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Do Discus Fish Need Salt in Their Aquarium

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-I’m often asked if there is a benefit to adding salt in a Discus tank. In this article I will address my experiences regarding the benefits, or not of salt in a Discus fish tank.

There are two salts I will write about, Rock salt, and Epson salt.

Aquarium salt or rock salt; Can be purchased inexpensively at a grocery or feed store, and has been used in tropical fish keeping for decades. It is believed to help the slime coat of fish, acting as prophylactic protection against external protozoan parasites. Dosage can range from one tablespoon for every gallon, to one tablespoon per 10 gallons. Standard dose is between one tablespoon for 5 to 10 gallons. I have used rock salt on and off for 40 years, however for the past 20 years I stopped, completely discontinuing its use. I never saw any concrete proof that the Discus benefited in any way, and it was messy. As water evaporated, salt would build up on the back of the tank, eventually the clump of salt got so big it would fall on the floor and make a mess to clean up. So, I quit using it and the fish did not miss it at all.

Now on a positive note; I did observe that when Discus parents had a large brood of fry feeding on their slime, the addition of rock salt at a dose of one tablespoon per 5 gallons did seem to help the slime secretion which gave the fry more to feed on. This would be the only reason to use rock salt in a Discus fish tank, and only when parents have fry feeding on them.

Epson salt; Which you can purchase from your local drug store is said to help treat internal ailments, such as bloat or swim bladder problems. Dosage can be the same as the above rock salt dosage. I have tried this several times over the years and have never seen it help in any way. So, I do not recommend using Epson salt for your Discus fish at all.


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