Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2017


Friday, October 3, 2014


It is time to write about the medicines that I have in my "M" cabinet. First off, I have to admit that I do not have enough experience in diagnosing nor recommending any medications for treating a sick goldfish. Likely, my ranchu have not given me much chance (and I hope never) to have hands on experience in treating them. I can only write about what I have researched and thought will be important to have, when the need comes. 

I trust that the best strategy in treating diseases is prevention. The first thing I did, as a preventative measure, I bought a UV Sterilizer. If chosen and set up properly, it can be an effective way to sterilize  pond water from many free floating pathogens found among bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi. At the same time it has no negative effect on nitrifying bacteria, as they are not free floating. 

Another very important preventive step is a quarantine. To avoid troubles down the road, when you get a new fish, NEVER introduce it to your established stock without proper quarantine. It is a MUST TO rule to follow. Since I raise my ranchu indoors, I always take an extra step in sterilizing anything that will go into my ranchu pond and have been in contact with soil or any other body of water, or have been used in another aquarium. For this purpose I often use Clorox.

As far as "first aid kit" medicines that I have collected, here is the list (not necessarily in the order of importance) :
  • aquarium salt for anti-bacterial and anti-fungal bath and as a tonic
  • hydrogen peroxide 3%oxidizing agent, topical antiseptic for fungal or bacterial skin infections
  • potassium permanganate, oxidizing agent for antiseptic bath
  • methylene blue for anti-fungal bath and as topical anti-fungal, detoxicant for ammonia, nitrite, and cyanide poisoning
  • praziquantel (PraziPro), anti-parasitic medicine, optional
  • medicated food with metronidazole (Anti-Protozoan Flake), anti-protozoan, optional
  • anti-bacterial medicines and medicated foods

Among anti-bacterial and anti-fungal medicated foods I still have Medi-Gold (no longer available) containing broad spectrum antibiotic sulfadimethoxine and ormetoprim sulfa, and Antibiotic Flake with kanamycin, which fights primarily gram-negative bacteria. I also purchased Elbagin, a yellow powder with bactericidal, fungicidal and mild sedative property, containing sodium nifurstyrenate. Elbagin is not readily available in the US, but is widely used in Asia, especially Japan to treat bacterial problems in fish and as an infection preventative and calming agent during transporting.

When ready to stock up on fish medicines, it is important to note their expiration dates and buy the medicines in small quantities, just enough for the first round of treatment. If the treatment is needed it is very important to make sure that you also provide an adequate environment for your fish with all water parameters in check, and all stressors eliminated or greatly reduced. Medicating your fish won't help in many cases if the overall water quality is not addressed and improved. The steps in treating any sick fish would be, first to a analyze the current water quality and improve it if necessary, then diagnose and evaluate the sick fish condition, then chose a proper treatment. 

Two more cents of wisdom - be reluctant and prudent with using any medications, especially antibiotics and have a solid reason when you decide to start a treatment. Learn to diagnose and to choose the right meds and their application. There are tons of information online to guide through this. One of the great sources is Goldfish Keepers Forum, a must site to join and learn!