How Much Aquarium Salt Per Gallon Of Water Is Needed? [Ideal Qty.]

Image of an aquarium with salt in the water

Aquarium salt is added to an aquarium to reduce fish stress, improve gill function, and eliminate harmful parasites from the tank water. But, how much aquarium salt per gallon should you add?

You should add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 3 gallons of water as a medication for fish. If there’s no improvement in the fish condition, you can add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 2 gallons of water. To treat severe infections, add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 1 gallon of water.

Let’s talk about this in more detail now.

How Much Salt Per Gallon For Saltwater Aquarium?

A home saltwater aquarium needs a salinity level, expressed as specific gravity (SG), of 1.025. This means about 35 grams of salt for every thousand grams of freshwater. So you need to add 135 grams of marine salt per 1 gallon of freshwater to replicate the seawater environment.

When selecting a salt mixture, avoid using freshwater aquarium salt to create brackish conditions.

Although these salt mixtures can help you create the required salinity, they lack trace elements like sodium, chlorine, magnesium, and sulfate essential for marine organisms.

Most saltwater tanks require a pH level in the range of 8.0 to 8.4 to maintain the optimal health of the tank inhabitants.

And the water temperature must be in the range 78°F to 80°F (25.5°C to 26.6°C).

You will have to adjust the salt mix accordingly to get the required salinity at the desired temperature.

How Much Aquarium Salt Per Gallon For Brackish Water?

Brackish water has more salinity than freshwater but less than seawater.

In a natural environment, brackish water occurs where freshwater meets the sea or ocean.

Aquarium salt is not used to create brackish water. Instead, marine salt is used to achieve the required salinity level of 1.004 SG to 1.0226 SG. So you should add marine salt in the range of 0.5 to 30 grams per liter of dechlorinated water or 2.28 to 136.5 grams per gallon of dechlorinated water.

Brackish water contains salt content.

So install a robust filtration system that triggers water movement and evenly distributes the salt concentration throughout the aquarium.

Salinity increases as the water evaporates from the tank.

Use dechlorinated water instead of saltwater to keep the salinity level in the desired range.

However, you can use salinated water for partial water changes during routine aquarium maintenance.

Another problem with salt water is that it rapidly corrodes metal, which can cause the tank to rust and pollute the water.

So use an acrylic or glass tank for your brackish water aquarium.

How Much Aquarium Salt Per Gallon For Betta?

Betta in an aquarium with salt

To treat mild infections in betta fish, add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 3 gallons of water. For moderate infections, increase salt mix by adding one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 2 gallons of water. And to treat severe infections, add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 1 gallon of water.

There are three different levels of salt dosages you can add to your betta fish aquarium as a first-aid treatment for fish diseases.

Be careful not to overdose as salt doesn’t evaporate nor is removed by the tank’s filtration system.

Let’s now understand how to use aquarium salt to treat betta fish.

1. Mild Infections

Begin with the lowest level of salt dosage. Initially, add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per three gallons of water.

Pour the salt directly into the aquarium or dissolve it in a small amount of tank water before adding it to the tank.

This treatment level is mild but effective for treating mild fungal and bacterial skin infections.

The low salt dosage stimulates the production of healthy mucus covering the fish’s body.

This prevents bacteria and parasites from entering it.

Keep your betta fish in a concentrated saline water solution for four to five consecutive days.

If there’s no improvement in the fish condition, you can increase the salt dosage.

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2. Moderate Infections

For a more robust treatment, add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per two gallons of water.

A higher salt concentration can help treat many fish diseases, including ich, fungus, and skin parasites.

You can continue this level of treatment for ten days.

Increase the aquarium salt concentration if there’s no improvement after these two levels of treatment.

3. Severe Infections

You may want to consider using stage three salt treatment if your bettas need extra help to recover from severe infections.

At this level of treatment, add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per one gallon of water.

Opt for this treatment level only if your fish tank is dedicated to betta fish.

Don’t use this level of treatment if you have a community tank containing scaleless fish species, aquatic plants, or invertebrates.

Instead, move your betta fish to a quarantine tank before performing this treatment.

How Much Aquarium Salt Per Gallon For Goldfish?

Aquarium salt provides multiple benefits to goldfish.

It reduces stress, preserves slime coat, eliminates parasites, prevents nitrate poisoning, and helps the goldfish recover from existing infections.

To prevent mild infections in goldfish, you can add 1/2 teaspoon or less for every 1 gallon of water. For mild infections, add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 2 gallons of water. And for severe infections, increase the salt concentration by adding four teaspoons per 1 gallon of water.

Let’s now understand how you can use aquarium salt in goldfish aquariums.

1. Aquarium salt as a preventive measure.

You must add 1/2 teaspoon or less aquarium salt for every 1 gallon of water in your goldfish tank.

Dissolve the salt in a small amount of water before adding it to the tank.

You should also add aquarium salt after completing a partial water change.

Ensure you replace the volume of water and salt lost during the water change.

For example, If you have performed a 50% water change, add one-quarter teaspoon of aquarium salt.

Add salt only if there’s a water change.

Don’t top-up salt as it doesn’t evaporate, nor does the tank’s filtration system removes it.

2. Aquarium salt for treatment.

If your goldfish has signs of a minor health problem or if it has just begun experiencing sickness, you can add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 2 gallons of water.

You should also replace 25% of the water every two to three days and ensure you are adding aquarium salt according to the volume of water you have replaced.

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3. Aquarium salt for salt dip treatment.

A salt dip is an immersion treatment where you submerge your fish in water containing salt.

Prepare your main aquarium for the salt dip by adding four teaspoons of aquarium salt per 1-gallon water.

Check your goldfish condition while it’s taking the saltwater treatment.

Also, make sure you’ve got a quarantine tank ready for the goldfish once the saltwater treatment has finished.

You will need it until your main tank is cleaned and becomes parasite-free.

If you observe any distress signs like your goldfish is rolling over, gasping for air, darting, or trying to jump out of the water, you should immediately move the fish to the quarantine tank.

However, if there are no distress signs, leave the fish for up to 5 minutes before moving it to the quarantine tank.

Keep the fish in the quarantine tank and move it back to the main aquarium once it’s cleaned and ready.

Aquarists use this technique to avoid adding aquarium salt to their tank regularly.

However, it’s recommended to avoid the salt dip and explore other techniques if your goldfish is ill or too weak.

How Much Aquarium Salt Per Gallon For Guppies?

Guppies are freshwater fish. Saltwater can develop anxiety in guppies.

However, you can use aquarium salt to treat their sickness or infections.

To treat infections in guppies, you can add one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 3 gallons of water. It’s best not to put salt directly into the tank with fish inside it. Instead, you can add salt in a small cup of water, allow it to dissolve, and then pour the concentrated salt solution into the tank.

Aquarium salt is the best treatment for bacterial infections as it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and substances.

Moreover, aquarium salt keeps the beneficial bacteria while eliminating the harmful ones.

When using aquarium salt, make sure your fish is healthy and well-fed.

Avoid using aquarium salt if your fish is sick, or move it to a quarantine tank to avoid stress.

Don’t use aquarium salt if your tank contains scaleless fish, aquatic plants, or other invertebrates.

Interesting Further Reading:

How Much Aquarium Salt Per Gallon For Hermit Crabs?

Hermit crabs need a saltwater environment to survive.

The terrestrial hermit crabs also need a continuous supply of saltwater for drinking and bathing.

Moreover, even freshwater hermit crabs flourish in a saltwater environment.

Hermit crabs need marine salt and not aquarium salt. To mimic their natural habitat, add half a cup (4oz) of marine salt per gallon of filtered water. In addition, maintain a pH level in the range of 7.5 to 8.4 and temperature in the range of 72°F to 80°F (22°C to 27°C).

While terrestrial crabs don’t live in the water, they have evolved to live on dry ground.

They have tiny lungs, so they risk drowning when left in water for an extended period, whether fresh or salty.

Saltwater also arouses terrestrial hermit crab’s smell senses. It helps them locate their food and predators.

The smell of saltwater also entices them to drink and bathe in salt water.

The Caribbean land hermits, a hermit crab species, exclusively live in a freshwater environment.

So it’s best not to include them in your saltwater aquarium.


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