Maintaining your pond can be difficult and confusing work, often being more work than people expect.
This becomes even more difficult if you have animals that live in the water, such as fish, frogs, or even turtles.
Keeping your pond salted is necessary in order to properly maintain the ecosystem that you have created and to keep your pond water as healthy as possible.
Should I Put Salt In My Pond?
Yes, you should put salt in your pond, especially if you have koi or goldfish.
However, you should not go throw just any type of salt into your pond.
You are going to need non-iodized salt because other salts have additives that can be harmful to any creatures living in your pond.
With the proper pond salt, you can help create cleaner water for creatures living in your pond.
Adding a little pond salt will kill seven out of nine common pond parasites.
Pond salt is an inexpensive way to clean your pond water while also being safe for your filter.
If you are having an algae problem with your pond, you should add some pond salt to the water in order to remove it and stop the growth of algae.
The pond salt will be safe for all pond fish species and most pond plants, excluding water lettuce and water hyacinths.
Plants that cannot handle any pond salt should be removed until the salt has dissolved.
If you notice your pond plants beginning to develop dead spots or droopiness, then you will need to remove them from the pond and put them in a bucket of freshwater.
While pond plants can handle a little salt in their water, they cannot survive in water with a salt level of 0.25 or higher.
As long as you don’t add too much salt to your pond, it is completely safe, even for freshwater plants and animals.
Pond salt also doesn’t eat through pond liners, like some pond cleaners.
It doesn’t turn your water unnatural colors, either.
The affordability, easy process, results, and benefits make pond salt a must-have item for any pond owner.
How Much Salt Should I Put In My Pond?
You should be adding at least one pound of pond salt to every 100 gallons of water in your pond.
The maximum amount that you can safely add with fish living in your pond is three pounds of pond salt for every 100 gallons of water.
Before adding any salt, make sure to remove water plants that are sensitive to pond salt, such as water hyacinths and water lettuce.
You will want to keep them in their own freshwater bucket until after the salt treatment.
You should also clean your pond before adding the salt and change out at least 50% of the water.
The right preparation will allow the pond salt to work even better and ensures that the water will remain clean.
Many pond owners say that making sure that your pond is salted enough during the late fall and winter months will help your fish survive through the harsh weather.
However, salt does help your fish’s immune systems, which is extremely beneficial in the winter months.
Your water should have a salt concentration level between 0.25% and 0.5%.
Any higher could hurt the fish, and any lower will not have as strong an effect.
To avoid burning your fish with too direct a dose of non-iodized salt, you should let your salt dissolve in a bucket of pond water.
Pond water should be used instead of freshwater.
Only add the salt gradually in order to not overwhelm the plants and animals living in your pond.
If some of your fish are unwell, you can add all of your pond salt in at once.
You will want to leave the non-iodized salt in your pond for at least two to three weeks before removing it with water changes.
How To Check The Salt Level Of A Pond
The easiest way to check the salt concentration level of your pond is to get yourself an aquatic salt monitor.
This reusable tool will display the salt concentration level in a percentage, making it easy to use. It’s also inexpensive.
You can also use a digital salt meter, which looks like a pen and tests the water.
Although these are a more expensive option, they are more accurate.
This makes them better for pond owners who have sensitive fish or plants.
Whenever trying to figure out the salt level in your pond, you should never just guess.
An underestimation can kill every fish and plant in your pond.
Not adding enough salt may not keep your pond or fish safe from as many problems.
You should be keeping a consistent amount of salt in your pond, replacing the salt in the same way that you replace water.
Water will evaporate over time, but salt will not.
You should be adding enough salt for the water you’ve replaced.
When cleaning your pond, you’ll want to get any salt that has collected at the bottom.
Getting rid of it will lower the salt level and allow you to replace the old salt with fresher salt that will work better.
The perfect salt level is 0.25%, but what is best for your pond is based on the fish and plants you have living in it.
Some ponds may require you to have a salt concentration level of 0.1% if your fish or plants seem to respond poorly.
Other ponds may need a salt level of 0.3% because they are prone to certain bacteria or parasites.
If your fish seem extremely unwell, a veterinarian may recommend that you bring your salt level as high as 0.6%.
How To Use Pond Salt
Before you add any salt to the water, you will always want to check your salt concentration level.
Never assume that you know the salt concentration level of your pond.
For the safety of the flora and fauna that live in your pond, you will need to be accurate.
You will want to get anywhere from one to three cups of pond salt for every 100 gallons of water that make up your pond.
Pond salt will need to spread around the edge of your pond.
Avoid any areas that your pond plants take up.
If you have plants, you will want to use no more than 1.5 cups of pond salt per 100 gallons of water.
Your aquatic plants are going to be more sensitive to the salt than your fish.
The best amount of salt for ponds with just fish and sturdy plants is 2.5 cups of pond salt.
The only time you need to add more salt is when you change out the water.
Otherwise, the salt is good for 14 to 21 days.
When introducing a new fish or tending to a sick fish, you will need to create a salt bath for them.
You do this by setting a separate tank filled with pond water and add five cups of pond salt into the tank.
The tank will need plenty of aeration.
You will need to set up a second tank of just pond water to put the fish into after they soak in the salt bath.
Keep them in the salt bath for five to 10 minutes, while keeping a close eye for any signs of stress or discomfort.
Then move them to the second tank of pond water for 30 minutes before releasing them into the pond unless they still seem unwell.
Benefits For The Fish
Salting your pond may seem like it could be harmful to your fish, but it’s actually doing the exact opposite.
Your pond fish reap multiple benefits by having pond salt added to their water.
When you add non-iodized salt to your pond water, it helps improve gill function and relaxes the fish.
Stress can be lethal for fish, so keeping their stress low is a matter of life or death.
Giving your pond fish regular doses of pond salt even while they’re healthy will act as a preventative for parasites, bacteria, and infections.
It will also lessen the effects of nitrite toxicity and is the perfect option to try before medicating your fish because it won’t harm even weakened fish.
Some of the parasites and bacteria that adding non-iodized salt will eliminate include Chilodonella, Epistylis, Ichthyophthirius, Costiasis, Trichophrya, Glossatella, external Tetrahymena, and any Trichodiniid or Tripartiella organisms.
By adding pond salt to your water, you are lowering the osmosis pressure, which makes it easier for the fish to release excess water while breathing.
This allows their bodies to spend their resources and energy on fighting disease.
You notice that your fish will form a thin layer of slime while swimming in their salted ponds.
Although it may be worrisome for first-time pond fish owners, this slime is extremely beneficial because it acts as an outer barrier against bacteria and infections.
If you add a new fish to your pond, you will want to give them a salt bath beforehand.
Otherwise, you run the risk of spreading any bacteria, parasites, or infections that could come from the last pond the fish was in.
Fish that get sick will also need to be moved into their own salt bath.
It will lower their stress levels and reduce the chance of illness spreading.
Marine Salt Vs. Pond Salt
Although both types of salts are used in the care of fish, they are not equal.
Nor should they ever be used interchangeably.
Marine salt and pond salt only work in the situations they were made for and can cause major damage when used incorrectly.
Marine salt is for saltwater fish, while pond salt is for freshwater fish.
Pond salt will not create the right osmosis pressure for saltwater fish.
Marine salt will create too harsh of water for the freshwater fish.
In both situations, your fish are dying.
Even using less marine salt is going to hurt your freshwater fish.
It isn’t just the amount of saltiness that is dangerous for the fish, but it is the type of salt as well.
Non-iodized salt is a gentle salt that only burns freshwater fish if they are directly hit by a piece.
The salt becomes safe once it has been diluted and even serves as a great way to protect your fish.
Just as taking too much of a vitamin or supplement can be dangerous for people, too much non-iodized salt can be dangerous for fish.
The buffers in marine salt are what kill the freshwater fish that come into contact with them.
Even pond salt crystals can burn the skin of freshwater fish, but marine water can kill without the freshwater fish even needing to touch it.
Those who have ever gotten salt in an open wound will understand what happens to fish’s gills when the water is too salty or not salted with the right kind of salt.
Luckily, fish don’t have the brainpower in order to feel pain.
Using the wrong salt may hurt your fish, but using the right kind of salt will save the fish in your pond.
You just need to make sure you don’t go overboard.
What Kind Of Salts Can You Use In A Pond?
You can use any kind of non-iodized salt.
While not every consumer can tell iodized salt from non-iodized salt, there are many different types of salts that you may not know are non-iodized.
Non-iodized salt is any type of salt that does not include iodine and usually consists of sodium and chloride instead.
The types of salt that are made without iodine include kosher salt, sea salt, non-iodized rock salt, non-iodized table salt, and even non-iodized ice cream salt.
Any salt that doesn’t have additives can be used in your pond, but the best type of salt to use in your pond is the type that was made for that situation, such as those that claim to be aquatic life-friendly.
Some pond salts have added vitamins and minerals specifically for the fish living in your pond.
You should avoid ever using common kitchen salt or rock salt in your ponds.
In the same way that marine salt will kill your freshwater wish, so will your kitchen or rock salt.
You only want to use those types of salt on fish you intend to cook and eat.
You should also never use salt that is used for melting ice.
If your pond freezes over in the winter, there is nothing you can safely do about it.
Those who are concerned about the temperature of their pond water in the winter will want to get a heater.
If you try to melt the ice on your pond with even pet-friendly ice salt, you will kill your fish.
The chemicals that melt the ice for you are dangerous for all aquatic life, no matter how sturdy they are.
You can find the right kind of pond salt at places such as Petco, PetSmart, Tractor Supply, or Home Depot.
Salting Your Pond Is Necessary
Those who are looking to help their ponds stay beautiful will want to start salting their ponds, especially if they have fish living inside them.
Make sure that you use the right kind of salt in your pond and don’t over-salt the freshwater.
The struggle and effort you put in your pond and the creatures that live in it, the healthier they will all be.
It is expensive to salt your pond and will also save you the stress of having to constantly scrub off algae.