Melafix

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Lady Monster

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My daughter is completely heart broken. We had a molly who was very ill with what I believe was dropsy. She was noticeably sick for a couple weeks. I originally thought it was swim bladder and was trying to feed shelled peas for the first 2 weeks with no luck. So I bought melafix because it's the only medicine Wal-Mart sells. I set up a 10 gallon sick tank, and I put the molly in a breeder net to make it easier for her to get the surface (she was sideways/upside down and her spine sort of bent). She was in the tank maybe 10 mins and she stopped breathing. I figured she was too sick for treatment and it was her time to go.

Well, our betta had a small rip in his fin. He's otherwise healthy. I usually treat rips or fin rot just by doing 50% water changes ever other day until I see noticeable regrowth. But since I just bought the melafix I figured I would try it for his fin. Well I put him in the sick tank, 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons. 10 mins later....... He's dead too!

My daughter got him as a bday present from her grandma back in May, both fish I treated with melafix DIED after 10 mins of exposure. only 1 of the fish was actually I'll. Im pretty upset myself because we have been keeping fish since her bday and haven't had a death yet. Everyone had recommended melafix to me for fin rot but I didn't want use chemicals unless clean water wasn't working. Melafix is natural, according the bottle, why would a healthy fish die within mins of being in the medicine?

Now I have to go buy a replacement betta. She knew molly died, but I didn't tell her that betta died too. She was already so sad, now idk that I even want to quarantine the new fish with this stuff.
 

Aquaphobia

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I am so sorry this happened to you. Your poor daughter!

Unfortunately, Melafix is more properly referred to as snake oil IMHO. It does little and in the case of labyrinth fishes like Bettas it can be very dangerous because it affects their ability to breathe.

The only thing I've ever heard of it being proven to work on, and only in one study so take this with a grain of salt, is in preventing infection from starting in a minor surface wound.

Though I don't normally recommend salt as a treatment for freshwater fish, if Melafix is your only option and you need to treat, then use salt.

My condolences x
 
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Lady Monster

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I bought a new betta for her But they didn't have any veil tail that were the right color. So I bought a dragon scale, 12.99 for a fish!! I'm sure she will notice, she's 7 years old but not stupid lol. :'(
 

purslanegarden

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Sorry to hear about the fish. I have used Melafix for fin rot. Whether the fish healed on their own or not, I'm not sure. I just know that after using Melafix for the specified 1 week, the fish and their fins were better. It also claims to be able to cure other things, too, but how well it does that, maybe that's where some controversy is about it.

Note that for bettas, there is Bettafix, which is a reduced concentration of Melafix. Maybe the betta overdosed on Melafix, which you had probaby put in sufficiently for a 10-gallon tank, but that might be too much for a betta. We won't be sure but just know that there is a Bettafix product specifically because Melafix was too strong for bettas.

When you set up the hospital tank, did you dechlorinate the water? The struggle of the fish seems to have increased a lot after moving into the hospital tank.

There is also the case of having a cycled filter on the hospital tank, but at least I don't think the results would have been seen so quickly.
 
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Lady Monster

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Our water isn't treated with chlorine. Our city has the 3rd cleanest water in the world but they don't use chlorine to treat it, or whatever makes some water smell like sulfer. And I dosed the tank right. It killed 2 fish within minutes of being in the medicine but only 1 fish was actually sick. The betta shouldn't have died I should have just done what I always do and did a few water changes a week until the rip was healed.

Neither fish was in the tank with the other. I've read A LOT about melafix wiping out entire tanks of fish. It's unfortunate were you using API brand or another? Mine wasn't API and I'm not sure what company made it.

Oh.... Btw I do use the dechoronator anyways. Just to be safe.
 

2006fuzz

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I've never had problems with Melafix or Bettafix killing any fish, but I always use a halfdose when treating my betta's for finrot. I also tend to add about 5 drops as a preventative when I change their water, again with no negative results.
 

NavigatorBlack

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I don't think Melafix would hurt a fish - I suspect it was a wild degree of coincidence. What you describe with the molly was a final stage disease.
I also don't think Melafix will help - it is almost homeopathic in its active ingredient. Snake oil? Not even. I think it is a mild antibacterial that smells good - made for the fishkeeper not to feel helpless.
 

Aquaphobia

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Definition of snake oil from the Merriam-Webster medical dictionary:

"any of various substances or mixtures sold (as by a traveling medicine show) as medicine usually without having had the claims of their medical worth or properties substantiated by scientific tests"

Homeopathic "medicine" is snake oil as well.
 

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Melafix is nothing more than tea tree oil. Oil collects on the surface of the water. this prevents gas exchange from happening (oxygenation of the water) and in the case of bettas, who actually breathe at the surface of the water and not through gills, prevents them from breathing.

I have long used fish death as a means to teach my kids that death happens, that it isnt scary, and that it is a natural part of life. they know fish, people, animals, plants, it all dies eventually. has saved a bunch of heart ache on their part to be enlightened to the facts of life and death.

Let her be sad, but use this as a teaching moment. it can also be a teaching moment as far as oils and waters not completely mixing, water chemistry, etc. as you said, 7 not stupid lol. my young children LOVE learning new things, and its really amazing what they can and will absorb given the right teaching moments
 

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Melafix has an active ingredient tested to have antibacterial properties. It is an ingredient scientifically proven to work. I looked up the papers on it. Only it is proven to work in massive concentrations far far beyond what is in Melafix - it would probably also kill fish if used in an effective antibacterial dose. The watered down version we buy might do something, but not enough for me to pay for it or use it.
It isn't homeopathy, because there is a tiny bit of proven medicine in it. It is so weak I doubt it matters. It capitalizes on the current fear of chemicals, even though it is a chemical that is not natural in aquatic environments. Marketing - you've got to love it.
 

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I rarely use chemicals. i use marine salt for my Saltwater tanks (not a chemical, but i have no ocean to pull water from nearby...if i did, you can bet i would do that instead) and if im in a hurry/forget to stand water, i use a dechlor. i replenish minerals as needed only. i dont use RO/DI water as that only leads to having to add all the minerals BACK to the water....that you just removed from the water. doesnt compute to me to do it that way lol.

i just dislike adding man made chemicals to my tanks unless it is an absolute necessity.
 

NavigatorBlack

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jessakitten said:
i just dislike adding man made chemicals to my tanks unless it is an absolute necessity.
I will happily use a synthesized chemical if it works, but I don't like buying them when they don't.
When we are new to the hobby, we tend to have barely functional tanks and to buy the cheapest fish from the worst possible sources. It's a shame, because at a time when we are least equipped to deal with problems, we often buy them.
I was a pet shop kid, hanging around a neighbourhood store, and the elderly man who ran the store gave me some useful training. The rule was to study all fish in store tanks over several days. Go back. read sources on common fish diseases, with pictures. be able to identify them all. Go back again. Look. If you see a disease, run away. Buy only on the 3rd visit. Every day after school I would drop in and he'd send me along his tanks to look for common diseases. I realize now he was 80 and having vision problems. He was training the curious fishnerd kid and using my eyes. He'd close any tank that was suspect - no sales til it was sorted out.
Imagine that at a Pet-Chain store.
If we have adequate sized tanks, freshwater fish we know about (each species is different, with different needs) and disease prevention - it's a win. It takes time to learn that - time and motivation. You can get yourself into a situation where disease is almost unknown. But the early learning curve is where the industry sells remedies, and they have to be questioned.
 

jessakitten

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i agree. i will use them, but i dont like it. and i have to KNOW thats what i need first. no broadcast treatment for me lol.

i know i was looking at a product the other day that people rave about- couldnt determine what it even was to begin with...then the claims of what it treated didnt make sense based on what the product was supposed to be. i know how virus/bacteria/parasites work and the product claimed to do things that wasnt possible. i shrugged and set it down, made a mental note to avoid that.

you know what? he might have been using your eyes, but it was a great experience that most never get. my first venture into actual fish keeping at age 10 was due to a small fish tank that was purchased for my room. my mother put all kinds of fish in a little 1.5 gallon tank, with no filter, only a light and bubbler. i wanted to know WHY things died. she had all these chemicals lined up on my dresser- more than i would ever need.

learning moments- it only takes one to spark an intense desire for knowledge.
 
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