Aquarium salt is safe for neon tetras when dosed correctly. It is an effective standalone treatment for common fish diseases such as ich and lower doses increase the efficacy of commercial fish medicines. Aquarium salt is not the same as marine salt, which is unsuitable for tropical fish.
Read the directions on the packet or box of aquarium salt. The quantity required for a general tonic in a community freshwater aquarium, a salt medication or use in conjunction with commercial fish medicines varies greatly, so it is extremely important to choose the correct dose. It is difficult to overdose with salt, but too much may cause your fish unnecessary stress.
Pour warm water into a mixing jug and stir in the required quantity of salt until it is completely dissolved. As a guide, 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt for each 10 gallons of water provides a beneficial quantity of salt as a general tonic; 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon of water is effective in treating ich, velvet and bacterial infections. Different brands may recommend slightly different doses of their product so always follow the instructions.
Prepare a bucket of dechlorinated water in the same way as a normal water change and add the salt water mix. Stir thoroughly to distribute the salt evenly and pour into the aquarium. Salt does not evaporate so it remains active for as long as it is in the tank; changing the water is the only way to remove the salt.
Observe the behavior of your fish once the salt is in the aquarium. Neon tetras rarely react to the presence of salt, but other fish in the tank may display signs of stress. Gasping at the surface, erratic swimming patterns or darting around are indicators that there is a problem. Remove 50 percent of the water immediately and replace it with fresh unsalted water if you see an intolerance.
- Ensure you do not have other fish in your aquarium that do not tolerate salt in their environment. Corydoras catfish are very sensitive to salt in their water, even at the low levels considered therapeutic for their tank mates.
Alex Burgess has been a professional writer since 1990, specializing in travel, herpetology, lifestyle, fashion, health and fitness. Her work has appeared in various British newspapers, magazines and international online publications. Burgess studied design before working as a journalist in England.