Epsom Salt for Swim Bladder


I have a cherry barb with swim bladder disorder. Before going the boiled peas route, I was thinking of feeding spirulina and mysis shrimp, in addition to adding epsom salt to the water, in order to promote healthy digestion and reduce inflammation.

As far as dosing the epsom salt goes, however, I have seen a great deal of mixed advice. Specifically, I've seen each of the following dosing instructions:
  • 1 tbsp / 1 gal
  • 1 tsp / 1 gal
  • 1 tbsp / 10 gal
  • 1/8 tsp / 1 gal
For reference, I have plants in my tank and no snails (though I think these are more sensitive to sodium chloride than magnesium sulphate).

Can someone help me make sense of this?


1 tbsp per gallon is the most common number I see.
I would do salt baths instead of adding it to your tank ig you can catch them.


The confusion is the dosages you have are for dip/bath treatments. The lower dosages for baths the higher dosages are for 30 second or less dip treatments of a fish. The "per 10 gallons" is a dosage of a quarantine tank to do baths in. ( and 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons so 1 tablespoon per gallon is a larger dose than 1 tablespoon per 10 gallon, and 1 tablespoon per gallon is larger still being 3 teaspoons per gallon)

For tank dosing, and sounds crazy but it's 1/8 teaspoon per 19 liters. This is 1 full teaspoon for 40 gallons of water. The reason it's like this is because the magnesium will increase water hardness and pH. Adding 1 milliliter of Epsom salt per 10 liters of water will increase the permanent hardness by roughly 70 mg/L (70ppm). (1 ml is roughly .20 teaspoon, or 1/5 a teaspoon.)

Ideally treating a tank with it in this manner and dosage will minimally affect hardness and pH and still achieve the same goal of a laxative and stress reliever, reduce swelling and inflamation.

The whole gallon or 10 gallon things are short term dips or baths and being dumped afterwards because the epsom salt at those levels will screw up the hardness bigtime and make it alkaline and raise the pH. But this does help a fish relax and move their bowel sometimes which can take the pressure off the swim bladder.

Treatment all depends on if you think it's constipation, if you think it's gut bacteria and gas in which case epsom salt can work lesser treatments for constipation, stronger alkalinity and pH for bacteria in the gut.

But if it's organ failure as the reason, the swim bladder is just failing and it's not digestion related pressuring the swim bladder, it's not going to do much.

Same goes for mysis shrimp or peas or spirulina. If it's not a digestion issue and it's bacteria or organ failure, those won't work. Those food methods may fix constipation caused swim bladder issues though.

This can also work for female fish that get a vent prolapse from livebirth or egg laying to reduce swelling and inflammation so the prolapse can go back inside.

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