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FAQs on Freshwater Worm (Flukes, Roundworms...) Parasitic Diseases 1

Related Articles: Nematodes, Flatworms, Anchor Worms and Other Worm Parasites of Freshwater Fish by Neale Monks, Freshwater DiseasesFW Disease Troubleshooting, Ich/White Spot Disease, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Invertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks,

Related FAQs: Worm Parasites 2, Freshwater Worms, Worm Parasites 2, Freshwater Worms, (Freshwater Worms of All Kinds) & FAQs on: FW Worm Disease Diagnosis/Identification, FW Worm Disease Treatments, & FAQs on Parasitic Worms by Group: Platyhelminths/Flatworms: ( Flukes, Planaria, Tapeworms and Leeches), Acanthocephalans, Nematodes/Roundworms (e.g. Camallanus),... Anchor "Worms": See FW Crustacean Parasitic Disease, & Aquarium MaintenanceFreshwater MedicationsFreshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish ParasitesAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid DiseaseIch/White Spot Disease,

Salt- Koi- Goldfish... and Anchorworm evidently, maybe Leeches as well   8/5/08 Dear WetWeb Crew, Could someone there tell me the correct amount of salt to use for medicinal purposes-salt bathes. My Koi and Gold fish have a parasite on them. It looks like a barb or needle sticking out of the base of the dorsal fin. Also how long should I leave them in the salt solution. I would greatly appreciate your help. Thanks for your time. John. <The following is a table modified from "The Interpet Manual of Fish Health", a useful little book: --- 0.1% (1 gramme per litre): General additive for livebearers or in tanks where fish show physical damage (i.e., lesions, fin damage). Use in the aquarium. 0.3% (3 g/l): Reduces nitrite toxicity or to treat physical damage. Use in the aquarium. 0.3-0.5% (3-5 g/l): To control Hydra. Use in the aquarium for no more than 5 to 7 days, then change water to gradually reduce salinity. 1% (10 g/l): To treat ulcer disease on coldwater fish. Acclimate fish gradually and then reduce salinity gradually once fish are cured. 2-3% (20-30 g/l): To remove leeches from pond fish. Use as a bath, with fish put into bath for 15-30 minute dips. --- In your case, it sounds like you have leeches or anchor worm. Salt dips will certainly deal with leeches, but anchor worms will need a specific treatment of some sort. Salt won't help because the free-living stages are in the water column, so even if the adults are killed, another generation of anchor worms will find their way onto your fish. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/contrpdparasit.htm Your local pond supplier may well have a variety of other treatments available. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy question, dis.  8/2/08 Hello, Last night I noticed that my female guppy had a bunch of orange lumpy stuff protruding from her backside. I assume these are eggs? <Nope. Guppies are livebearers.> They aren't coming off though. They're "stuck" on her. I put her in a breeding container in the tank to keep the other fish from picking at her, but what can I do for her? She's not eating, but doesn't seem to be in pain. Please help! <Without a photo, can't be 100% sure, but I wonder if this is actually a Camallanus worm infection? These look like reddish threads protruding from the anus. Treatment is using a worm-killing medication such as Levamisole, Piperazine or Praziquantel (sold under brands like Prazi Pro). http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwwormdisfaqs.htm > THANKS!! Tara <Cheers, Neale.>

Possible Camallanus worm infestation  5/22/08 Dear WetWebMedia Crew: <Allyson> I have a 20 gallon freshwater tank, (originally with an angelfish, <Need more room than this> 4 platies, 2 mollies and 4 white cloud minnows) and am having fish die at the rate of about 1 per month (getting thin, listless, then refusing to eat, and then dying). Since the water parameters were good, I thought it might be a parasite infection and gave a couple of doses on Jungle Parasite Clear (fizzy tank tabs with Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole and Acriflavine), <Good shot gun approach here> but it didn't help. I am now down to the angelfish, 1 platy and 3 minnows. I did email WetWebMedia a couple of months ago and Bob Fenner kindly suggested a good aquarist in my area since I live in San Diego. They were very helpful and suggested that the fish might have been weakened by the extreme hardness of our water and I started to used deionized water. No luck. Over the past week I have noticed tiny, red, stick-like things protruding from the anus of my angelfish, whom I have had almost a year; he is otherwise behaving normally. A WWM search causes me to believe I have a Camallanus worm infestation <Agreed... very likely> and I went to the aquatic suppliers and they have sold me Metronidazole, along with polymer to help bind the medication to the food, and a garlic additive to make it taste palatable. Is this the correct medication? <Mmm, no... need a vermifuge... not a protozoacide> Your site suggested Levamisole, Piperazine or Praziquantel, <Yes> but if you think that the Metronidazole will also work, <... no> I will start using it. I don't want to weaken the fish by giving them the wrong medicine, especially since they are all behaving normally (for now) Thanks so much for your help and your great site, Allyson <See WWM re Camallanus... Vermifuges-anthelminthics... Bob Fenner>
Re: possible Camallanus worm infestation 05/23/08
Dear Bob: <Allyson> Thanks so much for your reply, especially since you seem to be on a different continent. Was loathe to pester WWM about his but I really want a healthy tank. This is so frustrating; I actually did read the faq on Camallanus (the whole thing, very carefully) prior to going to the fish store (Aquatic Warehouse fyi) with the information from your site in hand. The staff swore up and down that the Seachem Metronidazole was the right medicine. I will go back and try again. <Please do...> I am sorry to hear that my 20 gal tank is not big enough for my beloved angelfish, I do have an aquarium book, and did do some compatibility research before buying him/her, as well as asking in the fish store (specialty shop, not big box place) if it would be a good choice. I am trying very hard to buy appropriate livestock and maintain the tank properly, but it is becoming a disheartening endeavor. I am not used to creatures under my care dying. My half- barrel water gardens have platies in them which breed like crazy, and I do nothing but top up the water and put in a little dechlorinator, yet the pampered indoor aquarium is a death trap! <Mmmm...> Thanks again, and I will let you know how things turn out, Allyson Mira Mesa, San Diego <Please do... ! We live off Menkar Rd... 92126... on the Penasquitos Cyn. BobF>

Molly Question 03/26/2008 Hi I've got a 160ltr tank which has been going for about 10 months now, it's got mollies, platys, Endler's and guppies in it. I've had a issue before with platy's dying from the skinnies, but I've never had a problem with mollies before until now. <What's the "Skinnies"?> I have 6 second generation marble mollies, and over the last few days they have been feeling poorly with the shimmers and tail fin clamping. Today they seem much better, they are swimming around happily, eating and I haven't seen a shimmer in over 24 hours. <Do check temperature and salinity, both key factors with Mollies. Given you're keeping all livebearers together, adding salt to this tank is easy and safe. I'd be going with 6 grammes per litre of water, and use MARINE SALT MIX, not "aquarium salt". The Mollies will be altogether healthier in every way, and the other livebearers will appreciate the extra alkalinity. If you have a hydrometer, what you're aiming for is a specific gravity of SG 1.003.> However on 3 of them I've noticed what appear to be 2 red spikes coming out of them. It's not fecael matter, it's different to that, one of them it's coming from it's anus, but the other two has it coming from higher up their bodies towards their stomachs. Is this a normal thing? I've never seen it before. <These are Camallanus worms, seemingly quite common among livebearers in both the US and UK. So I'm guessing there's an issue here with breeding and transport. In any case, you need an anti-helminth medication. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwwormdisfaqs.htm > I'm sorry if I'm being really stupid about this, I've have raised them since birth and I really don't want to lose them now! <Indeed!> Any help would be appreciated. Annabel <Cheers, Neale.>

What is best treatment for flukes in goldfish?  3/26/08 Hello, I was wondering what your recommendations are for treating body flukes in goldfish at least I think that's what they are. I have noticed from time to time that my goldfish will quickly rub themselves on aquarium decorations. <This could be a variety of things, not just flukes. Whitespot/Ick often manifests itself as scratching behaviour. Rapid changes in pH will also cause this behaviour. So you need to be a bit more open minded, or at least look for other symptoms that might pin down the problem> At one time I put in Live Bearer by Aquarium Products and that seemed to stop their behavior, but unfortunately I can't find it anymore in the local pet stores. <Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm > I mainly want something that I can use as a preventative and not have to take out the carbon in my filter, etc. <Treating with a "preventative" is counter productive, and says more about how we sometimes view healthcare than what is actually useful. Most medications cause some degree of stress or harm to fish, and in some cases some fish simply get killed by them (loaches and copper-based medication is the classic example). So you need to use medications only when absolutely necessary. Instead focus on REAL preventative medicine, i.e., quarantining new livestock, providing a balanced diet, and ensuring good water quality. As for removing carbon, you need to replace carbon every month for it to do any good, so removing it for treatment purposes shouldn't be a chore. I don't feel that carbon serves ANY useful purpose in a freshwater tank; 50% weekly water changes will do a much better job of removing those pesky dissolved organics, and will also keep the nitrate down and prevent pH swings! Just say NO to carbon!> Thanks Sharon <Cheers, Neale.>

Camallanus woes  2/14/08 Dear WetWebMedia Crew, <Kim> Before I present my problem, I would like to thank you so much for your informative website. I have learned so much from reading it and owe a lot to all your efforts. Please bear with me for this long question - I just want to be thorough! <Be so> First off, I suppose I should describe my setup. I have a 90 gallon planted freshwater tank with a 30 gallon sump and a 1.5 gallon hang-on refugium. Filtration is provided by an Eheim Pro II 2028. For lighting, I have 4x65 watt PC. I use pressurized CO2 and maintain it at about 20-30 ppm; my pH varies between about 6.8 and 7.0. I keep the tank at 77-78 ºF. The ammonia and nitrites have always been zero, though I have had spikes with my latest problems, which I have been combating with frequent water changes. For my plants' benefit, I keep phosphates at about 1 ppm and nitrates at about 10 ppm. As for livestock, I have 3 /Gold Gouramis/, 4 /Botia Dario, //1 Bushy-Nose Pleco, about 20 Cardinal Tetras, about 15 Cherry Barbs, 6 Corydoras trilineatus//, 6 Corydoras aeneus//, 6 Kuhlii loaches, 1 Betta, 2 Bamboo Shrimp, wildly reproducing Cherry Shrimp (which I love), wildly reproducing snails (which I don't love, hence the Botia// loaches), and 4 dwarf African-clawed frogs. It is landscaped with rocks, large pieces of driftwood, and lush vegetation./ /Whew! Well, on to my problem. Despite carefully quarantining all my livestock, a few months ago I started having a few fish die with no apparent cause. After close inspection and research (and the observation of red worms protruding from the anuses of some fish), I realized they had Camallanus// infection. I read a paper from "Aquarium Sciences and Conservation" by Arne Levsen titled "Transmission ecology and larval behaviour of Camallanus cotti// (Nematoda, Camallanidae) under aquarium conditions". From this article and further Internet research I determined the proper course of treatment would be 2 mg/L Levamisole. I tried capturing just the fish that had evidence of Camallanus// and moving them to my hospital tank, but I just kept seeing more and more fish with it, and realized that the unthinkable (treating my display tank) might be the best option. In the aforementioned article, it seemed that Camallanus //would persist in an environment without fish for up to 40 days, and since it would probably be very difficult to even find and remove all my fish, my options seemed limited. <This is so> I read further on Levamisole and found aquarists agreed that it wouldn't harm my plants or invertebrates. So, I got enough injectable Levamisole phosphate from my veterinarian for the first treatment; and so began the rollercoaster called my water parameters. As directed, I administered the medication, kept the lights dark for 24 ours, then began massive water changes (>70%). The first treatment resulted in several fish dying (which I expected - I assume they perished from intestinal impactions of dead Camallanus//). I continued regular water changes for the next two weeks as my phosphate went through the roof (>> 10ppm, presumably from the Levamisole *phosphate*), and the nitrites went up to as high as 0.5 ppm (I don't know why - something must have been dying, but I don't know what!). Per the article and others' suggestions, I siphoned the substrate as best I could, but much of it is inaccessible from the plants and landscaping./ /I have done two more treatments since then (but switched to Levamisole hydrochloride to avoid the phosphate spike), all two weeks apart. From what I've read, 2 treatments is usually sufficient, but I am up to three and am still seeing a few Camallanus// in the cherry barbs. <These may be dead...> For the most part, the treatment has worked very well, as I have watched many of my other fish, including the Betta, Pleco, and Corys, clear up. Nonetheless, I know that "mostly cleared" translates to "they'll be back", and I'm losing confidence that further repeated treatments will yield success. Do you folks have any suggestions as to how to clear up this infection once and for all? Sorry again for the length, I just didn't want to leave out any relevant details./ /Thank you so much for your time. And keep up the great work!/ /-Kim/ <After the third treatment with Levamisole, I would wait a few (three) days, execute another summary water change, vacuuming... This treatment succession should "do it". If the worms persist, I would continue with another vermifuge: Fenbendazole, or Flubendazole. Unfortunately, the popular Prazi/quantel has not proven efficacious. Bob Fenner>

Sick fish and some sort of parasites 10/25/07 Hello. How is everything? I am once again, in need of your guidance. I have a 55 gallon tank with 2 great filters. I have 3 adult mollies, (5) 3 month old mollies, 2 dwarf gouramis (male and female), and 7 adult mm platies and (2) 3 month mm platies. My tank is 6 months old and is well established. On Saturday 10/20/07 I cleaned the tank out and scrubbed the walls of it. There was some sort of white almost microscopic worms all over it. Where could this come from??? I use algae tablets and clean the walls every Saturday. I noticed last night my molly with a beautiful tail has fin rot, so I began treatment last night with some medicine. Maracyn. I removed carbon from filters. This morning the white skurmmyworm things are BACK....and are everywhere. Any advise. and 2 of my mm platies are covered in slime...so they going to die Melissa <Hi Melissa. The worms are either free-living nematodes (thread worms) or free-living planarians (flatworms). In either case, they're harmless. But they are an indication that your tank has a lot of organic material lying about, because that's what they eat. In a clean tank, these worms are simply not a problem. So, given your other problems, I'd worry less about the worms and more about the water quality. Mollies and Platys are both sensitive to water quality, and Finrot and Fungus, the problems you have, are caused directly by poor water quality. Have you checked the nitrite and ammonia levels in your aquarium? These need to be zero. Furthermore, Mollies have very little tolerance for nitrate, so nitrate needs to be less than 20 mg/l. Regardless, "cleaning" an aquarium has very little to do with scrubbing the glass. Indeed, tanks that are covered in algae and look messy can have superb water quality. Conversely, plenty of superficially clean aquaria have terrible water quality. So, make sure you are doing all the basics: Don't clean the filter too often, and when you do (maybe once every 2-3 months) do no more than rinse the media in a bucket of aquarium water. Don't waste your filter space with carbon; instead, fill it with biological media. Sponge, filter wool and ceramic media all work great. Make sure you do regular water changes. 25-50% per week is a good amount. You tank isn't heavily stocked, so you should be fine keeping these fish. One last thing: Mollies do much better in brackish or salt water than they do in freshwater. Adding 4-6 grammes of marine salt mix per litre makes all the difference. If you absolutely must keep your Mollies in freshwater, it is ESSENTIAL that the water is spotlessly clean (zero ammonia and nitrite, and minimal nitrate) and that the carbonate hardness is very high (at least 8-10 degrees KH). Otherwise, keeping Mollies becomes an uphill struggle against disease. Platies tolerate slightly brackish water very well, as will most other livebearers. But Dwarf Gouramis not so much. For now, you need to treat your fish with a combination Finrot/Fungus medication; Maracyn should do the trick. Do make sure you remove carbon before using it though. Lots of people forget this critical step, and wonder why their fish medications never work! Once you're done, remember: Fish are basically very healthy and trouble-free animals -- provided you give them the water conditions they want! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick fish and some sort of parasites 10/25/07 I should have mentioned that everything is reading PERFECT. Zero ammonia and zero nitrate. The pH is 7.0....I really don't know what is wrong. I am using Maracyn powder packets with carbon removed. How do I get rid of these little white worm things. They are really grossin' me out and are very unattractive. They have multiplied very fast. Also.....my mollies had a ton of babies......they are doing well it seems.....and have been in the tank for about 4 days. Thank you so so much for all your time <Well, for a start, pH 7 is way too low for livebearers, so that's likely a problem. What this pH says is that your water likely lacks mineral content. When keeping livebearers, the general hardness (dH) and carbonate hardness (KH) are the keys to good health. Test the water and find out. You want at least 5 degrees KH, 12 degrees dH, and ideally above 10 degrees KH, 20 degrees dH if you want your Mollies to do well. Nice and hard water should have a pH around 7.5-8.0. There are two approaches here. Firstly, you can add Malawi salts to the water each time you do a water change. Malawi salts are NOT tonic salts. Malawi salts are added to the water like tonic salts though, and once dissolved into the bucket of water will raise the hardness very effectively. A 50% dose relative to what you need for Malawi cichlids should be fine, so if the box says it'll treat 100 litres, it'll do 200 litres in your aquarium. Alternatively, you add crushed coral to a filter. As the water washes past the crushed coral it will absorb hardness minerals. Likely every month you'll need to clean this crushed coral because bacterial slime makes it ineffective over time. So compared with adding Malawi salts this is "cheap and cheerful" but a little more work. It goes without saying that while all livebearers like "rock hard" water, not all other tropical fish do, so you need to choose tankmates with care. This is why you have to research fish before buying them. But please understand this: if your water chemistry is too soft and acidic for livebearers (which it seems to be) they will never stay healthy. Simple as that. Do you know anything about gardening? It's like trying to grow heather in an alkaline soil: the plant wants an acid soil, so however much you try to help the heather, it'll just die. As for the worms -- their numbers are directly proportional to the food in the tank available to eat. Cut back on the food you give your fish, and remove uneaten food at once, and Mother Nature will take care of their numbers! They'll die back gradually. Really, these worms aren't a problem, and in a stable, properly maintained aquarium you hardly ever see them. Cheers, Neale>

Camallanus...   12/16/07 Hi Crew! <Hello Audrey,> How are you? I'm better. I've done some research again, and this time, I really found interesting information. I must not have been using the right keywords when I last searched... In any case, it is reassuring. I have work to do before I get any more fish, but at least I have a clear path in front of me... finally! <Good-o.> Our last Molly died yesterday. This is the 8th fish we've lost to Camallanus worms. Our LFS sells infested fish (they should know better, and we'll work on educating them). We've learned to recognize the look of infested fish, and at least a third of their Mollies are way too thin. Of course, we do know better now, but we had to learn the hard way. <A tough lesson. Mollies are one of the more abused species of fish in the hobby. A shame really, because they're among my favourites.> Neale commented that he's never had problems with Camallanus during one of our previous correspondences. My reading leads me to believe that these infestations are becoming more common, especially in livebearers, due to the poor conditions in which those fish are raised (somewhat like the Dwarf Gourami or Neon Tetra disease). It is likely to become more common in the next few years, so you would do well to read on the subject before the wave hits. <I agree. I also think some diseases have a geographical spread. Most of the Mollies in the US hobby come from Florida, as I understand it, and perhaps Florida fish farms have a particular problem with Camallanus. In the same way as the highest incidence of Dwarf Gourami viral diseases seems to be Singapore.> The Camallanus worm is a nematode. I've seen Praziquantel recommended for treating this numerous times. It is what Bob usually recommends. <<Mmm, my thought here re: am hopeful of the host fishes surviving the parent infestation, and killing the released intermediates... Too much chance of killing hosts with other cpd.s...RMF>>  However, there are few success stories with this treatment on the Internet. It didn't work for me, but that might be due to the size of my fish more than the treatment itself. In any case, the only really effective medicine seems to be Levamisole, used as a cattle wormer (often pigs, but also goats and such), or sold as a bird wormer in some pet stores/vet supply stores. It's harder to obtain because it's now used as an immune system stimulant in humans, for example for people undergoing chemotherapy. It's apparently safe for fish, inverts, plants and filter bacteria, and near impossible to overdose. <My reading of anti-worming medications and fish is that there are basically two sorts, ones that irritate/spasm the intestine causing the worm to be expelled (e.g., Levamisole), and ones that kill the worm directly (e.g., Flubenol 15). Both can work well, but smaller fish are said to run a greater risk of being stressed/killed by the first sort before the worms are expelled.> Even with the Levamisole, treatment doesn't always work. Especially in small fish, sometimes the worms can't be expelled and rot inside the fish, causing infection, bloat and eventual death. Those worms also tend to cause internal damage, which might also kill fish after a few weeks. During treatment, it seems the best thing to do is feed things like brine shrimp, which help pass the blockage. Epsom salts might also help somewhat. And, of course, vacuum aggressively and change a lot of water (100% often recommended). Finally, most treatments don't kill eggs, and it takes about two weeks for eggs to hatch, so the treatment needs to be repeated every two weeks several times before it can get rid of all traces of the worms. <Agreed.> I was going to write an article on my findings, but there is no need. There are at least two excellent pages on the subject available on the Internet, and multiple forums. The trick is to search with the right spelling (Camallanus, but you can also try Camallanus, and there are some relevant pages where it's written Callamanus). <I'd have thought many fishkeeping magazines would appreciate some insight into this tricky problem. As I've said earlier, it isn't one I've had to deal with thus far, so I've certainly found your observations interesting.> The first is here http://inkmkr.com/Fish/CamallanusTreatment/. It links to an excellent article as well as a page with pictures. If you're not sure of your diagnosis, take a look at those pics. You'll have no doubt after this. Also, if you decide to go the Levamisole way, read this page http://www.loaches.com/disease-treatment/levamisole-hydrochloride-1. I'm sending you pics of one of my small Mollies that went the bloat way. It's an excellent illustration of the pinecone scales, for those who are wondering if their fish is pineconed or not. It's also a nice picture of a Camallanus-infested fish. I hope the files are not too big. If they are, let me know, I'll resend. <Informative photos; thanks for sharing.> I hope this helps. We've been battling this for months, and this is our first aquarium too. This has been very discouraging. I hope our trials can serve in helping others who face the same problem. <Sometimes that's the best you can hope for!> Thank you! <And thank you for sharing. Cheers, Neale.>

 Lernaeids? RMF would like to see this under a 'scope.

Newbie /anchor worms and Camallanus worms, FW   12/12/07 Dear Crew, First let me apologize in advance for any posting errors. I have never posted anything before. I have read just about everything I could find on your site and the web, and still haven't found a clear answer to my question. <Welcome> My eight year old son and I are relative newbies to freshwater aquariums, but we are learning fast. Several months ago, we got a 5 gallon aquarium, with one live dwarf Amazon sword plant. We have a small under gravel filter from our previous 2 gallon tank, a small heater and a corner box filter, air pump (suitable for up to 10 gallon tanks). There is a tiny snail, which I have only seen once. I assume it came with the plant, and I don't know if it is still alive. After a couple of weeks we got 1 fancy guppy. We had him about three weeks, and then got another guppy and an Otocinclus. We did not quarantine (a lesson which I have since learned), I also learned about water testing around this time. Within a couple of days, the new guppy died of fin and tail rot, and the Oto had ich. I treated the tank with MelaFix and malachite green. <Better to simply elevate temperature here.> The Oto struggled with ich off and on for several weeks, and eventually died. Throughout all this, the original guppy appeared healthy. As I learned about water testing during this time, we have been at ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 2.5-5, ph 7.6-8.0. now for several weeks. We waited several more weeks, before attempting to get any more fish, and on 11/24/07 decided to get 2 more Otos to help with the algae. <Mmm, I would not place Otocinclus in such a small volume, with such a high pH... better to seek out other means of algae control. Posted on WWM> They are currently quarantined, and so far appear healthy. The day we brought home the new Otos, I discovered a parasite hanging off the side off the guppy. After investigating on line, I am sure it was an anchor worm. I removed the box filter/charcoal and I started to treat with Jungle Parasite Clear, which said it was good for anchor worms <... but adults, on host fish/es... must need be physically removed...> and would not harm the plant like CopperSafe. The anchor worm fell off, leaving a gaping wound in the side of the guppy. Despite this, he continued to eat and was active. A few days later, several red worms protruded from his anus, and one from the gaping hole in his side. After more searching on line, I am sure from the photos I have seen on line that he had Camallanus worms. <Mmm... no... these Nematodes are stark white, round in cross section... Likely what you are seeing are other/new Anchorworms...> I continued to treat with the Jungle Parasite Clear which contains Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole, and Acriflavine. <Mmm... none of these will treat for, kill Lernaeids... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcrustdisfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs file above on Organophosphate Use> This appeared to have no effect on the worms, and the fish has now finally died (whether from the worms or the wound). So my basic questions are these? <Likely crustacean... Anchorworms> What do I treat the tank with to ensure anchor worms (which I know is not a worm) and Camallanus worms (theoretically they have a 30 day life cycle) are gone (since the Jungle Parasite Clear didn't appear to treat the worms)? <Not worms... just appear worm-like> What is safe for the plant? <Please read the above...> Is the snail an intermediary host? <Mmm, no> How long do I need to wait, keeping in mind I have 2 Otos in quarantine, waiting for all the algae in the tank. Do I need to take down the whole set up and sterilize and start over? <Mmm, possibly the best approach here now> If so, how? <See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnaqfaqs.htm> How do I keep the bacteria going in the tank since there are now no fish in there? <They will be there> Thank you in advance for your advice. I have learned much from your site. I wanted to introduce my son to the pleasures of an aquarium, and all he has seen so far is a bunch of parasites and sick fish. I realize we have just a tiny set up, but I had an aquarium when I was growing up, and I wanted him to have the same pleasure it gave me. I'd just like to get the new Otos settled. We know the 1 inch per gallon of water rule, so we know we can only have a few small fish, but we want them to be healthy, happy fish. Thanks again for your help. Vida <Thank you for writing so well... Clearly and completely. I want to state, make it known to you that the difficulties you and your animals are suffering are not of your origination... The livestock you have received has been infested, compromised... and not easily cured by anyone's efforts. I would either bleach-wash and start over here, moving the water from the Quarantine along with the Otocinclus... and feed carefully till the system is established. Otherwise, Clout (tm), Fluke Tabs (tm), other DTHP or Dimilin containing pesticide can be added... Do please write back if you have further concerns, issues. Bob Fenner>

Re: newbie /anchor worms and Camallanus worms  12/18/07 Mr. Fenner, <Vida> Thank you for your prompt reply. I think I will take every thing down and bleach it out. Is there any way to save the plant? <Yes... can be peremptorily dipped/bathed in an alum and water solution... See WWM, the Net re> We like having a live plant as opposed to plastic. Likewise, how does one safely add new live plants, as I realize they can introduce parasites? <Rare, but yes... most all that is wet can/may> If we are starting all over, we will probably add another plant or two, and definitely don't want to introduce any new parasites. The Otos in quarantine appear healthy and thriving, and my son would like them in the tank. Here are some photo links, which show the photos why I believe the fish had Camallanus. This looked very different from the anchor worm on its side, and definitely appeared to be multiple red worms in the anus. They would pull in and appear much shorter at some times than at others. The anchor worm did not do this, it was the same until it fell off and left the wound on the side of the fish. My husband, who has a background in biology and a PhD in genetics, also felt that the organisms protruding from the anus were Camallanus and not the same as the anchor worm. http://www.inkmkr.com/Fish/CamallanusTreatment/experience.html http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/2897/parasiteen0.jpg http://www.gaem.it/pubblico/articoli/malattiepesci/Camallanus/camallanus03.jpg <I must commend you on your photographs. Some are very nice indeed... These do appear to be Nematodes... reddish from feeding likely> I had tried elevating the temperature of the tank to between 85-90 degrees (normally it is at 76 degrees) and adding a small amount of aquarium salt for the ich, but was conservative with this because of the plant and the Oto. The pH of the aquarium was running 7.2-7.6 before treating with the Jungle Parasite Clear. I suspect some component of the medication fizzy tab has increased the pH. <Possibly...> Thank you again for your assistance. Vida <Thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

"Feeder" use in establishing cycling, nematode?  10/2/07 Dear WWM Crew, <Kathryn> I have two platys and a swordtail in my new aquarium and it is just about done cycling (nitrite .25 and consistently dropping, ammonia 0). The fish have all been doing well for about a month now <... they've been in this system while it's cycling? Not good> , except for a little feeder fish that died this morning. <A comet goldfish? Other minnow? Feeder livebearer? Frequent, make that almost-without-exception vectors of parasitic and infectious disease...> (The feeder fish was provided to me by the pet store as a way of establishing bacteria <Not a suggested method... your system is likely infested...> and he survived so I kept him.) When I removed him from the tank, I found that his stomach was blown out and that there was a long, white, string-like object hanging from the opening in his body. (see picture). <Mmm, perhaps a nematode... could be the GI tract...> He had been stuck to the filter intake. I am wondering if what I am seeing is his intestines or a parasite. (If it is intestines, I am puzzled at the stomach rupture, the filter is a whisper filter designed for 5-15 gallon tanks.) I am hoping you can help me figure out what happened because I want to protect my platys and swordtail. Here is some background: For a few days nitrate levels were spiking faster than daily 50% water changes and salt could remedy, and I was doing multiple changes a day to help alleviate the stress but despite my efforts, the feeder fish started acting strangely. His gills darkened, on one side noticeable more so than the other, and he began to swim on his side and on his back, sometimes totally unable to right himself. I imagined this might be related to organ damage caused by nitrite poisoning, as levels nitrate levels had reached a 1.5 ppm at the worst. <Way past toxic> Prior to this behavior, he had been a very hearty and active fish. Once the strange swimming pattern began, he lasted about 48 hours. The only other out-of-the usual condition in the fish tank so far as I can tell is that my swordtail dropped a few fry, all of which disappeared before I could run to the store to get a separate tank for them. This also happened right before the feeder fish started acting strangely. I appreciate any insight you can offer! Thanks! Kathryn <Wish you had read here first: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Re: "Feeder" use in establishing cycling, nematode?  10/3/07 Hi Bob, Thanks for your response. Shortly after starting to notice stress in my fish, I actually did a lot of reading on the nitrogen cycle and realized that the pet store misguided me in letting me purchase so many fish before cycling was complete. <All too common> Accordingly, I have been adding salt, been on reduced feeding schedule, and doing very frequent water changes to try to remedy the situation. Hence, the tank is nearly fully cycled and the fish are well (Except for the one in question). The problem I am really concerned about at this point is, if this was a parasite (perhaps a nematode, as you suggested), are there measures that I can take to prevent my other fish from dying. <Mmm, possibly... there are anthelminthics... that are relatively safe, effective, specific... Prazi... quantel... -pro... might be administered> If it is the fish's GI tract, do you have any ideas of what might have caused it to be coming out of the fishes body? <Prolapse possibly... the tract of cyprinids however is much longer... coiled inside... Do you have a microscope? A cross-section near the "head" end (hard to discern which is which) should reveal a tri-radiate esophagus in the buccal region if so> If it is some how related to nitrite poisoning, that situation is now under control. <But the residual damage...> If there is something else going on though, I want to make sure I take care of it. I haven't found much literature to explain rupturing fish bellies. Thanks again! Kathryn <Mmm, not much to refer to here... in the popular literature or online. BobF>

Gourami with worms-- 09/17/07 Good afternoon. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I have found much information on my problem but I'm still not sure exactly which action to take. I have a planted 75 gallon FW tank. About 2 months ago I had a Rainbowfish that had a swim bladder problem that turned out to be a very bad case of worms. It happened right after I got back from a long weekend to find out that my fish sitter didn't notice the filter had stopped running. I was unable to save him using PraziPro. I was concerned that the entire tank might have a problem but didn't want to overreact so I did not treat the tank. <Ah, your first mistake: you MUST treat the tank wherever communicable diseases are suspected. Used properly, medications pose no risk to your fish, filter, or plants.> Fast forward to last week and I had a breeder net in to try and save some Cory cat eggs. They didn't hatch but I did see worms on the netting after about 3 days. <Those wouldn't be intestinal worms. If anything, they're more likely to be planarians (flatworms). These are harmless as far as your fish go, being free-living scavengers, but they will eat eggs and to a lesser extent very small fry. Many ways to remove them, but the easiest is simply to keep some sort of fish that eats them, such as gouramis or Paradisefish.> I did a 25 gallon water change and treated the tank with PraziPro. Within 24 hours one of my gouramis had stringy white feces and stopped eating. The next morning his belly was a little swollen. I was hoping that he would be able to pass what I'm guessing must be worms. <Perhaps.> It has been 5 days now and he is in no better shape. He is not eating and I have not seen him pass anything since that first day. His belly is now very swollen this morning. <Because you've delayed treatment, the worms have become a worse problem. There's nothing you can really do except treat the tank and hope for the best. That said, worms by themselves don't normally cause dramatically rapid loss of health. Usually what you see is gradual emaciation of the body while the body cavity itself (sometimes) swells up abnormally. Bacterial infections are much more rapid, and tend not to be associated with gradual emaciation (though they can be) but more normally things like loss of colour, lethargic behaviour, loss of appetite, odd social behaviour, and so on.> I'm not sure that Epsom salt would work because from what I've read I think it must be a bacterial infection. <Likely won't make any difference. Epsom Salt is a muscle relaxant, and helps fix constipation, when coupled with extra fibre in the diet. It isn't a miracle cure.> The rest of the fish seem to have no issues from the treatment. Could you please tell me what direction I should take? <Re-dose the tank with anti-worming medication if you're sure its worms. Otherwise, assume its an internal bacterial infection, and use an antibiotic or antibacterial.> Other than taking care of him, is there anything else I should do to the tank? Should I remove the old plants or gravel? Should I treat with a second round of PraziPro for good measure? <Do a big water change to flush out any remaining medication, and then repeat the PraziPro or add the antibiotic/antibacterial as you decide is required. Unless stated to be safe, don't use two medications at the same time. As ever, remove carbon from the filter if you're using it.> Thank you for your time, Carol <Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: Gourami with worms-- 09/17/07 Neale, Thank you so much for the quick response. I truly don't know what to believe his problem is. Because he started passing the white stringy feces and started to swell after using the PraziPro should I assume it is worms? <Hmm... stringy faeces usually indicate bacterial or more often protozoan parasites. Hexamita is the classic example. PraziPro will do little/nothing to help here, since it's an anti-helminth drug. Erythromycin is a good starting place for internal bacteria, but Hexamita and other Protozoans will need other drugs, like Metronidazole. I think I'd tend to try the Metronidazole first, and see what happens. My gut feeling is this is a protozoan infection, but obviously without seeing the fish, I can't be sure. Worms, you see, are relatively uncommon in aquarium fish because they have complex life cycles that cannot usually complete in an aquarium or fish farm. By contrast protozoan gut parasites are quite common, and though usually harmless, under certain conditions become a problem.> I'm just not sure. What do you think is more likely due to the timing, worms or internal infection? If you believe it is an infection should I hospitalize and treat with Furan-2 or something else? <Unless you're treating for physical damage such that the fish needs to be isolated so it can rest or feed, it's usually a good idea to treat the fish AND the aquarium. For one thing, many fish get stressed when they're moved about, especially schooling fish. Also, it's likely anything that infected one fish has infected the others, even if it isn't currently doing any harm.> Thank you again for your time, Carol <Good luck, Neale>

Re: Gourami with worms-- 09/17/07 Neale, Thank you yet again for the quick response. I'm curious, is it possible that my Rainbowfish had a parasite and not worms? They came out of him everywhere (from under his scales & he vomited them for lack of a better term) when I started treatment with PraziPro. They looked like very short tan worms. They moved around quite a bit once out of the fish until they died. Bob Fenner had me treat him with Metronidazole first and it did not help him. So he had me try the PraziPro and that's when they started coming out of him. <Does indeed sound like worms of some sort.> For my current treatment the bottle suggests raising the temperature to 85 - 90 degrees for Cichlids and Discus. Should I do the same? <Yes, worth a shot, but raise the temperature a degree at a time per day, and don't go above 85 until you're sure everything is happy. Boost the aeration a bit, too.> Also, are there certain fish that can't have the Metronidazole? I also have frogs in this tank. <Don't know the answer to this. Should be fine, but keep an eye open for any odd behaviour and act accordingly.> Thanks, Carol <Good luck, Neale>

Help with internal parasites, again...  Mollies   9/1/07 Hello Crew! <Greetings.> I've had a few long chats with Tom about my Mollies with internal parasites. This has proven as hard to get rid of as ich and killed many fish. <Curious. My first question when people have problems with mollies is whether they are keeping them in freshwater or in brackish/marine conditions. In the former case they seem to me to be irredeemably delicate, and successful maintenance requires excellent (i.e., zero nitrate) water quality. In brackish/marine conditions mollies are basically indestructible. For me, it's a no-brainer: if you want to keep mollies with the minimum fuss, keep them at 25-100% seawater salinity (~SG 1.005-1.018). Ich/Whitespot cannot survive under such conditions, Finrot and fungal infections are extremely rare, and internal parasite "spores" (or whatever) cannot survive the saltwater conditions so cannot infect healthy fish.> It all started when we lost one small black balloon Molly, and then realized that her companion was getting way too thin and had the red worm-thing sticking out her anus. We tried Metronidazole and a variety of other medicines, but she died despite our frantic attempts at a cure. <Why did you use Metronidazole? That's a drug primarily for internal bacteria and to a less extent protozoan parasites. As far as I know, it has no effect on multicellular parasites such as worms. For those, you need something worm-specific (i.e., an anti-helminth drug) such as PraziPro or Sterazin.> So, when we got two new balloon Mollies, we treated them in the quarantine tank with PraziPro (which is supposed to be effective) before we let them join the two remaining healthy fish. We added them to our apparently unaffected two remaining bigger Mollies, who came from a different dealer (one orange male and one spotted female). We lost the male two weeks ago (within three days he stopped chasing the females, then one morning was lying at the bottom of the tank gasping, then he was dead, no symptoms of anything). My boyfriend just called to tell me the spotted female died today, and apparently she has this red worm-thing again. What's worse, one of the two living Mollies has a distended anus with some white tube-like stuff protruding. <This is a dumb question perhaps, but are you sure the problem here is worms? Parasitic worms generally don't cause quick deaths. What you tend to see is a gradual loss of condition or a failure to grow or put on weight. By their nature, most of these intestinal parasites have evolved not to kill the host outright, since they die when the host dies. Wild fish commonly carry a parasite load, but otherwise aren't harmed. Nine times out of ten, mollies die from nitrate poisoning, Finrot, fungal infections, or acidosis. This is especially true when the die "quickly". Gasping, for example, is a good sign of respiratory distress, which can be caused by poor water quality and a too-low pH. Just a reminder, mollies in freshwater conditions (if you're foolish enough to keep them thus) need three specific things: zero nitrate, pH 7.5-8.2, and hardness not less than 20 degrees dH. In brackish/marine conditions, the sodium chloride will detoxify the nitrate so that isn't an issue, and the other salts in the marine salt mix will raise the pH and hardness automatically. Please note that "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt" won't do anything other than mitigate the nitrate, so are a greatly inferior product when keeping mollies.> He's moving them to our quarantine/treatment tank as we speak and will start treating with PraziPro again. Should I also give them Metronidazole? I know they can be mixed, but it's not supposed to be super effective against those kinds of parasites. In any case, I'll follow your advice. <PraziPro yes, Metronidazole no. As a rule, unless a qualified animal healthcare professional has said otherwise, you should NEVER mix medications. The synergies between two or more drugs are unknown, and potentially lethal. But more importantly, sit down and review your water conditions and chemistry. If you're keeping your mollies in freshwater, please understand that you will always be fighting to keep them healthy. It's just the way it is with mollies. While they are certainly freshwater fish in the wild, in aquaria they just don't do well kept thus. Spend any time reviewing the livebearer e-mails here, or postings on fish forums, and you'll see that there are always bucket-loads of messages about sick mollies.> Now, the only remaining animals in the tank are a Nerite snail and two Amano shrimp (maybe a few Cherry shrimp too but we haven't seen them in a while). <Ah, now the good news here is both Amano shrimps and Nerite snails are salt-tolerant, so you can raise the salinity of the tank to SG 1.003-1.005 without problems, should you choose to do so.> Do I need to treat the main tank to ensure that all parasites are gone? The fish are apparently reinfecting each other, and I want to ensure that they don't get sick again when I put them in the main tank. Do I need to leave the aquarium fallow? If so, how long? Do I hunt the shrimp and move them out, then treat the whole tank? Help! <Yes, you need to treat the tank. Yes, you will probably need to remove the shrimps, as they tend to be sensitive to medications.> Do I need to treat the Betta and his Eclipse III too? He used to be in the same aquarium as the Mollies, he might have been exposed... <Probably not, unless you see some symptoms.> I know many people say that healthy fish "strike a balance" with their internal parasites and live in apparent health for years with them. This hasn't proven true for me, those are nasty little bugs (and tough too, after a week of PraziPro the worm was still hanging on) and I'd be extremely glad to be rid of them, once and for all. <My suspicion is that you're dealing with mollies that are fundamentally stressed, and the worms are at best an "excuse" for them to wave a little white flag and give up.> Those have to be from the LFS, and they must have lived for months with the things in their digestive systems without showing any signs, since we haven't given them anything else but Nori, flakes, sinking pellets and bits of corn for about a month. They also get frozen bloodworms, and occasionally brine shrimp, but they're both Hikari brand that's supposed to be well sterilized. <The foods you list should be fine. Do bear in mind mollies are primarily herbivores, and the ratio of green to meaty foods should be of the order 80% to 20%. In fact, feeding them exclusively on vegetable-based fish foods (livebearer flake, Spirulina flake, algae pellets) would be entirely acceptable.> I really don't want to battle internal parasites AGAIN!!! <If you want healthy mollies, keep them in brackish/marine conditions. If you want to have to deal with "disease of the month" with your mollies, keep them in freshwater. That's Neale's sage advice for the day.> Thank you so much for your advice... once again! Merci beaucoup! <You're welcome.> Audrey <Neale>

Re: Help with internal parasites, again... -- 09/01/07 Hi again, Neale! <Hello Audrey,> Thank you for such a detailed answer. It did make me feel slightly like I was a bad fish owner, but maybe I deserve it for waiting so long to do what I know I should be doing.... > <Curious. My first question when people have problems with mollies is whether they are keeping them in freshwater or in brackish/marine conditions. *blushing*... I know, I know... All right... I won't ask any questions again until I do the switch to brackish... I've been planning on it for ages, but I was waiting until after we got the new apartment more or less organized so we could move everyone to a brand new 30 gallons... Looks like this is the signal to get a move on... Incidentally, we never detect any nitrates. We have plants and a healthy dose of algae so I suspect they get used up before our test kit can detect them. We also had a light fish load, four very small Mollies (balloon variety, they never grew) in 10 gallons (I know, too small, we'll wait until we get the 30 gal we're planning on before we get any more fish, but with the move we've had to buy essential furniture before we can think of a new aquarium). The LFS tells us we can put 10 Mollies in a 10 gallons... (!?!?!?!?!?!) Let's just say we have learned very quickly to take their advice with a big grain of salt :-) pH was always at least 7.5 and climbed very slightly during the winter, high enough that I didn't want to risk most of the fish they sell in the LFS, who need neutral or slightly acidic water. I guess the big problem is with (hardness? alkalinity?), I need to learn what scale it is measured in but the water here is a steady 9. You're going to say too low, I know. We used to add livebearer salt, but after reading your advice (worthless, waste of money, etc. unless used for a specific problem), we stopped adding it to the tank a few months ago. We'll drop by the marine LFS this afternoon and pick up some marine salt. <Ah, you seem to understand what's going on, so there's not really much more to add. Mollies just aren't as easy as everyone thinks, with the result that lots of them (most?) get sick and die rather quickly. I'd compare them to goldfish in this regard -- they seem easy, but they're not. For aquarists who want to stick with freshwater, I always recommend platies or swordtails instead. On the topic of pH and hardness, it's almost always safe not to worry about these (within reason). Most common freshwater fish (as opposed to brackish water ones!) can adapt to a wide range of values, so Neons, for example, may *prefer* pH 5.5, near-zero hardness, but they'll *thrive* at pH 8, 20 degrees dH if acclimated to it carefully and otherwise looked after properly. What matters isn't so much the values as the *stability* -- what most fish hate is pH and hardness levels that bounce around. In other words, get fish that are already thriving at the retailer, keep them in your local water conditions, and use good filtration and regular water changes to optimise water quality while diluting the background water chemistry changes that happen in freshwater tanks anyway.> See... sometimes it takes fish dying so that we learn. Another red flag should have been that they've never bred... we thought our male was sterile because try as he may, he could never get one of them pregnant. In retrospect, maybe they were just in the wrong conditions to breed. <Quite possibly. But just as likely the fry got eaten or sucked up the filter or whatever.> > <Why did you use Metronidazole? Ah, well, because the only symptom we had was one dead emaciated fish and one very thin, formerly very plump, fish and we didn't know what she had, and this was recommended by the marine LFS and was the only thing we could find FAST! The local LFS have never heard of a cure for internal parasites. They just let them be. We did our best on short notice. And then we did more research, and found out about Praziquantel and other medicines, and tried to get some locally but *nobody* sells it around here, we called about 6 places, so I tried to mail-order it, but the two Canadian mail-order stores I know of didn't have it in stock, so we ordered Jungle Labs medicated food, which they wouldn't eat, and then we ordered Gel-Tek, which does contain some Prazi, but that didn't work, and finally the mail-order place got some PraziPro in stock, but by the time we tried that I think it was too late and the fish died, with three very visible red tails sticking out of her anus. But at least we'd finally got to the right medicine - I think. <I see. Sounds rather bad luck.> > <This is a dumb question perhaps, but are you sure the problem here is worms? Parasitic worms generally don't cause quick deaths. What you tend to see is a gradual loss of condition or a failure to grow or put on weight. I think this is exactly what we were seeing, but didn't recognize it in time. We've had some of those fish for six months and they haven't grown. It's just so gradual that we don't notice until the fish are too feeble to function properly. They seem fine, and then one morning they're not quite right, and a week later, they're dying. They never get to the not eating stage. I'm not saying their death can't be due to something else, and it might be more than one factor, but my test kit tells me the pH is steady at 7.5 and that there are no nitrates. What I see is fish that won't grow, and that after a few months just stop functioning. When the male died he hadn't chased the females for about a week, maybe more, we just didn't notice at first... I feel bad for not noticing those things, but they happen so gradually... and when we did notice something wasn't quite right we didn't know what the problem was. <OK. Again, you seem to have a sense of what's going on already, so all I can add here is a second opinion. Often, fish deaths come about from multiple small factors acting in concert. Much as with sickness in humans. So you need to watch for the small signs and act swiftly. Odd behaviour is often one of the very best clues, and a lot of experienced fishkeepers will hardly ever need to use test kits because they can spot when things aren't right in established tanks because the fish aren't doing what they should be doing. I don't recommend that approach for beginners of course!> > <PraziPro yes, Metronidazole no. As a rule, unless a qualified animal healthcare professional has said otherwise, you should NEVER mix  medications. Ah, but in this case, we know they can be mixed safely because most general anti-parasite medicines contain at least those two, and sometimes other medicines too. But if you say Metro is worthless in this case, I won't use it. This is my understanding as well, but sometimes we bow to people of superior knowledge, so I was asking just in case, because I have some in my fish medicine cabinet... <I'm not an expert on antibiotics for fish -- they're essentially prescription-only in the UK, so when you get them, the vet will tell you exactly how to use them. I'm happy to let others give you relevant advice here. But me, I prefer to use medications sequentially. It's also important to identify the problem before using the medication; scattergun approaches are risky because many medications can stress the fish, and if they aren't fixing one problem, they could end up causing another. Mollies should be fine, but things like loaches and pufferfish often react badly to medicines, and stingrays and invertebrates can be killed outright. So you need to treat medications with respect. Identify the disease, choose your drug, and look out for side effects.> > <Ah, now the good news here is both Amano shrimps and Nerite snails are salt-tolerant, so you can raise the salinity of the tank to SG 1.003-1.005 without problems, should you choose to do so.> Yup, that's exactly what I was planning on when we got the 30 gal. I didn't want to do it with the Cherries in there, because from what I read they're not salt-tolerant at all, and I can't put them with the Betta because he'd rip them apart (he did it before, so we tried some cheap Ghost shrimp, and only found shrimp bits...). I was also trying to find a supplier of Bumblebee Gobies, for the future, and I have lists and lists of salt-tolerant plants, and know the ones we have now *should* make the switch (Bacopa, Anubias, Java fern, and Vallisneria in "quarantine" so we can screen for snails). We're all ready. We just haven't done it yet. <Very good. I'm not sure whether Cherry shrimps are good in brackish or not. I'd personally risk it, at least to SG 1.003. Shrimps tend to be salt tolerant (many, though not Cherries) have a marine stage in their life cycle, as is the case with Amano shrimps. Acclimating slowly is perhaps the key. I keep (and inevitably breed!) Cherry shrimps and have found them to be rather robust animals, for their size. All your plants are good brackish water denizens, and assuming you have enough light and good substrate for them, will adapt readily. You've also got a nice mix there. When people rely solely on slow-growers like Java fern and Java moss, they end up with algae problems. Throwing in some Bacopa and Vallis should help a great deal. Indian fern is another good algae-beater that tolerates low-end brackish.> > <My suspicion is that you're dealing with mollies that are fundamentally stressed, and the worms are at best an "excuse" for them to wave a little white flag and give up.> Then I'll work under this assumption. I promise not to bother you again with my Mollie troubles until they're safely in brackish water. Then, if I'm still having problems, I'll let you have a go at it :-) <Heh! Brackish water doesn't fix everything, and it certainly won't cure infected mollies of things like intestinal worms. But what it does do is make them orders of magnitude more robust, and the salinity also suppresses many external parasites as well as the infective stages of certain internal parasites. This is why brackish water fishes have a reputation for being so hardy.> > <The foods you list should be fine. Do bear in mind mollies are primarily herbivores, and the ratio of green to meaty foods should be of the order 80% to 20%. In fact, feeding them exclusively on vegetable-based fish foods (livebearer flake, Spirulina flake, algae pellets) would be entirely acceptable.> Yes, they've been getting Nori at least a day out of two. I tried peas but they don't eat it, but they do like corn. I'll try broccoli next. Can you believe I haven't ever seen a vegetable-based flake around? Sometimes I feel aquarium shops around here are 20 years behind the times... Even the sinking "algae" pellets have fish flour in them, sometimes even as the first ingredient, so they're not really vegetarian... I've been looking for something called "Spirulina flake" but haven't seen it, just regular flakes with Spirulina among the other ingredients. *sigh*. Maybe I'm simply not looking in the right places. In the meantime, we got some Nori for free at the local sushi place, we just ask for a sheet when we pick up some takeout and with only four small fish, it lasts a long time... and the Amano love it too. <Interesting. I picked up Spirulina in a grocery store called Hy-Vee in Lincoln, Nebraska over Christmas. So I suspect it's a case of looking out for the stuff while you're on your travels. It isn't critical though. You might even grow your own: a plastic goldfish bowl placed outdoors and filled with water will quickly develop a nice flora and fauna including insect larvae and thread algae. Yum, yum! I love taking this approach, because my "live food ponds" become interesting aquaria in their own right.> Interesting unrelated tidbit, our Betta eats everything, either floating, sinking or lying at the bottom of the tank (flake, sinking pellets, Betta food, live shrimp, dead shrimp, bloodworms and brine shrimp, peas, corn, everything we ever put in his tank). He even tried Nori. Well... he tried it the first time we gave it to him, but stubbornly refused to taste it ever again :-) I guess even the most wide-ranging tastes have their limit :-) <Indeed! But that's the right approach to feeding fish. Let them have a little of everything.> Thank you again, and sorry to be such a bother :-) Audrey <Not a problem. Good luck, Neale>

Parasitic Worms Coming Out Of Fish, FW  -- 8/19/07 Hi, I have a parasite ( microworm like ) eating his way out my blue and gold ram and killifish anus. It looks like something is eating the fish's anus and you can see like 4 or 5 red little worms coming out. I been looking on the internet and you guys seen to have the more knowledge on parasites. I would appreciate any help. < Most parasites like this can be controlled with Clout or Fluke-Tabs. Just follow the directions on the package and they should be fine in a few days.-Chuck> Sick Oranda, Flukes?    8/19/07 Hi. My Oranda died today. Gills were blue so I assume it was from the gill flukes. <Mmmm, not necessarily> How do I decontaminate the tank before putting in new goldfish? <Best to bleach, dump, dechlorinate... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm The same protocol...> I read that gill flukes aren't susceptible to high salt concentrations. I was thinking of overdosing the tank with Jungle Labs Parasite Clear and then let the tank run with just water and the filter going for a couple of weeks. Do I have to get rid of my plants, too or OK to keep in tank? Thanks. YM <Mmm, the plants, actually anything wet could be a vector here... I would at least isolate these, treat them with an organophosphate... Bob Fenner>

Platy with piles?   8/13/07 I have a platy Plec that has lumps that can only be described as piles on its anal/vent area, they are white / pink in colour and there is a lot of them. this is the only platy Plec I have in the tank along with 2 guppies, alas all the others have died over time....... please can anyone tell me what it is ...... <Hello. Sounds a lot like worms of some kind. Without a photo, can't be sure. But assuming that it is, you'll need to treat with an anti-worm medication (Waterlife Sterazin, JBL Gyrodol, Aquarium Products Fluke-Tabs, etc.). If you're losing a lot of fish in a short period of time, do also reflect on aquarium water quality/water chemistry. Platies and guppies like nice hard water with a high pH (say, 15 dH and a pH of 7.5). Water quality should be good, 0 ammonia and nitrites, and platies especially need a tank with a bit of swimming space, certainly not less than 15 gallons. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich-look-alike? Skin parasite on Dwarf Puffer -- 06/17/07 Hi Crew, I really need your help with my male dwarf puffer. First, the vitals: two dwarf puffers, heavily planted six gallon tank, one Amano shrimp tankmate. Water tests with a consistent 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites, 5 Nitrates (which is how it comes out of the tap in these parts). Weekly 30% water changes, and their diet is 80% Grindal worms that I raise on a high-quality dog biscuit and 20% snails from my large planted tank. About six weeks ago, he began developing a handful of white specks that looked to me like a classic case of ich. <These are almost certainly Cercariae...> I thought it fairly strange, since I've had him & his female tankmate seven months with no additions to the tank. But I began a heat/salt treatment right away, bringing the temp to 82 with the addition of 1/2 tsp of salt per gallon of water. After two weeks' time and no change whatsoever in the appearance of the spots, I began thinking I was mistaken. Perhaps these were just skin flaws of some kind? <Mmm, no. Please read the second, third ref. here: http://www.google.com/search?q=cercariae+on+puffers&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA> I have treated many cases of ich over the years successfully with heat & salt, and have always seen that familiar dropping off of the cysts after a few days of treatment. So I brought the heat back down and waited. A few more weeks went by with no change, and then in the course of a week the spots began to increase. I tried again, this time with the temp at 84 for two weeks. No change. Heat back down to normal. Spots are now increasing slowly but steadily. The poor boy is at least eating and remains active, but I am seeing occasional flashing so I know this is bothering him. Whatever it is, it's spreading, and I am stumped. The female is totally unaffected by the way. Any ideas? Is this some kind of ich-look-alike skin parasite? There are no visible worms, no red spots, no clues of any kind. I am in terror of using anything stronger than salt on such a sensitive fish as a DP, but the heat and salt are obviously doing nothing. I've attached a couple really poor photos which will likely be too blurry for a diagnosis of any kind but will at least give you a sense of scale and placement. Thanks in advance for your help. <Will need to use an anthelminthic... My choice? Prazi/quantel... particulars are posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Ich-look-alike? Skin parasite on Dwarf Puffer -- 6/19/07 > >> I really need your help with my male dwarf puffer... > >> About six weeks ago, he began developing a handful of white specks that looked to me like a classic case of ich. > > <These are almost certainly Cercariae...> > >>Thanks in advance for your help. > ><Will need to use an anthelminthic... My choice? Prazi/quantel...  particulars are posted on WWM. Bob Fenner Bob, picked up PraziPro on Sunday and began treatment (bath, following label instructions). Two full days now and no change at all in the cysts. If anything he seems to be getting weaker. Recommendations? Is there anything else it could be? <Yes... and I absolutely hate this guessing... Do you have a microscope? A way to send along pix from such? BobF>

Worms and platy fry   6/16/06 Greetings from Australia to all the crew, <Returns from sunny southern Cal. in the U.S.A.> having only a few months experience in keeping fish we have been running into quite a few problems with the poor things. Our latest involves something as unpleasant as worms. The local aquarium guy has assured us it has to do with the drought affecting our area and dams and not just something we did. We bought fluke tablets and after fishing out a few platy fry (all of which seemed fine) and we set up an emergency tank for them with water from the big tank. We then added the fluke tablets but being new at this and apparently not very clever we took out the wrong piece of the filter, with the result that worms are still in the fish and tank! We had a few mishaps with the little fry in the emergency tank with a new heater going berserk and killing the poor things, we were trying so hard to save, so we decided to leave the two last fry who seemed affected by the worms in the tank when treating next, but just as we were about to add more fluke we saw about 20 little fry swimming around. To make it worse we also have a speckled Cory which the before mentioned fish guy told us will not appreciate the fluke. Now what do we do? <I would treat all> One of our nice big platy females is having big worm issues and is in big trouble but what about all the little new ones? <All> Do we risk killing them in the new little tank with water from the big tank and a crazy out of control heater or do we leave them in the big tank and hope for the best? <I'd treat all in place, in your main/display tank> Please help. My kids have named 10 of the little fry and will be pretty upset if I kill more than I already have.. Oh and we also have some tough neon tetras in the tank. They have survived terrible water conditions due to our inexperience, ich, etc and now worms . We managed to kill 5 guppies, and 3 tough platys early on, yet the Neons live nice and strong. Totally opposite to what we have been told. (It may not sound like it but we really tried and we do care about the fish. We have bought every single form of equipment and medicine available. We are just not clever) Marianne in Australia <Bob Fenner>

Red, Protruding Spine-like things... Ram hlth.  -- 06/08/07 Hi there, <Hello.> I have three Bolivian rams in my 40 gallon tank along with some other tank mates and I just recently lost one of my rams. He had these red spines that were protruding from his underside. Now I am noticing that the surviving three also are beginning to show signs of this. <Hmm... are these spines associated with the fins, or sticking out of the body far away from the fins? Without a photo, it's difficult to identify the problem.> Do you know what it is and if so, how would I go about treating this? <My first guess would be Finrot. When the fins decay, the membrane goes but the spines remain, and these could be the red spines you're seeing. Untreated, Finrot will kill fish. It is treatable using a variety of commercial medications. Ideally, choose a remedy that treats fungus as well, as the two things often happen together. Now, Finrot is 99% of the time a symptom of poor water quality, so check the ammonia and nitrite levels especially. Bolivian rams (like most other dwarf cichlids) are also very sensitive to high levels of nitrate. You should be doing 50% water changes weekly, and the nitrate level should be well below 50 mg/l. Ideally, as close to zero as is practical. Hardness and pH aren't terribly important, but you're aiming for low to moderate hardness and a pH around between 6-7.> I really like these fish and I don't want to lose anymore. <Yes, they're lovely animals.> Thanks and I look forward to your reply, Trish <Good luck! Neale>

Re: Red, Protruding Spine-like things -- 6/8/07 Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply. <You're welcome.> Now, I would believe you except that my levels are all good and I always do water changes... Now the other thing is that these guys' fins are beautiful! There is nothing wrong with any part of any of them. <Okay.> This red spiny thing sticking out is protruding from the anus so is coming from inside the fish. The one that died had them really big and they would go in and out. The fish now just have a small piece poking out. Do you still think this is Finrot? <Ah, the plot thinnens. No, this doesn't sound like Finrot any more. More like intestinal worms. Rather rare in freshwater fish kept indoors, but they do occur. If these worm-like things are wriggling about and obviously alive, then they're definitely intestinal parasites. You will need an anti-helminth (anti-worm) medication to treat these. Depending on your local laws, you will either be able to obtain such drugs from your retailer or from a vet. In the UK for example, Flubenol is available over the counter from aquarium retailers but most of the others used by American aquarists are not. Your own mileage will vary, as they say. The only other thing they could be is stringy faeces. This is actually very common in cichlids, often through the wrong diet or as an additional symptom to things like Hole-in-the-Head disease. In this case, the stringy faeces hang out the back of the anus like threads, but are clearly inanimate. If this is the issue, it's a case of identify the problem, then treat. Diet can be fixed with, for example, more vegetables in the diet. Hole-in-the-Head usually requires antibiotics.> Trish <Hope this helps, Neale>

Wormlike parasite  5/30/07 Hello there, <Good morning> I have a problem with two Bronze Catfish, they seem to have a parasite that I can't identify. One of the Bronze Cats is new, I've had it for a few days. My tanks isn't very old (less than two months, but I have been monitoring it closely and it has cycled). It is a 90 litre tank (24 ish gallons). Currently my temp is 79, pH is 6.8 , ammonia 0, nitrites 0 (I only tested for nitrates once about three weeks ago and there were none, the tank is quite heavily planted so I'm guessing whatever nitrates have been produced are being used up or removed during water changes). I don't think that water quality is affecting the fish, but nevertheless the Bronze Cats seem to have extremely tiny, whitish, wormy looking things attached to the very ends of their fins, they are difficult to see with the naked eye. There don't seem to be any on their bodies, they just seem to be on the ends of the fins, hanging like little tassels that move when the fish are swimming. They are very small, they must be less than a mm long. There seem to be more on the newest Bronze Cat, but I believe that the other bronze has caught them now too because I noticed a few today ( I'm afraid that they are spreading). I have 2 Pepper Cats and two Sterbai Cats and they seem unaffected, none of the other fish in the tank seem affected either (Neons, Gouramis, SAE etc.). These parasites don't seem to be bothering the fish so far (no clamped fins, scratching or heavy breathing) but I know that this could change. These two Bronze Cats also seem to each have another problem as well ( I know this is getting boring but I think it's better to get all the details out in the open). My older Bronze Cat is a long finned variety, very pretty, but I think that someone likes the look of his magnificent dorsal fin because sometimes it suddenly looks munched or shredded. It heals readily and does not seem to get infected so I don't think that it's fin rot. I don't keep any 'aggressive' fish in my tank, but maybe a naughty baby Clown Loach might have nipped him? ( Who knows what any of the fish get up to when the lights are off?). The newer Bronze seems to have lost the barbels on one side of his mouth, it doesn't look infected. This seems to have happened quite suddenly as well ( it was while I was inspecting this that I noticed the parasites). I think that the barbel may have been damaged during feeding. I try to break up a few small sinking wafers for all my bottom feeders to have an even chance but I have still noticed that the Clown Loaches are pretty dominating at feeding time. My Betta also gets quite aggressive as well. Could the barbels have been severed during a feeding frenzy? I realise that the parasite and the injuries may be related because the fish may be more susceptible to infection if they're injured. But do you have any idea what the parasites are and how to treat them? <Mmm, microscopic examination would be the route to go here, but likely some type of Fluke (trematode)> My other issue is with a new Blue Ram. I bought a male and a female (they get along well) and it is the female who is looking rough. She has got small white patches on her body and fins. They aren't ich spots but they don't look cottony or fluffy either. Could they be a fungus infection that is just starting out? Or is it bacterial? <Impossible to state for sure... but the fish being new, I would be very conservative here re treatment> I don't know what to treat with. I have a malachite green/Methylene blue/quinine solution which is meant to be a sort of 'cure all' tonic, <The Malachite is quite toxic... I would hold off for now> but I am afraid to use it with the Clown Loaches being in the tank now, and I don't want to destroy my biological filtration either. Would the medicine that I have be suitable to treat the worm parasites and the fungus or would you recommend something else? Should I treat the whole tank? ( I don't have a QT but could do a short soak in a bucket?) Sorry this is so long but I would really appreciate any advice you could offer. Kind regards, Jessica in New Zealand <I would treat the worm problem with an anthelminthic (likely Flubenol or Prazi(quantel)... covered on WWM (see the indices, search tool)... and the current problem with the Ram... not at all, other than maintaining good (soft, acidic, warm) water quality. Bob Fenner>

Re: wormlike parasite continued  5/31/07 Hi WWM, <Jessica> Thank you Bob for your reply regarding my unidentified 'worms'. Before receiving your reply I went to my LFS to buys some plants and asked them about the worms. The parasite description stumped the staff there but one of them eventually decided that I should try Praziquantel. He said it was what they used to treat parasites on their discus so we figured it was worth a go. <Yes> I bought some of the Praziquantel but I waited to hear what your suggestions would be (no offense to my LFS, just thought you guys would have had more experience with parasite ID's). Imagine how great it was to hear two different sources suggest the same treatment! I used the Praziquantel this morning (on the whole tank as I believe it was spreading to all my catfish) and it looks like the parasites have already come off the fish's fins. I can't see them anymore. So I'm guessing that the Praziquantel made the parasite fall off of their hosts? <Very possibly> I was given two doses and told to use the second one in a week's time, would you recommend this and should I do my usual weekly water change (about 15-20%) beforehand? <I do recommend both> I also wondered if I could use some MelaFix to help my Blue Ram? <Mmm... not really worthwhile> Whatever is ailing her seems to be getting worse, I'm still not sure if it's a bacteria or a fungus. <Likely water quality...> She just seems to have small, white clumps on her body and fins (they are different to the parasite that was on my catfish), some of them are looking a bit stringier (still not cottony/fluffy though) than they did before so maybe this is a fungus? <Do see Google re Lymphocystis... pix...> She's also looking a bit more 'clamped' than she was before, still feeding and reasonably active though. Her partner looks fantastic and they seem happy together, he is not beating her up and neither is anyone else. Maybe the male was a bit aggressive in the bag on the way home from the store (although it wasn't a long trip and I didn't see anything amiss), or maybe she was already sick at the store. The stock there all looked pretty good and my water chemistry seems suited to their requirements. I'm not sure what's making her sick, but I'm worried that she's getting worse and maybe the MelaFix would be a milder course of action (rather than the malachite/Methylene/quinine tonic that I have). <Neither one is suggested> I'm aware that the MelaFix may not have an effect on whatever is making her sick, but I just thought it would be worth a try if it was safe to mix with the Praziquantel. I've done a ton of research on both of these today, but I haven't seen anything saying whether you could mix them or not. At least now I know more about them on their own :-) <Can be mixed... but the "Fix" product is just a "tea"... soaked Melaleuca leaves... at best it might lower the pH here> A third and completely unrelated question is that I have two Honey Dwarf Gouramis (Trichogaster chuna), a male and a female. <Ahh! One of my favorite species> They seem to get along apart from the odd brief chase here and there, which I'm sure is natural. Today (before dosing the Praziquantel) I noticed that the male has darkened up considerably on his ventral area. It is a section that runs from under his mouth and eyes, just under his pectoral fins, along past his bottom and into his fins (anal fin? pelvic fin?). It's actually quite a defined, diagonal line. The colour seems to be a mottled black pigmentation and it extends around his belly. I've seen him blow a few bubbles at the surface, but no bubble nest building. Is he trying to impress his lady friend? Or could this be a sign of something else? <Likely is reproductive/stress color change...> Again, thank you for your time. I'm glad that there are credible websites like yours for people to turn to with their queries. Jessica <Welcome my friend. BobF>

Help with possible parasites   5/25/07 Good Morning, <Its good evening here in Merrie Olde Englande.> I have a question regarding one of my female neon swordtails.  She is a full grown adult that I have had approx. 6 months.  First of all tank parameters: Ammonia - 0 Nitrites - 0 pH - 7.4 Nitrates - 25 Tanks size - 55gal, tankmates are platies, guppies, other swordtails, and one Pleco. <All sounds fine.> I noticed a strange growth inside the fish about 1/4" from her tail.  It appears to be circular.  The fish swam next to the light and I could see through the tail and that's the only reason I saw it.  She has been acting very healthy and normal.  Eating very well, in fact just dropped about 15 fry.  You can start to see the lump on the outside if you look very carefully, however, nothing is protruding outside the scales. The other fish in the tank are doing very well and also the many fry are doing fine. <If the swelling is inside the fish and in muscle tissue (rather than the abdomen) then almost certainly a benign cyst or tumour. Quite common in fish. No real cure, but no real threat to your fish either. But without a picture, impossible to say for sure quite what this is.> I have done considerable research to see what this may be and the only thing I can come up with is a digenetic fluke. <Rather unlikely, because of the complex life cycle most of these flukes have. Pond fish sometimes get them, but indoor fish almost never.> Any suggestions will be appreciated.  I understand that if it is a fluke the life cycle requires an intermediate host such as a snail.  I do have a few snails in the tank. <Indeed, but usually very specific snails. The chances of you having a worm that worked in both the fishes and the snails in your aquarium have to pretty small.> Doesn't look like there are many reliable cures for this other than removing the fish and the intermediate host.  Can I expect to have a major problem from this or is this something that healthy fish can live with or overcome.  Thanks in advance. <Since it's almost certainly just a cyst or benign tumour, there's not much to be done. Provided the fish can swim properly and the internal organs are impacted in any way by the cyst, the fish should remain healthy. Cheers, Neale>

Red sword and Levamisole Phosphate, use of anthelminthics, FW    5/21/07 Hello fellow crew member, This is Anna. We exchanged few e-mails a couple of months ago. Just to give you a recap - so far my tank is doing well; I got some plants that keep growing nicely; fish seems to be happy there.. in few words - "almost perfect." There is one issue I am not sure about. I presume my female red sword is doing well. It is first at the feeder, eating with no problems; it does not display abnormal behavior (except for the time when it hides under plants to "visit the bathroom") - it is well integrated within community. Yet, when I observe its feces I see something that other fish does not performs. Basically, the red sword is "on the toilet" :--) all the time, producing quite large amount of feces, mostly dark green (chewing my plants ??) or black, with some sort of whitish segments in between. After studying the book of Drs. Untergasser and Axelrod I concluded that my sword might be affected by tapeworm. The books says it is okay not to take any action if fish is doing fine (my is doing well).   Yet, I feel sorry for that fish having toilet problem all day long and would like to help it - if possible. My colleague at another fish community suggested I use LEVAMISOLE Phosphate (injectable solution). I got one (13.65), but before using it I would like to make sure it is: - safe for fish - manageable - with min. side effect. <Mmm, I would not use this format of Levamisole... nor inject this small fish... If you were to use "L", look for the HCl (Hydrochloride) radical... to be used in foods... Or better, look to an anthelminthic that can be simply applied to the water... my choice? Praziquantel...> Would you recommended that I use that medicine? How should I proceed with using it? <Please see WWM, the Net, Ed Noga's works...> As for my aquarium condition - ammonia is at zero; pH is between 6.6 - 6.8. I also trace phosphate (current level around between 0.5 and 1.0). I do partial water changes every day to help keep the fish healthy. Do you think there is anything I can do for my red sword with or without LEVAMISOLE? <Perhaps...> Please, help... Thanks much. Anna P.S. - I attached some pictures of my red sword to help you see what I can see ;--) <Mime... not useful> <Ah good... The Prazi... Bob Fenner>

Worms in my tank  4/10/07 Hello, I have been reading your site and it has been really helpful, but to be sure I just wanted to explain my situation and see what you thought.  I have a 75 gallon freshwater tank with one Jack Dempsey cichlid and a algae eater (not sure of the real name) <Algae eater is probably Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, a nasty son-of-a-gun and a Jack Dempsey is one of the few fish that would be able to handle it. Big (30 cm), greenish fish with distinctive spiracle (opening) above each gill slit.> They both seem very healthy, very vibrant in color.  I was looking very closely and I saw very thin hair looking worms that didn't really move. The only reason I new they were living things is because I poked one with my finger and it squiggled.  There are only a few of these worm things and I was wondering if it was a parasite from my Jacks stomach. <Unlikely. If parasitic worms sometimes come in with wild-caught fish, but they don't wiggle about in the gravel. If you see a swollen belly and/or worms protruding from the anus, then parasite worms are possible. Otherwise these are harmless nematodes or Oligochaetes that have (for example) come in with live food.> The only reason why I'm concerned with this is because lately he hasn't had and appetite.  Any thoughts on this? <Try using garlic to stimulate appetite. You can even buy ready-garlicked frozen food! Also try starving the fish for a few days, and then offering something new. Maybe some seafood or a bit of whitebait instead of the usual flake and pellets. One thing aquarists often overlook is dried food loses its savour after a while. Though safe to use for months after opening, after about 4 weeks it doesn't smell strong enough and many fish ignore it. If you buy big tubs, divide it up, freeze most of it in a dry container, and remove only a portion at a time. Maybe check for constipation (yes, happens to fish too) a remedy by offering green foods such as cooked peas.> Thanks for your time, <No probs. Cheers, Neale> Jennifer

Camallanus dosage problem. Neotrop. cichlid dis., Levamisole/Anthelminthic, FW    2/27/07 I have a Camallanus  problem in my 125 gallon tank, with 2 fish showing the worms protruding from the anus.  My pH is around 7.8, ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, and temperature is 80.2 degrees. The fish are single specimens between 2"-4"of the following: blue Acara, archer fish, Nicaraguan cichlid, Red Hump Eartheater, Satanoperca jurupari, Geophagus surinamensis, Bujurquina vittata, and Hypselecara temporalis.    I've looked this up on the Search, but I have serious questions/ doubts about dosing. The medication I have available is Levasole (Levamisole hydrochloride) in the powdered form, and it brings 18.25 grams. <This is the total weight of what you have available?> here are my questions: -What would be the appropriate dose for using it in the water instead of adding to food? <Mmm, much better administered via food/feeding> -How much Levasole would I need to do this? <Mmmm, "lifted", or my new term "meta-analyzed" from Noga's fish diagnosis tome: Oral formulations: Feed 2.5 to 10 mg. Levamisole HCl/kg (you'll have to guess the weight of the fishes...) = 1.1 to 4.5 mg per pound... for seven days. As stated, I would not "pour the medicine" into the tank... or use prolonged immersion in a bath... or encourage you to try injections> -When do I repeat the treatment, and when do I do the first water change? <Daily for repeats, for a week... and water changes as they are needed or weekly IMO> thanks for the help, and sorry for the long message. <Glad to assist you. Bob Fenner>

Ghost shrimp, Acanthocephalans, worms in general...   1/15/07 I just bought a few ghost shrimp and everything appeared to be going fine until today, when I noticed one of the shrimp had a worm in it.   <You have good sight> After a mild freak-out I managed to do some research on the internet and found out that it was most likely a horsehair worm. <Yes, possibly an acanthocephalan...> Unfortunately, I haven't found much useful information regarding my situation beyond the initial identification.  The infected ghost shrimp was in a tank that contained some guppies as well as other ghost shrimp.  Could the worm have possibly laid eggs in my tank? <Could...> Would I be able to see them? <No, too small> Should I worry about the larva (assuming there are eggs and that the eggs will hatch) infecting my fish and other ghost shrimp?   <Mmm... possibly the shrimp... not likely the fish... May well be that the life cycle of this parasite is "complex" and that your tank is missing an/the intermediate host... likely guppies are not definitive here> I know that the young are parasitic, yet I am not completely sure if they use fish as hosts.  The ghost shrimp was in my tank for less than 24 hours.  Are they dangerous to my fish? <Again, not likely> Should I assume that my whole tank has been infested?  Is there anything I can do to stop the infection, assuming there is one, without harming my fish?   <... I would do nothing... but there are some useful anthelminthics... Praziquantel, Levamisole... you can search re these on the Net, WWM...> Currently, all of the other inhabitants of my tank seem fine, and there is no evidence of other horsehair worms infecting my tank.  I hope I am overreacting to this tiny worm. <Mmm...>   Please set my mind at ease. Should I be freaking out about the possibility of infestation of my other fish and ghost shrimps? Thanks, Lauren <How to put this... there are actually several... as in many, species of worms... living in your system... in your own personal world... This one is likely only detrimental to the shrimp that are hosting large individuals... in non-propitious circumstances. I would not panic here. Bob Fenner>

Another livebearer question  12/30/06 Hi Tom, <<Hello, Linda.>> Another question if I may?   <<Certainly.>> What do you recommend for preventing gill flukes?  I haven't had this problem for some time but since I plan to get guppies I want to be prepared.  I had quite a problem at one time after purchasing guppies.  I have tried CopperSafe before but I wonder if there is something better to ward off a potential problem.  I understand if the fish are in good shape and remain un-stressed they can keep many parasites at bay themselves.  What about salt on a regular basis?  I don't keep snails but I may get a stray or two since I plan to have living plants in my new 55gal tank.  Is that a potential source of gill fluke infestation? <<As you're likely aware, Linda, maintaining top-notch water and tank conditions is the best preventative. As to water conditions, these speak to themselves in terms of regular changes, substrate/filter cleaning, etc. As for the tank conditions, be wary of over-crowding and provide hiding places particularly for the expectant females. You're quite correct that stress-free, healthy fish are -- virtually -- immune to parasitic infestation. I've mentioned this in other posts but it bears repeating: in cases of disease, medications merely 'control' the spread. The immune systems of the fish are what ultimately eradicate the problem. In short, there's nothing better that you can do for your pets than provide the best conditions possible. The Guppies, more so than the Swordtails and Platys, will actually appreciate the addition of aquarium salt to the water. Even fish that don't have a high tolerance for salt will do fine with a modest amount in the tank. Pests, on the other hand, have little tolerance for any. The one admonition I would have for you here is that plants may not do well with salt in the water. Typically, however, this would be at what might be described as 'treatment levels' which would be several times greater than you would normally maintain in your aquarium. In your case, I would cut the common ratio of one tablespoon per five gallons in half and see how both the plants and fish fare at this level. (Sometimes some good, old experimentation is needed to find a happy compromise.) Finally, since gill flukes don't require an intermediate host, I don't think a stray snail or two will pose a problem. Look into treating your plants in a solution of potassium permanganate if you want to avoid introducing even a stray snail. In fact, it's really not a bad practice to quarantine plants as well as fish before adding them to the display tank. Goes a long way in avoiding 'undesirables' that may be trying to hitchhike their way into a new home.>> Thanks, Linda Ritchie <<Happy again to be of service, Linda. Tom>>

Endless livebearer frustration - this time Camallanus!  11/12/06 Hello Crew! <<It's been quite a while, John. Tom>> I am rather unhappy to be writing you again.  Not unhappy with you, of course, but unhappy that I actually have to write you about a problem yet again.  As well-documented on this site you probably remember that during the summer I had endless problems with platys and guppies.   <<I recall, John.>> Those troubles finally settled in September and October and things had been going well.  I started a new aquarium setup (a 160L tank), did a fishless cycle and stocked it after ensuring there were no sick fish (i.e.: a quarantine regimen).  The two other aquariums I was running (a 96L and a 54L) were doing fine too after a long period of "disequilibrium" and sickness amongst my fish. <<All sounds good.>> However. <<Uh oh'¦>> I was doing a thorough clean of the 96L today and afterwards I was observing my fish, handiwork and my sparklingly clear waters when I noticed a female guppy with some fine red strands coming from the anus area.  Oh no, I thought.  Double oh no I thought as I had just transferred some of the fry she dropped into the 160L tank.   I did this because the tanks had been running clean for a month or more with no new additions.  To my shock and horror I believe this guppy is infested with internal parasites namely nematodes (Camallanus).   <<Absolutely agreed, I'm rather sorry to say.>> Thus, I am facing a rather nightmarish scenario at the moment.  I believe I have put contaminated fry into my beautiful 160L tank and I believe I have a case of advanced nematode parasites in a guppy in my 96L tank.  Come Monday I will obtain some Levamisole in order to treat this problem.  The questions I have are as follows: 1. How bad is my current situation given that I have a fish with extruding (and visible) parasites? <<Critical though not insurmountable, John. This will all depend on the extent of damage to the internal organs of the fish. Levamisole hydrochloride is absolutely effective in eradicating the worms and in increasing the immune systems of the fish however, the guts of the fish may be badly perforated. Time for some extreme 'finger-crossing.'>>   2. What is the treatment regimen here?  I have read that I need to dose the aquarium water at 2ppm, is this correct?  I assume there is no need to treat the food, but to just put the Levamisole into the water, is this correct?  Also, how long/how often should I treat? <<Given the fact that the parasites are visible, John, I would consider 5 ppm the minimum dosage. (Have seen reports of four times this dosage being administered but the lowest effective dosage is best.) You're correct that the Levamisole should be added directly to the water. It's absorbed through the gills of the fish. One dose should be given over a 24-hour period followed by a massive water change. Repeat after four days. Whether, or not, a third treatment is in order will depend largely on how your fish are faring. If stress levels are low I would consider a third application.>> 3. I have also read that after treating it is still necessary to change 100% of the water, but this seems drastic.  Is this a misconception, or do I indeed need to change out ALL the water? <<As much as possible, John, with emphasis on 'possible' not just convenient. A re-infestation can go unnoticed for months before you're back in the same boat that you're in now. Less than 90% will leave too much potential for missing the immature parasites. As an aside here, Levamisole reportedly acts as a paralyzing agent on the adult worms. That is, the worms drop from the fish alive even though they appear, for all intents and purposes, to be dead. I think it highly doubtful that they can recover from this paralyzed state but it makes a compelling argument for replacing every drop of water that you can.>> 4. I have invertebrates in the tank, specifically some radar shrimp and apple snails (Pomacea bridgesii).  Do I need to remove these invertebrates so they are not affected by the Levamisole, and if so, where do I put them?  Is it possible they are carrying the nematodes? <<Levamisole does not appear to have any adverse affect on invertebrates. Camallanus does not 'require' an intermediate host but it's a darned good bet your snails are acting as 'intermediates'. Removing these to other quarters until your fish are clean and, then, reintroducing them is almost a sure-fire way to end up back at 'square one.'>> Please, help - I am vastly discouraged and can't believe I have run into yet another crisis.  My experience with live bearers so far has been absolutely dismal and I am thinking never to go this route again. <<You've had more than your share of troubles, to be sure, but this one is a real 'doozy', John.>> Thanks in advance, I truly and greatly appreciate all your help. <<I wish you the best of luck with this situation, John. Best regards. Tom>>

Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster  11/16/06 Hello Crew - <John> I don't know if my last email made it through, so I'll write you again with the latest developments. I had a black female guppy with an obvious Camallanus infection.  I could not get Levamisole but was able to obtain Mebendazole in 100 mg tablets.  I dosed the tank at 5ppm (or about 4 and 1/2 100 mg tablets) for 24 hours.  I lost the black guppy after this.  I vacuumed the substrate thoroughly and changed about 90% of the water.  Now my leopard Corys are looking very ill and falling over on their sides. <Mmm... this might not be Nematodes here... but some effect of the medication. Camallanus are not able to readily parasitize all families of fishes>   I have 6 of them and 3 look to be doing very poorly and the other 3 look not-so-good.  I am concerned that I will lose all of them.  I am terribly discouraged with all this.  Combined with the problems I had over the summer I am seriously considering getting out of the hobby.  I have spent over half of the 10 months I have had the aquariums battling one problem after another and, to be honest, I am no longer getting enjoyment from the hobby. <I would do successive water changes to remove the Mebendazole, other metabolites... keep the water near neutral in pH (or slightly acidic)...> Unfortunately, I also have a 160L tank into which I put some of the fry from the infected tank.  As I have been reading about Camallanus, it seems that this tank is in great danger as well. <Mmm, yes, can be easily transmitted (their eggs, intermediates) through the water> Do I dose the tank with Mebendazole now, or should I wait?  The reason I ask is that apparently the medication is effective only against the worm when it is in the fish. <Yes> Is Mebendazole even effective against Camallanus? <Yes... is a general anthelminthic> If so, am I using the proper dose (i.e.: 5ppm)? <Yes, should be> I am so completely discouraged by all this especially since I have done my utmost (quarantine, choosing "healthy" fish, etc..) to avoid such problems. At some point, should I have the heart to continue keeping fish, is there something other than livebearers I can try?  Do you have a recommendation? Regards, John. <I am a much bigger fan of Prazi/quantel here. This compound should be readily available to you... through the Net... and has a much wider range of efficacy. Bob Fenner>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster  11/16/06
Hi Bob, thanks for the reply <Welcome John> Unfortunately I fear complete disaster for my tank.  The Corys are all but dead  now and my guppies are in a very poor state too.  I am also spotting dead snails littered about the substrate. <As stated/hypothesized... not a/the worm infestation, but some sort of "cascade" event, subsequent to or consequent of the medicating>   About 65% of the fish in the tank are now resting on the bottom and looking not well at all. <Move them... or barring this possibility, start daily large (25%) water changes... with water set out the day previous...> I cannot understand what I have done wrong.  To the word, this is what I have done to the tanks in the last 48 hours: As mentioned, I noticed the red worms on the female guppy. <On? Not in? As in protruding from the vent?> About 24 hours after spotting this I dosed the tank with 5ppm Mebendazole.  24 hours after that I did a large water change (80%) <Too much, too soon> and, abruptly, the problems started.  The black infected female died, the Corys began acting strangely (prior to the Mebendazole dosing these fish were 110% fine - playing in the bubbles, eating, happy fish) and now many of my fish (all livebearers) are fairing poorly.  I was under the impression that Mebendazole was non-toxic to the fish, but I am leaning strongly towards the thought that it has a strong toxicity in the Corydoras species. <Mmm, maybe>   Do you have any info regarding this?  As I understand it, large water changes should not kill my Corys - generally they spawn/become more lively. <There are a good many possible negative interactions with so much new source water being introduced... gas embolisms, pH shifts, excess/undetected sanitizer presence... to name just three in widely diverging categories> At this point, I cannot possibly dose my 160L with Mebendazole in all good conscience - it has a large school of Corys and I am not convinced that Mebendazole is harmless here. <And I hasten to add that I doubt if this would be of any value in any case... I suspect you don't have a Camallanus issue (need microscopic examination, necropsy to be sure here), and if indeed there is some pathogen involved (perhaps a fluke) it will not likely cross over from a Poeciliid to a Callichthyid...>   From what I have read, Prazi/quantel is less effective than Levamisole.  Should I be able to obtain some of it, what is the treatment regimen?  Dose at 5ppm followed by a large water change after 24 hours?  Do I repeat treatment? <I do not want to urge you to go this route... I would not... I would move the mal-affected fishes ASAP... leave the other (considered infested) tank be as it is> As for the rapidly deteriorating 96L tank, do you have any suggestions?   <Yes... either move the residents or begin the partial water change regimens... possibly with the addition of activated carbon in the filter flow path> I am very hesitant to change water as the fish are not doing well at all.  Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are all 0ppm at the moment, pH is 7.2 which is the pH of the tapwater and I am monitoring them closely, but I do not expect the levels to change as I don't believe the anthelminthics affect the filter bacteria. <Mmm, under some circumstances, can/do, but not directly, no> Given the above, do you have any possible inclination as to what caused this disaster? <Mmm, no... nothing "jumps out" as a causative mechanism... could be that the one fish was genetically predestined to "destruction"... but the rest of the circumstances? Likely environmental of some sort... soap/saponifer, cleaner, aerosol making its way into the water... > Thank you for your help.  I would be at a loss without it. <Move those fishes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster  11/16/06
Hi Bob - one last email for the evening.  Thanks for all the help and your patience.   <Welcome> To clarify, the red filaments were coming from the anal vent. <Mmm... not usually red or filamentous... Camallanus are white, tubular... have the characteristic tri-radiate esophagus of Nematodes... on cross-sectioning of their buccal regions>   I was not accurate in my last description.  I have moved the Corys to the 160L tank.  For the 1st minute after the transfer, they swam about erratically, almost like a whirling action.  If anything, they appear "stunned" and unwell.  I am not sure if I can move the guppies as I have a Betta in the other tank and he has "encountered" these guppies before. With the sick Corys in the 160L, do you still advise treatment for the parasite? <... I would not continue to treat them, no> One last observation is that there is a whitish "fuzzy" substance growing on some driftwood in the 96L tank.  This wasn't there before the water change - could be some bacteria?   <Likely some mixed populations of decomposers... acting on the wood itself... Not related here> Thanks again.  Much appreciated. <Bob Fenner, who would "stay the course" at this point/juncture.>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster
 11/18/06 Hi again Bob, <John> I am pretty sure what I had was Camallanus.  I have found a picture via Google of a fish that has an apparent Camallanus infection and this is what was coming out of the guppy in my tank.  What I observed was very similar to both this: http://www.rhusmann.de/aqua/bilder/camallan.jpg and this: http://www.gaem.it/pubblico/articoli/malattiepesci/camallanus/camallanus03.jpg <I see... nice graphics> That is what I meant by red and filamentous... maybe red and stringy would be a better description? <Mmm, I do think these photographs show worms of some sort... am not so sure they are roundworms, Camallanus per se. Please see here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FA/FA09100.pdf>   It was my understanding that the red colouration of the worm results from the victim's blood. <Ahhh! Perhaps this accounts for the color> In relation to the tank situation, at this point I have moved all fish to the 160L tank and I will wait for some time before I shift some occupants (probably not all, just the ones doing well) back to the original 96L tank.  I was thinking after about 3 days, but perhaps you recommend longer?  A week maybe? <Unless the stock is very debilitated, I would shorten the time frame for moving> While I wait, I was thinking to conduct 25% water changes every second day to allow some aging time for the water to "mature" and for the ecological balance of the tank to return.  Is this feasible? <Yes, I think so> Should I still hold off on any treatment plans?  Thanks for helping me through this - it's been a difficult situation here. <I still want to "plug" the use of Prazi/quantel, Levamisole, or Piperazine here, over the Me/n/bendazole... Bob Fenner>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster   11/19/06
Hi Bob, <John> Much thanks again. Here's an update for you and in case any readers are following this saga.  At the very least it maybe can help guide somebody as to what NOT to do.  I have emptied the 96L tank completely of all residents.  I had a male Betta in there that rapidly became ill as well.  He was lying on the bottom with lots of excess mucous on his scales.  I have also moved my tetras which were not faring so badly, but again, they were covered in excess mucous.  It seems that the Mebendazole has either poisoned the fish or has produced a secondary toxic compound that has affected the fish. <Yes. An ongoing "fear" on my part>   At the very least, it has severely fouled the water in the aquarium.  My plants seem alright so far, but it may be a good week or more before I see any effect on the plants. <...!>   Regardless, after removing ALL residents from the tank and placing them in the 160L tank (incidentally I have lost 3 of 6 Corys, 2 are doing very poorly currently and 1 looks as though it may survive).  The other residents (guppies and a couple other fish) have markedly improved over the last 24 hours just from being in the different water. <Ah, good>   I realize putting all these residents in the 160L tank may expose that tank to the parasite, but I believe there was no alternative.  Anyways, I have been doing 30% daily water changes in the fouled tank along with substantial vacuuming of the substrate.  Come Monday, I will put in a carbon filter (stores are closed and I have no spares - sigh).   My plan is to continue this regimen for about a week (water changes, substrate vacuum) until pristine conditions recur and then possibly restore some of the original inhabitants. I realize that I should probably be treating for the parasite here, but I think that some of these fish are in a very precarious state and I don't feel comfortable treating with medication just yet until the situation stabilizes.  As I plan to wait a week, I think this will allow the water and environment to stabilize, improve the health of the affected fish and give me time to look into the alternative medications. Does this sound like a reasonable plan with a reasonable time-frame? <Yes. BobF>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster  11/20/06
Hello again Bob (and crew), <John> This is just the latest update - I lost two more Corys, but one looks as though it will survive.  Surprisingly, I also lost a single neon tetra out of a group of 11.  I am not sure what caused that - it seems a "mysterious" loss. <I agree> The rest of the tetras all seem fine, so I am a little baffled by that.  Regardless, with all these fish in the 160L tank, I am having to monitor the nitrites carefully as it is very overstocked at the moment.  On that note, I want to ask you if I should cut back/reduce the amount of food to help keep the nitrites down? <Yes, I would... I'd eschew feeding altogether if NO2 concentration exceeds 1.0 ppm>   Is it okay to  reduce the food given there are some sick fish in the tank? <Yes... this is better> In terms of the biological loads of the tanks, the 160L tank is now over-stocked, so I plan on frequent 20% water changes and nitrite monitoring.  (Is it realistic to think the 160L tank can house all these fish for another 5/6 days?) <Yes, should... You may want to look into the product BioSpira here>   But what I want to ask you about is the 96L tank.  It is sitting empty.  I plan on it being empty for about another 6 days.  Is this amount of time sufficient to reduce the nitrifying bacteria? That is, should I be adding a pellet of food to the tank to keep the biological filter bacteria from dying off? <Should be fine either way> Finally, in regards to the sick male Betta - he seems more active after 24 hours in the new tank, but he is still lethargic compared to before.   <Fish respond more slowly than tetrapods...> He is eating which I take to be a good sign.  However, his eyes are very cloudy.  Do you know what would cause this and/or is there something I can/could do about this? <Environmental... best to just wait, if anything use "Aquarium Salt"... proscribed on WWM> Perhaps it is temporary, but I am not sure and thought I would ask. Best to you and the crew. John. <And you John. Bob Fenner>

A Thank You ... using WWM!   7/28/06 Crew, <<Tom with you this time, Alex.>> Not a question, but a quick thanks for all of your work.  Story: One (not so) fine day I noticed some short red wormlike things trailing out of my Bolivian Rams' anuses.  After less than five minutes on WWM, I found a question from a person who had the same species of fish that also had Camallanus worms, and saw how to treat it.  Within a day of discovering the worms, thanks to your site, I had purchased PraziPro and started treating the fish in a quarantine.  Unfortunately, it was too late to save one of the rams, but the other, along with the Zebra Danios that shared the tank, appear to have turned the corner in terms of vitality, eating, etc.  The point?  Within five minutes of opening my web browser, I:  found someone that had the same problem, diagnosed the problem, found the actual ingredient to treat the fish, found a common product name containing said ingredient, and found how to effectively treat using the medication.  Many, many thanks for this great resource - my fish and I are in your debt! <<A wonderful testimonial, Alex. While I can't take credit for saving your fish, I assure you that I'm proud to be associated with this fantastic group of folks. For all of us, I thank you kindly for your complimentary post and wish you continued good fortune in this great hobby of ours!>> Alex <<My best. Tom>>

Update on Pregnant Aulonocara Death & Cichlid Exchange... Monogenes   6/18/06 I think we've isolated the cause of death of my pregnant Aulonocara ruben Red and fry.  The 2 ½  mo. old fry were exhibiting similar symptoms, one died and I almost lost another just 1 ½ weeks ago.   When we last left off I was treating both the fry and remaining adults with Furan-2 and concerned they might have mycobacteriosis.  Not knowing for sure what I was dealing with I treated this as some sort of bacterial gill infection.  They survived the Furan-2 treatment but the fry still looked pale and their gills looked pink and irritated.  Several were thin and wasting away. Chuck:'¦'¦'¦Cichlid Exchange contacted me after you contacted them.  They checked my date of purchase for the female Ruben Reds against their records and confirmed they were from a breeding pair of theirs sold to my LFS. Cichlid Exchange thinks the pregnant female Aulonocara died from digenetic flukes after talking to me and viewing photos (the pinhead cysts are evident in the photos I sent you). <Ahh! Not uncommon>   I have a feeling she also had monogenetic flukes because her gills were swollen and red.   They recommended treating the fry and adults with a bath of a ½ dose of Clout for 5 days, then doing a partial water change and repeating the ½ dose another 5 days.  They mentioned possibly following up with Praziquantel medicated food.  I'm actually considering a Praziquantel bath over medicated food since it sounds as though Praziquantel absorbs well through the skin.  Right now I am on day 4 of the Clout treatment and the fry seem okay but are still pale with pink gills.  I am disappointed I'm not seeing any results so far.  Maybe I'm expecting too much too soon, but I was hoping to see some reduction in the gill irritation by now.  I worry that a ½ dose isn't sufficient, <Best to be conservative here. With fishes that are already border-line gill-damaged> yet anything stronger might kill the young ones who are only ½' -3/4' long.  I don't know how they tolerate Clout, my hands itch as soon as I place them in the tank until I wash them with soap.  I have an aquarist friend who thinks Clout is the worst treatment and a shotgun approach.  He's trying to convince me to switch over to Fluke Tabs.  He said fluke tabs aren't as hard on the fish, especially babies.  Any suggestions? <I would finish with Clout for now... but switch to Fluke Tabs if there is a next time> I think the fry have monogenetic flukes as several of them were flashing against objects 8-10 weeks ago (at the time I thought it was due to traces of ammonia in their brand new uncycled tank).   I kept up daily water changes until I was able to get my hands on some Bio-Spira and then I was soon able to cut back to every other day changes.  None of the fry have any evidence of external lesions or cysts.  The flashing, pale skin, irritated gills, and emaciation sound more like symptoms of monogenetic flukes, but then again, what do I know?   <Need microscopic examination for an assured diagnosis, but trematodes are common on wild-collected fishes or ones that are mixed with same> I know there are a number of different types of flukes and some have complex life cycles, can attack different organs, some attach externally, others internally, and others live in the blood. I've heard some types of flukes may be incurable.  I haven't had sufficient time to research this more thoroughly as I just got back from 5 days in FL (I flew back the night before the storm officially was upgraded to a hurricane.  I waded through ankle deep water during a torrential downpour & 40 mile an hour winds at Cape Canaveral so I could make my flight home -- but it was worth it and I got to see a several Manatees before I left!).  In case you're wondering, I had someone tending to the fish in my absence (a needed break after the losses I've been dealing with here recently!). My fluke problem may extend beyond the Aulonocaras.  I quarantined an Astatotilapia latisfaciata (Zebra Obliquidens) in the same tank the pregnant Aulonocara was in immediately after I moved her into her permanent residence.  Right after moving the Zebra Obliquidens I quarantined three Plecos (one of which I sent you a picture of that died from sunken belly), all again in the same tank.  The quarantine tank has a gravel substrate which could harbor flukes and fluke eggs. Now I feel I need to treat these fish as well and I don't have a clue as to which fluke medications are safe to treat Plecos with.  The substrate goes when this is all over! Cindy <No need to toss all, any gear that's been exposed as long as it is treated along with the fishes. Bob Fenner>

Worms and platy fry   6/16/06 Greetings from Australia to all the crew, <Returns from sunny southern Cal. in the U.S.A.> having only a few months experience in keeping fish we have been running into quite a few problems with the poor things. Our latest involves something as unpleasant as worms. The local aquarium guy has assured us it has to do with the drought affecting our area and dams and not just something we did. We bought fluke tablets and after fishing out a few platy fry (all of which seemed fine) and we set up an emergency tank for them with water from the big tank. We then added the fluke tablets but being new at this and apparently not very clever we took out the wrong piece of the filter, with the result that worms are still in the fish and tank! We had a few mishaps with the little fry in the emergency tank with a new heater going berserk and killing the poor things, we were trying so hard to save, so we decided to leave the two last fry who seemed affected by the worms in the tank when treating next, but just as we were about to add more fluke we saw about 20 little fry swimming around. To make it worse we also have a speckled Cory which the before mentioned fish guy told us will not appreciate the fluke. Now what do we do? <I would treat all> One of our nice big platy females is having big worm issues and is in big trouble but what about all the little new ones? <All> Do we risk killing them in the new little tank with water from the big tank and a crazy out of control heater or do we leave them in the big tank and hope for the best? <I'd treat all in place, in your main/display tank> Please help. My kids have named 10 of the little fry and will be pretty upset if I kill more than I already have.. Oh and we also have some tough neon tetras in the tank. They have survived terrible water conditions due to our inexperience, ich, etc and now worms . We managed to kill 5 guppies, and 3 tough platys early on, yet the Neons live nice and strong. Totally opposite to what we have been told. (It may not sound like it but we really tried and we do care about the fish. We have bought every single form of equipment and medicine available. We are just not clever) Marianne in Australia <Bob Fenner>

Wormy Arowana  - 02/27/06 I have a 12" Arowana that had a lump on his right side. I tried to treat it with Prazi-pro, and salt but to no avail. I thought he may have developed dropsy but that was his only symptom, so I treated him with Maracyn II after the Prazi and salt but that didn't work either. So, I decided to perform surgery. I used eugenol as the anesthetic (clove bud oil) then made a small incision under the scale at the backside of the lump. I couldn't believe what I saw. I removed a 3-4" pink worm with a white head all curled up in a ball. He is doing fine know and I am using the Maracyn II as an antibiotic. I was wondering if you could identify the worm and give me some tips on how to prevent this again? My water is perfect and I also have a very healthy teacup ray and clown knife. Thanx Mark Galary < These fish are always wild caught and could have picked up all kinds of intestinal critters like flatworms or tapeworms. Use a medication with  Praziquantel in it like Parasite clear, or PraziPro to prevent further problems.-Chuck>  

Rummy Nose Tetra with worm?  12/20/2005 I could sure use some help!  I have a rummy nose tetra that has a worm in his front right fin and I have treated him with Fluke Tabs and Aquari Sol (my tank had Ick) and the worm is still in the fin (must be internal). <Might be> I have taken the fish out and put him in a hospital tank and  under a microscope to make sure the worm is in the fin and sure enough it is!  I have taken him to a fish store and chatted with a woman that has worked a lot of science when it comes to sick fish but even she was unsure what to do She told me she would look further for more information but could find nothing.  The fish is breathing heavy and flapping his fins.  I am very good with a scalpel and was thinking on cutting part of the fin off to remove the worm (clove oil to anesthetize??) <Mmm, possibly, but hard to do on such a small specimen...> and then treat with an antibiotic.  Under the scope I also found a very very light dusting of black dots that can only be seen under a scope.  I am thinking on doing the removal of the fin as a last resort.  I would appreciate any information you could give me as time is running out. Sincerely, I. Garrett <I would use an anthelminthic here. Please use this term in the Google search tool on WWM... Bob Fenner>

Fire Eels, Cestodes, and Praziquantel - 11/01/2005 Hello Crew! I have a 2 1/2 foot Fire Eel that appears to have tapeworms. He appears very healthy and gregarious in all respects, but periodically he discharges some white, flat, many inches long, substance which appears to cause him some discomfort, resulting in thrashing about the tank to dislodge it. Does not appear to be normal waste or a normal way to evacuate based on the discomfort involved and the color.  <Could indeed be tapeworms.... or other worms.> I have not been able to isolate any of this substance as the rest of his tank mates devour it immediately, <Ugh.> which of course means they also have worms if that is what they are.  <Agreed.> He is fed live worms and I know they can be carriers of tapeworms which has caused my concern. <Good concern.> I know he shouldn't have any medications with copper, and I was also concerned because he is scaleless, or nearly so anyway. Some of his tankmates are also loaches and Botias, so I have to worry about them as well since he is too big to quarantine and they and the rest of his tankmates would probably have to be treated as well, anyway. However, all his tankmates also appear to be quite healthy. What medication or treatment would you recommend? <Praziquantel would be my first choice, followed by Levamisole or Piperazine.... There are a number of products available for aquarium use, one being "Prazi-Pro". Any of these medications (or others for Cestodes) will need to be administered via food, I believe.> Thank you for your time. He is a sweet little fiend, and I don't want the worms to cause him problems in the future. I wasn't able to find anything by performing a search for this item in your website. <Glad to hopefully be of service.> Marcia <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Judging LFS, Fancy Rams 9/16/05 I usually deal with saltwater aquariums and reef aquariums, but a particular fish caught my attention one day while walking through my LFS.  This is generally a store that I hate as most the workers can't answer questions and the animals always seems to be dying (fish) and the mammals always suffering from dirty cage neglect. <It is usually best to avoid purchasing from such places, as they will only continue to replace the animals that you've bought....> Okay.. venting over.. so I came across a fish which they referred to as a gold veil angel ram.  Basically a long-finned gold ram with an angel fish shaped body.  The colorations and disposition of the fish caused me to immediately fall in love with the fish and I proceeded to plan my future purchase.  Originally I bought a few for my grandmothers aquarium that I take care of.. the 3 I placed I've had for over 3-4 months and they're doing great.  I also moved my aquarium at my parents house inside for my sister (as I don't live at my parents house) and got it up and running with plants and driftwood and fish.. the plants are really taking off.. but I have to focus on the pH as it's a little too basic for Microgeophagus. <Okay> Here's the problem.. I bought 5 of them from my LFS today and they came with a problem.   They have this little tumor like cysts in their bodies some of them 1 or 2 .. but no more than 3.. they are about half the size of a grain of rice.. probably even smaller, they react like normal and don't show any signs of being sick.. now.. here's the reason I bought them.. This fish I haven't been able to find online and this is the only fish store on Oahu that gets them in stock.   <Perhaps another/better store would order them for you?> And worse.. they only get them 1-2 times a year and normally by the time they get them in stock they're sold out.  So yeah.. I took the chance.. So.. back to the tumor like things.. they appear to be brownish in color.. they aren't translucent.. but you can see them clearly through the fishes body.. at the moment I have the 5 in a 5 gallon hospital tank being treated with paragon.  I wish I could get a picture for you guys but I don't have a digital camera.  I can try an borrow one and get one too you by next week.. but if anything I'm more curious as to if this is something fatal, curable, or whatever other possibilities there are.   <Chuck's archived response to you can be found here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ramfaqs.htm .  Though I agree with Chuck's suggestion that they are digenetic trematodes (that's, external parasites, similar to worms, that require different animal hosts at different stages in development - the snail/bird/fish parasite he suggests is one), I would also propose that these things could in fact be tumors or granulomas, possibly even from mycobacteriosis....  In any of these cases, treatment is of no help, and in the case of mycobacteriosis, treatment is very, very unlikely to effect a cure and may even be harmful.> Otherwise.. I'd also like it if someone could give some background information on them as I know they're probably a product of inbreeding.  Either way. Any info would be greatly appreciated. <Indeed, they are not natural in color or shape.  I can't find much on this "new" body shape; though, I've seen "balloon" rams (similar to balloon mollies) as well.> Thanks  -Jonathan <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Red parasites in filter, nice pix of Cestodes 8/14/05 Hi there. I'll get right to the point. <Ah, good> I was about to clean the two filters used for my 25 gallon aquarium. I don't know if this is of importance, but there are just four goldfish living in the tank, and no plants or gravel. <All is important> Anyway, there were tiny red worms in the (bio) sponge of one filter, and some more on the exterior of the cartridge of the other filter. We removed these immediately, not knowing whether they were harmful or not. The parasites are a bright cherry red, maybe about half an inch in length, not extremely thin, but not wide either. They seem to have an anchor at one end. <I see this... good pix> We administered salt to the tank as well as to the 'worms.' It took about 5-10 minutes for them to die. What we would really like to know is what these worms are, how they managed to get into the filter--or tank for that matter--and if they're harmful. <Do look like some sort of leech to me... best to be rid of them> Here are two pictures we were able to get of them: http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b335/stromeo/2005081301-redworm.jpg http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b335/stromeo/2005081302-redworm.jpg Thanks for any help you can offer. Sharon <Should you find more, I would use a vermifuge here... You can use the search tool on WWM (home pages, at the bottom of indices) re. Bob Fenner>

Camallanus Worms - Treatment 7/23/05 Hello, I am currently having a problem with treating Camallanus worms (red worms hanging out of the anus) in my 75 gallon aquarium.  I know that there are several articles throughout your website, but none of them seem to answer the questions that I have.  My aquarium currently houses three semi-adult Bolivian Rams (Microgeophagus altispinosa), ten of their fry, and ten Otocinclus affinis.  Sadly I had to have two of the other Rams put down, and I have lost a countless number of fry.  I have tried treating them with Piperazine citrate by treating the tank water and through their food to no avail.  Since then I have tried treating them with a newer product on the market called Gel Tec Ultra Cure PX, which is supposed to treat internal parasites, and contains Praziquantel (.0057%), <Not enough> Metronidazole (.30%), and Flubenol (.03%); this did not get rid of the worms either.  I have been reading a lot of literature from your website and others, as well as from numerous books.  Many of them said to treat with Piperazine citrate (which didn't work), Levamisole, or Fenbendazole.  I have finally found and purchased Fenbendazole, but it is for dogs and I am unsure of the dosage as there is little literature about dosing, and it usually is conflicting just like anything in fish keeping is. > Ed Noga's "Fish Disease, Diagnosis & Treatment", prolonged immersion calls for adding 2 mg./l (7.6 mg./gal.) once a week for three weeks, orally 25-50 mg/kg body weight (11-23 mg/pd.) for two weeks>   My fish and I would sincerely appreciate anyone who could tell me how to dose the Fenbendazole granules, as the vets here don't treat fish.  It is in 1g packets, and contains 22.2% or 222mg/g Fenbendazole.  I would prefer to treat the water due to the fact that I have the Bolivian Ram fry, but my three large Bolivian Rams will take medicated chunks of broken up frozen bloodworms.  These worms are basically eating my fish alive.  As of right now they only have a couple of worms protruding, but the two that I had to have killed were suffering and badly infested.  I don't know how they have gotten Camallanus worms.  These fish aren't wild caught, nor have they been fed live foods, and they haven't been in contact with any unquarantined fish.  This is a new tank for my five juvenile discus, and the Rams were supposed to be cycling the tank for the discus.  With the addition of Bio Spira the tank cycled within a few days with only .25 NH3/NH4, and I never detected any nitrites, so they never experienced anything overly traumatic, and this is obvious to me because they were breeding a week later.  The tank is now only one and a half months old, and I don't know if I'll ever move my discus to this tank as I have heard that you basically have to, as another website stated, 'nuke the tank'.  These fish are my pets, and I care for them immensely.  They rely on me for care, and I will do anything to provide the best for them.  I perform frequent weekly water changes of 30% or more' making sure it is of the same in temperature, pH, etc. although I've upped this and am doing it every two days due to the way this worm spreads through the fecal matter.  The current parameters are pH 6.6, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0, Buffering 70ppm, and Hardness 90ppm.  I would like to thank anyone who is able to give me this information, <Welcome> and if my fish parish due to this new medicine I will hold no one responsible because my fish will die without being medicated anyway.  Any information on the origin of this worm, treatment, and if it is safe to add other fish eventually, if ever, would be appreciated.  Having these fish killed is a last resort, and I would only be willing to do so if they were suffering.  Thank you in advance for any words of wisdom.  Sincerely, Angela <If the "Panacur" doesn't kill off these nematodes, I'd look to the product "PraziPro" next. Good life to you. Bob Fenner>

Getting On the Right Track With Black Spots - 05/31/2004 Someone else has asked about this problem and wanted to know what caused the black spots and the answer was about the quality of the water.   <Mm....  Might help to have more background on your specific problem.  Not having the other FAQ in front of me, I don't know about the other person's scenario, but it will be difficult to aid you without details of your situation.> I understand that probably is the cause but the question of that person as well as myself is are the black spots due to a fungus or a bacterial infection because the treatment is different. <Really, without details, I can only give you a generalized answer, based on assumptions....  I can assume that you mean the "classic" 'black-spot' disease, which is a digenetic fluke - a parasite, passed to the fish from another animal - which appears as small, black spots, like bits of pepper on the fish, almost.  For this, there isn't really a great deal you can do to treat, but it shouldn't be terribly life-threatening.  If the fish is horribly infested, it might be worthwhile to try a Praziquantel bath, or try treating orally with Levamisole or Piperazine, but I really don't know how effective this would be.  'Course, with this assumption, I might be WAY off track - perhaps you have some other disease in mind....  Ah, I realize now, I don't even know if you're talking about a fresh or saltwater tank....  If you can, please get back to me with more information - fish affected, type & size of aquarium, other inhabitants of the tank (especially presence of snails - the first host of the fluke responsible for 'black spot'), how long the tank's been established, how long you've had the affected fish (newly acquired fish may bring along 'black spot' if they were collected in the wild or raised in a pond), water parameters.... anything else of note.> Yes, I know to change the water and correct the problem for the future, but I wish to treat specifically with medication but don't know if I should use an antibiotic or an antifungal????   <Again, without details of your situation, I cannot give you an answer; without details to try to diagnose with, I don't know if your fish has 'black spot' or a common cold.> Please Help.   <Would love to, really; please do get back to us; I'd be delighted to give you a better answer, once I have a better understanding of what's happening in the tank.> Thank you <Thanks for writing in - wishing you and your fish well,  -Sabrina>

MONOGENETIC Gill Flukes Infect Snails and Fish? - 05/31/2004 I am told by a moderator on an aquaria message board that my Pomacea bridgesii snails have given my guppies gill flukes.   <Mm, no....  May have brought other things, like digenetic trematodes responsible for 'black spot', but not gill flukes.  As you note in the title of your question, gill flukes are monogenetic....  need no other host than the fish.> I have searched the net for weeks and can find no evidence that this is possible.  The snails are captive bred/raised, <Can still be captive bred/raised in outdoor ponds with access for visiting birds (or just visiting bird poo), which would allow for transmission of some parasites, like 'black spot', as above - I'm not at all saying this has happened, and probably does not at all relate to your situation - just another reason to quarantine *all* animals, *especially* snails.> and as far as I know, gill flukes are monogenetic.  This would mean the fluke would have to be non-host-specific and infect both snail and fish alike.   <Mm, no, found only in fish.  Another fun tidbit - gill flukes are usually of the genus Dactylogyrus, but skin flukes are of the genus Gyrodactylus  - I'm too easily amused....> This seems like a big stretch, and I have no real evidence that the fish have/had gill fluke.  Some did/do appear to have some gill irritation which began with 48 hours of being introduced to a completely disinfected new setup that had cycled without fish for over a month, and to which I then added the P. bridgesii about 1 week before the fish.   <I'd test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, also consider if the fish have had any major changes in pH (either from the store to home, or from QT to main tank); I would think this far likelier than flukes.> Is it really possible that the snails gave the fish flukes or is some other cause more likely? <I would hedge my bets on 'some other cause'.> I would appreciate any information, documentation or verification of this possibility. <Can give you documentation *against* it, but not for it, I'm afraid.> Thank you,  K <Any time.  Wishing you, your fish and inverts well,  -Sabrina>

MONOGENETIC Gill Flukes Infect Snails and Fish? - II - 05/31/2004 Thank you very much, Sabrina.   <You betcha, Karin.> In all my research I could find no evidence that a gill fluke could live on both the gills of apple snails (quarantined for over a month, I might add) and then infect the gills of aquarium fish, but hearing it from you increases my confidence 10 fold.  Thank you so much. <Any time.  That's what we're here for.> I kept notes of all the parameters of the new tank, including even O2 and CO2 levels, but I neglected to keep track of the parameters in the quarantine tanks since I was replacing the water with fresh tap water every couple of days.  There almost certainly would have been a pH change of as much as 1 degree, <Zowie.  That in and of itself might be/might have been the issue.> and certainly more dissolved solids.  In addition, I had an entire mail order of plants die and foul the new tank, <So a bundle of decaying organic material, too, then - do check that this hasn't given you a bit of a pH swing, as well.> so I used an enzyme cleaner <I, personally, feel that such potions are bunk.  If you can't reach it to siphon it out, you might want to look into a longer siphon tube, perhaps?  A little elbow grease will go a lot farther than a magic cure-all-in-a-bottle.> to help break it down what I couldn't reach with the siphon so it could be removed by the bio- and mechanical filters.   <If there's not a whole lot of debris, it can be confidently left without worry.  If there is a whole lot of debris, again, maybe a longer siphon tube....> It seems possible that some of that enzyme may have also remained in the tank, possibly causing some irritation.   <I don't doubt that it's possible that this concoction may have caused some discomfort in your critters; I really don't put much stock in them.> I'm so glad to be reasonably assured that gill flukes are not the problem, and will be more careful to acclimate new fish in the future.   <If you're feeling daring, and have a microscope (or high school/college laboratory to make use of), you might take a skin scrape just behind the operculum to look at; this would be sufficient to reassure you, one way or the other.  Dactylogyrus, after hatching, make their way along the body of the fish to the gills, so you need not take a scrape of the gills to see if they're present.> Maybe I'll start by replacing the quarantine water slowly with water from the main tank so that they become accustomed to the dissolved solids, pH, and other things before introduction. <A perfect plan, indeed!> If you have some documentation AGAINST the fluke hypothesis, I would be interested in reading it (one can never learn TOO much). <Oh, my....  crackin' out the books....  We'll start with "Tropical Fishlopaedia", by Bailey and Burgess, p. 274 & 275, "Gill Flukes - Strictly, any fluke that parasitizes the gills, but in aquarium usage applied to the monogenetic flukes of the genus Dactylogyrus.  Some 50 species are known, with a size range of 0.15 to 2mm in length.  All are gill parasites, found only in fish, and occasionally also occurring on other parts of the body."  Next, "Handbook of Fish Diseases", by Untergasser, page 100: "Dactylogyridea - Monogenetic flukes or trematodes of the order Dactylogyridea live mainly on gills."  Next, "Aquariology: The Science of Fish Health Management, Master Volume" by Gratzek et. al., page 241, under "Monogenetic trematodes": "Dactylogyrids are usually associated with the gills, and for that reason are called gill flukes."  Lastly (and not leastly), "Fish Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment" by Noga, p. 88-93, aside from having Dactylogyrus listed as Monogeneans, even has a diagram (page 90) of the life cycle, with the fish as the only host (er, since they are, after all, monogenetic).  And from page 89, "The oviparous Dactylogyrids are primarily gill parasites of freshwater fish (Yamaguti, 1968)."  There is far, far too much information in these books to even begin to type it all out for ya, but I hope these excerpts have settled your mind a bit; as it is, "You don't have to take my word for it".  Also, now you have a list of books to go diggin' for, should you choose to see the info firsthand :) > Thank you again.  Your helps is greatly appreciated. <Any time.  I live to research.  Wishing you and your fish well,  -Sabrina> Sincerely,  K

MONOGENETIC Gill Flukes Infect Snails and Fish? - III - 05/31/2004 Thank you again, Sabrina! <Sure thing.> Now, I not only have reassurance that the fish aren't infected with gill flukes, but I have a way to check without trying to scrape gill filament from tiny little GUPPIES!  Eeek!   <And even still, I think the likelihood of gill flukes in your case does not even warrant checking; just if you feel so inclined, less trauma for you (and the fish).> I also have learned a lesson -- no enzyme cleaners (although I'd have had to dismantle and drain my heavily planted and decorated tank to get rid of the muck -- <...?...  Uhm, do you really have portions of the tank that are *that* inaccessible?  Zowie.> looked okay until I stuck my hand in and everything disintegrated into goo).  Maybe should have siphoned out all the water and replaced it a couple of times.   <Aaaaah.  I see.  Just, *poof*, eh?  Yeah, water changes will give you much better results than a fix in a bottle.> Thanks also for the titles/authors.  I need some good reference books, and you've given me a place to start with my next visit to Borders or Barnes and Noble. <Well, to point you in the right direction, then, I'd strongly recommend "Tropical Fishlopaedia" by Bailey and Burgess.  This is a very useful little book, though I wouldn't recommend it to a first beginner or a youngster, in most cases.  For someone a little more advanced, it's a great all-in-one, and has very easy-to-understand information on disease and medication.  It's a little more up-to-date than Untergasser (which is still a favorite of mine, and probably my second recommendation), and much simpler than Gratzek and Noga (cheaper, too!).  Though, be sure to bookmark pages 189, 213 and 317, or you'll have a heck of a time with it.... much as I like this book, it has a major shortcoming of having no complete index.> Thank you so much for your help. <Any time.  -Sabrina> Sincerely, K

Callamanus <Mmm, Camallanus> Hi there. I have done tons of researching on the web and still have been unable to find any suitable answers for my questions. I'm hoping you can help! :-) I have been keeping fish for awhile now, and have over 15 tanks. One that I have is a 6 gallon planted tropical tank with the following inhabitants - 3 platies, 1 female dwarf Gourami, 2 croaking gouramis, and 2 cherry barbs. This is where I'm having problems. A month or 2 ago, I was noticing that my cherry barbs were not up to par, and upon closer examination, noticed red wormlike things protruding from their vents. I removed them to a quarantine tank and treated them with first Jungle Parasite Clear, and then, after further research, Pipzine by Aquatronics. (I am unable to find Discomed, I do not think it is being manufactured anymore.) There wasn't much improvement, and I needed the tank they were in for breeding, so I had to move them back to the 6 gallon. I then treated the whole tank with another dose of Pipzine. The female cherry barb is still eating, though she is very bloated and has been for some time. The male is definitely on the way out. In the last few days, I have now noticed that 2 of my platies are displaying the same worms. I am very upset by this, as I do not want the entire tank to die out, especially the croaking gouramis as they are very rare around here and I love them. None of the 3 Gouramis in that tank are displaying any sign of sickness, though the croaking have been in there the shortest period of time (month or so). I cannot quite pinpoint what kind of worms these are - they are constantly hanging out of the fish, they do not retreat with movement, and are a reddish brown color. The most severe cases are in the cherry barbs, who have 5-10+ worm tails(?) showing. I am afraid that the gouramis are all affected too, but not yet showing signs. I could move them to another tank, but I don't want to spread this parasite. It has shown up in one of my Bettas also. If you have any suggestions of what to do, what to treat with, etc, I would be extremely grateful. I'm at my wits end and almost ready to quit the hobby, this is so hard and I just can't seem to be able to do anything about it. Thank you!!! Julie Waite <<Dear Julie, do not quit!! You are on the right track. Your fish have Callamanus. You can treat with DiscoMed, made by Aquatronics. If you do a Google search, you will find lots of info on this disease. I would recommend you try to find DiscoMed online, and order it from a reputable website. Since I am Canadian, I can only recommend their website, http://www.aquatronicsonline.com/contact.htm , I also found this link for you: http://www.epetpals.com/cgi-bin/commerce.exe?preadd=action&key=031399111510  Hope this helps. -Gwen>>

Electric blue crayfish worms??? I have trying the product Maracide now for the past seven days and the worms are still on my electric blue lobster (crayfish). <Yes... this product is for infectious disease agents...> I have tried to take some pictures to show you <Very nice> but as I said before the worms are so small you can't really see them. He has a small white marking on the top of his head and near the bottom of his tail were the worms stick out of. He also has about a hundred or so on the bottom of his belly. The worms are not on anything else in the tank. I also have a blue crayfish in with him and about 25 or  so guppies. None of which are infected. I am sending a few pictures and hopefully you will be able to see what I'm talking about. The worms in the picture are located in the middle of his eyes. Hoping to hear from you soon Thanks <Mmm, you can/could try actual anthelminthics, compounds that are toxic to worms, but not (much) to other invertebrates. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm and the next Related FAQ file, and the links where they lead you. Bob Fenner>

Nematode/Worm Problems Hi! I have a problem with nematodes infestation. Red spines are hanging from the bottom of the fishes and they don't eat. I got this precious info from WWM to use: "anthelminthics (Piperazine, Levamisole (both in Discomed (tm)) the family of chemicals called Benzimidizoles" but cannot find any commercial product that would included those ingredients. Discomed doesn't seem to exist anymore. Please help me. Thanks! Dominique <Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. treat the tank with Fluke-Tabs and that will take care of any invertebrates in the tank.-Chuck> 

Fish with Worms Hi Chuck! I have been following your advice and treated the tank with Fluke-Tabs. No new sick fish so far but a bit too early to say if it really worked. One thing though: it didn't prevent the fishes that already showed symptoms of infection to die. -Is this normal? <If sick fish are treated too late then a combination of illness and medication will kill them sooner than the parasite alone. Either way they would of died.> They Can this medication save fishes already sick? < The key is early detection. If the disease is treated early enough then it can cure fish without killing them.> -I discovered another (expensive) medication called PIPERAZINE CITRATE. Would it be even more effective than Mebendazole and Trichlorfon (Fluke-Tabs)? <Depending on the parasite one may be more effective than the other.> I think I will treat the tank again in a month even if there is no sign of the parasite. I want to be sure it's gone before I introduce the 5 discus I plan to buy. And at least I will be prepared for the next attack. Dominique <Good luck with those new discus.-Chuck>

Gourami with Swordtails Well, it's not the Gourami's survival with the Jack Dempsey that I'm worried about as much as the swordtail's survival with the Gourami. But you don't sound too worried about it. < They should get along fine as long as they are pretty close to being the same size.> I have a new question though, I just brought in some (I think it was frog weed? something like that, but its not duckweed) from a pond supply store and I put it into a 10 gallon with snails only (gold and black mystery snails (2)) and after a while I notice tiny white worms EVERY WHERE!!!! Glad I didn't have any good fish in there. What are they? < Probably plant leeches.> And how do you eliminate them? < Fluke tabs will get rid of them fairly quickly.> The plant I have floats on top of the water and is supposed to grow like crazy, didn't pay much for it and I would like to keep it, but if its too much trouble because of the worms I'm good with getting rid of it. < The Fluke tabs will work and you can keep your plants.-Chuck> 

Capillaria? Hello, I seem to have a worm issue in my 55 gallon tank.  I have done a bit of research, and got some good information from your web site, and I'm pretty certain the issue is some kind of nematode worm.  I have a pair of dwarf Gouramis and three Rainbowfish exhibiting signs of infestation with long, clear to white, stringy stool.  From what I have read, an anthelminthic will clear the parasites from the fish, and I have purchased some food with the remedy premixed.  My question is:  what next?  The stool droppings may very well have contained eggs.  Is there something I should also be doing to kill the eggs and prevent re-infestation later? <Mmm, well... I would look at the stools for eggs, authentication that this is indeed a problem with roundworms (or sacrifice, or necropsy an individual if it dies)... (might be protozoal... even environmental...), but you can likely vacuum out the feces (daily) and remedy, break the cycle this way if so. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your assistance, Brook Harwood  

Re: Capillaria? Hello again! Thank you for the fast response. I have examined my tank and I think I can safely eliminate environment. <As in rule out as a cause I take it> I have a 55 gallon tank (planted) with a Whisper 60 filter that peaks at 330 gph. Filters are changed every 28 days and I change 15 gallons of water every week. The tank has been running since January. Ammonia and Nitrite have been reading 0.0 for quite a while now. Nitrate levels just before I perform a water change run between 10 to 20 ppm and generally on the low side of that range. My pH has been stable at 7.2 since the tank was set up and I keep the temp right at 78-80 degrees F. I have a total of six juvenile Rainbowfish, three dwarf Gouramis, three Cory cats, two zebra loaches, a Pleco and a red tail shark. If I laid all these fish together nose to tail they would only add up to about 25" of fish though I realize many of them have some growing yet to do. It did not occur to me that this problem might be protozoan, so I guess I will have to keep that thought in mind. The only thing that strikes me as obvious is Hexamita (sp?).  <Correct, old genus name, capitalized... now Octomita> I have read this can cause digestive disorders in fish, resulting in the unusual stool I have described. <Yes> However, from what I've picked on this seems to be a "cichlids only" kind of disease, <No... affects, infests many fish groups> though it would make sense that other kinds of fish could be infected if exposed. What sort of product is effective in fighting this parasite? It sounds even worse than worms!  <Most often Metronidazole/Flagyl is employed... through foods... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm.  Bob Fenner>

Re: Capillaria? - Success !!! Hi Bob, <Brook> Thanks for all of your help. After two days of feeding the fish a strict diet of flake food pre-mixed with Piperazine, they are no longer showing signs of infestation. <Yay!> The instructions that came with the food state they should be fed for three consecutive days. After tonight I can return them to a normal diet? <Yes> As an additional precaution, I also treated the main tank once with Clout, which I was told is effective at eliminating milder protozoan infestations,  <Agreed> also capable of purging some parasites (and their eggs) from the gravel. My male Boesemanni and Splendid Rainbowfish can be seen displaying to one another in a manner I have not seen in weeks. Their lethargy had vanished completely by this morning. Whether it was Capillaria or protozoan I seem to have stopped it in its tracks. Many thanks to you for all of your help! Brook <Congratulations on your success. Bob Fenner> 

Methylene blue, harm, internal worm diseases In my freshwater aquarium I have internal worms in the sail fin mollies. I am going to treat with Methylene blue 1mg/litre. Will this harm my apple snails, African dwarf frogs and plants? <Will not harm these other organisms, but will do nothing directly to eradicate the worms either... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm sort through re parasitic disease, mollies. Bob Fenner>

Camallanus Worms - 01/19/2005 I have a large planted freshwater community tank which includes a number of Angelfish (9).  The majority of the Angelfish (but not all) appear to have short red sticks (approximately 1/4 in - 3/8 in) protruding from or near their genitals.  No other symptoms on any other part of the angelfish's bodies or on any other of the fish (German Rams, Bala shark, Corys, etc.).  From looking at books, it appears that the "red sticks" could be the ends of anchor worms but I am puzzled that they do not appear anywhere else on the fish.  What do you think they could be?   <Likely Camallanus worms.  Also, it is likely that all the angels (and quite possibly any other fish in the tank) are affected.> I regularly change the water (every week or two) from 10-33%.   <Have you fed them any unquarantined live fish as food?  This is a common parasite in livebearing fishes.  Either way, it is communicable - could be that one of the fish you purchased spread it to the rest.> If anchor worms, what should I use for treatment (formalin??) and should I treat the whole tank or only those fish which display the "red sticks"?   <I would treat all the affected fish with Levamisole, Piperazine, or Praziquantel IN FOOD.  Some products containing these medications are "Discomed" and "Pipzine", which have instructions for mixing them with food.  Also, the following link offers foods already prepared with medications: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/26/cat26.htm?519 .  I understand the folks there are greatly customer-service oriented, as well.> Thank you for the help. <Any time.> Diane Thompson <Wishing you and your angels well,  -Sabrina>

Camallanus Worms - II - 01/20/2005 There did used to be guppies in the tank. I had this parasite 2 years ago and perhaps I never got rid of it as I thought.  <I doubt that you wouldn't have seen anything in two years - but I suppose the parasites may have been too numerous to detect.> What is the treatment for Camallanus worms? <Verbatim from the previous response: "I would treat all the affected fish with Levamisole, Piperazine, or Praziquantel IN FOOD. Some products containing these medications are "Discomed" and "Pipzine", which have instructions for mixing them with food. Also, the following link offers foods already prepared with medications: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/26/cat26.htm?519 .  In fact, they offer a de-worming flake that would probably be effective. You might call them to discuss this product and its ability to combat Camallanus.> One more question on the Camallanus worms. Since you say they are highly communicable, it would seem one should treat the whole tank?? <Yes.... Especially since you may not be able to see symptoms in seemingly healthy fish without a high-powered microscope.> Diane Thompson <Good luck fightin' the good fight, Diane! Let us know if we can be of further service. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> 

Re: Camallanus worms I previously asked you advise on Camallanus worms in my mollies. You advised Discomed or Pipzine. I am only able to get Disco-worm in this area. Its active ingredient is Di- n- Butyl Stannate. Will this work? <Likely yes... you might want to check for Praziquantel... perhaps through a veterinarian> The tank has sailfin mollies, Bettas, various tetras, gouramis, Plecos, Borneo suckers, loaches and Neons. I also have African Dwarf Frogs, Apple snails and prized plants. <I would NOT expose the amphibians, snails to the metal (Stannate) medication... If at all possible, remove and treat just the affected species (the mollies) in another container...> Help please, I have already lost my favorite. He was a male sailfin molly. He formed what looked like large water blisters on the abdomen before he died. By the way I am positive they are Camallanus worms. Classic ID. Thanks for your efforts.  Diana <Much to state, relate... best by having written and posted survey articles on the common "fish remedies" including di-n-butyl-tin oxide... nematode worms... This occasion prompts me to re-new my efforts to get these pieces done. Do check your local large library, college one... for a work by Edward Noga... the information you seek/need is there. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Gourami and Camallanus Hi there, <Hello!  Sabrina, here.> Thank you all for keeping such a wonderful and informative website. <And thank you for the kind words!> I have had two dwarf Gourami in a 5 gallon QT tank with an established sponge filter for approx 2 months.  I plan on moving them to a much larger tank when I'm sure that they are disease/parasite free. <Sounds like an excellent plan.> About one month ago I noticed two tiny red threads (approx. 2mm long) poking out from the anus of each Gourami.   <Yikes, that does indeed sound like Camallanus.> I ordered some Pepsofood and fed it for three days and then once per week as directed with no effect. <Although Pepso food is very useful stuff, I do not believe it contains medicines effective against Camallanus.> The fish still have a hearty appetite and do not display any unusual behavior or appearance.   <Always a good sign!> Recently I was reading an article that suggested my fish were infected with the Camallanus nematode.   <Sounds like it.  Though, is it possible what you're seeing is just feces?  Some red-colored foods will give fish red poo, but the "threadlike" appearance you describe is classic of Camallanus.> Many different medications were suggested on many websites like disco worm, <Perhaps this was "Discomed"?  Discomed, manufactured by Aquatronics, contains Levamisole, and should be effective against Camallanus.> Trichlorfon, fluke tabs, <Fluke tabs are/contain Trichlorfon.  This substance should be avoided unless absolutely *nothing* else works; although it might be effective, it could be very toxic to the fish.> Fenbendazole, <Likely would be effective, but will be very hard to find, I imagine.  Try looking for the proprietary name "Panacur".  However, this will be difficult to dose, as it is usually found sold as a goat or horse worming medicine.> and Levacide.   <Perhaps "Levamisole"?> Levacide was touted as being the best cure for this problem.   <If you mean "Levamisole", as above, you can find that in Discomed, made by Aquatronics.> I did some research on the web and could not find out where to buy this medication and whether or not it would harm the biological filter.   <Whether you use Piperazine or Levamisole (or even Fenbendazole), it should be administered via food, so it should not impact the nitrifying Ammonia is 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 10ppm temp 78F and 25% WC 2 times a week with dechlorinated water I keep heated and aerated in a bucket. <Sounds great.> Has anyone had experience with this kind of infestation?  Which medication would be most effective and where can I get it?   <Either Levamisole or Piperazine should work for you.  Most small, non-chain fish stores do carry Discomed (Levamisole); however, you can also find it available for sale at many online stores.  You can also look for Aquatronics' "Pipzine", which contains Piperazine, and should also be very effective against Camallanus.  If you have trouble locating either of these, you might try contacting Aquatronics ( http://www.aquatronicsonline.com/ ).  I believe there is a store locater on their 'site, as well.> Can snails be a secondary host? <I don't *think* so; it is usually spread through feces, I believe.  It would certainly be a good idea to prevent moving any life from the sick tank to another.> Also, Camallanus I read is highly infectious.   <It can be easily spread if an infected fish dies and is left in the tank to be nibbled on, or also again, through nibbling on feces (Mmmm, feces), so it'd be a really good idea to siphon off any poo and gunk very regularly, even daily.> If it has reached my other planted freshwater community tank (18 gal, 5 neon tetra, 1 SAE, 2 Otto Cats), what medication could I use with the sensitive catfish?   <Certainly *not* Trichlorfon, that's for sure.  Piperazine or Levamisole should be fine, though.> Thank you in advance for your help.  Michelle <Sure thing.  Wishing you and your Gourami well, Sabrina>

De-worming fish in the hospital tank (11/22/03) <Hi! Ananda at the keyboard tonight...> Hi, I had some bad luck with internal worms, so I decided to start a nurse tank to minimize my losses. <Good idea.> My mother who is also a fish lover advised me to medicate the tank. <I always try to avoid medicating the display tank -- much easier/cheaper to medicate a hospital tank. Some courses of medications get so expensive with a big tank that you'd actually save money if you bought a small tank and treated the affected fish in the small tank.> She said not to use the full dosage but wasn't sure what meds to use or how much. What would you recommend in such a situation. <For internal worms and similar nasties, Discomed is a good one to use. Since you soak food in Discomed + water, you just follow the directions on the box.> I want to make sure the fish I put in my tanks are disease free. All of the tanks are fresh water community-semi-community. Thanks <Ah, that brings to mind an image of a town full of fish driving tractor-trailers.... Your desire to keep your fish healthy via a hospital tank is a good one. Do check out our freshwater forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk . --Ananda>

- Freshwater Black Spot - Hi, I wrote you guys/girls a while back asking for some help on the black spots that my angel fish got. You provided a link but the link only took me to the parasite part of your website and plus my angel fish are freshwater and it was the saltwater parasite part. <Doh! Sorry...> Thanks anyways but I was wondering if you could help me again. <I'll try.> Let me describe the parasite it is black "spots" about the size of a pencil tip. As if someone had poked the fish about 10-15 times with a pencil on both sides. It appears to be under the scales. The fish do not rub themselves however and they eat fine. The dots are getting worse however. I have looked all over your site and at almost every parasite article that you offer. My water parameters are perfect and even my local fish store does not know how to solve it.  I've used MelaFix which I now know does not really do anything, <Agreed there...> parasite guard, and some other medicine that is in a white tablet form. I'm all out of ideas as to what to give them to fix the problem. Hopefully you can tell me of a medicine or some remedy to solve the black spot dilemma. <It sounds to me like this might be freshwater velvet... which is treatable. Your best bet is to start by putting this fish into a separate tank for quarantine, and perhaps even considering removing all fish from the main system while you treat this problem. Marine and freshwater velvet are caused by related Protozoans and these have life cycles which will continue as long as you have fish-hosts. To treat freshwater velvet, raise the temperature a couple of degrees, and then [in the quarantine tank] treat with a copper solution for a minimum of two weeks. Keep plenty of water around for small, frequent water changes to keep the ammonia from building up. You can also add a little salt to the quarantine tank water to help offset the osmotic balance of the Protozoans - much like a freshwater bath for marine fish, a saltwater bath for freshwater fish has shown to be of some use in these cases.> thanks, Sam <Cheers, J -- >

Leeches For the reader that was trying to control leeches, Dimilin or Formalin will work, but care must be used in selecting dosage. Be careful!  Formalin will cause problems in bio-filters if applicable. Also try: http://www.state.me.us/dep/blwq/doclake/leech.htm Craig>

HELP!! ICH!! Flukes Hi Ronni, <Hello Ruth> I just wanted to say thanks for your help and input!  It was good to get reassurance about the flukes.  I have been doing the ammonia/nitrite checks, partial water changes, temperature @ 82Ã-Å¡ and salt all along, all has been well in that department.   <OK> But then a few days ago I noticed MORE white spots on a red zebra, and after doing some more reading on line decided to try CopperSafe.  The lady at my LFS told me that there are getting to be some very resistant strains of diseases out there that don't respond as readily to traditional treatments any more.  In any case, the scratching and head shimmy has all but stopped now, and everyone is behaving much more normally.   <Very good!> I was thinking about doing a regime of Piperazine flakes as I noticed some stomach bloating on a couple of the fish, even though they look normal now.  (Of course these two are the most enthusiastic feeders!)  Can this hurt even if I'm not sure they've got internal parasites? ,Nope, shouldn't hurt them at all. I wouldn't do it for an extended period but short term isn't going to hurt anything.> Have a great weekend! Ruth <Thanks! You too! Ronni>

Bloodworm Infestation (HELP!!)... Camallanus Hi, your site's really great! I really hope you can answer my question I'm at my wit's end! ). My question is ( I admit ) a bit off the subject BUT still is related to external/internal parasites. OK, my fish ( guppies, silver hatchets, loach, emerald cat, iridescent shark ) and one of my African Dwarf frogs are infested with bloodworms. I am POSITIVE they are bloodworms ( thin, red, protrude from vent, and aquarium has no other parasitic contact ). Anyway, my frogs NEED the bloodworms to eat ( they won't eat anything else. <Have you tried "Glassworms"? (actually chironomid/midge fly larvae), small frozen/defrosted marine crustaceans? There are quite a few of these offered by the pet-fish trade. Look for the Gamma brand...> I feed them frozen ones, never live. ). I now know a feeding method that prevents the fish from getting infested, but, now one of my frogs is "wormy". Whenever my fish got wormy, it always died in the end. I try to halt parasitic invasion by plucking the worms out of their ventral areas ( it's really gross and I'm rather  squeamish. ). It seems to help, but my fish still die. Is there any medication or wormer that I can use? <There are... a few worth trying. Piperazine and Praziquantel may be had through your veterinarian... you are looking for a vermifuge (as in "flee worm") medication that won't harm fishes, frogs...> I have no invertebrates in my tank, and all of the plants are fake yup, plastic. ). I really don't want to hurt my fish and frogs. It'd be great if there is a medication available. Please help me!                                                   "Worm Picker-Outer"( that's really grossed out ) <Do keep us informed of your progress. Bob Fenner>

Apparent Cestodes in Discus I have six beautiful pigeon blood discus in a community 68gal. tank. Two pair are currently spawning, laying and fertilizing their eggs. After each batch I have noticed that all four fish have at one time or another expelled a white, ribbon like, segmented cord from their anus. Once one was breathing it in and out. I didn't see if it had ate it or if it just came out of it's mouth. I am concerned because I just lost a beautiful breeding pair of Snakeskin Red Turquoise. They just went crazy for about three days and died. I left them in the tank for a couple of hours and this cord was coming out of their mouth and gills. It freaked me out. Is this a tapeworm and should I medicate with Praziquantel (Droncit) or should I just leave them alone. <Worth looking into. Do you have availability to a microscope? I would try to take a look at these stringy feces before actually treating. Metronidazole (aka Flagyl) is a possible antiprotozoal to add to the possible materia medica here. Bob Fenner> Please help.

Sick South American Leaf fish -- how to treat with a new medication? (02/15/03) I have a South American Leaf fish (Monocirrhus polyacanthus) who I believe is infested with Camallanus sp. parasites.  He has the swollen anus with red fibers that move in and out.   <That is the primary symptom...> I have tried Piperazine (which I did not expect to work) and Discomed (Levamisole).  I dosed the Discomed at 1 tab/8gallons per an article I read on a cichlid site.  The results have been mixed: fewer fibers, but some remain.  There is one other drug I have seen talked about, Ivermectin.  I have this "gold standard drug" but I can not find any recommendations on dosing.  For humans the dose is 150-200mcg/kg.  Should I dose per volume (kg=liters) of the aquarium?  That would be a lot of Ivermectin (almost 21 mg). <If you choose to try this, I would dose by the weight of the fish, and administer the Ivermectin in food.> I thought about moving him to a quarantine tank, but his current tank would remain infected and will have to be treated with Ivermectin anyways and the problem of dosing the quarantine tank remains. <You might want to put the fish into a quarantine tank anyway -- the substrate and decorations in the main tank need to be cleaned, and you can somewhat mitigate the problem by "screening" the larvae away from the fish. Dieter Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases" suggests suspending a fine screen above the bottom of the aquarium, which the larvae will fall through, preventing the fish from eating them off of the bottom of the tank.> Also, I have read several articles about the use of Ivermectin with salmon to treat sea lice, so I assume Ivermectin is safe for fish.  Any thoughts or ideas? <On Ivermectin, no. Untergasser suggests a couple of different methods for treating this, which I'll summarize. One is Concurat L 10%: dissolve 2gm in 1 litre of water. Soak live bloodworms in this until the first ones die, and then immediately feed the still-live ones to the fish. Another is Flubenol 5%: add 100mg to 100gm feed mix. Then give that five times every second day, with only one normal feeding on those days. The book includes recipes for the feed mix, also. This is a book I recommend to every serious aquarist with expensive or unusual fish!> This is a very interesting fish and from what I understand this infestation is fatal unless treated.  I would appreciate any advice or anecdotes you have to offer on my attempt(s) to help it. <Do get the Untergasser book. You might also be interested in its "big brother", Edward Noga's "Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment". I would be interested in hearing which approach you take and how it works out.> Thank you Steve Thornton MD <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Update Re: Monocirrhus polyacanthus with Camallanus infestation - 02/22/03 Ananda, Just an update.   <Hello, and thanks for the additional info!> The Discomed actually appeared to have worked.  I dosed 1 cap per 8 gallons twice over 5 days with a 30% water change in between.  The leaf fish no longer had the bulging anus with the red fibers and appeared to be getting back to normal as the feeder fish were disappearing.   <I did a little digging and found an alternate way of administering this for fish that are fussy eaters. Dissolve one capsule of Discomed in 2 ounces of water. Soak live brine shrimp in that for a few minutes and immediately feed them to the fish. This was fed to the fish -- killifish, in the example I found -- twice a day for two weeks.> However, two days ago he suddenly developed  bulbous <bubble-like> lesions on the right side of his face that proceeded to become hemorrhagic looking.  I tried dosing with PCN <penicillin> and tetracycline after doing another water change, but it was futile as was dead the next day. <I'm sorry to hear that -- this is such a neat fish. Did those lesions release any fluid?> I have never seen anything like this before.   <I haven't read about anything like this, either.> It was strange that it only affected the right side of his face from mouth to gills, but no lesions on left side of face or body.  It could have been a burn, but from what I don't know.  The heater is a submerged type and the temp in the tank was only 78 degrees.  Unfortunately, I am stuck with only speculation. <Me too. I'm going to pass this along to the rest of the crew and see if these symptoms sound familiar to anyone. --Ananda> Steve Thornton MD

There is a very safe treatment for flukes <Ananda here today...> Flukes are easily and safely treated with the dog worming medication: Droncit.   <With a bit of research, I found that Droncit is also known as Praziquantel. It is prescribed as a tapeworm medication for both dogs and cats.> Treatment on day 1 and day three or four, successfully kills flukes in Goldfish.  See Dr. Erik Johnson's book, Fancy Goldfish for precise dosages. Best wishes, Goldfish geek <Thank you for the heads-up on this book. I took a look at the book previews and it appears to be a very good book to have, even if you don't keep goldfish. --Ananda>

Troublesome parasite Dear Bob, I have tried to post this question on the WetWebMedia forums but it keeps getting refused (I am a new member).  I've searched the web and all of my fish books to no avail so I'm hoping you can help.  A few months ago I bought some Emperor Tetras and plants for my freshwater planted tank (100L, pH 6.8, GH 6, Nitrate 10, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0). After two weeks quarantine the Emperors went into the tank and all seemed well until a few days later when tiny white dots were seen on the fins of a few of them (needed a magnifying glass to see) they were treated for Ich but no improvement was seen and the dots grew into white/cream worms (they don't look like any anchor worm I've seen, more like a round worm). They grow to about 12mm and are coiled as they get bigger, although I haven't actually seen them move or squirm.  The fish don't seem to suffer much discomfort apart from flicking the affected fins but when the worms get to 12mm the fish begin to look tired and a bloody patch appears where the worm is, just before it disappears (I'm assuming it drops off). One male has a 'worm' coiled in his mouth.   None of the other fishes in the tank are affected yet but as more Emperors are affected now I really need to sort this out. If the fish were bigger I would try to pick them off with tweezers/spot treat, but these are such small fish. I tried treating the tank with salt (very slowly increasing to 3 tsps per Imp. gallon which had no effect except damaging the plants) I have also used Sterazin (for 2 weeks!!) and Paragon (Waterlife) to no effect apart from the most affected fish perking up a bit (not all at once obviously). Have you had any experience of this? Any help will be much appreciated.  Thank you for reading this. Regards Paula O'Leary (UK) < If they are true worms then try Clout or Fluke-tabs. It may be a bacterial infection and the "worm" may actually be a small fungus spot after the bacteria have damaged the fish. It you think it may be bacterial then treat with Nitrofurazone or erythromycin. The latter does not color the water. The former will turn the water green. -Chuck>

Re: Troublesome parasite - II Hi Chuck, Thanks for your reply. One of the Emperors died today, she was the most affected and had been struggling all yesterday. I feel so bad for her, and the others if they go the same way.  However I managed to detach one of her anal fins complete with parasite and  get it under the microscope. Two things were apparent, firstly the parasite was not easily detachable (which is why I had to take an anal fin) secondly it looks for all the world like some kind of leech!! It has what appear to be 1 head at each end, a round 'head' and a more pointed 'head' - since it would be unlikely to have 2 heads I can only assume that it fits the description of a leech. I have taken photos if you would like to see them.  <<Yes!  Please resample/resize to 300 pixels largest side, and 1K or under for our inbox requirements.>> They show the silhouette of the 'worm' and its position on the fin. I have tried to photograph the parasites on live fish but Emperor tetras move very quickly. Regards Paula < These parasitic invertebrates can be nasty. But you did the right thing but taking a sample. I would still go with the fluke tabs or clout if you can find them.-Chuck> 

Monogeneans from the gills of Mormyrid fishes Dear Professor, <Blahoua> I hope you will understand this message easily; my English is quite poor. <No worries> I am called BLAHOUA KASSI Georges. I am a doctorate of the university of Cocody-Abidjan (Ivory Coast). I undertake my research in Laboratory of Hydrobiology. I just red in the internet one of your publications which title is: 'The Elephantfishes, family Mormyridae, in Aquariums My topic concerns the Monogenean from the gills of Mormyrid fishes. Concerning the bibliography, I have some difficulties because I don't have any previous publications. I will be duly grateful you send me publications on 'Gills Monogenean parasites from Mormyrid fishes'. You can also give me names and e-mails of some persons who have worked on my topic that you know. Doing so you will help me a lot in my research works. Best wishes in 2005. Sincerely yours. <I suspect you don't have easy access to large library collections as well do here. Where would I send this material? Bob Fenner> BLAHOUA KASSI GEORGES Address postale : University of Cocody, UFR Biosciences, LABORATORY OF HYDROBIOLOGY 22 BP 582 Abidjan 22 (Coast of Ivory)

Worms! Hello again. I have recently written in about my Pleco and the headache I'm sure he gives himself. I have a 90 gallon fresh water, with live plants and community fish. 16 gallon water changes every 2 weeks with aquarium salt added in. My new problem is I came home this morning and I discovered that one of my fish looked like it had a fire cracker explode in it. This is one of the fish I brought home for feeders and it didn't get eaten. It just grew. I thought that maybe some of the fish got at it, but this was not a small fish. And I try to be as careful as possible when getting new fish.  That they aren't aggressive. So what I want to ask is, is there a parasite that could make my fish "explode"?  It was the strangest thing I have seen. While fishing out parts of the fish. I notice that there was a worm like thing on the cover of the tank, on the under side. I have thought about clearing out, the tank and starting over, this weekend.  Would it be a good idea to save about half the water in the tank, or should I start right from scratch? I was going to turn off the filter and siphon out the top part of the tank and reuse it and then take another 45 gallons, and let it stand for a couple of days. Does that sound like a good idea? I have no where to store 90 gallons of water and I don't have a smaller tank to place my fish in, so I cant wait the 2 weeks to cycle the tank. Thanks for your help Lukas <Sounds like your fish have worms. These are common in wild caught fish, like most plec's or fish bred outside, like most feeders. Breaking down the tank will not help. Try here for medicated de-worming flake. http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/31/cat31.htm?452 And once again I warn about offering feeder fish unless you can QT them for at least a month. Don>

Fish Scratching on Rocks and Agitated Fins... Worms likely   Ok I found a few things out about what I think may be wrong with my tank, read below, sent in earlier.  I had a snail in my tank that I believe brought in yellow grub/black spot parasite.  One of my fish has it pretty bad, little black dots on body and in the eye.  I got rid of the snail, most info I read said to get rid of birds flying around and or snails, obvious which problem I had.  Snails gone.  Was wondering though if my fresh water crabs could keep the cycle going also or if I should be ok on this end. Please let me know ASAP.  Thank you so much. < To get rid of external parasites it is hard to beat formalin. Add a teaspoon of rock salt per ten gallons of water and try treating with formalin or rid-ich for the parasites. You might have to move out the crab for awhile until treatment is complete.-Chuck> <<Mmmm, answers to the actual questions and follow-up: Could have come in with the crabs... do read re treating/eradicating Nematodes... and Formalin will definitely kill the crabs. RMF>> Jeff Fortier

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