How brackish can I make it?

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Registered Member
Original poster
Aug 8, 2018
Ok so I have an all male show tank full of Malawis and Nyariris and I currently dose them every water chance and a tiny bit with each feeding with noniodized salt super fine grain.

I know that's not the same as marine salt.

No I will not listen to arguments about how adding salt doesn't help prevent diseases as it's worked great for me so far.

Here is the QUESTION: If I slowly raise the salt levels and specific gravity of the tank how high can I get it before it becomes unhealthy for the Malawi's and Nyariris? Also I have some albino bristlenose plecos doing amazing in there. Anything to worry about with them? If need be I'll move them.

The REASON I want to make it brackish or close to is because there is an eel I will be getting that live in both marine and brackish environments. So I'm kinda tryna make the water meet in the middle of brackish and fresh so that both groups of fish can live reasonably comfortably and remain strong and healthy.

Any help at all is appreciated! :D (But please stay on topic lol)


No freelancing!
Aug 14, 2001
Real Name
As politely and on topic as possible---bad plan. Fish are incredible adaptable, until they aren't. You don't say the current salinity, but constant additions means it's climbing. The fish will likely look and act fine, right up until they die...and that will be very fast, as organs fail.

Bad plan. Your tank, your fish, but my advice is setup a tank for the eel rather than add it to this one.

And this is nothing like 'brackish'. It's salted water. There is a distinction.

the loach

AC Members
Aug 6, 2018
This can't be done, fish from lake Malawi are f/w fish that have evolved to live in specific water parameters. They won't be fine in soft acidic water even though that is 100% fresh water as well. The "brackish" (that term has a huge range) level that eel needs is going to be detrimental to your malawi's and eventually going to kill them as orion girl says.

If you feel the need to have an eel pick one that originates from lake Malawi or something like a ropefish that might be fine in your tank, depending on your water parameters.

BTW you are wrong with your opinion about using salt to prevent diseases: when kept in the right conditions no prophylactic measures are needed for fish.
Koi folks have been adding salt for this reason for a long time and found out the hard way that all it did was making pathogens resistant to salt.

You can't take aspirin to prevent headaches, and if you did what would you do when you get one? Your fish were most probably fine despite using salt...
I would remove it and just maintain the best water quality you can.


Josh Holloway--Be mine!!!
Sep 1, 2003
Calif. SF Bay area
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Sorry, but I too think you are doing this wrong. Please follow the advice of "OrionGirl" and "the Loach". It is sound advice. If you really want the ell, set up a tank for it. All will be happier.


Mar 29, 2005
take a pound of pasta, divide it into two.

cook half according to directions in salted water

cook the other half in diluted marine water to the same specific gravity

eat a spoon of one, then a spoon of the other, until all pasta is gone.

convince me that brackish is the same as water that has salt in it.

But go ahead and do what you think is best, assuming your conscience is cool with the mistreatment of an animal through a lack of knowledge, you will either be fine, or not.. The folks selling the fish will have likely made a profit, so not everybody will lose.

(you shouldn't get disease problems from either, anything clearing up will most likely be due to placebo)
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