Help Me Put Together and Emergency Aquarium Kit


Hello! Because of my past experiences with last minute and unexpected illnesses and problems, I am looking to put together an emergency kit for aquariums! Obviously I'm going to need extra filters, air pumps, heaters and whatnot just in case, however I also want to put together a large variety of medication to cover just about everything ("betta" safe than sorry!) I was wondering what fish medication you guys would recommend.

Thanks for your input!

86 ssinit

I don’t recommend meds. What works best is clean water. Change your water weekly and your fish will be healthy. When buying always buy strong looking fish. Never buy the hiding fish or sick looking fish. Never think your going to save a fish. Start strong to give the fish its best chance.

As for an emergency kit. A 5g-15g tank makes a great qt/hospital tank. Have salt ready and a hob filter that will work for the tank. Keep extra media in your main tank to instant cycle the qt tank. Qt all new fish. Keep them in qt for at least 2-4 weeks. Let them get strong and healthy before entering your new tank.


I personally think Methelyene Blue and 3% Hydrogen Peroxide is good to have on hand for fungal or bacterial infections, I don't think anything anti parasitic is good to keep laying around, you'll know when you need it, but those two have uses for injury healing and just good to have as long as you aren't putting it int heir eyes, or gills undiluted of course. I also like to have neosporin on hand, it's water resistant so will stay on the fish and a triple antibiotic containing neomycin, it works great to treat surface bacterial infection and doesn't absorb into the fish and non toxic otherwise when used to treat wounds.
Not everyone is going to agree with my less than orthodox methods of treating fish skin issues, but it works for me, the metheleye blue for Fungus, The 3% Hydrogen peroxide for bacterial with a layer of neosporin in either case to ward off any secondary infections, done with cotton swabs to avoid head contact and getting it in eyes or gills, I dont' mess with the bottled remedies the "fixes" they work on very specific things only, because they are tree oils and stuff and it's hit or miss if it works, , this stuff works on me, my dog or cat, and it works on fish also. multi purposing, the methelyene blue less useful for myself or the dog or cat of course. but methelyene blue and hydrogen peroxide can be use to make a bucket dip to sanitize, but not sterilize nets and equipment.
Sterilizing you'd need to go further, but it's a useful dip station spot to avoid moving bacteria, algae, or fungus from one tank to another.

regular water changes, Quarantining new fish, not cross contaminating equipment, are all beneficial practices that will go a long way to avoid a worse situation later on.

I also like a vitamin supplement, as a food and tank additive to make sure the fish get everything they need, a lot like plants, if something is missing, they can't thrive. Same rules apply to fish shrimp or snails. they won't do well long term given generic catch all foods from off the shelf, they subsist, they don't thrive, and supplementing with live foods works, but hit or miss if they are getting enough. I've recently tried Boyd Enterprises Vita-Chem, and I'm liking the results on my angels that are slow growers/ seem to be immuno compromised to some extent, I'm seeing results with the overall condition of the fish with 1 drop per gallon a week added to the tank, and a couple drops added to their food on one feeding a day, and I'm not doing any live or freeze dried foods. just basic flakes, but they are regrowing fin damage and pectoral breaks and their colors look real good to boot.
I like it and see a positive effect and will likely continue doing it.

I'm not a fan of live foods and all that stuff. I'm becoming a believer in vitamin supplementation though to make sure they have everything they need.

I don't use aquarium salt or any salts, I'm not sure on that and can't speak for or against it, I do understand it will help with osmotic regulation and help with dehydration, I've never needed to use it though, what I use regularly either works, or the fish wasn't really savable to begin with and declines rapidly. Which brings me to my next point, being observant, and looking for minor issues before they become major issues. There's still going to be something with new stock quarantined that just rips through an individual, or the whole quarantine tank, treating just isn't going to work if that happens and it's fast progressing. but by QT and not cross contaminating, this keeps it isolated and away from the rest of your fish.

I have a wet dry filter on my tank, I keep sponge filter sponges down in there and out of sight if I need a quick cycled filter. Not everyone has this capability, but if you can get a couple small filters for your QT tank size, you can run a small HOB for it in parallel on your established tank, and it will be ready, and switch out for another one and by the time QT is over the next filter is ready and you can break down and sanitize the QT filter and be ready to go again, rotating filters so one can establish and be maintained for the QT tank until you need it.
I really suggest QT for 4-6 weeks, to grow the fish some, strengthen them, make sure there isn't any issue that pops up over time before introducing them to your regular stock fish. Best shot of not introducing something to your main tank.

and yeah, most things there's time to treat. Some things blast right through and even if you knew exactly what it was and you had specialized meds on hand, it likely wouldn't work in time.


last minute and unexpected illnesses and problems
I maintain a 20 gallon holding/quarantine tank. It's in the utility room (other side of the wall from the 150 gallon aquarium show tank in my office). I seeded it using show tank gravel and moved a sponge filter from the show tank. In addition, there's a heater, light strip on a timer, air stone, and a pH probe. No CO2.

Obviously, everything goes into it first before graduating to the show tank: plants, drift wood, and of course fish.

I don't dose meds in the show tank. If needed, the sick fish goes to the quarantine tank for treatment. I don't want to place the show tank fish at risk for one sick fish.

When I have plants in the holding tank, which is most of the time, I add fertilizer. Maybe someday I'll have a CO2 source for the holding tank. Not a priority.

Two automatic feeders with batteries are on standby.

And the worst problem... if the show tank springs a leak, I pick up the fish from the floor and those still in the show tank and transfer them to the holding tank. Yes, been there, done that.

Other equipment working in the show tank is a battery backup with surge protector. This way, the "utilities" (CO2, UV sterilizer, lights, pH monitor, fertilizer pumps, 407 and HOB) stay on schedule. I don't have a battery backup or a surge protector for the holding tank and probably never will.

At the extreme end you might consider solar panels or a natural gas generator. Just a thought.


I agree with @jdr3366 I've always removed sick fish from the display to either another tank or even a bucket, I've even stole my babys bath more than once because I didn't have anything spare.

Once there separated I would do a huge 80%+ water change on the display tank and slowly refill it. As for the hospital tank just daily water changes unless its ich and then I'd raise the temp to the max the fish could handle.

All fish go into the qt'd new or sick, for a month before going in the display tank. I learned the hard way to also qt plants and inverts for 2 weeks as well before adding them too.


This still isn't a good pic, but because they are so small for babies it's the best I can do to hank you for your help! I don't mind them as long as they are not a species that will kill my mystery if they were assassin snails I would have moved them all the the other tank.


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86 ssinit

That’s a bladder snail. If your feeding to much your have lots of them.


That’s a bladder snail. If your feeding to much your have lots of them.
So they are a sign that I'm overfeeding?

86 ssinit

Not yet. That one probably came in on a plant. If you start seeing many more your over feeding. There numbers grow to the amount of food available.

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