|FAQs on Parasitic Marine Worm Diseases: Flukes/Digenes & (Monogene)
Trematodes: Treatments That Don't Work
FAQs on Flukes/Trematodes:
Cures That Do Work,
The Flatworms That Are Flukes
by Bob Fenner, Marine Parasitic Disease,
Fish Worm Diseases 1, Marine Worm Parasites 2,
Marine Worm Parasites 3, & FAQs
on Marine Worm Parasites: Diagnosis/Symptomology, Etiology/Prevention, Cures That Don't Work, Cures That Do Work,
"Other" Worms and Worm-Like Parasites...
Paravortex/Black Spot Disease,
Nor Malachite; or Methylene Blue
Neither Antimicrobials, Antibiotics
Nor generally just freshwater dips/baths alone (sans formalin)
Returning afflicted fishes to infested systems serves no purpose
Mela-"fix"? Worse than worthless
Coldwater box fish with flukes
I have an Ornate Boxfish that came to me last September in poor shape. He
had a very cloudy eye and what looked like a lump on one fin.
He is still in qt almost 8 months later although he now shares qt with a
few starfish, some snails and some anemones.
His tank is 75 gallons, kept at 61 degrees and he is well fed and cleaned.
The cloudy eye cleared up within a month, but the lump stayed. After 4
months, the lump was gone, but small spots showed up on all his fins.
These turned into the exact same kind of lump as the original blemish on
his pectoral fin, except they were all over all his fins. We treated with
<No!!! An at times toxic scam>
Prazi, formalin (twice), Neoplex, Ruby reef
<.... see WWM Re>
Hydroplex and vitamins. We even did a freshwater dip on the back half of
him, while keeping salt water running over his gills and mouth.
One day, we did a manual inspection on these lumps and I tried to remove
one. It came off with just a bit of effort, and upon inspection under a
microscope, we found it had a leach type mouth and was actively looking for
its host. We removed 15 in total from the fish.
We treated the wounds with polysporin and they appear to be healing. We
also ran a double dose of Prazi after we removed the parasites. However it
is a month later and we notice there are some very fine white dots and a
couple of these dots appear to be growing.
<See (as in actually READ on WWM re other Anthelminthics.... coldwater
settings... don't work as well>
How do we break the cycle and get rid of these pests?
<Reading... don't have the time, desire to re-key>
I would like to get the boy into his permanent home eventually and don't
want to have him continue to suffer with parasites.
Here is an image of the flukes after we removed them. They were about 10mm
diameter, and looked like poplar seeds. They were flat, round and slightly
raised in the middle. They appeared to have a small 'tail', no eyes, and a
round sucker mouth on the underside. I froze them, in case someone could
give me a better ID.
<Neat! Write back later after reading, trying other Vermifuges. READ before
trying misc. "medicines" that are scams. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cupramine leeching 8/8/15
Thanks again. So I did a freshwater dip with Methylene blue (as I was able to
get this at the LFS). Formalin, I was only able to find online and I did order
it, but wanted to get started asap. He jumped around quite a bit. I did get
worried as I have read that trying to jump is a sign of distress, and I know
blennies are generally sensitive, so he was probably in the solution maybe 5
minutes. I am hoping that the Cupramine for just under three weeks and the small
amount of time with the meth blue worked on his Trematodes.
<... The freshwater may, but copper and Methylene Blue neither do really.
See WWM re Trematodes; their treatment with purposeful Anthelminthics>
I'm sure I will let you know!!!! He is back in his DT, peeking around live
rocks. I want to make him fat and happy before I put his frenemy, the Royal
gramma back in too.
The last email we discussed entrenched crypt populations, and the possible
futility of fallow periods. I will observe these two fish, once they are both in
the 55 together and consider a complete tank overhaul should I suspect
undesirable critters lay waiting. I can do this because I have a spare 90 gallon
laying empty about my home. I just don't care for its location as it is in a
room we don't frequent as much as the 55. This is why I started up the 55 and
not the 90. Too many rooms, too much cleaning, tanks and otherwise. Of course, I
always knew having both tanks eventually running would be a matter of time, as
this is quite the addiction.
Thank you, thank you. Alyson R
Please help. Long term copper exposure; fluke trtmt.
I am at a loss as I have had a fish tank with a Blueface Angel,
Majestic Angel, Emperor Angel, two Ocellaris Clownfish and a Regal Tang.
I had been treating for an outbreak of ICH some three months ago which
had gone but left the Cupramine at 0.5 for several months
<Detrimental to have fishes exposed for such a long time to copper>
as I was hoping to add another fish. However the Majestic, BlueFace and
Emperor became blotchy and twitching from side to side. I therefore did
an 80% water change with fresh seawater fearing it might be the long
term exposure to the Cupramine
<Yes; at least>
however the fish are getting worse. The Ocellaris and Regal Tang are
totally unaffected and it cannot be Ich, flukes etc due to the Copper
<Uh, no... Copper does not effectively kill Trematodes. Read here:
I would administer a purposeful Anthelminthic as gone over...>
and I would have thought if it was Ich the Regal Tang would be showing
I have had the Majestic and Blueface for around 18 months and the
Emperor for 6 months so really do not want them to die.
<... sampling, 'scope use... The only means of effectively ascertaining
what you're dealing with here. Perhaps pay for a download (on Amazon) of
Ed Noga's Fish Treatment book for background and SOPs>
Any ideas please as I am stuck for a reason.
<A bit more reading>
Thank you in advance, Adam.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
I work at a tropical fish store in North San Diego, Ca.
<Oh, Tri?! Am in Mira Mesa, land o' fish head eaters
We frequently have problems with a fluke or Trematode I believe, in our
marine fish only system, but it is not digenetic, nor is it species or
Copper treatments do not kill them,
and they are extremely hard to see unless on the eyes of fish.
Freshwater dips cause them to turn translucent/cream white and start to
fall off in about 30 seconds.
<I'd add a bit of formalin, aeration...>
Some fish, especially large angelfish of the genus Pomacanthus
sometimes come in from Indonesian trans-shipments with upwards of
500-1000 of these pests on one large fish, coming from the gills, eyes,
from under scales, and covering pectoral and caudal fins completely in
<Have seen such>
Specimens that are infested this badly often die within 48-72 hours
after dip unless hospitalized in a strong solution of
"Bifuran" by Hikari (Nitrofurazone) or sometimes we use
formaldehyde or malachite green. The store is hard to maintain, but I
am fairly adept at recognizing the signs that a fish may need
treatment, and there are several fish which are not affected, but many
which are surprisingly small or fine scaled, are.
<Mmm, I'd avail myself of a workable Anthelminthic... Read
and the linked FAQs files above>
My problem, and the reason I am contacting you, is that I am currently
keeping a 40 gallon mixed/SPS dominant reef tank. Specs: 40 gallon
display, 29 gallon sump, highly overrated protein skimmer, large
cryptic/dark zone with profuse sponge growth, vertex pro bio pellets
running in an Eheim canister, 9.5 Mag return, lighting; 70watt metal
halide, 24 one watt l.e.d.'s and two 24watt T5-HO bulbs. I have a
2" sand bed of fine grain and about 25lbs. live rock. I am housing
several clams and 30+ LPS and SPS. The only "soft" corals are
Palythoa, Dendronephthya, Ricordea florida, and a very nice blue
Clavularia sp. I also keep a healthy colony of Haliclona sp. sponge and
several other cryptic spp. of sponges, ascidians and tunicates that I
have collected from the sumps of the invert system over the years.
What I am getting at is that I don't want to tear apart my poor
reef, but I have an infestation of these Trematodes or whatever they
are, on fish which I didn't think they would normally infect. I am
currently keeping one Opistognathus aurifrons, one Liopropoma swalesi,
one Synchiropus splendidus, one Synchiropus picturatus, several Trimnas
and Eviota gobies, two Nemateleotris magnifica, one N. decora, one
Elacatinus oceanops and two Discordipinna griessingeri. I am also
housing various inverts (obviously), but I do not keep cleaner
So far, the Jawfish, all three Firefish and the neon goby all have
"bugs" and I am positive they are suffering the same
infestation the fish store is. The only one I can easily catch is the
neon goby (they swim into the net or your hand!). I don't see any
possible way for me to catch the Jawfish or Firefish without tearing
down my aquarium in order to administer freshwater dips.
Will "PraziPro" help, and if so, what will it kill in my
reef? Any other suggestions?
<The Prazi might help... but can be toxic... I'd remove the
fishes (yes, even if you have to take the tank apart) and treat
Thanks in advance for any advice or help you can give!
~Patrick R. Laird
Specific Gravity: 1.023
Calcium: maintained at 420-480ppm
Alkalinity: maintained above 7 DKH but never able to bring above
I change 8 gallons once a week with water made from reef crystals and
R.O. water, mixed and heated to same specific gravity and temp. as
<Mmm, did I meet you at DonW's do a couple years back? Bob
Re: Marine Monogenea/Trematodes 2/8/11
Yes, Tri-City. I did meet you at Don's, about 6 years ago. I was 18
or 19 and had probably been in the marine hobby for less than a year.
Don helped me out a lot back then by pointing me in the direction of
people who understood things well, and he also gave me some great deals
on used equipment for my first
reef tank. He passed away recently, I'm sorry to say.
<Ahh! Don was my (4277 Taylor St.) employer in the late 60's. A
major influence in the trade back then>
Thanks for your help, I am going to hope the critters can hang on until
I move, in about 2 months and treat them all then. In the meantime,
have you observed any benefit of adding a prophylactic? Like Marine
"fishkeeper" or Napthoquinone?
<I have not, nor heard/read consistent reliable accounts of their
Sick Lionfish, incl. Monogenetic Trematodes
03/07/06 Dear Bob, <Chris> Lately my lionfish has suffered
from monogenes ( the worms that move around the fish and cause cloudy
eyes....looks like ick) <Yes.... Trematodes... direct lifecycle
types... can be real trouble...> I didn't know what they were
until it was too late because the lionfish was not scratching and it
continued to eat like a pig. <For others, and highly unlikely for
the last time, a/the simple pH-adjusted FW bath/dips that have been
advocated for so dang long, will/would take care of these flatworms...
Dang! Okay.> I attempted to feed it medicated food several occasions
however it didn't seem to cure whatever was growing on the fish.. I
didn't learn what it was until my friend pointed it out and called
em monogenes. That night that he came over my lion had stopped eating..
So I gave him a 4 minute freshwater dip and then placed him into a
50gallon breeder tank with no substrate and medicated water with Copper
Safe and Formalin 2. I did the formalin 2 for 3 days and I didn't
see a whole lot of improvement <Might have been too late by then>
and then I followed up with three days of Tetracycline and 3 days of
half dose of Maracyn. The fishes eyes cleared up and improved 98% and
the monogenes all seemed to fall off. <Oh! Good!> The fish has
been in the quarantine tank for roughly 10days.. The tail that had tail
rot seemed to stopped rotting and it seem to remain the same size. I
saw the same conditions on Saturday. The tail looked like it wasn't
getting worse and the eyes looked pretty clear. However the fish
hasn't ate for 14 days. So I decided maybe if I move the fish back
into the main tank <...? Is this a/the source of the Trematodes?>
it would start to eat and heal up. I noticed that when I caught the
fish he gave me a hard time catching him and when I placed him in the
main tank its tail looked much worse then it looked on Saturday however
prior to catching it the tail seemed to be the same as it looked on
Saturday. Overall the rest of the body is in great shape. Its a 14 inch
lionfish and it has a huge home to live in. The tank he resides in is
240 gallon tank. I know you say the best way to get rid of a bacterial
problem is to have stable water. <Generally, yes... Given the
animal/s are "strong enough" otherwise> My water in my
main tank is testing just fine right now. Was I right for moving him
into back into the main tank? <Doesn't read like you had much
choice> What is the best way to win over a bacterial infection and
to get a fish to start eating again seeing the situation that I am in
now? Sincerely, Christopher Faiola <IF the animal can be made to
eat, eats, to "sneak" a broad-spectrum gram negative
antibiotic into its food would be my choice here. If not, to make a
bath of this, in concentration, and soak the fish in it for ten,
fifteen minutes (with aeration). Bob Fenner>
Flukes? 2/25/03 Hi!<Hey Steve! Phil here!> I think my
fish have flukes.<Oh no.. not good.> They get white things on
them, Head & sides. I give them a fresh water dip & see these
white things stretch out like worms & jump off. I have already lost
most fish. they start hiding & breathing hard & die. I think I
will lose my last few fish. What I'm wondering is how long I should
Leave the tank empty to get rid of them? Will they get on shrimp, crabs
or starfish?<These guys are fine.> Thank you! Steve<Well
Steve.. I'm glad your dipping your fish in fresh water. But you
can't add them back to the main tank right away! Then need to be
placed in a hospital tank for at least 4 weeks. The main tank MUST run
w/o fish for this amount of time so these fluke-like creatures die off.
Remember to place all new livestock/live rock in a hospital tank for at
least 4 weeks also to stop any viruses from entering your main tank!!
Hope this helps and good luck! Phil>
Wholesale fish to UK and fish gill flukes 6/18/03 Dear
Anthony, <cheers, my friend> Just to let you know, I received my
fish yesterday. I acclimatized them as I described and yesterday the
fish were not looking too good. <common for transshipped
specimens... often no worries> This morning however, all the fish
are up and swimming around and most are feeding already, which I am
very pleased about. <excellent to hear> 1 was sent a cream angel,
which was DOA, <a lovely but fragile fish indeed> the 2 convict
tangs were large, one DOA the other was in a bad state but has settled
well. The clown/Pyjama tangs are doing well, a tad aggressive but not
hurting anything. <heehee... typical... bullies> the powder blue
tangs are very good, around 5", very full body and bright in
colour. the other fish I received were Scott's fairy wrasse. these
are doing very well, lovely little fish. <quite challenging to
keep... requires a very high quality diet. And likely a tank with no
tangs, clowns, damsels or active/aggressive feeders> I was wondering
if I could ask your advice again? <always welcome my friend> in
another tank I have an Addis butterfly, gold ring butterfly, Auriga
butterfly and a baby epaulette shark. <interesting> I have
noticed the butterflies have been flicking their heads against the rock
work and shaking a lot. <yes... AKA "glancing". Indicative
of gill irritation. Most often caused by water quality or actual
parasites on the gills as you would expect> I have treated with
various treatments as I am sure that it is a parasite/flukes. <quite
commonly> I have used Myxazin (don't know if you have it over
there-it is a Waterlife product), removed the fish and tried copper,
and now have resulted in MelaFix. <I can assure you that Melafix is
a complete waste of time/money if they are flukes. > can you suggest
any other treatment other than a freshwater dip (as I am not confident
enough to carry this out-I know it is easy and have done it before but
I don't like doing it) the main problem is the shark and I
don't want this to spread as I want to add some of my stock to the
tanks once conditioned. the Addis butterfly (my pride and joy) has
scraped against the decor so hard that it has broken the scales and
they are reddening. <do consider a Formalin treatment... long bath
on the tank or stronger dose in a dip. Methylene blue may be added
cautiously/judiciously> this is my favourite fish and was difficult
to obtain. other than this there are no other external signs on the
fish. Any suggestions would be gratefully received! <the shark
really jams things up here... it is sensitive to metals and organic
dyes as well as lower salinity which all would help your primary
treatment with Formalin. It would be best to remove the shark for a 4
week isolation period... unless this tank is not bare bottomed in which
case it should not be medicated at all. Leave the shark and pull all
others to QT> thanks again, and I hope you can answer, thank you for
giving up your time. Regards, Sam Baker <best of luck, my friend!