Can platies, guppies and cory catfish tolerate salt?

  • #2
The platys and guppies MIGHT be able to tolerate a small amount but the cories will not tolerate even a little bit as they are scaleless fish. No catfish, sharks, or other scaleless fish should ever have salt added to their water. It will kill them or at the very least make them very ill.

  • #3
The Platys and Guppies will be fine as long as it's a fairly small amount (I've kept some in 1.004 salinity before), but the Corydoras will not appreciate any salt in the water, like Rose said.
  • #4
Hi. I'm by no means an expert, but there are several articles on the web that state that salt added at the freshwater levels used (1 tbsp./5 gallons) has caused no ill effects on corydoras cats. I have a friend that uses it at that level for mollies & platys and it's had no negative effect on his cory.
  • #5
He can do as he pleases but the scaleless fish are burnt by saltwater and while it may not be visible or noticeable I would not want to take the chance at causing my fish pain. I would like to read the article and have a chance of seeing their references. All the books I have that are written by people who deal with fish and some are fish vets, say that the use of salt in a freshwater tank is a medication and should not be used with scaleless fishes at all. It not only burns their hide but disturbs the osmotic balance of their bodies and can cause hypersalination of their system and dehydration.

  • #6
For my 36 and 28 gallon tanks since I have neons and an angel, I only add 2 tbsp of API AQUARIUM SALT for the whole tank and for the new 10 gallon, I just added 1 1/2 tsp of salt. My fish all seem to be happy and healthy.
  • #7
HI again. I'm not telling anyone to add aquarium salt based on my word. You can find numerous articles on the web just by going to Google search & searching on something like "salt and corydoras'. The majority of the sites you'll find will say that people have had no problems with their corys and 1 tbsp salt/5-10 gallons water. I forgot to mention that over a week ago I added 1 tbsp/5 gallons to one of my tanks - neons, zebras, white clouds, and a cory. And I added that does of salt to my home tank a few days ago - platys, mollies, danios, neons, and a cory. In neither case has the cory, or any of the fish, shown any signs of stress. And my friend that has been using it for a much longer time has had no problems with his cory cats. Just a couple of quotes from some of the web sites:

".....I've had 2 cory cats for almost 3 years with 1-2 tbs./10 gal salt. They don't seem to be affected at all. Also my pH is around 7.4. I have them with cichlids and everybody is happy."

"The problem with corys and salt isn't the salt itself but the fluctating amounts of it. Just make sure you use the same amount all the time."

"Some people have had problems adding salt to their cory tanks. The only difference I've seen is that I added salt very gradually, and they did not. Some species of cories are more sensative than others, but unless your LFS specializes in catfish, you probably won't get your hands on the more sensative cories."

"some cories are actually pretty darn sensative. Bronze and peppered cories can withstand just about anything, but some of their relatives aren't so lucky..."

"A few, notably Corydoras catfish, are said to have very low tolerance for salt, although our experience has been that they do quite well at the salt levels we use. "

"In my aquariums both Corydoras and many plants will tolerate 1 Tablespoon of Aquarium Salt per each 5 gallons of aquarium water, and they do poorly with 2 Tablespoons of Aquarium Salt per 5 gallons. "

To me, the benefits of adding a little salt to the aquarium are worth it, and it may be just some of the less widely available corys that are affected. I know from my experience and that of a friend that the common cories don't seem to be affected at all by 1 tbsp/5 gallons water. I suppose some of the problems with salt & cories may be related to Ph, species, adding the salt too quickly or undissolved first, or other factors, but I haven't yet found a site with an article saying that their cories died when they added salt.

Add it at your own risk. I did and I've had no problems. Anything I can do to cut down on the risk of diseases, and to improve the health of my fish is worth a try.

One thing to be aware of - if you add salt to an aquarium with zeolyte in the filter (to absorb ammonia) - take the zeolyte out before adding the salt! Salt is used to recharge zeolyte, and adding salt to zeolyte that has been in use can release all of that ammonia, which could be disastrous to your fish! If using zeolyte replace it with fresh zeolyte after the salt addition - it will still absorb ammonia at the low salt levels used in fresh water aquaria, but not quite as efficiently.

  • #8
I DO hope you are wrong because I have 1TBSP of salt for every 6 gallons of water in my 35-gal tank. And I have emerald corydoras. They seem to be doing fine.
  • #9
This is one of those controversial subjects that nobody can seem to agree on Since these are "freshwater" fish salt is definitely not necessary and makes doing tank maintenance more complicated.
I'm glad everybodys fish that have salt in the water are doing well but this is not something I can recommend with a good conscience.
  • #10
I have not added salt in my 55 gallon because one of the first things I read was that corys and salt do not mix(guess once I got that in my head that was it-I am very stubborn ;D), but I have seen good arguements on both sides. I guess in the end it comes down to a personal choice. However when my mollies are sick I remove them from the main tank and when they are in their quarantine tank(heated, filter bucket actually) I do add some salt along with the ich medication or whatever I am using. It seems to help them heal faster but I have never had them act differently when they are without it.
  • #11
The platys and guppies MIGHT be able to tolerate a small amount but the cories will not tolerate even a little bit as they are scaleless fish.  No catfish, sharks, or other scaleless fish should ever have salt added to their water.  It will kill them or at the very least make them very ill.


My cory along with the others tolerates the 1 Tbl/5 gal of salt rule absolutely fine and has for some time. He's so active it's tiring! LOL
  • #12
I am sorry to say that I have a definite opinion that what is not in the tank when they are bred and cared for and what is not a part of their normal and natural life should not be added. My books list Salt as a medication for freshwater fish and I see no reason to inflict medication on fish that have no reason for it. I go along with Butterfly and have to say that I will never recommend that Salt be used in a freshwater tank routinely.

My cories and those of other members do fine and have had no lack in their lives because I do NOT add salt and there are way too many people that I truly respect saying the wisdom is not to.
  • #13
That's sort of like saying we shouldn't wear anything but animal skins for clothes, or eat/drink anything that is produced by man (soda, white bread, pizza, etc.), and don't take antibiotics or vitamins. If we also go on that basis, then knowing that life originated in the marine seas millions of years ago, then salt is a necessity for all living things. I know that's stretching a point to the n'th degree. I've even seen mollies & a few other fresh water fish kept in marine aquaria by gradually getting them used to those higher salt levels.

I'm sure there are fish that couldn't withstand a lot of salt, but in the case of my tanks and my friends it has stopped outbreaks of disease since we started using it and I've never seen my fish as healthy or frisky as they are now. It is a scientific fact that salt is a known anti-bacterial agent, and has been used through the ages as such. It disrupts the water balance of of single celled oraganisms of bacteria and protozoa (which cause ich and velvet among other things). I honestly don't know where the anti-salt thing started but I've yet to find clear evidence that it's hurt anyones' fish. On the other hand every time I search for information on the effect of salt on a particular fish species I find that people have kept them in water with salt added with no problems. I'm starting to think that salt may have gotten a bad reputation from people using it as a treatment for fish that were already beyond saving, and blaming it on the salt. Again, I'm not telling anyone to add it just because it works for me. I just wish people weren't so negative about it, and wouldn't totally rule it out without any consideration. I use it as a preventive, not a cure, and in that respect it's worked wonders for me and my friends the last few years. I don't need treatments & cures anymore - prevention to me is the best way. Unfortunately for the marine aquarist, salt doesn't prevent disease - those disease organisms have evolved to deal with the higher salt levels, but freshwater disease organisms haven't.
  • #14
You all have good points but like Butterfly said it's one of those controversial things, that's not worth argueing and really discussing. Whatever works for you is good. There is no definite right or wrong answer, no matter what people will think different, that's how we are, and it's good. Best to drop the subject and get back to answering Stradius's questions, though I believe it's answered.
  • #15
The only reason that I know of to add salt to a freshwater tank is to condition the fish gills as not to accept nitrites , salt is not good for fish are plants , if you do have to add salt in order to keep your fish alive you have a cycling problem. This is my opinion. Good Luck
  • #16
Hi. My water conditions are perfect and were so before adding the salt a few years ago. I don't add it to treat - I add it to prevent. Even with perfect water conditions fish can get diseases, and when introducing new fish without quarantining them (& even after at times) it always presents a chance of introducing disease into the tank. And there are several plants that will do fine at these small salt levels. Do what you will, but I'll stay with it & keep my problem free tanks. I won't debate on it anymore. As atmmachine says. whatever works for each of us is good! 
  • #17
I was at my sis in laws yesterday picking up an aquarium and she gave me some of her salt. She had Otos too and used it with her tetras and never, ever had a problem with it affecting her fish. It didn't "burn" the Oto, either. One of the fish techs I had been on the phone with told me to use it on my sick fish. She said it helps build a thicker slime coating and does not hurt fish. (This was one of Drs Foster and Smith's Fish techs) My Neon death rates haven't been as fast since, but I think they were too far advanced in the Ich phase for it to really help.....but at least it prolonged it. And no, it didn't "burn" my Otos or Cory either. They're doing just fine with it.

As for not believing in putting anything in your tanks that the fish weren't bred in, does that mean you shouldn't put decorations in your tanks then either? For the fish that are taken from the wild, such as Otos, does that mean you shouldn't dechlorinate your water then too? Because in the wild no chemical additives are ever added. Just trying to make a point. Again, if people don't want to use salt then that's fine, but just because a few people don't choose to use it or *think* it's bad doesn't mean that it is. I'm sure if it was there would be warnings on the labels and more information would be found about negative affects of it on the internet instead of just here.
  • #18
I believe we are going to have to agree to disagree and this debate has been going on for years. I think this is totally off topic.


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