HELP! Fish-safe flea control?!

JimSinclair

I have dogs, cats, and fish.

And now, fleas. Lots and lots and lots of fleas. I think this is the worst flea infestation I've ever seen.

I used topical monthly flea treatments at the beginning of July: Frontline for the dogs, Revolution for the cats. I found lots of dead fleas when I washed all the bedding. But there don't seem to be any fewer live fleas on the animals.

Also, as I've written about at length in the freshwater aquarium forum, I fear it may have killed some of my fish in a tank that cats like to perch on top of. As advised by a vet, I kept the cats closed in a room away from the aquariums for the first 24 hours after applying the product. But now I wonder, even though the product is no longer being shed on the cats' fur which might end up in a fish tank, if dead fleas that have ingested the product are falling off the cats into the fish tank and being eaten by the fish? Has anyone else ever had something like this occur?

I consulted with our veterinarian about the dogs and cats still being frantic from fleas, and about fleas getting onto me as well. The vet advised giving Capstar to the dogs and cats to kill fleas immediately, to give them relief while waiting for the topical products to interrupt their breeding cycle.

I bought $60 worth of Capstar tablets to treat all the mammals. No noticeable effect from that either. My Airedale mix has had four Capstar tablets (on four different days, not all at once!), plus Benadryl, and is still chewing and scratching herself incessantly.

I've got six fish tanks plus a 400+ gallon basement pond. That is way too many fish and too much equipment to move out of the house for a day to allow fogging.

Additionally, I'm pretty sure that no matter what I do to fleas inside the house, more fleas are constantly coming in from the backyard every time the dogs go out. I have examined my smooth haired chihuahua immediately before letting him outside and found few or no fleas, then checked him again immediately when he comes back inside and found them crawling all over him.

I really do not want to poison my entire yard with something that will indiscriminately kill harmless and even beneficial bugs along with fleas. And obviously I don't want to use anything that could harm my dogs or, if tracked into the house, harm my cats or my fish.

What can I use--in the house, outside around the house, and/or on the dogs and cats--that will kill or repel fleas but will not harm the mammals or the fish?
 

BigManAquatics

There was one spray i used several years ago that worked great fpr the carpets and furniture. Kept my cats out of the room for several hours since we were at work. If you sealed up your tanks good, it could probably work pretty well. As far as frontline type stuff, haven't seen any ill effects on my fish from it, and i do find cat fur in my tanks often. But being indoor only cats, highly doubtful we have many fleas at all in the first place.
 
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JimSinclair

There was one spray i used several years ago that worked great fpr the carpets and furniture. Kept my cats out of the room for several hours since we were at work. If you sealed up your tanks good, it could probably work pretty well. As far as frontline type stuff, haven't seen any ill effects on my fish from it, and i do find cat fur in my tanks often. But being indoor only cats, highly doubtful we have many fleas at all in the first place.
My cats are indoor only too. But my dogs go outside to potty. A friend suggested I walk the dogs in the front yard on leashes instead of letting them go in the fenced backyard where they're picking up fleas. I pointed out that I don't think the fleas are staying inside the fence. Between other people's outdoor cats, squirrels, rabbits one reportedly living under my front porch, according to the guy who mows my lawn), and even the occasional raccoon, there are many more potential flea hosts outside my backyard fence than within it.

Do you remember the name of the spray you used? Although I don't think I could seal up the pond well enough for any fish-toxic spray to be safe. :-(

I found a web site that says lemon water can be sprayed around on furniture, bedding, laundry, even people and pets, to repel fleas. Not a commercial product with oils or anything added, just cut-up lemons boiled and steeped in water, and the water put in a spray bottle and sprayed.

Obviously that is not enough all by itself to stop this kind of severe infestation. But I'm desperate for anything that will help even partially to reduce the misery around here.

Only I read that citrus is toxic to cats.

Is that only if ingested, or would spraying lemon water on bedding and clothing and dogs and myself, but not directly on the cats, be harmful?
 
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SixThreeOh

I had fleas at my apartment. I have 3 cats, all indoor. We tried all sorts of treatments but the two most effective ones were cheap like $5 collars from Walmart and putting down a mix of baking soda and salt on the carpets, then vacuuming it up a few hours later.
 
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