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FAQs on Freshwater Worms of All Sorts, Disease/Health

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Camallanus Consequences? Something else?      10/3/15
Hi Crew! I hope you are all well! I'm hoping you can give me some advice.
I did have a good 5 weeks or so after the Camallanus outbreak in late July, the infestation stayed gone in the initial tank, none of the fish in my secondary tank were affected and everything seemed fine. However 2 weeks ago one of my beacon tetras started looking a bit wobbly in the water, head up/tail down and taking a lot more effort to try and maintain position.
This had actually happened once before, prior to the Camallanus incident, and that time I isolated the affected tetra in a breeder box (one of those 2 lt hang-on style ones) so she couldn't eat food when I wanted her to fast, and wouldn't have to fight a strong current etc. It was around a week maybe(?) but not long before she was visibly better oriented and buoyant
again in the breeder box so I put her back in the main tank, and she was seemingly fine.
I'm not sure if the more recent sick tetra was the same tetra as before, but definitely one of the newer ones that I got to keep my original beacon tetra company. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and within a day or two she had an almost complete loss of buoyancy. At this stage she was still able to swim but it was obviously very difficult and tiring so I isolated
her as before. The deterioration continued until she was laying on her side, completely disinterested or unable to eat food but from there she got no worse. She could still swim when disturbed or startled, and was quite vigorous, i.e. to the point of still being a challenge to catch her in a net, but after a burst of activity she would go back on her side again. Always the same side. Eventually the downwards side got a bit dirty and irritated looking so I tried propping the breeder box dividers diagonally so that she would at least be less on her side and a little more upright. The downward side looked a little red streaked so I tried some antibiotic which did clear that up. But the buoyancy issue never improved. I tried moving the tetra to a bigger hospital tank once the "bottom side" of the fish cleared up, and every now and then she would make the attempt to swim around and even seemed interested in food again. But by now, she had become very wasted and skinny, still couldn't swim well enough to aim for food, still ended up on her side most of the time and was starting to become permanently curled (away from the side touching the bottom of the tank). I suspected whatever swim bladder issue she had was now permanent and after 2+ weeks she was not getting any better so I decided it was time to euthanize her rather than let her linger on the bottom of the tank; I used clove oil. At this point my suspicion was that she had suffered some internal damage from the Camallanus infestation earlier on, since one of the beacons had a lot more worms than the others. Initially I was concerned that the floating pellets I'd been feeding (due to beacon tetras not eating anything in the bottom half of the tank, once a food item drops lower than half way they lose interest and won't chase the food) might have contributed but the progression looked much worse than constipation.
Nonetheless, I stopped feeding the floating pellets and have not used them again.
Anyway the reason I am writing is that today I have noticed another beacon tetra with the initial signs of swimming at an angle, struggling a bit to maintain buoyancy, and I am wondering if there is anything I could do differently to save this fish from ending up in the same condition as the one I euthanized.
<Other than standard "good care"; I know of nothing>
Alternatively, does any of this sound like an untreatable tetra disease and should I be removing affected fish and doing anything to treat the tank they are in?
<If this were a commercial purpose... breeding facility; I don't doubt that such fish would be removed, destroyed summarily>
The tank currently has beacon tetras, rosy barbs, guppies and danios. Is it possible that it is dietary related?
<Mmm; wouldn't other fishes be affected similarly? Ans.: I doubt it is dietary>
The fish get a variety of food (not all at once) - community frozen food, frozen brine shrimp, chopped frozen mysis shrimp (thawed before use), Spirulina + other stuff pellets, sinking shrimp pellets, mashed pea occasionally, and very occasionally flake food. Plus the barbs constantly pick at duckweed. I've been worried about overfeeding so once or twice a week I only feed very lightly or not at all. It is hard to tell whether the beacon tetras are getting enough food though because they are a little more shy than the barbs/danios, I try to get around this by feeding at both ends of the tank at once so the feeding frenzy isn't all in the one place.
<Your careful observation is the best assessment tool here>
The current parameters in that tank are: GH 8 KH 5 pH 7.8 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate somewhere between 20-40 (a little higher than I'd like).
<I'd keep under 20 ppm. See WWM re control of NO3>
I've cleaned a lot of gunk out of the filter today and did another water change (I'd done one earlier this week), I'm going to go back to de-gunking the filter every time I do a water change instead of every second time since I think that experiment contributed to the current high nitrate level.
Anyway you've helped me a lot in the past and I realise that there might be no clear or easy answer this time but please let me know if anything obvious stands out that I could try or that I should be wary of.
<Nothing jumps out...>
Thanks for your help and advice!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Free Living Nematodes Dangerous to Humans?  6/26/12
Hi There.  I am working on eradicating a free living white nematode population in my freshwater snail tank.  My questions is: Are they dangerous to humans?  I'm usually quite careful to wear gloves when I clean the tank, but today some tank water (with nematodes in it) splashed on my leg.  I shave my legs, so I might have some microscopic cuts. 
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
<I very much doubt there is, or will be an issue here. Human parasitic Roundworm issues are principally a matter of ingestion (eating, drinking)... the few burrowing types (e.g. swimmer's itch) involve being in infested water for extended time... I would not worry. Bob Fenner>
Re: Free Living Nematodes Dangerous to Humans?  6/26/12

Thanks Bob.  I appreciate your quick response!
<Ahh... we don't post our "classes attended" to our bio.s on WWM, but I had two semesters of Parasitology and some related med. classes (e.g. histology), and have had an earnest interest in such matters in the intervening decades. IF you are truly concerned, I would consult w/ a (likely tropical) medicine specialist. Cheers, BobF>

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