View Full Version : Aquarium Salts

11-20-2006, 01:05 AM
I've been using aquarium salts in all of my tanks (except with cory's). I've been also been using it in my tank which has an oscar with HITH - does anyone know whether this is ok? I'm using Hikari Bio Gold pellets to help get rid of the bacteria from the HITH, it hasn't worsened in the last couple of weeks but hasn't healed, I've been told the salts will help - is this correct?

11-21-2006, 02:06 PM
Constantly using the salt in your tanks isnt really necessary. I usually only use salt when certain situations arise (like your Oscar's HITH). There is no 100% guaranteed cure for HITH but the salt along with frequent water changes, stresscoat, etc.. should heal him. Make sure to monitor your water parameters because he needs perfect water for the HITH. Good luck with everything and let us know how it goes

Lady Hobbs
11-21-2006, 03:15 PM
Aquarium salt is good for parasites, worms and ICK but I feel, like 100gw, that it isn't necessary for constant use. (I use Koshler salt as it's much cheaper.) Lately I have read that constant use can break down the slime coat permitting more disease to invade the fish that their slime coat shields.

I also have an angelfish with HITH and having a heck of a time with it. I've been using salt, higher temps and metafix to no avail. In the last week two more small pits have developed. This is a condition that really has no great cures for it or even a reason for sure that they get it. It is not confirmed to be from fungus or parasite and I wonder if it could just be immune. I am running out of ideas on how to treat it, as well, and may just get a fungus med to see if it will help. It certainly can't hurt at this point.

I have used salt often in this fishes tank and now I wonder if using it would have destroyed his slime coat causing him to get it? I also read to remove the carbon media from the filter as that's another possibly cause for HITH but none of this has been proven and is all up to speculation.

I did remove him from the tank and poured Metafix directly on the wound. It's debateable which one of us jumped the highest!

11-21-2006, 03:55 PM
HITH is very tricky and not as understood as it should be in my opinion. From what i have gathered HITH goes something like this: A parasite called Hexamita is present in all fish, or at least cichlids. Under adverse conditions (as in: low water quality, poor diet, etc.) the fish is under stress, and the Hexamita gets a stronger hold on the animal than usual, allowing it to spread and take over. The outward signs of Hexamita are in the form of Hole in the Head (HITH) or Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE). Prevention is always the best treatment. For prevention: A high quality diet including Hikari Cichlid Bio-gold+ is important. I mention Hikari Cichlid Bio-gold+ specifically because it is the only fish food on the market that contains live beneficial bacteria. These Beneficial digestive bacteria actually out-compete the Hexamita for its niche in the digestive system, In addition Hikari Cichlid Bio-gold+ is a very high quality food, helping to prevent the poor diet issue. I would also highly encourage feeding New Life Spectrum (NLS). It is expensive, but worth it. Between the NLS and the Hikari food you should have no issues with diet. Important for the diet are foods that include an assortment of trace/micro nutrients. They should list off a lot of weird sounding names in the ingredients, many times including what the nutrient is with a common name. For example: D-activated animal sterol (vitamin D). The other half of prevention is water quality. This requires massive filtration and big frequent water changes. In general whatever a filter claims it can handle "up to", cut that in half and that is about what it can actually handle. Even firther, this is only for moderately stocked community type tanks in my opinion, so cichlid tanks will need even more filtration. My 14-15" jaguar cichlid is in a 75 with a Fluval 405 ("up to" 100 gallons), and two Whisper 60s ("up to" 60 gallons each). Water changes on big cichlid tanks need to be big and frequent. i keep all my tanks on this routine with a 75% water change every week. This will not harm your biological filtration at all, and it will only have benefits, if you or anyone is concerned about this water change schedule, I can go into further detail on it. This water change schedule will keep nitrates, phosphates, dissolved organic compounds, and many other harnful substances to a minimum, allowing for less stress on the fish and much higher water quality. Another likely contributor to HITH/HLLE is a lack of trace elements in the water. This can be considered as part of diet, but needs its own mentioning. Trace elements are important for any animal and without them you can end up with an assortment of problems. It is beleived that in this case it works like diet, not enough trace elements and the body doesnt function quite properly, leading to stress on the organism and its organ systems, allowing the Hexamita to get a start. There are a number of ways to help prevent and treat this issue. First is to do the large frequent water changes. This brings in a lot of trace elements into the system (tank). The second is to use available additives if appropriate for your fish. For example: If you have a Central American cichlid, use a 'salt' or trace element supplement made for Central American cichlids. And lastly it is important to keep the trace elements in the system. This means no carbon in the filters. The carbon doesn't care if you consider it good or bad, it will remove it. I have stopped using carbon in my 75 and so far there is no discoloration, odor, or other ill effects (I believe due to the large frquent water changes). If HITH/HLLE is already present, go by the guidelimes previously described and treat with Metronidazole. This medication kills the Hexamita. Hikari (under the label name 'Aquarium Solutions') now has Metro Plus. It is a new medication that you can use to soak food in, treat the whole tank, or use as a dip. It contains, and I believe may be the only fish medication that does so, metronidazole.

11-22-2006, 06:00 AM
Thanks everyone. I might only use the salts then when I've got illness or injury, in the pet shops here they all seem to recommend it with every water change. I took the carbon out when I first found out it was HITH.

Reptileguy I've done as you said and found some Hikari BioGold for my oscar, he loves it. The only thing I've noticed is his fins have red streaks in them - what could this be from? They are a little frayed and it originally happened when my jag attacked him (she's been moved out). He's still in with the pleco and synspilum so I'm thinking there's been some pushing and shoving. I have another fluval canister I will put on their tank just too be safe. The HITH isn't worsening but it has stayed the same. I will see if they've got Metronidazole somewhere here in Oz to fight it off.
Thanks again! This is soooooo helpful - I can't stand losing fish (or any pet for that matter).

Lady Hobbs
11-22-2006, 06:10 AM
Excellent post. Funny you should mention not using carbon filters as it's one of the things I read regarding HITH. Says to remove it and use something else.

11-22-2006, 03:32 PM
For the fins, you don;t want the oscar to be under any stress, so I would make sure there is no one that may bother him. Melafix will help heal the wounds.

I don't use anything to replace the carbon, unless you count the big frequent water changes which I would do anyways. I have noticed absolutely no difference in any of my fish since I have stopped using the carbon.

Lady Hobbs
11-22-2006, 03:59 PM
I use that fiber wadding and just cram it in the back. Have to watch it tho as too much will keep bio-wheels from turning properly. But I think it removes the fine particals better than the carbon.

11-22-2006, 06:31 PM
Carbon won't really remove any particles (besides big stuff that gets stuck between the carbon particles), it is not made to be a mechanical filter. It removes discoloration, odor, meds, and other chemical contaminants.

11-23-2006, 01:46 AM
Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it. I've had to split my tank again as my synspilum is ready to lay eggs and she's been having a go at my oscar, so he's a bit stressed which is worrying me. I'm keeping a close eye on him. I'm not going to put the carbon back in, I have a corner filter which has little bio balls in it. I've not seen a bio filter system here like you can get in the US, which is a shame as they seem like amazing systems. I'll keep up with the water changes, i've got Pimafix in the tank at the moment so I'll keep checking him regularly as well.