Aquarium Tip #9

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This is here for informational purposes (do not contact me for help with sick animals, please). Always seek the advice of your aquatic veterinarian before medicating your fish.

Fish Medication & Information

* Not safe for the nitrogen cycle

* Methyelene Blue – This is not really a medication persay, but it has a place here with the rest of the medications listed. This should generally be your first line of defense, and no aquarist should ever be without it in their aquatic medicine cabinet. Pathogens do not develop an immunity to it, so it is good for use with many different types of illnesses along with parasitic and fungal infections. Can be used in a medicated fish bath with antibiotics to help the fish better absorb the medication, helps fish to better obsorbe oxygen from the water, and it is very gentle on the fish. Metheylene Blue is often times also used in fish shipping bags, and sometimes you can see it being used in store betta cups. This will permenantly dye most items and will kill the nitrogen cycle so should never be used in a main display tank. It’s best use is in a temporary medicated fish bath in a small container (1 quart containers are good for most small fish). It’s helpful when treating most topical infections that result in ulcerations or fin rot.

* Maracyn 2 – Minocycline is pH dependent (meaning it does not work unless specific pH parameters are met), and will be toxic past the expiration date. Do not use with iron oxide containing products. Do not use with any other medications. Can be used in a bath with Methylene Blue. Never use this if dropsy is suspected as it’s hard on the kidneys and can cause severe kidney damage.

* Maracyn – Erythromycin works better when mixed with other medications, but I don’t recommend doing so unless you know for 100% sure which medications can be safely mixed. Do not mix with other primarily gram positive medications such as any Tetracycline. Do not use if fish have Dropsy. This will kill the nitrogen cycle.

* API TC Tetracycline – Can be used in a bath with Methylene Blue. It is pH dependent and does not work in pH above 7.5. Do not mix with other medications or any iron oxide containing products. Do not use with fish who have ammonia or nitrite poisoning, fish with low blood cell counts, or fish suffering from parasites (velvet, gill flukes, or Ich). This will kill the nitrogen cycle.

* Triple Sulpha – Like Tetracycline this is bacteriostatic. Meaning it stops the bacteria from reproducing but it does nothing to kill it. Also take note that if you stop a bacteriostatic medication too soon you risk the bacteria causing the infection to start growing all over again. Do not use with other medications. This will kill the nitrogen cycle.

MetroPlex – Metronidazole helps to kill most external and internal parasites, and also helps with some anaerobic bacterial diseases. It is not dependant on pH and will not hurt the nitrogen cycle. This can be combined with nitrofurazone and methylene blue as an alternative treatment for anchor worms. When combined in a solution of neomycin in a medicated fish food can be a broad spectrum internal gut infection treatment that will treat both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. Metronidazole blocks some cell functions in anaerobic bacteria.

NeoPlex – Neomycin is effective for gram positive and some gram negative bacteria. Since it is not easily absorbed it works eceptionally well when mixed with food to treat bacterial swim bladder disease that was brought on by aeromonas of the gut or other similar diseases. Do not use if fish is suspected to have inflammatory or ulcertative gastrointenstinal disease.

KanaPlex – Kanamycin can treat fungal infections and a lot of gram negative and a few gram positive bacteria. It is easily absorbed by through the skin and works especially well in higher pH. It is believed that kanamycin prevents bacteria from building their cell walls, so the bacteria die. It will not harm the nitrogen cycle. It has proven to be more effective than tetracycline class antibiotics and can also be better than minocycline. Kanamycin can be mixed with other medications such as nitrofurazone (which would make the no longer available medication called Aquatronics Spectrogram) and when done so makes it a more effective treatment than if used alone. Can be used to treat fin rot, columnaris, fish tuburculoses, popeye, vibrio, pseudomonas, aeromonas, saprolegnia, and dropsy. Works very well if kidney disease is suspected, but should not be over-used or you could risk kidney damage. Do not use if kidneys are already severely damaged.

Furan 2 – Nitrofurazone will treat a lot of gram negative and a few gram positive bacteria. This is not safe for plants or inverts. This does not absorb very easily into the skin, so it is best used with methylene blue and/or kanamycin (works extremely well with kanamycin!). Works better topically for aeromonas and is good for treating furunculosis, body slime disease, eye cloudiness, bacterial gill disease, streptococcus, columnaris, popeye, fin rot, and other skin infections. Can be less effective at higher pH.

Seachem ParaGuard – Seachem is pretty tight-lipped with the ingredients, but it is safe for the nitrogen cycle. Treats bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic diseases which makes this an effective broad spectrum medication. This is my first go-to medication, and the only things I would not use it for would be fish tuburculosis (kanamycin) or camallanus worms (levamisole link). I use ParaGuard prophylactically, meaning all new fish get treated with it for one week out of the 4 weeks they are in quarantine. It’s very easy to dose at 1 cap-full for every 10 gallons of water, every 24 hours.

Kordon Fish Protector – This is not a medication (nore is it organic) but I’m including it here because of the many benefits it offers. It helps to calm fish durring water changes and also when shipping. It adds vitamin B12, echinacea, and adds lost electrolytes during times of stress. It helps in the absorption of medications and helps to repair damaged fins, heal missing scales and bruises, and helps to minimize infections. Use it after every single water change, even when fish are not sick. This is a suppliment and should never be used in place of antibiotics or other medications.

New Life Spectrum Ick Shield – Medicated fish food used to treat parasites. Only feed during a parasitic outbreak as it’s not meant for regular daily use. Best used when fed prohylactically to new fish.

New Life Spectrum Hex Shield – Medicated food used to treat heximita (lateral line disease/hole in the head disease). Only feed during a parasitic outbreak as it’s not meant for regular daily use.


Illnesses & Treatments

For mild fin rot, saprolegnia, and columnaris infections dose the tank with Seachem ParaGuard.

Medicated fish bath for severe saprolegnia use Potassium Permanganate instead of Methylene Blue. Do not mix any medications with Potassium Permanganate.

Medicated Fish Bath – For dropsy omit the Furan 2. This will treat popeye, bacterial swim bladder disease, and moderate to severe fin rot,  and columnaris: 30 minute daily baths in a 1 quart container of dechlorinated water, Methylene Blue, Seachem KanaPlex, and API Furan 2. Do not get this mixture in your tank.

For bacterial swim bladder disease also feed a medicated food containing neomycin.

If treating for fin rot or columnaris; in conjunction with the above medicated bath inlcude Seachem ParaGuard in the aquarium. For fin rot increase water changes to every 24 hours, and after the water change re-dose with ParaGuard.

If fin rot, columnaris, or saprolegnia is present; slowly lower the temperature to the lowest setting that is comfortable for your specific species of fish (ie; for a betta that would be 75F, for a panda garra that would be 72F, etc. etc. etc.). Bacteria (good and bad) thrive in warm temperatures.

Imrove conditions in the tank: better and/or more frequent water changes, gravel vacs, and filter maintenance. Tank heaters prevent temperature fluctuations in the tank, which cause stress so always use a heater regardless of climate) and ensure there is 0 ppm ammonia and 0 ppm nitrite.

If you have a betta tank or any other type of tank where the fish cannot tolerate water movement; ensure that you also add an air stone to help oxygenate the water column. A build up of rotting organics and low levels of oxygen in the water column will help contribute to a great many diseases like bacterial swim bladder disease, fin rot, popeye, and dropsy (bacterial kidney/liver diseases). An air stone also helps prevent bio-film on the surface of the water. Bio-film prevents the release of CO2 from the water column, and is very dangerous for the nitrifying bacteria in your filter.