A salty question

I would like to know if I should add salt to my pond or not ? Some people say keep 0.3  year round, and others say no it's bad for koi only add salt when needed. Currently I have no salt in the water. My water quality is very good and my fish are very healthy with no visual signs of the water or parasites irritating them. Any advice on to salt or not to salt will be appreciated. - Dewald, Gauteng


Koi,really carp, is a freshwater fish and do not need salt in their lives. You do not need salt in you pond water unless it is necessary for one or the following conditions:

  1. to control certain parasites (eg Costia, Chilodonella etc.),
  2. provide osmotic relief when fish are stressed due to transport or handling,
  3. control some algae to an extent but mind the other plants in your pond, and
  4. providing relief in case of nitrite poisoning (brown gills)

No one will argue against using salt as a prophylactic a few times per year, especially at the change of seasons. Typically August through October and March to May.

Use 3 kg per 1000 litre for normal treatment and up to 6 kg/1000 litre in case of seriously affected fish. No use using less.

For parasites as fluke, lice, anchor worm salt will not bring relief. In case of bacterial infection or undetermined malaise rather use Pafurajin F or Elbazui

The problem with continuous treatment of your pond with salt is that those parasites that would normally be sensitive for salt will eventually become resistant to salt treatment rendering this cheap solution to many pond problems, ineffective.

Be also aware that salt reacts with zeolite, a favorite remover of ammonia by releasing the bonded ammonia. So always plan your actions if you have a "sand filter" filled with zeolite chips.

Also consider that salt and potassium permanganate (Potperm to some) are additive. Therefore treating fish with infected gills you need to reduce the exposure by about half when dipping (3 minutes). In the case of pond treatment, do not maintain the pinkness longer that 4 hours after which you can terminate the treatment with hydrogen peroxide like normal.


S de Kock