How to Make Medicated Food

Making antibiotic food saves a bunch of fish lives. It gets the antibiotics INTO the fish where they can do the most good. But the fish has to eat it. So it has to be tasty. And it has to have ENOUGH medicine, and the medicine has to be STABLE, and stay ON or IN the food pellets.

This is how I do that.

I use Chloramphenicol, but Minocycline is good, Doxycycline is okay, Baytril can be used sort of, Trimethoprim Sulfa is good, there’s a whole “booklet” of which antibiotics you might use RIGHT HERE.

The equipment you need is basically “Confectioner’s Glaze” to bind the antibiotic to the food. I also use Red Food Coloring to enhance appeal, and Pineapple Flavoring to increase appetite for it. A study by Mann Bait Co. showed that the Carp’s FAVORITE flavor is pineapple. (They were working on that so people could catch more Carp on bait.)

I’ve made rather alot of medicated food (No batches over 3-4 pounds) but for several cases and results have been amazing. I put the Koi food into a nice thick 1 gallon freezer bag.

I put the crushed antibiotic on the food in the bag and I DO NOT MIX IT IN THE GLAZE anymore, so I waste as little as possible as residue in the cup. Do NOT breathe or contact the powdered antibiotic.
I like to crush the tablets of antibiotic with pliers. For me, it is the fastest and I don’t breathe the dust from the antibiotics.

Step one is to obtain the medicine you want to use and crush it into a powder.

I like to put the tablets into a thick Ziploc bag and crush the pills with a pair of pliers. Honestly that’s easier than beating them with a hammer. I found a “mortar and pestle” incredibly difficult and laborious. The actual “pill crushers” are just okay.

I make my tablets into the finest powder reasonably possible.

I then put that powdered antibiotic into the bag with the Koi food. I’ll close the food bag and shake it until the antibiotic is mixed throughout the food. The little “skins” from the tablets don’t really matter but I’ll try and remove the biggest bits.

To explain why I put the crushed antibiotic on the food before I glaze it: I used to mix the antibiotic in the glaze –  and then pour that into the food….. but at every step, you lose powdered antibiotic on the sides in the first bag, lose more in the confectioner’s glaze cup, then even more in the food bag. Minimize steps to lose antibiotic.


This is “Chef Rubber” glaze from the Internet. I have gotten glaze on Amazon, too.

Then, in a cup to the side;  I pour 1/2 cup of Confectioner’s Glaze per pound of food I’m making up. I put that into a cup and NOT (yet) into the food.


This is Chef-O-Van Red Food Coloring and Olive Nation’s Pineapple Flavoring. Natural.

I put red food coloring into the glaze…

…and then the Pineapple Flavoring. I mix that in a cup. Pretty thoroughly. Then I pour the liquid glaze into the bag on top of the antibiotic-dusted food. I try and spread the glaze out over the food but I close the top of the bag and shake it furiously to mix the glaze and the food as fast as possible!

If you wait too long the glaze is picked up by the first few pellets and then down to the bottom of the bag, losing some ‘secret sauce’ just on a few kernels of food and the Ziploc bag. No good. So POUR AND SHAKE in short quick succession.

Once the food is nicely, evenly covered with glaze you can set it aside with the top of the bag open and let it dry. From time to time it’s good to go squeeze the bag so the kernels don’t stick together too much. That’s never happened to me but I’m sure it could happen.

This is the finished food.

This is the finished food.

Put food in bag

Put tablets in bag and crush them.

Put crushed antibiotic in with the food and shake well

Mix glaze and red food coloring and pineapple flavoring in a cup

Pour that on the antibiotic-dusted food

Shake furiously

Let dry with bag open. Avoid letting cats eat it.


Author: Dr. Erik Johnson
Dr. Erik Johnson is the author of several texts on companion animal and fish health. Johnson Veterinary Services has been operating in Marietta, GA since 1996. Dr Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Dr Johnson has lived in Marietta Georgia since 1976.