To Salt or not to Salt?

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by Gemma, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. Gemma

    Gemma

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    When I first set up my pond, I was advised to add salt to the waterfall box and so I did! The following Spring, when it was clean up time, the same person had attended a seminars and in conclusion advised me not to add salt....This year I have a new supplier and I'm once again advised to salt to the koi pond!
    What is your personal opinion on this?
    If I decide to add salt, how much should I add?
    Are all "pond" salt brand the same?

    Thank you!
     
    Gemma, Jul 1, 2016
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  2. Gemma

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Adding salt to a pond for any reason other than treating certain existing fish health issues is a waste of time, money and perfectly good salt. It could also have long term negative effects depending on dosage. If offers no discernible level of protection for fish when used as a prophylactic. .
     
    Meyer Jordan, Jul 1, 2016
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  3. Gemma

    Gemma

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    Thanks, Meyer! I really wish there wasn't so much contradiction around koi keeping! makes it hard to master this hobby!
     
    Gemma, Jul 2, 2016
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  4. Gemma

    MitchM

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    Myths, egos and arrogance are just some of the hindrances to successful fish keeping.
    Keep on searching for facts and reputable studies on whatever subject matter you are interested in!
    (y)
     
    MitchM, Jul 2, 2016
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  5. Gemma

    crsublette coyotes call me Charles

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    @Gemma, there is alot of info on this forum about salt and good aquaculture articles about this as well on the Google... but also... You have to realize that "pond salts" are made to be sold, to make money for the business... which is not the same as saying they are necessary for your situation...

    Short answer...


    "Sodium" type salts (like table salt) are only used if you will be significantly transporting the fish, maintaining incredibly high fish densities in your pond (most often done by hobby fish breeders or farms), or are treating for bacterial infections in a quarantine tank. "Sodium" type salts also can be used as a parasticide, but this procedure is more complicated, should never be done in a pond, and likely never necessary for hobbyists to do.

    Only use the calcium chloride salt whenever you want to increase your GH (which should be at very least 120ppm, and up to 250ppm is quite fine) or when you notice Nitrite numbers suddenly climbing (which only then a one time dosage is all this is needed for this).


    Long Answer...

    I figure you are talking about "sodium chloride" salt. Interestingly enough is that fish's blood actually has a salinity of (0.8%) and most of this salinity is composed of sodium and chloride while the remainder is bicarbonate, potassium, and calcium.

    Sodium and potassium salts are critical for heart, nerve, muscle, and Sodium Potassium pump functions. The Sodium Potassium pump uses the Sodium to help the fish flush out excess ammonia from their body. One function of the mucus surrounding fish's body is to slow down the loss, due to osmosis, of these salts while the fish is in the water, but the mucus does not stop the loss.

    Much of these lost salts are regained from the water and from their food. So, if you are using good aquaculture fish food (not gimmicky stuff), then you may not have to worry about increasing your salt levels.

    The chloride component is actually very healthy for use as a preventative. This helps to aid proper body function of your fish and defends your fish against nitrite absorption. This is achieved by using calcium chloride (@ 16 ounces per 1,000 gallons, first dissolved in a small bucket of water then slowly release solution around the pond's parameter). The Calcium is also very beneficial to your pond's system and helps the fish to block toxic metals from entering their body and controls leakage of salts from their body. Many people do this once there is a decrease in the GH test readings or when there is a climb in Nitrite numbers. If this dosage is ever done, you really only need to do it once for hard water (or twice if you have soft water) since it is a quite high dosage.

    Sodium salts are mainly used if the fish is going to be treated for bacterial infections (which is preferably done in a quarantine tank rather than pond if possible) and used if ever going to transport the fish. During fish transport, the fish actually loses more of its mucus layers due to stress, constant rubbing, etc. So, when the mucus layer is reduced, higher sodium levels becomes an irritant to the fish causing to regain this mucus layer so to help the fish maintain an osmotic balance.

    Often times in aquaculture for food fish production, they maintain a 0.8% concentration of sodium chloride in the water since this most closely matches the salinity of fish's blood. However, they are also in a more "fish crowded" environment where fish are more likely to rub, lose mucus layers, and higher potential of bacterial infections (fin rot) due to frayed fins created by other fish. So, this gives a good benchmark where the "high end" threshold would be, but this should not be normal for our ponds.

    Goldfish and koi are considered to be "stenohaline", which means they can tolerate only a narrow range of salinity change; however, the point remains the fish can safely tolerate a change in salinity. Do not forget... they are freshwater fish... so, just take quite low salt percentage levels.

    Depending on where you live and where your source water comes from, the water salinity can range from anywhere 0.02% (that is .2ppt) to 0.18% (1.8ppt). So, many folk might not have to increase the water's salinity at all. This is the general area where salinity should be for our ponds, that is anywhere between 0.02% to 0.18%.


    @Gemma , I hope this helps. :)
     
    crsublette, Jul 2, 2016
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  6. Gemma

    Meyer Jordan Tadpole

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    Please cite the source for this.
     
    Meyer Jordan, Jul 2, 2016
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  7. Gemma

    Gemma

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    Thanks, Mitch and Charles!
    I've had this pond for over 10 years and I have to say I had no problem when I just did the spring cleaning and added bacterial every 2 weeks (and of course whatever water was lost)! This year I decided to really learn and take good care of the fish and I've had nothing but problems! Mitch, you mention research, I'm telling you the more I read the more confused I get!
    Charles, I feed my koi Omega One, is that good enough?
     
    Gemma, Jul 2, 2016
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  8. Gemma

    MitchM

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    Gemma, if you find any contradictions, post them here.
    This forum and it's members are very helpful and instructive and will point you to relevant facts, not overbearing opinions.
    I was thinking of other forums when I made the previous comment.
     
    MitchM, Jul 2, 2016
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  9. Gemma

    crsublette coyotes call me Charles

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    http://www2.ca.uky.edu/wkrec/SaltStressCatfish.htm

    " If fish are placed in a 9 g/l salt solution, no salt loss will occur because the concentrations of the solution and blood match. The addition of salts to transport water stops or minimizes salt loss by reducing or eliminating concentration differences between fish blood and environmental water. This reduces energy demands and diffusion leakage while providing a large supply of environmental salts for re-absorption and replacement of lost blood salts."

    Depending on which aquaculture operator is read... sodium chloride levels for freshwater food fish systems are maintained anywhere from 5~9 g/l (0.5~0.9% salt solution)... but of course... this is also due to the large density of fish in a single system and also during transport...


    Here is another by Ebeling.... Page 31, https://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/ista/ISTA7/RecircWorkshop/Workshop PP & Misc Papers Adobe 2006/2 Water Quality/Water Quality.pdf

    "Most freshwater fish of importance in aquaculture reproduce and grow well at salinities up to a least 4-5 pp (0.4~0.5% salinity)."

    "If salinity deviates too far from optimum, the animal cannot maintain homeostasis and dies. The blood of freshwater fishes has an osmotic pressure approximately equal to the osmotic pressure of a 7 ppt (0.7%) sodium chloride solution"


    Here is another by Ebeling.... Page 31, https://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/ista/ISTA7/RecircWorkshop/Workshop PP & Misc Papers Adobe 2006/2 Water Quality/Water Quality.pdf

    "Often times to reduce stress and reduce energy required for osmo regulation, freshwater aquaculture systems are maintained at 2-3 ppt (0.2~0.3%) salinity."

    ...which they actually state a higher salinity to be maintained compared what I think should be applicable for pond hobbyists since our waters may involve more salt sensitive aquatic plants...


    ..but... I will stick with what I quoted... since our ponds may involve aquatic plants that could be easily damaged by a higher salinity... unless can be shown differently...



    Special consideration as well...

    From the aquaculture operators and nishikigoi breeders I have talked to and read, the university studies are most often viewed as "guidelines" or baseline to start from rather than "a rule of law". Many successful operators actually do not use the recommendations set forth by university studies.

    I know of one particular recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) fish farmer in the Middle East that grow freshwater bararmundi and freshwater tilapia food fish, with a good enough FCR, in water that has a 1% salinity, which salinity is very tough/expensive to fight in the Middle East since their source water tends to be on the saltier side. I am NOT suggesting 1% salinity is "ok" for anyone. This is just an example of where people have to make compromises.



    @Meyer Jordan , please cite a source that indicates this is incorrect...
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
    crsublette, Jul 2, 2016
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  10. Gemma

    crsublette coyotes call me Charles

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    @Gemma , look into studying the book references and course material at Koi Organisation Internation (K.O.I.) http://koiorganisationinternational.org/

    ... as their tag line goes, "We specialize in Science, not Hearsay!" ...

    If you do it... then come back here and share some clarity for others of what ya have learned from others. :)

    For Koi, they are very very good that actually involve trained fish veterinarians, which fish veterinarians is a quite rare specialization since it is a very intensive process and the hobby realm in most areas do not provide a high enough demand to warrant the consideration by fish veterinarians... but there are a handful that help out... Also, when talking about nishikigoi (koi) collectors that value their fish from anywhere $200~$9,000 per fish quite easy, then not surprising that there would be some fish veterinarians that help them out...


    You might want to consider an opinion from a more passionate nishikigoi practitioner... There are particular ingredients they look for that enhances pattern and color in the fish that may not be found in typical aquaculture foods... like Spirulina... For a generally, single, well balance koi food... Look at the ingredient lists of these... http://alliedaqua.com/fish-food/koi-food.html ... Allied Aqua is a very good, ethically minded, aquaculture farm in Missouri that makes the effort to help hobbyists. They're good people.

    Cheap fish food tend to have very low or not much of fish protein in it and also has corn products in it.

    So, from looking at the "Koi Omega One" fish food... Spirulina and fishmeal is good. 8% fat is about the highest you want to go... and I am not for sure why the Ash is in there... Look likes a generally good koi food...


    If you want to know a little more... may or may not be relevant to your situation, but may answer some questions that are closely relevant to your situation ... Here is a good read... http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/faqs/faq_feeds.html ... Commercial farms are very concerned about efficiency and costs... FCR (Food Conversion Ratios) is a ratio of "food to growth". High FCR means you feed much more food that gives the fish lower or poorer growth. Low FCR means you feed much less food that gives the fish higher or better growth. Tilapia and Koi have many similarities in their natural habitat. So, if you want to "fine tune" your feed even more, look into considering a Tilapia food for your fish's appropriate size/age... http://alliedaqua.com/fish-food/tilapia-food.html ... Cheap fish food actually cost operators much more money in the long run, but, in more impoverished countries, if the fish farm can offset this by lower capital expenditure or lower labor costs, then they will do it... This is the unfortunate side of aquaculture farming...
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
    crsublette, Jul 2, 2016
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  11. Gemma

    crsublette coyotes call me Charles

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    @Gemma , in all honesty, you may not want to feed your fish much, if any at all...

    Not everyone needs to feed their fish with a fish food... or if they do... very sparingly like once a day (amount spread out over the day), for 2 days, every week...


    Fish can often get enough food from insects, algae, snail, etc, as long as there is not too much competition for these food sources since likely not only just fish in your pond...


    Also, feeding your fish too much can create water quality and algae headaches... So, if you are not prepared to deal with this potential headaches, then do not feed your fish much, if any at all...

    One easy way to know if your fish are being "underfed" is if their head starts to look bigger than their body... this is not good body conformity for a healthy fish...
     
    crsublette, Jul 2, 2016
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  12. Gemma

    crsublette coyotes call me Charles

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    This tells me you have done something differently...

    @Gemma , What have ya done differently compared to the last 10 years when you had no problems?
     
    crsublette, Jul 2, 2016
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  13. Gemma

    Gemma

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    After the Spring cleaning I never used to do anything to the pond, other than replace evaporated water and add Microbe Lift for maintenance! This year I started doing regular water changes, test the water (for Ammonia, Nitrite and phosphate), but the biggest mistake of all, I'm thinking was that I followed several different people advises (they all seemed knowledgeable) in fish symptoms and treatment, I'm pretty sure I worsen the problem each time I tried to correct something I've since seen diseases in my pond, I never even knew existed!

    I think I'm going back to my old ways, enjoying my fish without trying to cure every little thing they maybe have.
     
    Gemma, Jul 2, 2016
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  14. Gemma

    crsublette coyotes call me Charles

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    Without knowing much more... this might be the wisest thing to do..
     
    crsublette, Jul 2, 2016
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  15. Gemma

    Gemma

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    I thought this was true only for fish kept in natural ponds!
    I feed my fish the way I read most experts racommend: " a few times a day, only what they eat in the first 5 minutes"
    I do not have food in the skimmer box and my water shows no signs of over feeding :)
     
    Gemma, Jul 3, 2016
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  16. Gemma

    Gemma

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    Thank you for all your reply :0
     
    Gemma, Jul 3, 2016
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  17. Gemma

    crsublette coyotes call me Charles

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    Do the experts that tell you this have a precisely designed and managed pond, with notable filtration?
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
    crsublette, Jul 3, 2016
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  18. Gemma

    crsublette coyotes call me Charles

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    Fish will eat whatever is easiest for them to obtain... Scavenging for food, such as waiting for an insect or looking for a snail or sifting through algae, is more difficult than just easily consuming whatever is floating or sinking in the pond...

    This is why bigger koi are even known to consume small gravel pieces... especially trash bottom feeders, like Koi and Goldfish and Tilapia, are simple constant grazers...


    If you do not have a precisely designed pond, with notable filtration, that very soon captures the solid and liquid waste from the fish... and you are feeding them "a few times a day, only what they eat in the first 5 minutes"... then... from the waste the fish create will create... there will be noticeable nutrient accumulations in the water which then leads to water quality problems which then leads to potential secondary ailments (including algae)...
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
    crsublette, Jul 3, 2016
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  19. Gemma

    crsublette coyotes call me Charles

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    Sometimes that is true...
     
    crsublette, Jul 3, 2016
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  20. Gemma

    Tula

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    I don't have a bottom drain, so not a truly dedicated koi pond. I feed mine once a day, especially as they've grown over the last ten years, I think they need their fish dinner :)
     
    Tula, Jul 3, 2016
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