You may have heard about giving your betta an Epsom salt bath before. However, like everything that comes to looking after your betta, new treatments can appear scary, and you don’t want to end up doing more harm than good.
In this article, you’re going to find out how to give your betta a salt bath, when to give your betta a salt bath, how often you can give a betta a salt bath, and whether they’re actually good for your betta or not!
So keep reading to find out everything you want to know!
What Do Epsom Salt Baths Treat?
Before deciding to give your betta an Epsom salt bath, you need to make sure you’re going to treat them for the right illness. So here are all the different ailments you can use an Epsom salt bath for!
Firstly, one of the most common ailments that a betta can get. If you’ve been overfeeding your betta for too long or feeding them the wrong food, then constipation is likely going to happen at some point.
And if fasting your betta or feeding them daphnia doesn’t help, then Epsom salt baths are a great choice!
Epsom salt will work much as it does in humans; by allowing your betta’s muscles to relax, it will become a lot easier for your betta to expel waste anyway, making them feel better!
Swim Bladder Disease
There are a few different causes of swim bladder disease, so before you try using Epsom salt to treat your betta, you also need to make sure you’re taking care of any other things that could be causing the illness.
(Find out how to treat swim bladder disease in your betta.)
However, once you’ve done this, if the swim bladder disease doesn’t seem to be clearing up, then an Epsom salt bath can be a great choice! Once again, Epsom salt can treat swim bladder disease by relaxing your betta’s muscles and allowing their swim bladder to return to normal.
While Epsom salt can’t treat all forms of popeye, it can treat popeye that has been caused by physical harm. So make sure before you add Epsom salt to the tank it’s definitely been from something in the tank other than a bacterial infection or parasite.
While the prognosis of dropsy in your betta is never good, if you still want to try and keep him alive, then Epsom salt has been known to have some degree of success when combined with other forms of treatment as well as over-the-counter medications.
However, if you plan on using Epsom salt, make sure it’s definitely Epsom salt, as other forms of salt, including aquarium salt, can make the condition worse.
And its also important to remember that the chance of your betta recovering from dropsy is always slim, so it may be better to consider euthanizing him instead.
How Does Epsom Salt Work For Your Betta?
If you plan on adding Epsom salt to your aquarium, you may be wondering how exactly it works. The main benefit of Epsom salt is the fact that it’s a muscle relaxant. This means that your betta is easily able to pass any waste that’s in their digestive tract. As well as this, it can also aid in fluid retention, as the muscles will be a lot looser.
Lastly, Epsom salt tends to be absorbed once it’s inside your fish, and once absorbed, it can reduce any bloating or swelling that’s occurring. Once this happens, your fish should return to their normal size.
How Do You Give Your Betta An Epsom Salt Bath?
Now you know what Epsom salt can help and also why it can help, it’s important to know exactly HOW to use Epsom salt to treat your betta. So with that being said, here’s a step-by-step guide.
Prepare A Quarantine Tank
The first thing you’re going to want to do if you plan on giving your betta an Epsom salt bath is to prepare a quarantine tank. It can be 1 gallon in size but no more than 5 gallons in size. That way, you won’t have to remove too much aquarium water from your main tank.
When preparing your quarantine tank, just make sure the temperature is the same as the main tank and that you’ve conditioned the water.
(If you only plan on giving your betta an Epsom salt bath a couple of times, then oftentimes, you can just use a small container instead of a quarantine tank.)
Lastly, when you’re adding Epsom salt to the water, you should use 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt for every gallon of water.
Prepare A Revival Tank
As well as preparing a quarantine tank, you should also prepare a revival tank as well. This time, however, 1/4 of the tank should be salt bathwater, and 3/4 should be water from your aquarium. Doing this will help your betta acclimate to his tank easier.
Once again, if you don’t have a tank, you just need to make sure you’re using a warm container that you can keep suitably warm.
You’ll also need a thermometer to make sure that the water in all tanks remains consistent, so your betta doesn’t get temperature shock.
Treating Your Betta
Now everything has been set up, it’s time to treat your betta. So carefully scoop him up with a net, and add him to the treatment tank. Once you’ve added him to the treatment tank, keep them in there for 5-8 minutes.
If at any point you notice that your betta’s gills have stopped moving, they’re losing balance, having trouble swimming (when they weren’t before), or passing out; then you should immediately remove them and add them to the revival tank.
Move Him To The Revival Tank
Once the allotted time is up, you can then move your betta to the revival tank. Once they’re in the revival tank, you’ll need to keep them in there for about 5 minutes before finally moving them back to their main tank.
The Main Tank
Now once your betta is in his main tank, the salt bath is over. However, you should continue to monitor your betta’s health once they’re back in their main tank to make sure the salt bath hasn’t had any complications. If you notice complications, then you should avoid giving your betta a salt bath again.
Remember Salt Baths May Not Be Enough
If your betta is suffering from something more serious, then salt baths may not be enough to keep them warm. If this is the case, then you’ll also need to treat them with over-the-counter medications. And in the case of dropsy, even if you’re giving your betta salt baths regularly, the chances of your betta making a recovery are still slow.
How Long Can You Give Your Betta A Salt Bath For?
When you’re giving your betta a salt bath, you should avoid doing it for any longer than 8 days. More than this, the salt bath may have detrimental effects on your betta! And as for the timing of the salt bath, around 5-8 minutes a time is ideal.
When Should You Avoid Using Epsom Salt
There are times when you may want to avoid using Epsom salt when you’re treating your betta. However, fortunately, if you are following the advice above, then you shouldn’t need to worry about when to avoid using Epsom salt; however, as a rule of thumb, there are two times it should be avoided.
When There Are Plants In The Tank
The first time to avoid using Epsom salt is if you have plants in your tank. Plants hate salt in the water, so adding it can potentially kill them off.
With Scaleless Fish
You should also avoid adding plants when you have scaleless fish in a tank as well. Scaleless fish are a lot more sensitive to salt because, without scales, they can be absorbed faster. This means that adding it to a tank with them can be potentially damaging.
Avoid Scented Epsom Salt
And make sure you’re avoiding scented Epsom salt as well. You should only use Epsom salt that is unscented and completely natural. Any Epsom salt that doesn’t have these two qualities may end up causing more harm to your fish.
What Are The Different Salts?
Because there’s more than one type of salt, you need to make sure you’re using the right ones, otherwise you may end up doing a lot more harm than good. Here are the different types of salts and when you should use them!
Aquarium Salt: Aquarium salts job is to keep the fish healthy and less stressed. Some people like to use aquarium salt constantly at low levels in their tank, however, others only use it when there is something wrong with their betta.
Personally, I prefer to use aquarium salt when there’s something wrong with my betta, instead of as a preventative. Otherwise I’d recommend using API Stress Coat.
- Contains one (1) API STRESS COAT Aquarium Water Conditioner 16-Ounce Bottle
Epsom Salt: As you now know, epsom salt is mainly used in aquariums as a muscle relaxant, helping to aid problems like swim bladder disease, constipation and, popeye.
When you’re using Epsom salt, you should only use a small amount so it doesn’t overpower and harm your fish.
And once again, while some people do add it consistently to their tank as a preventative, I prefer only using it when there’s a real problem with my betta.
Table Salt: This is the salt we use in the kitchen, and it’s a no-no for aquariums. Not only can it mess up the balance in the tank, it could also house preservatives and other harmful chemicals that may end up killing your fish.
Marine Salt: Marine salt should only be used in saltwater tanks as it’s needed to keep the salinity in the tank good. If you tried to add marine salt to your bettas tank it would have disastrous effects.
If you plan to give your betta salt bath, here are some of the most frequently asked questions that people have.
What’s The Difference Between Bath And A Dip?
There isn’t actually any real difference between an Epsom salt bath and an Epsom salt dip. Both of them are performed in a short time frame, after which your betta is placed back into their original tank.
Can Aquarium Salt Treat Bloating?
Not only will aquarium salt not treat bloating, but it can also actually make the condition worse. Aquarium salt can actually hinder the passing of fluids which can even make the bloating worse. That’s why Epsom salt should be used, as it relaxes the muscles.
Do You Need To Acclimate A Betta Before The Dip?
You should avoid acclimating before you give them a salt bath, as you may end up exposing them to too much salt. When this happens, overexposure can be detrimental and could make symptoms worse.
Can Bettas Pass Out During Epsom Salt Baths?
It’s entirely possible that your betta will pass out during Epsom salt baths; however, it’s not that common. Fortunately, once you move your betta out of the bath and back into his main tank, he should return to normal.
Are Salt Baths Good For Bettas?
Salt baths are perfectly safe and beneficial for your betta when you use them in moderation and properly. And while Epsom salt is great, some people also recommend constantly adding aquarium salt to their tank as a preventative measure.
Can You Use Regular Table Salt Instead Of Epsom Salt??
You should never use regular table salt in place of Epsom salt for bettas. While both are salts, they serve different purposes. Epsom salt helps relax your betta thanks to the ingredients in it.
On the other hand, table salt—usually iodized—lacks these beneficial elements and can harm your betta.
Can Marine Salt Be Used As An Alternative?
Marine salt is a different ball game altogether. Unlike Epsom salt, marine salt contains a mix of various minerals designed for saltwater fish. Using it for bettas, is going to be extremely unhealthy and harmful for them.
Will Aquarium Salt Raise The pH Of Your Tank?
Aquarium salt, generally speaking, should not significantly alter your tank’s pH levels. Unlike some other additives, it doesn’t contain carbonates or bicarbonates, which are the primary agents that increase pH.
Can You Leave Epsom Salt In A Fish Tank?
Leaving Epsom salt in a fish tank for extended periods isn’t recommended. Typically, Epsom salt baths are used as a short-term treatment for specific issues like constipation or bloating.
Once the treatment period is over, it’s best to remove the salt by performing a water change. Keeping it in there long-term could risk mineral imbalances, potentially stressing your betta out.
As you can see, Epsom salt baths aren’t as complicated as you may have once thought, so if you feel like your betta needs one, you shouldn’t hesitate to try them!
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