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Potassium Permanganate

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There has been a recent hype on the boards for the use of PP to our loving aquarium fish. Although it is known that suppliers whom mainly sell to us online fish regularly use it as a preventative for parasite/bacterial to goldfish, the following facts should be read carefully before you decide to use it as treatment for your goldfish.

Exactly what does this treatment do to our fish?s environment?

1. PP reduces biological oxygen demand by oxidising organic matter. It has also been advocated to increase dissolved oxygen levels in ponds, however, there is no evidence for it increasing oxygen at permanganate levels that are nontoxic to fish and can depress oxygen since it is an algaecidal. It has also been used to treat water moulds, but this use has not yet been proven. It is currently under an INAD by the FDA (United States)

2. PP kills skin and gill pathogens via its strong oxidizing properties.

3. PP is toxic in water with a high PH, since manganese dioxide may precipitate onto the gills. Thus, it should not be used with caution in sewage water. PP should not be mixed with formalin.

From Wikipedia:

Almost all applications of potassium permanganate exploit its oxidizing properties. As a strong oxidant that does not generate toxic byproducts, KMnO4 has many niche uses.

Potassium permanganate is one of the principal chemicals used in the film and television industries to "age" props and set dressings. Its oxidizing effects create "hundred year old" or "ancient" looks on hessian cloth, ropes, timber and glass. It was used on props and sets in films such as "Troy", "300" and "Indiana Jones".

Potassium permanganate is typically included in survival kits: as a fire starter, water sterilizer and for creating distress signals on snow.

From University of Florida:

Precautions When Using Potassium Permanganate

A few helpful reminders and precautions before using potassium permanganate include:

? Be sure you have a problem that warrants treatment. Potassium permanganate is expensive. For example, it cost approximately $80 to treat a one-acre pond, with an average depth of 5 feet, at a 4 mg/L concentration. Have your fish properly diagnosed and carefully consider the cost.

? Potassium permanganate is a strong oxidizer and can burn skin, eyes, and other body parts. It will stain you and everything it touches brown. Always use safety protective gear including rubber gloves, goggles and old clothes. A dust mask is advisable to prevent irritation to your respiratory tract.

? Be sure to estimate water volume accurately, and disperse the chemical evenly over the entire pond to prevent hot spots, areas of the pond with excessive amounts of chemical.

? Potassium permanganate can kill algae. Low oxygen conditions can occur following treatment. Be prepared to aerate after treatment.

? Frequent treatment can harm fish. Wait at least four days before repeating treatment. If fish do not respond to treatment, reevaluate them to confirm the diagnosis.

Australian Government ? National Pollutant Inventory:


Potassium Permanganate is an essential element for all living organisms including animals, plants and bacteria. Potassium Permanganate and its compounds have moderate acute and chronic toxicity to aquatic life. Insufficient data are available to evaluate or predict the short-term and long-term effects of manganese and its compounds on plants, birds, or land animals. Most plants have a very high tolerance for Potassium Permanganate.

A link, from the British Medical Journal, okay, it is from 1936, but here is some information on how PP is fatal in humans, just a link: PP Kills but a good read if anyone is interested, 2 page document, starts half way down the first page.

Now, i have a background in forensics with Victoria Police. I cannot reveal the entire document as it is not a publicly listed document for obvious reasons.. But here is a snippet from instructions on how to preserve a corpse:

3 Wash the body with soap and water to remove any dirt or grease. Spray disinfectant around the eyes, nose and mouth, as these areas tend to decay first.

4 Pour embalming fluid (such as Potassium Permanganate) into an embalming machine and hook up the machine to the body. Inject the intake tube into the carotid artery in the neck and the outtake tube into the jugular vein.

5 Run the embalming machine to remove blood from the body and replace it with the embalming fluid. The fluid makes it harder for bacteria to grow in the body and break it down.

There is more information available online, but i think that the above posted will help all understand that this is a highly risky method of treatment.. ie, why expose our fish to such a toxic substance when we have the use of good products such as Praziquantel, standard antibiotics and the use of salt?

As we are fully aware, there is no quick fix for goldfish, everything must be done at a pace where treatment will not shock the fish. Medication is no different, in fact worse when rushed.

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