The Use of Hydrogen Peroxide in the Treatment of Ectoparasites in Fresh Water Aquarium Fish
IAAAM Archive
Sarah L. Carson1; Roy P.E. Yanong2; Eric W. Curtis2
1Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Stillwater, OK; 2Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, University of Florida, Ruskin, FL


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.

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Sarah L. Carson

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