Fish Tank Salt Showdown: Epsom vs Aquarium Vs Table Salt

When it comes to salt for your aquarium, there are three main types of salt to consider: aquarium salt, Epsom salt, and table salt. Each type has its own unique properties that can be beneficial in different ways, so understanding the differences between them can help you determine which type will work best for your tank.

What Is Aquarium Salt?

Aquarium salt is a type of mineral-rich, non-iodized, and unrefined salt. It has been used for a variety of purposes in fish tanks, including maintaining healthy water conditions and providing additional minerals for the fish. Aquarium salt can also be useful in treating certain illnesses that affect aquarium fish.

It is important to note that aquarium salt should not be used as a substitute for water changes or other essential maintenance practices. Furthermore, some species of fish may not tolerate high levels of salt in their environment, and should be avoided when adding aquarium salt. It is always best to read the instructions on the label and research your particular species of fish before adding salt to their environment.

Aquarium salt is quite adaptable, can be purchased for a low price, and is readily available, in contrast to many fish treatments sold in pet stores.

What Can It Be Used For?

Aquarium salt is a type of salt that is used in fish tanks. It can be used to help improve the water quality, as well as to help treat certain fish diseases. Below is everything you need to know about aquarium salt. We will cover what it is, what it does, and when to avoid using it!

  • Maintain healthy water conditions in fish tanks. It helps to increase the total dissolved solids (TDS) and pH of aquarium water, which can be beneficial for some species of fish.
  • Used to provide additional minerals and electrolytes for fish. Aquarium salt is made of sodium chloride, which can be beneficial for fish in helping to reduce stress and improve their osmoregulation. It can also help make the water less chlorinated and provide additional minerals that are essential for healthy gills.
  • Treat certain illnesses or parasites in aquarium fish, such as Ich and velvet. Adding salt to the aquarium water can help lower the pH level, which is often successful in eliminating these parasites.
  • Used to induce spawning in certain species of fish. Aquarium salt is known to encourage egg production and spawning in certain fish species, such as cichlids. It can also help reduce stress levels in the fish, making it easier for them to spawn.
  • Used to cycle in an aquarium. This means that it can help establish beneficial bacteria in the tank, which helps break down toxic substances like ammonia and nitrite. By providing minerals and electrolytes, aquarium salt can help speed up this process as well.
  • To speed up the recuperation of injured tissue. Salt baths can help injured fish heal faster by providing additional minerals, and they may even aid in the regeneration of some tissues.

Overall, aquarium salt is a beneficial mineral supplement that can be used to improve water quality and provide essential minerals for many species of aquarium fish.

Colorful Gold, Yellow Molly Poecilia sphenops aquarium fishes. Shallow dof. Poecilia sphenops is a species of fish, of the genus Poecilia, known under the common name molly.

When Should You Avoid Using Them?

There are a few situations in which the use of aquarium salt should be avoided. Check out below!

  • You should avoid using aquarium salt if your water parameters are already within the optimal range. Adding additional salt to the tank may cause problems, such as upsetting the natural balance of minerals and electrolytes in the water.
  • You should also avoid adding aquarium salt to tanks that contain very sensitive species of fish, like some livebearers and cichlids, as they may not tolerate high levels of salt in their environment.
  • You should also avoid using aquarium salt to treat illnesses or parasites without consulting a veterinarian first. This is especially important for more serious illnesses, such as systemic bacterial infections and parasitic infestations.
  • It is also best to avoid using salt as a sole treatment for any illness or parasite. Salt is most effective when used in conjunction with other treatments, such as antibiotics and medication.
  • Finally, you should also avoid using aquarium salt as a substitute for regular water changes. Even with the addition of salt, it is still necessary to perform regular water changes in order to keep the tank clean and healthy.

What Is Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt, officially called magnesium sulfate, is more than just a way to make a relaxing bath! It often goes unrecognized, but Epsom salt plays a key role in fish tank care.

Even though it’s called “Epsom salt,” Epsom has no sodium. Magnesium is a mineral essential for numerous bodily functions, notably those involving the nervous and muscular systems. Aquarium fish with conditions including dropsy, constipation, and swim bladder problem can also benefit from it. When the water in a freshwater fish tank needs to be adjusted chemically, Epsom salt might be used.

Epsom salt is not only cost-effective, but it’s also incredibly versatile for multiple tasks around your fish tank. If you’re wondering just what this magical mineral can do to support the health of your aquarium inhabitants, read on! We’ll explore all the various ways that Epsom salt can be used in fish tanks and when to avoid it.

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What Can They Be Used For?

Epsom salt can be used in a variety of ways for fish tank care. It can help treat or prevent diseases, improve water quality, and even encourage spawning. Here are just some of the many uses of Epsom salt:

●      Increasing Water Hardness

Epsom salt is a great way to increase the hardness of your aquarium water. This is especially important for fish that are sensitive to soft water. Epsom salt can help buffer the pH level, which will keep it from dropping too low and becoming acidic.

●      Treating Constipation in Bettas

Epsom salt can also be used to treat constipation in betta fish. Constipation is one of the most common health problems among bettas, and this salt helps break down the waste and flush it out of the system. It’s important to use only a small amount of Epsom salt and change your water regularly during treatment.

●      Treating Dropsy

Dropsy is a condition often caused by a bacterial infection. The signs of dropsy are bloated, distended bellies and eyes that are sunken into the head. Epsom salt can be used to reduce swelling and flush out toxins in the body, making it an effective treatment for this condition.

It’s important to monitor your fish closely during treatment and to use the correct amount of Epsom salt. Too much can be toxic and may make the condition worse.

●      Reducing Stress

Epsom salt has calming properties that are beneficial for fish that are under stress or experiencing shock after being introduced into a new tank. Adding 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallons of water can help reduce stress and make your fish feel more comfortable in their environment.

●      Treating Swim Bladder Disorder In Goldfish

Swim bladder disorder is a common problem in goldfish, which can lead to a fish having trouble staying upright or swimming normally. Epsom salt can be used as a natural remedy to help treat this condition. Adding 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallons of water will reduce the swelling in the fish’s swim bladder and allow it to move around freely again.

These are just a few of the ways that Epsom salt can be used in fish tanks. Always use caution when introducing any new products into your tank, and research the correct dosage before adding anything to your aquarium. As long as you follow the instructions, Epsom salt can be a great way to improve your fish’s health and well-being.

When Should You Avoid Using Them?

All tropical fish species require a constant supply of freshwater to survive. The salinity of these water layers is relatively low. Although many aquarium hobbyists advocate for a daily dose of Epsom salt, there are circumstances in which you should avoid using any salt at all.

It Has Living Aquarium Plants

Plants can improve the quality of the water and offer safe havens for animals looking to hide or construct bubble nests. Extremely minor shifts in salinity in the surrounding water can swiftly kill plants.

There are Scaleless Fish in the Tank

Those without scales on their bodies are especially vulnerable to salt. There are fewer protective scales to prevent its absorption, making it a more dangerous and perhaps fatal threat.

For these reasons, a salt bath is typically administered in a separate quarantine tank. It’s a way to treat fish with Epsom salt without ruining the ecosystem of the fish tank.

What Is Table Salt?

Common table salt is extracted from underground salt mines. In order to refine it to a finer and purer consistency, natural minerals in salt are often removed during the processing yields table salt. So that it doesn’t get all clumpy, table salt gets a little boost from certain additions. The mineral iodine is an important part of table salt because it helps make thyroid hormones, which is good for thyroid health.

Table Salt (Sodium chloride) can be used to cure and prevent a number of illnesses in freshwater fish. It also aids in wound recovery, boosts slime production, makes gills more efficient, lessens nitrite intake, eases osmotic stress, and can even get rid of certain external parasites.

However, it’s important to be cautious while using salt because some fish and plants can’t handle it.

What Can They Be Used For?

If you’re a hobbyist looking for ways to make the most out of your fish tank, then you should be aware that table salt is an important tool in maintaining healthy aquariums. Here are some of the various essential uses of table salt in fish tanks.

●      Nitrite Poisoning

Table salt is commonly used to treat nitrite poisoning in fish tanks. When nitrite levels rise too high, it can be toxic to the fish and other aquatic life in a tank. Adding table salt to the tank helps reduce the amount of nitrites while still providing essential electrolytes for good health.

The recommended dosage should not exceed one tablespoon per five gallons of water, but it can be beneficial to use a little less. It is best to do several partial water changes before adding the salt in order to achieve the best results. In some cases, using table salt can also help reduce algae growth in tanks that are prone to being overgrown with algae.

  • pH Balance

Table salt can also be used to adjust the pH of a fish tank, although this method should be used with caution. Different types of fish and other aquatic life require specific pH levels, so it is best to research what is needed before making any changes.

 When adding table salt, start with small amounts and increase if necessary. Do not exceed the recommended dosage, as this can be harmful to the inhabitants of the tank. In addition, never add table salt directly to a tank without first diluting it in a separate container. This will help prevent large pH spikes, which can be harmful to the fish and other aquatic life in your tank.

  • Disease Prevention

Table salt has many uses in fish tanks, including disease prevention. It can help to reduce the risk of bacterial infections and diseases by creating an inhospitable environment for parasites and bacteria. Adding salt to a tank helps keep the water clean and free from any potential dangers while also providing essential electrolytes that aid in good health.

However, it is important to note that too much salt can be harmful, so it is important to stick to the recommended dosage and only use table salt when necessary.

When Should You Avoid Using Them?

Salt can be added to freshwater aquariums, but there are some circumstances in which it should be avoided.

The Most Important Factor Is the Species of Fish You Keep

Not all fish species tolerate salt well, so if you have fish that cannot tolerate salt, then adding any amount of salt could cause major issues for them.

Aquascapes that Contain Live Plants

Some aquatic plants may suffer from too much exposure to salt, so it is best to research the species of the plant before adding any salt.

Have Sensitive Fry

Fry can be delicate and may not tolerate changes in their environment as well as other fish. Therefore, it is best to avoid using salt when raising fry until they have grown and developed enough to withstand the addition of salt.

Table salt can be a great benefit to freshwater aquariums when used properly, but if it is not used with caution and care, then it could potentially cause harm to your fish or plants.

Which Is The Best For Freshwater Aquariums?

The best salt to use for freshwater aquariums is aquarium salt. Aquarium salt contains trace elements and minerals that help promote a healthy, balanced ecosystem in an aquarium. It helps reduce stress levels in fish, reduces nitrite levels, increases electrolytes, and can even help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

Unlike table salt or Epsom salt, aquarium salt is specifically designed for use in freshwater aquariums and will not harm your fish. Additionally, the trace elements contained in aquarium salt help provide essential benefits that any fish needs to thrive in a freshwater environment.

Table salt and Epsom salts can be used sparingly in emergency situations when you need to raise the pH level quickly, but should not be used as a regular part of your aquarium care. These salts will not provide the beneficial minerals and electrolytes that are found in aquarium salt and can actually cause harm to fish if used too frequently. So when it comes to freshwater aquariums, stick with aquarium salt for the healthiest environment possible!


Are Epsom Salt and Aquarium Salt the Same Thing?

Epsom salt and aquarium salt are not the same, so they can’t be used in place of each other. Even though they can both be used in freshwater tanks, they are used for very different things.

Can You Use Regular Epsom Salt in An Aquarium?

Freshwater fish tanks can have more hard water by adding Epsom salt. This is because hard water has more calcium and magnesium dissolved in it than soft water does. This salt can be used for other purposes as well, including disease prevention.

How Much Aquarium Salt per Gallon?

Aquarium salt can be used at up to 1 tablespoon per gallon. However, 1 tablespoon of salt per gallon of water is too excessive for freshwater fish. If a fish comes from a place with no salt in the water, acclimatize it gradually. 1 tablespoon of salt per 3 gallons of water is a good starting point.

Aquarium Salt vs Marine Salt?

It is important to differentiate between aquarium salt and marine salt. Marine salt should never be used to make saline water for freshwater aquariums due to the chemical buffers it contains. It’s important to use aquarium salt, which is designed for freshwater aquariums.

Aquarium Salt vs Kosher Salt?

Aquarium salt is a specific variety of salt designed for usage in aquariums. It is an efficient cleaner and sanitizer for aquariums because of its high concentration of chloride ions and sodium chloride composition. In contrast, Kosher salt is potassium chloride and has less chloride ions. While it can be used as a substitute for aquarium salt, it is not as effective at either task.

Can You Use Rock Salt Instead of Aquarium Salt?

There are numerous alternatives to aquarium salt. One of the most common choices is rock salt. However, it shouldn’t be iodized and should be completely natural. Since both rock salt and kosher salt are 100% sodium chloride, they are excellent options.


As you can see, each type of salt has its benefits, disadvantages, and uses, so you should pick which salt to add to your tank based on your needs at the time! And remember, in most cases, you may not need to use any at all!

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!