Using aquarium salt should be considered if you like to keep your betta healthy. I realize this can still be considered controversial, however through research and practical application the positives far outweigh the negatives if used properly. It is an inexpensive preventative that does not harm the beneficial bacteria in your tank or plants when used at the recommended dose. Aq salt does not contain iodine like table salt or trace mineral like sea salt. Most tap water has an extremely low level of salinity.
Aquarium Salt can:
1. Aid in the control of many parasitic and pathogen populations including Ich and velvet.
2. Enhance the fish ability to produce a good protective slime coat. Very helpful if the fish is recovering from a bacterial infection, injury, torn or bitten fins and often fin rot.
3. Prevent intake of lethal nitrates during nitrogen cycling of a new tank.
4. Prevent intake of stressful high nitrates in existing cycled aquariums.
5. Lessen the fish stress levels by aiding the gill function. Fish kidneys are designed to excrete water absorbed through the skin and gills. This is a major and important job. By adding aquarium salt the fish kidneys do less work because the amount of water absorbed into the blood via the gills is reduced.
6. Adds needed electrolytes to the water.
7. At high concentrations like 1-3 tsp per gallon, aq salt can keep nets and gravel vacs from spreading pathogens tank to tank. I keep a separate bucket at high salinity for any equipment that is shared in the fish room.
The concentration of the salt is based on intent. As a general rule of thumb start with 1 tablespoon per 5-7 gallons of aquarium water. This is a safe dose for all fish and plants including salt sensitive corys. Some betta keepers only use aquarium salt as a general tonic or preventative. Others use it at higher concentrations to treat for existing parasites but remember it is not a cure all and can be combined with other things like methylene blue or antibiotics outside of the aquarium in a fish bath to treat stubborn or difficult pathogens.
The benefits are many but there are drawbacks to consider. Live plants can be killed if concentrations are too high as well as cory cats and Chinese algae eaters so try to stay at the recommended levels if using in the aquarium.
Bottom feeding fish can adjust to a low dose salt level if salt is slowly added over a few days. Avoid dumping all the salt at one time and always pre dissolve the salt before adding especially if the tank has salt sensitive species.
Many people think salt is salt. Nope. It comes in many forms. Iodized table salt can cause ammonia levels to rise then nitrites. This can cause major upsets in the aquariums biological filtration bed.
Sodium Chloride does not dissipate, only water changes will remove salt. If you are using aq salt (NaCl) in your 20 gallon aquarium and you change 5 gallons of water you need ONLY add salt for the 5 gallons changed, not the 20 gallons of aquarium water otherwise your salt levels will build up with time.
The “No Salt” fad propagated by many poorly researched articles and ignores certain facts not only about sodium chloride but about the other important electrolytes as well. My own experience has been that my fish are way healthier, vibrant and much less prone to diseases. Who uses Aq salt? My friend who has a large aquarium shop with over 300 species of fish and in business over 20 years. He uses 1 tsp per 5 gallons in all his water to prevent outbreaks that could destroy many valuable fish. Many thai breeders who already have a higher salinity in the water than our tap water. President of the IBC and many other top North American breeders.