Triple Sulfa & Sulfamethazine; For Aquarium, Pond
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"Aquarium Medications 2, Antibiotics/ Anti-microbials
Sulfas drugs are among the oldest in the medicine and are considered anti-microbials.
Sulfas are bacteriostatic, meaning they inhibit the growth of the bacteria but do not kill them. Sulfas are generally most effective against aerobic gram-negative organisms but are not reliable against aerobic gram-positive bacterium.
Sulfa drugs arrest cell growth by inhibiting the synthesis of folic acid, a component required for growth by bacteria. Folic acid is a large molecule and is unable to enter bacterial cells, so the bacteria must synthesize the compound intracellularly. Animal cells are unable to synthesize folic acid and it must be provided in the diet. For this reason sulfa drugs are not toxic to animal cells.
Sulfa drugs are among the oldest in the medicine, the first being a sulfonamide was trade named Prontosil dating back to experiments by Bayer in 1932.
For aquatic use Sulfa are often maligned by many aquarists as not effective or out of date, yet in reality Triple Sulfa often will work where other antibiotics fail and sometimes with less side effects as well (this is not to say Sulfas do not have side effects as they are somewhat toxic, producing blood abnormalities and kidney damage when indiscriminately used). Sulfas also do not tend to be as sensitive to poor use (meaning not following the full treatment regimen).
- As a broad spectrum primarily gram negative antibacterial medication; Triple Sulfa can be used for fin and tail rot, mouth fungus and collapsed fins, Columnaris, and hemorrhagic septicemia.
- Triple Sulfa is also useful for fin rot or damaged fins caused by fin nipping.
- Since Sulfas are more effective at higher pH levels, this can be a good choice for livebearer or goldfish fin rot (as well as any other fish generally kept at a higher pH)
- Sulfas can also be safely used with other mild broad spectrum parasite/fungal treatments to boost anti bacterial effectiveness,; a good example would be the Medicated Wonder Shell.
- Sometimes effective when other often first choice gram negative treatments (such as Kanamycin) fail.
- An old standby that is still useful and can be used in combination with Malachite Green (especially effective in combination with MG at ½ strength when treating Ich in scale less fish) or Acriflavin (do not combine with copper sulfate).
As an example, using Triple Sulfa with ParaGuard) will render it safer for sensitive fish such as a Clown Loach.
- Sulfas are also more effective at higher pH levels, unlike Nitrofurazone, so often a good choice over Nitrofurazone or Nitrofurazone/Kanamycin combinations in lower pH aquariums. For this reason the synergistic combination of Sulfamethazine and Trimethoprim found in Maracyn Plus might be a good alternative when Nitrofurazone/Kanamycin combinations fail.
Please note though; Trimethoprim can lower blood platelets in fish which means any use with fish suffering from any bleeding issues can be much worse, often fatally worse since these platelets ("thrombocytes"), are blood cells whose function is to stop bleeding.
Reference: Wikipedia; Platelets
IMPORTANT NOTE: While I strongly recommend the use of a UV Sterilizer both before and after treatment (24/7), use of UV-C Sterilization should be discontinued during treatment with Sulfa Drugs.
Please realize diagnostic charts are generalizations
Triple sulfa can be purchased here (A business with professional aquarium medication experience dating back to 1978):
*Maracyn Plus (Contains Sulfamethazine and Trimethoprim)
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*Aquarium Chemistry; In depth
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