Effective natural/home remedies?

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wayfareranima

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Good afternoon/morning,

Does anyone have any effective natural remedies for sick aquatic animals?

Medicating a tank is often stressful for fish and the common opinion amongst hobbyists seems to be that most meds are a waste of money.
So other than garlic or salt/epsom salt, are people using any other natural remedies instead of reaching for chems?
Are there any home remedies that you have tried and would avoid in future?
No specific ailments in mind, just curious to see what people are using.

I had a bottle of “natural” water conditioner, have posted a picture of ingredients, would like to know people’s opinions.
 

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Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate) and salt are chemicals, something a lot of people don't like to say out loud. Garlic is pretty well useless, although it has been marketed hard and has had at least two "wonder-fad" phases since the 1980s.

Fish meds are unregulated in most places, so anything goes. The remedy you've photographed looks like a skin irritant. It would produce more body slime on fish, as any irritant (including salt) will, and that can make it harder for skin parasites like Ich to bore in and grab hold. I'd never call that tonic a water conditioner, because that would confuse aquarists concerned about chlorine and chloramine treatments. It's just an irritant to promote slime production. Marketing.

I have used very old remedies, in desperation. They, like everything, are chemicals. Some occur naturally, but so do Cyanide and arsenic. That's no indicator of value. My go to when I can't access proven treatments is the old Dr Innis book from the 1940s to 1970s, which offers some occasionally effective remedies for easy to solve problems. What people did before fish-meds were available can be illuminating.

Our problem isn't that proven and studied meds don't work. They often do. Our problem is we have difficulty diagnosing the underlying diseases in order to treat them positively. We don't know which bacteria are causing infection, or which exact parasite is at work. If you use a medication for gut worms on gut nematodes (which look like worms), it isn't going to work. That's where our difficulties lie.

In general, we do okay treating parasites, but poorly treating internal problems. It's in the diagnosis, and the shotgunning of antibiotics. The herbal/homeopathic/naturopathic stuff is mainly to make us feel like we're doing something.
 
Many people use heat (30c/86f) for two weeks to eradicate ich. I have tried it and it worked brilliantly.
Large daily water changes are great too, they allow the fish to heal from injury and recover from illnesses, often without the need for any further treatment.

I'm not sure what the ingredients are in your water treatment so cannot really comment, but these things are often a gimmick.
 
yeah, am aware of and agree on all of the above.
Am not scared of ”chemicals”, everything is chemical. Chems is just a colloquial term for the formulated branded stuff.
The book from Dr. Innis sounds intriguing? That’s kinda what I’m asking too, I guess, like what did people do before pet shops?
Garlic has been useless to me, definitely.
Sea salt when used in moderation has been beneficial. WCs ofc.
But like, anything else?
 
Many people use heat (30c/86f) for two weeks to eradicate ich. I have tried it and it worked brilliantly.
Large daily water changes are great too, they allow the fish to heal from injury and recover from illnesses, often without the need for any further treatment.

I'm not sure what the ingredients are in your water treatment so cannot really comment, but these things are often a gimmick.
I posted a pic of the ingredients above ☝️ :)
 
Clean water, clean gravel and a clean filter, will fix a lot of issues and prevent even more.

Proper diet will help reduce problems.

Praziquantel to treat tapeworm and gill flukes
Levamisole to treat thread/ round worms.

Heat 30C/ 86F (already mentioned) treats white spot and velvet.

Salt to treat lots of things.
For some fish diseases you can use salt (sodium chloride) to treat the ailment rather than using a chemical based medication. Salt is relatively safe and is regularly used in the aquaculture industry to treat food fish for diseases. Salt has been successfully used to treat minor fungal and bacterial infections, as well as a number of external protozoan infections. Salt alone will not treat whitespot (Ichthyophthirius) or Velvet (Oodinium) but will treat most other types of external protozoan infections in freshwater fishes. Salt can treat early stages of hole in the head disease caused by Hexamita but it needs to be done in conjunction with cleaning up the tank. Salt can also be used to treat anchor worm (Lernaea), fish lice (Argulus), gill flukes (Dactylogyrus), skin flukes (Gyrodactylus), Epistylis, Microsporidian and Spironucleus infections.
 
.
Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate) and salt are chemicals, something a lot of people don't like to say out loud. Garlic is pretty well useless, although it has been marketed hard and has had at least two "wonder-fad" phases since the 1980s.

Fish meds are unregulated in most places, so anything goes. The remedy you've photographed looks like a skin irritant. It would produce more body slime on fish, as any irritant (including salt) will, and that can make it harder for skin parasites like Ich to bore in and grab hold. I'd never call that tonic a water conditioner, because that would confuse aquarists concerned about chlorine and chloramine treatments. It's just an irritant to promote slime production. Marketing.

I have used very old remedies, in desperation. They, like everything, are chemicals. Some occur naturally, but so do Cyanide and arsenic. That's no indicator of value. My go to when I can't access proven treatments is the old Dr Innis book from the 1940s to 1970s, which offers some occasionally effective remedies for easy to solve problems. What people did before fish-meds were available can be illuminating.

Our problem isn't that proven and studied meds don't work. They often do. Our problem is we have difficulty diagnosing the underlying diseases in order to treat them positively. We don't know which bacteria are causing infection, or which exact parasite is at work. If you use a medication for gut worms on gut nematodes (which look like worms), it isn't going to work. That's where our difficulties lie.

In general, we do okay treating parasites, but poorly treating internal problems. It's in the diagnosis, and the shotgunning of antibiotics. The herbal/homeopathic/naturopathic stuff is mainly to make us feel like we're doing something.
Homeopathy is for suckers. 🤣
Herbal medicine has value though.
I hear what you're saying though.
 
yeah, am aware of and agree on all of the above.
Am not scared of ”chemicals”, everything is chemical. Chems is just a colloquial term for the formulated branded stuff.
The book from Dr. Innis sounds intriguing? That’s kinda what I’m asking too, I guess, like what did people do before pet shops?
Garlic has been useless to me, definitely.
Sea salt when used in moderation has been beneficial. WCs ofc.
But like, anything else?
Went to a chemist and bought things like Potassium Permanganate, Copper Sulphate, Methylene Blue, Formaldehyde and salt. Some of which are still used in commercial medications today. They also used things like Trichlorfon (pesticide), which has been banned for years because it does bad stuff to living things. When antibiotics became available for people, they used them on fishes too.
 
Sorry, they were alien to me. I don't have the time to google them and find out what they are.
They were plants, including betel nut and various Chinese medicinal herbs that may or may not help or kill fish.
 
Clean water, clean gravel and a clean filter, will fix a lot of issues and prevent even more.

Proper diet will help reduce problems.

Praziquantel to treat tapeworm and gill flukes
Levamisole to treat thread/ round worms.

Heat 30C/ 86F (already mentioned) treats white spot and velvet.

Salt to treat lots of things.
For some fish diseases you can use salt (sodium chloride) to treat the ailment rather than using a chemical based medication. Salt is relatively safe and is regularly used in the aquaculture industry to treat food fish for diseases. Salt has been successfully used to treat minor fungal and bacterial infections, as well as a number of external protozoan infections. Salt alone will not treat whitespot (Ichthyophthirius) or Velvet (Oodinium) but will treat most other types of external protozoan infections in freshwater fishes. Salt can treat early stages of hole in the head disease caused by Hexamita but it needs to be done in conjunction with cleaning up the tank. Salt can also be used to treat anchor worm (Lernaea), fish lice (Argulus), gill flukes (Dactylogyrus), skin flukes (Gyrodactylus), Epistylis, Microsporidian and Spironucleus infections.
Yeah, you got me on to the salt when my guppies weren’t doing too well, ☺️
I now use it at low concentrations routinely for the fish that can tolerate it. My tanks are also heavily planted, so I’m hesitant to use large doses.
 
Went to a chemist and bought things like Potassium Permanganate, Copper Sulphate, Methylene Blue, Formaldehyde and salt. Some of which are still used in commercial medications today. They also used things like Trichlorfon (pesticide), which has been banned for years because it does bad stuff to living things. When antibiotics became available for people, they used them on fishes too.
Wow, that’s pretty impressive, if you think about it.
 
Nope, there is no evidence that garlic works as a med especially as an anitbiotic. OOPS!
(If folks would like to see more papers on this, there are lots more available.)

Valenzuela-Gutiérrez, R., Lago-Lestón, A., Vargas-Albores, F. et al. Exploring the garlic (Allium sativum) properties for fish aquaculture. Fish Physiol Biochem 47, 1179–1198 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10695-021-00952-7

Abstract​

The aquaculture industry’s rapid growth to meet commercial demand can trigger an outbreak of infectious diseases due to high-density farming. Antibiotic overuse and misuse in fish farming and its global health consequences have led to searching for more natural alternatives such as medicinal plants. In this sense, garlic (Allium sativum) has different bioactive compounds with biological properties for animal health. Among them are the ajoene, alliin, and allicin, which confer biological properties such as growth promotion, antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, and antiparasitic. Ways to use garlic in aquaculture include oil, fresh mash, aqueous extract, and garlic powder. The powder presentation is the most used in aquaculture; it is generally applied by oral administration, adding to the feed, and the dose used ranges from 0.05 to 40 g/kg of feed. Garlic has been used in the aquaculture of different species such as rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides), catfish (Clarias gariepinus), tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata), goldfish (Carassius auratus), and barramundi (Lates calcarifer). In addition to its properties, garlic’s usage became popular, thanks to its low cost, easy incorporation into food, and little environmental impact. Therefore, its application can be an effective solution to combat diseases, improve organisms’ health using natural supplies, and as an alternative to antibiotics. This review reports and discusses plant-derived products’ beneficial properties, emphasizing garlic and its usages in fish aquaculture.



Motlagh, H.A., Safari, O., Selahvarzi, Y., Baghalian, A. and Kia, E., 2020. Non-specific immunity promotion in response to garlic extract supplemented diets in female Guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Fish & shellfish immunology, 97, pp.96-99.

Highlights​

  • • Garlic extract enhanced skin mucus immune parameters in Guppy.
  • •Growth parameters were slightly but not significantly increased in garlic-treated Guppies.
  • •Administration of 0.15 mL of garlic extract per kg feed is suggested to obtain optimal skin mucus immunity in P. reticulata.

Abstract​

In the present study, the effect of aqueous garlic (Allium sativum) extract on skin mucus immune parameters of Poecilia reticulata was evaluated. A total of 240 P. reticulate juveniles, weighing 0.013 ± 0.001 g, were randomly stocked in 12 experimental glass tanks at a density of 30 fish per tank. The fish were fed with diets supplemented with garlic extract at the concentrations of 0, 0.10, 0.15, and 0.20 ml kg−1 of diet three times a day at a ratio of 2.5% of their body weight for 80 days. Results of the study showed that, lysozyme activity increased significantly in the skin mucus of garlic-treated Guppy (P < 0.05). Values of ACH50 significantly increased (P < 0.05) in fish by increasing concentration of garlic extract from 0 to 0.15 ml kg−1 in diet. ACH50 also showed a significant declining trend (P < 0.05) by increasing concentration of garlic extract from 0.15 to 0.20 ml kg−1. Total Ig content was enhanced significantly in 0.15 and 0.20 ml kg−1 treatments as well. ALP activity significantly increased in garlic-fed treatments compared to the control. Inclusion of garlic extract in diet was found to have no significant effect on final body weight and weight gain. Results revealed that, administration of 0.15 mL of garlic extract per kg feed is suggested to obtain optimal skin mucus immunity in P. reticulata.



Motlagh, H.A. and Pourmozaffar, S., 2021. Effect of garlic extract supplementation on growth performance, nonspecific immunity, and antibacterial activity of skin mucus in goldfish, Carassius auratus. International Journal of Aquatic Biology, 9(6), pp.350-359.

Abstract

In the present study, the effects of dietary supplementation of garlic extract on growth performance, skin mucus immunological parameters and antibacterial activity of Carassius auratus were examined. Fish were stocked in 100 L glass tanks (6 fish per tank) in triplicate and fed diets containing different garlic extracts (0 (control), 5, 10, and 15 ml/kg] for eight weeks. At the end of feeding period, the fish skin mucus was collected for evaluating the components of non-specific immune system (including lysozyme, complement, total immunoglobulin, dissolved protein, and alkaline phosphatase). Additionally, antimicrobial activity of the skin mucus against Aeromonas hydrophila, Yersinia ruckeri, Micrococcus luteus, Streptococcus faecium, and S. iniae was assessed. After the feeding trial, the fish fed diets containing garlic extract showed no significant difference in growth parameters. Significantly higher skin mucus lysozyme, complement, alkaline phosphatase activities, and total immunoglobulin and dissolved protein concentration were observed in the fish fed garlic extract-supplemented diets (P<0.0001). The antimicrobial activity of the skin mucus increased along with the increase in the dietary garlic extract levels (P<0.0001). Moreover, garlic extract exhibited the antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacterial species. The highest level of dietary garlic extract (15 ml/kg) led to significantly higher inhibition zones against pathogenic bacterial species compared to the other garlic extract levels (P<0.0001). The optimal administration of garlic extract at 15 ml/kg enhance skin mucus immune parameters and antimicrobial activity in goldfish.
 
My problem with the ingredients list is its vagueness. Saying there are coffee beans is one thing - saying there caffeine is another. I know what caffeine does (not a fish med...)
As more and more jurisdictions crack down on irresponsible antibiotic use, other tested and true meds will also get caught up in the net. That will create openings for mysterious herbal medications for fish - that's a growing business.
I know people who throw pre-1970s US copper pennies into tanks to kill velvet. People use salt in wild ways, all the time. Heat is used on Ich, though I see it as a high health cost, harmful treatment. Then again, I keep rainforest fish that can die above 24-25 degrees.

An issue I've noticed is that many herbal extracts can have the desired effects on paper, but at concentrations we can't manage. Some are proven anti-bacterials but that would kill fish as well at the doses we'd need.

I think we are in a mess. We have to source healthy fish, or they will be afflicted with diseases we can't treat. But we want the cheapest fish we can get. We've never been able to create longterm hobbyist breeding networks to sidestep the farm problem. And we now want to buy our fish online, sight unseen. That last thing leaves us wide open to buying diseases.

Since antibiotics were banned where I am, we haven't lost more fish. Almost no hobbyists bothered to learn how to use them anyway. More experienced aquarists learned to quarantine, and to do regular preventative maintenance. Newer hobbyists often seemed to want alternatives to water changes and care for their fish, and that's counter-productive. So we go in circles, shooting ourselves in the feet.

I bought a batch of cardinals many weeks ago, and today, I moved them to main tank to add to my older group. I QT for at least 2 to 3 months. It's pretty effective.
 
Studies are great, I love that there is documented efficacy for garlic use! It makes me feel better for attempting it.
Unfortunately, my actual experience using garlic as a preventative/treatment did not reflect that, at all. And apparently neither did anyone else’s?
Interested to hear stories, if anyone else had marked improvement with fish health using garlic and nothing else?
 

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