Q: I started adding table salt to Buddy's bowl when he suddenly quit eating.  It perked him up but he still eats very little (former piglet) and he breathes very hard. It looks like a bubble is stuck in his throat and he keeps working until it comes out.  Anything to do other than use typical over the counter medicine?

Question submitted by Teri, Reno - NV 

A:  No, no, NO! You cannot add TABLE SALT to your betta's water!!!!! Table salt is not suitable for fish. When you read "add salt to the water" on websites, they mean "AQUARIUM SALT" or ROCK SALT. Never, ever table salt. As a matter of fact if you read my water page, you will see that I make sure to tell people to not use table salt, but instead to use aquarium salt or rock salt.

You can purchase aquarium salt at any fish store, and it is 100% safe for fish. However it can get a bit pricey.

The alternative is to purchase ROCK salt (I get it at Smart and Final), which is the same and is much cheaper.

But never EVER use table salt!!!

Now you will have to promptly (as in ASAP) prepare new water without the table salt. If you have rock salt, add it, if not, forget about salt for now. The most urgent matter at hand is that your betta needs to get out of that table salt water and I mean NOW. Make sure water temps is the same and that you prepare water the same way (same chemicals etc except of course for the table salt (duh) ). Change 100% of your bettas water (and also rinse the bowl/tank).

Maybe add some bettamax to the new water for a couple weeks or so to avoid secondary complications, he must be quite stressed and his immune system is down and your betta might get sick on you. I hope he bounces back.

Note: Please be careful as to what you do with your fish. Don't believe everything you read on the net. Many websites are created by kids who get info from other sites and rehash it on their own, but with a few mistakes and omissions here and there (some of which can be fatal to your fish!). Forgetting to tell people that "add salt to the water" means "rock salt and not table salt" is a grave mistake. Want to learn how to really prepare betta safe water? See my water page.