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Salt in planted tank
I was horrified when I found thin, white worm looking
critters in my newly set up 10 gallon tank. I salted
the water, using pure table salt to a 1.5 part per
thousand concentration in an attempt to control the
worms. The worms are gone. I have not noticed any
significant degradation in plant growth or appearance,
but a week is not much time. There are still no fish
yet in the tank, although I do plan to add a black
molly to help control the algae that is appearing.
Off list, I received questions and warnings about
using salt. One email suggested that I pull all of
the plants. Another email asked where I had gotten
the recommendation for using salt to control
parasites, and what effects I had seen so far. A
third email suggested a higher concentration (2 to 3
ppt), and a fourth suggested that the worms were not
I have used salt in fish tanks on several occasions to
cure ich and other maladies. I have also used salt
"prophylactically" in my pond during spring to control
outbreaks of goldfish/koi diseases. By all 'expert'
accounts I have read, a 1 to 2 ppt concentration is
not particularly harmful to aquatic plants, but that
maintaining this concentration is almost certain death
for all but a few invertebrate parasites and
Through trial and error, I've found that 2 ppt or
higher does damage many aquatic plants. Hardy lilies
and other sturdy stem plants are not significantly
affected, but most submerged plants are.
Concentrations of 3 ppt will affect even those. On
the lower end of the scale, a concentration of 1 ppt
does little to control the critters, but that 1.25 to
1.50 does the job.
I would like some listmember accounts regarding the
efficacy of using salt to control potential parasites,
and any accounts of the salt's effects on aquatic vegetation.
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