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Aquarium Medications basics - by Carl Strohmeyer

Not all human medications (or veterinary medications meant for cat or dog disease treatment) are practical in most aquarium or pond applications, a good example is penicillin and ampicillin.
When you have fish that are sick (bacterial, fungal, protozoan, or other parasites), you want to try and isolate them in a hospital
aquarium whenever possible. Regular water changes before each treatment allow for a more effective treatment, especially when treated in the display aquarium.
Sponge Filters work well in hospital aquariums. Remember to remove carbon, as carbon will remove many medications. Also note that silicone in the aquarium will absorb malachite green, methylene blue, and copper sulfate. Most corals (crushed and otherwise), and ceramic decorations will also absorb medications such as malachite green, methylene blue, and copper sulfate.
Correct calcium levels are important,
as calcium also helps in healing and stress, and without proper calcium levels healing may be difficult or impossible. The addition of antibiotics (such as Tetracycline) will lower calcium absorption.

One more note as to the use of medications to treat aquatic diseases; Make sure all your water parameters are where they should be, if for example your ammonia levels are high, all the medication in the world will not help, in fact they will only exasperate the problem. Make sure you have proper water circulation and even more importantly enough dissolved oxygen and low waste particulates, otherwise your
Redox Potential can be adversely affected (this is not to say Redox Potential needs to be worried about for the average aquarist). Adequate calcium levels (which can be partially measured by kH) are very important to proper osmotic proper osmotic function.
If any of the above parameters are out of sorts, you will have trouble affecting a cure, even with proper medication.

And above, proper efficient water changes (with proper electrolytes; salt magnesium, calcium) can do wonders without medication, so use ALL medications sparingly!!

Finally, I would like to address the common anecdotal comments made by many (Yahoo Answers has a lot of these dangerous statements) about the harmful side effects of medications. While almost every medication has a side effect that can harm or kill your fish, applying over use or misuse as a reason to not use a medication is poor aquarium husbandry and even in human treatments what can cure can also harm.
One example is
Kanamycin Sulfate, this antibiotic can be very harmful on the Kidneys however this is one of the better kidney disease treatments available over the counter for fish you just do not want to abuse or over use it.
Another example is Malachite Green, this has been shown in studies to be carcinogenic when used in large quantities yet in studies using this chemical at established therapeutic levels, Malachite Green has not shown to pose this danger (I reference this source in my
Malachite Green section)

Here are a few terms:
*Gram-negative bacteria are pathogenic, as they can cause disease in a host organism and have a thin cell wall. Gram negative bacterial infections are much more common in fish, especially marine. These bacteria that will NOT retain a crystal violet dye during the Gram stain process.

*Gram-positive bacteria do not always cause a disease in the host organism and have a very thick cell wall.
Gram positive infections are less common in fish. These bacteria that retain a crystal violet dye during the Gram stain process.

Food Delivery of Medications;

For many internal infections soaking medications in food or the use of prepared medicated food is the best coarse of action (in freshwater, marine fish do not usually require delivery of medication via food due to their constant drinking
of water around them). I prefer to use frozen foods such as Bloodworms or Brine Shrimp (sometimes FD Brine Shrimp), I soak these foods in a few tablespoons of water for about 10-15 minutes then add everything to the aquarium (or pond). These are the foods I find work best in FW for internal infections when soaked; Metronidazole, Neomycin, Oxytetracycline, Piperazine, and Levamisol.

FOR EACH MEDICATION ARTICLE, Please click the link below: http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/Aquarium_Medication.html

Professional aquarium maintenance experience since 1978 as the owner of one of the larger aquarium maintenance companies in LA, CA.

I have been in the hobby since 1969.



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