Koi College - Pond Water Facts

Salinity in Ponds

Salinity in Ponds

36340 Harper Ave. Clinton Township, MI. 48035 Office: 586-790-8013 Cell: 586-489-0783

FACT: Salt Kills Freshwater Koi and Shuts Down Their Kidneys.

Some disturbing news has been going around that states salt levels above 0.3% are going to cure your Koi if they are all broken out in sores. This is incorrect because salt works by using osmotic pressure and therefore will not kill bacteria that are in the Koi’s bloodstream. These bacteria cause diseases.

Salt will also damage your biofilter and cause high ammonia levels.

We have received calls from Koi hobbyists that have ruined their pond, and/or killed their Koi due to over salting. Unfortunately, the salt takes a while (a month to three months) to kill the Koi. Most Koi keepers do not understand these points.

There is a very high success rate with healing and treatment techniques. If you want to save your Koi, please take some time to read and use the proper Koi and Water treatments.

Salting Your Koi? Important information that you need to know:

We have been studying medications and raising Koi for 30 years now, and in the last couple of years... hobbyists started using salt by the ton on their Koi as some kind of new "wonder drug". We would like to explain what happens to freshwater fishes when exposed to high sodium levels over periods of time.

Many Koi keepers that we talk to, tend to think that their Koi have dropsy because the Koi are swollen, they stop eating, and eventually start breaking down with many different secondary infections, due to the high-stress levels that are introduced by using salt.

Some of these infections include:

1. Hemorrhagic Septicemia (red streaks in body and/or fins).

2. Saprolegnia Fungus (white cottony puffs on skin, fins or tail).

3. Pseudomonas Bacteria (Fin and Tail Rot).

4. Aeromonas Bacteria (Sores on the body with ulcerations).

5. Heavy slime covering the fish. The fish produce heavy slime as a defense against the high salt levels.

6. Extreme swelling similar to dropsy.

7. High mortalities, sudden death, and complete tank or pond wipe-outs.

Salt at high levels will also destroy the nitrifying bacteria in your filter, that keeps your tank or pond cycled and ammonia free. So, if you are using salt and notice abnormally high ammonia or nitrite levels in your water... this is the cause.

Osmotic Pressure on Fish:

The use of salt is being promoted mainly by hobbyists in chat rooms that have little or no understanding of fish pathology or osmotic pressure on fish and how this works. This is a case of hobbyists, consulting to hobbyists can be detrimental to the health of your fish.

In the ocean, fish will swim into freshwater to rid themselves of parasites, and then swim back into the ocean. The fish do this only for a few minutes and then return to their natural environment. The reason that the parasites fall off is due to increased osmotic pressure. When you put a marine fish into freshwater, it is like putting a heavy weight on top of the fish. So, this does not mean that this will work for freshwater fish the same way. Salt can be used for external parasites if used properly. Make a 0.3% salt dip and leave the fish in the solution for 3-5 minutes. Return the fish to fresh water. This is stressful for the fish, so care should be taken when using this approach. It is suggested that if you have parasites, to treat the whole pond with the proper parasite treatment. This salt dip will not cure many bacterial diseases that fish carry in their bloodstream, and is no cure-all for fish diseases.

Testing The Salt Theory:

A good way to test the salt theory would be to set up 2 tanks.

1.) Salt one tank 1 according to the instructions that were given to you and use a dechlorinator, if you are using tap water.

2.) In tank 2, use a nitrifying bacteria (like Pond Support), and a good dechlorinator (like DeChlor & More Dry Concentrate) for your tap water. Do not add any salt to this tank.

3.) Go down to your local fish store and purchase a dozen fish of your choice. Tell the fish collector to separate them and put 6 fish in each bag.

4.) Get yourself a small note pad, so you can keep a log of events on both tanks. This experiment will take some time (around 2-3 months) to complete.

So, now let's look at some facts:

Salt is anti-bacterial and anti-viral. This does not mean that it is good for freshwater Koi. You could pour a bottle of BLEACH into your pond, and I could guarantee that it will kill any living pathogen in there, but it would also kill all of your Koi. Get the point?

Salt is toxic to your Koi if used at high levels for long periods of time. It will shut down their kidneys, and that is why so many people have Koi with "pop-eye" or Koi that have the same symptoms as Dropsy. Salt is toxic to humans if ingested in quantity, and high salt levels are toxic to animals. Use some common sense with the information we have provided for you, and remember that if salt was such a great treatment option; we would not need any of the Koi and water treatments.

"These salt treatments are nothing but the Fleecing you with false hope." Would you rather buy a small bottle of medicine that really works, or lose a whole pond full of Koi from overdosing with salt?

Michigan Koi will not put salt in the pond but will use it in our hospital and quarantine facility. We believe the problem with salt year round is you create salt resistant parasites! William W. Risher

When you do use salt, know the correct dosage.

Use this salt calculator: http://www.michigankoi.com/Pond-Salinity-Calculator.html

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