Aquarium salt is not safe for plants. It easily results in salt stress. Salt causes a loss of water from within the plant cells. The cells shrink, which interrupts the photosynthesis process. Saltwater also doesn’t allow for osmosis through the plant tissues and this results in dry plants.
Okay! Let’s talk about this in detail now.
Why Is Aquarium Salt Not Safe For Plants?
Aquarium plants drink water from the soil through their roots.
When the soil has a high salt concentration in it, the plants absorb and retain this salt.
This expels the water from the plants and leads to dehydration and demise of aquatic plants.
Plant reproduction also halts by adding salt to your aquarium.
The best-case scenario for aquarium plants is that they merely have a reduced growth rate but still survive.
So how do plants survive in the ocean?
Sea plants, like seaweed, survive in salty conditions because of a thick, waxy coating on their leaves that block out the sea salt.
They also process the sea salt very quickly through their tissues and out of their pores before it damages them.
Plants need a tiny amount of salt to survive. This amount of salt is naturally found in soil, and you don’t need to add any extra.
Apart from plants, some examples of fish that react badly to salt are tetras, corydoras catfish, barbs, and koi.
Is API Aquarium Salt Safe For Plants?
API aquarium salt is not safe for freshwater aquarium plants. It will cause the plants to dehydrate and perish in most cases.
There are some people who add extremely small doses of salt to their aquarium without affecting the plants, but this is not recommended.
Is Epsom Salt Safe For Aquarium Plants?
No, Epsom salt is not safe for aquarium plants. It will dehydrate the plants just like any other salt.
So it’s a good practice to not add Epsom salt to a planted aquarium.
If you still really want to add Epsom salt to your aquarium, then add a minimal amount.
Otherwise, the aquarium plants will be at risk.
How Can I Treat My Fish With Salt Without Damaging Plants?
If you really want to expose your sick fish to salt without damaging your live plants, do so in a separate container.
Here’s how you can treat your fish with salt without damaging the aquarium plants:
- Find a quarantine tank that can hold at least 1 gallon of water.
- Add 3 or 4 teaspoons of salt to this tank.
- Take 1 gallon of aquarium water and pour it into the quarantine tank.
- Stir the salt into the water until it’s completely dissolved.
- Place your fish into the salty water for 10 to 30 minutes. (Monitor the fish and make sure there are no signs of distress)
- After the salt bath, put the fish back into the aquarium and treat the next one.
Safer Methods To Treat Fish Without Salt
Depending on what you’re trying to cure, there are different medicines available that don’t contain salt.
We aren’t going to go through all these medications as there are too many to list here.
The best thing that you can do for all the life forms in your aquarium is to keep the water clean.
Here are some methods to keep the aquarium water clean:
- Use High-Quality Filter: A reliable filter that uses mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration will work the best. Clean out the filter regularly to make sure it filters the water effectively.
- Don’t Overfeed The Fish: Try to provide just enough food for your aquarium fish. Leftover food will decay and make the water dirty. It also clogs up your filter. High-quality food also helps promote clean water because the fish don’t need to eat as much and therefore don’t defecate too much into the water.
- Perform Regular Water Changes: Changing at least 30% of the water once a month will help to keep the water clean and fish healthy. You can add your dechlorination chemicals to the freshwater 24 to 48 hours before you add it to your aquarium.
- Clean The Entire Tank: When you notice your aquarium building up with dirt and algae, perform a complete cleanup of the tank and everything inside. Do this every 3 months, depending on your tank environment.
- Get An Algae Eater: Snails and some species of catfish will happily consume excess algae in your aquarium.
Which Aquarium Plants Can Tolerate Salt?
If you plan to use salt in your aquarium, the best thing you can do is make sure you have plants that can handle it.
Here are some plants that live in somewhat brackish water:
- Java Moss,
- Java Fern,
- Seaside Brookweed,
- Marimo Ball, and
While these are some of the plants that handle salt a bit better than others, too much salt is still fatal to them.
Getting Rid Of Salt In Your Aquarium
If you’ve accidentally added too much salt to your aquarium, the best thing to do is to perform a massive water change.
Here’s how to get rid of excess salt from your aquarium:
- Remove and replace around 70% of the water with fresh water.
- Then do a 30% water change after 7 days.
- Continue to change 30% of the water every three weeks to keep the water clean.
Things To Remember
Aquarium salt is not safe for plants.
Even if your plants survive the salt, their growth will be stunted as a result of dehydration.
Too much salt and the plants will fade away completely.
There are some plants that are more resistant to brackish (salty) water than others, as mentioned above, but they are not completely immune to the negative effects of salt either.
If you want to expose your aquarium fish to salty water to cure any health issues, it’s best to do so in a separate container for no longer than 30 minutes.
It’s better to keep aquariums as clean and fresh as possible to prevent illness.
It’s far more sustainable to keep your tank clean, as opposed to adding salt to it.