All Betta Owners Read! Melafix Alert!

chickadee

Member
Edit: Moderator's Note-Adding a link to an updated discussion on this topic. Anyone interested in more information regarding it, please go here: Update Regarding Labyrinth Fish and Melafix
-End Moderator's Note-

MELAFIX ALERT!!!!* NOT SAFE FOR BETTAS!!!!* WILL KILL YOUR FISH OF OVERDOSE!

I just received a report from Butterfly by e-mail that Melafix is dangerously toxic to Bettas so I beg of you that any of you who are now treating your Bettas with Melafix do an immediate 90% water change and watch for signs of floating, acting unconcious, or dopey.* This has caused deaths in Bettas or other Labyrinth fishes.* Melafix is a great medication for all fishes having nothing but gill breathing systems, but for some reason causes a death by overdosage at normal levels when given to fish with Labyrinth organs.* Please begin immediately to use Bettafix in its place for all tanks of under 10 gallons and while I would cut the dosage considerably it is said that Melafix is still safe for 10 gallons and above.* We are talking perhaps no more than 1/4 dosage strength and then constant supervision of fish for adverse effects.

I do want to assure you all that this information came to me only moments ago and I got it to you as soon as I could.* I am off to remove the second tank of water from my Betta, Marty who has been acting in the above manner while I have been dosing him on Melafix the last few days.* I put him on a carbon filter and came to warn you all.* Now excuse me I must go and see to him.

Rose
 

atmmachine816

Member
I'm so sorry Rose. Hope he will be alright. If it's all labyrinth fish would'nt gouramis be at risk also?
 
  • Thread Starter

chickadee

Member
Yes Gouramis are at risk also as they are also Labyrinth fish.

Rose
 

Stradius011

Member
*Groan* I just added Melafix before I read this. Thanks for warning us Chickadee. I read the same thing at ultimatebettas.com but I didn't pay attention to it.
 

0morrokh

Member
Wow that's really good to know. Hopefully Marty and Stradius's fish and all other Bettas will be ok. Let us know how the Bettas are doing. And just to clarify...is Melafix 100% safe for non-labyrinth fish in tanks of 10 or more gallons? Also where can you get Bettafix? (am I correct to assume this is just the Betta version os Melafix?) And also (sorry about all the questions), is Primafix safe for Bettas?

Now, the science geek in me kicks in...how come Melafix adversely affects labyrinth fish? And what in Bettafix makes it ok?
 
  • Thread Starter

chickadee

Member
No Bettafix is evidently made of a different base ingredient than Melafix and is not the same chemical make-up at all. There is a chemical in Melafix that disturbs the ability of the Labyrinth organ of Anabantids (Labyrinth fishes) to process the air that they need to breathe. They are still able to use their gills but they cannot use the Labyrinth organ and can effect drown from the inability to use regular air. It is imperitive that they be protected from overdose of this chemical.

The article stated that fish that do not have the Labyrinth organ and have gill breathing systems only are perfectly safe to use Melafix on to treat diseases such as fin rot.

I am afraid I would also be hesitant to use Pimafix although it is not mentioned. The two meds (Melafix and Pimafix) are made to be used together and as such it would be hard for me to justify using Pimafix if it is unsafe to use Melafix. Now let me stress that this too applies only to Anabantids (those with Labyrinth organs).

This is not to say that they are not superb products for the fish that they are safe for. They are and have saved the fins of many little fish. It is simply not going to be safe to use them on the fish specified.

Just in case some of you may have some of the other fish involved here is the complete list of the fish types I could find that are involved:

Perch
Combtail
Ctenopia or Ctenopoma
Betta
Gourami
Paradisefish

Any form of the above fish should not receive Melafix. (and I would not suggest Pimafix by association)

Rose
 

nmwierman1977

Member
Thank you so much for the warning. Mr Red has been on this medication for a month now. And I actually have been noticing him swaying side to side lately and acting not quite himself in the past few days. As soon as I get home I will change his water out and put the bettafix in there. I just hope it's not too late. He's been on it for so long. Natalie
 
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chickadee

Member
After rereading the article about Melafix I find that the same chemical IS in Bettafix but at a MUCH smaller dosage and at a concentration that is specifically tested on Labyrinth fishes. Sorry for the misinformation. This has shaken me a bit too.

Rose
 

Butterfly

Member
The ingredient that causes a problem is Melaleuca, it is Tea Tree Oil.
Carol
 
  • Thread Starter

chickadee

Member
Thank you for seeing that we got the information. It seems that we have had some bettas that were starting to have some slight to moderate problems.

Rose
 

Isabella

Member
This is a scary piece of information (especially for those who have bettas or gouramis and have treated or are treating them with Melafix). Rose and Carol, thank you for keeping us all informed.
 

0morrokh

Member
chickadee said:
After rereading the article about Melafix I find that the same chemical IS in Bettafix but at a MUCH smaller dosage and at a concentration that is specifically tested on Labyrinth fishes. Sorry for the misinformation. This has shaken me a bit too.

Rose
Where's the article?  I'd like to read it myself (not cause I don't trust you or something, I'm just curious now) EDIT: never mind I read the article from the post in general discussion

Well, hopefully all the Bettas who have been on Melafix will recover ok.  Keep us updated.
 

Stradius011

Member
chickadee said:
After rereading the article about Melafix I find that the same chemical IS in Bettafix but at a MUCH smaller dosage and at a concentration that is specifically tested on Labyrinth fishes.  Sorry for the misinformation.  This has shaken me a bit too.

Rose
So is BettaFix dangerous too?
 

0morrokh

Member
No I think Melafix just has a concentration of the chemical that is too high for Bettas but Bettafix is lower so it is safe for Bettas.
 

rip_van_winkle

Member
That's really weird though, because when I bought my betta, the worker there said that she uses melafix with all of her new bettas - and shes a betta breader! So, I trusted her word and got some for my betta to reduce stress (And heal his fins, they were a bit ragged.) He was fine on it. Could it be that some bettas have the genes to stand up to it and some don't? This is weird.
~Hannah
 

0morrokh

Member
I have heard of both Bettas who have no reaction to the med and Bettas who are killed by it. Some people use it successfully with Bettas but cut the dose way down so that the tree tea oil is in the same amount as it is with a dose of Bettafix. However, since it have killed Bettas I would never risk using any amount with any of my Bettas. It is way too risky.
 
  • Thread Starter

chickadee

Member
I also used Melafix on my bettas and was using it on one of most darling bettas when I received this article and he died as a result of the exposure to it. It was not only a long death but a particularly unpleasant one. If I had been able to find Clove Oil to mix with Vodka he would have been euthanized. I would Never use it on another fish nor will I ever recommend it being used on another fish that has a Labyrinth Organ. It cannot be diluted to mimic Bettafix as that dilutes the rest of the active ingredients to the point of being ineffective. I do not believe I would even recommend Bettafix as I do not know whether the Tea Tree Oil may have a cumulative effect that is unknown as yet.

There are just other medications that can be used in its place and if the choice is there why not be safe with one of the safe ones? I believe it is not worth the risk. I realize this forum is for debates but this topic is not really something that debate should be too open to as there have been many fish die of use of this medication and to recommend its use is just not right. (even diluted) Use it on other fish if you wish as there is nothing wrong with that, but any tank that contains a Labyrinth Organ fish should never have it added to.

Rose
 

Eskielvr

Member
I just treated my Betta for possible fin rot using Bettafix. I didn't have enough so I was only able to treat it for 4 days. I did a 3 gallon water change (5 gallon tank) to get rid of the left over and to take out some of the Betta SPA, since I found out that was for conditioning for breeding and it turned the water really dark. He's doing much better now since I treated him.
 

rip_van_winkle

Member
Yea, I certainly will not be useing Melafix on him now that I know the dangers. When I used it with my betta I didn't water it down and he's fine. Weird. Oh! *smacks forehead* there's carbon in my filter! No wonder it didn't hurt him! Well, thank goodness it didn't. I'll have to remember to take the carbon out and use a regular filter cartrige when i'm treating with meds.
~Hannah
 

nmwierman1977

Member
Good thing you forgot, you saved your Beta's life. I too have Lost a Betta due to Melafix. He happened to die a few days after Marty died Roses Betta). We had both been treating them on itand my Betta Mr. Red was on it for a month before I found out the danger's of it. Natalie
 

Eskielvr

Member
He was on it for a month??? It only says to treat up to 7 days and then stop.
 

nmwierman1977

Member
It could've actually been 2 weeks that he was in, but it seemed longer. I lose track of time. I had him on the melafix by itself for a week and then the melafix/pimafix combo another week. It say's on the bottle to treat for 7 days, but it also say's if needed to you can use it longer then that. It's a natural medication, so it's safe to use if needed longer. Now that I think about it I had only been using it for 2 weeks. He was on Bettafix before that for a week, so I think that's why I said about a month because it's pretty much the same kind of med only at a weaker dosage. Natalie
 

captain_bilbo

Member
Wow... That's awful (mental note, blah blah). I hope your fish is okay!
 

nmwierman1977

Member
No, he passed away a few month's after we found that melafix and Bettafix were dangerous for them. He was taken off of it as soon as we found out, but by then it was pretty much too late. He died a few days after another member's died from the same med. He's missed very much, but he's in a better place now. Natalie
 

Fishface

Member
  "It cannot be diluted to mimic Bettafix as that dilutes the rest of the active ingredients to the point of being ineffective."


There is only one active ingredient in melafix. I use it with my bettas and they are all perfectly fine, and pimafix too. I have a 20 gal, though, so maybe that's it. Regardless, I am now off to buy bettafix. : )

I'm so sorry about your betta.

Ashley
 

Eskielvr

Member
Me too, and all the Betta breeders on another forum use it and have never had any problems, either. As far as it killing bettas if overdosed, anything can kill bettas, or any fish for that matter, if overdosed. If you go by the instructions on the bottle it's fine. If you have a tank smaller than 1 gallon, Bettafix is better because you use so little, but if you use bettafix on a 5 gallon tank you'll go through the bottle in 3-4 days. So, for larger tanks, Melafix would be more economical.

Like the above post, I have also used Melafix/bettafix and Pimafix, and yes, salt, and none of them have caused problems at all. In fact, they were the only meds that have worked! Again, overdosing with anything could kill your fish. It also doesn't make sense to market a product specifically towards Bettas if it did kill them. The company would go under if everyone's fish died from using their product, or there would be a recall on it or something. All I know is that these products have saved my Betta's life!
 

Fishface

Member
Okay. I just totally changed my mind.


Chickadee, I read the articles.

Because one of my female bettas was a wound/fungal infection, I treated her with melafix and pimafix.

Tonight, she started suffocating and trying to jump out of the water, and JUST died.

Because those meds are said to affect LABYRINTH fish, it must affect the labyrinth organ, thereby suffocating them. That is surely what her death looked like.

two words. never again.

:-[
 

PrayforMojo

Member
the oils may act to disable the organ. AS a muscle relaxant they may lose their ability to use the organ. Tea tree oil, clove oil, bay tree oil, all probably not good for bettas. Thank you for the warning I would have never thought about it.
mojo
 

SombreDesir

Member
thank you for the warning this will be helpful in future dosage to treat my little fluffy
 

Amorinthe

Member
Again, with another LFS rant. After reading this, I was in a very new, fancy, store by my place looking for tiny plants for the front of my tank, thought i'd pick up a new test kit, when I heard the LFS clerk recommending Melafix to a betta owner.

I tried to be very polite and kind and tipped her and the clerk off to your information. His response, "well, i've been using it for months", I said, "on betta's?" to which he said, "no, but I'm sure it'd be fine."

Right. Great. I hope that gal did not take that ding dongs word. He even affirmed he had read the warnings online as well, but still insisted it'd be fine.

???
 
  • Thread Starter

chickadee

Member
I have not posted this topic to cause so much problem with debate. I have been so surprised at the number of people who have read the articles and yet still insist on trying it out on their fish just to prove that the articles are not accurate. Those of us who did lose fish purely by innocent actions before knowing of the problems will never forget the agony they went through and it is so sad that a "supposed" expert (which is sadly what most buyers in the petstores see the salesclerks as) would recommend this product as AFTER reading the article. It is nothing but pure capitalism in trying to sell something. It is really terrible when there are safe products that he could just as easily have recommended to her and he was too stupid or lazy to do so.

Had I been there I would probably have found another store that security would have been tempted to escort me out of. >

Rose
 

Phloxface

Member
When I went to Big Al's to get stronger meds for Lava last week the sale guy suggested I use Melafix. I said "No, he's a Betta and they cannot have Melafix". He said "Oh, it's a Betta, okay" I don't know if he really believed that Melafix was bad for labrynth fish but at least he didn't argue with me. I explained to him that Bettas, Gouramis and so on should not use Melafix and he said "Oh, okay, yeah". Hopefully if another Betta or GouramI parent asks for suggestions for meds he remembers that. Besides that Melafix is not a very strong med and I would not risk my fish's life on it even if it was safe. The few days wasted on a weak ineffective medication could mean death to the fish.

I too do not understand why people here  or elsewhere insist on tempting fate and using Melafix in spite of people posting their own tragic experiences with it. It's not like it's the only choice they have. There are lots of other meds that are much stronger and safer.

I have the same problem with people who insist they can make an all female Betta tank work in spite of all the experiences to the contrary. They'd rather believe teenagers on other sites who set up a female Betta tank and post that everyone gets along (yeah for the first couple days maybe...) and then never follow up weeks later to say how many fish have been killed. I guess they feel too foolish but they are not doing any of the other female Bettas out there who'll suffer the same fate any favors.
 
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