Aquarium Salt While Medicating? Opinions & Advise Needed Pls

  • #1
Neptune is currently being medicated with Fungus Eliminator for some tail rot. I do 25 % water change each day - today is day four but I think I will continue for another course., I have been replacing the medication I lose as per instructions from Rose and Mike, and others. I am still registering very slightly for ammonia, but have ordered the two part kit from F&S which should be here Tuesday and with which I will be able to get a more accurate measurement. Everything else is 0ppm (still).

He seems perky, eats well - although I am not sure how to tell if it is getting better. Fins are shorter, but not as "raggy" as they were. I can't see red on them anywhere, except on those two funny long fins under his gills ( I am sure there is a "real" name for them, if someone would tell me?) But that was always there.

From reading other posts, I am thinking of adding a bit of aquarium salt to his water as well. Is that a good idea? ??? Would everyone please weigh in and advise. Thanks. Val
  • #2
??? I'm not sure what to tell you about salt. I know that there appear to be conflicting opinions. I was just researching fish diseases and some of the treatment advised is to add a little salt to the water.

I am thinking about putting some in my Q tank with Benji. He is being treated for fin rot. Hopefully we can get more advice on this soon.

  • #3
There was a big debate over this not long ago. In fact, the thread seemed to have disappeared. In any case, most people on here will tell you that you shouldn't medicate with salt, and that it's bad, etc. I've been treating my Betta for fin rot and have used salt, along with using salt in my 20 gallon with the scaleless fish and have had no bad results. It's supposed to help give them a thicker slime coating as well. Mine have always done fine with it, but I only use it sparingly, in this case, for medicating.

I also know that many Saltwater hobbyists will reduce their salt water levels when any of their saltwater fish become ill. They do the reverse. Saltwater fish get ill, cut back on salt a little. Freshwater fish get ill, add a little salt. Pretty interesting.
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  • #4
I spent the morning Googling the saltwater issue, as well as for how to determine healing of finrot ( other than waiting a week). I would say the majority of opinions is for using aquarium salt. So I just did a little over 25% water change, am going for another 4 days of Fungus Eliminator, and added a weaker than instructed measure of salt.

Neptune seems to like me playing around in his tank, seems enchanted by the siphon, and just plain seems in good spirits.

By Googling I really could find nothing that would give me enough knowledge to say his fin rot is healing at this point -- I believe the fins aren't as raggedy - so that could either mean yes it is healing, or more of the fins are gone. I choose to think the non raggedy fins are a good sign and will follow him closely with this second session of FE. My other meds should be here tomorrow, so they will be available if I can't see a real difference by Thursday.

I am also amazed when Googling the web & different fish forums how many people have similar problems with their store bought Bettas, as versus those who post who have purchased from a breeder! ( Not as many problems) Or maybe it is that they just don't post. When I looked at the 25 or so bettas in Walmart yesterday in those filthy little containers - it is no wonder they are off to a rocky start!

And special thanks to Rose for advising about Melafix - the web/other forums are full of Betta/labyrinth owners who are warning against using it, or to use a much weaker solution. One would think the manufacturer or retailers ( ie) Foster & Smith - would know that and have a warning on the label.

It is another benefit of using forums and for people to do research ahead of time, so they understand that having this little fish committs them to sometimes seemingly overwhelming caretaking - really no different than getting a puppy/kitten - you have to love them to do it.

  • #5
I used the aquarium salt for Royell when he had the dropsy, but I only used until a few days after his bloating went away and then I stopped. How much of it did you put in? It can help with it, but I would only do it as a dip bath. Take maybe a gallon of water out of the tank and put like 1/4 of a tsp in it and let him sit in it for half hour and then take him out and put him back in the 5 gallon. Replace the water you took out of the tank with the same temp water that's currently in there.

This is only a suggestion of course. It maybe less harmful if you do it this way. He isn't really that sick, and aquarium salt is to be used as a med for serious illnesses only. He only has finrot, but it may help with it. Natalie
  • #6
I wouldn't use salt for finrot. Increasing his slimecoat could lock the fungus onto his fins and make it harder for the meds to help him. Salt is good for some things but not for all illnesses. In this case just use the meds and leave the salt.
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  • #7
Kinda late now nothing was showing up on this forum so I went anad re read web sites and other forums. I added 1 tsp into 3 gallons, and I used only half of that container of treated water along with some other unsalted treated water I had ready. So it is very weak.

He gets another change tomorrow.

So hard to know what to do, cause most sites recommend a small amount of aquarium salt for use with Bettas as a matter of course/maintenance. I am not sure if the photo attached shows it, I tried to set my pixels to the lowest, and it isn't a good pic to begin with. I neededa new pic to compare with previous. You can tell where the fin rot is, it seems confined more to his tail .

LZ Floyd
  • #8
Seems that a lot of sites do recommend the use of aquarium (or sometimes Kosher) salt for general Betta maintenance.  I'm not convinced it's a necessity wrt fresh water fish and, thus, consider salt to be a medication regarding our Betta.  As to whether you need salt for treating Neptune, idk.  If after using the JL Eliminator and finding it didn't help, what I might try is Maracyn 2.  The M2 seems to be a good med, but it's a pain to deal with the dosages if the treatment takes place in an uncyled tank.  One other thing you might do if you've not done so yet is slowly get the heat up to 82 degrees.

It's goood to catch these fin rot problems early and stop the problem ASAP.  In Neptune's case, the rot does not appear to that far advanced, so I think you'll have a good chance of snuffing it with the M2.

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  • #9
Seems that a lot of sites do recommend the use of aquarium (or sometimes Kosher) salt for general Betta maintenance. I'm not convinced it's a necessity wrt fresh water fish and, thus, consider salt to be a medication regarding our Betta. As to whether you need salt for treating Neptune, idk. If after using the JL Eliminator and finding it didn't help, what I might try is Maracyn 2. The M2 seems to be a good med, but it's a pain to deal with the dosages if the treatment takes place in an uncyled tank. One other thing you might do if you've not done so yet is slowly get the heat up to 82 degrees.

It's goood to catch these fin rot problems early and stop the problem ASAP. In Neptune's case, the rot does not appear to that far advanced, so I think you'll have a good chance of snuffing it with the M2.


I am not sure if it is working or not? No one can tell me what to look for, so I thought I would run a second course of FE, with 25% water changes each day. Now that I have a photo I can compare it in a few days to see what is going on. There is no cottony looking stuff or anything, it just looks like it was cut off. He is also very frisky & curious which I take as a good sign.

I have the following coming: Trisulfa Antibiotic Powder and Maracyn Plus, on advice from this forum. So much of that stuff is duplicated - so I will probably use of these that has little effect on the bacteria. How much bacteria can one little fish make - he sure eats everything put in front of him, in fact this evening I was giving him freeze dried blood worms and he swam straight up, broke the surface of the water trying to grab.....cracked me & my husband up!!

I will also have the better 2 stage ammonia kit, so will have a better grip on where the ammonia stands. Right now it appears as .5-1.0 since the water is very, very pale, but not clear!

In the meantime, I am not feeling the panic I felt before, and am not frightened by medicating as I was a week ago. With each day and each lesson learned, I become more comfortable ( knowing help is so close).

Thanks for helping.....Val
LZ Floyd
  • #10
Wish I could tell you what to look for wrt whether a particular med is working.  I think it comes down to administering the med, giving it time to work and waiting to see if Neptune relapses.  I'd say that, if his tail is showing specific signs of further deterioration, it's time to try a new approach.  Getting photos for making comparisons is what I had to do wrt our Betta, too.

Before changing meds, though, it's best to finish out the treatment of any med you are using.  If the treatment isn't completed per the directions, it may not take out the bacteria the med targets, but actually cause it to become resistant to that med.

It's good that you see no other signs of illness (cottony stuff) and that Neptune is active and eating.  That makes the whole medication process a lot easier.

I don't know how well the trisulfa, nor the Maracyn Plus are going to work.  Seems that most here start with JL Fungus Clear for fin rot cases.  If that doesn't work, most move on to Maracyn 2 (or Furan 2, which is nearly identical to the JLFC, but may have stronger doses of the ingredients; idk as JL doesn't list ingredient percentages).  If that fails, it's usually on to a combination of Maracyn and Maracyn 2 to see how that works.  They are not all the same med, though.  Each contains different ingredients.

Our Betta seems to have done best with the Maracyn 2.  But his case has been quite pervasive with numerous meds tried.  Currently, he's on a med break.  I plan to get him into a Bio-Spira-cycled tank soon and take his fin rot problem from there.  If he shows no signs of clearing in three or four days after cycle completion, I may try Furan 2.  If that doesn't work, it's back to a combo of Maracyn/Maracyn 2.

Regarding water changes, though they should be done according to what your water parameters are, without test equipment (I understand your test cards don't go below .5 ppm, which is where a water change is called for), it's not a bad idea to replace some of it (25% minimum) on a daily basis.  I use conditioned and aged water.  No dechlorinater is instant, it takes some time to work.  So, I don't mix a batch and throw it right into the tank.  Aging the water is just as important.  Fresh-from-the-tap cold water can hold large amounts of gases that are bad for the fish.  Consequently, I let the water sit in one-gallon containers (without tops on) for at least a day before using it as replacement water.  I avoid using warm water from the tap as it may have water-heater sediments in it.

Hope Neptune shows signs of recovery soon.

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  • #11
thanks Mike,. Perhaps I will go ahead and order M & M2 and then I will have a fully stocked first aid kit!!

I do my water up the day ahead also, we bring it from town, it sits in a 10 gallon container, then I fill my 3 gal and treat and let it sit overnight. I warm it as per instructions from rose/cherry rose/phlox/yourself - all my good advisors! I do keep his water at 80 degrees.

I will continue until Thursday, that will be the second round, then prob do larger change, run filter & carb 2 hours; take carb out then start something new.I If needed) I will do pics first to compare.

I have cycling nightmares! Ahhhhhhhhh. I used to pray for world peace, now I pray for my cycling to begin & end! LOL

Oh well Neptune enjoys the "playtime" - Man I am losing it! LOL Val
LZ Floyd
  • #12
It's always good to have meds on hand - when you need them, they're rarely available.  And, the Maracyn and Maracyn 2 are the one's I've seen most talked about on this forum.

It's also a good idea to bump the temp up - slowly - to 82 degrees; that will help the meds work and promote healing.

Very good on the replacement water. 

As for the cycle, keep in mind you're trying to do something that calls for conflicting actions.  While you want to avoid water changes to get the cycle going, you want to keep the water clean by doing water changes for the fish to keep from getting sick.  Now add to that your current attempt to free your fish of fin rot by using meds that call for no water changes (as will the Maracyns).  IMO, the cycle should be the last thing to be concerned about.  I'm sure others may have differing opinions, but that's mine.

  • #13
Hello, I just treated GrI'm (my betta) for fin rot. When his fins started to grow back, first I didnt' see anything different, but it didn't seem to be getting worse. Some where around the 7 or 8th day of treatment (maracyn 1 and 2 used together) I started to see a light "webbing" between torn areas. It's hard to describe, but as time pasted, I realized that it was the new growth. The color isn't quite the same as it was. So to answere your question about what to look for... first, i'd look for the loss of fin to stop, then I'd look for the "webbing" (sorry, it's hard to explain) between the tears. Plus, if he develped any holes with the fin rot, those closing is a good sign, and easier to tell if it is healing or not. I hope that helps... I'm sure you'll know it when you see it!
  • #14
I am sorry to say that I am a hopeless fanatic when it comes to NOT using salt in a freshwater tank unless you are using it for bloat or something in that line. It can also be helpful to heal ulcers or ulcerated areas as it does promote slime coat increase. You have to be careful when the problem is something like parasites or bacterial infection though as it is like Phloxface has said, you seal the infected area with the slime coat and then no medication or even clean water can get to it. When a fish is in a good state of health otherwise internally it may be okay but bacterial infection does not happen when this is the case.

We have other members who are just as adamant about the use of salt on the other side, I just have to agree to disagree.

Raising the temperature to 82 is always a good idea (28 Celsius) as that seems to be the optimum temperature for the meds to work. LZ and Timesdragonfly have both treated bettas with Maracyn and Maracyn2. I am treating one at present with Furan-2 and did one not long ago with penicillin. I am having good luck so far here and I would guess they are also having some luck with the treatments they have used.

It takes time for the fins to regenerate and to expect to see regeneration by the time the course of medication is over is sometimes not going to happen, but you should see a halt to the progress of the disease and then slowly a regrowth. It can take months.

Please keep us informed of the progress of your little guy.

  • #15
Have you tried using Tetracycline on him? That's what I currently used on Spartacus and it seemed to do pretty good. It's an antibiotic. And, I also used half the regular dosage amount of melafix.
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  • #16
I just looked at Neptune and his tail seems a little raggy again. I tried to not do a water change yesterday - so obviously that was wrong. I am doing one now, and my new meds should be here today......since I am needing them so badly, shipping willl probably take longer now - I think Mike said that would happen!

I just got word of a small fish/pet store over the border in Minnesota so I might just go over there today and see what if anything they have and load up. ( I live right on the border) - I know you can bring that stuff over for personal use. Waiting for stuff to be delivered to my US post office box or a relative is crazy and unpredictable.

I am using Stress Coat as a dechlorinator now, I had something called Bettta Plus - but it uses so much and only comes in a little bottle. This uses only 1/2 tsp for 5 gals so I adjust that accordingly for my 3gal treated/water change jug. Hope changing that isn't making a difference!


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