Reviewed: New Life Spectrum Hex Shield & Ick Shield

nlshexshield 600

New Life Spectrum arguably makes the highest-quality fish food available and many people know that. What people often don’t know about are their two medicated pellets, Hex Shield & Ick Shield. What do they do? Do they do what they say they do? That and much more in today’s article!

(Disclaimer: Please don’t eat either of these products.)

New Life Spectrum Hex Shield:

NLS Hex Shield is a medicated pellet formulated to combat internal parasites in fish. It also helps relieve bloat caused by overfeeding. Unlike many medicated foods, I find Hex Shield to be readily accepted by numerous types of fish. Personally I’ve had German Blue Rams, Bettas, Killifish and Corydoras Catfish eat it without any intervention from me. I was even able to get my Figure Eight Puffer to eat it, but this required me to shove the pellets inside of a small snail shell. The puffer didn’t spit out the pellets though.


Hex Shield’s natural ingredients are very similar to their other products but there are a few key differences. Fish who are sick typically are less likely to eat or will eat less, so NLS has boosted the concentration of Krill. They also added more garlic, Ginseng, Ginger and Green Onions which not only increase palatability of the food but aid the active ingredients. In addition, they’ve added cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg to balance the taste of the pellet. Sounds yummy, right? Again, please do not eat Hex Shield.

Now, what’s most important are the active ingredients. In Hex Shield the active ingredients are as follows:

Magnesium Sulfate, IH-Imidazole-I-ethanol, 2-methyl-5-nitro-(443-48-1)

This is a veterinary medication that’s designed as an anti-parasitic compound. Not only do these ingredients fight parasites, they also help relieve constipation because Magnesium Sulfate is, in layman’s terms, Epsom salt, which is often used to bathe sick fish in to relieve bloat. As well as to treat more severe illness like dropsy.

Despite what you may think, Hex Shield is very safe to feed your fish. NLS doesn’t officially recommend you use it as a staple food, but they say the safety margin is very high and you can reapply this medication as needed. Another thing to take note of is that because Hex Shield attacks the parasite directly, your fish will not build up a tolerance to it.

You should feed Hex Shield twice per day for three days to achieve best results.

New Life Spectrum Ick Shield:

NLS Ick Shield is a very interesting product, to my knowledge it’s the only ich medication on the market that will actually disrupt the parasite during it’s trophont stage, whilst it’s feeding off of the fish. The active ingredients in Ick Shield are different from Hex Shield but the natural ingredients are essentially the same as Hex Shield so I would imagine that it tastes very similar if not the same to your fish. However, I obviously don’t know this for sure.

New Life Spectrum FLOAT Jumbo Fish 350 gIngredients:  

Like I mentioned before, Ick Shield and Hex Shield share basically the same ingredients besides the active ingredients which are as follows in Ick Shield:

I,4-Pentanediamine, N4-(7-chloro-4-quinolinyl)-NI,NI-diethyl

Again, this is a mediation designed to disrupt the parasite when it’s under the skin of the fish and inside of the fish’s gills which is when the fish is most vulnerable to the parasite.  It also combats various other ectoparasites like velvet. Personally, I wouldn’t use this by itself because it won’t kill ich that’s free-swimming which is why I feed this as well as dosing the tank with Seachem Paraguard.

When feeding Ick Shield you will want to continue feeding it twice per day for at least 10 days to ensure you eradicate the parasite to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Final Thoughts:

I find both of these medications to be highly effective, however, if you know that you have very finicky fish you may have trouble getting them to accept it. Don’t blame the medication if your fish won’t eat it. How many kids do you know that like the taste of cough syrup? I bet that fish like the taste of these medicated pellets more than young kids like the taste of cough syrup. I also recommend buying these products in advance and giving very small amounts every so often to your fish. This way they’re used to the medication and will be willing to eat it when they actually need it.

If you have any questions, feel free to message me on our Facebook page and I’ll get back to you as fast as I possibly can!