Essential oils to control ichthyophthiriasis in pacu, Piaractus mesopotamicus (Holmberg): special emphasis on treatment with Melaleuca alternifolia

J Fish Dis. 2016 Oct;39(10):1143-52. doi: 10.1111/jfd.12447. Epub 2016 Jan 18.


In vitro effect of the Melaleuca alternifolia, Lavandula angustifolia and Mentha piperita essential oils (EOs) against Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and in vivo effect of M. alternifolia for treating ichthyophthiriasis in one of the most important South American fish, Piaractus mesopotamicus (Holmberg), were evaluated. The in vitro test consisted of three EOs, each at concentrations of 57 μL L(-1) , 114 μL L (-1) , 227 μL L(-1) and 455 μL L (-1) , which were assessed once an hour for 4 h in microtitre plates (96 wells). The in vitro results demonstrated that all tested EOs showed a cytotoxic effect against I. multifiliis compared to control groups (P < 0.05). The in vivo treatment for white spot disease was performed in a bath for 2 h day(-1) for 5 days using the M. alternifolia EO (50 μL L (-1) ). In this study, 53.33% of the fish severely infected by I. multifiliis survived after the treatment with M. alternifolia (50 μL L (-1) ) and the parasitological analysis has shown an efficacy of nearly 100% in the skin and gills, while all the fish in the control group died. Furthermore, the potential positive effect of M. alternifolia EO against two emergent opportunistic bacteria in South America Edwardsiella tarda and Citrobacter freundii was discussed.

Keywords: Bacteria; Piaractus mesopotamicus; aquaculture; herbal extract; parasite; tea tree.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Characiformes*
  • Ciliophora Infections / parasitology
  • Ciliophora Infections / prevention & control
  • Ciliophora Infections / veterinary*
  • Fish Diseases / parasitology
  • Fish Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Gills / parasitology
  • Hymenostomatida / drug effects*
  • Lavandula
  • Mentha piperita
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Tea Tree Oil / pharmacology*


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • peppermint oil
  • lavender oil