This article examines the uses and effectiveness of Melafix and Pimafix made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals has devoted numerous years to the pursuit of naturally occurring compounds that promote fish health or combat fish disease. The first two entries in what I hope is a long list of naturally derived medications are Melafix and Pimafix.
Paraphrased from the May 1994 issue of Uniview (published by the University of Western Australia):
“Melafix is derived from the oil of the Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). The only place M. alternifolia occurs naturally is in a relatively small area of northern New South Wales, Australia. Due to the increased interest in using the extract from this tree, there are already a number of plantations producing about 100 tons of tea tree oil annually. This production is sold to companies that include it in a wide range of personal hygiene products, including hair products, soaps, creams, gels, lotions, and even toothpaste. It is also included in liniments, foot balms, insect repellents and germicides”. It is this last usage that was of interest to the developer of Melafix.
University of Western Australia microbiologist Dr. Tom Riley, and PhD. student Christina Carson have found that the oil will kill many bacteria present in a number of common infections, including some of the staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria. Dr. Riley also found that it is useful for minor cuts and abrasions.
What the researchers for Aquarium Pharmaceuticals have found is that it is effective in promoting the healing of minor injuries of fish. It has also proven effective in the control of secondary bacterial infections and subsequent fungal infections.
To quote the manual that accompanies Melafix, “Aquarium Pharmaceuticals investigated hundreds of botanical extracts for use against fish diseases. Over six years of research and development by AP resulted in the formulation of Melafix”.
I had received from the manufacturer a number of containers of Melafix. This was in addition to containers received from Jeff Magnus for product testing and review. I procured a few sick fish from some of the local pet stores and treated them according to the manufacturer’s directions.
While it is not effective against external parasites of fish, I have found that it is quite effective against minor fungal infections. Bacterial infections were also controlled using the prescribed dosage.
Why use Melafix? In the transport of fish, no matter how careful we fishkeepers are, fish can become injured. This occurs when we use nets, chase fish through an aquarium, and during the interaction between fish while in transit. These slight abrasions and damaged fins provide an entry point for bacteria and fungus to invade our fish. The effects of these bacterial infections can cause eroding fins, localized ulcers of the skin, and mouth “fungus”. True fungus is a secondary invader and attacks damaged and dead tissue.
Both of these type of infections can progress rapidly, so rapid treatment is a must. To this end, Melafix is the current answer. It is not the silver bullet to answer all disease situations, but it is a bullet in the arsenal.
- Treats fungal infections
- Treats both internal and external bacterial infections
- Pimafix has been formulated to work in combination with Melafix to enhance effectiveness against fish disease
Many of today’s current medications have become less effective due to resistant strains of pathogens. In response to this problem, Aquarium Pharmaceuticals investigated hundreds of botanical extracts for use against fish diseases. Many years of research and development resulted in the formulation of Pimafix.
University studies and laboratory tests showed that Pimafix is an effective antifungal and antibacterial remedy for both freshwater and marine fish. This evidence led to the granting of a United States Patent. International patents are pending.
Why aquarium fish succumb to fungal and bacterial infections: Disease-causing organisms are present in all aquarium and pond environments. Any time a physical abrasion damages fish tissue, fungal and bacterial pathogens seize the opportunity to infect the fish. Shipping, netting and poor water quality disrupts a fish’s immune system, lowering any resistance to infection. Skin and fin abrasions are an unavoidable part of fish handling. Therefore, the potential for infection exists when new fish arrive to the hatchery, fish wholesaler, retailer, and the home aquarium or pond.
Fungal infections may attack fish that have been damaged by rough handling, shipping, exposure to ammonia or nitrite, improper netting and malnutrition. Fungal pathogens use digestive enzymes to feed on fish tissue. These enzymes damage adjacent healthy tissue, allowing the disease to spread. Fungal infections are usually seen as white cottony patches on a fish’s body and fins. Stressed or wounded fish are the most susceptible to fungal outbreaks.
Bacterial infections are also common, further weakening the fish and allowing the fungal infection to spread more rapidly. Left untreated, fish may die from disease and stress. Treatment should be administered as soon as possible to ensure quick recovery.
Why select Pimafix? Pimafix is a natural botanical remedy made from West Indian Bay oil (Pimenta racemosa), providing unique active compounds that harmoniously work together to attack fish diseases. The active compounds found in Pimenta racemosa not only provide many different modes of action, but also eliminate the possibility of the development of resistant strains of disease-causing organisms.
Until now, most antifungal medications resulted in unsightly water discoloration throughout the course of therapy. Pimafix does not have this disadvantage, providing better viewing of fish during treatment. Furthermore, treating with Pimafix will not harm the biological filter in freshwater or saltwater aquariums or ponds. Pimafix has no effect on pH, and is harmless to aquatic plants.
In extreme cases of especially stubborn infections, Pimafix has been designed to work in tandem with Melafix. Using Pimafix and Melafix together provides the added benefit of quick tissue regeneration and wound healing.
Pimafix Directions for Use:
- Shake well before each use.
- For best results remove activated carbon during treatment.
- As a disease treatment: Add 1 tsp for every 10 gallons (40L) of aquarium water.
- Repeat dose daily for 7 days. Treatment may be continued, if necessary.
- * Whenever treating with any medication, we suggest performing a 25-50% water change every three days depending on the organic load in water.
Note: Some people have found that the use of Melafix and Pimafix has a negative impact on water oxygenation, and it is therefore recommended to add additional aeration to the system in the form of airstones or powerheads.