The Use of Hydrogen Peroxide in the Treatment of Ectoparasites in Fresh Water Aquarium Fish
Sarah L. Carson1; Roy P.E. Yanong2; Eric W.
The safety and efficacy of hydrogen peroxide (HP) for the treatment of
ectoparasites has long been debated. Today, HP is used primarily in fish food, especially in
colder climates. HP has also been commonly used as an antifungal agent for eggs. However, the
true practicality of using this abundant and cheap product has escaped both pet fish farmers and
hobbyists alike. While our goal was to begin addressing questions of efficacy and safety for the
ornamental fish producers in Florida, our results should provide some useful information
extrapolated to the hobby aquarist.
In our study, both toxicity and efficacy tests were employed. Species used
were neon tetras and cherry and lemon barbs. Various test lengths and HP concentrations were
investigated for both of these studies. Toxicity tests were also run on tetra eggs and fry.
Water quality parameters (including pH, temperature, ammonia levels, etc.) were randomly
analyzed before and after the test procedures to insure continuity. HP levels were measured at
the beginning and end of the experiment using titration methods to ensure constant levels. All
tests in this study were replicated for completeness.
Efficacy tests were run using tetra with verified trichodina infestations.
Before any tests were run, a random sampling of fish was taken from several tanks and skin
scrapings, and gill and fin clips done. All fish showed trichodina infestations of varying
degrees (1 to 5 organisms per high power field). After the tests were run, another random
sampling of fish was taken from several tanks and necropsies performed. No fish exhibited any
signs of live trichodina.
While our results are still preliminary and further research is currently
being conducted, we are still able to tentatively conclude that at low doses, HP successfully
manages trichodina infestations without severe detriment to the fish. In the future we hope to
study the possibility of long-term bath treatments with HP as well as applying our results to
other ornamental fish species.