20 Gallon Tank Aquarium Salt necessary? Swordtail problem

kevorsen

My setup.
I have a 20 gallon tank.
well decorated, been running for 2 years.
I have 6 Tiger Barbs, 2 Swordtails, and 2 Balloon Gouramis (oh, and a Pleco)
I change water roughly every 2 weeks, on occasion once a week if I happen to want to do a filter cleaning.

pH 6.8
Nitrate will always be lower than 20ppm
and Nitrite always 0. been a long time since I seen this go up at all.


OK. On to the burning question:

Around 2 weeks ago, one of my Swordtail started to swim very close to the surface, I know my fish and I immediately recognize he might have breathing problems, or maybe an infection. Originally I added some medication from waterlife (for fungus and fin rot, as some fin rot seems visible), but that didn't do anything... In desperation, I turned to the forums, and in the end, decided to add Aquarium Salt to sooth the fish's symptoms, I added 1g per Liter, I have a scope to tell the salt concentration, and I never let it pass 1ppt.

ALMOST IMMEDIATELY the swordtail that was gasping for air seems to have improved, and day after even regained appetite, swimming around again, and I was elated of course. I let the condition stay the same for around 2 weeks... and 2 days ago, I was doing my 2nd water change, and I told myself, "alright, looks like the plants aren't doing so well... maybe time to down the salt a little.." so I did a 2nd 50% water change (once was the week before), and with that, I know my Salt level is now around 0.25ppt... and it reads 0 on my scope as it is too little to be registered.... I thought things be ok.

then last night... the Swordtail suddenly started to swim on the surface again... condition wasn't as bad as 2 weeks ago, no fin rot (yet at least), but clearly he is struggling... I prefer plants dying than my fish, so I carefully added Aquarium salt again, this time 0.75g/L as I think there's still some in the water. and again ALMOST IMMEDIATELTY the swordtail is ok again, reverted to normal, and as of right now... eating like nothing has happened.

The pleco is fine.
Tiger Barbs / Gourami doesn't appear bothered by the salt at all.

So... is my Swordtail suffering age problems? (he is 2 yrs old, and I know they live just 3-5yrs)
Is his Gills function reduced that now he needs aquarium salt to breathe properly?
I came here cause I heard people here really know what they are talking about.

will love to hear some opinions, so I can learn something, and contrast some of my own decisions.

If more tank condition is required, do let me know. I want to hear what you guys think about the Aquarium salt situation I am looking at...
Will I need to basically let the plants suffer a bit, so my Swordtail can live now? Let me know. :)
 

BigManAquatics

I have read some livebearers can do better in slightly brackish water, like mollies, don't know about swordtails. emeraldking raises a ton of livebearers, he can probably shed a lot more light on the subject for you.
 

emeraldking

Well in general, most livebearers don't need salt. But for certain issues, salt can be a great help and even a life savior.
Well, you were saying that your swordtail is about two years old. It could be an age thing. If that's the case, you can't do much about it. If he might have a gill infection (could even be internal), salt can take a bit of the irritation away. For I also assume that there's sufficient oxygen in the tank. If not, than he can act the same way.
 

kevorsen

Well in general, most livebearers don't need salt. But for certain issues, salt can be a great help and even a life savior.
Well, you were saying that your swordtail is about two years old. It could be an age thing. If that's the case, you can't do much about it. If he might have a gill infection (could even be internal), salt can take a bit of the irritation away. For I also assume that there's sufficient oxygen in the tank. If not, than he can act the same way.
Indeed I maxed the aeration since the issue, and there's clearly behaviour correlation to the aeration too, that's also how I nailed it down to a breathing issue as well...

I guess there's not much I can do about it... ok to let the water lettuce shed a bit I guess...

I really like this male swordtail, he is dumb af, but has been there since the beginning, will hate to see him not get help as he ages.

0.8-1.0 ppt of Salt it is then...
 

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