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TotallyTropical

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Hello everyone! (wow, I'm back? :oops:)

After (almost) finishing the first semester of year 2 in my aquaculture studies at Dalhousie, I've found I've learned more about finfish and shellfish than I've bargained for, and a notable subject has crossed my path while caring for my own fish that I have discussed with my friends as well.
I have always heard the old wives' tale of API's Melafix damaging labyrinth organs in bettas, gouramis, etc., but when looking up any sort of evidence on the matter (articles explaining the science behind Melafix or tea tree oil, the main ingredient of Melafix, and it's apparent "adverse effects" on bettas), all that could be found was crude oil affecting bettas' reproductive ability and the safe use of Melafix on clownfish and goldfish. Clove oil can also be found in many experiments and articles, obviously, as it is used as both an anesthetic and for euthanasia for aquarium fish and even in aquaculture, and at lethal doses lesions form on their gills and their blood coagulates; it could be assumed that the same happens at lethal doses of Melafix. Reading a post on another forum, it can be gathered that since oil and water don't mix, there is an emulsifier added to Melafix so that it can easily dissolve in tank water; because of this, it will most likely coat the gills and labyrinth organs of any inhabitants of the treated tank, and decrease it's ability to perform.

So what does all of this mean? It means that if the betta or other anabantoidei are already suffering from an illness that Melafix is already being used to treat the tank with, then making it more difficult for the fish to breathe properly will probably raise the likeliness of mortality. As well, as mentioned before, if the overdosing of clove oil can be compared to the overdosing of Melafix, then some Melafix deaths in bettas could be from overdosing, especially as, unfortunately, many bettas are kept in small tanks (>2.5gal), and recommended dosage for the product is 5mL per 10 gallons (45L). In fact, it can be assumed that Bettafix was created to remedy this issue, as the ingredients are exactly the same, but the dosage instructions are now 9 drops per pint (473 ml), 18 drops per quart (946 ml), or ½ teaspoonful (2.5 ml) per gallon (3.8 L). This pretty much makes it a watered down Melafix.

So does it "destroy" labyrinth organs? No, but it will make it a bit more difficult for the fish to breathe, and this is a temporary issue for long term gains. I can also vouch that many people, including myself and a friend who is just starting out in fish keeping, have dosed their bettas with Melafix with no ill effects. On the flip side, some people have lost their bettas from doing this. I believe that this is from overdosing or the fact that the betta was too weak already to handle the medication as mentioned above, and a good alternative is aquarium salt dips.

What do you guys think? ?

Edit: Someone who worked at API had this to say about Mela/Pima/Bettafix
 
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FishGuest5123

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I have read many posts where a member states they used Melafix on their betta. They had no knowledge that they weren’t “suppose” to until another member informs them. None of them ever reported that it killed their betta though. I use Stress Coat in my betta tanks and everyone claims it will cover the labyrinth organ too. My bettas don’t seem to know that. So I think it’s quite possible that our Melafix info could be inaccurate. :)
 

CassCats

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Ive had a loss directly after using it before on a betta, but the fish was already compromised, as you say, so it is hard to say.

All the same, maybe just stick to better alternatives.


Though it smells nice.
 

FishGuest5123

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Stress Coat contains aloe vera. There have been studies of the effects of aloe vera on certain fish species which show adverse effects. This one is a study of the effect on tilapia www.bioline.org.br/pdf?md05031
I know. No offense but we’ve been through this on a couple of occasions. I was told by an aquatic vet to stop the Prime and go with Stress Coat when my bettas kept getting fin rot. It stopped the issue and my bettas are still healthy after about 2 years of use. Very satisfied with the results.
 

Essjay

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Aloe vera at the dose in fish products is small, while the studies are usually on larger amounts. Any effect using aquarium products will be long term rather than immediate.
 

Colin_T

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Melafix, Pimafix and Betafix should only be used in aquariums with lots of aeration/ surface turbulence to prevent an oily film from developing on the surface. If there is insufficient aeration, you end up with an oil slick on the surface and that prevents oxygen and carbon dioxide from being able to move in and out of the water. It also prevents fish like Bettas and gouramis from being able to take air from the surface. If they do try, they get a mouth full of oil.

Based on my own experiences in the shop and quarantine facility, we stopped used Melafix after it killed a heap of male Betta splendens (Siamese fighting fish) that were kept in small containers without aeration or filtration.

We made up a tank of water and treated it with Melafix (Betafix and Pimafix hadn't come out yet). The treated tank was aerated for about 30 minutes and then we used that water to fill the Betta containers. A few hours later and every Betta that had the water and Melafix in their containers, was dead.

This wasn't caused by an overdose because we measured the tank volume and added the specified amount of Melafix for that volume of water. The fish died from the Melafix. Other Bettas that had not been given the treated water were all fine.

Tea tree oil, the main ingredient in Melafix is poisonous to most animals and birds, and people. You can buy it here as a mouth wash/ gargle for a sore throat but it specifies "Do not swallow or ingest. If poisoning occurs, seek medical help immediately". So if it's not safe for Australian animals or birds who live in the country and evolved with the plants, and it's not safe for people to ingest, then it's probably not safe for fish.

As TotalyTropical said, salt is a better alternative. But I don't agree with dips because you damage the fish every time you catch it and lift it out of the water. You are better off adding salt to the tank so it kills harmful pathogens in the aquarium and on all the inhabitants. :)
 

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I use Melafix and Pimafix all the time. Brought a Dwarf Gourami back from the brink of death with them. Dunno what was wrong with it, but it was solo in a hospital tank, and it lived another year or so after.

You do get a film on the surface. This is why they tell you on the bottle that you'll see a foam layer form on the surface. Thats the film foaming up. I dunno about it killing fish directly, but, I have yet to see it happen.

I'm of the school that anything in moderation can be healthy, and over done can be lethal.....from fish, to women, to whiskey, to air, to water....moderation is key.
 
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TotallyTropical

TotallyTropical

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Based on my own experiences in the shop and quarantine facility, we stopped used Melafix after it killed a heap of male Betta splendens (Siamese fighting fish) that were kept in small containers without aeration or filtration.
Small containers? Still sounds like an overdose to me. What size of container was used versus what was dosed? (The tank that the watered down dosage was made in and dosage of that as well)

Tea tree oil, the main ingredient in Melafix is poisonous to most animals and birds, and people. You can buy it here as a mouth wash/ gargle for a sore throat but it specifies "Do not swallow or ingest. If poisoning occurs, seek medical help immediately". So if it's not safe for Australian animals or birds who live in the country and evolved with the plants, and it's not safe for people to ingest, then it's probably not safe for fish.
The article about Melafix toxicity in fish that I posted (this one) actually confirmed that it is relatively safe to use with fish with "no adverse effects", though I've personally noticed that invertebrates with exposed skin (eg. gastropods, such as snails) and scaleless fish are more sensitive to the product, despite what the company claims.


As TotalyTropical said, salt is a better alternative. But I don't agree with dips because you damage the fish every time you catch it and lift it out of the water. You are better off adding salt to the tank so it kills harmful pathogens in the aquarium and on all the inhabitants.
Although this is true, leaving salt in the aquarium could be harmful to the other inhabitants as well. I use salt baths as I usually only have one inhabitant at a time (a betta!). Salt doesn't actually kill pathogens either; it promotes the production of the slime coat on the fish, allowing the old one to be shed and to promote the immune system so that the disease can be fought off better. I usually follow these procedures for a salt bath (adjusted from bettasplendid Weebly):
  • Fill a gallon container very fully with clean, treated water. Make sure the water is the same temperature as the water the fish came from in its tank.
  • Add the salt (Epsom, or aquarium) per recommendation and stir it until it is fully dissolved.
  • Get a second container with 1/4 salted water like the first tank, and the rest (3/4) with tank water (this is the reviving station).
  • Carefully get the fish from the first tank and put it into the reviving station to adjust; make sure that the fish does not pass out. You can tell if a fish has conked out if it is no longer breathing or if it lists to the side and becomes still. It may knock out due to the sudden change in salinity of the water. If the fish passes out or becomes extremely stressed remove it and place it back into the tank.
  • If the fish is not super stressed and does not pass out, place it in the dip. Be very attentive during the recommended time in the dip as the fish may jump due to discomfort or stress. Pay close attention to how long the fish has been in the dip and do not exceed the time.
  • Once the fish is finished, put it into the reviving station to adjust back to more normal water parameters. Then, net it back into the tank.

Edit: almost forgot!
@TotalyTropical that is SO COOL that you are doing your studies in aquaculture!!! Please come by every now and then and educate us!!!!
Sure will! It's just Canadian aquaculture stuff, so y'know, salmon farming and such haha! Definitely getting an earful about oysters too...
Lots of it is recap though, which makes me happy!
 

Essjay

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The linked article just tested goldfish and clownfish.




There was no way to know if it was Melafix, Pimafix or the combination which killed my pencilfish.

Back 10 or more years ago, I had a honey gourami which was not well, but I didn't know why. The Pimafix instructions say that it can be dose in conjunction with Melafix, so I dosed them both at the correct dosage, then went to watch a 45 minute TV programme. When it finished, I checked on the tank and found all but one of the Beckford's pencilfish dead - the last one was thrashing around and died a few minutes later.
Google finds several hits where other people had the same problem with pencilfish so I would advise not to use Melafix or Pimafix if there are pencilfish in the tank. Better safe than sorry.
 
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TotallyTropical

TotallyTropical

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The linked article just tested goldfish and clownfish.
I agree the testing is rather slim; I'm actually hoping to go into honors at my university and do a thesis on this with anabantoids.
Some fish may be more susceptible to the medication than others as well, or could have been fighting a pathogen already but have not yet shown symptoms.
I don't understand why API suggests mixing Melafix with Pimafix when they also say to use Pimafix for fungal infections, unless it's as a precaution to prevent fungal infections, although that's a bit overkill and can cause more harm than good. Not only that, but the sheer concentration of the two after dosing both might damage the gills of the fish, or other sensitive organs.
Then again, this is just my opinion.
 

Fishiemang

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I have combined both many times with no ill effects. I tend to slightly under-dose a bit, meaning instead of 1ml per gallon, maybe .75/.8ml per gallon, but even still, never seen a harmful effect from it. Just bubbles and healed fish.
 

PheonixKingZ

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I have only used Melifix once on a Betta, but he died. But, he did have other complications, e.i. Fin rot, fungus, etc. He could have died from the Melifix or from the diseases, I have no real way of telling.

That’s why I don’t personally use Melifix.

I have been using aloe Vera water conditioner for over 4 months now, no ill effect on any and all of my fish.
 

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