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FAQs on Parasitic Marine Worm Diseases: Phony Cures That Don't Work

Related Articles: Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Worms, Roundworms

Related FAQs: Fish Worm Diseases 1, Marine Worm Parasites 2Marine Worm Parasites 3, & FAQs on Marine Worm Parasites: Diagnosis/Symptomology, Etiology/Prevention, Cures That Do Work, Products/Manufacturers... Flukes/Trematodes, Tapeworms/Cestodes, Leeches/Hirudineans, "Other" Worms and Worm-Like Parasites... Paravortex/Black Spot Disease, Anthelminthics/Vermifuges... De-wormers (Piperazine, Praziquantel...) & FAQs, Yellow Tang Disease, Parasitic Disease 2, Parasitic Disease 3, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, RoundwormsYellow Tangs, Tang Health/Disease

Copper... not likely, w/o killing the fish hosts in the process. "Fixes"... Like Mela-.... no, these have no therapeutic value whatsoever.

Cleaner organisms will help, but not eradicate external parasites generally.

Fallow periods to starve the parasites sans fish hosts... may be very long.

- Fallow Tank for Flatworms? - Hey Crew!  Thanks again for all your help, I just have one more question (on this problem anyway!).  While looking through other fluke-related FAQ's I noticed mention of allowing the display system to go fallow.  I understand this to mean let the system go 30 days or more sans fish. <Correct.> Would this be a better solution for me and my fish than a considerable number of dips over the life of the system? <Well... not knowing exactly which flatworms/flukes your fish have, it's not a safe bet to say that 30 days will do the trick. Could be they find something else to eat and then no amount of fallow time would solve the problem. Fallowing the tank is usually recommended for parasitic problems like Cryptocaryon/ich where the problem is easy to identify and the life-cycle is a known quantity. It's not out of the question in your case, but more needs to be known about the parasite you have found yourself with.> I worry about the amount of stress I'm placing on them.  Would such a step be an over reaction at this point? <I'd see how everyone is doing after one round of dips - does the problem come back? Does it come back repeatedly or in greater numbers... if so, then is the time to take more drastic action.> Sorry to be a pest about my pests, but I really appreciate the help. <No worries.> -Tony PS - I have been keeping two QT systems (a 10 and a 20L) lately, however I unwisely didn't use good quarantine procedures on the first two fish, nor the live rock.  What can I say; every day's a lesson. <Indeed. Cheers, J -- >

Nematode treatment, not Cu   11/4/07 Dear Crew, <Mark> My yellow tang appeared to have "small strings" coming from its vent. I merely observed for 3 weeks, but the fish started to hide excessively and become lethargic. Water tests showed good water quality: pH=8.1 in a.m. - 8.4 in p.m. Hardness=9dGH Ammonia=0 Nitrite=0 Nitrate<5ppm Phosphate<.5ppm So I captured the tang and put him in a quarantine tank and treated with .50ppm ionic copper. <Mmmm, I would not have done this> I know tangs don't always do well with copper, but I like using it because I can test how much is present vs. " the dumping and hoping you added enough/not too much" method associated with most other treatments. <Good point> I did not try a freshwater dip because I have had poor luck/skill with its use . Anyway, my yellow tang seems to be responding well to the treatment so far (2 days). So how long should the tang be treated? And how long should the display tank (90 gallon reef) remain fallow? Thanks, Mark <If you had a microscope... I would cease the copper exposure and try an anthelminthic here instead... in both the treatment and main tank... Prazi-.... see WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Danger of disease with too little practical knowledge, bunk advice I have a 55 gallon tank, which has been up and running again for a little while...(4 months?)  Anyway, we have crushed coral on the bottom, and some coral and rocks for decoration/hiding/shelter.  Our water has been checking out fine when we do a test at the store.  (the only test kit we have is the PH one)   <First Dave, take responsibility for knowing your water, get an ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/pH/alkalinity test kit(s) and learn to test your water. Your fish store may or may not be able to really help you.> Our fish are 1 yellow tang, 1 orange tailed blue damsel (don't know his official name, but he is not the yellow-tailed ones), 1 Clarkii clown fish, 1 juvenile Emperor angel and 1 cleaner wrasse.  (Okay, I have only just begun to read about how this is a bad fish to get, but was trying to solve the tang's problems)  Oh, and our filter is an Eheim canister style filter (says 2213 on it?)  and we have a bubbler stone with little pump just for nice bubble look off to the side. Okay, here is the problem.  Our yellow tang looked great when we first got him. (this was after cycling our tank with damsels and then returning all but the orange tailed guy)  Then a few days later developed tiny tiny black dots all over.  Checked it out and talked to our fish guy.  He said it was the Hawaiian black spot parasite and he recommended a fresh water dip.  I did that and they went away.  Then of course they came back, I now am beginning to read and understand about the life cycle of the parasites.  Because they kept coming back the fish store people had me treat the tank with Marine Aquaria NO ICH treatment for 2 weeks. <FIRE your LFS and do not buy this snake oil stuff anymore!!! PLEASE go to the disease pages of WetWebMedia.com and read about *why* you are getting this disease and how to get your system back in order. Also, please read about and obtain a quarantine tank large enough for all your fish. Read about quarantine and marine stocking at WWM too!> Well, all looked well so after the treatment cycle we bought the emperor angel.  I mentioned to them that I thought I saw one or two new dots, and they agreed that a cleaner wrasse would help.   <See my advice above and give me a double. Give them the broom, they are not only rip offs, but they sold you a fish that you now know doesn't have a good survival record AND is endangered.> Sure enough, that day the wrasse ate them off, and I thought we were out of the woods.  Now here we are a week later, and the yellow tang has 4-5 tiny dots again.  and the wrasse is not eating them.  She is eating everything else we feed the fish (we primarily use the frozen formula two food, but to ensure the Emperor would eat, we got some brine shrimp)   <Brine shrimp is fine to get fish eating, but do switch to Mysis shrimp and another form of nutritious food, brine shrimp is the Wonder Bread of fish foods, no, it's more like Twinkies. IOW, it has no nutritive value.> I did another fresh water dip on the tang, for 5-7 minutes.  He looked fine in there the whole time, but is looking definitely stressed now.  His breathing was quite rapid, and he was in his stress darker color mode.  He is fortunately looking a bit better now, but not much. What also worries me is now our Emperor angel is lingering in the bubbles on occasion, and I am afraid he is getting something now. I just did a 15% or so water change today, and put the carbon back in the filter (was out during the treatment)  But things just seem off.  I am afraid we are going to wake up to all our fish dead.  Oh yeah, the wrasse is not looking so good anymore.  Having trouble staying straight in the water, and holding her mouth open a lot. (her name is Alice, by the way, from the Brady Bunch.) So there we have it.  Spare me no details, although I already know some of the major mistakes we have made.  (No quarantine tank being the biggest I think)  Help save our fish! Becky <I would look up black spot disease on WetWebMedia.com and treat as per directed there, in a QT tank, this is common for Yellow Tangs. You may also have another parasite or water condition that you don't see or can't test for, (ick/velvet) and wastes (esp. ammonia/nitrite) and pH/salinity/temp. I would recommend a QT tank along with tests for water parameters as these may be problematic/causative with all fish listless.  Also search on Google search at WetWebMedia.com on ick/velvet treatment as this may be problem with new additions to black spot. I know you won't add any more fish without a proper quarantine, will you?  It may take a month or two to get all straightened out. Make good use of the QT and disease pages of WWM!  Best of luck!  Craig>

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! Anthony>

As The Worm Turns? (Fighting Intestinal Worms) Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. your Crew Member today!> I DID IT - I finally caught my sick Naso (180 gal, lots of LR)!!!  Now that I finally have this sick fish in a QT, the information I need is how to treat him/her.  From reading MANY posts on your website, my assessment (best guess) is that my Naso Tang has intestinal worms.  I have not seen any worms but this fish has not eaten in 5-6 days and I can nearly see through it because it is so emaciated.  I do not notice a swollen area near the posterior of the fish, similar to those that had a blockage. <Sounds like it may be just that, but usually, you can't tell 100% unless you dissect the animal... I guess you'll have to go with your best guess here. > I noted that some of the people who discovered this issue with their Naso in time took the fish to a vet who administered an oral de-wormer.  I do not know of any vet in my area that treats fish.  Is there anything I can use to treat my Naso for worms?  I currently have Cu in the QT (3.0 PPM) and I am using Melafix because I have read several positive results from using this "natural" medication and no negative results. <I am skeptical about it...It's supposedly for external problems, too, by the way...I'd remove the copper, is it may be causing more harm than good to the fish, by damaging it's digestive fauna...Not a good thing when a fish is possibly starving. Although it is reported by some people to be successful at treating worms, I'd use Poly Filter or Cupri Sorb to remove the copper, and keep up a lot of regular small water changes. As far as a medication for intestinal worms, I'd steer towards a medication like Praziquantel, or possibly a Formalin based medication.> As I mentioned previously, I did previously notice a single "attachment" to the throat area of this fish that dropped off the day after I noticed it.  I assumed this was some sort of parasite but no others have returned in the approximate 5 days since this "attachment" fell off.  I thought the Melafix would also be good to prevent a secondary infection at the site of this parasite attachment. <Ahh... didn't see your first post. Now I understand your rationale for using Melafix...Good thought> Assuming I am able to cure my Naso of these (assumed) worms in time, would these worms not still be present in my main tank?  If so, how do I prevent a re-occurrence? <Unlikely. Usually, these worms come in with the fish from the wild, so it's hard for me to imagine that they are present in the tank in any numbers that could be a problem. On the other hand, the external parasite that you noted could have reproduced, and could be a potential problem. Observe carefully, and let the tank go fallow if this turns out to be a problem. Parasites don't fare well without hosts! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> ________________________________________ My information contribution: Hopefully this will help some other person who is finding it impossible to catch fish in a large tank with many rocks.  This is how I finally caught my Naso:  Since I have several other Tangs (ich magnets) in my tank, I was very worried about stressing all the fish in the tank and causing an ich outbreak.  To minimize stress (the fishes' and mine), I waited until night and turned off the aquarium lights (leaving only a flashlight pointing at the bottom of the opposite end of the tank from where my fish sleep).  Once all fish has settled into their normal sleeping positions, I slowly removed all live rock that was not directly providing immediate shelter for a sleeping fish (moving the rock to the opposite end of the tank without exposing it to air).  I then used whatever I could find (feeding tongs, plastic cup, etc.) to plug any holes/cracks between rocks that were large enough for this fish to fit through.  Although not necessary, I have a Sony camcorder with infrared night vision, which I used to locate the Naso without disturbing the other fish (just a tip in case you happen to have a similar camera).  I placed one (larger) net at the single opening I had left between the rock and glass on one side of the aquarium.  I then (very gently) moved the other (smaller, more maneuverable) net near the fish from the opposite side of the tank.  To me it seemed that this was just an annoyance to the fish rather than causing fright.  Once the fish got close enough to the large net to realize what was happening and to begin zig-zagging, looking for another quick getaway, I turned the flashlight directly on the fish causing it to become temporarily disoriented.  I then quickly scooped it up with the large net and let it swim into a container in the aquarium, filled with aquarium water.  Leaving the lights out the entire time (other than the small flashlight), I poured the fish into the QT. Maybe this sounds a little extreme (overly-cautious) but I have heard horror stories of ich outbreaks with tangs that led to loss of all the fish.  I do not want that guilt (or loss of $$)!  Like I said, hopefully this will help someone else because I struggled with several attempts before finally finding a way to catch the fish.  I nearly just left it in the tank to "wait and see" - probably a certain death from what I have read. ____________________________________________ Please advise how I can treat for worms and THANK YOU so much for all the help you are providing with this forum.  Greg

- Parasitic Flatworms - Hi all! Thanks for the prompt response on the last email.  On your suggestion I dipped the Purple Firefish (the only one with a visible fluke-worm-thing) however I have a sneaking suspicion that you meant for me to dip ALL my fish.  Is this the case? <Yes, I would dip all the fish, just to be safe.> Just the Firefish took me three days and a minor re-aquascaping to capture and dip.  And the blenny and wrasse will probably be more difficult.  At least the clownfish will be easy.  It was stated in the response that I may end up dipping quite often, is there some other way? <To deal with the parasites, not really. To make fish capture easier, I would partially drain the tank, will make it much easier to catch the fish.> I had intended to add a pair of neon gobies as soon as I could find and quarantine some, would this help? <No, the gobies will likely do nothing to affect this problem, and may even succumb to it themselves.> And will the 6-line I already have be some assistance? <Probably not.> How should this affect my continued stocking? <I would stop adding any new livestock for the moment, procure a quarantine tank or two and be more careful in the future when you add livestock.> Finally, are the "fluke" and "spot" problems one in the same? <Yes.> Thanks in advance for the additional help. Happy New Year Tony PS- Is there any way to know which FAQ this will end up in? <Not sure, perhaps here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm > I'd like to read up on similar problems if I could.                  <Cheers, J -- >

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