parasitic effect. But it is not significant. Think about it: If fish slime was so toxic to parasites, there wouldn’t be any fish parasites. A number of ectoparasites actually live off of fish slime, as do a number of pathogenic bacteria.

I am afraid that your source was unduly influenced by the popular literature. Besides, there is no reason to have anchor worms in your pond. Proper quarantine procedures should prevent their introduction. Proper treatment should remove them permanently.”

So, my advice is to do your own scientific research if you can’t decide what school to believe.
 
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That's a great answer - thanks for sharing that.

Another thought I had the other day - does salt kill bacteria? And how would salt affect all that good bacteria in a pond and filtration system that we all rely upon? I don't know if it applies, but I do know my kids were told to rinse their mouths with salt water after they had their wisdom teeth out to prevent infection. And salt is used to preserve meat and fish, etc by keeping bacteria at bay. It does make me wonder...
 

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@Lisak1 While I’m not an expert.......I don’t think salt does have antibiotic properties. With mouth and throat gargles, the salt is more to create an isotonic solution that would clean as well as soothe the sore tissues. It might also work to dissolve and flush out excessive mucus from those membranes. I have to use a sinus irrigator and I add salt to the tap water. If I don’t add quite enough salt, it burns like heck. Well, it burns if I add too much, as well, but it seems to be worse if I under-salt the water.

As far as meat preservation......I have no idea. I thought that the salt was for drying purposes, but it could have other properties. Gee, now I need to look that up! The first thing that came to mind was Egyptian mummies, where they use salt to dry and preserve the skin.
 

Mmathis

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OK, here ya go, per Wikipedia:


“Salting is the preservation of food with dry edible salt.[1] It is related to pickling in general and more specifically to brining (preparing food with brine, that is, salty water) and is one form of curing. It is one of the oldest methods of preserving food,[1] and two historically significant salt-cured foods are salted fish(usually dried and salted cod or salted herring) and salt-cured meat (such as bacon). Vegetables such as runner beans and cabbage are also often preserved in this manner.

Salting is used because most bacteria, fungi and other potentially pathogenic organisms cannot survive in a highly salty environment, due to the hypertonic nature of salt. Any living cell in such an environment will become dehydrated through osmosis and die or become temporarily inactivated.

It was discovered in the 19th century that salt mixed with nitrates (saltpeter) would color meats red, rather than grey, and consumers at that time then strongly preferred the red-colored meat. The food hence preserved stays healthy and fresh for days avoiding bacterial decay. [1]

But like the previous article said, that’s a lot of salt, and if you used that much in a pond, nothing would survive — not even the fish (marine or freshwater). So again, you have to look at the science for an explanation as to how and why things work the way they do.
 
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