Does Aquarium Salt Kill Ich?

Ich, also known as the white spot disease, is one of the most popular diseases that affect tropical fish in any kind of aquarium.

A fish affected with ich will have prominent white spots around its body, especially around its gills.

This rapidly spreading fish disease is a cause of concern for many aquarium owners who wish to prevent and eliminate it.

One of the most popular solutions to get rid of diseases affecting tropical fishes is through aquarium salt.

Many people have one question – Does aquarium salt also help kill ich or can it help kill the parasite that causes the disease in the first place?

The answer is yes!

Aquarium salt is a viable solution that can help eliminate ich from your precious aquarium tank.

Raising the salinity of your aquarium helps eliminate fungus, bacteria, and other parasites from the water. This occurs as a result of the fish balancing the salt concentration of their body during the osmoregulation process.

However, there are certain concerns and conditions when using this method to kill ich that will be discussed below.

How Can You Treat Ich Using Aquarium Salt?

It’s established now that you can use aquarium salt to kill ich, but how you can do that depends on a few things.

Firstly, the use of aquarium salt to treat ich highly relies on the severity of the disease. The rule of thumb is to add one tablespoon of salt for every two gallons of water for between 7 to 14 days. This rule applies to the minute cases of ich.

You can increase the salt concentration in your aquarium if the first method doesn’t work and the ich is more aggressive.

You can increase the use of salt to one tablespoon per gallon of the aquarium. However, you need to refrain from adding too much salt as it can cause harm to your plants and other fish.

If both the above-listed methods don’t work too well, you can adopt a more offensive approach.

You can treat the ich in your tank by incorporating different medications with aquarium salt.

Also, you might even have to remove your fish from the aquarium for a while. However, these steps are only to be taken if the ailment is quite persistent.

How to Add Aquarium Salt to the Fish Tank?

There are two ways to add salt to your aquarium. You can either add it directly or you can dissolve it in a cup of water before adding it.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is to use salt made specifically for aquarium use.

How Does Aquarium Salt Help Cure Ich?

Aquarium salt along with an increase in temperature within the tank helps kill ich during the swimming stage.

Adding salt to an aquarium helps the fish gain their natural slime coat, increasing their resistance towards diseases.

Additionally, aquarium salt is also a great way to help fish maintain osmotic pressure within its body consistently. This helps enhance the overall health of the fish.

Ich tends to prey on tropical fish that have a weak immune system. Apart from ensuring that your fish remain healthy, salt helps boost their immunity.

This helps your fish effectively fight off any other infections that may compromise their immunity.

What Kind of Aquarium Salt Should You Use to Treat Ich?

Aquarium salt is the most-recommended salt that should be added to a freshwater aquarium.

Not only does this type of salt cure ich, but it also ensures the overall wellbeing of your tank.

Aquarium salt helps form a slime coating on your fish, protecting it from ich and other diseases. Moreover, it also helps in improving the gill functions and reducing the intake nitrates of your fish.

Now, are you also thinking whether you can use common salt to treat ich?

Ordinary common salt (used for cooking) such as iodine salt is a helpful and far cheaper method. Sure, it can be used to prevent and treat a number of diseases including ich.

However, this type of salt isn’t exactly safe for some of your fish. If you do plan on adding table salt to your aquarium, make sure that it is non-iodized and additive-free.

Other better and healthier alternatives to aquarium salt for your fish tank are – rock and kosher salts.

These two salts are considered to be safe for your tank as they are pure, natural, and additive-free.

How Long Can it Take to Eliminate Ich From an Aquarium?

Ich is a highly infectious parasite that attaches itself to tropical fish in your aquarium. This parasite falls off the fish and into the water after a week.

At this point, it begins to reproduce, making it extremely vulnerable. This is the best time to get rid of this ailment.

It can take anywhere between a week or two for fish to completely recover from this disease, depending on the method you adopt.

The overall duration to get your tank rid of this ailment entirely is about two to three weeks.

One thing to remember is that even after you have gotten rid of this disease, it might still recur.

The ich parasite is pretty aggressive as it hooks itself to your aquarium. You especially need to beware of this ailment if your aquarium is poorly maintained.

Moreover, fish with compromised immune systems are also most susceptible to the recurrence of this disease.

How Can You Identify Ich?

One common cause of concern is how to identify ich.

This disease is easily identifiable for those fish keep who have witnessed it before. However, it can be a rather taxing job for newbie fish keepers.

Here’s how you can identify this ailment.

White Spots

The most prominent symptom of ich is the appearance of white spots. If you find white marks scattered across the body, gills, and fins of your fish, there’s a possibility that its ich.

This spotting can start from something as simple as a single white mark. However, a single spot doesn’t confirm the fact that your fish has ich. If this single spot magnifies into multiple spots across your fish, then it’s definitely ich.

The white spots that occur as a result of ich are extremely prominent. Moreover, when left untreated, these spots form into massive patches over time, especially on the fines.

The main problem is that ich is difficult to spot on fish with spot patterns and bright-colored fins.

Difficulty in Breathing

Spotting isn’t enough to diagnose your fish with ich, especially if you can hardly see the spots in the first place.

However, a common symptom that can help you diagnose the diseases is – difficulty in breathing.

Ich tends to settle down in the gills on your fish, making it hard for them to breathe.

This will cause your fish to move their gills faster than normal, as they try harder to breathe.

Another indicator that helps identify your fish’s difficulty breathing is that it will move to the top of your tank.

The surface of your aquarium has more oxygen. Hence, you might find your fish gasping for air there.

Slow and Lazy Movements

As the infestation begins to progress inside your tank, you will notice your fish becoming lazier.

Even your fastest fish will be moving slower than normal. So, if you notice this happening, it’s a major call for concern.

Loss of Color

If the ich infestation in the aquarium starts worsening, you will notice your fish losing their natural color.

Loss of Appetite

An ich infestation can cause a severe loss of appetite for the fish in your tank.

If you notice that your fish are under-eating, you need to get your tank checked for ich.


The last piece of the puzzle is – itchiness. The white spots caused by ich can be really itchy and irritating.

Since fish can’t scratch themselves, you might notice your pets brushing their bodies against plants or objects to make the itching stop.

This can also result in damaged and scraped skin.

How Does Ich Get Inside Your Aquarium?

One question that makes all aquarium enthusiasts very curious is that – how does ich enter your aquarium?

Well, this is a highly debatable topic that has two theories.

Here are the two opposing answers to this question.

Ich Moves from Tank to Tank

The first theory is that ich is easily transferrable from the tank to the tank. It’s not surprising that ich is highly contagious and can spread like wildfire.

Some fish-keepers believe that newly purchased fish or plants have ich, and when you add them to an aquarium, the ailment begins to spread.

Ich Has Always Been In Your Tank

Another common belief is that ich preexists in every aquarium or fish tank. Many fish-keepers believe that this ailment acts up only when the conditions of the tank are suitable.

For instance, the aquarium isn’t well-maintained and has compromised the immunity of the fish.

The fish-keeping community debates on this topic to this date. There has been no helpful scientific research to prove what’s right and what’s not.

However, it doesn’t matter which of these theories is correct.

The ways to identify, treat, and prevent ich from spreading in your tank are the same.

The important thing is that you need to focus on protecting your fish from this terrible ailment.

Wrapping Up

Coming back to the question, ‘does aquarium salt kill ich?’

The answer is yes, it does!

Amongst various other diseases and infections, aquarium salt has proven to be an effective solution to get rid of ich.

Other articles you may like: