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  1. [F] Salt in a plant tank
    by (Jim Hurley) (Thu, 11 Feb 93)
  2. Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #17
    by (WRIGHT HUNTLEY) (Fri, 14 Apr 1995)
  3. cheap salt ( was Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #437) HATE that!
    by Wright Huntley <huntley1/> (Thu, 27 Jul 2000)
  4. Re:table salt in a planted tank
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/> (Wed, 19 Jul 2000)

[F] Salt in a plant tank

by (Jim Hurley)
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 93

I always wondered what impact the salt level in a freshwater planted
tank would have, as I used to add about 1 teaspoon of salt routinely
before I got involved in plants about a year ago.

Well, I had my chance, but you'll have to let me tell the story:

I had started this 20g tank with 5 black mollies and assorted trimmings
of plants from my 100g in July 1992. I had planned to use them as
dither fish in some Tanganyikan cichlid tanks I wanted to start (that
hasn't happened yet, but that's another story).

Now I know full well that black mollies are practically saltwater fish,
but I felt this was a temporary situation. And I thought they would be
happy with the algae that I expected to show up.

By now, these 5 mollies had become about 50 or more and I had to remove
some before the next generation were due, so I sold a bunch of adults
to the local fish store.

Rule #1: don't have plants in a breeder tank.

It is impossible to catch fish in a planted tank. It was very stressful
both for me and those poor fish, but I eventually bagged a bunch and
the tank settled down.

That was 2 weeks ago. A week later, some of the mollies started showing
small white patches of fungus. I thought that this was either due to
stress or maybe they got banged around by my clumsy netting.

So last Monday I added 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon (20 teaspoons)
waited a few hours, then added another 20 teaspoons.  On Tuesday, the
fungus was receeding and yesterday, Wednesday, it was all gone,
visibly. So I changed about 90% of the water to remove the salt.
(A lot of people fear huge water changes, but I always keep
a lot of aged water at 77F handy. I never had any trouble.
I routinely change 70% of the water in my 15g tanks and
never had trouble, even with fry.)

I think the fish will be fine now, I hope the plants recover.

This tank has a very large number of plants in it, all that grew from a
few trimmings. There is a bunch of E. tenellus in the front that shoots
out runners about once a week. A bunch of Val in the back that is
starting to shoot out. A small E. cordifolius that is starting to get
larger.  Some Anubias nana, that looks real nice. Lots of rotala indica
and hygrophilia.  Lots of ambulia. Some cardamine. An Ammania
latifolia. About 3 or four crypts. I may have forgotten a few.

So far, I have noticed that the plants are not much affected, but I
know it will take another week to know for sure. If anything radical
happens I'll post again later.

But one thing is certain - the crypts are melting. I know from past
experience that this probably means I'll lose all the leaves, but
they'll porbably recover in another month or so.

I don't think the melting was due to anything I did while catching the
mollies, something would have happened sooner.

So, in short, I would never add 2 teaspoon of salt per gallon to
planted tanks. Maybe even 1 teaspoon would be bad.

Other statistics  about that 20g - pH about 7.8, hardness about 120
ppm, temp 77F, lots of light, very rich 6" substrate (bottom 3" peat,
Duplarit, Tetra Hilena D. middle 2" coarse sand, top 1" fine sand).
Water changes: 5 gallons twice a month. Moderate amount of ramshorns
snails. The only fertilization is about 1 or 2 drops of Dupla24 once or
twice a month (I don't really think it's needed, but what the heck).
Tetra Brilliant sponge filter - I might remove that someday and see
if the plants can keep the wastes under control without any filtration.

Jim Hurley -->  ...!ames!ultra!jimh  (408) 922-0100
Ultra Network Technologies / 101 Daggett Drive / San Jose CA 95134

Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #17

Date: Fri, 14 Apr 1995

>Date: Wed, 12 Apr 95 08:41:36 -0600
>Subject: Water Quality
>        Since i have moved I have not set up my tanks and am curious 
>some of you opinions on water quality.  In the past I never measured
>hardness however at our new location the fixtures imediatly were 
>orange from the rich iron content comming from out well.  I called in 
>local water experts and they intalled a standard salt type water 
>which I run Iron fighter salt in and really does a good job.
>        My question is with the water softner will it cause inproper 
>as far as hardness.  From what someone told me it replaces the calcium 
in the
>water with sodium.  Is this added Sodium going to cause me problems?  
Or would
>I be better off using the hard water before it is softened?  I don't 
have a
>lot of monry to invest now but have about 30 tanks sitting in my 
>waiting to be set up again.  So the most economicial solutions would 
>        dennis

Your plants will not appreciate the salt in the softened water. I would 
suggest you bypass the softener for your aquaria (e.g., use an outside 
tap) and add a small RO unit that empties into a 35-50G plastic 
container. By blending the hard tap water and the RO (virtually 
distilled) water, you can adjust your tanks for ideal water quality for 
the fish and whatever kind of plants you want to keep.

Here in Santa Clara, I have unchlorinated tap water that comes out at 
>450 ppm of dissolved solids, and >300 mg/L calcium hardness. Great for 
Java ferns and Java moss, but worthless for most other plants. My 
little Price Club RO unit gives me several gallons a day of <30 ppm 
water that I blend with tap for everything from soft Amazon to hard 
livebearer water. I used a half-dozen kitty litter bottles (about 3G) 
until I found a 55G plastic drum for $10 at a surplus store. The RO 
units are under $200, and I think they are a bargain for anyone with 
more that two or three tanks.

The hard water is an advantage, now. I don't have the problem of adding 
synthetic chemicals to emulate it, and can have any kind of water I 

- -- 

What if the Church and the State are the mob that howls at the door?
                                            --  William Butler Yeats

cheap salt ( was Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #437) HATE that!

by Wright Huntley <huntley1/>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000

> Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 07:59:00 EDT
> From:
> Subject: Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #436
> In a message dated 7/27/00 1:51:17 AM Mountain Daylight Time,
> writes:
> > But...don't these salts, especially the road de-icer, contain lots of
> >  impurities?  That's what I've always heard, although I must admit, I don't
> >  know whether those "impurities" would harm fish.
> Careful- Some de-icers are sodium hydroxide.  Impurities in other non-table
> salts are the kind of salts that occur in salt water.

Both wrong, Bob. Sorry. Sodium hydroxide is lye, and would play hell with
road surface and car bodies if used, not to mention any skin it touched.
CaCl2 is sometimes used, which might raise your GH without any change in KH.
AFAIK, the main place non-NaCl salts are used as de-icer is in a few conifer
forests where the regular salt kills the roadside trees.

Table salt contains *none* of the other major sea-salt compounds. It is
fractionally crystallized (or mined from deposits where that happened
naturally) and surprisingly pure. I suspect that is true for most of the
so-called "sea salt" in the health-food stores, too. That's one of the
reasons they have to deliberately add traces of sodium or potassium iodide
(plus non-clogging agents) for that is plentiful in sea water.


- -- 
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

                There are two rules for success in life:
             Rule 1: Don't tell people everything you know.

               *** ***

Re:table salt in a planted tank

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000

On Wed, 19 Jul 2000, David Luckie wrote:

> 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.

I can't give you any input on the efficacy of using salt to control
parasites, but be aware that if your water isn't at least moderately
hard to start with then adding ppt-level amounts of table salt could force
the plants into deficiencies of calcium, magnesium or potassium.  That
would be noticable if the condition were maintained for more than a few
days.  The extent of the effect will vary from plant to plant and
substrate composition may influence things, as well.

Roger Miller

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