FAQs on Freshwater Lice,
Related Articles: Freshwater Diseases, FW Disease Troubleshooting, Ich/White Spot Disease, Choose Your
Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options
by Neale Monks,
Related FAQs: Crustacean Parasitic Diseases, Anchorworms/Lernaeids, Organophosphate Use, Aquarium
Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish Parasites,
African Cichlid Disease 1,
Cichlid Disease, Ich/White Spot Disease,
Lice-Solve Overdose 1/13/13
Hi, I was sincerely hoping you may be able to advise me. I have a 28
gallon tank (set up 4 weeks ago) which cycled fully after 2 weeks
(highly improbable I know but the water tests I have had done every few
days - samples taken to LFS for testing have consistently shown 0
ammonia, 0 nitrites, low levels of nitrates after the initial ammonia
spike in the first week). I have many plants and a log from an
established tank which kick-started the whole thing beautifully.
I added 2 fantail goldfish after a few days of setting up the tank and
things were wonderful for one goldfish, the other quite quickly seemed
to get stressed, fins clamped, sitting at the bottom of the tank and
only stirring when food was served (flakes, occasional peas, broccoli,
<I'd skip the last. Please search/read on WWM re these sewer fly larvae>
Was unable to figure out what was wrong until finally some macro
photography revealed fish lice on him. By this time, he was very poorly
and passed away before I could treat him. My other fish still appeared
fine so I proceeded to treat the tank with lice-solve
(I could see eggs on the plant leaves). I fear though that I may have
slightly overdosed my tank (by a small amount - my scales aren't as
accurate as I needed them to be).
<This product has a wide range of efficacy... not easily overdosed>
The fish was fine that evening but in the morning he had his nose down
in the plants and wasn't moving much. I quickly changed out 30% of the
water and he perked up, hungrily eating his flakes and swam around for
about 3 hours as usual. Then he settled nose down in the plants again
and has stayed more or less in the same spot ever since. I did a further
30% water change in the afternoon. He has tried swimming but seems too
weak to fight the current in the tank. I tried to tempt him into some
activity with the bloodworm with no success. My question is: is there
anything more I can do to try and help him?
<Possibly the addition of salts, sea and Epsom may be cathartic. Please
read here re:
and the linked files mentioned where you're not familiar (enough)...>
If he does die, will I have to clean out the whole tank, buy a new
cartridge for the filter and start the cycling process again, or will
several large water changes remove the offending chemicals from my tank
so I can get a new fish and hopefully have better luck/success?
<T'were it me/mine, I'd opt to bleach the system en toto likely... and
start again. See Lernaea on WWM re the rationale. Bob Fenner>
Thanks in advance,
Re: Lice-Solve Overdose 1/14/13
Thank you for your response! Just thought I would update you on how
things went. The fish in question has died (gutted!)
, but I have done a water test before cleaning the tank out and the
lice-solve had caused a massive Ammonia and Nitrite spike which killed
<Mmm, doubtful. Much more likely the dead fish caused the massive NH3,
All I can say is, anyone thinking of using lice-solve for their tanks, use
extreme caution, use literally a couple of grains of the powder, and
keep a very close eye on your ammonia/nitrites. I wouldn't recommend the
stuff myself. Question: what is a good sensible alternative treatment
for fish lice should I ever encounter them again?
Thanks for all your help!
<... posted... Read here: Oh, see below that I sent you to search for on
WWM last time... do so. BobF>
A question on
First off, thank you for your site. I have used it and have learned
much on more than one occasion.
My question is about Argulus (fish lice). About two months ago I
discovered Argulus on some of my goldfish. After much research I
learned about Dimilin and tracked some down at an LFS about an hour
from my home.
I removed all of the many mystery snails living in the tank and treated
it for the prescribed time and it worked wonderfully. All is well with
the goldfish now.
<Ah, very good>
Unfortunately, there are still Argulus living in the isolation tank I
moved the snails to. Everything I have read seems to indicate that the
Argulus cannot live for more than two weeks without a host,
<Mmm, longer than this>
but they are still visible all over the glass in the snail tank after
over a month and a half. Are snails a host for Argulus as well?
<Not as far as I'm aware, no>
If so, is there any way to kill them without harming the snails?
<Again... not as far as my knowledge goes>
I really want to move them back to their big 50 gallon tank where they
can move around doing their happy snail-speed things.
<I would keep moving the snails out of their isolation system,
draining all the water out, lightly bleaching... refilling with water
from the established system... a few times... this practice should
eliminate intermediate forms. Bob Fenner>
Fish Lice-HELP... reading
I have a 175 gallon salt water tank, I have a 500 gallon turtle pond
and I have a 5000 gallon Koi pond. I CANNOT believe I was so stupid as
to NOT QT.
So my problem, the 5000 gallon Koi pond, I have had for 5 to 6 years.
Its beautiful. Well, a couple of months ago I did a rescue, some
Chinese restaurant had over 100 Koi in this LITTLE pond more suited for
So we did a rescue of 4 of them (along with a few other folks) and I
didn't QT, the Koi.
Now, I have fish lice on all my beautiful butterfly Koi. I cried,
literally. So here's what I have done, I removed all plant life,
did a HUGE water change, cleaned the bottom, and treated them with
<? What is this product? I.e., what are the active
1) Am I going to lose any of my fish?
<Not likely if treated properly, no>
they are all named, blinky, ceech and chong, nessie, etc., my
butterflies are like 22 inches long, I am SO mad at myself I KNOW
2) How does this cyropro work?
<I have no idea what this is; neither does Google>
Will the lice fall off them or do I have to manually remove them?
<Most med.s call for removing adults thus>
And how long does it take. States to treat every 10 days for 30
3) Is there anything else I can do to speed up the process? I hate
seeing my fish uncomfortable. They are not even coming up to me for
their hand fed treats! So sad.
Believe it or not I have searched the web over and over again on fish
lice, there is not as much info as I would like! Things like how long
before you notice an improvement. Will they come back?
thank you for you help I do appreciate it
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fishlicef.htm
and the Related FAQs files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish Lice-HELP
The active ingredient in this med is cyromazine, Google says it is a
<I see this... and typical for Lernaeid med.s>
There is also B12 in the product and a synthetic skin-slime replacer.
This is what our LFS recommended. We used last night (the first
treatment) 1 fluid ounce for 312 gallons, so we measured it out and we
walked around the edge of the pond pouring it in. It doesn't state
that we have to manually remove the lice. How do I do this without
stressing my fish too much?
<... read where you were referred>
When you said to manually remove them I did a search and read that once
the lice is removed I should treat the spot with a medication to aid in
healing? Yet the site didn't say..what kind of medication!
<Some folks dab a mercurical on these sites...>
I read the link you sent, actually I read it last night and again this
morning, which is how I ended up emailing you.
Thank you for your help!
Re: Fish Lice-HELP
PS, I can pull my fish out and put them in a 500 gallon QT tank that I
have on hand.
<Ahh! Very good to have such/another system... so you can
systematically net out, carefully hold (with a wet towel) each fish,
inspect it for adult "worms", remove them... and place the
fish in the new system>
Would it be better to do this and leave the main pond alone?
<I would likely bleach-wash the main system after removing the
I under stock all my systems so I have in the 5000 gallon pond 8
<... the plural of Koi is Koi... there is no such thing as
and 2 of the algae eaters (sucker fish not sure of the name)
Oscars and some sort of parasite infestation! (fish
Parasites On Oscars 3/17/10
I've been a long time reader of your website and usually
I've had enough information from previous articles or
questions and email answers from you guys and gals to solve any
problems that I've encountered on this journey
into the fish world I've taken. However, currently I've
run across something that I can't quite get a grasp of to fix
and would like your input.
I've had these 2 Oscars in a 75 gallon tank for the last 5
years and have normally been very active and playful and
decorative for a lack of better term. (Thank tank never keeps its
current layout very long they change it almost monthly it seems)
Lately though they've been a bit lazy and dont swim around as
much. They still have an appetite and are very energetic when its
feeding time though!
The problem is that they started rubbing on things and it got to
a point to where they would rub gouges in their scales on their
head and front areas.
One night I finally got a closer look at them and they have these
little specs all over them, and at first I thought it may just
have been some sort of dirt but as I looked closer I noticed the
dirt specs crawled around. So I looked around at your website and
searched around for pictures of the only thing I could guess it
was based on symptoms (fish lice) and couldn't see many
pictures that matched it. I read a few of your email answers
about fish lice in fresh water and have started a treatment of
clout tablets. Its only been 2 days and it says its a 4 day
treatment (one dose wait 48 hours re dose, wait 48 hours and do a
25% water change). I followed those instructions and my re dose
is later today and I thought that maybe the little bug things
(fish lice?) should be dying by now!
The parasites are less in number but still seem to be hanging on
the Oscars. The other concern is that I didn't think they may
be fish lice just because all the stories I read about them, was
them burrowing under the scales and these look more like little
spider things on top of the scales just randomly crawling around.
They're staying mostly towards the front of the fish there
are few if any past the gills of the fish and most are on the
I've attached a couple of pictures that I hope can help you
aid me in telling me what they are.
Here are my current tank stats if I manage to leave something out
please ask if you need it and I'll get it ASAP. I just ran
these tests 5 min ago. pH: between 7.4-7.8 Its probably higher
than you guys would like to see but its kind of the water card
that I've been dealt and the Oscars have lived in it for 5
years now with no problems thus far.
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: Between 0 and 5.0 ppm
Copper: 0 ppm
Phosphate: Between 2.0 and 5.0 ppm
I also am not sure if the phosphate level is normal or acceptable
because there's little reference to a normal level of
phosphate in a tank. The pictures look a little bit drastic
because of the massive amount of the parasites on the fish, but a
lot of them are just loosely on there as soon as I feed them or
come towards the tank any remotely fast movement shakes most of
them off. I had to sit there very patiently for 10 minutes to get
the fish to calm down enough to get these shots. The albino Oscar
always has more of the infestation on it than the tiger Oscar
does and I also don't know why that is.
Anyhow, sorry for the long email but I would greatly appreciate
If the clout treatment is the correct way to go then it's
already in progress and I suppose I'm just not patient enough
to wait for the results!
I worry about them though. Thanks, Patrick Stockton
< Sometimes the parasites bury into the fishes flesh. This
makes them harder to treat and it takes longer to kill them.
Follow the directions on the package and continue medicating as
directed. They could have come in with feeder goldfish. Elevating
the water temp to 80 F will hasten the lice's life cycle. If
this medication does not work then I have had good success with
Fluke-Tabs.-Chuck><<Looks more like Hexamita to RMF.
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FWHLLECauses.htm
and the linked files above>>
Trying to find a diagnosis. Oscar With Fish Lice
8/21/07 Hello, I have a tiger Oscar that has been self-mutilating
himself. He rubs against things in the tank and has opened his flesh at
times. I did not see anything with my naked eye (at first). Then, one
day, I sat down by the tank and looked up. He swam into the light and
behold, there were microscopic white specks on his head. Then, I looked
closer and they actually were moving. They are so very small, too small
to compare them to anything. The only reason I saw them, was because he
is black and swam into very bright light. They look like bugs crawling
around over him. Now that I knew what to look for, I noticed them on
the glass of my tank. Lots of them. Only in the light and very
microscopic. I have tried researching "parasites" and nothing
seems to fit the description. Fleas would be too big and flukes are
described as "worm-like" rather than "bug-like". I
couldn't stand to see my Oscar with open wounds and frayed fins so
I bought "parasite eliminator" to cure flukes, anchor worm,
and fleas, etc. I am about to give the 2nd dose. They have not
responded to treatment so far. They are still there and there are
plenty of them moving around unphased. What can I try next if this
doesn't work? I appreciate any response, Thanks, Tina < Try
Clout or Fluke-Tabs. The parasites probably came in with some feeder
External Parasites On An Adult Jack
Dempsey 7/17/07 Hello Crew, I have a relatively large
Jack Dempsey (10") named Phin that lives with an algae eater in a
40 gallon tank. We've had him for just over a year and up to this
point his behavior is fairly predictable but lately we have noticed
some new patterns that were alarming. We introduce 10 feeder fish each
week and it usually takes him just a few days to polish them off. About
2-1/2 weeks ago we introduced the feeders and he has only eaten two of
them. In addition, he started to breathe more rapidly and he would dart
around the tank and almost crash himself into the gravel. About two
days ago I went to say good morning to Phin and noticed that he had
about a dime-sized spot behind one of his eyes where it appears he has
lost his scales. I also noticed one scale near his tail on the same
side that was coming loose. I immediately went to the pet store to ask
about possible problems and solutions. The "fish expert" at
the store suggested that it may be a skin bacteria or infection and
gave me "Maracyn" to treat the tank for five consecutive
days. She also gave me frozen beef heart to provide Phin with some
nutrition. I did the initial treatment on the tank and fed him some of
the beef heart (which he absolutely devoured). A few hours later I
returned to the tank to check on Phin and I noticed something new...he
now has tiny little greenish things all over him. There are a few on
his body and some on each of his fins. They are very small, I would say
less than 3mm across, they appear to be round and they don't move
around a lot, they seem attached to his body. I referred to the
instructional booklet that came with the "Maracyn" and it
didn't say that it treated any live, external parasites so I'm
not quite sure what to do at this point. What do you think I'm
dealing with and how should I treat it? Thank you in advance for your
help! < When you feed your fish feeder goldfish you always have the
potential to introduce parasites and diseases to your fish. treat with
either Clout or Fluke Tabs. It sounds like you have fish
Fish lice? 4/1/06 Hello.
<Hi. Tom with you> About a week ago a purchased 2 Fantail
Goldfish and 1 Platy. I have all of these fish in a tank together.
<Not a good plan, Savanna. The Goldfish require very different water
conditions than the Platy does which may have led to stressing this
particular fish.> The other day I started to notice on my Platy
white bumps all over it's tail. Then yesterday I noticed 1 huge
bump on the back of the fish. Today I found 4 new bumps on the left
side of the fish. These bumps are white and about 1-3mm wide. I have no
clue what is going on, but I did take the Platy out of my tank and put
him in a separate one by himself. Tell me what's going on; is it
fish lice? <Your Platy almost certainly has Ich. Fish lice are quite
a bit larger than you describe (visible to the naked eye) and are dark
(brown or green) in coloration. Frankly, that's not all bad since
Ich is much easier to treat. You do want to be prompt with the
treatment, however. Lots of information here in WWM on the course of
treatment. I'd highly recommend heat and aquarium salt as your
Platy will be very tolerant of both. Tom> Parasite
Attack Hi crew, <Hi Lorenzo, MacL with you today.> I'm
afraid I have a parasitic infestation in my tank. <Not good Lorenzo,
not good at all.> These parasites look like little oval
semitransparent lice that become white and tear away from fishes when I
dip them in fresh water. <Have you seen the picture here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopodfaqs.htm, is
it one of these?> I think they are trematodes or Argulus sp.
(crustaceans). The problem is that after one or two week that I've
done the freshwater bath they come back again over fishes eyes and in
my puffer's gills. <I really think you need to get the fish out
of that tank and put them in a quarantine system. Let the tank go
fallow and keep the fish out for 4 weeks.> I can't treat my
display tank because have live rocks in it. And when I'll pass to a
grater tank in November I have to use my live rocks that I afraid
infested by these parasites. <You'll move whatever is in the
rock into the new tank unless you let the parasites die out by letting
the tank go fallow.> I'm trying cleaner wrasse to control the
spread. What can I do to heal my fishes and to disinfest my tank? <I
would continue with the freshwater dips and consider putting them in a
quarantine system with a low level of copper for the parasites. I would
let the tank go fallow for at least four weeks before I put any fish
back and let the parasites die out with nothing to feed on.> Thanks
for your help!!!! <Hope this helps, MacL>