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Salt for annuals

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Post Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:15 pm
eraserbones Level 4 Member
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Posts: 245
Location: Uptown, Minneapolis, MN
Most writing about annuals (especially Nothobranchius) recommends adding salt to their water to prevent velvet.

I had a recent fight with velvet, though, and I found salt to be entirely ineffective. A bit of Google searching turned up a lot of articles that agree that salt works for ich but not so much for velvet. So now I'm wondering now if the 'salt for annuals' thing is just superstition handed down but never really tested... Does anyone have first-hand experience with this, either treating a velvet outbreak with salt or keeping happy Nothobranchius without it?

The trade-off for me is pretty dramatic -- I can keep my annuals in tanks with automatic water changers or I can keep them in isolated tanks with salted water. It's a choice between very low tds water with close to 0 pollutants vs. salted water with a lot more nitrates &c.

Post Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:31 pm
born ready User avatar
Level 6 Member
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Posts: 674
Location: Stillwater
Unfortunately, I can't speak from much experience. I've used a little salt for the few Nothos I've kept, but I've also had poor success with them so my methods shouldn't be a guide. It's hard to find specific water info on water preferences for most of these fish, but for whatever it's worth, here's the logic I've applied. These fish live in ditches or other bodies that dry up to nothing so even if they start out full of soft water, that water will grow harder and possibly more saline as it both leaches minerals from the soil and evaporates, so the adults, at least, must have a tolerance for, if not preference for harder water. Also, what the literature I have seen on Nothos shows them being collected in alkaline water (hard or not) and alkalinity is very hard to maintain unless buffered by hardness (though with constant water changes you could achieve it.)

I have seen some articles on raising Nothos which states people seem to hatch the eggs in RO water and then gradually increase the hardness (and presumably salinity if they are following the "conventional wisdom") as the fry grow out. That also makes sense in the natural scenario I described above as the soft rains would come, fill the ditch, hatch the eggs and start they cycle over again.

All that said, I know that "stands to reason" and "works well" do not always align in the aquarium, and your question was specifically about salt and velvet and I know I didn't answer it. I'm going to keep using hardish water and 1/2 tsp of sea salt per gallon on mine because I figure it's easy insurance. With your auto water changes though, I see the challenge.

Your tanks aren't too small. Your fish are too big.

Post Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:59 pm
marygarce84 Level 1 Member
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Posts: 1
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