Wojtek's Reef Aquacave Ascension Aquatics
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    Hater fwadiver's Avatar
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    Divers Guide to Fish Baths/Dips

    These seem to get asked alot so here are some general guidelines for fish dips and baths, I will evenetually do a youtube video but i dont plan on getting any new fish here in awhile.

    Formalin Bath/Dip

    Uses: treats all kind of nasties and external parasites from ich to flukes and brook

    Drawbacks: Hard to find, very health hazardous, can shorten fish lifespan, should not be used in cases where fish show bacterial infections or open sores.

    Equipment: bath container, airstone and pump and meds.

    If its your first time doing a formalin bath I would stick to a commercial product and follow their instructions. You can get 'lab grade' formalin which is typically 37% and there are instructions online on how to prepare a proper dilution if your google fu is strong. I will not go into that here because unless you know what you are doing you shouldnt be messing with the strong stuff, cancer is bad mmmkay?

    Fill dip container with saltwater from tank fish is currently in (no other meds, formalin does not mix)

    Add formalin for volume per medication instruction

    Add airstone and aerate bath, it may also be handy to have some prime or other ammonia neutralizer on hand if it is a small container and a large fish.

    Place fish in bath and time for 30 mins.

    Observe fish breathing, formalin will make it hard for 02 to stay in the water (hence the airstone)

    Place fish into quarantine at conclusion of the bath, do not reuse bath for multiple fish.

    Paraguard is a possible replacement for formalin, paraguard baths are done in the same manner, just replace formalin with paraguard!


    Edit: paraguard seems to be the recommended replacement now that formalin is getting harder to find. I have had similar success with paraguard.


    Freshwater Bath


    Uses: Can provide temporary (this is not a cure despite what you read online) relief from ich/flukes other external parasites, IE if your fish is really sick this may provide enough relief to be able to treat them. (if they cant breathe from ich in the gills a freshwater bath should relive enough of the symptom for them to survive a copper treatment)

    Drawbacks: very few, if your fish doesn't survive a freshwater bath, it probably was not going to make it anyway, I would be extra cautious dipping anything with poisoned spines.

    Equipment: Container (recommend 5 gal bucket everyone has), airstone and pump, pH buffer (i like liquid) and test kit (use a PH probe if u wanna be fancy), heater (small is fine)

    Fill your container with RO/DI water, RO only is probably ok here, you can go the tapwater route if you wanna deal with dechlorinator etc but RO/DI is cheap and plentiful.

    Add heater and match temp

    Aid airstone and aerate

    Match the PH using your buffer (i like alkaline 8.3)

    Place fish in bucket

    Leave fish in bath for 10 mins. Fish may look like its freaking out at first this is ok, it should eventually settle and lay on the bottom, i know it looks bad but this is ok too, if it is constantly freaking out and never settles down i would remove from bath.

    Move fish to QT after bath and observe, you may begin medication for whatever the freshwater treatment was used to alleviate. Do not reuse bath, create a new one for each fish. Sometimes parasites can be observed in the bottom of your bucket.
    Last edited by fwadiver; 11-26-2013 at 10:23 AM.

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