Why Store Fish Antibiotics For Survival

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Why Store Fish Antibiotics For Survival

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I first learned about fish antibiotics in 2012 when I struggled with a tooth abscess while on vacation in the middle of nowhere.  I was totally unprepared for a bacterial infection and going forward, was determined to stockpile antibiotics for emergency purposes down the road.

As a layman and not a healthcare professional, this was not casual research.  I went to many sources, looked at bottles, and asked a lot of questions.  I came away confident that lacking proper medical facilities, the judicious use of fish and veterinary antibiotics would be safe in a SHTF situation.  And the best part about it?  Fish antibiotics are readily available online at reasonable prices without a prescription.  They are even available at Wal-Mart.

Update: A more reliable source is via eFishMox here.

Why Store Fish Antibiotics for Survival | Backdoor Survival

It was an epiphany.

But as I said, I am not a health care professional and am hesitant to offer even a modicum of advice on this subject.  On the other hand, contributing author Dr. Joe Alton is a medical doctor and is well versed in survival medicine.  In another exclusive article for Backdoor Survival, he is here today to share his knowledge of fish antibiotics and why peppers should include them as part of their long-term survival plan.

Why Store “Fish” Antibiotics?

By Joe Alton, MD

Years ago, I wrote the first article by a physician on the utility of certain antibiotics used in the aquarium and bird hobbies. Since then, fish antibiotics have become a part of many medical kits for those concerned about long-term survival. Indeed, a cottage industry has arisen to provide these products.

In my, perhaps, unique position as a doctor and a fish/bird keeper (everything from raising tilapia in ponds, breeding show bettas, and T.D. Bird, our 30 year old African Grey parrot), I’ve had the opportunity to treat both humans and animals that have bacterial infections.

When a human patient had a bacterial infection that required antibiotics, I might give them, say, amoxicillin. When a fish developed fin rot, I might use a product called Fish-Mox. For many years, I never gave it another thought.

Over time, however, I began to realize that there were avoidable deaths in long-term survival. With a large number of people performing activities they were unaccustomed to, such as chopping wood, injuries would occur. Some of these would get infected and could enter the bloodstream, a condition called septicemia, leading to life-threatening consequences. Having antibiotics in the survival medic’s kit could save lives otherwise lost.

This was illustrated in the 2010 History Channel offering “After Armageddon”. In the program, the Johnson family has survived a pandemic and was “bugging out”. They eventually joined a community of survivors. The father injures himself doing activities of daily survival, and incurs a cut that becomes infected. The community has run out of antibiotics and he, a paramedic himself, slowly dies as a result of the spreading infection. See it here (go to 1 hour 21 minutes to see the tragic outcome):

Here is a direct link: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtP80Z08lfg

But how to get a reasonable supply of antibiotics? A sympathetic doctor may give you a prescription for 20 pills, but that would run out very quickly in a survival setting. You’d need to stockpile enough for long-term survival settings.

So I took a second look at some of my fish antibiotics. I examined a product called Fish Mox Forte. This fish medication contained only one ingredient: Amoxicillin 500mg. Nothing there that made your scales shinier or your fins longer.

Investigating further, I found that Fish Mox is produced in two dosages: 250mg and 500mg, the same dosages used in humans. Why would a guppy need the same amount of antibiotic as an adult human (no instructions for fish bowls compared to 200 gallon aquariums)?

I decided to compare samples of human Amoxicillin 500mg produced by Dava Pharmaceuticals and Fish Mox Forte (the 500mg version). The human version was a red and pink capsule with the numbers and letters WC 731 on it; Fish Mox Forte was a red and pink capsule with the numbers and letters WC 731 on it. In other words: Identical.

Why would companies use the same appearance and identification numbers if they are producing a different, lower grade product for veterinary use? First, it’s likely illegal to do so; second, It’s simple enough to just use a different colored capsule.

I found a number of fish and bird antibiotics that met my criteria, purchasable in quantity and without a prescription. They:

  • Had only 1 ingredient, the antibiotic itself
  • Were only produced in human dosages
  • Were identical in appearance to antibiotics produced by at least one human pharmaceutical company.

It was clear to me (and verified by readers who worked in the pharmacy and veterinary industries over the years) that they are the exact same products, taken from the same batches produced for humans.

This wasn’t true of all veterinary products. Some had additional ingredients that gave benefits to specific animals, others were in larger dosages that are not advisable in humans (for example, equine meds).

So let’s go back to the important question: Are the fish and bird antibiotics I write about useful additions to your survival medical storage? Some deaths may be unavoidable in a situation without rule of law, but does it make any sense not to have medicines that could possibly prevent an unnecessary death?

Of course, you’ll need to study antibiotics in detail to be effective as the medic for a survival group. Antibiotics are not something to use injudiciously; veterinary antibiotics are no different. Indeed, the overuse of antibiotics is the cause for the epidemic of antibiotic resistance we see today. 80% of these meds are used in livestock, mostly to speed growth rather than to treat disease. The CDC is starting to control the use of antibiotics, but are starting with livestock like cows, pigs, and chickens.

If you can obtain antibiotics in quantity now, you should consider it for use in survival settings. Having said this, don’t use them when doctors exist to prescribe standard medications for bacterial disease. You’ll need to be able to recognize bacterial infections (antibiotics don’t kill viruses) to use them effectively. This isn’t always easy. Learn what infections look like and get needed supplies; you just might save the life of a loved one in times of trouble.

To find out much more about infectious disease and antibiotic use in survival settings, check out our 700 page Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook, and look for more of our articles in the future at backdoorsurvival.com.

The Final Word

I don’t believe in popping antibiotics every time I get a sniffle. And, for that matter, antibiotics do nothing at all to fight virus infections.  On the other hand, being prepared for a bacterial infection is just one more step toward surviving a major disruptive event were there is a likelihood of injury or disease.

Where to Buy Fish Antibiotics: You can peruse the selection here at eFishMox.

And as far as the common cold?  I put my trust in essential oils and especially the DIY Cold and Flu Bomb!

Note: Also please consult your doctor before consuming fish antibiotics, as this is not considered official medical advice.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Below you will find the items related to today’s article as well as some of the emergency medical reference books and supplies that belong in every household first aid kit.

AMOXFIN (500mg/ 30Capsules):  Read the review and decide for yourself. This is 100% pure amoxicillin, designed to keep your fishies healthy.  There is also Fin Mox Forte (500mg/100 Capsules): but there are not as many reviews.

Thomas Labs Fish Mox Amoxicillin 100 Count 250mg Capsules:  The prices on fish antibiotics from Wal-Mart are some of the best out there.  500mg capsules are available here and shipping is free.

Spark Naturals Essential Oils:  These are what you need for the Cold & Flu Bomb: Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Oregano, and Shield Blend. Don’t forget a few roller bottles, too.  And of course, be sure to use discount code BACKDOORSURVIVAL to receive a 10% discount on your order.  If you prefer, there is also a Cold & Flu Bomb Kit.

Stretch Bandage Wrap, 1” 30 rolls: I first learned about self-adhesive bandages when my dog came home from the vet such a bandage wrapped around his leg.  A light went off telling me I needed to add some to my first-aid kit.  And so I did.  This is a fantastic price and rivals the price at the farm supply.  I rarely use old-fashioned band aids any more.  You are going to love this stuff.

Quikclot Sport Brand Advanced Clotting Sponge: A must for any first aid or emergency kit, Quikclot Sport stops moderate to severe bleeding until further medical help is available.

CELOX First Aid Temporary Traumatic Wound Treatment, 10-Pack: These small packets of granules will stop bleeding within 30 seconds. To use, pour directly on a wound and apply pressure; it won’t sting or burn. Also safe for pets.  I like that the small packets are portable.

Tincture of Benzoin: This is another one of those items I had never heard of.  Its purpose is to hold a bandage or dressing in place.

Israeli Battle Dressing, 6-inch Compression Bandage: This is another inexpensive, yet critical item. Combat medics, trauma doctors, and emergency responders all recommend this Israeli Battle Dressing (IBD) for the treatment of gunshot wounds, puncture wounds, deep cuts, and other traumatic hemorrhagic injuries.

New-Skin Liquid Bandage, First Aid Liquid Antiseptic:  I have been using New Skin for years.  It is an antiseptic, invisible, flexible, and waterproof.  It works.


Third Edition:  The SURVIVAL MEDICINE Handbook

A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.

Survival Medicine Handbook 2016


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25 Responses to “Why Store Fish Antibiotics For Survival”

  1. May I provide a brief warning about using a liquid bandage product? I recently had outpatient surgery which left a nearly inch and a half incision. The doctor chose to close the opening with a liquid bandage, which I was told was more efficient and would start to come off in a day or two with repeated exposure to water. Well, a week later and the bandage was still firmly affixed to my skin with blood trapped underneath it. The edges of the bandage had started to come loose so I tried to carefully peel it back (I wanted to wash to blood off!), only to realize the liquid had seeped down around the edges of the wound, thus preventing the skin from healing back together. I was left with an open wound that was starting to become infected and was seeping. I cleaned it up, applied some Neosporin (did you know it has cocoa butter, which is renowned for reducing scaring?), and closed the edges up with butterfly sutures. It took another week, but everything is now almost healed. If the doctor had been less concerned with efficiency, he would have put in a few stitches to make sure the skin healed back together properly. I can see where liquid skin would be great to protect a scrape or paper cut, but I wouldn’t recommend it ON ITS OWN to close a surgical incision. Just my two cents.

    • Paper surgical skin closures are required over any open incisions, UNDER any liquid skin closure to prevent this. the adhesive WARNS not to be used over open wounds. Most people laugh at the warning wondering why it exists, since Liquid skin is meant to CLOSE open wounds An Open wound is deep not superficial dermal level. This product is for Dermal use or protection of other types of skin closures. It is ONLY sold OTC because it is not under the control of any medical oversite agency, the same as Bandaid or similar adhesive bandages. So it is Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware. Another point of info is that improperly used they have the greatest risk of CAUSING gangrene of any bandaging medium due to the fact that it seals oxygen out. Oxygen is nature’s greatest universal antibiotic. Bandaging serves only 2 uses: keeping a wound closed, the other is keeping it clean and dry. and quite often DRY ISNT ALL THAT GOOD either, for example deep non body cavity penetrating puncture wounds, which benefit from being soaked, thus flushing any bacterial growth and encouraging healing from within, thereby preventing an encapsulated infection from forming, which if not excised, can go systemic and deadly.

    • Nichole, a Point of info. This site needs a like button. Personal experience such as yours is some of the MOST important info to share. I have EXTENSIVE training in this arena, and know you are spot on. but without making direct statements, we lack a method of validating another person’s comments. I hope that will change soon!
      Info from others Is vital and we dont all want tie bad experiences that are the best teachers!

  2. With as many different antibiotics, and knowing MDs would know which to diagnose for which bacterial infection, I do wonder about using even these since we won’t know the type of infection. How do we, laypeople, find out how the dosages work? Also, now a concern ====since that law was inacted, at least one chicken producer is now using and advertising that instead of antibiotics they are now putting oregano in their water which goes to the chickens. The message of continuous usage of antibiotics only produces superbugs just isn’t getting through. Now with the use or oregano, it’s not just bacteria which is going to work for awhile, then nature will do it’s thing and superbugs (not just bacteria but also viral, fungal and other microbes).

    • I have done my share of research..what I found is most all antibiotics are prescribed for similar infections.
      Having two [which I have on stock] is a safe way to ensure you are covered.
      I chose fish mox and fish flex.

    • NO not all antibiotics are prescribed for similar infections. In fact antibios are RARELY prescribed for the actual infection, with te exception of Strep. First off Antibiotics are most commonly prescribed to PREVENT secondary infections which weaken the body’s ability to fight the primary infection. Next without blood tests and culturing to identify the bacteria, there is NO WAY to actually know which bacteria you are infected with, so MD’s simply treat for the most identified TREND that is currently “going around”. Not what you actually have. Blame commercial medicine and insurance limitations for this one. The next point is there is a 50/50 chance the antibiotic will work on the bacteria you are fighting. There are two basic varieties of bacteria: Gram Positive. and Gram Negative. This is the primary determination if a specific class of antibiotic will work, and then it breaks down even further.
      So NO you have not done your research, you have ONLY convinced yourself that you will be safe with the two least effective classes of antibiotics, that are used ONLY for the most mild and common superficial infections your body can fight off on it’s own, leaving you open to high risk and death to other infections, Specifically non systemic varieties that when turning systemic can cause death within 24 to 48 hours

      The biggest issue other than purity with aquaculture antibiotics is true formulation. They are the equivalent of what we would use as an airborne delivered medication. This means that what is listed on the label is not what you get. You need the knowledge of a biochemist to understand the concentration differences between human dosages and aquarium dosages. you are gambling when using them. For mammalian use, many of these antibiotics require a “burst dosage”. Do you know which? How much? do you know which bacteria need the burst dosage to initiate the weakening of their cellular wall so that the following SAFE dosage can be used? No, you do not. You wouldnt be looking at aquarium meds if you did… Yes they CAN be effective, with the proper pharmaceutical knowledge, but to date, there is no such information prove nor published. All the info you are betting your life on is anecdotal with no science behind it. Do you even KNOW that the meds are not the same as human? The contamination allowances are ungodly for aquarium meds. The factories Ive personally toured allowed spilled ingredients to be swept up off the floor, that employees have spit on, and returned to the mixing vats, absolutely NO sanitation control is employed what so ever. Look at the factory origin. product of Where? if it is marked its a convenience and may just be referencing the packaging. There are no laws governing Aquarium meds… Purity is not guaranteed as a result only raw and not net viable content.
      Now comes the real Joke. Some IDIOT was just insulted and will come back and try to claim I work for some big Pharmaceutical company. To that mental midget I state: Even if such a stupid comment were true, it wouldnt matter, you still couldnt purchase human atibiotics lawfully for storage purposes… You must be the happiest person in the world, because they say Ignorance is bliss. I’m an Aquarist.

      I am not telling you to NOT store fish pills by any means. What I AM SAYING Is Know what you are doing, dont assume you do cause Jonny told you so. Look for PROOF. You will find NO layman level proof on ANY antibiotics of anykind. they are too dangerous to simplify down to the level of “just two are needed” mentalities. As with everything YOU NEED TO KNOW not just think you do.
      I have multiple advanced degrees as well as extensive personal experience. I dont just sit and believe because I have read it that its true, and there is no WAY I will risk my, or anyone elses life on “innerweb” knowledge Abe Lincoln sayd never believe the web, remember?

    • >DRagon: appreciate your feedback on the subject. Have been wondering about most all the subjects you covered: wasn’t convinced I was educated enough to know when and what to use. You’ve renewed my faith in my own brand of common sense. Also seems you’d make a fine addition to any group.

  3. I have read that certain antibiotics become dangerous after their expiration date, while others simply weaken.. Can you provide a guideline for these?

    Also, would antibiotics benefit from being stored in the refrigerator to extend their lifetime?

    • Ditto, and I recently had a bad reaction after consuming too much red meat over a period of weeks, leaving me to conclude the frozen cheeseburgers that are convenient and delicious are also fraught with antibiotics. It’s back to ground bison (hormone and antibiotic free) for me.

      An alternative suggestion would be greatly appreciated, although I might stock some of the Fish Mox for my husband, not that he needs to know about it until there’s an emergency. 😉

    • Please just either buy or borrow Dr. Alton and Nurse Amy’s Book The Survival Medicine Handbook. He goes into great detail about the various antibiotics, there uses and substitutions.

  4. Gaye…you may want to include this article written concerning the use of certain antibiotics (fish or human) before purchasing. //theprepperpages.com/five-secrets-to-fish-antibiotics/

  5. Also, Gaye, I see you are recommending Tincture of Benzoin in your bargain bin list. It is also wonderful to add to boiling hot water, poured into a sink, put a towel over your head and inhale to help relieve chest congestion. It only takes a little bit of the Benzoin, and it will leave a sticky ring in your sink that you’ll need to scrub out, but it works wonderfully.

    I have always had asthma, and years ago, when I was working at the post office, and everyone was allowed to smoke at their work stations, my lungs got in real trouble.I went to a lung doctor and this is what he recommended along with postural drainage after using the Benzoin. (Postural drainage is just basically hanging your head and upper torso over the side of the bed and having someone lightly tap or cup you on the back). Buy it for the bandage thing, but also keep it on hand for lung congestion.

  6. One of the most valuable columns you have ever posted. Thanks a bunch, YOu guys probably saved a lifer or two today! Good work. best, e. PS people should buy them soon, they probably won’t be around much longer, or at least available in this form. e.

    • Your antibiotics can be a real life saver in another way…they can be a great barter item in SHTF times.. Remember, you may not want to trade away yer precious 9mm ammo, but what if someone wants fishmox and has some clean .22LR to trade? get the idea? Remember..real money is..the…most vendable commodity.

  7. I have asked my doctor and dentist for antibiotic RX, they are more than willing to give you samples for you’re BOB and First aid kits. Our pharmacies offer antibiotics for free during certain times of the year.

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