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FAQs on Freshwater Worm Parasitic Diseases: Tapeworms (Cestodes)

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The Cestoda are all internal, and all parasitic...

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

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

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>

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

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