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FAQs on Freshwater Worm Parasitic Diseases: Roundworms/Nematodes (Camallanus esp.)

Related Articles: Freshwater Diseases, FW 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: Worm Parasites, Worm Parasites 2, Freshwater Worms, (Freshwater Worms of All Kinds) & FAQs on: FW Worm Disease Diagnosis/Identification, FW Worm Disease Treatments, & FAQs on Parasitic Worms by Group: Platyhelminths/Flatworms: ( Flukes, Planaria, Tapeworms and Leeches), Acanthocephalans, ,... Anchor "Worms": See FW Crustacean Parasitic Disease, & Aquarium Maintenance, Freshwater Medications, Freshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish Parasites, African Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease, Ich/White Spot Disease,

Almost all Nematodes are white, tapered at either end, with no discernible processes... In cross section, the esophagus region is diagnostically tri-radiate in appearance.

Camallanus worms     8/23/17
Hello,
<Hello!>
I have a 90 gallon planted angelfish tank, with 6 angels, 3 rams, 2 bn Plecos, 1 iridescent shark,
<These can/will get enormous!>
and 2 mystery snails. I also have a 75 gallon goldfish tank with 4 each dojo loaches and fantails.
<Understood.>
My concern is this, about a week ago I noticed my black angel acting off, occasionally clamping her dorsal fin and hiding.
<First step when this happens is review the tank, cracking out whatever test kits you have handy. I tend to do a big water change (25-50% of the tank) to see if there's a problem with the environment. Often fish perk right up again, which suggests a deeper issue, such as overstocking or filter problems.>

After 2 days of that I decided to do a just in case API General cure treatment, which I have done before with no issues.
<Random medication is rarely the best approach, but API General Cure does contain Metronidazole and Praziquantel, which are good against protozoan parasites and intestinal worms respectively. It isn't the best treatment for bacterial and fungal infections, or external ciliate parasites like Whitespot, so while it has its place, it isn't the perfect go-to medication by any means.>
I got to a half dose when my gold angel who was previously healthy looking had a fit. Swimming fast and erratically, then settling down to being nose up at the top and very disoriented.
<If you can rule out environmental stress, I'd be thinking about a gill parasite like Velvet, Whitespot or Dactylogyrus spp. that irritate the gill tissue driving the fish nuts. Velvet and Whitespot are relatively easy to treat, but note that Velvet especially can affect the gills without being seen on the body, though sooner or later it will. Dactylogyrus spp. parasites are a pain to treat, though API General Cure should help.>
I removed him to a hospital tank with just freshwater and prime, and after a few hours he seemed to recover and even ate a little. Meanwhile in the big tank I noticed my Pearlscale was now acting like the black angel, and
everyone else was acting normal. After 48 hours total since the meds were added I did a huge water change and added carbon to remove the meds. I then tried PraziPro (after removing the carbon) in all tanks. My poor golden in
his hospital tank had another freak out like before, so back into clean water for him, and he recovered again. No other fish seemed effected in any other tank. So I am now 24 hours in to the PraziPro for everyone except the
golden who is in just water and prime and doing well except....and here's my next issue: last night while checking that fish I see, to my horror, a tiny reddish string (worm) hanging from his ventral area.
<Praziquantel causes the intestines to twitch, dislodging the worms. Since Camallanus worms are very common in aquarium fish, likely at "harmless" levels in many fish, it could easily be the case that the Praziquantel caused this worm to be expelled, but it isn't actually the reason the fish was acting odd.>
No other fish has this (yet anyway). The worm went in occasionally, but mostly hangs outside. My water is filtered by a Hagen 406, and a topfin 75 as backup, ph is 7.6, no ammonia or nitrites, under 5 nitrates. I've bought fenbendisole liquid 10%, but I'm not sure how to use it.
<Simply follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or your vet.>
Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance!
Angie
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Camallanus worms (RMF?)<Your resp. is fine>     8/23/17

Hello again and thank you for the fast response.
<Welcome.>
I neglected to mention that before the general cure I did check water parameters, which were within normal limits. (Ph 7.6, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, <5 nitrates).
<Do check several times across the day, particularly pH and nitrite. "A stopped clock tells the right time twice a day" is an old saying that reminds us that a single data point doesn't tell you about change.
Sometimes pH will vary dramatically during the day (e.g., high levels of photosynthesis under bright light causes pH to rise as dissolved CO2 is removed) while nitrite changes tell us if the filter is unable to process the waste from the fish too slowly, resulting in a backlog of nitrite for some hours after feeding.>
My concern is also that if that fish nearly dies from PraziPro and general cure, if its gill flukes or something like that would the femben cure that since metro can't be used?
<Used as instructed, medications shouldn't kill the fish. Praziquantel has a low risk of harm to your fish, though admittedly, it's not an especially good de-wormer, and sometimes needs to be used several times and/or replaced with a more effective medication.>
The instructions on the bottle are for cattle, so not helpful in fishies
lol.
<Indeed, and since I'm not a vet, I can't tell you the right concentrations to use off the top of my head. Plus, some medications affect the pH, so in aquarium situations come dissolved in a buffering solution to prevent such problems. So while 2.5 mg per litre seems to be floating around on the internet, I can in now way ascertain the validity of that (I'm on holiday and my fish books are all at home).>
As a side note, I've got plans for the shark when he starts to get big.
<Cool.>
I've also literally just now brought back the femben liquid in exchange for powder at 22.2 . (222 mg per gram) but still don't know how to dose since it's labeled for dogs. Thank you again!
<A quandary indeed. I would still recommend using aquarium-specific medications that take the guesswork out of things. Cheers, Neale.>

Callamanus worms!        5/26/17
Hello crew! Hope you are doing alright.
<Thank you Robert; yes>
Direct to the point, I've wrote a few times these past months due to many unexpected and sudden deaths/ wasting, and I think I've finally found the culprit. The pic is of an Iranian red rainbow that suddenly waited in less than a week, and only when I found its corpse today could I conduct a proper examination of it. Many times before the corpse would be half eaten when I found it. But now I'm pretty sure that my planted tank is suffering of Callamanus worms right?
<I agree; appears to be to me as well>
I'm planning on medicating with Fenbendazole, although I would appreciate if you could give me other possible effective treatments. I also cant find a correct dose to medicate the tank. ( should I dissolve it? Get the fish to eat it?)
<Again; yes; and do please read here Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/nematodesfwf.htm>
as of right now all fish are eating and have a colorful appearance so I'm in time to save them all. It is a 150 gal tank heavily planted with dirt substrate. A collection of tetras, rainbows, fancy Plecos, Kuhli loaches, rasboras, and dwarf cichlids inhabit the tank. There is also a 6 inch vampire shrimp which I really would like to protect from medication. I hope you can help me crew.
<Read on! Bob Fenner>

molly sick? Env., worm....    2/22/17
Hi my name is Steve.
<Kbytes, not Megs Steve>
. I have a 37 gal tank which I started from brand new in a new hobby .. and of course I made the rookie mistake of adding too many fish too soon… eventually all died off due to overstocking and ammonia spikes
<Yikes; toxic; debilitating>

at the end I had a Pleco (was a real trooper through all medications etc.) and 3 mollies 2 female and 1 male, my other fish had no real symptoms other then swimming upside down and eventually dying. My remaining mollies were both pregnant several times but the male was very quick at eating the fry straight from the oven so to speak! He eventually became lethargic and I noticed (and through research) he had Camallanus worms and shortly after the birth of 2 litters of fry the females finally showed signs of it as well. 30 fry were in the tank and the male and eventually the 2 females passed away, over time only 2 of the fry survived.. eventually as well the last of my “first” fish the Pleco died of Finrot… since then I have only added 2 baby Plecos, one I had to put in because another of my tanks got 2 cold in the garage (supposed to be hospital tank but the heater couldn’t keep up with weather conditions) so I put the Pleco in the 37 gal. the tank I have left alone to see if these 2 mollies would survive or show any sign of the Camallanus it has been 2 months now and they seem to be doing fine other then the smaller of the 2 mollies always had a real thick white almost cylindrical something hanging from its anus… I have been watching it closely and it was hanging out 1/8th to ¼ of an inch from its body and yet feces was travelling through it.
<Reads like a prolapsed colon. Search this on WWM>
No change at all until this week when I noticed the thick white was now getting longer and curving and bunching up underneath but not falling off.. today I noticed that the center of the white stuff is red (no sign of Camallanus) and the outer part of the white looks almost cottony. My question is .. because I have read that Camallanus reproduce through the feces of infected fish could this be a sign that the mature Camallanus had died off with the last of the infected fish and could this be the natural reproduction cycle of Camallanus as I have read it takes several months to cycle?
<Possibly; but again, this brings to my mind the poor fish's alimentary canal protruding out of the cloaca, rotting off>
Sorry about the long winded explanation figured you should know the history of my tank (failures) again the tank is a 37 gal , bio wheel filter, ph 7.5-8, 0 nitrites, just over 80 nitrate,
<MUCH too high. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwnitrates.htm
and the Related FAQs linked above. You need to get this below 20 ppm... there are ways detailed here to do so>
0 ammonia, 80 degrees F, 120 kH and 120 gH, I know my nitrates are high and I am doing a 25% water change tonight to help lower it also I am attaching a few pics of the fish in question..
<Need to crop, spiff and then send>
couldn’t get good focus on the blob but figured it might help. Should I remove this fish all together to stop the respreads of Camallanus to be on the safe side or could it be the fishes natural immune system killing off the parasite?
<How did you treat for the roundworms?>
Since these fry were born in the infected tank my home town supply store said they could have an increased immunity to Camallanus.
<Mmm; no such thing as far as I'm aware>
Thank you for any advice you can send my way!
<Welcome; steady on; you appear to have a good mind, steadfastness in your favour. Bob Fenner>

Re: molly sick?    2/23/17
Hi and thank you for the reply.. the round worms I attempted to treat using a pig dewormer in small doses soaked into their normal flaked food.
<Likely one of the anthelminthic compounds that are used for fishes...>
. I believe it slowed the growth of the round worms in the tank to allow the fish time to react to it (and I know this was a long shot) but eventually they all succumbed to the very hard to get rid of round worm, having no fish in the tank to supply the worms with a host seemed to be my only course of action and so far it worked, yay.
<.... Please read here Re Camallanus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwwormdisf2.htm
As far as my molly in question if you don’t think it could be “the return of the round worm” then I will leave him alone and hope he gets better.. doesn’t seem to affect him, he’s swimming eating and acting normal as compared to the other molly, I resized and cropped the photos.. hopefully these pics will help you and others determine what is wrong with their fish.
<Mmm; mollies are easily lost... for a few reasons. Try the search tool on WWM to review. Bob Fenner>

 

Fenbendazole Dosage Clarification (/ non-cysted intestinal nematodes)     12/12/16
Hello Team,
<Joe>
Dr. Fenner
<Just Bob please. I have no doctorate>
gave someone a dosage for Fenbendazole a while back for deworming. He said when feeding the medication directly to dose "50 mg/kg ( 23 mg/pound) of body weight once/week for 2 weeks." I was wondering if that included a third and final dosage at the end of the two weeks. I believe his reference was Edward J Noga's "Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment."
<Am looking at/up the stmt. in Noga's second ed. and see the ref. to the second recorded trtmt. regimen. My take is that there are a total of just two (2) administrations here. I'd like to cite the first regimen listed (accorded to Gratzek and Blasiola 1992) of feeding 25 mg/kg for three days (every day, once) instead... resulting in the same dosage (1% of body weight per day)>
Thank you!
-Joe
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Have treated for Camallanus but still have signs      12/12/16
HI crew, I am very frustrated one of my platys presented with obvious Camallanus worms, red protruding worms that went in and out. I treated with Levamisole, the worms dropped quickly, for the stated amount of time then one week later and then two weeks after that. My platys were still pooping white stringy poop on and off in their poop and I was noticing floating poop as well. I did the treatment again seeing as how I was still seeing symptoms. As of now I am still having the same problem. My LFS said to treat again since I am still seeing symptoms, i.e. the poop, should I do this, or should I be doing something else, could it be something new?
<I too suggest another treatment>
Thank you in advance for your help. Jenny
<Glad to assist you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Have treated for Camallanus but still have signs      12/13/16

Sorry to bother you again.
<Not a bother>
I am supposed to do my last Levamisole treatment of this treatment cycle on Friday, this is actually my third try. However, one of my platys has ich now, I spotted it yesterday. I got the tank temp up to 84.5 (high as it'll go) but now I am unsure on how to proceed. I know I need salt, but I also need to do the Levamisole.
<The temperature alone will cure the Ich; I would leave out the salt, add the Levamisole. Bob Fenner>
Re: Have treated for Camallanus but still have signs    1/7/17

Hello again, So I finished my last treatment of Levamisole on about the 19th, I had treated my fry tank at the same time I have 7 that are 4 months old and 1 that is 5 months. The adults are doing well, but I am concerned about the fry. They were fine before the treatment, no symptoms, happy, swimming, eating etc. they were born in the infected tank so I wanted to be safe. Now they have clear poop, they are still eating normally and not all of them have it. What happened, did I upset their intestines or are they actually infested?
<I'd guess more likely the former. I would cease treatments with Anthelminthics>
P.S. My platy that had the ich passed away Christmas morning. Luckily none of my other fish ever got sick.
<Bob Fenner>

Black ghost knife... Camallanus trtmt.       5/3/16
Hi! I'm having a real problem with my black ghost knife! We recently got Camallanus worms in our tank (still not sure where it came from).
<Other fish/es most likely; possibly from live or improperly processed frozen foods (gamma irradiation, deep freezing...)>
We just treated our tank with Levamisole HCI powder yesterday.
<Mmm; I'd try Prazi/quantel first>

It told us to cover the tank for 24 hours to let no light in. Well we just removed the blankets, and our BGK seems to have a large lump where his 'neck' would be.
<Perhaps goiter (see WWM re; the search tool); or consequent a physical injury>

He also seems to keep his face pointed inside the bubbles. Any idea if this is normal or not?
<Mmm; poisoning of some sort... the usual defaults suggested, water change/s, use of GAC... Bob Fenner>
Thanks!!!
Emily Galloway

Camallanus worms and treatment with Fenbendazole      4/13/16
Hello,
Recently I’ve noticed that my 55 livebearer tank has come down with Camallanus worms. My stats are 7.5 pH, 0 Ammonia and Nitrites, and 0.5 Nitrates. I have multiple mollies and platys,
<Likely this is a variety/species that only infests Poeciliids>
a two different types of Corydoras catfish, a female bristle nose Pleco, and 3 large mystery snails. Only the mollies and platys seem to have to have the worms but I’ve decided to treat the entire tank through Fenbendazole power that I’m going to infuse with their nightly frozen shrimp meal. My problem is that I’ve read that mystery snails cannot tolerate Fenbendazole and that I should move them while I treat but, even though I have other tanks,
<Tis so>
I am not sure if snails can contract the worms or are carriers of them.
<Not of these Nematodes (they use crustaceans), but gastropod molluscs do/can serve as intermediate hosts to others>
If this is so I’m not sure if I should move them to their own tank or take my chances treating them with the rest of the tank, they are wonderful breeders and I’d hate to lose them.
<I would move them. And please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/nematodesfwf.htm
and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>
Please help.
Thanks,
Raven

Camallanus Consequences? Something else?      10/3/15
Hi Crew! I hope you are all well! I'm hoping you can give me some advice.
I did have a good 5 weeks or so after the Camallanus outbreak in late July, the infestation stayed gone in the initial tank, none of the fish in my secondary tank were affected and everything seemed fine. However 2 weeks ago one of my beacon tetras started looking a bit wobbly in the water, head up/tail down and taking a lot more effort to try and maintain position.
This had actually happened once before, prior to the Camallanus incident, and that time I isolated the affected tetra in a breeder box (one of those 2 lt hang-on style ones) so she couldn't eat food when I wanted her to fast, and wouldn't have to fight a strong current etc. It was around a week maybe(?) but not long before she was visibly better oriented and buoyant
again in the breeder box so I put her back in the main tank, and she was seemingly fine.
I'm not sure if the more recent sick tetra was the same tetra as before, but definitely one of the newer ones that I got to keep my original beacon tetra company. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and within a day or two she had an almost complete loss of buoyancy. At this stage she was still able to swim but it was obviously very difficult and tiring so I isolated
her as before. The deterioration continued until she was laying on her side, completely disinterested or unable to eat food but from there she got no worse. She could still swim when disturbed or startled, and was quite vigorous, i.e. to the point of still being a challenge to catch her in a net, but after a burst of activity she would go back on her side again. Always the same side. Eventually the downwards side got a bit dirty and irritated looking so I tried propping the breeder box dividers diagonally so that she would at least be less on her side and a little more upright. The downward side looked a little red streaked so I tried some antibiotic which did clear that up. But the buoyancy issue never improved. I tried moving the tetra to a bigger hospital tank once the "bottom side" of the fish cleared up, and every now and then she would make the attempt to swim around and even seemed interested in food again. But by now, she had become very wasted and skinny, still couldn't swim well enough to aim for food, still ended up on her side most of the time and was starting to become permanently curled (away from the side touching the bottom of the tank). I suspected whatever swim bladder issue she had was now permanent and after 2+ weeks she was not getting any better so I decided it was time to euthanize her rather than let her linger on the bottom of the tank; I used clove oil. At this point my suspicion was that she had suffered some internal damage from the Camallanus infestation earlier on, since one of the beacons had a lot more worms than the others. Initially I was concerned that the floating pellets I'd been feeding (due to beacon tetras not eating anything in the bottom half of the tank, once a food item drops lower than half way they lose interest and won't chase the food) might have contributed but the progression looked much worse than constipation.
Nonetheless, I stopped feeding the floating pellets and have not used them again.
Anyway the reason I am writing is that today I have noticed another beacon tetra with the initial signs of swimming at an angle, struggling a bit to maintain buoyancy, and I am wondering if there is anything I could do differently to save this fish from ending up in the same condition as the one I euthanized.
<Other than standard "good care"; I know of nothing>
Alternatively, does any of this sound like an untreatable tetra disease and should I be removing affected fish and doing anything to treat the tank they are in?
<If this were a commercial purpose... breeding facility; I don't doubt that such fish would be removed, destroyed summarily>
The tank currently has beacon tetras, rosy barbs, guppies and danios. Is it possible that it is dietary related?
<Mmm; wouldn't other fishes be affected similarly? Ans.: I doubt it is dietary>
The fish get a variety of food (not all at once) - community frozen food, frozen brine shrimp, chopped frozen mysis shrimp (thawed before use), Spirulina + other stuff pellets, sinking shrimp pellets, mashed pea occasionally, and very occasionally flake food. Plus the barbs constantly pick at duckweed. I've been worried about overfeeding so once or twice a week I only feed very lightly or not at all. It is hard to tell whether the beacon tetras are getting enough food though because they are a little more shy than the barbs/danios, I try to get around this by feeding at both ends of the tank at once so the feeding frenzy isn't all in the one place.
<Your careful observation is the best assessment tool here>
The current parameters in that tank are: GH 8 KH 5 pH 7.8 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate somewhere between 20-40 (a little higher than I'd like).
<I'd keep under 20 ppm. See WWM re control of NO3>
I've cleaned a lot of gunk out of the filter today and did another water change (I'd done one earlier this week), I'm going to go back to de-gunking the filter every time I do a water change instead of every second time since I think that experiment contributed to the current high nitrate level.
Anyway you've helped me a lot in the past and I realise that there might be no clear or easy answer this time but please let me know if anything obvious stands out that I could try or that I should be wary of.
<Nothing jumps out...>
Thanks for your help and advice!
Cheers,
Bronwen
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Possible Camallanus worms     3/13/13
It's me again and I wouldn't bother you but I'm desperate for an answer and I have read what your site has about these worms and I have other circumstances that are confusing me.  I admit, I'm a complete novice but I have tried really hard and shed quite a few tears over these fish and I'm trying hard, too hard according to some, but here's my dilemma.  I have a 26 gallon tank with artificial plants, a tower with holes for hiding and a small treasure chest.  I did a fishless cycle to start and have gone probably four months with no ammonia or nitrites.  I have had a few issues with nitrates which, thanks to your advice have been resolved with larger water changes each week.  I lost a Mickey Mouse platy a few months ago to dropsy prior to getting the nitrate problem under control but had platy fry that have flourished in the tank with no problems. Three were Mickey Mouses from the one that died and the male died before that but I may have been too new at this because I saw no problems before he left this world. 
Things appeared to be going well until last week when my huge Red Wag Platy became sick hovering on the bottom and then died.  I was shocked then when one of my older baby Mickeys became huge.  Then another of the smaller Mickey babies looked kinda bent in a downward s-shape and his eyes looked pronounced as well as what looked like labored breathing.   I read everything I could find. Also, on close inspection my orange platy looked a little bent.  I rechecked my water parameters and it was zero in ammonia and nitrites and 10 nitrates so I feared a bacterial infection and started treating with Maracyn 2 but after reading the insert I added Maracyn since it stated they could be used together
<Yes; all Mardel products are miscible/mix-able>
and I felt time was of the essence.  I treated the 5 days suggested.  I had fishless cycled a 5 gallon tank for a quarantine tank so I did a big water change in it, brought the temp to 80 degrees and removed the two baby platys to it. The one that was bent is starting to straighten out some, the other still hovers near the bottom but doesn't lay on the bottom.  The littlest one has started swimming much more.  Moving them was because my male guppies were also picking on them some and wanted to eliminate any stress from their being harassed. In my main tank I did a large water change today after noticing that after the Maracyn treatment I had a slight ammonia reading and added prime and some SafeStart to help re- establish my cycle again. Tonight then I notice bright orange stick like (single) protrusions coming from the anus of my male guppies!!!  They eat great, swim around great and don't act sick but in researching what it could be I keep getting Camallanus worms as the probable issue.  Left in my main tank are my orange platy( slightly bent), two quarter inch long fry, three male guppies and two Corydoras catfish. They appear to be doing well and eat voraciously.  I feed flakes and fresh cooked shelled peas.  I called PetSmart tonight because we don't have a fish store in our town and asked if they had Panacur because it appears to get the best reviews on curing the nightmare of these worms and they acted like I was an idiot.
<I don't like, condone this rudeness>
 I admit, I feel like one but I'm just trying to learn and to get them the best help I can. Your site is the only place I trust to help me. I don't want to do them harm even though I know treating these worms is often a fatal deal.  Also, I'm confused because they aren't thin, curly or bristle like but appear thicker and don't appear to have movement.  Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, well, a photo of these worms would help, but there's little to no harm in adding a vermifuge (I'd use Prazi/quantel) to their foods. Please search WWM re Prazi use>
  I hate the thought of euthanizing them all and tearing my tank apart but I will do whatever you tell me to do.  Thanks again for all you do to help us beginners!!!  One more thing please, since the Maracyn and Maracyn2
helped my little platys, should I wait a day or two and do another treatment cycle to maybe help him more since he seems to be better since I know I will have to treat him and the QT for the parasite as well? 
<Another treatment cycle of these antibiotics is not dangerous and may well help>
Thanks again!!!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Anisakis worm    10/8/12
Hi there, I was reading your section on roundworms and have a question...
After you guys were great enough to ID a Kuhli loach for me (sans photo), I went to my LFS and picked up three 2" p. anguillaris to keep him company.
(Tank parameters are ideal, I am performing twice-weekly 30% water changes.) When I got the loaches, the employee also had accidentally given me a 1/2" red Ramshorn snail in the bag.
I thought it was alright but I don't really like Ramshorns and have a million MTS anyway. So, I threw it in a 2g jar beside the tank. About three nights later I got up and looked in the snail jar - a dozen coiled little white segmented worms are down by the substrate that look like Anisakis.
Naturally and regrettably I didn't think to quarantine the loaches. The snail was also in the main tank for about 30 minutes while I set up the jar.
Is it safe to assume the loaches are host to the nematodes as well and are going to infect the remainder of my tank, even if I haven't seen any in there?
Is there a possibility it isn't Anisakis, since I have a freshwater tank?
It does not resemble any other small worm. Do I return the loaches or am I already SOL?
Thanks,
Hilary
<Hello Hilary. If the worms are segmented, they're probably not Anisakis-type nematodes (nematodes don't have segments; they're unsegmented worms in old school parlance). But parasitic worms of various kinds do infest fish, including loaches, so deworming isn't a bad idea at all.
Various proprietary treatments exist, e.g., Prazi Pro. Cheers, Neale.>

Re P. pulcher biffo debrief and now a parasite! 2/20/12
Thanks a lot Neale,
<Ah, someone who can still spell "a lot"! Seems to be increasingly rare these days>
You confirmed most of my suspicions about what may have been going on re: the Kribs acting like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, plus its interesting to know that Kribs operate effectively as harem spawners in the wild.
<Quite so. Was a surprise to me when I learned about this. Do try and find books such as "The Cichlid Aquarium" for more.>
My pair split parental duties for the first set of fry amicably, with the female taking the lead. So far this time around it's definitely a female-only affair, with the male hiding in another cave and pretty much keeping out of the way while his wounds heal. He is getting better though. Hopefully he's learnt his lesson to stay away for next time - amazing how the female really beat up on him, even though he's half as big again as she is.
<"The female of the species is more deadly than the male...">
Another issue falling into the category of never-seen-before has cropped up in my 15 gallon tank recently. Inhabitants are 13 Cardinal tetra and 3 Amano shrimp, parameters NH3 - 0, NO2 - 0, NO3 - 10-15 ppm, pH 7.2, KH 3, 28 deg C. From consulting your dichotomous key, I suspect one of the cardinals to have a parasitic worm/fluke/fish louse attached to it (see picture). Being white, not red, leads me to believe it's not an anchor worm.
<I agree. A worm of some sort. Looks like a roundworm (nematode).>
Regarding treatment, I'm thinking a 35g/L salt bath (as per your article on the subject of salt use) OR some kind of commercial medicine.
<Hmm, would try a seawater dip first, as you say. Usually these worms can't reinfect fish in aquaria because of a missing host. Some exceptions, like Camallanus, but worth a shot.>
Can you recommend a course of action? Does the whole tank need treating or just the individual fish?
<Individual fish in terms of dips; otherwise, a standard anti-helminth like Praziquantel or Levamisole for the whole tank.>
Thanks a heap crew.
All the best,
Duncan.
<Cheers, Neale.>

nematode infestation in cycling [future shrimp] tank 10/6.5/11
Hello,
<Katie>
I have a 6.6 gallon tank currently cycling (ammonia and nitrite both around 0.25-0.5) that I'm intending to use for red cherry shrimp. Presumably from some live plants I got at the pet store, I've got a nematode (and pond snail) infestation (nematodes are swimming about in the water and clinging to the glass). I want to rid the tank of nematodes before adding any shrimp. It seems like the easiest method would be to use something available at the pet store (e.g. parasite clear tank buddies). However, these types of meds are not invertebrate-safe. I'm okay with the prospect of losing the snails, but would the harmful ingredients from the medication linger and harm the future shrimp?
<They will not; given time (a few weeks), water changes...>
My research has been contradictory as to whether things like Prazi and Levamisole Hydrochloride would be potentially harmful to shrimp.
<Both can be>
I would strongly prefer a treatment I can get from a pet store rather than having to locate a veterinarian.
<Understood. Either here will do>
Thank you for your help,
Katie
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: nematode infestation in cycling [future shrimp] tank

Thank you!
<Welcome>

Camallanus, Fenbendazole 10/23/10
Hello,
And thank you for taking the time to review this inquiry. I have recently found these parasites protruding from the vent of a inch and a half Platy.
I think he has been suffering from this for awhile now, as I have noticed a slight color change over the last month.(slightly reddish orange behind his lower fins, around his tummy) The parasite recently showed up in his vent in the last two weeks. At first I just thought it was some fin coloring because it protruded to the same length as his fins. Two days ago though, he was passing a significant bowel movement when I saw more than one protruding at different lengths. For treatment I've decided to go with the Fenbendazole as safeguard dewormer 222mg/g However, all the sites I've visited vary greatly on the dosage. So will you please help?
<For long-term immersion (in the tank water treatment), 2 mg/l (7.6 mg/gal), once/week for three weeks. For feed 50 mg/kg ( 23 mg/pound) of body weight once/week for 2 weeks...>
This is what I have so far. 10 gal. 4 real plants, and a piece of driftwood. One 1 1/2" Platy, One 2" swordtail, One 2" Dwarf Gourami, One Mollie, and one 1" Oto. I also just introduced a 2 1/2" bamboo shrimp.
<I'd remove these during treatment>
I usually feed the every night little I have a Aqueon rear hanging filter that came with the tank, I have a 50 watt heater that usually maintains a temp of about 77 degrees F. I have a fifteen watt light that they usually have on about 12 hours of a day. I add 1 1/2 tsp of aquarium salt for every 2.5 gal. of tank water I change, as well as 1/4 tsp API Stress Coat+ water conditioner at the same rate. The ph of my water is about 7.2 to 7.4, no ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates.
<No, as in zip, 0.0 ppm of NO3? Unusual>
The KH is about 40-80 ppm and the GH is off the charts as a result of feeding a 7 day feeding pyramid.
<A bunk product. I would NOT use this/these>
I have only done one 25% water change since I got back from vacation a week and a half ago. I was gone for a week. Did a 25% right before I left.
As far as dosing with medication, I have been trying to be cautious. I mixed 2.5 oz of water from the tank with 3 - 1g packets of the Fenbendazole 222mg/g This gave me a slurry of around 9mg/ml (I think). I gave the first dose yesterday at 1:00pm. It consisted of about 1/2 ml mixed into 1/2 of a beef heart cube,
<I wouldn't feed this, beef/heart, to these fishes>
and let in soak for about a half hour. Since the fish were hungry, they ate most of it. The second dose came today at 7:00am. It consisted of 2 ml of slurry with half a beef heart cube, soaked for about a half hour then dumped it all in. They didn't eat as much the second time. I increased the tank temp to 79 and shut off the lights since yesterday. the Platy has been slow and shy since the first dosage. Hiding at the bottom or top of the tank staying stationary in the dark spots. the other fish seem okay though slightly agitated. In the past month I have noticed the following behavioral changes.(in case they are relative to this situation)The molly was flashing a bit before the first treatment. (she is not doing it now)
The swordtail has become aggressive toward my Gourami. (there are plenty of places to hide) The Gouramis pectoral fins have disintegrated at the ends and have grown back (although thin) I did have one Oto die last month.
<They can perish quite easily... esp. in small volumes as yours>
His only symptoms I noticed was lethargy. I had him a couple of weeks. I only feed them flake food with the rest of the fish. I think he starved, even though there was noticeable brown algae accumulating on the glass near the rock line.
<Might well be unpalatable>
I have since started supplementing the other Otos diet with blanched zucchini. The slurry has remained refrigerated since it was mixed yesterday.
Any thing I should change as far as water chemistry is concerned How long do you think can I reuse the refrigerated slurry?
<Long enough... next week>
Should I increase the dosages?
<I would not>
If so, At what rate, and to what end?
<Depends more on the strength, concentration of the stock material you're using>
Should I feed them in between dosages?
<Yes>
Do I remove my carbon filter the whole medication time?
<Not if the med. is being administered via food/feeding>
If so, when do I put it back in?
Do I ad Epsom salts as a laxative at a rate of 1tsp per gallon?
<Can, but not this... Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
If so, when?
Sometimes I have heard you need to treat with antibiotics also. Do you recommend this practice?
<Not here, no>
I do have a new 20 gallon tank that I want to cycle for when I feel as if all these fish are healthy enough to move to it for display. Then I can have a 10g med/quarantine tank. I wanted to use an old filter or some gravel from my current ten gallon tank to seed the new tank with nitrifying bacteria, but now I'm afraid that I may taint my new tank with parasites.
Thank you for your time in advance. Any help would be extremely helpful!
Sincerely, Cody
<I would try Prazi... if the Fenbendazole doesn't do the job here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/nematodesfwf.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Camallanus - 10/29/10
Okay, thanks for that help. Now I have another problem. I got home yesterday and noticed that my dwarf Gourami has developed pop eye in his left eye. Could be a injury.
<Very likely if just one eye has "popped". Can heal given time and good water conditions; Epsom salt also helps significantly; I'd also use antibiotics but I know others don't feel that's strictly necessary. Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwpopeyefaqs.htm >
My swordtail and my Gourami have been picking on each other. (mainly the swordtail picking on the Gourami) anyway, that problem has since stopped after the Gourami had a bunch of scales missing from his head and a slight damage to his slime coat also had nipped and split fins (he got the worst of it) the sword just had one small spot on his tail fin.
<Male swordtails can be extremely aggressive, especially in small tanks; if they're fighting, they probably won't stop doing so, and the weaker one won't heal properly, if at all. Consider separating them.>
It has since dissolved and eaten away the damaged part of his tail...Soooo it almost looks like fin rot..
<Yes, very likely so; will need medicating anti-Finrot.>
Could all this be an underlying infection caused by the Camallanus?
<No.>
I still haven't finished treatment for that. My water is really hard from a feeding pyramid I gave them when I was gone.
<Don't ever use these. Fish can go 2, 3 weeks without food and not come to the slightest harm. Indeed, it's by far the best way to handle fish in your absence.>
water changes haven't seemed to help reduce it yet. I do a gravel vac/ 25%water change every week.. My carbonate hardness is very low... According to my test strips it is at 0-20 ppm.
<Yes, is low, too low for livebearers such as Swordtails, I'd wager.>
My general hardness is 180 ppm. My ph right now is neutral to slightly acidic.
<Which Swordtails don't like; look out for signs of Fungus or Finrot.>
When the KH is higher the ph usually stays around 7.2-7.4. No ammonia No nitrites and little to no nitrates. I plan on getting another liquid PH test kit to day so I can slowly bring up the KH without causing stress to the fish.
<Baking soda in small amounts, about one-quarter to one-half a level teaspoon per 5 US gallons should raise carbonate hardness. Don't add to the aquarium, but add an appropriate amount to each bucket of new water during water changes. That way you'll slowly fix water conditions.>
I have no hospital/quarantine tanks, so all I can do to isolate fish in another bowl of aquarium water or something if I need to. My tap water seems really good, 7.4-7.6 PH, and soft.
<Soft is good for some fish, bad for others.>
I always treat it with the appropriate amount of API stress coat+fish and tap water conditioner for the amount of water I am replacing. As well as matching temperature and adding aquarium salts in the appropriate dose recommended for general tonic and stress reducer for tropical fish. Any ideas?
<Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Surprise! Camallanus Worms 7/11/10
Hi again.
<Rick>
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:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwwormdistrtf.htm
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?
Regards
--
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
or
Praziquantel?
<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:
<Rick>
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.
Rick
<Thank you, BobF>
Surprise! Camallanus Worms 8/2/10

Bob F.
<Rick>
I wanted to give you an update on the Camallanus worm problem from early July. I am almost done with the 4-week treatment with the Jungle Lab's feed medicated with Levamisole. I have treated the tank with PraziPro and plan to give another treatment next week. I should point out that African Dwarf Frogs find PraziPro to be rather fatal. Live and learn.
<Ah yes>
I have one female adult molly that is suffering far worse than the others, I suspect she may be the fish who brought in the worms since she is so much worse than the others. She is not eating much and I have her isolated in a breeder box temporarily to make sure she has access to food. In addition to losing her appetite, she is also developing a case of pop-eye. Although she does still have the worms in her vent, they are much darker than when I first discovered them. I suspect the worms may be dead but the fish unable to pass them.
<Trouble>
I made an attempt to sedate her with clove oil to manually remove some of the worms under the theory that she would be better able to handle the damage from the hooks than the toxins from dead worms. However, right or
wrong that turned out to be moot. Sedated, her muscles relaxed to the point that the worms were pulled far enough inside I couldn't see them. (Still, I must say sedating and reviving a fish is pretty cool in and of itself.)
<Agreed; or, for me too>
See if you agree with my next plan of action. I will move her to a separate 2.5 gallon tank I currently have empty. I will then begin treating her with Fenbendazole (the one marketed for canines) in both the water and the feed
using the concentration suggested by Edward J Noga in his "Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment" of 7.6 mg per gallon in the water.
<Good. I will see Ed in a few weeks. We're both presenting a couple of times at a fish disease workshop in Maine>
In the feed, since I don't have the equipment to measure the correct dose for a molly at the rate of 11mg/lb, I will soak freeze-dried food in the same concentration as the tank water then feed. I plan to use freeze-dried blood worms and Tubifex worms to try to encourage her to eat.
<Mmm, and may I suggest Daphnia (frozen/defrosted) and/or Brine/Artemia...
for their laxative effect... Oh and a level tsp. of Epsom Salt per gallon for the same>
As for the pop-eye, I will treat that with a broad spectrum anti-biotic only if necessary after treating the tank water with Fenbendazole. I hesitate to use the two treatments simultaneously.
--
Rick Novy
<Excelsior! BobF>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 8/3/10

Bob,
Sad news, the quarantined molly passed away last night.
<Mollienesia can be very tough IF collected, held properly... Sadly very few are. B>
--
Rick Novy
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms - 8/10/10

Hi Bob F.
<RickN>
I thought we were done with this discussion, but alas, no. Seems that the universe wants to test me on my research.
<As it is wont to do>
Summary to date: Camallanus worms treated with Jungle Labs anti-parasite feed (0.4% Levamisole) and PraziPro for the water. Finished week 4 of 4 last week with the feed. Badly infected molly died in isolation, other fish seemed recovered.
Friday, I vacuumed the gravel, did a 50% water change and dosed with the follow-up PraziPro treatment. Went out of town for two days and returned to find one of my Siamese Algae Eaters had developed a case of dropsy. This fish is around five or six years old and has only lived in this tank during that time.
Current tank readings are:
Water temp 86F (Phoenix summer remember)
pH=7.8
NH3=0.2
<? Should be zip, zero, nada>
NO2=0
NO3=0
The temperature is typical (maybe 2 degrees higher than my normal tank temp in the summer but nothing the fish hasn't experienced before without issues). The ammonia reading is definitely abnormal. I haven't had a reading other than 0 for NH3 for years and years. I'm guessing that the ammonia spike comes from decaying waterborne nematodes killed by the PraziPro. I'm also guessing that the cause of the dropsy is adult nematodes decaying inside the SAE.
<Maybe>
I immediately halted the Prazi-pro treatment of the main tank by putting the carbon back into the filter. I consider the nematode case closed for this tank until I see evidence that conclusion is wrong.
Regarding the SAE with dropsy, I isolated the fish into a small hospital tank with best possible water conditions and intend to feed with best possible food (Per Manual of Fish Health),
<Oh! Am out to Maine this weekend giving two talks... at a fish health conference where one of the authors of this newer book will be also presenting>
mainly Omega One kelp flakes and perhaps an algae wafer or two.
Symptoms: Rapid "breathing" and pine-coned scales, especially on the ventral surface.
I noticed some discussion of using Epsom salt in dropsy hospital tanks but I can't find any information about how salt tolerant the SAE is. Osmotic stress can occur from any salt, not just sodium chloride, so I'm a bit skittish about that as a treatment.
<Not as big a deal as many folks think... Most species of fishes (even non-fishes) can/do tolerate "some" salt content well... in fact, are to degrees made for such exposure. MgSO4 is quite safe at recommended dosages>
I have not treated with any kind of anti-biotic yet as Manual of Fish Health recommends it only if isolation in good water conditions does not cause the fish to recover.
<A wise approach>
Any additional advice appreciated. (I also, need somebody to tell the universe that just because I can recognize these diseases doesn't mean that I want or need a case of it.)
<I'll remind it here>
Rick
<B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms - 8/10/10
Hi Bob,
<Big R>
Good news. The Siamese Algae Eater is recovering. Bloating is way down.
His body is almost back to normal size, though the scales aren't quite laying flat yet. I added nothing to the hospital tank, just conditioned water with filtration. I'll probably leave the fish in that tank for a couple more days before moving him back.
The ammonia spike in the main tank is gone. Waterborne nematodes killed by the PraziPro is the only explanation I can think of to cause a spike 3 days after a 50% water change.
Rick
<Looking up! B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 8/15/10

BobF
<RickN>
Chalk up a win for dropsy recovery. My Siamese Algae Eater with dropsy was moved to isolation and given best possible conditions. Bloating reduced overnight and gone after 24 hours. Kept the fish in isolation for another 3 days before moving him back to the display tank. He's now acting as if nothing ever happened.
No drugs or chemicals used at all, just clean water and isolation and catching it early.
Rick
<Thank you for this report/follow-up, BobF, out at the NEU fish disease conf.>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 8/21/10

BobF,
<Ricardo>
Developments in the never-ending case of these nematodes.
Two adult mollies again have worms hanging from the vents, noticed only today. Not as many as before but still worrisome. I don't know if the nematodes are alive or dead.
<Me neither>
Also, one of my SAEs, I think the one that suffered from dropsy, received an injury a while back. I originally thought this caused by scales torn off while they were pineconed with dropsy. Fast forward, there is now a large hole in that area and possibly some nematodes inside that hole (have not removed the fish or sedated it). The hole exposes part of the body cavity.
It is roughly 6mm long, 4mm wide and maybe 3 to 4 mm deep running from the vent back toward the caudal fin. The fish is behaving normally. What concerns me about this guy is that his body cavity will be exposed to the Praziquantel if I treat the tank water again. The injury was there just prior to the final tank treatment of PraziPro.
I considered destroying the infested fish but I also noted some mucus-filled feces in some of my juveniles, and there are too many to allow me to recognize individuals. That, and I really don't want to destroy my SAEs as I have had them for five or six years now.
<Nice>
I'm considering giving food treated with Fenbendazole this time, but I'm leery about treating the tank water with the injured SAE. With that large of an injury I'm not sure if they would will ever close.
<Can>
PS: Mike at AquaTouch said you may be coming to Phoenix in the next couple months. I'd like to meet you if you are coming.
Rick N
<Oh!? Don't know re such a visit... But a nice town (when it's not too dang hot!) to visit for sure. BobF>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms

What are your thoughts about treating the tank water with PraziPro or Fenbendazole with that open wound on the SAE?
<I don't think the Crossocheilus will be effected with either>
Re Phoenix: it is nice when it isn't hot. Spent last 2 days w/o air conditioning. Lost one fish in my 4 gallon tank as the water temp got up to 96 degrees. Not pleasant of for fish or man.
<Agreed. B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 8/27/10

Hi Bob,
<Rick>
How was Maine?
<Beautiful, worthwhile visiting, sharing>
Item 1) It has been one week since I treated the feed and tank with Fenbendazole. Very difficult to accurately measure dosage without proper equipment, but I think I got pretty close on tank dose by estimating from a 1 gram package and medicated after a 75% water change. For food, I filled an API test tube to the white line, put in enough Fenbendazole to dust the surface, added dry flake and sometimes freeze-dried Tubifex or blood.
Shook and added to the tank after about ten to fifteen minutes--everything including the liquid, so the Fenbendazole concentration in the tank increased slightly during treatment.
<Sounds reasonable>
Fed with treated food for 3-1/2 days as I experimented with the feed before treating the tank. Put new activated carbon back into the filter on fourth day. I also added some Epsom salt, I'd estimate about 3/4 TBSP to 1 TBSP per gallon--less than your recommended but I couldn't find a write up specifically addressing Epsom Salt.
Since I stopped medicating the food, I have been feeding mainly kelp flakes and little squares (~1 sq in) of both red and green seaweed sheets.
Today, observed a lot of mucus-dominated feces from multiple fish of all ages. Also observe a number of worms dangling from the vent of several fishes to as long as 5mm. Again, I do not know whether these nematodes are alive or dead.
<Mmm, look into a cheap QX (3) microscope... I have one>
It does seem that the vents are nowhere near as swollen as they were when this whole thing began and the worms were protruding farther. I'm also seeing far fewer worms per fish, although I do see worms on juveniles
<On?>
now where I did not originally.
I plan to hit the tank water again in about 2 weeks and I guess I should probably medicate the food 3 of 7 days per week until I'm done with the tank water.
The main concern I have is that I do not know when to stop treating the tank if I can't tell whether the nematodes are alive or dead.
<Need to see to discern... a/the microscope... I wouldn't feed any longer than 2-3 weeks>
Item 2) Siamese algae eater with damage near his/her vent had a white tube of something emerge on day 3 of the fenben treatment.
<Likely prolapsed colon>
I never got a decent look at it so I couldn't tell if it was just a big streamer of mucus or a parasite. White, maybe 2 to 3 mm thick, about 2 cm long. It doesn't look like a tapeworm based on the photos in "Fish Health" but it does look about
the size I would expect one to be.
<Oh! Ed Noga was my dorm roomie at the NEU conf.>
Additionally, this fish has a white lump behind the wound, as if something is trying to emerge through the skin (through why it doesn't just go out the hole...) I tried to snap a photo with my phone but the white spot doesn't show up well. I'm attaching two photos of "Dewey" anyway. (And no, the guppy is not in his mouth.) I'll try to get him into a dip'n'pour for a
better picture tomorrow as I am out of time here, but he is very quick and his behavior is still normal.
--
Rick Novy
<Thanks for this report. BobF>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 8/27/10

HI Bob,
<Rick>
We actually have a microscope. The problem has been getting a worm isolated.
<Move the fish to a bare tank for several hours, filter out the water>
I finally managed to do that this morning.
<Oh>
Tried two fish without success, put the equipment away, then saw a long length hanging from a vent and decided to set it all back up again. (Isn't that always the way?) I finally managed to get the worm removed, though I suspect this fish will be in some pain for a while.
The nematode is definitely still alive. Under 100x and 500x I can see motion both inside the worm and some smaller worms moving in the drop of water I put on the slide. That's exactly what a video I saw (I think on WWM but I cant find it) looked like.
I should think that the Fenbendazole would have had some effect since the fish are eating normally, but it's starting to look like these nematodes are indestructible.
Options on the table:
1) continue with Fenbendazole program for another couple of weeks.
2) Find and use some Levamisole instead.
3) Treat the tank again and this time also food with Praziquantel.
<I'd go with door number three. B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 8/27/10
Thanks, I tend to agree--option 3. The Praziquantel gave me an ammonia spike last time, so there is at least some evidence of efficacy. I'll be in touch.
Rick
<Real good. B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 10/7/10
Hi Bob,
<Howdy Rick>
Here we go again. I went through round 2 of the Praziquantel treatment and even left the treatment in the water an extra week the second dose. I've had the activated carbon back in the tank for a week, and I haven't seen any worms on the mollies, but that one remaining guppy now has a worm in that ominous location.
<Dang!>
I guess tomorrow I clove oil him and try to yank it out so I can check for life under the microscope again.
If the nematode is alive, what do you think about upping the Praziquantel dose to 150% of normal dose? Or is it time to find Levamisole?
<Either...>
--
Rick Novy
<BobF>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms
Bob,
<Big R>
This is a bit unexpected. I anesthetized the guppy and couldn't see any worms. Rather, some kind of gel was protruding from the vent, and any small pressure on the abdomen would extrude more. I removed a small portion to look under the microscope.
<Mmm>
It doesn't appear to be part of the intestine unless it was badly decomposed. It was some kind of gray gelatinous mass, a blend of mucus and body waste perhaps.
If what I saw last night were nematodes, they retreated well into the cavity. This is an orange male guppy so I may have been seeing parts of the pectoral fins or gonopodium stained with some blood, though they sure looked like worms last night.
I did see one red line in the mass at 50x that I thought could be a nematode but under higher magnification I don't think so.
<Maybe a blood vessel>
I saw no indication of motion in the gray mass or in a drop of tank water I checked. (Wish I could
photograph the microscope image but no access to that kind of equipment.)
<One of the reasons I stump for the very inexpensive Intel/Mattel QX series 'scopes... not only do they hook up via USB, but one can record, share images, even kinetic!>
Unfortunately, the guppy never woke up after I put him into fresh water, which tells me that he was probably pretty weak to start with. He was only out of the water about 90 seconds. I wonder if this is related to the other guppy death we discussed last week.
I think I'll give the tank one more round of Praziquantel treatment in case something is still on the loose in there.
--
Rick Novy
<Real good. B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 10/7/10

Bob,
<R>
One other thing occurred to me. I have three remaining adult mollies that are the fish who brought in the nematodes. The nematodes seem to be surviving inside of them and I'm killing the offspring (of the nematodes) before they can infest the second generation juveniles.
<Mmm, the Anthelminthics you're using should kill the adults inside as well... Have you read re introducing these compounds in foods?>
Right now the tank is a very hard but fresh chemistry for the SAEs. But, how do Camallanus worms respond to salt?
<Mmm, I don't think it really matters to them much>
I'm thinking that if I isolate the three remaining old fish, I can get eventually the problem down to a 10-gallon tank as I recover the large tank. With only 3 female mollies with healthy behavior, I could gradually up the salinity all the way to marine conditions since the fish can handle it.
Any thoughts on that idea?
Rick
<Worth trying. B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 10/8/10
Last time around I did dose the Praziquantel into the feed. I haven't seen any evidence of nematodes for two weeks other than what I thought I saw last night on the guppy. I was going to use the two-barrel approach of isolating the older fish and upping the salinity along with another round of Praziquantel treatments--including in the feed--on the larger tank. The intention is to destroy any that might still have survived. I suppose I can do a Praziquantel treatment to the older fish at the same time I up the salt.
If the nematodes are still alive inside the three older fish and I can't kill them, at least they will be isolated from the main tank. That, and I have never heard of Camallanus impacting a marine tank.
<Mmm, actually... Nematode lumenal parasites of marine fishes, many invertebrates are quite common>
By the way, and thanks for the microscope tip. I was unaware it existed.
Looks like a fun toy.
<Oh! I have one right here... up to 400X, it's own light source, you can dismount the scope from the base and hold it up to objects... Really a neat tool. BobF>
Rick
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 10/8/10
Strike that. Worm spotted on one of the older mollies.
Rick
<Oohhhhh. B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms - 10/09/10

Three older fish isolated in a 10-gallon tank, but not happy about it.
(Interesting but understandable how the fish born in the tank are not nearly as frightened of the net.) Unfortunately, I have to burn through some activated carbon built into the filter before I can medicate or I will have no filter media.
<Mmm, many medications are absorbed by GAC>
Large tank now has 150% dose of Praziquantel with the 2nd-generation mollies and the SAEs.
Question on the 10-gallon tank as I start increasing the salinity (marine salt of course). I seeded the cycle with a decoration and a large silk plant. Generally when I do that I almost never read any ammonia. What
impact will going brackish have on the bacteria?
<Can forestall them metabolically, even kill... there are different species in marine/fresh environments>
I'm especially interested in the effects as I approach marine conditions. I've never done a marine tank so this is new territory for me. Anything to watch for in terms of crashing my cycle?
<Your fish's/es behavior, testing of water quality for ammonia, nitrite...>
Also, I was looking at going to about 1.02 specific gravity over the course of a couple weeks. Good target or too high?
<For mollies, fine>
Thanks for all the feedback.
--
Rick Novy
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms
10/10/10
>>Mmm, many medications are absorbed by GAC>
The reason I haven't medicated that tank. I haven't decided how I want to customize the filter yet because it doesn't meet my needs out of the box.
Beginner kit.
>>Your fish's/es behavior, testing of water quality for ammonia, nitrite...>
All the same NH3/HO2/NO3 test chemistry or do I need a marine kit?
<Fresh for fresh, marine for brackish and marine. B>
Rick Novy
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms -- 10/11/10

Hi Bob,
The fish decided to keep things interesting for me. One of the fish I moved into the 10-gallon tank dropped 10 fry. Any idea if Praziquantel has a detrimental effect on newborns?
<Should not>
3 Options. Leave them in the 10-gallon tank in a breeder box, move them to the 46-gallon tank with Praziquantel in the water, or put them into a 2-1/2 gallon tank that is unheated.
I'm leaning toward the latter as the water temperature of my other tanks is still around 80F.
--
Rick Novy
<BobF>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 11/16/10

Hi Bob,
<Rich>
Quick question for you. I have some plants in my display tank that is/was infested with Camallanus worms. I'd like to propagate some of the plants via cuttings and move them into different tanks.
Obviously I don't want to transfer the nematodes. If I temporarily place the cuttings into a plant-only tank, do you know how long the nematodes will live without an animal host?
<I do not>
In other words, how long would I need to leave the cuttings in a plant-only tank before it would be safe to put them into a tank with fish?
Rick
<I would (overdose) treat the intermediate "plant systems" w/ Prazi. B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms
11/20/10
Hi Bob,
I found another worm, this time in a second-generation molly one week after doubled-dose Praziquantel treatment process finished. I'm coming to the conclusion that the only way I'm going to eliminate these nematodes is to euthanize all my livestock, sterilize the hardware and start over.
Heartbreaking.
<No fun>
I might be able to save my beta tank, but I'm guessing the Amano shrimp in there won't survive the treatment.
<Likely not. BobF>
Rick
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms
Hi Bob,
Quick question for you. I have some plants in my display tank that is/was infested with Camallanus worms. I'd like to propagate some of the plants via cuttings and move them into different tanks.
Obviously I don't want to transfer the nematodes. If I temporarily place the cuttings into a plant-only tank, do you know how long the nematodes will live without an animal host? In other words, how long would I need to leave the cuttings in a plant-only tank before it would be safe to put them into a tank with fish?
Rick
<I answered this already: Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 11/16/10
Hi Bob,
<Rich>
Quick question for you. I have some plants in my display tank that is/was infested with Camallanus worms. I'd like to propagate some of the plants via cuttings and move them into different tanks.
Obviously I don't want to transfer the nematodes. If I temporarily place the cuttings into a plant-only tank, do you know how long the nematodes will live without an animal host?
<I do not>
In other words, how long would I need to leave the cuttings in a plant-only tank before it would be safe to put them into a tank with fish?
Rick
<I would (overdose) treat the intermediate "plant systems" w/ Prazi. B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 11/20/10
The below was not send a second time intentionally. I thought I deleted
all
the quoted text but apparently not. Sorry about that. In any case, now
that I am sterilizing the tanks I will discard the plants too.
No reply needed.
Rick
<No worries Rick. Do take care. BobF>
From Neale: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 11/20/10

Hi Bob,
> Just a thought, but since this guy is working with mollies, why not acclimate them across to strongly brackish or seawater conditions? The worms certainly can't tolerate high salinities, so rearing a generation in saline conditions, and then removing the fry to a new, parasite-free aquarium -- perhaps the old tank deep-cleaned with all gravel and plants removed, everything else sterilised, and the filter re-matured from scratch.
> Cheers, Neale
<Might work. I'll send this on. BobF>
Re: From Neale: Surprise! Camallanus Worms
I do have 5 fry I could try this with. They are in a 2.5 gallon tank with Praziquantel treatment right now. The main concern I have with that plan is I plan to restock with Endler's livebearers known to be pure strain direct descendants of fish collected in the wild.
<Endler's tolerate high salinities as well, though perhaps not seawater.
Mixing Mollies with Endler's is a no-no; both are members of the genus Poecilia, and hybrids between Poecilia species are common. While I'm not aware of an Endler's/Molly hybrid, Guppy/Molly hybrids have been widely reported.>
Dr. John Endler's himself vouched for the seller in direct email
communication with me. Thus, given the choice between mutt mollies of questionable health and pure-bred Endler's that are endangered in the wild, I choose to favor the Endler's.
<Understandable.>
The gravel in the tank won't be reused. I've grown fond of Takashi Amano style planted tanks and this gravel is blue.
<Do understand that Amano-style tanks are designed for photographs, rather than long-term use -- Takashi Amano being a photographer long before he was famous as an aquarist. While planted tanks can be lovely, and most of my tanks do contain plants, what you need to do to create an Amano-style tank
may be incompatible with the requirements of many fish. Floating plants, for example, are essential for breeding livebearing fish, both in terms of creating shelter for pregnant females and hiding places for fry. Yet Amano-style tanks never have floating plants!>
Rick
PS: Neale--I finally have a lead on somebody with desert gobies like we discussed a few weeks back.
Re: From Neale: Surprise! Camallanus Worms (time for the WWM Bulletin Board, perhaps?)<<past>> 11/20/10
<Real good. Enjoy these fish. Also very salt-tolerant! Cheers, Neale.>
I still think planted is the way to go with freshwater anymore. Maybe pseudo-Amano style would have been a better wording. You can still use the Amano influence for the layout, but use plants appropriate for the species intended to inhabit the tank. I've had decent success with ferns and rock formations for fry to hide in and around.
<You misunderstand me. I'm not saying plants are a bad thing; on the contrary, they provide many useful functions in freshwater tanks, and I use them extensively in all my tanks. Floating plants especially will protect ten times as many fry as you'll get with plants at the bottom of the tank.
But the Amano model isn't uniquely informative if you're wanting to explore the use of plants in fish tanks, and in some ways eliminates things that fish prefer, and certainly limits you to a few, small, inoffensive species and certain types of water chemistry. With Mollies or Endler's, I'd sooner concentrate on the hard or brackish water required, and choose utility plant species that provide shelter and nitrate removal rather than just aesthetics. You'll normally find Amano tanks attract aquatic gardeners happy with a small clique of pretty tetras rather than fishkeepers after dwarf cichlids, L-number catfish or fish breeding projects. This isn't to diminish the fun to be had with the Amano approach, but merely to point out that it's a particular kind of aquatic hobby distinct from "serious" fishkeeping where the fish come first. Do supplement your reading with studies of biotopes, e.g., Peter Scott's excellent "The Complete Aquarium"
book, used copies of which can be picked up for pennies at Amazon.
Re-creating biotopes using plants, rocks and substrates is challenging but fun, and beneficial for the fish in a way the completely unnatural Amano model can't be.>
I intended an Endler's species tank from the start. I did think about trying to crossbreed a molly with an Endler's as an experiment. Endler's-guppy hybrids are so common almost all fish sold as Endler's have some guppy in them (per Dr Endler's). I haven't seen any muppies except in photos--neat and weird looking hybrids. Haven't even found photos of Mendlers at all, but maybe it hasn't been attempted much. I don't want to risk it with my current stock
of mollies.
<Quite.>
I'll send some photos after I have the Endler's tank(s) established.
Probably with a different email header since this is seriously drifting off-topic now.
Rick
<By all means join the WWM Forum, here:
http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/
That's the place to show photos, discuss plans, and solicit feedback from experienced hobbyists and newbies.
Cheers, Neale>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 11/22/10

Bob/Neale,
Good news, I hope. The second-generation molly completely passed the nematode. Unfortunately, in the thirty seconds between the time I saw the nearly full nematode protruding from the vent and I returned with the plastic box to catch the fish, the nematode vanished. Ergo, I was unable to view it under the microscope. I think one of the other fish ate it because I heard some splashing as I came back into the room. However, since I can't check the worm for signs of life, I'm back into observation mode until I see further evidence that the nematodes are still alive. Looks like the mollies will live to see December, and hopefully more.
Rick
<Indeed. Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 11/22/10

Unfortunately, I found two worms in the vent of another 2nd generation molly. With the kids in school and the wife on jury duty today, I had the house to myself.
It is done. Truly one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do, and not with dry eyes. The worst was my C. Siamensis that I had for 6 years. I hope I never have to do that again.
Bob, thanks for all the help over the past several months.
Rick
<... No interest in trying other Vermifuges? B>
Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 11/23/10
Bob,
It's already done. I'm so angry at the big box that sold me the infested fish in the first place.
The most promising thing I found was Sera Nematol
http://www.sera.de/nc/en/news/sera-stellt-drei-neue-heilmittel-vor/sera-med-
professional-nematol.html?sword_list[0]=Nematol
but I could not locate any US distributors, nor could I find anyone selling it on Aquabid. Somebody would make a small fortune selling that stuff in the US.
I also tried Fenbendazole as well as Jungle Labs feed containing Levamisole.
The only powdered Levamisole I found was at an unreasonable price. One feed store that lists it in their catalog (at a very low price) told me it isn't being made anymore, so it's always back-ordered and thus the "scalpers."
The mollies ate the feed I soaked in Praziquantel solution as lustily as they eat everything else. Double dosed the water at the same time.
Are there other options?
<Yes... Piperazine, di-n-butyl tin oxide, others...>
Maybe, but with the two most viable cures unavailable or unreasonably priced, I think it would be like golfing at midnight.
<A good point>
I don't think there was a right answer to my problem and ultimately I chose the option that lets me move on, and believe me it was not easy. In fact, it was very difficult.
Rick
<Sometimes there are no good or at least easy, economical choices. B>

Re: Surprise! Camallanus Worms 11/24/10

Thanks again for all the advice. Although it was a heartbreaking task, I am excited about restocking with Endler's Livebearers. I will send you a link to my blog when I finally post pictures.
End of thread, I think.
Rick
<Ah, real good. Do please send the link/post the pictures via the WWM Forum rather than here! That way you can solicit comments from other aquarists besides me or Bob. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy Parasites 7/3/10
Hi guys!
<Hello Krystle,>
I come to you today with what I believe is a parasite problem (though I am no expert - hence why I turn to you). Approximately a week and a half ago, I noticed that my two juvenile Mickey Mouse Platies (3.5 months old) were
having strange poo. It looks like a very thin, clearish white string with small, clearish white sacks or balls every centimeter or so. The string stays intact for quite awhile, not disconnecting until after approx. 2.5 centimeters in length.
<May be parasitic to be sure, but also review diet. Platies are herbivores in the wild, and need a good quota of plant-based food to do well.
Spirulina flake makes a good basic foodstuff, plus things like cooked peas, cooked spinach, Sushi Nori, and slivers of cucumber and blanched lettuce leaves. Restrict meaty foods -- including regular flake food -- to the minority portion of their diet, say 2-3 times a week. Bear in mind that regular fish often do perfectly well on Spirulina flake, so in and of itself this "vegetarian" diet doesn't cause serious problems in most aquaria. Avoid things like freeze-dried bloodworms and the like because these high-protein, low-moisture foods tend to cause constipation in herbivorous fish. Again, you can use them occasionally, maybe once a week, but that's it.>
I have tried to take picture, but my camera is slow and not able to catch the picture before the fish moves. I have drawn an example and attached it to this email. Anyway, I waited to see if they still had it the next day after I fed them. I found that they had their normal poo shortly after eating, but also had the stringy stuff later in the day. A few days after noticing my juveniles with the stringy poo, my adult Platies seem to be showing the same problem.
<I see.>
The juveniles have become anorexic and lethargic, not swimming around much.
<A bad sign.>
Their color has faded slightly and they do not greet me at the surface for food, which is very unusual. The adults seem fine personality wise, but have not been exhibiting symptoms as long as the juveniles, so I am sure they will get lethargic and anorexic eventually. I forgot to mention that I feed frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, and flakes (I rotate to provide variety). I feed once daily. The only fish that I have are Platies - 6 adults (2 male, 4 female), 2 juvenile, and around 20 ranging in age from 3 weeks to 2 months. I frequently take my water up to the store to get tested and they always tell me it's perfect, but they don't give me specific numbers.
<I really do need the numbers here to say anything sensible. Retailers may or may not be telling you the whole story here. Just to recap, for Platies you need the following: Hard, basic water (10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8); 0 ammonia and nitrite; and a low to middling temperature, 22-24 C/72-75 F. Soft water, acidic water, warm water, and poor water quality will make Platies sick.>
While this was all going on, I was in the process of setting up my new 55 gallon and planning to move my adult and older juvenile Platies once it had been set up. A week ago I went to my local pet store and talked to the guy in the aquarium section and described my situation. He said that they probably had hookworms and told me to use API Pro Series General Cure Anti-Parasitic Fish Medication. He said that it would probably kill my fry that is less than a couple months old (of which I have like 20). I decided to wait until I got my new tank set up, transfer the bigger fish that needed treating, and then treat them in there.
<Generally, medications that work on adults to little/no harm to fry. Even if they do, it's a price worth paying. So treating fish is the priority here. If you have healthy Platies, you'll soon have LOTS of fry!>
I have had my 6 adult Platies and 2 juveniles in the new tank for a few days, and am ready to treat now. I wanted to wait a few days so that it wasn't a whole bunch of stress all at once. I am uneasy of treating because I have to remove the charcoal filter and put the powder in the entire tank once, wait 48 hrs, and then do it again. Before I took this major step, I wanted to check with ya'll - the experts! Is this the right medication? What kind of parasite is it most likely? Can I get the parasite?
<Could be worms, though this is difficult to say without a photograph.
Camallanus is the most common worm parasite among livebearers, and though it doesn't seem common here in the UK -- I've never seen it -- it does seem to be quite prevalent in the US. Treatment is possible. Levamisole, Piperazine and Praziquantel are often recommended, but don't work as reliably as either Fenbendazole or
Flubendazole. Your options may be limited by what's available to you via your retailer (in the US) or your vet (the rest of the world).>
The tank that they are currently living in is a 55g with a Tetra Whisper 60 filter system. I keep it at a constant 80 degrees. I put aquarium salt in the tank (as I do with my other tank as well) - 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of water. I hope this helps! Thanks
Thanks for your help!
Krystle
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/nematodesfwf.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwwormdisid.htm
With all this said, I'm not 100% sure worms are the issue here, and some protozoan parasites can cause copious production of faeces together with wasting; Hexamita is the classic example, though this is primarily an issue
with cichlids and other perch-like fish rather than livebearers, though it certainly can affect livebearers. Hexamita typically causes problems when fish are stressed, often for dietary reasons or poor water quality. Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/hexoctfwfs.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm
The medication used is Metronidazole, again from your retailer or vet depending on where you live. Cheers, Neale.>

Hello (Cichlidae; red tube from the anus) 11/13/09
I recently wrote to you about my tank and want to say you have great advice. I have another question for you..one of my female peacocks has some type of clear reddish tube coming out one of her reproductive holes...does this mean she is pregnant or sick??
<Difficult to say without a photo. The spawning tube (or genital papilla) on female cichlids looks like short, blunt tube with a rounded tip. It almost looks like a little wart. It's very different from the equivalent structure on the males, which are longer, usually angled, and have a pointed tip. Anyway, female cichlids normally show their genital papillae for very short periods, at most a day either side of spawning. Males will show there for longer periods, often several days. If your female is showing her spawning tube, she will either be spawning or just about to, and she should be obviously engaged in spawning behaviours of some kind.
Now, a prolapse is very different. This is where a bacterial infection of the colon causes it to expand and protrude from the anus. This is very serious, and is a good sign that environmental conditions and/or diet are very wrong. Treatment with antibiotics, fixing the environment, and feeding exclusively high fibre foods (e.g., cooked peas, live daphnia, but nothing dried) can help. The use of Epsom salt in the water may also help speed up recovery. Chuck outlines the basic therapy on this page, about half-way down:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/texascichfaqs.htm
Finally, there are Camallanus worms. These are red, clearly wriggling worms protruding from the anus like little red threads. You will need an anti-helminthic medication to treat them.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/nematodesfwf.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Yikes - Camallanus worms! 10/29/09
Hi Crew, I hope you all are doing well - I'm in a bit of a panic and I hope you can offer some reassurance.
<Oh?>
A couple of months ago, I got three blue platies and some ghost shrimp from Petco to be the sole inhabitants of a 10 gallon tank. Everything was going great until yesterday, when I noticed one male laying low, less interested in food than usual - still eating, but seemingly weak. He also seemed to have a nip just in front of his gonopodium.
<I see.>
The next morning, it suddenly dawned on me! Much more likely than someone nipping him there, was that these were Camallanus worms poking out of his anus. I observed him, and sure enough they seemed to come in and out. My heart sunk as I brought out the clove oil and pulled at least 7 or 8 worms out of his anus. Sorry to be graphic, but pulling them out actually seemed to eviscerate him somewhat - that's how tightly they were attached.
<Indeed... not something you should do. At least some worms are covered with hooks to prevent peristalsis pushing them out. Not sure Camallanus worms have these hooks, but they likely have something similar. So yes, pulling the worms can cause real physical damage.>
They weren't moving though...I assume the clove oil killed them?
<Anaesthetised them, more likely.>
Here's my biggest question: how scared should I be? I've read that suctioning water can give YOU these worms, that the tank must be sterilized, that the worms can be easily passed from one tank to another by
shared nets, etc. I've read horror stories of people having not just one, but two or three established tanks completely devastated by these worms, just because one fish was infected...
<So far as I know, Camallanus don't infect humans. However, they do seem to be able to infect other fish, if not directly, then via faeces that are eaten by tiny copepods present in most tanks, and the copepods are eaten by the fish (deliberately or accidentally, as the case may be). So whereas most worm diseases can't complete their life cycle in aquaria, Camallanus spp. can, which is why they're such a pest. They do seem to be extremely common among livebearers in the US and perhaps elsewhere as well.>
The thing is, I don't see how this could be so, because wouldn't that mean that all the fish at this Petco are now infected because of having a shared filtration system?
<And likely are infected. We get a lot of messages about Mollies, Guppies, etc. with Camallanus worms.>
If these worms were really that contagious, wouldn't they be devastating to the aquarium industry?
<The thing is, many people who buy relatively cheap livebearers view them as "disposable". If a few die, they simply go buy some more.>
I have already ordered Fenbendazole medicated flake, which I plan to feed to the two other platies - I hope it won't hurt the ghost shrimp if they happen to nibble at any.
<May or may not harm the shrimps; difficult to say. Little/nothing is known about interactions between medicines used on vertebrates when consumed by invertebrates.>
Should I feed the medicated flake to my other tanks, since at some point I am sure I have transferred minute amounts of water from the sick tank via nets, gravel vacuum - my own hands?
<So far as I know, Camallanus do not parasitise humans. Yes, copepods or the free-living stages could hitchhike between tanks via nets, buckets, etc. So there's a good argument for sterilising such items between tanks. There are commercial products for this, or else you can simply use a very strong brine solution, which will work almost as well.>
Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. I have never had to deal with intestinal parasites before. I thought they were relatively rare, although often blamed for issues that are more likely to be attributed to
water quality.
<For the most part, worms are relatively uncommon causes of sickness and death. To clarify that somewhat, wild-caught fish may well come with worms much of the time, but provided the fish remain healthy, the worms don't cause problems. Once the worm tries to breed, the lack of the other host(s)
in its life cycle becomes a barrier, and the infection ends. But Camallanus is exceptional, and while not an across-the-board problem, cichlids and livebearers do seem to suffer to a greater degree than other fish groups.
I'll add here that while I've read many messages about these worms from American fishkeepers, I haven't ever seen the problem myself in the UK. So it may be certain areas (e.g., fish farms in Florida vs. those in the Far East) suffer from this problem more than others. An analogy might be drawn with the Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus, which seems to affect fish from Singapore more than anywhere else.>
To be 100% certain that this is what I am facing - well, it's comforting to have a diagnosis, but incredibly worrying to know it's the dreaded Camallanus worms. Believe me, I am praying to the Fish Gods as I speak!
<Indeed!>
Thank you so much for any assistance you can provide.
Nicole
<Cheers, Neale.>

Possible Camallanus problem 7/30/09
Hi. I have a 38gal tank and i think i have a Camallanus infestation. my angelfish has what appears to be a single Camallanus worm poking out of his anus.
<Not uncommon with Angelfish and other intensively-farmed, low-cost freshwater fish.>
However, he is not going off his food and does not have white slimy feces.
<Yet...>
Also, it doesn't look like any of my other fish have Camallanus worms. Is this Camallanus, or is it something else?
<Does sound like Camallanus. This will need treating with a suitable anti-helminth medication. Levamisole, Piperazine and Praziquantel are often recommended, but don't work at all reliably, and Fenbendazole and
Flubendazole seem to be much more reliable. Since Camallanus worms are contagious, it's important to treat your fish promptly. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Possible Camallanus problem -- 07/30/09
Thank you for your quick reply. I have heard that Flubendazole is an ingredient in the dog de-wormer "safe-guard". How should i figure out how to dose the tank with the Flubendazole, and how do i figure out how much to dose the tank with?
<Not sure you can, unless you know how much Flubendazole there is per dog tablet. While Flubendazole isn't particularly toxic to fish, I'd still recommend getting veterinarian help before adding dog or cat medications to your aquarium. Your best bet is to get a product specifically for fish, such as "Fluke M Koi Treatment" or "Discus Wormer Plus", and use as instructed. These are UK brands, but I'm sure you can get equivalent products in other parts of the world, too. Cheers, Neale.>

Help! Female guppy with red line protruding from her anus, and thin guppy. 03/04/09 Hello, I'm no newbie at keeping fish, but my female guppy has developed a really strange problem, which I think is caused by my male guppy harassing her trying to mate. <This certainly will stress females. Do remember the three golden rules of mixing male and female livebearers: [A] Lots of space; for Guppies, that's 20 gallons (90 litres) minimum. Smaller tanks just don't give the females any space to find some peace and quiet. [B] Lots of floating plants; these give the females hiding places as well as places for the newborn fry to hide. [C] Lots of females; always always always have at least twice as many females as males. Anything less means the females get constantly harassed. It's cruel to keep them in "pairs", despite them often being sold as such. Me? I keep a single male livebearer with 5-6 females. Works much better.> basically there is a red line, not dangling, but protruding from her anus. <Most probably Camallanus worms, which will need treating with a suitable anti-helminth medication (Levamisole, Piperazine or Praziquantel often recommended, but Fenbendazole or Flubendazole seem to be much more reliable.).> (by the way, for a guppy do they have separate birthing canal and digestive canal?) It looks sharp and pointy? <Good question! In the case of Poeciliid livebearers, the birth canal and the digestive system share a common opening called a 'cloaca'. This is similar to most vertebrates except for placental mammals.> And its very thin--like a line on a page. <Sounds very like a nematode.> She is eating well, is pregnant (but not heavily pregnant), and is able to poop with no problems. Prior to this, her anus hole looked big, and I thought she might have been ready to give birth. <Hmm...> Have you heard of this before? Do you think this could end up being a fatal problem? <Unfortunately it is rather common among farmed livebearers, and usually when I hear about it via WWM, it seems to be livebearers and cichlids, both farmed under intensive conditions and consequently exposed to parasites more readily. It's fatal if not treated, but can be treated successfully.> Then the second part of my question, Have you ever come across guppies that are just thin? I have this other female guppy that has a thin abdomen, no matter how much I try to fatten her up to a normal looking size. Meaning that her abdomen has a slight curve rather than a straight line. <Could be a parasitic infection, or a "wasting disease", or simply skinny genes... Would treat all your Guppies with Fenbendazole or Flubendazole in the same tank, on the assumption all may be infected to some degree, even if only the one is obviously infected.> When she was pregnant, she became "normal" sized, then after giving birth (and having all her fry eaten by the other guppies), she went back to being thin again. She has a good appetite, and if I put her in a large net and feed her, she eats all the food and puts on weight, then the next day she is skinny again. Is it possible for guppies to have worms...? <Yes.> Could you advise me on this please? Thanks for your time....! Regards, -- Wanda <Cheers, Neale.> PS: I now think my other male guppy has caught the "thinness problem". None of the other fish have it, so I don't think it is contagious but I am not sure!! =[ and that male has been swimming as though its tail is dragging it down, and not been eating much. sadness. <Treat them all together! NM.>

Re: Help! Female guppy with red line protruding from her anus, and thin guppy. 03/04/09 Thanks for your help! the male guppy died half an hour after I sent the email...[?] <Oh dear!> One last question: would it be a problem if the guppy fry get dosed by the medication too? I am keeping them in a breeder tank within the main tank for now. <They should be fine. Generally fish medications don't harm baby fish.> And would the mediation affect the snails I have living in my tank? <I'd remove them to another tank if possible, especially if they're big/messy things like Apple snails.> Cheers, <Cheers, Neale.>

Please Help Me! 11/04/2008 Hello, <Hello,> ok to start off I have done a some research to try and find out myself how to help my fish out but am still struggling to cure them and am hoping you can help me out with that to do, I'm rather new at this fish thing I have only had them for about 6 months. I'm in Canada and a lot of the things that I have read about are not available in Canada and can't be shipped here, also I am a student and can't really afford anything extremely expensive. <OK; please next time use capital letters where they should be. It's one of our few demands from people who write in. Reading things without capital letters is horrible to do, annoying us and making it difficult for site visitors to follow. Normally we simply "bounce back" such messages for correction; I'm in a good mood, so I'm replying. But next time: no capital letters, no reply! Ditto for spellings; we depend upon Google indexing our web pages, and when people visit because of Google, advertisers pay for our bandwidth costs. If you send a message with lots of poor spelling, it's basically useless to us because Goggle can't index it properly. That's how this site works: you write properly, we'll share what we know, and everyone is happy.> I believe my fish have Callamanus, I only see it in my guppies but am not sure if the others are infected as well. <Callamanus is distinctive: red thread-like worms emerging from the anus. Quite common among livebearers and cichlids, at least in some parts of the world. You need a treatment specifically for worms, e.g., DiscoMed or Levamisole.> I have a 30g tank with a few live plants in it, I have a heater in my tank and the temp is usually around 80. I have 6 long skirted tetras, <Gymnocorymbus ternetzi are notorious fin-nippers, and I wouldn't let them anywhere near Guppies.> and upside down catfish, <A gregarious species: keep at least three.> an algae eater, <You WILL regret this; depending on what we're talking about, either Gyrinocheilus or Pterygoplichthys, this fish will be huge and also very aggressive in the case of adult Gyrinocheilus.> I had 4 guppies but they had babies and now there is 10 of them until I give them to a friend (if they don't die first). I also have a silver shark that is 2 1/2 inches long (in my tank temporarily until my brother gets a bigger tank I hope it isn't infected, I cant see any worms coming out of it but I don't want to move it back to his tank cuz I don't want to risk his fish all getting infected) I also have a separate tank with like 100ish babies that are a month old, I'm also wondering if I also need to treat this tank since I think they were born while the mothers were infected?? I have ready they can be infected for about 3 months before you can see them. <The newborn fry will not be infected directly from the mother, so far as I know, but if kept with infected fish, could certainly pick up worms later on.> since it is a parasite I bought API Aquarium Pharmaceuticals pro series general cure anti-parasitic fish medication and followed the instructions on the back. <Useless for Callamanus...> it has been over 4 days and I do not see any changes in my fish, I was going to buy the jungle food for parasites but thought I would give this a try hoping it would work better. I live in a very small town and don't have much of a selection when it comes to pet stores so PetSmart my only option as a pet store with fish supplies, and they only have these 2 options. Is there something that I can order online that isn't expensive that is available in Canada that will work faster? <See above.> This parasite I thought of raising the temp like you are supposed to for ick and things like that, but I don't know if that will help or not and the instructions for the medication I used said nothing about the temperature. it also said 2 doses are required for a full course of the treatment... should I put more in the tank because it isn't gone yet? <The stuff you're using now won't cure Callamanus.> I really hope you can help me because I don't want my fish to die off... Thank you Stacey <There's a bunch of stuff you need to work on first. First, why do you think Callamanus is the issue? Have you first reviewed water chemistry and water quality? I ask this because it isn't clear to me why you think your fish are sick/dying. Almost always when fish die it is because of problems with water chemistry and/or quality. In the case of Guppies for example you need zero ammonia, zero nitrite, a basic pH around 7.5, and hardness at "moderately hard" to "hard" on whatever scale you're using. Fancy Guppies are not hardy fish, and suffer when kept in poorly maintained (or simply the wrong) conditions. If you want to get back to me with specifically what symptoms you are seeing in the sick fish, and what the environmental conditions are (at minimum, pH and nitrite), I can try to offer some more specific advice. Cheers, Neale.>

Camallanus worms- Levamisole resistant? 8/18/08 Hello, <Maeve> I recently noticed some "red paintbrush" protrusions from my Bolivian Ram's vent. I treated with Discomed and the problem seemed to be taken care of. However, I started to notice another worm sticking out again, and a round of Discomed treatment didn't seem to do anything. I'm not sure what else to use to treat this problem, as Levamisole (the main ingredient in Discomed) is supposedly the most effective at treating this problem. <Mmm, usually> I do have some Panacur (Fenbendazole) which I have heard works, but I cannot find a reliable dosage, <And am away in CT... from ref. sources... I would look for/use Praziquantel here myself. The dosing instructions will accompany this> and I'm worried about overdosing my fish, or underdosing and developing a resistance to the medication. Do you have any recommendations on what to use? Would Panacur be my best option right now? Thanks *very* much. Your site is very informative, and I searched all over, but couldn't find a solution to my problem. As far as I can tell, a lot of sites/people recommend using Fenbendazole, but no one really seems to have published how. <The ref.s I would seek out are by Nelson Herwig and Edward Noga... but they're not carried by most colleges... unless they have zoology departments...> Cheers, Maeve <Bob Fenner>

Guppy question, dis. 8/2/08 Hello, Last night I noticed that my female guppy had a bunch of orange lumpy stuff protruding from her backside. I assume these are eggs? <Nope. Guppies are livebearers.> They aren't coming off though. They're "stuck" on her. I put her in a breeding container in the tank to keep the other fish from picking at her, but what can I do for her? She's not eating, but doesn't seem to be in pain. Please help! <Without a photo, can't be 100% sure, but I wonder if this is actually a Camallanus worm infection? These look like reddish threads protruding from the anus. Treatment is using a worm-killing medication such as Levamisole, Piperazine or Praziquantel (sold under brands like Prazi Pro). http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwwormdisfaqs.htm > THANKS!! Tara <Cheers, Neale.> Possible Camallanus worm infestation 5/22/08 Dear WetWebMedia Crew: <Allyson> I have a 20 gallon freshwater tank, (originally with an angelfish, <Need more room than this> 4 platies, 2 mollies and 4 white cloud minnows) and am having fish die at the rate of about 1 per month (getting thin, listless, then refusing to eat, and then dying). Since the water parameters were good, I thought it might be a parasite infection and gave a couple of doses on Jungle Parasite Clear (fizzy tank tabs with Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole and Acriflavine), <Good shot gun approach here> but it didn't help. I am now down to the angelfish, 1 platy and 3 minnows. I did email WetWebMedia a couple of months ago and Bob Fenner kindly suggested a good aquarist in my area since I live in San Diego. They were very helpful and suggested that the fish might have been weakened by the extreme hardness of our water and I started to used deionized water. No luck. Over the past week I have noticed tiny, red, stick-like things protruding from the anus of my angelfish, whom I have had almost a year; he is otherwise behaving normally. A WWM search causes me to believe I have a Camallanus worm infestation <Agreed... very likely> and I went to the aquatic suppliers and they have sold me Metronidazole, along with polymer to help bind the medication to the food, and a garlic additive to make it taste palatable. Is this the correct medication? <Mmm, no... need a vermifuge... not a protozoacide> Your site suggested Levamisole, Piperazine or Praziquantel, <Yes> but if you think that the Metronidazole will also work, <... no> I will start using it. I don't want to weaken the fish by giving them the wrong medicine, especially since they are all behaving normally (for now) Thanks so much for your help and your great site, Allyson <See WWM re Camallanus... Vermifuges-Anthelminthics... Bob Fenner>

Re: possible Camallanus worm infestation 05/23/08 Dear Bob: <Allyson> Thanks so much for your reply, especially since you seem to be on a different continent. Was loathe to pester WWM about his but I really want a healthy tank. This is so frustrating; I actually did read the faq on Camallanus (the whole thing, very carefully) prior to going to the fish store (Aquatic Warehouse fyi) with the information from your site in hand. The staff swore up and down that the Seachem Metronidazole was the right medicine. I will go back and try again. <Please do...> I am sorry to hear that my 20 gal tank is not big enough for my beloved angelfish, I do have an aquarium book, and did do some compatibility research before buying him/her, as well as asking in the fish store (specialty shop, not big box place) if it would be a good choice. I am trying very hard to buy appropriate livestock and maintain the tank properly, but it is becoming a disheartening endeavor. I am not used to creatures under my care dying. My half- barrel water gardens have platies in them which breed like crazy, and I do nothing but top up the water and put in a little dechlorinator, yet the pampered indoor aquarium is a death trap! <Mmmm...> Thanks again, and I will let you know how things turn out, Allyson Mira Mesa, San Diego <Please do... ! We live off Menkar Rd... 92126... on the Penasquitos Cyn. BobF>

Molly Question 03/26/2008 Hi I've got a 160ltr tank which has been going for about 10 months now, it's got mollies, platys, Endler's and guppies in it. I've had a issue before with platy's dying from the skinnies, but I've never had a problem with mollies before until now. <What's the "Skinnies"?> I have 6 second generation marble mollies, and over the last few days they have been feeling poorly with the shimmers and tail fin clamping. Today they seem much better, they are swimming around happily, eating and I haven't seen a shimmer in over 24 hours. <Do check temperature and salinity, both key factors with Mollies. Given you're keeping all livebearers together, adding salt to this tank is easy and safe. I'd be going with 6 grammes per litre of water, and use MARINE SALT MIX, not "aquarium salt". The Mollies will be altogether healthier in every way, and the other livebearers will appreciate the extra alkalinity. If you have a hydrometer, what you're aiming for is a specific gravity of SG 1.003.> However on 3 of them I've noticed what appear to be 2 red spikes coming out of them. It's not fecal matter, it's different to that, one of them it's coming from it's anus, but the other two has it coming from higher up their bodies towards their stomachs. Is this a normal thing? I've never seen it before. <These are Camallanus worms, seemingly quite common among livebearers in both the US and UK. So I'm guessing there's an issue here with breeding and transport. In any case, you need an anti-helminth medication. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwwormdisfaqs.htm > I'm sorry if I'm being really stupid about this, I've have raised them since birth and I really don't want to lose them now! <Indeed!> Any help would be appreciated. Annabel <Cheers, Neale.>

Camallanus woes 2/14/08 Dear WetWebMedia Crew, <Kim> Before I present my problem, I would like to thank you so much for your informative website. I have learned so much from reading it and owe a lot to all your efforts. Please bear with me for this long question - I just want to be thorough! <Be so> First off, I suppose I should describe my setup. I have a 90 gallon planted freshwater tank with a 30 gallon sump and a 1.5 gallon hang-on refugium. Filtration is provided by an Eheim Pro II 2028. For lighting, I have 4x65 watt PC. I use pressurized CO2 and maintain it at about 20-30 ppm; my pH varies between about 6.8 and 7.0. I keep the tank at 77-78 ºF. The ammonia and nitrites have always been zero, though I have had spikes with my latest problems, which I have been combating with frequent water changes. For my plants' benefit, I keep phosphates at about 1 ppm and nitrates at about 10 ppm. As for livestock, I have 3 /Gold Gouramis/, 4 /Botia Dario, //1 Bushy-Nose Pleco, about 20 Cardinal Tetras, about 15 Cherry Barbs, 6 Corydoras trilineatus//, 6 Corydoras aeneus//, 6 Kuhlii loaches, 1 Betta, 2 Bamboo Shrimp, wildly reproducing Cherry Shrimp (which I love), wildly reproducing snails (which I don't love, hence the Botia// loaches), and 4 dwarf African-clawed frogs. It is landscaped with rocks, large pieces of driftwood, and lush vegetation./ /Whew! Well, on to my problem. Despite carefully quarantining all my livestock, a few months ago I started having a few fish die with no apparent cause. After close inspection and research (and the observation of red worms protruding from the anuses of some fish), I realized they had Camallanus// infection. I read a paper from "Aquarium Sciences and Conservation" by Arne Levsen titled "Transmission ecology and larval behaviour of Camallanus cotti// (Nematoda, Camallanidae) under aquarium conditions". From this article and further Internet research I determined the proper course of treatment would be 2 mg/L Levamisole. I tried capturing just the fish that had evidence of Camallanus// and moving them to my hospital tank, but I just kept seeing more and more fish with it, and realized that the unthinkable (treating my display tank) might be the best option. In the aforementioned article, it seemed that Camallanus //would persist in an environment without fish for up to 40 days, and since it would probably be very difficult to even find and remove all my fish, my options seemed limited. <This is so> I read further on Levamisole and found aquarists agreed that it wouldn't harm my plants or invertebrates. So, I got enough injectable Levamisole phosphate from my veterinarian for the first treatment; and so began the rollercoaster called my water parameters. As directed, I administered the medication, kept the lights dark for 24 ours, then began massive water changes (>70%). The first treatment resulted in several fish dying (which I expected - I assume they perished from intestinal impactions of dead Camallanus//). I continued regular water changes for the next two weeks as my phosphate went through the roof (>> 10ppm, presumably from the Levamisole *phosphate*), and the nitrites went up to as high as 0.5 ppm (I don't know why - something must have been dying, but I don't know what!). Per the article and others' suggestions, I siphoned the substrate as best I could, but much of it is inaccessible from the plants and landscaping./ /I have done two more treatments since then (but switched to Levamisole hydrochloride to avoid the phosphate spike), all two weeks apart. From what I've read, 2 treatments is usually sufficient, but I am up to three and am still seeing a few Camallanus// in the cherry barbs. <These may be dead...> For the most part, the treatment has worked very well, as I have watched many of my other fish, including the Betta, Pleco, and Corys, clear up. Nonetheless, I know that "mostly cleared" translates to "they'll be back", and I'm losing confidence that further repeated treatments will yield success. Do you folks have any suggestions as to how to clear up this infection once and for all? Sorry again for the length, I just didn't want to leave out any relevant details./ /Thank you so much for your time. And keep up the great work!/ /-Kim/ <After the third treatment with Levamisole, I would wait a few (three) days, execute another summary water change, vacuuming... This treatment succession should "do it". If the worms persist, I would continue with another vermifuge: Fenbendazole, or Flubendazole. Unfortunately, the popular Prazi/quantel has not proven efficacious. Bob Fenner>

Sick fish and some sort of parasites 10/25/07 Hello. How is everything? I am once again, in need of your guidance. I have a 55 gallon tank with 2 great filters. I have 3 adult mollies, (5) 3 month old mollies, 2 dwarf gouramis (male and female), and 7 adult mm platies and (2) 3 month mm platies. My tank is 6 months old and is well established. On Saturday 10/20/07 I cleaned the tank out and scrubbed the walls of it. There was some sort of white almost microscopic worms all over it. Where could this come from??? I use algae tablets and clean the walls every Saturday. I noticed last night my molly with a beautiful tail has fin rot, so I began treatment last night with some medicine. Maracyn. I removed carbon from filters. This morning the white skurmmyworm things are BACK....and are everywhere. Any advise. and 2 of my mm platies are covered in slime...so they going to die Melissa <Hi Melissa. The worms are either free-living nematodes (thread worms) or free-living planarians (flatworms). In either case, they're harmless. But they are an indication that your tank has a lot of organic material lying about, because that's what they eat. In a clean tank, these worms are simply not a problem. So, given your other problems, I'd worry less about the worms and more about the water quality. Mollies and Platys are both sensitive to water quality, and Finrot and Fungus, the problems you have, are caused directly by poor water quality. Have you checked the nitrite and ammonia levels in your aquarium? These need to be zero. Furthermore, Mollies have very little tolerance for nitrate, so nitrate needs to be less than 20 mg/l. Regardless, "cleaning" an aquarium has very little to do with scrubbing the glass. Indeed, tanks that are covered in algae and look messy can have superb water quality. Conversely, plenty of superficially clean aquaria have terrible water quality. So, make sure you are doing all the basics: Don't clean the filter too often, and when you do (maybe once every 2-3 months) do no more than rinse the media in a bucket of aquarium water. Don't waste your filter space with carbon; instead, fill it with biological media. Sponge, filter wool and ceramic media all work great. Make sure you do regular water changes. 25-50% per week is a good amount. You tank isn't heavily stocked, so you should be fine keeping these fish. One last thing: Mollies do much better in brackish or salt water than they do in freshwater. Adding 4-6 grammes of marine salt mix per litre makes all the difference. If you absolutely must keep your Mollies in freshwater, it is ESSENTIAL that the water is spotlessly clean (zero ammonia and nitrite, and minimal nitrate) and that the carbonate hardness is very high (at least 8-10 degrees KH). Otherwise, keeping Mollies becomes an uphill struggle against disease. Platies tolerate slightly brackish water very well, as will most other livebearers. But Dwarf Gouramis not so much. For now, you need to treat your fish with a combination Finrot/Fungus medication; Maracyn should do the trick. Do make sure you remove carbon before using it though. Lots of people forget this critical step, and wonder why their fish medications never work! Once you're done, remember: Fish are basically very healthy and trouble-free animals -- provided you give them the water conditions they want! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick fish and some sort of parasites 10/25/07 I should have mentioned that everything is reading PERFECT. Zero ammonia and zero nitrate. The pH is 7.0....I really don't know what is wrong. I am using Maracyn powder packets with carbon removed. How do I get rid of these little white worm things. They are really grossin' me out and are very unattractive. They have multiplied very fast. Also.....my mollies had a ton of babies......they are doing well it seems.....and have been in the tank for about 4 days. Thank you so so much for all your time <Well, for a start, pH 7 is way too low for livebearers, so that's likely a problem. What this pH says is that your water likely lacks mineral content. When keeping livebearers, the general hardness (dH) and carbonate hardness (KH) are the keys to good health. Test the water and find out. You want at least 5 degrees KH, 12 degrees dH, and ideally above 10 degrees KH, 20 degrees dH if you want your Mollies to do well. Nice and hard water should have a pH around 7.5-8.0. There are two approaches here. Firstly, you can add Malawi salts to the water each time you do a water change. Malawi salts are NOT tonic salts. Malawi salts are added to the water like tonic salts though, and once dissolved into the bucket of water will raise the hardness very effectively. A 50% dose relative to what you need for Malawi cichlids should be fine, so if the box says it'll treat 100 litres, it'll do 200 litres in your aquarium. Alternatively, you add crushed coral to a filter. As the water washes past the crushed coral it will absorb hardness minerals. Likely every month you'll need to clean this crushed coral because bacterial slime makes it ineffective over time. So compared with adding Malawi salts this is "cheap and cheerful" but a little more work. It goes without saying that while all livebearers like "rock hard" water, not all other tropical fish do, so you need to choose tankmates with care. This is why you have to research fish before buying them. But please understand this: if your water chemistry is too soft and acidic for livebearers (which it seems to be) they will never stay healthy. Simple as that. Do you know anything about gardening? It's like trying to grow heather in an alkaline soil: the plant wants an acid soil, so however much you try to help the heather, it'll just die. As for the worms -- their numbers are directly proportional to the food in the tank available to eat. Cut back on the food you give your fish, and remove uneaten food at once, and Mother Nature will take care of their numbers! They'll die back gradually. Really, these worms aren't a problem, and in a stable, properly maintained aquarium you hardly ever see them. Cheers, Neale>

Camallanus... 12/16/07 Hi Crew! <Hello Audrey,> How are you? I'm better. I've done some research again, and this time, I really found interesting information. I must not have been using the right keywords when I last searched... In any case, it is reassuring. I have work to do before I get any more fish, but at least I have a clear path in front of me... finally! <Good-o.> Our last Molly died yesterday. This is the 8th fish we've lost to Camallanus worms. Our LFS sells infested fish (they should know better, and we'll work on educating them). We've learned to recognize the look of infested fish, and at least a third of their Mollies are way too thin. Of course, we do know better now, but we had to learn the hard way. <A tough lesson. Mollies are one of the more abused species of fish in the hobby. A shame really, because they're among my favourites.> Neale commented that he's never had problems with Camallanus during one of our previous correspondences. My reading leads me to believe that these infestations are becoming more common, especially in livebearers, due to the poor conditions in which those fish are raised (somewhat like the Dwarf Gourami or Neon Tetra disease). It is likely to become more common in the next few years, so you would do well to read on the subject before the wave hits. <I agree. I also think some diseases have a geographical spread. Most of the Mollies in the US hobby come from Florida, as I understand it, and perhaps Florida fish farms have a particular problem with Camallanus. In the same way as the highest incidence of Dwarf Gourami viral diseases seems to be Singapore.> The Camallanus worm is a nematode. I've seen Praziquantel recommended for treating this numerous times. It is what Bob usually recommends. <<Mmm, my thought here re: am hopeful of the host fishes surviving the parent infestation, and killing the released intermediates... Too much chance of killing hosts with other cpd.s...RMF>> However, there are few success stories with this treatment on the Internet. It didn't work for me, but that might be due to the size of my fish more than the treatment itself. In any case, the only really effective medicine seems to be Levamisole, used as a cattle wormer (often pigs, but also goats and such), or sold as a bird wormer in some pet stores/vet supply stores. It's harder to obtain because it's now used as an immune system stimulant in humans, for example for people undergoing chemotherapy. It's apparently safe for fish, inverts, plants and filter bacteria, and near impossible to overdose. <My reading of anti-worming medications and fish is that there are basically two sorts, ones that irritate/spasm the intestine causing the worm to be expelled (e.g., Levamisole), and ones that kill the worm directly (e.g., Flubenol 15). Both can work well, but smaller fish are said to run a greater risk of being stressed/killed by the first sort before the worms are expelled.> Even with the Levamisole, treatment doesn't always work. Especially in small fish, sometimes the worms can't be expelled and rot inside the fish, causing infection, bloat and eventual death. Those worms also tend to cause internal damage, which might also kill fish after a few weeks. During treatment, it seems the best thing to do is feed things like brine shrimp, which help pass the blockage. Epsom salts might also help somewhat. And, of course, vacuum aggressively and change a lot of water (100% often recommended). Finally, most treatments don't kill eggs, and it takes about two weeks for eggs to hatch, so the treatment needs to be repeated every two weeks several times before it can get rid of all traces of the worms. <Agreed.> I was going to write an article on my findings, but there is no need. There are at least two excellent pages on the subject available on the Internet, and multiple forums. The trick is to search with the right spelling (Camallanus, but you can also try Camallanus, and there are some relevant pages where it's written Callamanus). <I'd have thought many fishkeeping magazines would appreciate some insight into this tricky problem. As I've said earlier, it isn't one I've had to deal with thus far, so I've certainly found your observations interesting.> The first is here http://inkmkr.com/Fish/CamallanusTreatment/. It links to an excellent article as well as a page with pictures. If you're not sure of your diagnosis, take a look at those pics. You'll have no doubt after this. Also, if you decide to go the Levamisole way, read this page http://www.loaches.com/disease-treatment/levamisole-hydrochloride-1. I'm sending you pics of one of my small Mollies that went the bloat way. It's an excellent illustration of the pinecone scales, for those who are wondering if their fish is pineconed or not. It's also a nice picture of a Camallanus-infested fish. I hope the files are not too big. If they are, let me know, I'll resend. <Informative photos; thanks for sharing.> I hope this helps. We've been battling this for months, and this is our first aquarium too. This has been very discouraging. I hope our trials can serve in helping others who face the same problem. <Sometimes that's the best you can hope for!> Thank you! <And thank you for sharing. Cheers, Neale.>


Lernaeids? RMF would like to see this under a 'scope.

Newbie /anchor worms and Camallanus worms, FW 12/12/07 Dear Crew, First let me apologize in advance for any posting errors. I have never posted anything before. I have read just about everything I could find on your site and the web, and still haven't found a clear answer to my question. <Welcome> My eight year old son and I are relative newbies to freshwater aquariums, but we are learning fast. Several months ago, we got a 5 gallon aquarium, with one live dwarf Amazon sword plant. We have a small under gravel filter from our previous 2 gallon tank, a small heater and a corner box filter, air pump (suitable for up to 10 gallon tanks). There is a tiny snail, which I have only seen once. I assume it came with the plant, and I don't know if it is still alive. After a couple of weeks we got 1 fancy guppy. We had him about three weeks, and then got another guppy and an Otocinclus. We did not quarantine (a lesson which I have since learned), I also learned about water testing around this time. Within a couple of days, the new guppy died of fin and tail rot, and the Oto had ich. I treated the tank with MelaFix and malachite green. <Better to simply elevate temperature here.> The Oto struggled with ich off and on for several weeks, and eventually died. Throughout all this, the original guppy appeared healthy. As I learned about water testing during this time, we have been at ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 2.5-5, ph 7.6-8.0. now for several weeks. We waited several more weeks, before attempting to get any more fish, and on 11/24/07 decided to get 2 more Otos to help with the algae. <Mmm, I would not place Otocinclus in such a small volume, with such a high pH... better to seek out other means of algae control. Posted on WWM> They are currently quarantined, and so far appear healthy. The day we brought home the new Otos, I discovered a parasite hanging off the side off the guppy. After investigating on line, I am sure it was an anchor worm. I removed the box filter/charcoal and I started to treat with Jungle Parasite Clear, which said it was good for anchor worms <... but adults, on host fish/es... must need be physically removed...> and would not harm the plant like CopperSafe. The anchor worm fell off, leaving a gaping wound in the side of the guppy. Despite this, he continued to eat and was active. A few days later, several red worms protruded from his anus, and one from the gaping hole in his side. After more searching on line, I am sure from the photos I have seen on line that he had Camallanus worms. <Mmm... no... these Nematodes are stark white, round in cross section... Likely what you are seeing are other/new Anchorworms...> I continued to treat with the Jungle Parasite Clear which contains Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole, and Acriflavine. <Mmm... none of these will treat for, kill Lernaeids... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcrustdisfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs file above on Organophosphate Use> This appeared to have no effect on the worms, and the fish has now finally died (whether from the worms or the wound). So my basic questions are these? <Likely crustacean... Anchorworms> What do I treat the tank with to ensure anchor worms (which I know is not a worm) and Camallanus worms (theoretically they have a 30 day life cycle) are gone (since the Jungle Parasite Clear didn't appear to treat the worms)? <Not worms... just appear worm-like> What is safe for the plant? <Please read the above...> Is the snail an intermediary host? <Mmm, no> How long do I need to wait, keeping in mind I have 2 Otos in quarantine, waiting for all the algae in the tank. Do I need to take down the whole set up and sterilize and start over? <Mmm, possibly the best approach here now> If so, how? <See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnaqfaqs.htm> How do I keep the bacteria going in the tank since there are now no fish in there? <They will be there> Thank you in advance for your advice. I have learned much from your site. I wanted to introduce my son to the pleasures of an aquarium, and all he has seen so far is a bunch of parasites and sick fish. I realize we have just a tiny set up, but I had an aquarium when I was growing up, and I wanted him to have the same pleasure it gave me. I'd just like to get the new Otos settled. We know the 1 inch per gallon of water rule, so we know we can only have a few small fish, but we want them to be healthy, happy fish. Thanks again for your help. Vida <Thank you for writing so well... Clearly and completely. I want to state, make it known to you that the difficulties you and your animals are suffering are not of your origination... The livestock you have received has been infested, compromised... and not easily cured by anyone's efforts. I would either bleach-wash and start over here, moving the water from the Quarantine along with the Otocinclus... and feed carefully till the system is established. Otherwise, Clout (tm), Fluke Tabs (tm), other DTHP or Dimilin containing pesticide can be added... Do please write back if you have further concerns, issues. Bob Fenner>

Re: newbie /anchor worms and Camallanus worms 12/18/07 Mr. Fenner, <Vida> Thank you for your prompt reply. I think I will take every thing down and bleach it out. Is there any way to save the plant? <Yes... can be peremptorily dipped/bathed in an alum and water solution... See WWM, the Net re> We like having a live plant as opposed to plastic. Likewise, how does one safely add new live plants, as I realize they can introduce parasites? <Rare, but yes... most all that is wet can/may> If we are starting all over, we will probably add another plant or two, and definitely don't want to introduce any new parasites. The Otos in quarantine appear healthy and thriving, and my son would like them in the tank. Here are some photo links, which show the photos why I believe the fish had Camallanus. This looked very different from the anchor worm on its side, and definitely appeared to be multiple red worms in the anus. They would pull in and appear much shorter at some times than at others. The anchor worm did not do this, it was the same until it fell off and left the wound on the side of the fish. My husband, who has a background in biology and a PhD in genetics, also felt that the organisms protruding from the anus were Camallanus and not the same as the anchor worm. http://www.inkmkr.com/Fish/CamallanusTreatment/experience.html http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/2897/parasiteen0.jpg http://www.gaem.it/pubblico/articoli/malattiepesci/Camallanus/camallanus03.jpg <I must commend you on your photographs. Some are very nice indeed... These do appear to be Nematodes... reddish from feeding likely> I had tried elevating the temperature of the tank to between 85-90 degrees (normally it is at 76 degrees) and adding a small amount of aquarium salt for the ich, but was conservative with this because of the plant and the Oto. The pH of the aquarium was running 7.2-7.6 before treating with the Jungle Parasite Clear. I suspect some component of the medication fizzy tab has increased the pH. <Possibly...> Thank you again for your assistance. Vida <Thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

"Feeder" use in establishing cycling, nematode? 10/2/07 Dear WWM Crew, <Kathryn> I have two platys and a swordtail in my new aquarium and it is just about done cycling (nitrite .25 and consistently dropping, ammonia 0). The fish have all been doing well for about a month now <... they've been in this system while it's cycling? Not good> , except for a little feeder fish that died this morning. <A comet goldfish? Other minnow? Feeder livebearer? Frequent, make that almost-without-exception vectors of parasitic and infectious disease...> (The feeder fish was provided to me by the pet store as a way of establishing bacteria <Not a suggested method... your system is likely infested...> and he survived so I kept him.) When I removed him from the tank, I found that his stomach was blown out and that there was a long, white, string-like object hanging from the opening in his body. (see picture). <Mmm, perhaps a nematode... could be the GI tract...> He had been stuck to the filter intake. I am wondering if what I am seeing is his intestines or a parasite. (If it is intestines, I am puzzled at the stomach rupture, the filter is a whisper filter designed for 5-15 gallon tanks.) I am hoping you can help me figure out what happened because I want to protect my platys and swordtail. Here is some background: For a few days nitrate levels were spiking faster than daily 50% water changes and salt could remedy, and I was doing multiple changes a day to help alleviate the stress but despite my efforts, the feeder fish started acting strangely. His gills darkened, on one side noticeable more so than the other, and he began to swim on his side and on his back, sometimes totally unable to right himself. I imagined this might be related to organ damage caused by nitrite poisoning, as levels nitrate levels had reached a 1.5 ppm at the worst. <Way past toxic> Prior to this behavior, he had been a very hearty and active fish. Once the strange swimming pattern began, he lasted about 48 hours. The only other out-of-the usual condition in the fish tank so far as I can tell is that my swordtail dropped a few fry, all of which disappeared before I could run to the store to get a separate tank for them. This also happened right before the feeder fish started acting strangely. I appreciate any insight you can offer! Thanks! Kathryn <Wish you had read here first: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Re: "Feeder" use in establishing cycling, nematode? 10/3/07 Hi Bob, Thanks for your response. Shortly after starting to notice stress in my fish, I actually did a lot of reading on the nitrogen cycle and realized that the pet store misguided me in letting me purchase so many fish before cycling was complete. <All too common> Accordingly, I have been adding salt, been on reduced feeding schedule, and doing very frequent water changes to try to remedy the situation. Hence, the tank is nearly fully cycled and the fish are well (Except for the one in question). The problem I am really concerned about at this point is, if this was a parasite (perhaps a nematode, as you suggested), are there measures that I can take to prevent my other fish from dying. <Mmm, possibly... there are Anthelminthics... that are relatively safe, effective, specific... Prazi... quantel... -pro... might be administered> If it is the fish's GI tract, do you have any ideas of what might have caused it to be coming out of the fishes body? <Prolapse possibly... the tract of cyprinids however is much longer... coiled inside... Do you have a microscope? A cross-section near the "head" end (hard to discern which is which) should reveal a tri-radiate esophagus in the buccal region if so> If it is some how related to nitrite poisoning, that situation is now under control. <But the residual damage...> If there is something else going on though, I want to make sure I take care of it. I haven't found much literature to explain rupturing fish bellies. Thanks again! Kathryn <Mmm, not much to refer to here... in the popular literature or online. BobF>

Help with internal parasites, again... Mollies 9/1/07 Hello Crew! <Greetings.> I've had a few long chats with Tom about my Mollies with internal parasites. This has proven as hard to get rid of as ich and killed many fish. <Curious. My first question when people have problems with mollies is whether they are keeping them in freshwater or in brackish/marine conditions. In the former case they seem to me to be irredeemably delicate, and successful maintenance requires excellent (i.e., zero nitrate) water quality. In brackish/marine conditions mollies are basically indestructible. For me, it's a no-brainer: if you want to keep mollies with the minimum fuss, keep them at 25-100% seawater salinity (~SG 1.005-1.018). Ich/Whitespot cannot survive under such conditions, Finrot and fungal infections are extremely rare, and internal parasite "spores" (or whatever) cannot survive the saltwater conditions so cannot infect healthy fish.> It all started when we lost one small black balloon Molly, and then realized that her companion was getting way too thin and had the red worm-thing sticking out her anus. We tried Metronidazole and a variety of other medicines, but she died despite our frantic attempts at a cure. <Why did you use Metronidazole? That's a drug primarily for internal bacteria and to a less extent protozoan parasites. As far as I know, it has no effect on multicellular parasites such as worms. For those, you need something worm-specific (i.e., an anti-helminth drug) such as PraziPro or Sterazin.> So, when we got two new balloon Mollies, we treated them in the quarantine tank with PraziPro (which is supposed to be effective) before we let them join the two remaining healthy fish. We added them to our apparently unaffected two remaining bigger Mollies, who came from a different dealer (one orange male and one spotted female). We lost the male two weeks ago (within three days he stopped chasing the females, then one morning was lying at the bottom of the tank gasping, then he was dead, no symptoms of anything). My boyfriend just called to tell me the spotted female died today, and apparently she has this red worm-thing again. What's worse, one of the two living Mollies has a distended anus with some white tube-like stuff protruding. <This is a dumb question perhaps, but are you sure the problem here is worms? Parasitic worms generally don't cause quick deaths. What you tend to see is a gradual loss of condition or a failure to grow or put on weight. By their nature, most of these intestinal parasites have evolved not to kill the host outright, since they die when the host dies. Wild fish commonly carry a parasite load, but otherwise aren't harmed. Nine times out of ten, mollies die from nitrate poisoning, Finrot, fungal infections, or acidosis. This is especially true when the die "quickly". Gasping, for example, is a good sign of respiratory distress, which can be caused by poor water quality and a too-low pH. Just a reminder, mollies in freshwater conditions (if you're foolish enough to keep them thus) need three specific things: zero nitrate, pH 7.5-8.2, and hardness not less than 20 degrees dH. In brackish/marine conditions, the sodium chloride will detoxify the nitrate so that isn't an issue, and the other salts in the marine salt mix will raise the pH and hardness automatically. Please note that "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt" won't do anything other than mitigate the nitrate, so are a greatly inferior product when keeping mollies.> He's moving them to our quarantine/treatment tank as we speak and will start treating with PraziPro again. Should I also give them Metronidazole? I know they can be mixed, but it's not supposed to be super effective against those kinds of parasites. In any case, I'll follow your advice. <PraziPro yes, Metronidazole no. As a rule, unless a qualified animal healthcare professional has said otherwise, you should NEVER mix medications. The synergies between two or more drugs are unknown, and potentially lethal. But more importantly, sit down and review your water conditions and chemistry. If you're keeping your mollies in freshwater, please understand that you will always be fighting to keep them healthy. It's just the way it is with mollies. While they are certainly freshwater fish in the wild, in aquaria they just don't do well kept thus. Spend any time reviewing the livebearer e-mails here, or postings on fish forums, and you'll see that there are always bucket-loads of messages about sick mollies.> Now, the only remaining animals in the tank are a Nerite snail and two Amano shrimp (maybe a few Cherry shrimp too but we haven't seen them in a while). <Ah, now the good news here is both Amano shrimps and Nerite snails are salt-tolerant, so you can raise the salinity of the tank to SG 1.003-1.005 without problems, should you choose to do so.> Do I need to treat the main tank to ensure that all parasites are gone? The fish are apparently reinfecting each other, and I want to ensure that they don't get sick again when I put them in the main tank. Do I need to leave the aquarium fallow? If so, how long? Do I hunt the shrimp and move them out, then treat the whole tank? Help! <Yes, you need to treat the tank. Yes, you will probably need to remove the shrimps, as they tend to be sensitive to medications.> Do I need to treat the Betta and his Eclipse III too? He used to be in the same aquarium as the Mollies, he might have been exposed... <Probably not, unless you see some symptoms.> I know many people say that healthy fish "strike a balance" with their internal parasites and live in apparent health for years with them. This hasn't proven true for me, those are nasty little bugs (and tough too, after a week of PraziPro the worm was still hanging on) and I'd be extremely glad to be rid of them, once and for all. <My suspicion is that you're dealing with mollies that are fundamentally stressed, and the worms are at best an "excuse" for them to wave a little white flag and give up.> Those have to be from the LFS, and they must have lived for months with the things in their digestive systems without showing any signs, since we haven't given them anything else but Nori, flakes, sinking pellets and bits of corn for about a month. They also get frozen bloodworms, and occasionally brine shrimp, but they're both Hikari brand that's supposed to be well sterilized. <The foods you list should be fine. Do bear in mind mollies are primarily herbivores, and the ratio of green to meaty foods should be of the order 80% to 20%. In fact, feeding them exclusively on vegetable-based fish foods (livebearer flake, Spirulina flake, algae pellets) would be entirely acceptable.> I really don't want to battle internal parasites AGAIN!!! <If you want healthy mollies, keep them in brackish/marine conditions. If you want to have to deal with "disease of the month" with your mollies, keep them in freshwater. That's Neale's sage advice for the day.> Thank you so much for your advice... once again! Merci beaucoup! <You're welcome.> Audrey <Neale>

Re: Help with internal parasites, again... -- 09/01/07 Hi again, Neale! <Hello Audrey,> Thank you for such a detailed answer. It did make me feel slightly like I was a bad fish owner, but maybe I deserve it for waiting so long to do what I know I should be doing.... > <Curious. My first question when people have problems with mollies is whether they are keeping them in freshwater or in brackish/marine conditions. *blushing*... I know, I know... All right... I won't ask any questions again until I do the switch to brackish... I've been planning on it for ages, but I was waiting until after we got the new apartment more or less organized so we could move everyone to a brand new 30 gallons... Looks like this is the signal to get a move on... Incidentally, we never detect any nitrates. We have plants and a healthy dose of algae so I suspect they get used up before our test kit can detect them. We also had a light fish load, four very small Mollies (balloon variety, they never grew) in 10 gallons (I know, too small, we'll wait until we get the 30 gal we're planning on before we get any more fish, but with the move we've had to buy essential furniture before we can think of a new aquarium). The LFS tells us we can put 10 Mollies in a 10 gallons... (!?!?!?!?!?!) Let's just say we have learned very quickly to take their advice with a big grain of salt :-) pH was always at least 7.5 and climbed very slightly during the winter, high enough that I didn't want to risk most of the fish they sell in the LFS, who need neutral or slightly acidic water. I guess the big problem is with (hardness? alkalinity?), I need to learn what scale it is measured in but the water here is a steady 9. You're going to say too low, I know. We used to add livebearer salt, but after reading your advice (worthless, waste of money, etc. unless used for a specific problem), we stopped adding it to the tank a few months ago. We'll drop by the marine LFS this afternoon and pick up some marine salt. <Ah, you seem to understand what's going on, so there's not really much more to add. Mollies just aren't as easy as everyone thinks, with the result that lots of them (most?) get sick and die rather quickly. I'd compare them to goldfish in this regard -- they seem easy, but they're not. For aquarists who want to stick with freshwater, I always recommend platies or swordtails instead. On the topic of pH and hardness, it's almost always safe not to worry about these (within reason). Most common freshwater fish (as opposed to brackish water ones!) can adapt to a wide range of values, so Neons, for example, may *prefer* pH 5.5, near-zero hardness, but they'll *thrive* at pH 8, 20 degrees dH if acclimated to it carefully and otherwise looked after properly. What matters isn't so much the values as the *stability* -- what most fish hate is pH and hardness levels that bounce around. In other words, get fish that are already thriving at the retailer, keep them in your local water conditions, and use good filtration and regular water changes to optimise water quality while diluting the background water chemistry changes that happen in freshwater tanks anyway.> See... sometimes it takes fish dying so that we learn. Another red flag should have been that they've never bred... we thought our male was sterile because try as he may, he could never get one of them pregnant. In retrospect, maybe they were just in the wrong conditions to breed. <Quite possibly. But just as likely the fry got eaten or sucked up the filter or whatever.> > <Why did you use Metronidazole? Ah, well, because the only symptom we had was one dead emaciated fish and one very thin, formerly very plump, fish and we didn't know what she had, and this was recommended by the marine LFS and was the only thing we could find FAST! The local LFS have never heard of a cure for internal parasites. They just let them be. We did our best on short notice. And then we did more research, and found out about Praziquantel and other medicines, and tried to get some locally but *nobody* sells it around here, we called about 6 places, so I tried to mail-order it, but the two Canadian mail-order stores I know of didn't have it in stock, so we ordered Jungle Labs medicated food, which they wouldn't eat, and then we ordered Gel-Tek, which does contain some Prazi, but that didn't work, and finally the mail-order place got some PraziPro in stock, but by the time we tried that I think it was too late and the fish died, with three very visible red tails sticking out of her anus. But at least we'd finally got to the right medicine - I think. <I see. Sounds rather bad luck.> > <This is a dumb question perhaps, but are you sure the problem here is worms? Parasitic worms generally don't cause quick deaths. What you tend to see is a gradual loss of condition or a failure to grow or put on weight. I think this is exactly what we were seeing, but didn't recognize it in time. We've had some of those fish for six months and they haven't grown. It's just so gradual that we don't notice until the fish are too feeble to function properly. They seem fine, and then one morning they're not quite right, and a week later, they're dying. They never get to the not eating stage. I'm not saying their death can't be due to something else, and it might be more than one factor, but my test kit tells me the pH is steady at 7.5 and that there are no nitrates. What I see is fish that won't grow, and that after a few months just stop functioning. When the male died he hadn't chased the females for about a week, maybe more, we just didn't notice at first... I feel bad for not noticing those things, but they happen so gradually... and when we did notice something wasn't quite right we didn't know what the problem was. <OK. Again, you seem to have a sense of what's going on already, so all I can add here is a second opinion. Often, fish deaths come about from multiple small factors acting in concert. Much as with sickness in humans. So you need to watch for the small signs and act swiftly. Odd behaviour is often one of the very best clues, and a lot of experienced fishkeepers will hardly ever need to use test kits because they can spot when things aren't right in established tanks because the fish aren't doing what they should be doing. I don't recommend that approach for beginners of course!> > <PraziPro yes, Metronidazole no. As a rule, unless a qualified animal healthcare professional has said otherwise, you should NEVER mix medications. Ah, but in this case, we know they can be mixed safely because most general anti-parasite medicines contain at least those two, and sometimes other medicines too. But if you say Metro is worthless in this case, I won't use it. This is my understanding as well, but sometimes we bow to people of superior knowledge, so I was asking just in case, because I have some in my fish medicine cabinet... <I'm not an expert on antibiotics for fish -- they're essentially prescription-only in the UK, so when you get them, the vet will tell you exactly how to use them. I'm happy to let others give you relevant advice here. But me, I prefer to use medications sequentially. It's also important to identify the problem before using the medication; scattergun approaches are risky because many medications can stress the fish, and if they aren't fixing one problem, they could end up causing another. Mollies should be fine, but things like loaches and pufferfish often react badly to medicines, and stingrays and invertebrates can be killed outright. So you need to treat medications with respect. Identify the disease, choose your drug, and look out for side effects.> > <Ah, now the good news here is both Amano shrimps and Nerite snails are salt-tolerant, so you can raise the salinity of the tank to SG 1.003-1.005 without problems, should you choose to do so.> Yup, that's exactly what I was planning on when we got the 30 gal. I didn't want to do it with the Cherries in there, because from what I read they're not salt-tolerant at all, and I can't put them with the Betta because he'd rip them apart (he did it before, so we tried some cheap Ghost shrimp, and only found shrimp bits...). I was also trying to find a supplier of Bumblebee Gobies, for the future, and I have lists and lists of salt-tolerant plants, and know the ones we have now *should* make the switch (Bacopa, Anubias, Java fern, and Vallisneria in "quarantine" so we can screen for snails). We're all ready. We just haven't done it yet. <Very good. I'm not sure whether Cherry shrimps are good in brackish or not. I'd personally risk it, at least to SG 1.003. Shrimps tend to be salt tolerant (many, though not Cherries) have a marine stage in their life cycle, as is the case with Amano shrimps. Acclimating slowly is perhaps the key. I keep (and inevitably breed!) Cherry shrimps and have found them to be rather robust animals, for their size. All your plants are good brackish water denizens, and assuming you have enough light and good substrate for them, will adapt readily. You've also got a nice mix there. When people rely solely on slow-growers like Java fern and Java moss, they end up with algae problems. Throwing in some Bacopa and Vallis should help a great deal. Indian fern is another good algae-beater that tolerates low-end brackish.> > <My suspicion is that you're dealing with mollies that are fundamentally stressed, and the worms are at best an "excuse" for them to wave a little white flag and give up.> Then I'll work under this assumption. I promise not to bother you again with my Mollie troubles until they're safely in brackish water. Then, if I'm still having problems, I'll let you have a go at it :-) <Heh! Brackish water doesn't fix everything, and it certainly won't cure infected mollies of things like intestinal worms. But what it does do is make them orders of magnitude more robust, and the salinity also suppresses many external parasites as well as the infective stages of certain internal parasites. This is why brackish water fishes have a reputation for being so hardy.> > <The foods you list should be fine. Do bear in mind mollies are primarily herbivores, and the ratio of green to meaty foods should be of the order 80% to 20%. In fact, feeding them exclusively on vegetable-based fish foods (livebearer flake, Spirulina flake, algae pellets) would be entirely acceptable.> Yes, they've been getting Nori at least a day out of two. I tried peas but they don't eat it, but they do like corn. I'll try broccoli next. Can you believe I haven't ever seen a vegetable-based flake around? Sometimes I feel aquarium shops around here are 20 years behind the times... Even the sinking "algae" pellets have fish flour in them, sometimes even as the first ingredient, so they're not really vegetarian... I've been looking for something called "Spirulina flake" but haven't seen it, just regular flakes with Spirulina among the other ingredients. *sigh*. Maybe I'm simply not looking in the right places. In the meantime, we got some Nori for free at the local sushi place, we just ask for a sheet when we pick up some takeout and with only four small fish, it lasts a long time... and the Amano love it too. <Interesting. I picked up Spirulina in a grocery store called Hy-Vee in Lincoln, Nebraska over Christmas. So I suspect it's a case of looking out for the stuff while you're on your travels. It isn't critical though. You might even grow your own: a plastic goldfish bowl placed outdoors and filled with water will quickly develop a nice flora and fauna including insect larvae and thread algae. Yum, yum! I love taking this approach, because my "live food ponds" become interesting aquaria in their own right.> Interesting unrelated tidbit, our Betta eats everything, either floating, sinking or lying at the bottom of the tank (flake, sinking pellets, Betta food, live shrimp, dead shrimp, bloodworms and brine shrimp, peas, corn, everything we ever put in his tank). He even tried Nori. Well... he tried it the first time we gave it to him, but stubbornly refused to taste it ever again :-) I guess even the most wide-ranging tastes have their limit :-) <Indeed! But that's the right approach to feeding fish. Let them have a little of everything.> Thank you again, and sorry to be such a bother :-) Audrey <Not a problem. Good luck, Neale>

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

Red, Protruding Spine-like things... Ram hlth. -- 06/08/07 Hi there, <Hello.> I have three Bolivian rams in my 40 gallon tank along with some other tank mates and I just recently lost one of my rams. He had these red spines that were protruding from his underside. Now I am noticing that the surviving three also are beginning to show signs of this. <Hmm... are these spines associated with the fins, or sticking out of the body far away from the fins? Without a photo, it's difficult to identify the problem.> Do you know what it is and if so, how would I go about treating this? <My first guess would be Finrot. When the fins decay, the membrane goes but the spines remain, and these could be the red spines you're seeing. Untreated, Finrot will kill fish. It is treatable using a variety of commercial medications. Ideally, choose a remedy that treats fungus as well, as the two things often happen together. Now, Finrot is 99% of the time a symptom of poor water quality, so check the ammonia and nitrite levels especially. Bolivian rams (like most other dwarf cichlids) are also very sensitive to high levels of nitrate. You should be doing 50% water changes weekly, and the nitrate level should be well below 50 mg/l. Ideally, as close to zero as is practical. Hardness and pH aren't terribly important, but you're aiming for low to moderate hardness and a pH around between 6-7.> I really like these fish and I don't want to lose anymore. <Yes, they're lovely animals.> Thanks and I look forward to your reply, Trish <Good luck! Neale>

Re: Red, Protruding Spine-like things -- 6/8/07 Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply. <You're welcome.> Now, I would believe you except that my levels are all good and I always do water changes... Now the other thing is that these guys' fins are beautiful! There is nothing wrong with any part of any of them. <Okay.> This red spiny thing sticking out is protruding from the anus so is coming from inside the fish. The one that died had them really big and they would go in and out. The fish now just have a small piece poking out. Do you still think this is Finrot? <Ah, the plot thinnens. No, this doesn't sound like Finrot any more. More like intestinal worms. Rather rare in freshwater fish kept indoors, but they do occur. If these worm-like things are wriggling about and obviously alive, then they're definitely intestinal parasites. You will need an anti-helminth (anti-worm) medication to treat these. Depending on your local laws, you will either be able to obtain such drugs from your retailer or from a vet. In the UK for example, Flubenol is available over the counter from aquarium retailers but most of the others used by American aquarists are not. Your own mileage will vary, as they say. The only other thing they could be is stringy faeces. This is actually very common in cichlids, often through the wrong diet or as an additional symptom to things like Hole-in-the-Head disease. In this case, the stringy faeces hang out the back of the anus like threads, but are clearly inanimate. If this is the issue, it's a case of identify the problem, then treat. Diet can be fixed with, for example, more vegetables in the diet. Hole-in-the-Head usually requires antibiotics.> Trish <Hope this helps, Neale>

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>

Endless livebearer frustration - this time Camallanus! 11/12/06 Hello Crew! <<It's been quite a while, John. Tom>> I am rather unhappy to be writing you again. Not unhappy with you, of course, but unhappy that I actually have to write you about a problem yet again. As well-documented on this site you probably remember that during the summer I had endless problems with platys and guppies. <<I recall, John.>> Those troubles finally settled in September and October and things had been going well. I started a new aquarium setup (a 160L tank), did a fishless cycle and stocked it after ensuring there were no sick fish (i.e.: a quarantine regimen). The two other aquariums I was running (a 96L and a 54L) were doing fine too after a long period of "disequilibrium" and sickness amongst my fish. <<All sounds good.>> However. <<Uh oh'¦>> I was doing a thorough clean of the 96L today and afterwards I was observing my fish, handiwork and my sparklingly clear waters when I noticed a female guppy with some fine red strands coming from the anus area. Oh no, I thought. Double oh no I thought as I had just transferred some of the fry she dropped into the 160L tank. I did this because the tanks had been running clean for a month or more with no new additions. To my shock and horror I believe this guppy is infested with internal parasites namely nematodes (Camallanus). <<Absolutely agreed, I'm rather sorry to say.>> Thus, I am facing a rather nightmarish scenario at the moment. I believe I have put contaminated fry into my beautiful 160L tank and I believe I have a case of advanced nematode parasites in a guppy in my 96L tank. Come Monday I will obtain some Levamisole in order to treat this problem. The questions I have are as follows: 1. How bad is my current situation given that I have a fish with extruding (and visible) parasites? <<Critical though not insurmountable, John. This will all depend on the extent of damage to the internal organs of the fish. Levamisole hydrochloride is absolutely effective in eradicating the worms and in increasing the immune systems of the fish however, the guts of the fish may be badly perforated. Time for some extreme 'finger-crossing.'>> 2. What is the treatment regimen here? I have read that I need to dose the aquarium water at 2ppm, is this correct? I assume there is no need to treat the food, but to just put the Levamisole into the water, is this correct? Also, how long/how often should I treat? <<Given the fact that the parasites are visible, John, I would consider 5 ppm the minimum dosage. (Have seen reports of four times this dosage being administered but the lowest effective dosage is best.) You're correct that the Levamisole should be added directly to the water. It's absorbed through the gills of the fish. One dose should be given over a 24-hour period followed by a massive water change. Repeat after four days. Whether, or not, a third treatment is in order will depend largely on how your fish are faring. If stress levels are low I would consider a third application.>> 3. I have also read that after treating it is still necessary to change 100% of the water, but this seems drastic. Is this a misconception, or do I indeed need to change out ALL the water? <<As much as possible, John, with emphasis on 'possible' not just convenient. A re-infestation can go unnoticed for months before you're back in the same boat that you're in now. Less than 90% will leave too much potential for missing the immature parasites. As an aside here, Levamisole reportedly acts as a paralyzing agent on the adult worms. That is, the worms drop from the fish alive even though they appear, for all intents and purposes, to be dead. I think it highly doubtful that they can recover from this paralyzed state but it makes a compelling argument for replacing every drop of water that you can.>> 4. I have invertebrates in the tank, specifically some radar shrimp and apple snails (Pomacea bridgesii). Do I need to remove these invertebrates so they are not affected by the Levamisole, and if so, where do I put them? Is it possible they are carrying the nematodes? <<Levamisole does not appear to have any adverse affect on invertebrates. Camallanus does not 'require' an intermediate host but it's a darned good bet your snails are acting as 'intermediates'. Removing these to other quarters until your fish are clean and, then, reintroducing them is almost a sure-fire way to end up back at 'square one.'>> Please, help - I am vastly discouraged and can't believe I have run into yet another crisis. My experience with live bearers so far has been absolutely dismal and I am thinking never to go this route again. <<You've had more than your share of troubles, to be sure, but this one is a real 'doozy', John.>> Thanks in advance, I truly and greatly appreciate all your help. <<I wish you the best of luck with this situation, John. Best regards. Tom>>

Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster 11/16/06 Hello Crew - <John> I don't know if my last email made it through, so I'll write you again with the latest developments. I had a black female guppy with an obvious Camallanus infection. I could not get Levamisole but was able to obtain Mebendazole in 100 mg tablets. I dosed the tank at 5ppm (or about 4 and 1/2 100 mg tablets) for 24 hours. I lost the black guppy after this. I vacuumed the substrate thoroughly and changed about 90% of the water. Now my leopard Corys are looking very ill and falling over on their sides. <Mmm... this might not be Nematodes here... but some effect of the medication. Camallanus are not able to readily parasitize all families of fishes> I have 6 of them and 3 look to be doing very poorly and the other 3 look not-so-good. I am concerned that I will lose all of them. I am terribly discouraged with all this. Combined with the problems I had over the summer I am seriously considering getting out of the hobby. I have spent over half of the 10 months I have had the aquariums battling one problem after another and, to be honest, I am no longer getting enjoyment from the hobby. <I would do successive water changes to remove the Mebendazole, other metabolites... keep the water near neutral in pH (or slightly acidic)...> Unfortunately, I also have a 160L tank into which I put some of the fry from the infected tank. As I have been reading about Camallanus, it seems that this tank is in great danger as well. <Mmm, yes, can be easily transmitted (their eggs, intermediates) through the water> Do I dose the tank with Mebendazole now, or should I wait? The reason I ask is that apparently the medication is effective only against the worm when it is in the fish. <Yes> Is Mebendazole even effective against Camallanus? <Yes... is a general anthelminthic> If so, am I using the proper dose (i.e.: 5ppm)? <Yes, should be> I am so completely discouraged by all this especially since I have done my utmost (quarantine, choosing "healthy" fish, etc..) to avoid such problems. At some point, should I have the heart to continue keeping fish, is there something other than livebearers I can try? Do you have a recommendation? Regards, John. <I am a much bigger fan of Prazi/quantel here. This compound should be readily available to you... through the Net... and has a much wider range of efficacy. Bob Fenner>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster 11/16/06
Hi Bob, thanks for the reply <Welcome John> Unfortunately I fear complete disaster for my tank. The Corys are all but dead now and my guppies are in a very poor state too. I am also spotting dead snails littered about the substrate. <As stated/hypothesized... not a/the worm infestation, but some sort of "cascade" event, subsequent to or consequent of the medicating> About 65% of the fish in the tank are now resting on the bottom and looking not well at all. <Move them... or barring this possibility, start daily large (25%) water changes... with water set out the day previous...> I cannot understand what I have done wrong. To the word, this is what I have done to the tanks in the last 48 hours: As mentioned, I noticed the red worms on the female guppy. <On? Not in? As in protruding from the vent?> About 24 hours after spotting this I dosed the tank with 5ppm Mebendazole. 24 hours after that I did a large water change (80%) <Too much, too soon> and, abruptly, the problems started. The black infected female died, the Corys began acting strangely (prior to the Mebendazole dosing these fish were 110% fine - playing in the bubbles, eating, happy fish) and now many of my fish (all livebearers) are fairing poorly. I was under the impression that Mebendazole was non-toxic to the fish, but I am leaning strongly towards the thought that it has a strong toxicity in the Corydoras species. <Mmm, maybe> Do you have any info regarding this? As I understand it, large water changes should not kill my Corys - generally they spawn/become more lively. <There are a good many possible negative interactions with so much new source water being introduced... gas embolisms, pH shifts, excess/undetected sanitizer presence... to name just three in widely diverging categories> At this point, I cannot possibly dose my 160L with Mebendazole in all good conscience - it has a large school of Corys and I am not convinced that Mebendazole is harmless here. <And I hasten to add that I doubt if this would be of any value in any case... I suspect you don't have a Camallanus issue (need microscopic examination, necropsy to be sure here), and if indeed there is some pathogen involved (perhaps a fluke) it will not likely cross over from a Poeciliid to a Callichthyid...> From what I have read, Prazi/quantel is less effective than Levamisole. Should I be able to obtain some of it, what is the treatment regimen? Dose at 5ppm followed by a large water change after 24 hours? Do I repeat treatment? <I do not want to urge you to go this route... I would not... I would move the mal-affected fishes ASAP... leave the other (considered infested) tank be as it is> As for the rapidly deteriorating 96L tank, do you have any suggestions? <Yes... either move the residents or begin the partial water change regimens... possibly with the addition of activated carbon in the filter flow path> I am very hesitant to change water as the fish are not doing well at all. Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are all 0ppm at the moment, pH is 7.2 which is the pH of the tapwater and I am monitoring them closely, but I do not expect the levels to change as I don't believe the Anthelminthics affect the filter bacteria. <Mmm, under some circumstances, can/do, but not directly, no> Given the above, do you have any possible inclination as to what caused this disaster? <Mmm, no... nothing "jumps out" as a causative mechanism... could be that the one fish was genetically predestined to "destruction"... but the rest of the circumstances? Likely environmental of some sort... soap/saponifer, cleaner, aerosol making its way into the water... > Thank you for your help. I would be at a loss without it. <Move those fishes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster 11/16/06
Hi Bob - one last email for the evening. Thanks for all the help and your patience. <Welcome> To clarify, the red filaments were coming from the anal vent. <Mmm... not usually red or filamentous... Camallanus are white, tubular... have the characteristic tri-radiate esophagus of Nematodes... on cross-sectioning of their buccal regions> I was not accurate in my last description. I have moved the Corys to the 160L tank. For the 1st minute after the transfer, they swam about erratically, almost like a whirling action. If anything, they appear "stunned" and unwell. I am not sure if I can move the guppies as I have a Betta in the other tank and he has "encountered" these guppies before. With the sick Corys in the 160L, do you still advise treatment for the parasite? <... I would not continue to treat them, no> One last observation is that there is a whitish "fuzzy" substance growing on some driftwood in the 96L tank. This wasn't there before the water change - could be some bacteria? <Likely some mixed populations of decomposers... acting on the wood itself... Not related here> Thanks again. Much appreciated. <Bob Fenner, who would "stay the course" at this point/juncture.>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster
11/18/06 Hi again Bob, <John> I am pretty sure what I had was Camallanus. I have found a picture via Google of a fish that has an apparent Camallanus infection and this is what was coming out of the guppy in my tank. What I observed was very similar to both this: http://www.rhusmann.de/aqua/bilder/camallan.jpg and this: http://www.gaem.it/pubblico/articoli/malattiepesci/camallanus/camallanus03.jpg <I see... nice graphics> That is what I meant by red and filamentous... maybe red and stringy would be a better description? <Mmm, I do think these photographs show worms of some sort... am not so sure they are roundworms, Camallanus per se. Please see here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FA/FA09100.pdf> It was my understanding that the red colouration of the worm results from the victim's blood. <Ahhh! Perhaps this accounts for the color> In relation to the tank situation, at this point I have moved all fish to the 160L tank and I will wait for some time before I shift some occupants (probably not all, just the ones doing well) back to the original 96L tank. I was thinking after about 3 days, but perhaps you recommend longer? A week maybe? <Unless the stock is very debilitated, I would shorten the time frame for moving> While I wait, I was thinking to conduct 25% water changes every second day to allow some aging time for the water to "mature" and for the ecological balance of the tank to return. Is this feasible? <Yes, I think so> Should I still hold off on any treatment plans? Thanks for helping me through this - it's been a difficult situation here. <I still want to "plug" the use of Prazi/quantel, Levamisole, or Piperazine here, over the Me/n/bendazole... Bob Fenner>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster 11/19/06
Hi Bob, <John> Much thanks again. Here's an update for you and in case any readers are following this saga. At the very least it maybe can help guide somebody as to what NOT to do. I have emptied the 96L tank completely of all residents. I had a male Betta in there that rapidly became ill as well. He was lying on the bottom with lots of excess mucous on his scales. I have also moved my tetras which were not faring so badly, but again, they were covered in excess mucous. It seems that the Mebendazole has either poisoned the fish or has produced a secondary toxic compound that has affected the fish. <Yes. An ongoing "fear" on my part> At the very least, it has severely fouled the water in the aquarium. My plants seem alright so far, but it may be a good week or more before I see any effect on the plants. <...!> Regardless, after removing ALL residents from the tank and placing them in the 160L tank (incidentally I have lost 3 of 6 Corys, 2 are doing very poorly currently and 1 looks as though it may survive). The other residents (guppies and a couple other fish) have markedly improved over the last 24 hours just from being in the different water. <Ah, good> I realize putting all these residents in the 160L tank may expose that tank to the parasite, but I believe there was no alternative. Anyways, I have been doing 30% daily water changes in the fouled tank along with substantial vacuuming of the substrate. Come Monday, I will put in a carbon filter (stores are closed and I have no spares - sigh). My plan is to continue this regimen for about a week (water changes, substrate vacuum) until pristine conditions recur and then possibly restore some of the original inhabitants. I realize that I should probably be treating for the parasite here, but I think that some of these fish are in a very precarious state and I don't feel comfortable treating with medication just yet until the situation stabilizes. As I plan to wait a week, I think this will allow the water and environment to stabilize, improve the health of the affected fish and give me time to look into the alternative medications. Does this sound like a reasonable plan with a reasonable time-frame? <Yes. BobF>
Re: Camallanus rapidly leading to mass disaster 11/20/06
Hello again Bob (and crew), <John> This is just the latest update - I lost two more Corys, but one looks as though it will survive. Surprisingly, I also lost a single neon tetra out of a group of 11. I am not sure what caused that - it seems a "mysterious" loss. <I agree> The rest of the tetras all seem fine, so I am a little baffled by that. Regardless, with all these fish in the 160L tank, I am having to monitor the nitrites carefully as it is very overstocked at the moment. On that note, I want to ask you if I should cut back/reduce the amount of food to help keep the nitrites down? <Yes, I would... I'd eschew feeding altogether if NO2 concentration exceeds 1.0 ppm> Is it okay to reduce the food given there are some sick fish in the tank? <Yes... this is better> In terms of the biological loads of the tanks, the 160L tank is now over-stocked, so I plan on frequent 20% water changes and nitrite monitoring. (Is it realistic to think the 160L tank can house all these fish for another 5/6 days?) <Yes, should... You may want to look into the product BioSpira here> But what I want to ask you about is the 96L tank. It is sitting empty. I plan on it being empty for about another 6 days. Is this amount of time sufficient to reduce the nitrifying bacteria? That is, should I be adding a pellet of food to the tank to keep the biological filter bacteria from dying off? <Should be fine either way> Finally, in regards to the sick male Betta - he seems more active after 24 hours in the new tank, but he is still lethargic compared to before. <Fish respond more slowly than tetrapods...> He is eating which I take to be a good sign. However, his eyes are very cloudy. Do you know what would cause this and/or is there something I can/could do about this? <Environmental... best to just wait, if anything use "Aquarium Salt"... proscribed on WWM> Perhaps it is temporary, but I am not sure and thought I would ask. Best to you and the crew. John. <And you John. Bob Fenner>

A Thank You ... using WWM! 7/28/06 Crew, <<Tom with you this time, Alex.>> Not a question, but a quick thanks for all of your work. Story: One (not so) fine day I noticed some short red wormlike things trailing out of my Bolivian Rams' anuses. After less than five minutes on WWM, I found a question from a person who had the same species of fish that also had Camallanus worms, and saw how to treat it. Within a day of discovering the worms, thanks to your site, I had purchased PraziPro and started treating the fish in a quarantine. Unfortunately, it was too late to save one of the rams, but the other, along with the Zebra Danios that shared the tank, appear to have turned the corner in terms of vitality, eating, etc. The point? Within five minutes of opening my web browser, I: found someone that had the same problem, diagnosed the problem, found the actual ingredient to treat the fish, found a common product name containing said ingredient, and found how to effectively treat using the medication. Many, many thanks for this great resource - my fish and I are in your debt! <<A wonderful testimonial, Alex. While I can't take credit for saving your fish, I assure you that I'm proud to be associated with this fantastic group of folks. For all of us, I thank you kindly for your complimentary post and wish you continued good fortune in this great hobby of ours!>> Alex <<My best. Tom>>

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>

Callamanus <Mmm, Camallanus> Hi there. I have done tons of researching on the web and still have been unable to find any suitable answers for my questions. I'm hoping you can help! :-) I have been keeping fish for awhile now, and have over 15 tanks. One that I have is a 6 gallon planted tropical tank with the following inhabitants - 3 platies, 1 female dwarf Gourami, 2 croaking gouramis, and 2 cherry barbs. This is where I'm having problems. A month or 2 ago, I was noticing that my cherry barbs were not up to par, and upon closer examination, noticed red wormlike things protruding from their vents. I removed them to a quarantine tank and treated them with first Jungle Parasite Clear, and then, after further research, Pipzine by Aquatronics. (I am unable to find Discomed, I do not think it is being manufactured anymore.) There wasn't much improvement, and I needed the tank they were in for breeding, so I had to move them back to the 6 gallon. I then treated the whole tank with another dose of Pipzine. The female cherry barb is still eating, though she is very bloated and has been for some time. The male is definitely on the way out. In the last few days, I have now noticed that 2 of my platies are displaying the same worms. I am very upset by this, as I do not want the entire tank to die out, especially the croaking gouramis as they are very rare around here and I love them. None of the 3 Gouramis in that tank are displaying any sign of sickness, though the croaking have been in there the shortest period of time (month or so). I cannot quite pinpoint what kind of worms these are - they are constantly hanging out of the fish, they do not retreat with movement, and are a reddish brown color. The most severe cases are in the cherry barbs, who have 5-10+ worm tails(?) showing. I am afraid that the gouramis are all affected too, but not yet showing signs. I could move them to another tank, but I don't want to spread this parasite. It has shown up in one of my Bettas also. If you have any suggestions of what to do, what to treat with, etc, I would be extremely grateful. I'm at my wits end and almost ready to quit the hobby, this is so hard and I just can't seem to be able to do anything about it. Thank you!!! Julie Waite <<Dear Julie, do not quit!! You are on the right track. Your fish have Callamanus. You can treat with DiscoMed, made by Aquatronics. If you do a Google search, you will find lots of info on this disease. I would recommend you try to find DiscoMed online, and order it from a reputable website. Since I am Canadian, I can only recommend their website, http://www.aquatronicsonline.com/contact.htm , I also found this link for you: http://www.epetpals.com/cgi-bin/commerce.exe?preadd=action&key=031399111510 Hope this helps. -Gwen>>

Nematode/Worm Problems Hi! I have a problem with nematodes infestation. Red spines are hanging from the bottom of the fishes and they don't eat. I got this precious info from WWM to use: "Anthelminthics (Piperazine, Levamisol (both in Discomed (tm)) the family of chemicals called Benzimidizoles" but cannot find any commercial product that would included those ingredients. Discomed doesn't seem to exist anymore. Please help me. Thanks! Dominique <Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. treat the tank with Fluke-Tabs and that will take care of any invertebrates in the tank.-Chuck>

Capillaria? Hello, I seem to have a worm issue in my 55 gallon tank. I have done a bit of research, and got some good information from your web site, and I'm pretty certain the issue is some kind of nematode worm. I have a pair of dwarf Gouramis and three Rainbowfish exhibiting signs of infestation with long, clear to white, stringy stool. From what I have read, an anthelminthic will clear the parasites from the fish, and I have purchased some food with the remedy premixed. My question is: what next? The stool droppings may very well have contained eggs. Is there something I should also be doing to kill the eggs and prevent re-infestation later? <Mmm, well... I would look at the stools for eggs, authentication that this is indeed a problem with roundworms (or sacrifice, or necropsy an individual if it dies)... (might be protozoal... even environmental...), but you can likely vacuum out the feces (daily) and remedy, break the cycle this way if so. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your assistance, Brook Harwood

Re: Capillaria? Hello again! Thank you for the fast response. I have examined my tank and I think I can safely eliminate environment. <As in rule out as a cause I take it> I have a 55 gallon tank (planted) with a Whisper 60 filter that peaks at 330 gph. Filters are changed every 28 days and I change 15 gallons of water every week. The tank has been running since January. Ammonia and Nitrite have been reading 0.0 for quite a while now. Nitrate levels just before I perform a water change run between 10 to 20 ppm and generally on the low side of that range. My pH has been stable at 7.2 since the tank was set up and I keep the temp right at 78-80 degrees F. I have a total of six juvenile rainbowfish, three dwarf Gouramis, three Cory cats, two zebra loaches, a Pleco and a red tail shark. If I laid all these fish together nose to tail they would only add up to about 25" of fish though I realize many of them have some growing yet to do. It did not occur to me that this problem might be protozoan, so I guess I will have to keep that thought in mind. The only thing that strikes me as obvious is Hexamita (sp?). <Correct, old genus name, capitalized... now Octomita> I have read this can cause digestive disorders in fish, resulting in the unusual stool I have described. <Yes> However, from what I've picked on this seems to be a "cichlids only" kind of disease, <No... affects, infests many fish groups> though it would make sense that other kinds of fish could be infected if exposed. What sort of product is effective in fighting this parasite? It sounds even worse than worms! <Most often Metronidazole/Flagyl is employed... through foods... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm. Bob Fenner>

Re: Capillaria? - Success !!! Hi Bob, <Brook> Thanks for all of your help. After two days of feeding the fish a strict diet of flake food pre-mixed with Piperazine, they are no longer showing signs of infestation. <Yay!> The instructions that came with the food state they should be fed for three consecutive days. After tonight I can return them to a normal diet? <Yes> As an additional precaution, I also treated the main tank once with Clout, which I was told is effective at eliminating milder protozoan infestations, <Agreed> also capable of purging some parasites (and their eggs) from the gravel. My male Boesemanni and Splendid Rainbowfish can be seen displaying to one another in a manner I have not seen in weeks. Their lethargy had vanished completely by this morning. Whether it was Capillaria or protozoan I seem to have stopped it in its tracks. Many thanks to you for all of your help! Brook <Congratulations on your success. Bob Fenner>

Camallanus Worms - 01/19/2005 I have a large planted freshwater community tank which includes a number of Angelfish (9). The majority of the Angelfish (but not all) appear to have short red sticks (approximately 1/4 in - 3/8 in) protruding from or near their genitals. No other symptoms on any other part of the angelfish's bodies or on any other of the fish (German Rams, Bala shark, Corys, etc.). From looking at books, it appears that the "red sticks" could be the ends of anchor worms but I am puzzled that they do not appear anywhere else on the fish. What do you think they could be? <Likely Camallanus worms. Also, it is likely that all the angels (and quite possibly any other fish in the tank) are affected.> I regularly change the water (every week or two) from 10-33%. <Have you fed them any unquarantined live fish as food? This is a common parasite in livebearing fishes. Either way, it is communicable - could be that one of the fish you purchased spread it to the rest.> If anchor worms, what should I use for treatment (formalin??) and should I treat the whole tank or only those fish which display the "red sticks"? <I would treat all the affected fish with Levamisol, Piperazine, or Praziquantel IN FOOD. Some products containing these medications are "Discomed" and "Pipzine", which have instructions for mixing them with food. Also, the following link offers foods already prepared with medications: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/26/cat26.htm?519 . I understand the folks there are greatly customer-service oriented, as well.> Thank you for the help. <Any time.> Diane Thompson <Wishing you and your angels well, -Sabrina>

Camallanus Worms - II - 01/20/2005 There did used to be guppies in the tank. I had this parasite 2 years ago and perhaps I never got rid of it as I thought. <I doubt that you wouldn't have seen anything in two years - but I suppose the parasites may have been too numerous to detect.> What is the treatment for Camallanus worms? <Verbatim from the previous response: "I would treat all the affected fish with Levamisole, Piperazine, or Praziquantel IN FOOD. Some products containing these medications are "Discomed" and "Pipzine", which have instructions for mixing them with food. Also, the following link offers foods already prepared with medications: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/26/cat26.htm?519 . In fact, they offer a de-worming flake that would probably be effective. You might call them to discuss this product and its ability to combat Camallanus.> One more question on the Camallanus worms. Since you say they are highly communicable, it would seem one should treat the whole tank?? <Yes.... Especially since you may not be able to see symptoms in seemingly healthy fish without a high-powered microscope.> Diane Thompson <Good luck fightin' the good fight, Diane! Let us know if we can be of further service. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Re: Camallanus worms I previously asked you advise on Camallanus worms in my mollies. You advised Discomed or Pipzine. I am only able to get Disco-worm in this area. Its active ingredient is Di- n- Butyl Stannate. Will this work? <Likely yes... you might want to check for Praziquantel... perhaps through a veterinarian> The tank has sailfin mollies, Bettas, various tetras, gouramis, Plecos, Borneo suckers, loaches and Neons. I also have African Dwarf Frogs, Apple snails and prized plants. <I would NOT expose the amphibians, snails to the metal (Stannate) medication... If at all possible, remove and treat just the affected species (the mollies) in another container...> Help please, I have already lost my favorite. He was a male sailfin molly. He formed what looked like large water blisters on the abdomen before he died. By the way I am positive they are Camallanus worms. Classic ID. Thanks for your efforts. Diana <Much to state, relate... best by having written and posted survey articles on the common "fish remedies" including di-n-butyl-tin oxide... nematode worms... This occasion prompts me to re-new my efforts to get these pieces done. Do check your local large library, college one... for a work by Edward Noga... the information you seek/need is there. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Gourami and Camallanus Hi there, <Hello! Sabrina, here.> Thank you all for keeping such a wonderful and informative website. <And thank you for the kind words!> I have had two dwarf Gourami in a 5 gallon QT tank with an established sponge filter for approx 2 months. I plan on moving them to a much larger tank when I'm sure that they are disease/parasite free. <Sounds like an excellent plan.> About one month ago I noticed two tiny red threads (approx. 2mm long) poking out from the anus of each Gourami. <Yikes, that does indeed sound like Camallanus.> I ordered some Pepsofood and fed it for three days and then once per week as directed with no effect. <Although Pepso food is very useful stuff, I do not believe it contains medicines effective against Camallanus.> The fish still have a hearty appetite and do not display any unusual behavior or appearance. <Always a good sign!> Recently I was reading an article that suggested my fish were infected with the Camallanus nematode. <Sounds like it. Though, is it possible what you're seeing is just feces? Some red-colored foods will give fish red poo, but the "threadlike" appearance you describe is classic of Camallanus.> Many different medications were suggested on many websites like disco worm, <Perhaps this was "Discomed"? Discomed, manufactured by Aquatronics, contains Levamisole, and should be effective against Camallanus.> Trichlorfon, fluke tabs, <Fluke tabs are/contain Trichlorfon. This substance should be avoided unless absolutely *nothing* else works; although it might be effective, it could be very toxic to the fish.> Fenbendazole, <Likely would be effective, but will be very hard to find, I imagine. Try looking for the proprietary name "Panacur". However, this will be difficult to dose, as it is usually found sold as a goat or horse worming medicine.> and Levacide. <Perhaps "Levamisole"?> Levacide was touted as being the best cure for this problem. <If you mean "Levamisole", as above, you can find that in Discomed, made by Aquatronics.> I did some research on the web and could not find out where to buy this medication and whether or not it would harm the biological filter. <Whether you use Piperazine or Levamisole (or even Fenbendazole), it should be administered via food, so it should not impact the nitrifying Ammonia is 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 10ppm temp 78F and 25% WC 2 times a week with dechlorinated water I keep heated and aerated in a bucket. <Sounds great.> Has anyone had experience with this kind of infestation? Which medication would be most effective and where can I get it? <Either Levamisole or Piperazine should work for you. Most small, non-chain fish stores do carry Discomed (Levamisole); however, you can also find it available for sale at many online stores. You can also look for Aquatronics' "Pipzine", which contains Piperazine, and should also be very effective against Camallanus. If you have trouble locating either of these, you might try contacting Aquatronics ( http://www.aquatronicsonline.com/ ). I believe there is a store locater on their 'site, as well.> Can snails be a secondary host? <I don't *think* so; it is usually spread through feces, I believe. It would certainly be a good idea to prevent moving any life from the sick tank to another.> Also, Camallanus I read is highly infectious. <It can be easily spread if an infected fish dies and is left in the tank to be nibbled on, or also again, through nibbling on feces (Mmmm, feces), so it'd be a really good idea to siphon off any poo and gunk very regularly, even daily.> If it has reached my other planted freshwater community tank (18 gal, 5 neon tetra, 1 SAE, 2 Otto Cats), what medication could I use with the sensitive catfish? <Certainly *not* Trichlorfon, that's for sure. Piperazine or Levamisole should be fine, though.> Thank you in advance for your help. Michelle <Sure thing. Wishing you and your Gourami well, Sabrina>

Bloodworm Infestation (HELP!!)... Camallanus Hi, your site's really great! I really hope you can answer my question I'm at my wit's end! ). My question is ( I admit ) a bit off the subject BUT still is related to external/internal parasites. OK, my fish ( guppies, silver hatchets, loach, emerald cat, iridescent shark ) and one of my African Dwarf frogs are infested with bloodworms. I am POSITIVE they are bloodworms ( thin, red, protrude from vent, and aquarium has no other parasitic contact ). Anyway, my frogs NEED the bloodworms to eat ( they won't eat anything else. <Have you tried "Glassworms"? (actually chironomid/midge fly larvae), small frozen/defrosted marine crustaceans? There are quite a few of these offered by the pet-fish trade. Look for the Gamma brand...> I feed them frozen ones, never live. ). I now know a feeding method that prevents the fish from getting infested, but, now one of my frogs is "wormy". Whenever my fish got wormy, it always died in the end. I try to halt parasitic invasion by plucking the worms out of their ventral areas ( it's really gross and I'm rather squeamish. ). It seems to help, but my fish still die. Is there any medication or wormer that I can use? <There are... a few worth trying. Piperazine and Praziquantel may be had through your veterinarian... you are looking for a vermifuge (as in "flee worm") medication that won't harm fishes, frogs...> I have no invertebrates in my tank, and all of the plants are fake yup, plastic. ). I really don't want to hurt my fish and frogs. It'd be great if there is a medication available. Please help me! "Worm Picker-Outer"( that's really grossed out ) <Do keep us informed of your progress. Bob Fenner>

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

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