Bettafix and Melafix – 5 Differences You Should Know

Melafix is a general antibiotic used for treating freshwater fish. Bettafix is an antibacterial medication specifically formulated for betta fishes’ delicate labyrinth system.

Since Melafix has an 80% stronger, unrefined tea tree oil concentration than Bettafix, it is not advised for use with betta fish since it can damage their labyrinth organ.

If you have ever owned a fish, chances are that you have wondered which fish antibiotic to use to keep your pet alive and healthy. Whether you have a goldfish, a guppy, or a betta fish, knowing which medicine to give is crucial for your pet’s health.

Since fish can’t talk or let you know if they feel sick, identifying an issue and acting fast can save their life.

In recent years, a comparison of Bettafix vs Melafix has remained a hot topic among freshwater, saltwater, and tropical fish owners.

Both API’s Bettafix and Melafix antibiotic brands treat cuts and scrapes as well as major fish diseases such as tail and fin rot, eye cloud, mouth fungus, and other bacterial infections.  

While it is best practice to consult a veterinarian or a fish doctor about caring for your fish, here are some of our top tips to help determine if Melafix or Bettafix is the best option for your pet.  

The Difference between Bettafix and Melafix

Both Melafix and Bettafix are used to treat external antifungal and antibacterial infections. There are two major differences between Melafix and Bettafix ingredients.

  1. Melafix is an all-natural fish antibiotic. It also contains 1.0% of the active ingredient Melaleuca or tea tree oil extract that helps kill bacteria. Bettafix contains 0.2% Melaleuca. It is basically a diluted version of Melafix.
  2. Melafix has a stronger, unrefined tea tree oil concentration than Bettafix which makes it a good antifungal choice. The oil is refined out of Bettafix’s final product so that it doesn’t damage the fish’s internal organs.

Despite its milder formula, Bettafix does a great job of repairing torn fins due to nipping and biting. It is less effective at killing bacteria responsible for fin rot.  

If you have a small tank or fishbowl, Melafix may prove too strong to use a full dose. Due to its concentrated strength, Melafix is often used for larger aquariums. Bettafix works better for fish bowls or smaller tanks.

For best results, you can follow API’s recommended Melafix dosage size of 5 milliliters per every 10 gallons for your fish tank. For Bettafix, you should use 2.5 ml per gallon of water.

Melafix does not contain chemicals. Both Bettafix and Melafix repair fin and tail damage quickly. If you are looking for a medication free from harsh chemicals, Melafix is a safe and less expensive option than Bettafix for your freshwater fish.

Can I use Melafix on my betta fish?

Did your local pet store run out of Bettafix?

You may wonder if it’s safe to use Melafix instead for your betta fish.

The best answer is no. 

Melafix is not considered safe to use on your betta fish. Melafix contains concentrated and unrefined tea tree oil. This essential oil has caused damage and death in betta and other labyrinth fish.

Betta fish may have an allergic reaction to tea tree oil, or they may be sensitive to Melafix’s concentrated formula.

Properly diluting Melafix can make the product appropriate for betta fish. Ultimately, it is always safest to use an antibacterial medication that is designed for your pet’s body and needs.

Melafix can also kill the biofilter bacteria that help keep your tank clean. Tea tree oil coats the surface of the water with an oil slick that prevents your betta or other dual water-and-oxygen labyrinth fish from breathing in air. Bettafix is milder and won’t mess with the water’s pH.

Bettafix is considered safe to use for tropical and labyrinth fish breeds. Aquarium salt is a safer option to use than either Bettafix or Melafix.

Can I use Bettafix on other fish?

As a fish owner, it’s essential to know if Bettafix is safe to use on other freshwater fish. If you need to treat your betta for a frayed fin or tail, should you remove the other fish from the tank? Is it safe to treat freshwater and tropical fish at the same time?

While it is not recommended to dose fish that are not sick as a preventative measure, Bettafix won’t harm your other fish, clog the water surface, or destroy the beneficial bacteria in your filter.

Bettafix is mild and nontoxic for labyrinth fish breeds, so it is considered safe to use for your delicate freshwater fish.

Can I use Bettafix and Melafix together?

If you only have Melafix on hand when a health issue strikes, you can mix Bettafix and Melafix together for freshwater fish as long as you use the correct dosage.

a. Five drops of Bettafix equals one drop of Melafix in terms of Melaleuca concentration.

b. You can also dilute one drop of Melafix for betta fish to lessen the tea tree oil’s impact.

The ratio is to halve the Melafix dose to make it appropriate for labyrinth fish. This is not a recommended method because an incorrect dosage can harm or kill your fish.

It is always best to use medication properly formulated for your fish. If you have further fish care questions, you can reach out to the experts.

Finding the correct fish antibiotic can help cure your aquatic pet or protect your current fish family when adding new fish to your tank. By clearing up existing issues, the right medicine can help smooth your fish’s transition to a new home.  

If left untreated, fish diseases such as fin rot can make your pet listless and miserable. In the worst cases, it can wipe out an entire tank. 

The good news is that bacterial and fungal infections are highly treatable. If the problem is caught early and treated with the proper antibacterial product, most fish will make a full recovery.