Thoughts on Melafix + Pimafix

Arfgab

Recently I had a fish (BN plec) recently bought from the local chain petstore get sick. Being late on a Sunday eve and UK-based the best I could do was get a next-day order of Melafix+Pimafix. I couldn't bear the thought of adding embalming fluid to my tank (formalin, and I think you can use phenoxyethanol for the same purpose) and I couldn't get actual antibiotics.

The fish died very rapidly but I think that was inevitable. The thing I noticed was coming back shortly after the 2nd dose and finding my nerites just laying on their backs with their feet out (alive but moving very slowly when poked) and one of the only other fish in the tank on the floor barely moving. (The third fishy occupant was a crazed danio and they never stop). At this point I panicked as the kids had named the snails and were already upset over the loss of the plec. So I hid the nerites and did a 50% water change in about 10 minutes (not bad for a 44G!).
A week later and I lost the danio, eugh. To avoid total disaster I moved the nerites to keep a new batch of neons company in my QT tank and medicated with Melafix+Pimafix again. Here I noted that shortly after adding the 'fixes my platy settled down to the bottom of the tank with a wide-eyed appearance and slept. By morning, up and about, not quite normal. Day 5 of treatment and he sleeps on addition of the 'fixes in the evening and is alert and active by the morning. (Fishes irises don't open or close but can change colour!!)
Knowing Melafix has almost no appreciable antibacterial action (at the dose used) although the combination probably has some antiparasitic activity against certain species, I wondered what others think of this logic:
The 'fixes work as sedating agents and reduce the stress in the tank allowing fish to recover. It might be a reason why some fishkeepers see benefit or even synergism with other treatments.
 

ChrissFishes01

Let me preface this post by saying that I have absolutely no science to back up my opinions on these products - just personal experience, both in my tanks at home, in a retail store I worked in, and in customer's tanks who bought it and used it in said retail store.

I think they're about as useless as can be. Truly.

Herbal remedies can be helpful - in some cases, herbal treatments can be just as effective as medications, and can be gentler, too. That's not the case with these, IMO.

The only helpful thing the fixes do is suggest changing out water. Most of the things Melafix and Pimafix claim to treat can often be treated with clean water - and, I'd argue that the fixes' target audience (the Petsmart/Petco crowd) is often guilty of having rather dirty water in a lot of cases.

Perhaps they do something. I'm sure there are some benefits to having all the herbs in the tank in the correct situation. But I'd bet money that most improvements and cures caused by the fixes are usually just due to an uptick in water quality during treatment, not to mention the extra attention people give their tanks when something is sick. As soon as you see a sick fish, that tank gets way more attention that it might have otherwise, which undoubtedly improves tank husbandry.

We used to use the fixes when I first arrived at the store I worked at - as soon as we switched to using salt, we had deaths decrease by at least 50%, no exaggeration. Same thing goes for Bettafix - we had much, much better results by dosing salt directly to the cups, rather than dosing Bettafix.

Customers tend to love the hubbub behind the fixes' branding - "It's natural!" They'd say. "It smells like tea tree oil!" It must help, right? Maybe. But a lot of the customers who came in trying to treat bacterial/fungal infections also had poor tank husbandry and poor water quality, per their water tests. It's hard to discredit the fixes based on that, because in a lot of cases the issues did clear during use, but they were also doing the recommended water changes and paying more attention to their tanks.

Then, finally, there's my experience using it at home. I rarely get bacterial/fungal infections, but it does happen. I tried the fixes a handful of times, and never had much luck. Sometimes I saw moderate improvement, but that was also whenever I had let water quality slip in a tank a bit and had changed water while dosing. Other times, I saw absolutely no improvement. These more stubborn infections usually came along while the tank was in great shape, which tells me that they were probably a different bacteria/fungus than the ones that are easily treated with clean water. I switched to using salt and occasionally erythroymycin/kanamycin/Ich-X, and have had much better luck.

TL;DR - I've never done a study on it, but I doubt these products do much, if anything. If meds aren't available where you live, salt does a ton of good. Use salt.
 
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Arfgab

I've had good responses to salt too although I have a nagging feeling that topping up the salt without fully dissolving it at a water change might have finished off a recovering plec. previously. It dropped out of the bucket right on top of his driftwood, oops.
 
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pagoda

The biggest issue I have with the "fix all" stuff is that they are wholy unsuitable for labrynth fish but that so many people working in stores never tell customers that, they just sell it and then that customer ends up with a dead Gourami, Betta etc.

I am totally anti-medications for fish....good husbandry works far more on most ailments than lobbing chemical this and that into the aquarium in my personal experience.

Apart from the overuse of medications and the mistaken use of the wrong medication cos "the store person told me to do it"

People rarely read the instructions....they get told what to do by the store person and that is it. The store person is only interested in their sale commission, not the poor fish about to be bombarded with the contents of a medication cabinet.

You would not give your child or your pet dog or cat medication on the back of what the store person said, you read the instructions before buying it to make sure it will not do more harm than good....so why take the word of a store person when you have an unwell fish?

Medications should only be dispensed by a qualified person with certificates to prove they went to vet school.....not a 5 quid an hour store clerk who is untrained and unqualified.
 
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Arfgab

Like I said, I don't consider them to fix anything but if we used them as sedatives/temporary de-stressors maybe we'd use them more appropriately?

As in the day job - do the basics well first.

Natural/herbal remedies: probably do something useful but not in the way we think and with unknown risks

Pharmaceuticals: do what we think with known risks if you look hard enough but are not as effective as the marketing would have you believe
 
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Hellfishguy

Melafix will quickly kill pencilfish.
 
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James7

I went to the store yesterday and asked about salt to support a Pearl gourami who has a open sore on his side. It did have some signs of fungus which I have treated and it’s cleared up. The salt they had was called tonic salt not first aid salt so I was checking that it wasn’t Epsom salt which I already have. I explained the situation and was told that the salt wouldn’t help and pimafix would be best to clear up the fungus (even though I am already treating for it) I promptly left without buying it as I know it can cause more harm than good in labryinth fish.
 
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Wayne73

Recently I had a fish (BN plec) recently bought from the local chain petstore get sick. Being late on a Sunday eve and UK-based the best I could do was get a next-day order of Melafix+Pimafix. I couldn't bear the thought of adding embalming fluid to my tank (formalin, and I think you can use phenoxyethanol for the same purpose) and I couldn't get actual antibiotics.

The fish died very rapidly but I think that was inevitable. The thing I noticed was coming back shortly after the 2nd dose and finding my nerites just laying on their backs with their feet out (alive but moving very slowly when poked) and one of the only other fish in the tank on the floor barely moving. (The third fishy occupant was a crazed danio and they never stop). At this point I panicked as the kids had named the snails and were already upset over the loss of the plec. So I hid the nerites and did a 50% water change in about 10 minutes (not bad for a 44G!).
A week later and I lost the danio, eugh. To avoid total disaster I moved the nerites to keep a new batch of neons company in my QT tank and medicated with Melafix+Pimafix again. Here I noted that shortly after adding the 'fixes my platy settled down to the bottom of the tank with a wide-eyed appearance and slept. By morning, up and about, not quite normal. Day 5 of treatment and he sleeps on addition of the 'fixes in the evening and is alert and active by the morning. (Fishes irises don't open or close but can change colour!!)
Knowing Melafix has almost no appreciable antibacterial action (at the dose used) although the combination probably has some antiparasitic activity against certain species, I wondered what others think of this logic:
The 'fixes work as sedating agents and reduce the stress in the tank allowing fish to recover. It might be a reason why some fishkeepers see benefit or even synergism with other treatments.
I've no experience with primafix. I've used melafix in the past to medicate.But it never helped with any of the issues with mildly sick or wounded fish. I do use salt now, I was always apprehensive using salt in a planted aquarium. I dose salt 1 tablespoon per 5 gallon every 2nd w/c.I just make sure its dissolved so no salt crystals are visible. I do carry other medications for ich(white spot), fluke,parasites etc but I have my doubts about some of these.Here in uk theirs alot of aquarium meds/biotics we cant access or aren't available due to rules and regs.But in most cases you cant beat a 40/50% water change to help combat some health issues for fish.
 
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MacZ

Vendors | BSAVA Library

Comprehensive list of meds available (and sometimes not) in the UK and EU, includes US companies as well. Baseline: It inclues pretty much all internationally available companies.

Looking at it with an open eye one will find: It's often the same active ingredient(s) for the same problem. It's a good idea to read up on the most common of these ingredients, even if you don't need them at the moment or generally. One should know side effects, contra-indications and whether the med is even administered correctly to work according to the instructions. E.g. in the EU you don't get any meds that take effect in the tissue itself. They all only work superficially on the skin, mucuous skins, gills and the digestive system.
 
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Blacksheep1

That list is very interesting ! Thanks for sharing that macz.
 
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MacZ

That list is very interesting ! Thanks for sharing that macz.
You're welcome. I've posted the list between one and two dozen times by now.
 
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Blacksheep1

It’s the first time I’ve seen it but it’s certainly helpful. I see thyme oil listed as the active ingredient for one of them !
 
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MacZ

I see thyme oil listed as the active ingredient for one of them !
Which works in laboratory conditions, but has little to no effect in aquatic environments. Most bacteria strains will just shrugg it off. Also influences the gas exchange at the surface negatively.
 
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A201

"Microbe-lift Herbtana" cured my Denison Barbs of Ich. Herbtana is a botanical product. This was the first time a botanical med has ever worked for me.
Microbe-Lift also manufactures a botanical antibiotic, "Artemiss", which has numerous on-line positive reviews.
 
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Blacksheep1

Yes I was just reading a lab paper where they were testing. Seems it can also be used as an anaesthetic as well as anti microbial but like you say in an aquarium setting not a lab one it won’t help much of anything.

but as to the original thoughts I have a bottle of Melafix in the back of my cupboard and it would be much more use in the bin imo.
 
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Thunder_o_b

"Microbe-lift Herbtana" cured my Denison Barbs of Ich. Herbtana is a botanical product. This was the first time a botanical med has ever worked for me.
Microbe-Lift also manufactures a botanical antibiotic, "Artemiss", which has numerous on-line positive reviews.
These two products have always given me good results when treating infected wounds.
 
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MacZ

"Microbe-lift Herbtana" cured my Denison Barbs of Ich. Herbtana is a botanical product. This was the first time a botanical med has ever worked for me.
Microbe-Lift also manufactures a botanical antibiotic, "Artemiss", which has numerous on-line positive reviews.
It is sold here, but only as a care additive, they are not allowed to advertise it as a med. Seems they didn't get the approval for sale as a med. As per usual when they don't disclose the ingredients.
 
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Thunder_o_b

It is sold here, but only as a care additive, they are not allowed to advertise it as a med. Seems they didn't get the approval for sale as a med. As per usual when they don't disclose the ingredients.
Yeah, they are secretive with what is in it. Gives me pause, but it has worked for me. Still, I would like to know what is in it.
 
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MacZ

Oh, I wasn't even answering to your post, I saw it only after sending mine. :D

Good if it worked for you, nonetheless.

Edit: The fact it is sold tells me though, that it doesn't contain anything that needs prescription or is banned. At least.
 
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