Pond Salt for Healthy Fish
by Brett Fogle
Reprinted, with permission, from Pond Stuff,
newsletter of http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com
of Baton Rouge, Florida
The important question of whether or not to add salt to your pond is often confusing
for beginners and forgotten by experienced pond-keepers. To newbies and pro's alike we
have this to say:
"Add Salt Today to Keep the Fish Doctor Away."
True, there are some negative effects of higher salt levels on plants in the pond, but
overall we think it is absolutely the very best thing you can add to your pond in terms of
keeping your fish happy and healthy. Salt acts as a natural 'stress coat' and essentially
thickens the slime coat on the fish's body - which is its own natural defense system
against bacteria and parasites.
Salt is also very effective in killing bacteria and parasites in the pond. When added
in proper doses, salting your pond can dramatically reduce the threat of disease affecting
It's just like with humans - we are always exposed to the common cold cells in our
bodies, but can usually resist if their immune system is strong. Similarly, pond fish and
koi are always exposed to some degree of parasite and bacteria presence in the pond, but
by keeping their immune system strong and their slime coat thick, you shouldn't have any
Pond fish actively maintain a natural balance of electrolytes in their body fluids.
Electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium and magnesium are removed from
the water by chloride cells located in the gills. These electrolytes are essential for the
uptake of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide and ammonium across gill membranes.
The lack of electrolytes can cause serious health problems to the fish. Pond Salt
(trade name) is an all natural salt, providing the essential electrolytes fish need to
survive. Pond Salt is not just a table salt (sodium chloride). It is made from
evaporated sea water. Evaporated sea water contains the necessary electrolytes pond fish
How Pond Salt helps improve gill function to reduce stress....
During periods of disease and stress, healthy gill function is disturbed. This can lead to
the loss of electrolytes through the gills, sometimes called osmotic shock. Osmotic shock
interrupts healthy gill function by reducing the intake of oxygen and the release of
carbon dioxide and ammonium from the fish. Pond Salt reduces the risk of osmotic
shock by supplying natural electrolytes through the chloride cells in the gills.
Overcrowding and overfeeding can lead to elevated nitrite levels especially in newly
set-up ponds. The nitrite ion NO2 enters the gills and prevents the blood
from carrying oxygen, resulting in nitrite toxicity or "methemoglobinemia."
Pond Salt will temporarily block the toxic effect of nitrite.
All natural Pond Salt is safe and non-toxic to all pond fish when used as
directed. Pond Salt can be used safely with Pond Care water
conditioners, filtration materials and fish foods.
Directions for Use:
1. When used as a general tonic for fish, and as a stress reducer, add 21/2
cups full (728g) of Pond Salt for each 100 gallons (378 L) of pond water.
Sprinkle salt evenly around the perimeter of the pond. Avoid any contact between salt
crystals and pond plants. If this is not feasible, pre-dissolve salt first.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Once added to a pond, salt does not evaporate and is
not filtered out. Pond Salt should only be added as directed; with each water
change, or when fish have been treated with medications.
2. When used to reduce stress in separate treatment tanks or during fish
transportation, use 4 tablespoons full (95.2g) of Pond Salt for each 10 gallons
(37.8L) of water.
For the health of your pond and environment, it is important that you test pond water
regularly. We recommend Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Dry-Tab Master Test Kit for Ponds to test
for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
Brett Fogle is the owner of MacArthur Water Gardens and several
pond-related websites including macarthurwatergardens.com and pond-filters-online.com.
He also publishes a free monthly newsletter called PondStuff! with a reader circulation of
over 6,000 pond owners. To sign up for the free newsletter and receive a complimentary
'New Pond Owners Guide' for joining, visit http://www.macarthurwatergardens.com