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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How to Perform a Methylene Blue Bath without Stains

How to Perform a Methylene Blue Bath on a Small to Medium-Sized Fish without Stains

By Renee Wise

With editing by Kagome and Carl

1. Eyedropper
2. 1 quart plastic container and top
3. Two or more large towels (old ones you don’t mind getting stained)
4. Net
5. Methylene Blue bottle
6. Two or more empty milk jugs
7. Timer
8. Clean Rags
9. One spare container: approximately 1 quart or larger
10. Access to a toilet to or a place outside to dump Methylene blue bath water
11. Hose

When you perform a Methylene Blue bath for your fish, it is important that you take precautions to reduce the risk of Methylene Blue staining anything in your house. Methylene Blue (MB) acts much like a dye and will stain almost any surface it touches including carpet, tile, and wood. The MB may be cleaned off with hard scrubbing or fade in time but any fabric stained with MB most likely will be permanently stained. Therefore, near foolproof plan to prevent spills is recommended. Here are some steps you can follow to avoid a mess and make these baths a more pleasurable experience for both human and fish alike.

The Process:

• Lay out your materials (as listed above) in a calm, quiet setting. Once you have the materials ready, clear some space near your aquarium on a dresser or a surface you know won’t be disturbed. Set one towel down there.

• If possible, try to ensure that the room temperature in this area isn’t much different than in your aquarium to help prevent temperature shock to the fish that will receive the bath.

• Carefully remove the top on your aquarium. Take your quart plastic container and fill it ¾ of the way with your AQUARIUM water. Then, carefully, spooking the fish as little as possible, net the fish you wish to bathe and gently place it in your quart container.

• Carefully unscrew the lid of your MB bottle, placing the lid face down so any residue on the bottle cap will not get on any surfaces. Make sure that your bottle of MB and any object with MB on it is kept on the towel at ALL times to help prevent staining should a spill occur.

• Now take your eyedropper and fill it with MB. Squirt as much as you wish to use into the bath. Squirt any excess back into the bottle. Immediately put the bottle cap back on the bottle of MB in order to help prevent spillage.

• Carefully suck up water from the bath into the eyedropper and squirt it back into the bath container several times to dilute the MB in the eyedropper. Set your eyedropper in your spare container.

• Put the lid on the bath container to prevent the fish from jumping out.

• Set your timer for the desired amount of time, 20-30 minutes is usually recommended.

• Make sure the room is not disturbed and keep an eye on your fish to make sure it is not showing any signs of distress. You may busy yourself with something else in the room while the bath is going on but don’t disturb the area where any of your materials or the fish are or leave the room completely.

• When the timer dings, carefully remove the top and net the fish. Release your fish back into your aquarium and put your net in the spare container with the eyedropper. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DUMP THE MB BATH WATER BACK INTO YOUR DISPLAY TANK!! MB is an excellent medication but if put into a display aquarium it may stain décor, silicone sealant, and worst of all it will kill the beneficial bacteria that make up your aquarium’s biological filter. A few drops of bath water won’t hurt anything but just pouring the fish back into the aquarium with the bath water will have disastrous results.

• Carefully dump your bathwater into the toilet and flush two or more times until there is no Methylene Blue residue in the toilet.

• Now grab a rag and head outside with your bath container and your container with the eyedropper and net in it. Turn on the hose and thoroughly rinse out your 2 containers, the net, and the eyedropper. Make sure you place your rag in an area where it won’t get wet. After there is no sign of MB on any of your materials, turn off the hose.

• Gently dry your eyedropper, two containers and net. When you come back in, turn on the tap and sterilize them with hot water, vinegar, bleach, or your preferred method for sterilizing your materials. Dry them off with your rag and return them to their respective places.

Note: If it is too cold outside to run a hose, use 2 empty milk jugs and fill them with water to rinse your equipment. Be aware that you may have to go back in to refill them several times.

• Any towels or rags that have MB spilled on them should be put in the washing machine immediately and washed separately from other clothes. Note that you may have to wipe MB off your washing machine afterwards. Also note that the stains on your towels may be permanent but they should not stain anything else they touch once they have been laundered.

• Search for any stains in your work areas and if there is any MB on hard surfaces such as tile, grab a rag, put a dot of soap on it and use a lot of elbow grease to get it off. Rinse to get the soap off when you are done. Afterwards, put the rag in the washing machine to wash it separately. Note that if you get any Methylene Blue on any fabric or carpeting, the blue stain may be permanent or require professional cleaning to get out.

Conclusion: With practice, bathing fish this way can be a trouble-free experience. It is a great way to lessen the effects of stress on fish, kill unwanted pathogens, and increase the oxygen in your fish’s blood or reduce the severity of ammonia poisoning. You may have a few problems at first but if you keep at it and follow these directions, in time you are likely to be able to perform a bath without ever getting a stain. Reread this as often as you want, whenever you need to perform a MB bath for your fish.

Please refer to this article in the Bath and Dip section for more about the methods (such as the use of salt and other medications to compliment the Methylene Blue in the bath/dip):
“Aquarium Disease Prevention; Section 9, Baths/Dips”
Fish Baths; Aquarium Answers

Fish Bath Video

For Sponge Filters which are excellent for use in your hospital tanks for sick fish or quarantine of new fish, these ATI Hydro Sponge filters are second to none and this resource is the leader in use and knowledge of this product/filter; why buy from anywhere else?

SeaChem Stability can be helpful for emergency cycling of a hospital tank or a display tank damaged by treatment.


Other Products that may be helpful:

*SeaChem Purigen or Algone for help controlling Nitrates and other organic wastes that may affect the Redox balance and fish health.

As well, consider a UV Sterilizer for improved disease prevention and improved Redox balance (which will in turn improve fish immunity).
If you have a UV Sterilizer already, it is IMPORTANT that you change the UV Bulb every six months, and even then use a Hot Cathode Low Pressure Mercury UVC Bulb for best results.

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