Emergency First-Aid Kit

Everything you will need to be more than prepared

 Published June 2, 2015

As with all living things, goldfish are prone to disease and injury whether it be caused by accidental damage, inadequate fish husbandry, or any other random thing that comes to mind. Sometimes, even when everything seems perfect, a fish can suddenly become ill and/or hurt by its own or another fish’s doings (especially during spawing activity or feeding). When these things happen time is of the essence when it comes to diagnosing, treating, and determining the cause(s). Even if you catch your fish’s emergency in time, not having a first aid kit could limit the progression of treatment and your fish’s health as a result. I have found myself without the necessary supplies and regretted it because it cost my fish’s life. Waiting for shipments and last minute scrabbling to gather supplies might result in the ineffectivness of treatment because it lacks the ability to boost your fish’s already low health. Basically, your prepardness as a goldfish enthusiast could determine if your fish makes a great recovery or, in worst case scenario, if it’s too late. 

With all emergencies, although it is best to act fast, do not panic. I repeat, DO NOT PANIC! Many of us are guilty of hitting the panic button when something is off. This is not the time or the place to do it. Make sure your diagnosis is thorough, treatment is planned accordingly, eyes are watching for others to become sick (if you have a community of goldfish), and actions are made to eliminate the cause of such illness or injury. Moving too quickly with the additions of medications, without a seasoned goldfish enthusiast or veterinarian, could be detrimental to your fish’s health without you knowing. I highly recommend Koko’s Goldfish Forum - Disease Diagnosis if you have any questions about the health of your goldfish. Honestly it wouldn’t hurt to start a thread even if you know what you are doing. Two heads are better than one and others can see what you have overlooked. Plus, you will have a record of what occurred during your treatment process.

To help other goldfish enthusiast build and maintain their first aid kits, I’ve complied list of diagnostic tools, medications, water treatments, and general supplies that you’ll need to be more than prepared for the worst. Just remember that even though you’ll have a fully stocked “medicine cabinet” doesn’t mean that every outcome will be good. Sometimes you can do everything and nothing goes your way. However, ultimately proper fish husbandry can be your best fighting chance against the harmful things that could happen to your fish. Among one of those is having a first aid kit.

Highlighted items are of priority. 


Diagnostic Tools

  • Membership to KoKo’s Goldfish Forum: I cannot recommend this forum enough. The members there are very helpful and have a great deal of experience in diagnosing and treatment planning.
  • Fancy Goldfish: A Complete Guide to Care and Collecting by Dr. Erik L. Johnson, D.V.M. and Richard E. Hess: This book contains a great deal of information from the different types of pathogentic threats and how to effectively treat with proper diaognisis techniques and correct usage of medications. It is also packed with detail photographs that show pathogens on a microscopic level and observed sympotoms.
  • Fundamentals of Ornamental Fish Health by Dr. Helen E. Roberts
  • Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment by Edward J. Noga
  • Microscope (up to 400X magnification for basic visual diagnosis)


  • Epsom Salt: Helps alleviate severe constipation
  • Aquarium Salt or Mortan's Canning Salt: Used as a general tonic in bacterial/parasitic treatments
  • Pure Clove Oil (100%): Used during anesthesia and euthanasia
  • Bentadine (10% Providone Iodine Topical Solution): Used broad spectrum antiseptic for topical application in the treatment and prevention of infection in wounds.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3%): Used in the sterilization of wounds.
  • Alcohol (90%): Used for sterilization of tools.
  • Praziquantel: Used to treat flukes in either the AquaPrazi powder or PraziPro liquid form.
  • Oxolinic Acid: An antibiotic usually added to medicate food.
  • Potassium Permanganate: Used as a topical disinfectantfor wounds.
  • SeaChem MetroPlex: Formerly known as Metronidzoie, treats parasitic and bacterial infections like Cryptocaryon, Hexamita, Ichthyophthirius.
  • SeaChem KanaPlex: Treats fungal and bacterial infections like dropsy, popeye, fin/tail rot, septicemica
  • SeaChem ParaGuard: Treatment for external bacterial / fungal / parasitic / and viral lesions; also good for new arrivals as a general medication.
  • Gel Food or Peas: Used to incorporate medication for treating internal infection and probiotics to reestablish gut health.

Water Treatments

  • Liquid Tests Kit: Any kit will do as long as it test ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, KH, and GH.
  • Prime or Amquel: Detoxifies ammonia and nitrite for 24 hours and it extremely useful when there is no biological filter avaliable or needs to be removed.
  • Baking Soda / Crushed Coral / Gold Buffer: stabilizes pH in water with low KH.

General Supplies

  • Record Keeping Journal : Very useful when looking back on how certain situations were treated. Memories are faulty and having a record can ensure that treatments are regulated and the same each time. Ultimately this leads to more success in future applications.
  • Quarantine Tank or Sterlite Tub: Used to isolated injuried or infected fish, and you have the advatage of treating in a smaller volume (use less medication to get to the same concentration) verse in the larger main tank.
  • Air Pump with an Air Stone: Used to circulate water and cause surface agitation.
  • Water Heater and Thermometer: Especially useful in sppeding up the life cycle of paracites leading to a shorter duration in treatment.
  • Small Tub: To be used for fish transport and weighing.
  • Metric Scale with 0.1 gram Resolution: For precise measurment of medication and food.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups
  • Syringe: For feeding liquid medicaited food.
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Cotton Balls
  • Q-Tips
  • Old, clean cotton towels
  • Tweezers or Forceps
  • Scissors
appy Goldfish Keeping!


Chapman, Jack. "Koi Emergency Care Kit". The Membership Magazine of the Mid-Atlantic Koi Club. Vol. 28, No. 6. January/February 2015. page 20. Retrieved May 26 2015.

ChelseaM. Posted 15 September 2014. No. 3 Reply: "What should every goldfish keeper have on hand?". Retrieved 26 May 2015.

Jared. Posted 4 October 2014. No. 2 Reply: "Best pictures/info for diseases and meds to keep on hand". Retrieved 26 May 2015.

Johnson, Erik L. "The Formulary". Fancy Goldfish: A Complete Guide to Care and Collecting. pp. 54 - 71. ISBN 978-0-8348-0448-7. Retrieved 2 June 2015.

Mysterygirl. Posted 28 July 2014. No. 2 Reply: "Goldfish Owner 'Must-Have' Items?". Retrieved 26 May 2015.

Rand, Brenda. "First Aid Kit for Goldfish". Goldfish Emergency. Retrieved 26 May 2015.

Tithra, dnalex, Kulukan. Posted 13 July 2011. No. 1 - 3 Reply: "Medications". Retrieved 26 May 2015.