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FAQs on Freshwater Worm Parasitic Diseases: Treatments

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: FW Anthelminthics, Worm Parasites 1, Freshwater Worms, (Freshwater Worms of All Kinds): & FAQs on: FW Worm Disease Diagnosis/Identification, & 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,

Camallanus worms and Flubendazole question     7/25/19
Hi Crew, :)
<Hello Kate,>
I have a 130 litre tank with 3 adult platies, 12 2 month old platies and about 40 1 month old platy fry. Recently lost 3 adult platies to wasting - assume as a result of Camallanus worms.
<Could be, but farmed livebearers are, I believe, prone to wasting. Whether it's exposure to worms on the fish farm, or latent Mycobacteria or even viral infections, I cannot say. It's often the same process though: loses weight, shimmying, off-white colouration on the body, and eventually death. I'm going to further suggest that the environment is often a causative factor because you often see so-called 'wasting disease' in tanks that aren't quite right for the livebearers in question. High nitrate levels (anything above 20 mg/l) seems to be one major factor, and I'd place farmed or fancy livebearers in the same nitrate-sensitive category as cichlids. So while most community catfish and characins will handle skipped water changes without problems provided nitrite and ammonia are zero, extended gaps between water changes do seem stressful to livebearers. Other factors include, of course, water chemistry (hard and alkaline for most livebearers) and with Platies and Swordtails especially, high temperatures. Platies are subtropical to tropical depending on the species, Variatus doing best at 18 C/64 F, while fancy Platies, which are mostly Common Platyfish genetically, should be kept around 22-25 C/72-77 F, with the lower end of that range being best. Continual exposure to high temperatures will dramatically shorten their lives, especially if oxygen is low. I mention this because -- as you realise, I'm sure -- the UK is basking in extreme heat, well above what Platies would enjoy. Increase aeration and/or floating blocks of ice can be useful.>
I also have 10 neon and cardinal tetras in the tank who seem well and healthy. The tank has enough filtration for about 300 litres. Shrimp and zebra snails were moved to a second tank for now.
<Sounds good.>
My diagnosis of Camallanus worms is based in the red thread-like worms protruding from one of the adult platy’s vent.
<Good call.>
I assume the others have it, too,
<Almost certainly true, but likely true for most farmed livebearers.>
so I have treated the whole tank with Flubendazole 48 hours ago and a small amount of Epsom salt to ease passing the worms.
My questions are as follows:
1. As far as I can tell, the worms are still visible protruding from the adult platy’s vent. Is this normal after 48 hours of Flubendazole? Should I try something else?
<Multiple attempts are often required, with a decent (say, 50%) water change before the second set of doses. Do also remember to remove carbon from the filter, if used. If after 3-4 rounds the worms are still present, switching to an alternative medication may be necessary, the worms being resistant to the drug used.>
2. Also, some pest snails appear alive and well. I understand the Flubendazole is toxic to snails, so is it normal the pest snails are unaffected?
<Does depend on the snails. Might also indicate the dosage was wrong (too low) or carbon was used in the filter (removing the medication so quickly it didn't do anything).>
3. Finally, one of the 2 month old fry, who is very small for his age, has a 3 mm long thick white wormlike thing permanently protruding from his vent.
It’s perpendicular to his belly and definitely not poop. It (the white thing) appears permanent day to day, growing week to week. What could it be? A nematode? If so, why is the Flubendazole not affecting it? Should I try something else?
<Might well be infected with worms, but could be something else, even a prolapse.>
I have attached a bad picture of the fry. Sorry it’s so low quality. Very hard to photograph the fry.
<Understood, and alas, the image isn't clear enough to be useful.>
Many thanks,
Kate from the UK
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Camallanus worms and Flubendazole question     7/26/19
Hi Neale,
Many thanks for your reply. Very much appreciated. I have to say I’m 150% impressed with the quality of information on your site and of the advice. I have an environmental science degree and I find the information available on many other fish forums very ‘anecdotal’ and low quality. So thank you!
<Most welcome, and thanks for kind words.>
About the environmental factors in the tanks, The ammonia and nitrites are 0, nitrates are 10. GH and KH is around 13 deg (I have naturally hard tap water). PH is around 7.5. So that should be both hard and alkaline - ok for platies, right? Or does this need adjusting?
<Nope, sounds fine. But if you struggle with livebearers, adding a little non-iodised salt, maybe 2-3 gram/litre, can help.>
About the temperature - normally I keep it at 24 C. Assume that’s ok based on your description?
<Yep. Unless you have Variatus Platies or some 'breed' based largely on them.>
Yes, we have a heat wave at the moment tank temp is up to 27 C during the day... I keep putting ice blocks in the tank, although that only lowers the temp by 1 degree C.
<Overall, yes, but the fish will swim in and out of the cold water sinking down from the ice block if they want to, so the effect is rather better than you might think.>
Is there any more efficient way of lowering the tank temperature for large (130 litre) tanks? Do I just need *a lot more* ice blocks?
<Increasing evaporation will help, i.e., opening the tank and placing a fan nearby to blow air across the water. Keep things safe though, and don't put the fan somewhere it could fall into the tank! Don't do this if you have 'jumpy' fish though. If the tank receives direct sunlight, that can cause real problems, so avoid that by drawing curtains or even placing foil on the surface of the tank exposed to the light.>
Thanks for advice on anti-worm drug. I’ll do 4-5 more weekly treatments with the Flubendazole. What other anti-worm drugs (active ingredient) would you recommend if this doesn’t work?
< Medications that treat worms include Levamisole, Piperazine, Praziquantel, Fenbendazole and flubendazole. Of these, only Praziquantel and flubendazole are available as over-the-counter medications in the UK.>
Also, if I do a mid-week water change, do I have to redose with the Flubendazole? Or just once a week is enough regardless of how many water changes in between?
<As a rule, wait 24 hours after adding medicine before doing a water change, and then dose as per the whole tank, not just the new water, when you need to add more medicine. Why? Because after 24 hours the chances are good that most, if not all, of the medicine will have been absorbed and/or broken down by the biological filter. The exception here is where inorganic chemicals, such as aquarium salt or Epsom salt, are used.>
Finally, the white growth on the fry is probably a prolapse. I have read up about it on you wonderful site. I take it there is no treatment? I intend to let him live out his natural life as long as not suffering. Is this what you recommend? Or some other action I can take?
<In theory, a prolapse will heal itself in time. There's nothing you can really do about the prolapse itself, but if the cause is a parasite load, then treating for the parasites will speed things along. If worms are the issue here, then you should see some recovery as you medicate for the other fish in the tank.>
Many thanks and kind regards,
<And to you, too. Cheers, Neale.>

Deworming zebra Otocinclus question      12/24/17
<Hello Andrew,>
I recently got 4 zebra Otos, from 2 different stores. They have been at the store at least a month (some of them have been there for two months).
They're not super skinny but not super fat either. Given this I suspect they don't have any overly severe issues, but my default assumption is that wild fish like these will have some sort of intestinal parasites.
<While that's possible, the biggest source of mortality with Otocinclus is plain old starvation. These are small fish, and like other small fish, probably have enough body fat (or however fish store energy) to easily last a couple weeks. Beyond that, they're in starvation mode. This matters because from the point of capture to the day they're introduced to the home aquarium can easily be months, and in that time they're usually not getting anything close to sufficient green algae and micro-invertebrates to keep them well fed. So while there's no harm -- and probably some benefit -- from the standard issue PraziPro de-worming treatment, I'd be more worried about getting them to eat properly. A bright light over the tank, ample green algae, plenty of oxygen, and lowish temperatures (22-24C/72-75F is optimal) are the order of the day here. If you don't have sufficient green algae -- and that's the algae they need -- then good quality algae wafers, such as those from Hikari, do the trick nicely.>
For now I have them in their own 5 gallon tank where I can easily observe and feed them.
I have seen it suggested that Praziquantel followed by Metronidazole is effective. Does this sound like a good protocol?
<Yes, though any particular reason you want to use Metronidazole?>
How long should the treatments last?
<Do follow the instructions on the packaging. Combining medications is possible if the manufacturers state it is, but honestly, unless dealing with a critically ill fish, I prefer to handle things in a more organic way -- start off with optimal diet and living conditions; if warranted, de-worming; and only if the fishes were still not responding positively, would I break out the antibiotics and/or Metronidazole.>
I have not had good luck in the past with getting fish to eat medicated food.
Thanks, and a happy holidays to the team,
<And to you, enjoy your winter solstice festivities! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Deworming zebra Otocinclus question      12/25/17

Hi Neale,
Thanks for the response!
<Most welcome.>
There's no particular reason I want to use Metronidazole, other than that I've seen it suggested. My guess was it may help with some parasites that Praziquantel may miss.
<Possibly. Metro is primarily used (with fish, at least) for Hexamita and other protozoan parasites.>
But based on your comments I'm guessing it's rather harsh on the fish?
<Not aware of any specific problems in all honesty, and Metronidazole is often used with quite sick fish when nothing else will help. It's more a cost/benefit thing, in my mind. Look at it this way: Otocinclus are inexpensive, and if you buy ten, and one or two die, but the others sail through quarantine and fatten up nicely, that's going to be a lot cheaper than buying a smaller school of Otocinclus and medicating with PraziPro and Metronidazole with the aim of ensuring all of them survive. No guarantees, mind, either way! But with small, cheap fish, I'm more minded to buy slightly more than you want, fatten up with optimal diet/environment, and then see what happens before medicating.>
Thanks again,
<Welcome. Neale.>

Medications( Levamisole)     4/24/16
Just enquiring about Levamisole in form of vet sense kilverm .... Is it safe to treat a community tank which contains rainbows, whiptails, Borneo suckers , Kuhli loaches, yoyo loaches, peacock eels , African butterfly fish and elephant nose fish I have 2 canister filters
<I prefer Praziquantel, but you can read re Levamisole on WWM>
A 2700 nautilus uv a 2250 aquis and also a hydra 40 internal ammonia neutralizing filter. It's a 600 liter tank rarely well planted with drift wood etc etc ... 2 rainbows seem to have callemous worms no other effected fish other than a slightly quiet spiny eel that is still healthy but not eating as much as it first was although the temp of my tank has dropped a small amount due to weather ( I live in south Australia and in summer the tank sits at about 29 to 30 degrees Celsius ( two 309 watt heaters set at 28) so now after four months of temps in the high 30s ( 39) feeding for
most of the fish has reduced ( whooo) cost me a fortune:
<.... READ here:
;-) ... I can separate these fish into another tank but feel the whole community should be treated as to fix problem
So after my beating around the bush is Levamisole safe for whiptails and elephant nose fish ( I have five elephant nose all of which are in great health with no signs of illness ) thank you very much for your time ...
One more thing should I turn off the hydra filter while or if I treat this tank ( by the way these filters work fantastic for water quality and even with 4900 liter per hour flow from my canisters the hydra has made a huge difference on the quality and clarity and fish behavior ) thank you once again ...
Michael : Adelaide south Australia
<Cheers, Bob Fenner, San Diego, CA>

Rosy Barb stringy droppings again (and weird male guppies)     7/28/15
Hi Crew! I've had some adventures in my aquariums since I last wrote, either the new beacon tetras, or the guppies I got a bit later (or perhaps some plant-borne copepods) brought in Camallanus worms which I did not notice during quarantine. It probably would have gotten a lot worse if not for one of the guppy fry getting infested. Because she was so small the worms became obvious a lot sooner, so I was able to treat the fish sooner.
I knew what I was seeing straight away thanks to info I'd read on Wet Web Media. Praziquantel had no effect on its own, but I had success with Levamisole.
<Correct. Prazi is rather less effective than people think.>

All the beacon tetras and all the female guppies shed dead worms, although sadly the guppy fry was too small and weakened to pass the worms and didn't survive. I saw no further sign of infestation even after the second dose a
couple of weeks later. To my surprise, throughout the infestation the rosy barbs never showed signs that they had worms, and never shed any dead ones while everyone else was passing them. I would have thought they would
easily get infected due to their habits of eating anything off the bottom of the tank and taste testing every dropping in
case it's food in disguise.
<Fish are believed to be able to develop some resistance to parasites, including worms.>

Anyway it has been a couple of weeks since the last worming and the affected fish are looking much better. However this week I noticed a couple of the smaller rosy barbs with long white streamers of droppings, much like
what caused me to write my original email. It's been a long time since I've seen the rosy barbs with this issue and I had thought whatever the cause, it had long passed by itself.
This time I was better prepared, and the streamers were longer and easier to catch than last time. I'd bought myself a student microscope during the Camallanus incident, very handy to identify a pink worm I had found in my
snail tank as being a ribbon worm, not a Camallanus worm. So tonight I had some fun searching through the stringy poo looking for anything suspicious.
Once out of the bright lighting of the tank, the droppings do appear to be coloured not white, but they seem to be coated in mucous. Mostly it looks like plant matter with the occasional piece of insect-like particle, which
I am guessing might be pieces of brine shrimp, but in a piece that was mostly mucous I spotted something moving. It looks very much like something wiggling inside an egg. By eye I thought I saw eyespots, but then I wasn't sure any more. Even zoomed in to x100 it's very hard to work out what is what, but I took a picture (see attached) and managed to take a couple of videos, one in focus where the critter doesn't move much, and one where I was trying to adjust the focus and lighting, which makes for an awful video, but the critter moves a lot more so maybe its easier to get an idea of what shape it is (this video gets a bit better at the end).
Any idea if this fellow or more likely, its parent, could be the cause of the stringy poo in some of the rosy barbs? Whatever it is, it's survived the two courses of Levamisole dosing (and I was soaking the food as well as treating the tank water). If it's something that doesn't belong in the gut
of a fish, how do I treat it?
<The multiple eyes are curious, and suggest to me a Platyhelminth of some sort. I don't see any hooks (typically seen among Cestoda) or suckers (Digenea, Monogenea). So some sort of Trematoda seems probable to me. But really, this is something you need to show a parasitologist. Multiple rounds of anti-helminthic drugs should fix the problem, but at the same time, if the fish are otherwise healthy, you might not need to worry about.
It's probably pretty common for wild-caught fish to have low level parasite infections, and if other environmental and dietary parameters are good, these parasites cause no harm.>
Now, on to the guppies. After 4 + 6 + 11 + 13 guppy fry I have separated the females from the males; I have ended up with 3 female and 8 male adult guppies so the poor females needed some respite. They aren't fancy guppies, they are feral guppies collected from waterways around Darwin, NT and have reverted to a mostly wild look after surviving predation from the local gudgeons, grunters and Pest Management Department.
<Sounds like lovely fish, and I'm glad you could provide a nice home for them.>
Anyway, since the females have been removed, some of the male guppies have taken to shooting up and down from the bottom to the surface in the corners of the tank. I had thought they were evading each other or perhaps the
larger fish, but after watching it doesn't seem like they are reacting to a threat inside the tank. Any idea why they're behaving like this? Perhaps looking for an adjacent tank full of females to leap in to?
<Seems sensible... finding ways to move to somewhere with female fish. I have some surplus male Limia (a close relation to Poecilia) in a catfish tank and they often exhibit this sort of behaviour.>
My tank is fully covered so I'm not worried that I'll lose any, but I am worried that they're acting a bit demented compared to usual. Is this behaviour indicative that something could be wrong? Or are they just confused by the corner and can't work out where to go?
<Well, yes, Guppies are pretty stupid.>
Thanks once again for providing such a great resource and so much good advice.
<Thanks for the kind words. Neale.>

Re: Bonsai FH recovering from Hexamita (?), use of Levamisole, FW med.s period      8/15/12
Hello Bob,
I am sorry to bother you again. I'm going to treat my FH with Levamisole tomorrow. I checked several online resources (including WWM), and also Noga's book, but I am still unsure, so I thought I'd rather ask you.
Noga's book says: use 10mg Levamisole HCL per litre of water for "prolonged immersion". This translates to 500mg for 50 Litres water. Isn't this too high? And what is prolonged immersion? 24 hours?
<An hour or more>
I saw another page -
http://www.loaches.com/disease-treatment/levamisole-hydrochloride-1 - that suggests 90mg/10G, which is approximately equal to 100mg/50Litres.
I have Dicaris Levamisole HCL tablet (from Johnson & Johnson), and on the wrapper it says one tablet is equivalent to 150mg of Levamisole. I am thinking of playing safe and using 100mg (2/3rd of the tablet) for 50Lwater. Does it sound about right to you?
<It does... but better to introduce w/in food/s... freshwater fishes don't drink much at all... hence med.s don't really get into them if dispersed in the water>
If not, can you please point me to a literature that explains the dosing.
<I only have it in print... do see Noga re>
Thank you.
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Bonsai FH recovering from Hexamita (?), Levamisole use f as well      8/19/12

Hello Bob,
I thought I will share my experience of treating my bonsai FH with Levamisole. So far, it has been mixed, and I am a little scared actually.
Last night, I did a 40% water change, I started with adding 100mg Levamisole HCl in ~55L of water. I also added very little (25mg) in her blanched peas (as you had suggested), but she barely ate any, because (I assume) of the horrible taste. This morning, too, she did not eat much peas.
Also, while researching online on Levamisole, I saw this site - http://inkmkr.com/Fish/CamallanusTreatment/TreatmentProcedure.html - that says the dosage should be 500mg per 50L water. It also says that dosage can be doubled without any side effects. Based on this, I added 150mg more of
Levamisole HCl this afternoon. That is, about 16 hours later than the first dosage of 100mg without a water change. The total amount of Levamisole HCl in water is now 250mg in 55L water.
However, when I came back home in the late evening, she was all pale and a little anxious. One VERY ODD thing that I noticed was the following:
At first, her anus was all fine. And then suddenly something started popping of the anus, which I thought to be a prolapsed colon. Soon the colon started protruding more, and it became like a balloon or a sac (inflating and deflating) about 1-2 mm in diameter, and then she pooped a green string, which I don't think is worm. Anyway, I fished the stringy thing out, and in no time her colon was totally fine. I mean no protrusion anymore. It all happened (protruding to pooping to normal) in less than 5 minutes. I am shocked, and I don't know what to do. Is this balloon like thing her swim bladder that came out of the anus? Is she constipated?
<Not the gas bladder... not likely constipated>
Have you seen/heard/experienced anything similar!?!
<Yes; perhaps an effect of the treatment>
She otherwise looks normal, except a little bit of abdominal swelling that was already there. And she is not eating, either.
I also noticed her poop having a tinge of black and red. I am not sure why it is so, because I have been feeding here "only" blanched peas for last three (3) weeks! Is there a possible explanation?
<None that I'm aware of>
I am going to do a large water change 48 hours from the first dosage of Levamisole. I also plan to clean the canister filter, too. I don't see any worms or creatures in the water in the last 24 hours. I don't think she is suffering from worms. Well, at least not the ones that can be killed/paralyzed by Levamisole.
<Maybe switch to Prazi/quantel>
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Bonsai FH, Worm treatment     8/21/12

Hello Bob,
Thanks for your reply! I was glad to know that the colon protruding out was a part of treatment, and that other people have seen it too.
Well, I think, I had some luck with the treatment, Yesterday, I saw some weird worm (or perhaps bunch of worms tangled together in water). But whatever it was, it was about 1-2cms long (yes, cm not mm). Its skin was not smooth like earthworms, but it was more like a caterpillar. Sort of - round big heads connected by long string. Later, I saw just a small worm that was about 1-2 millimeter (this time it is mm), and it had a same texture (caterpillar like), and it head was red/orangish. I took it out of the water, but in less than 5 min.s, it shrunk down, so I could not take pictures. I tried looking at places, and the closest I could relate to is a tapeworm, but then Levamisole does not work on tapeworms, or does it?
<As far as I'm aware, this product works on all worm groups>
Would you know what kind of worm am I dealing with?
<I do not... you can see examples of commonly encountered ones... on WWM>
In the last couple of days she had not eaten at all, and was all pale! She just did not even smell the food next to her mouth.
Anyway, so I changed the water as following: kept pouring water and taking it out in chunks of 20L for about 4 times. I don't exactly know how much did I change, but I rubbed all the algae out, and did not leave anything dirty in the tank. At any time, the remaining water in the tank was barely enough to submerge her (30L). I did not take her out of the tank, because she looked extremely stressed and pale. There is no gravel in the tank.
And I cleaned up the internal filter and the canister filter thoroughly!
<Do be mindful/aware that w/o gravel and too much cleaning of filter media, you may have a biological filter issue>

Never mind if I've to recycle it. I'll be doing WC every tree days. She is in 60-70L water now.
<Too little volume... need a much larger system for a full size FH>
She gained a little bit of her colors some time later (she is still quite pale), and ate few peas about 8 hours later.
I think I might have overshot the dosage (250mg in 55L), but the link said that 500mg/50L is the concentration of Levamisole HCl required to kill the worms. I may have to dose it a little less (probably 150mg) next time, which I plan to do that two (2) weeks later (unless I know what specific worm I am treating, and I will change the duration according to the worm's life cycle).
The stomach swelling is getting back to normal slowly, but it still looks pinched. Not sure how it is working out.
Do you recommend adding some antibiotic (Nitrofurantoin) for the secondary infections the parasites may have caused?
<I thought I'd answered this before... no>
Thank you for your patience and time!
Re: Bonsai FH recovering from Hexamita (?)     8/21/12

Thanks! Yes, my tank is big, but I have filled it only less than half,
because she has swimming issues.
<Ahh, I see. B>

Di-N-Butyl Tin Oxide treatment   1/20/12
Dear Crew,
   Great site!
   I obtained a small (nickel sized) angel fish about  6 weeks ago.  I put it into a mature ten gallon tank (moved the  guppies) to quarantine and grow it out  a little before putting it into my main 50 gallon  tank.  So far, it has been growing rapidly, has a great appetite, is  alert and active, and looks beautiful.  About a week ago, to my  horror, I noticed Camallanus nematodes bristling from its anus. 
<Mmm, happens>
   I ordered Paracide-X (di-n-butyl tin oxide with  magnesium oxide), it being described specifically as effective  for Camallanus infestation if used in conjunction with a medication  that kills the eggs and other nematode growth stages in the tank.
<Mmm, yes; though I prefer other Anthelminthics. Please read here:
I treated  the food as directed and have been feeding the fish as directed, and treated the  tank with De-Los as directed.  The fish still has a great  appetite.  However, 5 days on, the Camallanus are still presenting  themselves hale and hearty, sometimes as many as 6 or so showing  themselves, and definitely alive, and the fish is now producing string  feces.  Do you know whether di-n-butyl tin oxide  is generally effective as a Camallanus treatment?
<How to put this... It can be; but again, other compounds have more general efficacy. I.e., more frequent success here>
  How much  longer, if any, should I give this treatment before moving on to something  else?
<Mmm, t'were it me/mine, I'd switch to Prazi/quantel... IF you want to continue w/ di-n butyl tin oxide
perhaps another week application>
 The directions say to feed with the treated food once daily for 4-5  days.  Searching your site, I found di-n-butyl tin oxide mentioned as a  treatment, but not much other information. 
<Is an "older timey" med. For the most part supplanted by other treatments now-a-years>
Thanks in advance,
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Di-N-Butyl Tin Oxide treatment  1/21/12

Thank you, Bob, so much for your time and response.  I  really appreciate it.  My plan for now is to continue the di-n-butyl  tin oxide for a couple of days until I can get my hands on some  Praziquantel.  If that fails, I may try Fenbendazole, if I can find  any.  I really want to save this fish, if possible/practical. 
Thanks again,
<Welcome and thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Re: Hi Neale - Heterandria formosa - Cherry Shrimp & PraziPro   10/13/10
Hi Neale,
How are you? I hope all is going well!
<I'm fine, thanks for asking.>
The PraziPro worked, the Heterandria formosa are doing great; thanks for the advice.
I gave my 10 gallon main Het tank a single dose at the beginning of August.
Would it be safe to add Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda) to the tank? It is bare bottom, has a sponge filter and a lot of java moss.<Should be fine by now. Try half a dozen and see what happens.>
I can't find copper listed on the bottle but I've heard other medicines can affect shrimp and I want to make sure the PraziPro won't effect them.
<Prazi Pro contains Praziquantel, and yes, it probably is toxic to shrimp.
But assuming you've done a series of water changes, the amount left in the aquarium should be trivially small, partly because of dilution but also because filter bacteria break down organic compounds fairly quickly.>
<Sounds like you're having fun with these very nifty livebearers. Cherry Shrimp appreciate much the same conditions, so this combo should work nicely. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi Neale - Heterandria formosa - Cherry Shrimp & PraziPro   10/14/10

Hi Neale,
I've been thinking about Cherry Shrimp for awhile and some have are available now.
I'll give my tank a couple extra water changes to be safe and get some next week.
Can the shrimp go straight into the main tank, or should they be quarantined?
<<Depends. The free-swimming Whitespot pathogens can move from tank to tank on any wet object, be it alive or dead, so yes, Shrimps can carry them. But the pathogens can't survive away from fish for more than a day or two, a week at the outside. So if the shrimps have been kept in a fish-free aquarium isolated from aquaria containing fish, including different nets and buckets, there is little risk of the shrimps carrying any diseases at all. On the other hand, if you can't be sure they've been isolated, then yes, quarantining is a very good idea. I will make the observation that both shrimps and Heterandria have a high tolerance for salt, so using the salt/heat method to treat for Whitespot will effectively "clean" the shrimps if you add them to the aquarium directly, and without any risk to either fish or shrimp.>>
Also, I bought some Indian Almond Leaves off eBay; would the shrimp like those in the tank?
<<Sure, but why bother?>>
<Sounds like you're having fun with these very nifty livebearers. Cherry Shrimp appreciate much the same conditions, so this combo should work nicely. Cheers, Neale.>
The Hets are really a lot of fun! I started with a handful and it is neat to see new babies all the time and watching them dart through the Java Moss.
<<Definitely nice fish.>>
I think it is great that a lot of different types of aquariums are doable in people's homes. As a matter of fact, even though I have three tanks, I find myself thinking about other aquariums I would like, and I think some articles about Multi Tank Syndrome on WWM would be a good idea. :)
<<Ah yes, there's always another fish worth keeping! I agree, reading some articles about how to make fish rooms and aquarium racks would be a nice idea. I've seen several people convert their basements into fish rooms, and there's a lot of work involved doing the air pumps, wiring, plumbing and so on. Naturally, if *you* feel like writing something about the care and maintenance of your livebearers, why not check out back page of WWM Digital magazine and read up on what we offer authors!>>
Cheers, Michelle
<<Have fun! Cheers, Neale.>>

Surprise! Camallanus Worms  7/11/10
Hi again.
Before I delve into the new problem I thought I'd give you an update on the first time I contacted you. That was a little black molly fry who had been ganged-up on and partially eaten. I'm pleased to tell you that this little guy has been thriving in his little 4-gallon hospital tank. His tail (including much of the penduncal)<peduncle> has fallen off but healed over.
His pectoral fin that had been eaten regrew. He is understandably very shy but he gets around pretty well now using the fins he has left. I moved another similar sized fry into his tank and they have become buddies. The damaged one cannot eat from the surface but enough falls to the bare-bottom tank that he can graze all day.
On to the new problem. About 3 days ago I discovered a case of Camallanus worms on the five first-generation mollies. I believe (but don't know for sure) that these fish brought it with them from the store.
I also noticed some on my two adult Siamese algae eaters that have been in my tank for over 5 years. Tankmates: 3 African dwarf frogs and roughly 20-30 molly fry between 1 week and 3 months old. I have seen a worm on only one fry, a fry that seems to be undersized for its age--I think a worm explains that pretty well. There are two more SAE youths without symptoms and 2 Chinese AEs, one 4 inches, the other 1.5 inches. No symptoms on either.
Water parameters: Temp 84 F (Phoenix summer, can't lower it much without a chiller), pH 8.0 (naturally hard water but good for mollies) MH3, MO2, NO3 all zero and stable. The tank is planted. Weekly 30-50% water changes with bi-weekly gravel vac. Last one was about 1 week ago and due for another this weekend.
Currently I have started the entire tank (and the two isolated molly fry as well) on Jungle Labs anti-parasite medicated food 0.5% Levamisole) following directions of 3 consecutive days a week for four weeks. I am hoping this buys me a little time for the main problem I have.
My research (including reading WWM) is 2-5 PPM Levamisole in the water.
Unfortunately, I am having a terrible time getting my hands on any.
<There are other Anthelminthics more readily available:
The local vet pharmacy wants an excessive amount of money (hundreds) and doesn't want to supply sufficient quantity. I have not seen ANY water additives with Levamisole at PetSmart or Petco, not even Levasole for pigs or Avitrol Plus for birds. Nothing.
<Look for Praziquantel...>
I did find Fenbendazole in the form of powdered Safeguard meant for canines, but my understanding is that this is only effective if ingested.
What is my alternative if I cannot get my hands on Levamisole? National Fish Pharmaceuticals recommends Paracide D
http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/products3.html#Paracide-D in combination with De-Los (page down alphabetical)
http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/products.html but I have no idea whether this would work.
Suggestions to treat the water if I can't find Levamisole?
Rick Novy
<Read the above linked FAQ page. Bob Fenner>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms   7/11/10

Quick follow-up. Assuming I can find both, which is preferred--Levamisole
<For Camallanus, the latter. B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms   7/11/10
Retract previous question. Further digging produced the answer.
BTW, I was very pleased to see your comments on my LFS AquaTouch. I need to go there first for livestock from now on.
<Say hello to Mike... a very fine establishment... good practices, people. BobF>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms   7/11/10
Bob F:
You can tell from the minute you walk in the door at AquaTouch. I've never seen a dead fish in any of their tanks and the staff asks the right questions. I don't see Mike much--I think he's on expedition right now.
I normally run into Erle, who says he met you in Singapore.
<Ah yes. Last year at Aquarama>
Next time I stop in I'll pass the message through him. (I've got my eye on some Endler's in one of their tanks.)
Anyway, I'm pleased to say that I found a bottle of PraziPro at AquaTouch so the tank treatment is now underway. Glad I could buy what I needed from them instead of a big-box.
<Ah good>
The worms are turning brown, probably from the medicated food the fish have been eating since Friday. I'm fortunate that I just finished rereading *Manual of Fish Health* (Andrews, Excel, Carrington) literally three days before I saw the worms and I recognized them immediately.
Anyway, I'll send you an update in a couple of weeks.
<Thank you, BobF>

Parasitic Worms Coming Out Of Fish, FW  -- 8/19/07 Hi, I have a parasite ( Microworms 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>

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.>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>

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>  

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