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Potassium Permanganate Dip


The various photos and material for this article were kindly supplied by Julie de Villiers.

This treatment is effective against all Microscopic Parasites, as well as fungal infections and external bacterial infections.
The risk is substantial if procedure is not followed correctly.
It will kill a fish that is “on its way out”

No other chemicals should be present in the water that will be used for this treatment!


To conduct a Potassium Permanganate treatment, in this case a “dip”, the following needs to be prepared:

1. Three containers, each one large enough to accommodate the fish that will be treated, comfortably. The first container will be used for the PP treatment. The second container is for rinsing the fish and the third is the recovery container.
2. Strong air pump with large air stone in each container.
3. Sock net
4. Stopwatch
5. Iso-thermic & Iso- pH water. (Got you here! This means equalised temperature and equalised pH water, or simply water from the pond where the fish has been kept – unless you have already put salt in the pond water.)
6. Potassium Permanganate crystals (PP)
7. Accurate scale that can measure as little as milligrams. (A weight-watchers scale won’t do.)
8. Bucket with markings inside to measure the water. (I use 10 litres increment markings on the inside
9. A net to prevent the fish from jumping out of the container/s
10. Mixing bowl


How to go about it

Fill the containers with the water, sufficient for the fish to be totally submerged. Measure the water accurately. 10, 20 or 30 litres, etc.

The dosage of Potassium Permanganate to use, is 1 (one) gram per 10 litres. Please measure this accurately!  Put the measured amount of PP in the mixing bowl and add hot water. Stir and when totally dissolved, pour the contents into the first container.

Place the air stones in each container and wait a few minutes for the Potassium Permanganate to distribute evenly and the clean water in the remaining containers to be aerated.

Net the fish and transfer it to the treatment container with the sock net.


Cover the treatment bowl with a net to prevent the fish from jumping out.



Use a stopwatch! Leave the fish in the Potassium Permanganate solution for exactly 5 minutes. No longer. If the fish struggles or jumps at any stage of the treatment, take it out immediately. After 4 minutes and 30 seconds, guide the fish into the sock-net again, so that it can be lifted out of the treatment bowl at exactly 5 minutes.


After exactly five minutes, transfer the fish to the second container. You don’t have to release the fish into this container, just rinse the Potassium Permanganate off the fish and the sock net.


After rinsing, transfer the fish to the third (recovery) container. Leave it in this container to recover for a few minutes and then, using the sock net again, release the fish into the pond.



If you need to do a second or even third treatment for very bad cases – you must wait at least 7 days after each treatment.  I would not do more than 3 successive treatments as the risk of damaging the gills beyond repair increase exponentially. 

Bad case of mouth rot

Below are photos to show how a bad case of mouth rot has cleared up.

The first photo is how the mouth rot appeared before treatment


This photo was taken after the first Potassium Permanganate treatment, when the ulcers started to heal.


Notice the considerable improvement after the second Potassium Permanganate treatment.


The last photo was taken 4 weeks after treatment. Although the bacterial damage to the mouth cannot be undone, the lesions have cleared completely


Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 12:53