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Pond Salt vs Water Softener Salt

Pond Salt vs Water Softener Salt

People use both pond salt and water softener for aquatic purposes. Pond salt is basically pure regular old sodium chloride. And that does not contain any extra additives like iodine and yellow prussiate of soda.

Water softener salt, on the other hand, is similar to the salt used for cooking. But the difference between these two salts is that water softener salt is designed specifically to treat or soften hard water.

Although both pond salt and water softener salt work on the same medium, the purpose of using these salts is completely different. Read on to know more about the different uses of these salts.

Pond Salt

Non-iodized sodium chloride is the best type of pond salt. People generally use it in ponds with koi and goldfish. However, we suggest that pond salt should not contain any additives as those could harm your fish.

You can use pond salt to strengthen the pond fish’s natural defense against disease. But it also lessens the effect of nitrite toxicity and adds essential electrolytes to the water.

It also kills most of the aquatic parasites that are commonly found in ponds. This is why we recommend you use pond salt before trying any other parasite treatment as it is beneficial over other treatments.

Uses and Benefits of Pond Salt

Pond salt offers numerous advantages for pond and pond fish, such as-

Adding Electrolytes in Pond Water: Electrolyte is necessary for improving the fluids in the fish’s body. Electrolytes transform the fluids to natural mucus covering the fish’s bodies.

The mucous layer is an important factor as it protects the fish from harmful bacteria and other elements in the pond that could make them sick.

Adding NaCl to the water ensures that electrolytes are present in the water which is a necessity for the fish.

Aiding the Process of Osmoregulation: Fish need to absorb a certain amount of water to survive. And to make sure your fish are getting the proper water absorption, you need to ensure water osmosis in the pond.

They emit ions when they absorb water. These ions then get replaced by the sodium in the pond. Using pond salt aids the whole osmoregulation process and helps the fish to stay healthy.

Stimulating Natural Fish Slime Coat

The presence of pond salt stimulates natural fish slime coats. Slime is essential for the survival of fish.

The slime aids the fish in drag resistance while swimming. It also protects them from parasites and infection.

Does Not Interrupt Biological Filtration

Biological filtration is the process by which microorganisms in the tank break down hazardous ammonia and convert it to nitrites.

Nitrates at high levels can be toxic for many invertebrates. As pond salt does not disrupt the filtration process, you will not have to worry about it while using pond salt.

Creating a Safe Fish Environment

Using pond salt ensures the regular deposition of slimy muck at the pond’s bottom.

Pond salt releases electrolytes in the pond and the electrolytes assist in lowering the chance of nasty bacteria buildup in the pond. Less harmful bacteria means a safe fish environment.

Note: Salt does not evaporate or dissipate. It will remain in the water until the salinated water is removed, either by overflow or by a water change.

It is suggested to test the salinity of water to ensure that you have it to the desired level. We recommend running a salinity test before applying any pond salt as well.

Water Softener Salt

Water softener salt is used to soothe or soften hard water. Hard water is water with a high mineral concentration that is harmful to household appliances, plumbing fittings, and pipelines.

Water softener salt is used to activate an ion exchange in order to remove the hardness of the water.

The minerals in the unfiltered water are exchanged with sodium ions from the salt during the ion exchange. The hard minerals get washed out and the water becomes soft.

Softener salt is available in a surprising variety of forms. Evaporated salt pellets, sea salt, rock salt, and crystals are some of the available forms.

Even saltless softeners that contain potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride are also available.

To get the proper water softener salt, we recommend measuring the hardness of your water. A soap test kit can be used to do the test.

To run the test, fill the bottle halfway with water, add a few drops of soap, and shake the bottle until the water forms bubbles. The harder the water is, the more droplets of soap it will need.

Uses and Benefits of Water Softener Salt

There are numerous advantages to using water softener salt other than softening hard water. Some are-

Improving The Water Quality

Hard water contains iron, magnesium, fluoride, and other minerals and chemicals. These components cause an unpleasant taste in the water.

Water softeners aid in the removal of such components and improve water quality.

Eliminating Calcium

As calcium does not transmit heat, its presence in water compels a hot water heater to work harder to warm water. Which reduces the water heater’s life and increases utility expenses.

Calcium buildup can cause clogging of water supply pipes as well. Water softening salt eliminates calcium from the water, hence preventing these issues.

Ensuring Healthy Skin and Hair

Hard water can damage hair and dry out the skin. A water softener removes harmful contaminants. Thus ensuring healthy skin and hair.

Difference Between Pond Salt and Water Softener Salt

By now it has been established that these salts are completely different as they are formed differently and they are used for different purposes too.

Formulation: Pond Salt vs Water Softener

For instance, pond salt is formed to use for pond and pond fish. Water softener salt is formed to specifically work on softening hard water.


Pond salt is known as pure salt. Meaning it does not include any other salt additives that are generally found in cooking salt, or even in water softener salt.


Pond salt is widely used in aquaculture. Using pond salt ensures that the fish and the aquatic environment get to stay healthy. On the other hand, water softener salt is generally used for household purposes.

If the salts are different, then what to use for softening pond water? You can simply use distilled water to your pond to treat the hardness of your pond water. But let’s understand pond water hardness first.

Pond Water Hardness

Water hardness and pH have a very crucial interaction in the pond. Fish require a steady pH to survive, which is easier to ensure when the KH (water hardness) level is high.

The pH level decreases as a result of hydrogen ions. Fish emit these ions as they breathe and digest food. A high KH serves as a sponge, soaking up these ions and keeping the pH stable.

Pond water also helps to maintain a high KH level. When pond salt is applied to water, the sodium replaces the ions of the water and ensures that the KH level is maintained properly.

But, a high KH level is not a friendly atmosphere for all fish. A high KH level means a high amount of calcium and magnesium is present in the water. It can be harmful to some fish.

To maintain the KH level for these specific kinds of fish, you will need to soften your pond water.

We recommend adding distilled water to the pond to soften the water. You can also mix a water conditioner with distilled water that neutralizes minerals in the water.

Note: A water conditioner is different from a water softener salt. A water condition only alters and neutralizes hard water minerals. But it does not remove them. A water softener salt removes hard water minerals. 

Final Verdict

Both pond salt and water softener salt are important to use for aquatic purposes but one cannot be used as a substitute for another. Pond salt does not work as a softener factor.

Water softener salt cannot treat the hardness of pond water either. Correct application of both salts will ensure that the fish in your pond is living a healthy life and you will have a hassle-free household as well.

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