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View Full Version : Melaluca/tea tree oil to treat disease and infections?



jillire
12-13-2009, 3:24 PM
My daughters betta has some white spots on his tail and Im not sure what they are. He is keeping his fins tight to his body and spends most of his time hiding in a castle. Im going to move him to an empty, smaller tank(fish bowl actually) so we can watch him better since his tank has lots of stuff in it that is also probably contaminated and he is harder to see in there. I will clean out his regular tank before moving him back into it and then will treat him in there when he is moved back. While looking around on the internet today to see if I could identify what he has, I came across a few articles that talk about using a product called Bettafix that contains tea tree oil/melaluca. I live in the middle of nowhere and have no access to a petstore of any sort, but I do have melaluca that I use on my family all the time. Can I use this for the betta and if so, what do I need to do(how many drops per gallon and anything else I need to know)? I can get Bettafix on Wednesday, but not any sooner.

Dr. Awkward
12-13-2009, 3:58 PM
Bettafix and all those melaluca oil remedies are garbage. You need to keep your fish in his tank to prevent him from getting even more stressed out and treat the entire tank with real medicine. Pull the castle out if you don't want him to hide. You can compare his white spots to pictures you find on the internet and make an educated guess at what illness he has, then buy the correct medication.

jillire
12-13-2009, 4:26 PM
Bettafix and all those melaluca oil remedies are garbage. You need to keep your fish in his tank to prevent him from getting even more stressed out and treat the entire tank with real medicine. Pull the castle out if you don't want him to hide. You can compare his white spots to pictures you find on the internet and make an educated guess at what illness he has, then buy the correct medication.
If those are garbage, what should I use? The ones I have seen are Melafix and Pimafix. I have compared his spots but still cant tell what it is for sure. Im thinking it might be fungus because he doesnt look like he was sprinkled with salt and thats what most ich descriptions say. The white spots arent anywhere on his body that I can see, just fins. I pulled out the castle and plants and did a water change but he is still in his tank.

Dr. Awkward
12-13-2009, 4:31 PM
Melafix and Pimafix are also garbage. The company that makes them, API, doesn't even know what kind of bacteria their products kill or feed. They have stopped doing research on it because the products sell well.

Do the fins look like they're falling apart with the white stuff around the ragged edges or does it look more like there are chucks of white stuff hooked on the fins?

jillire
12-13-2009, 4:51 PM
Chunks of white at the base of the fins, just where they attach to the body. I havent seen any white further out, but his fins are clamped so there might be and I just cant see it.

Is it possible whatever he has came from the java fern or moss I recently added?

Dr. Awkward
12-13-2009, 5:03 PM
I don't think the new plants would have made him sick. Usually live plants only help your water quality.

Try doing a search for Flexibacter columnaris pictures. It's a disease that looks a lot like fungus but is actually a gram negative bacterial infection. Bettas are particularly susceptible to it.

Reframer
12-13-2009, 5:26 PM
Ich is tiny white dots, like salt specs, otherwise it is not ich. Keep him in his tank.
Could be columnaris, finrot, or fungus. Post a pic to be sure. Either way you would have to do daily water changes of 50% or more to get water quality supreme and that should help. If it is bacterial then you will need some antibiotics. Fresh water is your best bet at his point, you can order meds online if you need to, you should have some in the house on hand.

jillire
12-13-2009, 6:42 PM
I don't think the new plants would have made him sick. Usually live plants only help your water quality.

Try doing a search for Flexibacter columnaris pictures. It's a disease that looks a lot like fungus but is actually a gram negative bacterial infection. Bettas are particularly susceptible to it.

That looks closer than anything else Ive seen so far. I dont have access to anything to treat it tonight, but am going out of town tomorrow and will see if the little pet store there or the Walmart has something to treat it. If not, I will be going to a city on Wednesday and can try Petco and Petsmart. Kanaplex, is best right? And if I cant find it, Maracyn 2? What should I do in the mean time?

Dr. Awkward
12-13-2009, 7:00 PM
Keep the water as clean as you can. I'd do 50% water changes each day until you can get the meds. Yes, both of those medications you mentioned are good. If you have any other tanks make sure not to share equipment (nets, siphon, etc). You can accidentally transfer the bacteria into other tanks and infect all of your fish.

DrNo
12-13-2009, 10:31 PM
Suggest you use neither on your betta; Anabanatoids may have issues with both. This issue is hotly debated, but I wouldn't take the chance.

Post a pic. Could be ich, bacterial, etc. In the interim, concentrate on providing very clean water (frequent water changes) and keeping water parameters stable (matched temp. and conditoned).

nc0gnet0
12-13-2009, 11:01 PM
Tricide-neo dip, 4 minutes and watch for signs of stress. Follow up with some medicated food that has tetracycline or make your own. Water changes Water changes water changes. Diseases such as this are almost always caused by bad water quality, overfeeding or a combination of both.

Primafix melafix and bettafix are all snake oil and utterly useless in treating anything. At best they may aid in healing, but not at treating the disease itself.

Anna Robinson
12-21-2009, 12:35 PM
Melafix and Pimafix actually spent years being tested on fish under controlled condiitons. I have spoken to the scientists who developed them. They are considerably more effective than not treating, and are not simply an aid to healing. They even have some advantages over antibiotics (aside from the issue of harming the biological filtration, there is better wound healing and much lower incidence of secondary infections when these treatments are used). I have tried to ask the scientists which is better - Melafix or antibiotics - but they won't be drawn, because they say there are too many variables.

It is true to say that API do not know which bacteria/fungi these treatments work on, because they have not been evaluated this way. They were tested on living fish with infections, not on bacteria/fungi in petri dishes. The active ingredients in Melaleuca or Pimenta have not all been identified by science, and it is impossible to know exactly how they work. However, evidence from API's tests suggests that, as well as anti-bacterial or anti-fungal action, these plant extracts may have anti-inflammatory and immunostimulant activity as well.

However, you must never try to make up your own treatments using, for example, Tea Tree oil from the chemist. Firstly, this is not the same type of Tea Tree oil as is in Melafix/Bettafix (different species of Melaleuca), and secondly, without an emulsifier it will not mix with the water properly. Not only will this mean it is ineffective, it could actually be harmful, by forming a film over the water.

mel_20_20
12-21-2009, 9:35 PM
Good info, Anna. I have used it to help an Oto that had his fins seriously nipped. His caudal fin was nipped off right up next to the body, his dorsal fin was pretty badly nipped, and his face was cut up by a Macrobrachium sp. shrimp.

I dosed the tank every day with Melafix, because of it's reputed healing qualities and mild antibacterial action. He healed up nicely. I did huge daily water changes, too, so I'm not sure if it was just keeping his water pristine, or that and the addition of Melafix. I know it does have antibacterial action because it did a number on my biofilter.

I had to closely monitor the tank and continue big daily water changes until the beneficial bacteria caught up.

SubRosa
12-21-2009, 10:02 PM
Honey made from the Tea Tree is currently being used in human wound care. Two years ago I barked my shin right to the bone. At first I was able to treat it myself and it started healing but after two weeks a serious infection set in and the wound wouldn't close. I was given a product called MediHoney which is a standard calcium alginate matrix impregnated with Tea Tree honey. In short order the infection cleared and the wound completely healed. Saying the plant has no medicinal vlue is sheer ignorance. Here's a pic of the wound right before treatment started. I don't have one of it healed but scarring is minimal.

Anna Robinson
12-26-2009, 11:06 AM
Eww, Rosa. I'm glad you got better but that looks awful.

jillire
12-26-2009, 2:17 PM
I absolutely believe it works in humans, for a variety of things. My daughter has eczema as well as type 1 diabetes and using steroid creams to stop outbreaks has horrible effects on her blood sugar. We use melaluca on it instead and it clears it up fast and without the problems with her blood sugar. We put it on cuts and scrapes instead of neosporin too and it seems to help them heal faster.

THE V
12-26-2009, 3:39 PM
After reading uncountable debates on the subject I've come to a few conclusions.

First the placebo effect also effects how we perceive events. A fish is sick we drop in a "medication" and the fish gets better. Would the fish have healed up in time without any changes? We will never know.

Second antibacterial means the medication kills bacteria. Cut and dry definition no ambiguity about it. "Mildly antibiotic" although commonly said does not happen. It either kills them or doesn't.

Now we have found many things that do not kill the bacteria but inhibits it's growth in some manner. Good examples of this is nutmeg and cloves. I used to run tests on these spices when I worked as a microbiologist and there we had to dilute the sample to about the 1:1000 in order to get the bacteria to grow. There usually was about 20,000 bacteria per gram of the spice but they we inhibited from growing at lower dilutions.

In a living organism if the bacteria are inhibited from growing the immune system can catch up and destroy them. So just slowing them down enough is sometimes as effective as antibiotics (if the immune system is somewhat healthy).

Third as this is a living system there are literally thousands of variables in the host/pathogen relationship that can determine who wins. Antibiotics have a very high success rate because they actively target and destroy the pathogen. Other treatments may work but it's a larger gamble with your fish's life.

BTW for your infected shin SubRosa (http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/member.php?u=98606), my stomach almost turned over at the site of that one. Nasty. Honey is has bacterial inhibiting characteristics (by making the pathogen literally dry out) and the tea tree oil also has been shown to be antibiotic by this mechanism. "... disrupt the permeability barrier of cell membrane structures and the accompanying loss of chemiosmotic control is the most likely source of its lethal action at minimum inhibitory levels."

But please leave the nasty pictures off . Some of us like to eat while perusing this site.

Cox, S.D. et al., 2000. The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential oil of <i>Melaleuca alternifolia</i> (tea tree oil). Journal of Applied Microbiology, 88(1), 170-175.

CatsMeowww
12-30-2009, 4:35 PM
But please leave the nasty pictures off . Some of us like to eat while perusing this site.

:lol: This is true. Great info by the way!

mel_20_20
12-30-2009, 4:41 PM
Sure looks like that leg did hurt a bunch. Sorry you had to go through that.
What the heck did you bark your shin on?