have heard about adding salt to my pond. What is the purpose and when should I
do it? Also, how much do I add, what type of salt is used and is it harmful to
is one of those topics that start fights at koi club meetings, conventions and
shows. Once regarded as a general antiparisitic and stress-reliever, it is now
felt that while it has some limited usefulness as a "shock treatment"
for heavy parasite loads at high concentrations and very short time-frames (2.5
pounds per ten gallons, 30 to 40 seconds as a "dip") and as a specific
precautionary pond treatment for nitrite-induced methemoglobinemia ("brown
blood disease") in early spring when the filter bacteria have figured out
the ammonia-to-nitrite part of nitrification but are still too stupid to get the
cycle all the way out to nitrate. Concentrations of 1.5 lbs per 100 gallons (1.88
ppm) is generally sufficient for this task, and can be allowed to dilute back
to source water levels with water changes as the water temperature rises and the
biofiltration kicks in fully. Aside from that, salt is probably non-essential.
I recently did an extensive search online, looking for the science behind our
fascination with salt and found nothing in the scientific literature to support
its use, except as noted above. The strongest support came from an endlessly repeated
article written by a purveyor of pond services who, oddly, sells pond salt. Hmmmm.
of our members do not salt at all or only when they have problems with parasites
or nitrite load. Pond plants will tolerate salt levels up to 1.5 lbs/100 gal water.
For individual antiparasitic treatment, try "The Dip": brief immersion
of your fish in a heavily aerated salt solution at a concentration of 2.5 lbs/10
gallons. (Take your fish out when he starts to tip over. This is a *major* stress!)
We salt our pond in early Spring, before any of the
plants are awake and as the nitrite spike appears to 1.5 lbs/100 gal. As the season
progresses and the plants start to appear we bring it down to near zero with water
changes. Remember do not use your salted water to fertilize your lawn!
courtesy of Bob Passovoy)