Melafix & Pimafix
Melafix and Pimafix are two remedies recently recommended to me by Barry Brown of Karobar Koi. Visiting his business is like entering an 'Aladdins cave' for koi keepers as it's run from his home with every square ft of space filled with koi ponds or supplies. Karobar Koi has a health lab and for a fee Barry will help diagnose and treat your sick koi, but don't turn up unannounced with your fish! We got talking about my koi in quarantine with the bulging eyes. Although the koi has appeared to have improved recently Barry warned that internal bacterial infections can be very difficult to treat and unless dealt with early help is often too late. Bacterial infections can prove very stubborn to eradicate, sometimes called a chronic infection which means it can drag on for weeks or months before the koi eventually succumbs.
Barry suggested Pimafix from API which can treat fungal infections as well as external and internal bacterial infections, although this was most effective with milder infections. It's difficult to tell whether the koi is over it or if it needs urgent help. Pimafix can be mixed with Melafix, made by the same manufacturers, to increase recovery but the price to treat my 1000 gallon quarantine tank with Pimafix alone would cost roughly £50! If the koi is cured this isn't too bad, but Barry advised that antibiotics, especially Batril (Enrofloxacin) injections are probably the best course of treatment. This is a difficult decision as antibiotics have been proven to work but the process can be difficult to administer, antibiotics have to be sourced from a vet, the koi is stressed further and they can reduce the immune response. I left to consider the alternatives.
Pimafix & Melafix are both natural remedies that shouldn't harm fish, plants or helpful bacteria but I would add extra filter bacteria after treatment is over to be on the safe side. Pimafix uses the oil from the West Indian Bay Tree (Pimenta racemosa) to prevent fungus and disease causing organisms. Melafix contains the extract for Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca) which has antibacterial properties. In fact according to some people you could mix your own solution from 100% Tea tree oil at the rate of 1% oil to 99% water in solution to be added to the pond. There are a few natural products that work in a similar way by supporting the immune system of the koi such as Kusuri Sabbactisun but as yet I don't know their full ingredients. There is some debate on the effectiveness of these natural remedies and so in advanced cases of disease traditional kill or cure treatments are the only real option. This doesn't mean you can't try both and hedge your bets, but it could turn out rather expensive.