Home Koi Varieties Koi Ponds Koi Care Koi Diseases Other Koi Topics Gallery Sales




Salting Your Koi

by Elmer Epistola

Posted: September 1, 2004



Koi are very elegant creatures, until they become sick, that is.  Finding a koi infested by a parasite or afflicted by a disease of any sort is disheartening to every koi enthusiast.  Unfortunately, we all need to deal with disease or parasite problems at one time or another. 

The first advice that a novice koi hobbyist usually gets when dealing with a koi illness is to 'salt' the fish.  Basically this can either mean to add some salt to the hospital tank to aid the fish in its recovery or to give the fish a short-duration salt bath.  Most, if not all,  koi experts agree that salt offers some benefits to koi.  It is in the concentration and duration of salt treatments as well as for what purpose it is used where disagreements begin.


First off, let's examine why the practice of 'salting' koi is prevalent in the hobby.  Salt is known to have mild bactericidal properties, something  that is very useful in controlling bacterial infections usually triggered in poorly-maintained ponds. In fact, it has been established that salt can indeed control certain ailments, such as cloudy eye.

According to www.fishdoc.co.uk"Salt works well against many protozoan parasites such as Costia, Trichodina and Chilodonella as well as flukes and other ectoparasites. It can also assist osmoregulation problems caused by bacterial ulcers; help clear congested gills as well as supporting fish suffering from stress. Because it works in a different way to most disease treatment, it is safer than many pond treatments and will not adversely affect biological filtration in pond filters. It is generally used at fairly high rates in short-term baths or dips, but can be used as a long-term supportive treatment in ponds."

Salt is also believed to 'relax' the koi, relieving stress due to osmosis and allowing it to recover more quickly.  Simply put, osmosis is the movement of water from an area of lower salt concentration to an area of higher salt concentration.  There's a higher salt concentration inside the body of a koi than in the pond, so the tendency of pond water is to move into the koi body through osmotic action.  The koi then has to expend energy to expel the extra water through its kidneys.  Salting the koi pond relieves the osmotic stress on the koi because it contributes to the equalization of the osmotic pressure inside and outside the koi.  This allows the koi to use its energy in building up its immune system instead of expelling excess internal water.

Aside from this, salt promotes mucus flow on the skin of the koi, which adds protection against harmful life forms like parasites, fungus, and bacteria. Mucus is that slippery layer that covers the entire body of the koi.  A damaged mucus layer can invite skin problems.

According to an article by Norm Meck, the presence of salt also helps counteract any nitrite toxicity. To a certain extent, salt can therefore be used to counteract high nitrite readings. In some cold climate areas, salt is also added in the winter to lower the freezing point of the water.  

Lastly, and quite importantly, salt is very cheap and widely available.    


Proceed to Page 2


see also Salt Concentration Tables





Copyright 2006 www.KoiAndPonds.com. All Rights Reserved.