Aquarium Pharmaceuticals has devoted numerous years in the pursuit
of naturally occurring compounds that promotes fish health or combat
fish diseases. The first in what I hope is a long list of nature based
medications is a new product called Melafix™.
Paraphrased from "Uniview" (published by the University of Western
Australia). May 1994 issue- "melafix™ is derived from the oil of
the Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). The only place M. alternifolia
occurs naturaly 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 products - shampoos, hair
conditioners, soap, cream, gel, lotions, even toothpaste. It is also
included in liniments, foot balms, insect repelents 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 is also 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
I had received from the manufacturer a number of containers of Melafix™
in which to try. 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 manufacturers
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/dead tissue.
Conclusion: 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.□