The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has issued a warning to fishkeepers that they may be purchasing unauthorised chemicals if they purchase them in their raw form.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), an executive agency of Defra, is responsible for the safe and effective use of veterinary medicines, including fish disease treatments.
It says that it is aware that chemicals such as malachite green, formalin and potassium permanganate are being sold to fishkeepers in their raw states, but says that purchasers could be unaware of the dangers involved and may inadvertently put the health and safety of their animals at risk.
Some of the products may also pose a threat to human health, it says.
Small Animal Exemption Scheme
"While it is perfectly legal to purchase raw chemicals for various uses, if a chemical is promoted or advertised with claims for any form of medicinal use or once purchased is administered to any animal as a medicinal treatment, this is an offence under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2009.
"Before a veterinary medicine can be sold or supplied in the UK its marketing must be approved by the VMD. This is recognised by the issue of a marketing authorisation or, as in the case for most treatments for aquarium and pond fish diseases, approval under the Small Animal Exemption Scheme.
"There are a number of products available under the scheme for the treatment of aquarium and pond fish."
The VMD told Practical Fishkeeping that products marketed under the scheme can often be identified by the claims manufacturers make on the labeling regarding correct use, dosage, disposal and healthy and safety advice.
Products that are sold under the scheme should also bear the wording "This veterinary medicine is marketed in accordance with the Small Animal Exemption Scheme."