Vitamins & Herbal Remedies
What It Treats – Used to boost a fish’s immune system, supplement dietary deficiencies, promote healing and improve overall health.
How To Treat – The following are examples of vitamin supplements in which fish food can be soaked: Selcon, Zoecon, Vita-chem, Seachem Vitality, Brightwell Aquatics Vitamarin-M & AminOmega, Aquaforest Fish V.
DIY options include: Vitamins A, C, E; folic acid; amino acids; Omega 3 & 6 fish oil; Krill oil; Beta-glucans. Since all of these are “reef safe” substances, you can just saturate food with them or use Seachem Focus to bind them to the food. Also, probiotics are very important for your fish’s digestive system. Probiotic Marine Formula and LRS Foods are two options for providing probiotics.
I once saw a forum thread (with pictures) of a Purple Tang with a bad case of HLLE, where the condition was completely reversed by using Selcon
on alternating days; in addition to feeding nori. The value of feeding nori cannot be overstated, as it contains high levels of iodine and fiber. In addition, the use of vitamins and nori is key to alleviating symptoms of viruses in fish, such as Lymphocystis
. All of the above will aid in boosting your fishes’ immune systems. Soaking food in garlic extract may or may not be useful, except that it does seem to stimulate appetite in new fish.
The “pea trick” is something I want to briefly touch upon. A fish with constipation may look similar to one with a swim bladder disorder.
The latter is difficult to treat, so always try the “pea trick” before considering a venting procedure. Just feed 1 or 2 peeled boiled green peas (same kind you & I eat) for a few days. It is thought that the fiber contained in the peas help to “push things out.”
There are a slew of herbal remedies on the market and some hobbyists believe that these will “cure” their fish or tank of some disease. Although they are rarely capable of 100% eradication, these remedies may help manage the symptoms of a disease – sometimes indefinitely. Most herbal remedies accomplish this by boosting a fish’s immune system and thickening the slime coat to withstand symptoms. It is thought if a fish can “live with” a pathogen long enough, it’s immune system will eventually acquire immunity or resistance. Whether the immunity/resistance is permanent or only temporary is a matter of debate. Also, these “immune” fish are oftentimes still asymptomatic carriers, capable of transmitting disease to non-immune fish.
Employing this strategy sometimes works, sometimes not; or sometimes it works for a while and then stops (and the fish dies.) It’s largely dependent upon the overall health of the fish (and the tank in general) as well as the severity of the disease being “managed.” Utilizing a UV sterilizer, diatom filter, ozone, oxydator or some other tool to dilute the number of free swimmers in the water column helps as well. Examples of herbal remedies commonly available include:
- For parasites/worms: Herbtana, Fritz Aquatics Parashield, Kick-Ich
- For bacterial diseases: Artemiss, MelaFix, PimaFix
- Dips & baths: Seachem ParaGuard, Ruby Reef Hydroplex, Blue Life Instant Quarantine
Pros – Many of the above products are considered reef safe. Vitamins & Herbal Remedies can improve the overall health of your fish, and sometimes (but not always) will buy you time until a proper treatment (using medication) can be done.
Cons/Side Effects – May lure a hobbyist into a false sense of security, which can delay more proven/reliable treatment options.