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Should I always add pond salt to my pond, or just when my fish are sick? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Should I always add pond salt to my pond, or just when my fish are sick?

Q: Should I always add pond salt to my pond, or just when my fish are sick?

Ron – Whitefish Bay, WI

A: To salt or not to salt? It’s a question hotly debated by koi hobbyists. When used in low doses, salt has many health benefits for your fish – but when used in too-high doses, it can do more harm than good. Here’s what you need to know about adding salt to your pond.

Benefits Aplenty

Salt isn’t just for helping to heal sick fish. Constant exposure to low salt levels can improve your fishes’ overall health. It can improve gill function and oxygen uptake, reduce stress, and build a stout slime coat that’ll help them ward off parasites, bacteria and disease. Salt also adds beneficial electrolytes to the water.

The Right Type

You can’t, however, just dump a scoop of common salt, like tasty table salt or ice-melting rock salt, into the water. Fish friendly Pond Logic® Pond Salt is made from pure evaporated sea salt – and that’s it. It contains no iodine, chloride or other harsh chemicals that could harm your fish.

Just Add Salt

If you’re adding low doses of salt to your pond and have no aquatic plants, use 2½ cups of salt per 100 gallons of water and disperse the pond salt evenly around the shoreline. Salt will not evaporate or get filtered out, so the only time you need to add more salt is when you do water changes.

Mind the Plants

If you have lilies and other aquatic plants living with the fish in your water garden, use 1¼ cups of salt per 100 gallons of water. Scatter it around the shoreline, being careful to avoid direct contact with your greenery.

Salt Therapy

Fish with parasites or bacterial infections can benefit from a salt bath. Prepare an isolation tank with 5 cups of salt per 100 gallons of pond water (not tap water) and add some vigorous aeration. Place the patient in the tank for 5 to 10 minutes, and then return it to the pond.

Try adding some salt to your pond today. Your fish will thank you for the spa treatment!

Pond Talk: Have you had success treating your fishes’ disease with salt baths?

Improve Gill Function & Reduce Stress - Pond Logic® Pond Salt

26 Responses

  1. Should I feed the koi when the pond salt level is 0.66 ?

    • Hi Aldo – Ponds should be around 1-2% salt and feeding should be fine during this time. If you perform any high level salt treatments fish can tolerate for a short period of time but I would keep feeding to a minimum if at all.

  2. I was having flashing with the fish right after a partial water change. Now they all seem stress free. No more flashing. Took the itch away. 🙂

  3. This is still the big debate until now and I just keep my silence for this matter because some koi keepers who ask my opinion but still continues to believe that salt can cure koi fish disease

  4. My koi do what’s called “flashing” quite often in my 400 hundred gallon pond & I’ve put salt inonce this year. Is it too late to add some as long as the pond is still running. I don’t believe they have parasites

    • Becky – You can still add pond salt for your fish. If your fish are flashing it may be best to take a closer look. Generally fish do this in response to an illness.

  5. My dad enjoys the health of his fish. How often in a year should you do salt treatment for koi ponds(exterior pond)?

    • Hi Rita – This will vary with every pond but typically you would want to add salt after doing any water changes or adding water to your pond.

  6. Can I use house salt in my pond

    • Hi Chrissy – You would want to use salt that is designated as pond safe to be sure there are no additives that would be harmful to your fish.

  7. I have had a 3000 gal pond for seen years. I have about twenty good sized goldfish that are very healthy. The only problem I battle is algae. The pond supply store said I should be salting my pond. Should I after all this time? Live in Buffalo NY area.

    • Hi Cindy – Salt has many benefits and does help keep a pond cleaner and healthier. Adding salt can’t hurt but will it stop the algae issue, not likely. Algae thrives on sunlight and with a little but of food source can grow very quickly. I would look at your balance of filtration versus fish load and supplement with natural bacteria such as Muck Defense or Nature’s Defense that will help continue to decompose the fish waste and balance the water quality. As the fish have grown they also produce more waste. If there is a lot of debris on the pond’s bottom or your filter system is maxed out for your pond size you may just be at the point where some additional help is needed in keeping the nutrient load under control.

  8. Hi Pond Guy, I have a 3200 gallon koi pond with 10 koi ranging from 2.5 feet and down. I have been fighting a green water issue and have done multiple water changes to no avail. I have UV lights that are fairly new and a large filtration unit. Would you say to add salt to clear this issue up? Currently, I can see 1.5 feet down from the top. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Mike – What type of filtration system do you have and how long has it been up and running? Also do you use any other type of water treatments such as natural bacteria? Salt may help but I don’t think it is should be considered the solution to the issue.

  9. Love the pond guy. You always have the best answers and always well written Mahalo .Aloha

  10. Mine is 1 acre fishing pond, 1.5 mtrs deep. How many klos should put in?

    • Hi Danny – In a pond that size it would be very difficult to use pond salt. This recommendation is really for the smaller water garden ponds. In a 1 acre pond the use of aeration to keep the pond circulated and natural bacteria to help break down muck will do well to prevent issues.

  11. Can kid use oxy lift in my swimming pool to clean algae

    • Hi Marilyn – Since Oxy-Lift is designed for use in ponds and water features I would not recommend to use it in a pool application that is used for swimming.

  12. Remember, add salt ONCE. Also, don’t add if its a natural pond or has a water outlet. This is for closed artificial systems only.

  13. Last I heard, sea salt and every other kind mentioned is sodium chloride. How do you get salt with “no chloride”? And one of the valuable sources of Iodine is sea water. I suspect sea salt may supply that very nicely. What other “harsh chemicals” may be present in table salt or any other salt I can’t imagine.

    • yoiu’re right salt is NaCl The sodium and Chlorine are bonded together and neutral The chlorine you don’t want is free chlorine. Like Sodium Hypochlorite

      • Carleton is correct. A very strong electrical current is needed to break the Na and Cl bond. This is an industrial operation where a salt water “bath” has two large electrodes (a positive and a negative) at either end and when a very strong electric current is passed through the bath, the Cl- goes to the + electrode (thus producing commercial Cl gas) and the Na+ goes to the negative electrode and can be used to make a useful compound e.g. NaOH better known as sodium hydroxide or lye or caustic soda. The process is known as the “electrolytic chloralkali process.”

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