Is it worth having an aquarium first aid kit?

A seemingly simple question suggests two types of answers. Some hobbyists believe that they do not need it because they do not buy new fish, they do not introduce any other organisms into the tank, they do not bring new plants and they do not feed with live food.

So why use drugs logically when the aquarium is well isolated from other potentially infected fish? On the other hand, another group of fish keepers believes that the aquarium first aid kit should be a permanent element of additional equipment, regardless of how you run your own tank. Let’s see who is right in this case.

Of course, the people who are supporters of the first aid kit are right, because not all diseases are associated with infections that come from outside. Many pathogens accompany fish on a daily basis in their normal existence, but they become active only when the natural resistance of the fish decreases. Sometimes it may even be a random factor. For example – it can happen when the heater in the tank fails over the weekend, and there is no spare equipment in this case. Then the water temperature in the aquarium may drop beyond the optimal values. This can lead to overcooling of the fish. Then their natural immunity is lowered, which may cause saprolegniasis (winter fungus) in them. In such a situation, it may turn out that a phenomenon completely independent on the aquarium owner may cause a disease condition in the tank. Of course, after the weekend, you can buy a new heater, but you may also need medicine for lesions. There are many diseases associated with lowering immunity or improper sanitary conditions in the tank, and even with improper breeding conditions.

A similar situation occurs not only in fish but in other living organisms, including humans. If on a cold and rainy autumn day we suddenly start coughing, it will probably be a cold (or corona in our times hehe), which is associated with external conditions (increased humidity, cold) and with a decrease in the level of immunity, which often occurs in people in the autumn and winter. An untreated cold can lead to bronchitis or even pneumonia, which is already very dangerous to human health. A similar mechanism occurs in fish. That is why it is worth having a first aid kit, thanks to which we can react by trying to fight disease symptoms or even eliminate a specific infection.

What should be included in the first aid kit?

Of course, completing the first aid kit depends on the fish keeper himself. However, it seems reasonable to complete the cheapest, proven and effective remedies that are available over the counter in pharmacies or pet stores. For example salt has little healing properties that we mentioned in the article about AQUARIUM SALT which many aquascapers are afraid to use. In the case of delicate skin changes, it can sometimes produce quite good results. Salt is used for short-term baths (5/10/15/20/30/40 minutes). As a rule, it is not recommended that a therapeutic bath with the addition of salt last longer than 60 minutes. Remember to use only non-iodized salt. It is worth having both rock and sea salt. Each of them has a slightly different effect. When administered alternately during the treatment, they complement each other well. However, potassium permanganate and iodine are very useful for disinfection. In addition, methyl blue and malachite green have very good healing properties against a fairly wide spectrum of diseases. Both preparations (most often distinguished by aquarists by color) can be purchased in pet and aquarium stores at a fairly affordable price. Depending on the company that produces these preparations, they have different proper names. Ethacridine lactate (trade name Rivanol) works perfectly as a remedy for cuts, bites, abrasions, etc. It is worth having it in your first aid kit. There are also calming preparations with the addition of herbs or other plants, such as aloe vera. These types of preparations are useful for the acclimatization of newly acquired fish or other animals as well as those that have suffered wounds as a result of fighting with each other. The first aid kit can also be equipped with a vitamin preparation in the form of a complex (one preparation). In addition to conventional medications, treatment supplies may also be necessary. Sometimes it will be necessary to remove a piece of food from the fish’s mouth that has become jammed, or it will be necessary to remove the splinter from its body. Small precision tweezers, tiny precision scissors, magnifying glass, wooden toothpicks, gauze pads and cotton pads are the items that will make this type of treatment easier for us. A small plastic tray used for treatments is very convenient to use. A plastic stand for a pot is perfect for this purpose, and it can be purchased in any DIY or gardening store.


To sum up, the first aid kit is something that every hobbyist should have. Like cats and dogs, fish are animals and deserve treatment if necessary.  Unfortunately there are not many vet doctors who specialize in fish so this should be a double motivation for you to set up an Aquarium First Aid Kit! 

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