My Betta has a problem (PLEASE help)

cyriikunNovember 30, 2009

Okay, so I bought my boy Roderich about 6 months ago (in May) from a nice little pet store. He's in a neat little tank, 1/2 gallon and very pretty, zen-like. I know it's not too big but he's my only betta and the people I bought him from said it'd be fine. Up until recently, I fed him about 6 little food pellets (more like little tiny little balls, but that's what I was advised to use) a day. That could have been overfeeding, but it was 2 in the morning, 2 afternoon, 2 at night before bed, and he would gobble it up. I never changed his food or anything like that. I would change his water and clean out the tank once a week and usually on the same day although occasionally I would miss a day.

He was fine until late October when I noticed that he was acting very lazy and not going anywhere, just kind of floating around the top or bottom of his tank. He suddenly stopped eating or he would spit out his food. In the past month of November, he's eaten at most 3 pellets.

I clean his water once a week, still, and try to get him to eat, but when he doesn't eat, I spoon out the food so that it doesn't rot and make him sick.

I was worried about sicknesses, so I looked up betta diseases and it didn't look like he had any symptoms at all! I chalked it up to their explanation of "betta depression" but their only solution was to put him in a little space near his siblings, but I don't see how that would be possible since I bought him in one of those little plastic jars all by himself. In an attempt to cure his "depression", I even sprinkled in some freeze-dried blood worms, but he didn't even look at them (I thought bettas LOVED those things!)

After reading about the importance of water temperature, I tried taking my betta out of my room and, after changing his water, putting him in a somewhat brighter and warmer place on the living room coffee table, but when I was observing him more closely, he appeared to have a kind of white fuzz over his body. When I transfered him back to the tank, it had been dead skin (I assume) because when he moved, it peeled away and my boy looked as normal as he usually did.

PLEASE help me. I don't understand anything that could be wrong with him. I feel like his water is pretty consistently cleaned, I attempt to feed him as best I can (though he won't eat), but is he just sad? I don't want him to starve!

He looks much more dull and colorless than when I bought him, but at least since I changed the water temperature he's moving around a little more. But his fins are lifeless and limp, not spread out like a fan and he sits at the bottom with the black rocks in his tank. There isn't a plant in the tank, could that be the problem? Please help me, I really want to help my boy out. Thank you so much.

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I,m no expert but sounds like some form of " ICK"

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 8:33AM
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Sometimes bettas sulk, especially when they feel insecure or stressed.

I suggest getting your betta a least a 2-1/2 gallon aquarium with a heater for that size, and add aquarium salt (1 tsp to 2 gal. water) to reduce the stress your betta is in. I'd also get some live plants - like Java Moss - for your betta to feel secure in.

Visit your pet store and talk to a specialist to get the proper medication for this condition that might be Ich.

If the issue clears up, you might want to vary your betta's diet (pellets, frozen brine shrimp, freeze dried worms, fruit flies, cooked pea, beef heart). A diet of various foods will prolong your betta's life. But please! Don't overfeed and allow your betta to fast once or twice a week fo allow his digestive system to rest. 1 or 2 pellets twice a day is more than enough.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 2:19AM
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I just spent hours posting on another thread, cut and paste here.

Please, the size is way to small (see why in reading post) water chemistry can not be maintained (of course pet store said ok, they want your money!)

Before you continue - please educate self before purchase - books, real research not the ask yahoo type.

Sorry, just do hundreds of sad rescues (most do not make it) and all due to lack of info...upfront before reaches these stages.

They can not eat so much food all at once (and blood worms clog them) your betta is cold, sick and dying from very bad environment.

Every time you "clean" your water you are stressing him further - it needs a larger tank (five at least, filtered low flow, heated and extremely small meals (stomach size of eye) no dried pellots or freeze dried - they swell, frozen variety as mentioned once a day - maybe vegetable flake or fresh pm and that's it...

Breeders who do have small jars bowls, change water once or twice a day - and aged water (see why tap without one night of sitting is harmful esp in winter - gasses are trapped and outgas later...


He does not have Ich - lifeless, listless is often signs of too cold and immune stress resulting in bacterial infections (cells are single layer thin in tails and fins so easy to enter) ONE hour is all it takes for bacteria (negative types) to build up after partial change of water when it is so small it can not be cycled properly.

If you love this fish, please get at least a five (ten best) mine are in 20 longs.

ok, rant over, lol

Please read post.

Pet stores are not best place for the most part - for any advice at all.


RE: Betta with Fin Rot - Need Tips

clip this post email this post what is this?
see most clipped and recent clippings

* Posted by sherryazure 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 23, 09 at 5:07

Water chemistry is very hard to maintain in small tanks (I use 2.5 for hospital only for bettas)..(45 years experience, background in prevet/zoo/oceanography sciences and biochemistry degree and more)... betta rescue as well for decades.

(see below info re salt and link on fish osmoregulation, electrolytes and how adding salt to fresh water fish environments can greatly upset this)....

(I have my orange gal in a 20 long, wood with java moss, soft rock caves, and she zooms all over exploring, picking things off of moss so on) As author below notes, bettas DO NOT like small spaces (nor any fish for that matter, rest are in 75)

As someone said on a fish forum re bettas in small spaces.

Imagine yourself in a very small, cold bathroom, with toilet flushed once a week, and dry hard pellots shoved under the door as food once a day! UGH!

The more you disturb the chemistry once stable the more you stress your fish (100% has to be done esp carefully, and best to do small partial (1/4 or less) every other day,(I have a rescue betta in a 2.5 now - I do small partial after his am feeding each morning) (it only takes an hour or less for toxic gasses to be produced) (breeders do twice daily with aged leaf treated water) and slowly dribble treated water back in with airline tubing knotted, (aged prefiltered water)...(have many tanks some huge so have water ready to go plus NYC water is not "safe")


Regular small incremental water changes are IMO one of the best maintenance procedures you can perform (if not over done). These will cut pollutants, often add necessary minerals (depending on the water source), and improve the aquariums Redox Balance.

Here is a list of Reasons why Water Changes/Tank

Maintenance on a regular basis is important:

Nitrate Control
 Improved Mineralization, (GH, Electrolytes, etc.)
 Improved pH and KH Stability
 Lowering of Organic Mulm/Sludge
 Removal of harmful elements/toxins
 Control of Bio-Load
 Redox Balance
 Removal of Waste
 Control of Algae Growth
 Rinsing of Filter Media
 Aid in Disease Eradication

Please see this article for expanded information of these

"AQUARIUM CLEANING; Reasons for Water Changes"


Even a slight shift in ph, temperature, and bacterial load (and new water direct from tap, esp when in cold weather, contains gasses such as nitrogen that are outgassed later in the fish's tank, and can cause them great harm... ph will shift due to Co2 in tap water, so at least one day of waiting will help with water changes ie let it sit out)

Tap water may or may not be fine (as mentioned in midtown it is crap - and when it rains sewage backs into water supply - I frequently check with municipal source as to what is being added, it changes with the seasons.)

Many use aquarium salt, I do not except for fish with illness treatments, since young age, but bettas are not from salted water and eventually it will affect them as it affects osmotic functioning.

It is best to use for when it is really needed (many use it as it helps reduce bacteria not stress as fish will not be stressed if water chemistry and biology is correct in the first place.

You should have a heater and get the most expensive kind you can... small heaters esp cheap ones easily overheat and are hard to calibrate true readings.

NEVER (as you found out) use a power filter with bettas (or any fish in such a small tank - too much current but esp for bettas which have single cell thin fins/tails.

As well, even with carbon types there can be too much flow for a long finned betta (they need quiet water, so I put tubes or valve to reduce flow significantly) (which have now reduced your 2.5 to less water volume along with plants...) you can get a valve (cheap and sold at most pet stores) to reduce the flow further. I use the smaller sponge type and take out the sponge and put my own floss in - mostly for bug culture they do not hold much carbon - which need replacing often anyway as when full or organic compounds will release them back into the water.

Plants should be real, they help with water chemistry, absorb toxins and allow micro things to grow on them which bettas will eat. Java moss and Anubias are perfect for them. You do not need sand or gravel but a small layer will help with bio cultures.

The main reason for more frequent water changes in smaller containers is due to in ability to culture these bugs properly - it can be done but so much harder.

Just because betta's can go to surface air when needed to breath, does not mean all else for other fish does not apply to them. All fish release stress hormones - these build up in the water again affecting their health.

A lot of people are getting info off the web, but there are a great many books on the subject written by those in the field (PHd's, breeders, so on)

Great links: (mine is from books - and college books, read since childhood and experience so I link to great sites for reference.


Size: The absolute minimum tank that a single betta can be kept in is one gallon. However, bigger is better! I personally will not keep a betta in under 5 gallons.

I recommend no less than 2.5 gallons. 2.5 gallon tanks and above are easy to heat, need to be cleaned much less often, and result in a happier and healthier betta. Contrary to popular belief, there is no maximum, and bettas do not like small spaces. kept in larger tanks are healthier and less prone to problems such as ammonia burn, bacterial infections, and obesity (one of the leading causes of betta death).

From web site: (even hard for ten gallon)

"Con #2: Ten gallon tanks are difficult to establish and keep balanced with regard to water quality.

When you are working with such a small volume of water, the tiniest change can upset the balance, causing illness or death for the fish.

You will need to monitor the water parameters much more closely and be meticulous about your tank maintenance.

The time you save on your routine maintenance might be quickly eaten up with water tests and emergency water changes if an accidental overfeeding causes a rise in nitrates and/or ammonia.

While a larger tank might be okay if you don't do a water change one week, your ten gallon could quickly build up toxic levels of nitrates, causing stress and possible disease for its inhabitants.


Stocking 5, 10 and 20 gallon freshwater aquaria

By Neale Monks

"The bigger the aquarium, the easier maintaining it will be." This is probably the single most important rule in the hobby, and for someone setting up their first aquarium, it is an absolutely essential fact of life. The size of the aquarium has a direct impact on several key physical and chemical processes, including pH stability, thermal stability, and the dilution of metabolic wastes such as ammonia. The smaller the tank, the less stable and the more toxic the environment is likely to be.

The size of the aquarium is also important in terms of how fish behave. Schooling fish need to be kept in groups of at least five or six specimens, and that it turn requires a certain amount of aquarium volume and swimming space. When kept in insufficient numbers, barbs, danios and tetras become frustrated and often turn aggressive or nippy. Territorial fish need to be able to claim a certain patch of ground, and if there isnÂt enough space in the tank, fighting or bullying can occur. Livebearers pose a particular set of problems because of the way males fight with each other while also tending to bully the females. It is important that there is enough space for the male and female livebearers to spread out, and if necessary find hiding places where they can rest or give birth safely.
For all practical purposes, the minimum "safe" aquarium size is 20 US gallons (75 litres). Such a tank will be big enough to accommodate a reasonable selection of small aquarium fish without being particularly large or expensive. More ambitious aquarists interested in big or territorial species such as cichlids should consider larger systems though, with tanks up to 55 US gallons (210 litres) in size providing a good balance between size and expense.

Why keep a small aquarium at all?

Small aquaria can be fun, and obviously theyÂre easier to fit into a crowded apartment or dorm room. But letÂs be clear about one reason never to keep a small aquarium: to save money.

You wonÂt save money setting up a small aquarium. The price differential between a 10-gallon tank and a 20-gallon tank is trivially small, and the key pieces of equipment such as heaters and filters will likely be the same anyway, so thereÂs no savings to be had there. Decorating the two different tanks in terms of gravel, bogwood and plants will be pretty much the same as well.
Running a small aquarium wonÂt save you any money either. Because a small aquarium is more prone to problems, youÂll likely (almost certainly) have to deal with things like finrot, fungus and whitespot on a regular basis. Even after spending money on the medications, if conditions are fundamentally poor or unstable, the chances of the fish dying are much higher than in a bigger aquarium. Dead fish will need to be replaced, and that costs money. Worst case scenario, all your fish die and all your plants rot, so you give up and abandon fishkeeping altogether. However seemingly inexpensive your fish tank might have been, itÂs a total waste of money if it isnÂt used.
So I say again, if youÂre new to the hobby or want a simple, easy to maintain aquarium, always choose a tank at least 20 gallons in size. In the long term, this will be the economical as well as the easier option

5-gallon (19 litre) tanks

Stocking tanks under 10-gallons in size is difficult because relatively few fish can be maintained in such small environments permanently. Popular fish like neons, guppies and Corydoras simply arenÂt viable in 5-10 gallon tanks. Your options are really limited to just two things: bettas and freshwater invertebrates.

Bettas (often called Siamese fighting fish) are domesticated varieties of the species Betta splendens. The males have been bred to have exceptionally long, colourful fins.

They find it difficult to swim against strong currents, and because of this tend to be rather lethargic animals. While you can keep them in larger tanks if you want, male bettas do perfectly well in tanks as small as 5 gallons in size.

It isnÂt a good idea to keep them in small containers though. Very small tanks (or bowls) less than 5 gallons in size are difficult to heat and filter.

Bettas are not coldwater fish; they must be kept at around 26-28 degrees C (79-82 degrees F) all day long. Putting an unheated betta bowl below a light bulb for a few hours isnÂt an alternative! Similarly, you need to consider filtration. An air-powered sponge filter works great in a 5-10 gallon aquarium and will do a good job of removing ammonia.

Bettas exposed to poor quality water invariably become sick and die prematurely, often from completely avoidable problems such as Finrot.

People who breed bettas typically keep the males in bowls, even jam jars, but what casual hobbyists donÂt realise is that these bowls are kept in heated fish rooms, and the water in the bowls is changed at least once a day.

ThatÂs an insane amount of work for someone who just wants a pet fish: if you want a betta, invest in a 5-10 gallon tank, buy the heater, install a filter, and enjoy your fish doing nothing more strenuous than replacing 25% of the water weekly and periodically cleaning the filter as required.

"The bigger the aquarium, the easier maintaining it will be." This is probably the single most important rule in the hobby, and for someone setting up their first aquarium, it is an absolutely essential fact of life.

The size of the aquarium has a direct impact on several key physical and chemical processes, including pH stability, thermal stability, and the dilution of metabolic wastes such as ammonia. The smaller the tank, the less stable and the more toxic the environment is likely to be.


Myth: Bettas, even in small and unfiltered tanks, do not require frequent water changes as they thrive in unclean conditions.

Reality: Tying back to the myth regarding the ideal water conditions of bettas, it is a common misconception that the species is found in dirty, muddy puddles, which has convinced some novice aquarists that clean water is not demanded of the species and could even be harmful. In reality, the opposite could not be more true.

The selection for decorative and show finnage types in bettas has created fish that are in fact highly sensitive to water quality; unless conditions are pristine (right down to hardness and pH, even!), you can expect crown tails, half moons, and other long finned bettas to suffer deterioration of the finnage. The poor circulation to the extremities of these lofty fins also makes them a prime target for bacterial infections, a problem only exacerbated by unclean water.

Make no mistake: there is no such thing as a fish that thrives in waste-laden, filthy water!

Myth: Bettas do not require heating or filtration.

Reality: While this is technically a myth, there is no simple counterpoint for a number of reasons.
It is true that bettas can survive without a heater or filter, but only under highly specific conditions.

For example, in a room heated to at least 76 degrees, a betta does not need an actual heater, but under normal room temperature conditions, they absolutely do. The ideal range of the species is 76-82 degrees (with a survival range of around 72-86), which under most conditions demands a heater.
In regards to filtration, opinions are split.

The benefits of a cycled, filtered tank are numerous and well supported. Unfortunately, the combination of yielding from stagnant water and having large, cumbersome fins can make filtration stressful, so many keepers (including traditional thai breeders) do not filter or cycle. Both methods seem to work so long as clean water and consistent water parameters are maintained. You can read more on this issue by clicking here: Bettas and Filtration: What You Should Know.

Myth: Bettas are inactive fish and thus demand minimal space

Reality: Most bettas who are inactive are behaving as such because they are cold or ill. When provided with appropriate space and temperatures, they are an extremely active, inquisitive fish. Some heavier finned fish may be less active, but a betta who is inactive is most likely unhealthy.


Water changes
Although there are many ways to remove excess nitrate, the most effective way is to regularly change part of the water. This is one of the most neglected and important parts of aquarium maintenance!

How often and how much you need to change depends a lot on the waste load in your tank, and the sensitivity of your fish.

You don't want to change ALL of the water at any point in time because the change in water chemistry will be stressful to your fish.

The best way to decide how often and how much to change your water is to monitor your water quality with water tests. As a minimum, if your tank is new, you should test for ammonia and perhaps nitrite. In established tanks you should monitor for nitrate accumulation. Read more about water tests in the TEST KIT SECTION of the BEGINNER FAQ. Water tests are the most reliable way to know how well your aquarium filtration works.


RE salt - salt addition makes it hard as well to maintain proper salinity - and again is not necessary for bettas. It is not found in their native environment at all!

Again, I do and have for decades used salt for medicinal purposes - carefully and gradually both ways. (Dr. Innes 1940's)(still have the books by him, lol)

(again, any subtle change in water chemistry creates osmotic stress - esp with ions like salt)

When one does a water change, electrolytes are replaced (refurbished), if the water chemistry is maintained there is no stress to the fish.


How do Fish Drink?


*The Importance of healthy Osmoregulation in fish (freshwater/saltwater)

*Information about the use of RO, DI, or Rain water in aquariums (including information about Reverse Osmosis units)

* Necessary Minerals

Updated 10/20/09

QUESTION: How do fish drink water?


Freshwater fish absorb most of the water they need through their skin via osmosis by producing dilute urine and actively transport essential mineral ions from the surrounding water to compensate for mineral ions lost via the urine and diffusion from the gills (osmosis is the net movement of water through a selective permeable membrane from a region of low solute potential to a region of high solute potential due to their hyperosmotic environment), NOT through their gills.

The gills are for respiration.

However it should also be noted that before you go an dump a lot of sodium chloride (salt) in your freshwater aquarium, even for fish such as African Cichlids where this is a common practice that overuse of salt can have negative side effects such as loss of other essential elements/minerals and general osmoregulation (& is occasionally noted as a contributing factor for the condition of Malawi Bloat).

Put another way, you want to achieve and Osmotic balance.

These different abilities explain why some fish such as catfish are sensitive to salt in the water, but this is also why some fresh water fish are helped by salt to generate a mucous slime coat on their skin which is necessary for disease prevention.

For proper osmoregulation electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and other elements are important as well.

Osmosis in fish;

Their cells must always be bathed in a solution having the same osmotic strength as their cytoplasm. This is one of the reasons why fish and other animals have kidneys. The exact amount of water and salt removed from their blood by the fish kidneys.

The process of regulating the amounts of water and mineral salts in the blood is called osmoregulation.

Fish which live in the sea (remember the sea is full of salt and other elements), but fish which live in freshwater have the opposite problem; they must get rid of excess water as fast as it gets into their bodies by osmosis. Osmosis is an important topic in biology because it provides the primary means by which water is transported into and out of cells.

Osmosis is also important in the treatment of many aquarium diseases in both freshwater and saltwater.

A general breakdown in osmoregulation due to disease, poor water quality (especially the lack of essential mineral electrolytes such as Calcium, magnesium, and Sodium) is often responsible for the bloated condition that results from excess water accumulation in tissues.

It is common for Fish in this condition often rapidly succumb due to loss of homeostasis (the constant internal environment), essential to carrying out metabolism and other life activities this tends to be more common among FW fish in my experience, in part due to the lack of understanding of the role that many essential minerals play in essential life processes of fish.

Generally salts (trace elements), not just sodium chloride can affect osmosis. Magnesium can also play a major role too. Calcium can affect and just as importantly be affected by proper osmotic function.

Sulfates have been shown effective in improving nutrient absorption and toxin elimination. Magnesium plays a role in the activity of more than 325 enzymes and aids in the proper assimilation of Calcium.

Often many aquarists understand how salt (sodium chloride) affects osmoregulation and the popular question of "Do fish drink?" however this is a dangerous over simplification as although sodium chloride (as often represented as sodium and chloride) are important, the lack of other essential elements including Calcium (which the absence Calcium of in fish can lose/leak substantial quantities of other minerals/salts into the water).

Here is an over simplification I read recently that is not necessarily wrong, but in misleading in that it implies salt is the only essential mineral: "They (freshwater fish) absorb water through their skin and have effective ways of excreting excess liquid to maintain the salt they need".

The implication is that the fish basically just needs to maintain salt and/or this or other minerals somehow take care of themselves. The facts are that without Calcium (as tested via GH), the fish CANNOT properly osmoregulate.

For much more information about the importance of Calcium and other electrolytes, please read this article (in particular the section about Calcium):
CALCIUM, KH, AND MAGNESIUM IN AQUARIUMS; How to maintain a Proper KH, why calcium and electrolytes are important.


In freshwater, a higher electrolyte level (particularly of sodium chloride, calcium and magnesium) will help pull fluids through the body which also stimulates the natural mucous coat on fish so as to resist parasites, bacteria, and fungus.

Also by pulling fluids through the body this can help with bloat, swim bladder problems, intestinal problems, and even dropsy (which I have had few problems with in clean tanks with good electrolyte/ trace element levels).

This process results in the loss of many electrolytes, some of these trace elements can be replaced by ions contained in food but by far the most common method is through the movement of a substance against an osmotic gradient through the use of energy.

This usually involves the exchange of one substance for another. In the case of freshwater fish, Na+ (sodium) ions are taken from the water and ammonia ions are taken from the fish and they are exchanged. This effectively rids the fish of ammonia. Chloride ions are exchanged for carbonate ions which help in maintaining the pH of the body fluids.

This is one more important reason for adequate Calcium, carbonate (KH), & electrolyte levels
Opportunistic diseases such as Columnaris, Saprolegnia (often known as fish fungus), and Aeromonas (often the cause of Septicemia) are more easily prevented when osmoregulation is functioning properly in fish via adequate mineral levels.
This is important and not realized by many aquarists (especially in freshwater), however not having these electrolytes (minerals) present in the water whether by depletion or by the use of drinking water, distilled water or RO water that has not been re-mineralized can cause problems with the fish ability to move fluids in and out of their bodies and in the long term resist disease.

Another note, because most freshwater fish cannot drink their surrounding water (Salmon and others are exceptions), when you place these freshwater fish in saltwater, they actually dehydrate.

Great site (totally disagree with minimum tank size unless one is a breeder - but she does recommend at least five but if...) beautiful photos of show quality betta's.

As well, mentions salt for Columnaris (Flexibacteria)(since doing 100's of rescues, this is common end stage - usually fatal and from copious research and experiments with natural therappies including h202, salt is great for this bacteria. (looks like fungus end stage, shift in scale color early on - that's the time to catch this hard to treat disease.)

Should I add salt to my betta's water?

No! As a new bettakeeper, I read all over the 'net that I should be using salt to prevent and treat disease and I followed this trendy recommendation.

However, as I looked closer into the subject, I found that the scientific evidence to support using salt as a preventive or curative measure against organisms causing fish disease, at dosages commonly used in freshwater aquariums, is most often lacking.

So, about three years ago, I stopped adding salt to my bettas' water and they have remained healthy. I know that there are plenty of bettakeepers who swear by salt I'm just not one of them!

Salt is useful to minimize the toxic effects of nitrite poisoning on your betta, when cycling. Also, salt may be useful in the treatment of osmoregulatory stress, which may occur when transporting bettas and when bettas are suffering from gill disease. If a betta has an open wound, salt may stimulate production of the slime coat and help to protect its' body.

An April 2001 study from the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures at Auburn University in Alabama showed that keeping some freshwater fish in water with salt of increasing concentrations can prevent Flexibacter infections, presumably by preventing adhesion of the Flexibacter to the fishÂs body.

Betta fish were not studied. When fish were exposed to Flexibacter, those kept at a 0.1% salinity (about one teaspoon salt per gallon) had mortality rates reduced by one third, while those at a 0.3% salinity (about one tablespoon salt per gallon), experienced no deaths. In the freshwater control or no-salt group (salinity= 0.03%), there was virtually a 100% mortality (except coldwater goldfish, which had a 67% mortality).

Whether the findings of this study hold true for aquarium fish and bettas is unknown, but it suggests that salt at concentrations that are commonly used in the hobby may help to prevent Flexibacter infection.

If you decide to use salt with your betta, then only add ½ teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water.

You can buy aquarium salt at your local fish store. As an alternative, rock salt can be used. If you use NovAqua® as a water conditioner, this adds sodium chloride (salt), so this can suffice to meet your salt needs.

While you may read reports that salt, such as table salt, which contains iodine and/or anti-caking agents, should not be used, this is a myth. Table salt used at the amounts commonly used in freshwater aquariums in unlikely to be harmful. The one exception of salt that may be toxic to bettas, uses sodium ferrocyanide (yellow prussiate of soda) as an additive.


(I spoke with Doctor Gary at Nat Fish Pharmacy on salt - he recommends for tropical fresh water fish (not brackish and that is another topic, more then salt is needed) best to use salt for curative purposes only (and increased and decreased incrementally)

(article on salt is for goldfish) which CAN have a pinch.)

Adding Salt To Your Pond

Salt is pretty amazing in it's ability to control algae, detoxify Nitrites, kill parasites and it's antiseptic qualities. Salt is a great item to use for your water quality, but first... you need to know how much to add. We feel that a 0.1% continual salt bath is a good level to run at all the time. To achieve this level, add 1¼ ounces of salt per 10 gallons of pond water.

The maximum level of salt that you can run without major damage to the fish is 0.3%. This high salt level is used for treating fish wounds and parasites. To achieve this level, add 3.8 oz. of salt per 10 gallons. This salt level is better suited for a bath, or in a hospital tank. Never ever take your main pond up to a level like this. Long term exposure to high salt content will damage or kill the fish and your biological filter. This salt level should be used for a 15 minute bath only.

Great link from owner/breeder on many topics.

Great article on redox (water chemistry)

More then most want to know, lol, but shows just how complicated water chemistry is and how hard to reproduce nature in our simulations.... Thus larger tanks, more frequent partial changes to help fill the void.


Over geologic time abiogenic (not biological in origin), biogenic (produced by living organisms) and anthropogenic (processes are those that are derived from human activities, as opposed to effects or processes that occur in the natural environment without human influences) deposits were accumulated in rivers, lakes and seas. Simultaneously there proceeded the self-purification of natural water on the basis of the chemical reactions of oxidation and reduction. Living organisms such as fish are adapted not to "perfectly clean water", such as distillated water, but to ecologically clean water with definite content of organic and inorganic compounds, micro-admixtures, ions and even bacteria or saprophyte (any plant that depends on dead plant or animal tissue for a source of nutrition and metabolic energy, e.g., most fungi). The range of mentioned components of ecologically clean water is the integral result of oxidation and reduction self-purification of water.

At the initial stages of this cycle toxic hydrophobic organic compounds (molecules that are repelled from a mass of water) are oxidized to the hydrophilic forms (a molecule or portion of a molecule is one that is typically charge-polarized and capable of hydrogen bonding, enabling it to dissolve more readily in water than in oil or other hydrophobic solvents), which are characterized by the better biological compatibility.

Energy of oxidation of degrading organic compounds is absorbed during reduction chemical transformations. Excess of ions of the heavy elements transforms into insoluble, inert, nontoxic forms. Concentration of ions of light elements is stabilized. Just in such water live the water organisms, and land animals drink such water.

Spring waters, which are considered to be the most clean according to the ecological criteria, are filtered through the rocks and subjected to the oxidation and reduction, sorption and catalytic influence. As rule, they are mineralized and include non-volatile organic substances, which are detected by the permanganate oxidability (expressed by oxidability by potassium permanganate and potassium dichromate).

ORP can change so rapidly, however in a stable condition of electrons, Redox potentials above 400 mV are dangerous to life. Good quality water for life is lower than 350mV, and water of lower than 100mV is effective for disease healing purpose when the part of body is particularly oxidized (harmed) by disease.

In tests using electrochemical purification, water keeps its initial neutral values of pH, but ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) of water shifts toward the negative (electrode or reduction) values.

The resulting purified water obtains the antioxidant properties with characteristics of pharmacological activity close to the properties of the antioxidant preparations (a -tocopherol, b -carotene, vitamin C etc.). In case of dilution of polyvitamin preparations in electrochemically purified water ORP of mixtures is decreased approximately by 200 - 400 mV in relation to the control solutions with non-treated drinking water.

The above partially explains how a proper Redox Potential improves the health of the fish or other aquatic organisms as I have observed. Bringing this back to my observations of goldfish aquariums; All aquariums with the same filtration (canister filter with sponge filter), the same feeding schedule and food, even the same basic goldfish (a mix of Ryukins and Orandas); The aquariums with the quality, properly installed UV Sterilizers (again assuming proper dissolved oxygen levels) not only had less incidence of disease, but general health, appetite, vigor, growth, and water clarity were all improved.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 5:19AM
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