New Tetra Lifeguard medication effective or not?

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AC Members
Mar 1, 2011
Absolutely not

We had a very large and healthy betta, who came down with an odd infection which we still don't entirely understand. He started out with a white lump a bit larger than his eye, which looked a lot like a pimple. Although still active and hungry, it turned into a couple white lumps on his head and at base of the dorsal fin. First thought was ich, but having seen that before I don't think thats it. Got a bit freaky when they started to ooze a stringlike material, and we tried lifeguard, intending to do the full 5 day treat.

Well, after 4 days we discontinued treatment as he went from active to barely breathing, and right now he's sitting in his log gasping for breath, less and less frequently he surfaces for air. We did some crash water changes which helped a bit, but it seems like the lifeguard took all the life out of him, and the white spots are worse than ever.

So it was very ineffective for the problem, and I belive it may have hurt the fish enough to kill him soon. I really wish we had tried something else, as he seemed perfectly happy with the white spots for over a week, and the lifeguard seemed to do more harm than good. Currently waiting to see if he makes it back from the brink so we can try an actual antibiotic, but not holding out much hope, and sure do miss the active friendly fish we had before using lifeguard.


Registered Member
Jun 18, 2011
I have started to treat with Tetra Lifeguard for my Cardinal Tetras after noticing Ich spots on one of the fish. Another reason why I chose this product is that it claims to attack a broad range of external fish diseases including bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic and to be extremely effective against fungus and Ick.

Tetra Lifeguard whose active ingredient is 1-chloro-2,2,5,5-tetramethyl-4-imidazolidinone says it is a broad-spectrum non-antibiotic agent that treats the clinical signs of disease at their earliest stages in freshwater fish. Added to your aquarium water, the powerful oxidizing action of HaloShield attacks ad destroys disease-causing microorganisms.

Furthermore it says you don't have to be a fish expert to use Lifeguard. It claims to be an all-in-one treatment. Each pre-measured dose treats infectious ailments such as fungus, ick, red streaks, milky or shedding slime, flukes, bacterial gill disease, mouth and fin rot, clamped or torn fins and ulcers. May be used as a preventive when adding new fish.

I purchased 11 of these fish as of last Saturday, June 18, 2011, and 4 of them have died.

The last one that died looked horrible. He had a very flat stomach and when you looked at his underside, his gills were dark red. Also I noticed his mouth always sort of open and looked very much like a protruding jaw. I did not notice Ich spots on the body of this fish, but he could barely swim.

I have not noticed Ich spots on any of the fish since the death of the 4 fish but that might just mean that the parasite is in the cyst stage or free swimming stage now, or hiding in the gills of the fish. Actually I only noticed Ick spots on one of the fish and since I don't see them any more, I am not sure if that fish was one of the ones that died.

Since the sales person at Petco said that the expensive Tetra Lifeguard tablets were the best I decided to try the product. The box says "Extremely effective against fungus and Ick" It has been 2 days that I have used it, and although it says that it is not suitable for scaleless fish, invertebrates, or newly set up tanks, the Corydoras Catfish seems to be doing fine so far. Two Cardinal Tetras have died since I started using the product but they might have been too sick already to save.

It also says if overdose occurs, add carbon or dechorinator as directed for immediate neutralization.

I do not want to try the salt approach because I heard plants, Cardinal Tetras and the Corydoras Catfish are sensitive to salt. I did raise the temperature of the tank to 86 degrees Farenheit to speed up the Ich cycle and possibly kill the Ich since some say that it cannot survive at that temperature.


Has anyone used this product successfully to eradicate Ich from their aquarium and cure any fish showing white spots?

Did you raise your aquarium temperature?

Did any of your fish die after starting treatment?

I am also curious why the suggested treatment time is just 5 days before adding the carbon back on the 6th day with at 25% water change when it might take 10 to 14 days to eradicate Ich completely.

Wouldn't it be best to keep treating the tank for an additional 5 days to be sure, or would this additional concentration of medication build up without water changes become toxic to the fish?

Any advice or comments would be appreciated.


Registered Member
Jul 11, 2021
I am trying this on my platinum
betta. After reading the comments I realize I'm going about this wrong. This my second day. I started the tabs yesterday. When I got home I opened the package and saw the tab was fairly large so I immediately dropped a tab in the tank. I was expecting an alkali seltzer like reaction. Instead it broke off in clumps. I was so afraid my betta was going to ingest it and die. I googled reviews and read some fish have eat in it and died. So today I took about a fourth cup of water from the aquarium, dropped in a tab and waited till it dissolved completely then added water back to tank.
Hope this helps as tetra doesnt tell you this on the box. If the fish mistake this for food and eat a good amount they will die.