I'm just curious about this, I notice a few people jump to medicating before they get an answer as to what the cause might actually be. I got to thinking, is that bad? Like if it's a general medication will it hurt the fish if he/she isn't really sick with something??
9/10 times not a good idea. Medications suck oxygen out of the water, alter the pH and can be very stressful for the fish. For instance copper, while effective as a parasite treatment, only does so because it is toxic... just not as much for fish as it is to the parasite. But you are still poisoning your fish to a small degree.
Also another danger is that once you start treating your fish for something that may not be the cause you may not be able to use the right medication in conjunction with it later, ex:
Your fish appears to be sick with a bacterial illness so you give him antibiotics. Later you find out what he actually needs is coppersafe. Coppersafe cannot be used with the antibiotics, but you can't discontinue the antibiotics without inviting resistant bacteria. So you have no choice but to finish the antibiotics as your fish gets sicker, then treat with coppersafe afterwards.
The above is not actually a real scenario but you get the drift.
Furthermore treating with a possibly incorrect med is a waste of money and time. Espescially if your fish has something bacterial that could turn lethal overnight.
Another real bad one I see is people who jump into treatment with bettafix, which is a glorified 'Purell' and does absolutely nothing except keep wounds from infection. So people treating ich, bacterial diseases, parasites etc are wasting their time.
That being said if you are experienced enough to narrow what could be affecting your fish down to bacterial, parasitic, fungal, etc, medicating without knowing could safe your fish's life in a time-sensitive situation, espescially if he looks like he's on his way out in a hurry. If you can narrow it down to parasitic, fungal, bacterial, you can choose a good broad-spectrum treatment with some success. For instance, coppersafe will kill most external parasites, levamisole will kill most internal parasites, tri-sulpha will treat most bacterial diseases. So while its not ideal to not know before you medicate sometimes its worth the gamble.
Just an afterthought, I usually find salt & clean water a good, conservative stop-gap while searching for a non-urgent diagnosis.
I agree with Kelly. Some fish are really sensitive to medication, so it's better to use it as a last result. I always use aquarium salt and to make sure I have them in very clean water and that usually works. A lot of people jump right into medication without even knowing if they really have that disease or not and it could end up harming your fish than doing good.
ok I wanted to make sure so I don't jump without looking and end up killing my fish. It seems he is sick because he didnt eat this morning and is kinda laying around, but I posted this problem on another thread.
I noticed you hit on the external but what about internal medications?? Can those be harmful? Because my fish seems a little out of it, didnt eat this morning and has just been laying around all day. Moves and swims every now and then. One time I fed him, he ate one pellet then spat another one out that had white stuff on it.
So true on what all the posters have stated, one other problem that can be caused in over use of medication is the creation of super bugs or resistant pathogens/parasite from over use of medication or using for the wrong reason, especially the wrong dose and duration...same as with people and antibiotic...think of it like MRSA...super bugs are created by us.......
Antibiotic are the last thing you want to use on your fish especially if you are not sure what is wrong...sometimes the best, safest, cheapest and most effective treatment is "clean water" a simple water change in most cases will fix the problem...think of it like being in a smoke filled room....get the smoke out and you can breath easier and feel better....water is the fishes environment.... bad water, like with us and bad air.... we feel bad and get sick, a fish with poor water quality can't breath, live, thrive and their immunity is compromised, clean water and they have some defense to help themselves....water change IMHO is the number one medication for our wet pet......
Same goes with aquarium salt, over use, long term use, wrong dosage can do more harm than good.....resistant pathogens/parasite can occur, kidney failure is one of the side effect (bloat, dropsy) of long term salt use in some species of aquatic life...years ago salt was what we used because we had little knowledge of the science, now with improved filtration and understanding of the science of water and its effect on fish.....long term salt is no longer needed in some species and in fact can do more harm than good.......
Freshwater fish need fresh water to thrive not just survive....to be a keeper of fish you must first be a keeper of water.....and understand the science behind it....it is easier than you may think and you know more than you give yourself credit for...you just don't know that you know it....lol.....
Don't give up...sometimes you just get bad/sick fish to start.......we can help you be successful.........one of the most important things....clean water from regular water changes and a good varied diet...you can do it....please don't give up.....you will be missing out on one cool hobby........