If You Use Salt in Freshwater Aquarium
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From this thread: If you use salt...
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First, this is not a whether to use or not use salt question. I do use it in the tank, hospital tank as well as baths and have been experimenting for a while with the very cheap water softener salt available at hardware stores. If you use salt and want to save money on aquarium salt, this might be helpful.
The only kind of water softener salt that I've found locally are the 40 lb bags with mostly huge crystals for about $5/bag. So once I figured out what 1 tablespoon of water softener salt weighs (I took a bunch of salt and crushed them to aquarium salt size in a thick bag and put it on a scale) I know that 1.XX ounces (forgot what XX is now) of uncrushed salt is the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of normal sized aquarium salt. So I adjusted the zero control on my scale with a container on it so that when I put 1.XX ounces or 1 tablespoon of uncrushed crystals it reads exactly 2 ounces. This way I don't have to measure 1.XX ounces, I just put enough crystals in the container to line it up with the 2 ounce line. Now I have all these clean jars (about 5 of them). I put 1 tablespoon of uncrushed salt in each except for the large container in which I put 2 tablespoons of uncrushed salt. Fill them with water and let them sit. I could agitate to speed this up but I don't bother since I have plenty of jars and there are always jars with fully dissolved salt. I use the big jar when I'm doing a larger water change and I know there are 2 tablespoons for dissolved salt in it by the jar size. Every time I use a jar I fill it back up with salt and water and rotate it to the back of the line.
I don't know how much salt I've used so far but the bag looks almost as full as the day I bought it so it's possible I'll never have to buy salt again. LOL
You can read more about salt use in freshwater setups in Carl's Salt Article (I believe in the fish illness section). Since I have cory cats and tetras in my 26g I use only 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons. Since each of my jars of dissolved water softener salt have 1 tablespoon, I normally use 1/3 bottle per 5-6 gallon water change. So at any time I may have some full bottles, 2/3 full bottles or 1/3 full bottles ready to be used. In my fry tank I use a full tablespoon per 5g since it only has livebearers (platys/mollies). I also sometimes increase the salt in the 26g to as much as 1 tablespoon or slightly more when treating for disease or a problem that is helped by salt over the short term (maybe 1-3 weeks). Then when I am done treating I can ratchet it back down to 1 teaspoon/5g by either making a larger water change with no salt added or a series of smaller water changes over a normal schedule with no salt added. Then it's back to 1 teaspoon/5g on future water changes.
I also note that since my tap water is extremely soft (no detectable hardness on my water test kits) I use Wonder shells to add the important missing minerals in my tap water.
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