Betta Fish and Epsom Salt

We will see in this blog what epsom salt is and how it can be used to treat betta, its benefits, treatments and dosages. This type of salt can be very efficient for treatments and easy to find.

What is Epsom Salt?

Magnesium Sulphate, often known as Magnesium Sulphate, is a chemical substance. The “salt” dissolves in water but not in ethanol. It is used in soil remediation, culinary preparation (beers and tofu), and building cement. You’ve definitely heard about its medical applications for both people and fish.

Because the salt is water-soluble, an Epsom salt bath for Betta fish is a simple approach to heal your ill pet. This sort of aquarium salt may be used to maintain Magnesium concentrations in saltwater aquariums. This is required for marine aquariums containing stony corals, which are gradually reduced.

How Does Salt Work In Your Aquarium

Aquarium salt, for example, is a useful cure for treating and preventing a variety of common fish ailments. Additionally, salt can aid in the healing of injuries, the improvement of gill function, the production of a healthy slime coat, the killing of some parasites, and even the reduction of detrimental nitrate absorption. 

Salt may also be used to adjust the hardness and pH of the water in your tank. Aquarium salt is essentially untreated sodium chloride in its purest form. This type of salt is incredibly adaptable, has antibacterial characteristics, and is widely employed in the hobby, where it has become an indispensable weapon in the aquarist’s arsenal. 

Aquarium salt can be utilised in tropical freshwater fish:

  • to generate brackish water for some fish species, such as mollies
  • to treat current infections
  • to avoid recurring infections
  • to disrupt parasites, such as Ich and velvet
  • to help with wound healing
  • to relieve fin rot 
  • to lessen ammonia or nitrate toxicity while shipping fish

Unlike many over-the-counter fish treatments, aquarium salt is inexpensive and readily available, as well as quite adaptable.

Are there any differences between Aquarium Salt Vs. Epsom Salt Vs. Sea Salt Vs. Table Salt?

They are not the same type of salt and each of them has particular properties. Let’s see in the table below.

Aquarium saltEpsom SaltSea saltTable Salt
Make saline water for marine aquariumsNoNoYesNo
Certain parasites are treated YesNoNoNo
Plant-safeNoYesNoNo
Adjust the hardness and pH of the waterNoYesYesNo
Helps in damage healingYesNoYesNo
Assists in the treatment of constipationNoYesNoNo
Dropsy therapy is aided byNoYesNoNo
Aids in the treatment of swimmer’s bladder illnessNoYesNoNo
Enhances gill functionYesNoNoNo
Reduces nitrate uptakeYesNoNoNo
Encourages a healthy slime coatYesNoNoNo

When Should You Use Sea Salt?

Sea salt, often known as marine salt, should not be confused with aquarium salt. Because sea salt includes chemical buffers that are toxic to freshwater fish, it should only be used to make saline water for marine tanks.

Marine fish, corals, sponges, and other sea creatures live in an ocean environment where the water is extremely salty. Aquarists use a sea salt mix coupled with tap water and a water conditioner to generate salinity. In freshwater tanks, sea salt should not be used as a treatment.

When To Avoid Salt

Contrary to common thought, it is not good to add salt to your aquarium on a continuous basis unless the fish are species that prefer brackish (partially salinated) water conditions. Avoid using too much salt in your aquarium if you have living plants. Plants can be harmed by even a small amount of salt.

Because scaleless fish lack the extra barrier that scales offer, they cannot survive high levels of salt. Betta fishes are highly susceptible to salt. In aquariums with these species, no more than 1 level teaspoon of salt per gallon of water (= 0.1 percent salinity) should be used.

How to Give an Epsom Salt Bath to Your Betta

Set Up A Quarantine Tank

If you intend to give your betta an Epsom salt bath, the first thing you need to do is set up a quarantine tank. It can be 1 gallon in size, but no larger than 5 gallons. You won’t have to remove as much aquarium water from your main tank this way. When preparing, ensure that the temperature is the same as the main tank and that the water has been conditioned.

If you just intend on giving your betta an Epsom salt bath a few times, a small container may typically be used instead of a quarantine tank. Finally, when adding Epsom salt to water, use 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt for every gallon of water.

Assemble a Revival Tank

You should also prepare a revival tank in addition to the quarantine tank. This time, though, 1/4 of the tank should be salt bathwater and 3/4 should be aquarium water. This will make it easier for your betta to adjust to his new aquarium. Just make sure you’re using a warm container that you can maintain sufficiently warm.

How to treat your Betta

Everything is now in place; it is time to cure your betta. So, using a net, delicately sweep him up and place him in the treatment tank. Keep him in the treatment tank for 5-8 minutes after you’ve added him.

If you notice your betta’s gills have stopped moving, they’re losing balance, having trouble swimming (when they weren’t before), or passing out, remove them immediately and place them in the revival tank.

When the timer runs out, transfer your betta to the resurrection tank. Once they’re in the resurrection tank, keep them there for around 5 minutes before transferring them back to their primary tank.

The salt bath is finished once your betta is in his main tank. However, after your betta is back in their main tank, you should continue to monitor their health to ensure that the salt bath didn’t cause any difficulties. If you detect any issues, you should refrain from giving your betta another salt bath.

Salt baths may not be enough to keep your betta warm if they are suffering from a more serious illness. If this is the case, you will need to treat them with over-the-counter drugs as well. In the event of dropsy, even if you give your betta salt baths on a regular basis, the prospects of your betta recovering are still slim.

What Is the Indication for Epsom Salt?

Constipation

Epsom salt may be used to treat a variety of illnesses. Constipation is a common issue in betta fish. Problems happen when you overfeed your pet, feed him just dried meals, or do not provide him with enough live or frozen meaty foods.

Among the symptoms to watch for are:

  • Lethargy
  • Not eating
  • Bloated stomach

Constipation is typically easily cured by fasting your fish for 24 to 48 hours and then feeding your betta live or thawed frozen food. If it doesn’t resolve the issue and get things going again, an Epsom salt bath can frequently help. In general, one tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water is added to the quarantine tank.

Dropsy

Dropsy is a deadly illness that affects fish. When the disease progresses, the fish’s kidneys and other organs stop working normally, and the abdomen swells with fluid. You may also see “pineconing,” which occurs when the scales of a betta are pushed outward, giving the fish the appearance of a pinecone.

Unfortunately, once the sickness has progressed to that point, the fish typically die. However, if you identify the disease early, there is a slight possibility that your betta can recover, and an Epsom salt bath can be used to minimise stomach swelling. In the quarantine tank, add one teaspoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water.

Swim Bladder Disease

Another prevalent ailment that affects bettas is swim bladder disease. The swim bladder is an organ in the betta’s abdomen that regulates buoyancy. The swim bladder essentially allows the fish to swim on an even keel in the water, rise up, and swim down.

When the swim bladder fails, the betta may swim on one side, float to the surface, sink to the bottom, or even swim upside down. The issue is exceedingly distressing for your fish because the betta will most likely be unable to feed or reach the surface to breathe due to his labyrinth organ’s inability.

Swim bladder disease can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Constipation
  • Parasites
  • Bacterial infections
  • Nitrate levels that are excessive

An Epsom salt bath can assist with swim bladder issues. However, it’s a good idea to fast your betta for 24 to 48 hours before bathing him. In the quarantine tank, add one teaspoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water.

Cautions when using Epsom Salt for Bettas

Osmosis is highly essential to fish, and if we grasp the concepts involved, we may utilise it to our advantage in treating our fish when they are stressed. Osmosis is the mechanism by which water travels from a lower concentration of minerals (aquarium water) to a greater concentration of minerals (the fish’s body) through a semipermeable membrane (fish skin or gill membrane).

The semi-permeable membrane (fish skin or gill membrane) enables only water to flow through it, not minerals. This is how freshwater fish maintain their hydration. To keep hydrated, saltwater fish must drink a lot of water and retain water through their kidneys while excreting minerals.

The “force” on water to transport it from a low concentration of minerals to a high concentration of minerals is referred to as “osmotic pressure.” As water enters the cell, the cell membrane stretches, causing “osmotic pressure” within the cell to rise. This aids in controlling the amount of water that enters the cell.

The kidneys of freshwater fish expel water as “dilute urine.” This helps to protect them from becoming “waterlogged” (Dr. Carrington 1985). When we add salt to the aquarium water, we reverse the process and part of the water is “taken out” of the fish’s cells, lessening the pressure within the fish cells, helping the fish “feel better.”

They also do not have to rely as hard on their kidneys to remove extra water. Water is sucked out of organisms, such as bacteria or parasites, and kills them when the concentration of salt in the water is high, as in a “salt bath.” Which cells survive and which do not depend on the concentration and duration of time in the bath, as well as the kind of cell walls.

The depth of the water in which the fish is submerged also influences osmosis. This is referred to as “hydrostatic pressure” (water pressure). As a result, the deeper the fish swims, the more water pressure there is outside the animal, causing “more” water to desire to flow “into” the fish’s cells.

The technique of transporting water through a semipermeable membrane (allowing only water to pass through) from a high concentration of minerals to a low concentration of minerals using “water pressure” is known as “reverse osmosis” (hydrostatic pressure).

Conclusion

Epsom salt is an excellent ally in the prevention and treatment of Betas diseases. However, it is necessary to be careful in its use and avoid confusing it with other types of salts that are not suitable for freshwater fish. When used in the correct way, epsom salt promotes an excellent welfare for bettas.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Betta Fish and Epsom Salt

How do you give a salt bath to a betta fish?

1 Tablespoon Aquarium Salt Warm it up on the stove or in the microwave until it’s approximately 80 degrees. Allow your fish to acclimate to the temperature by floating him in a cup of hot water. Allow your betta to soak in the salted water for 15 minutes.

Are salt baths beneficial to betta fish?

Aquarium salt is totally fine for bettas as long as you don’t overdose your tank. While some individuals use aquarium salt to cure minor ailments, others use it as a general prophylactic.

How long should I bathe my fish in Epsom salt?

Pour half of the tank’s water into a clean container to give your fish an Epsom salt bath. For every gallon of water, add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt. Allow the fish to swim for 15 to 30 minutes in the solution. If the fish seems anxious or discharges himself, remove him immediately and restore him to his tank.

References

Betta Fish Epsom Salt Bath: Treatment Guide & Dosage for Your Aquarium

https://japanesefightingfish.org/epsom-salt-bath-for-betta/#:~:text=Epsom%20salt%20for%20Betta%20fish%20is%20used%20as%20a%20laxative,to%20return%20to%20normal%20size.

Aquarium Salt Vs Epsom Salt Vs Sea Salt Vs Table Salt

Using Salt to Treat Diseases in Freshwater Aquariums

https://www.thesprucepets.com/using-salt-in-a-freshwater-aquarium-1378797#:~:text=When%20to%20Avoid%20Salt,rather%20than%20your%20regular%20aquarium.

How To Give A Betta An Epsom Salt Bath (& When To)

Epsom Salt Bath for Betta Guide And FAQs

Osmosis in the Aquarium

http://www.simplydiscus.com/library/biology/anatomy/osmosis.shtml

“Maintaining a Healthy Aquarium” by Dr. Neville Carrington, Salamander Books 1985

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