There are many fish medicines available over the counter for pet fishes. I often get asked whether they work. Most commonly, I’m asked about Melafix and Pimafix.
It’s challenging to answer sometimes. One major issue I have is that many products don’t show active ingredients on their label. Examples include Waterlife’s Octozin and Myxazin, Tetra’s Lifeguard, and others.
Some claim their remedy cures all ailments,”
“With XXXX, there is no need for time-consuming guesswork when it comes to treating your freshwater fish. A unique, broad spectrum, non-antibiotic agent, XXXX treats the clinical signs of disease at their earliest stages in freshwater fish… attacks and destroys microorganisms that can cause disease in fish.”
Sometimes you can guess what sort/s of chemicals they contain, by their colour, smell and their claim of the range of pathogens they treat against. In terms of colour, treatments that impart a green colour to water may contain malachite green; blue may be methylene blue; tea-brown, tetracycline; and yellow, acriflavin. Then there are a great variety more that come in liquid, powder and tablet forms that do not stain the water.
As veterinarians, we are under oath to NOT promote, sell, prescribe, dispense, or use secret remedies or any other product for which we do not know the ingredients. We would not want to risk our veterinary registration to suggest such “secret” products.
The other problem is that, people are often using medicines without knowing what they’re treating for. So, if a medicine doesn’t work, it may be due to a lack of a proper diagnosis. For example, if someone’s fish has a parasitic infection, and they use an antibacterial drug, it’s surely not going to cure the fish. But to the person, they are determined that the deug doesn’t work, because the fish died.
Moreover, many people run the risk of being sold the wrong drug because of the opposites experience/s. People may be recommending you use this or that drug instead, because it has “worked for them” in the past. So, will it work for you? Your fish health problem is likely dissimilar, and using drugs without a proper diagnosis will surely end in failure.
Sometimes I’m asked what to treat with, without first performing diagnostics,“What’s your best guess?”
To which I reply, “I don’t guess.”
At The Fish Vet, we never guess. We diagnose and then treat – using medicines we know, and only those that we know will work in your specific case.