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FAQs on Parasitic Marine Worm Diseases: Other Parasitic Worm Groups and "Worm-Like" Parasites

Related Articles: Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Worms, Roundworms

Related FAQs: Fish Worm Diseases 1, Marine Worm Parasites 2Marine Worm Parasites 3, & FAQs on Marine Worm Parasites: Diagnosis/Symptomology, Etiology/Prevention, Cures That Don't Work, Cures That Do Work, Products/Manufacturers... Flukes/Trematodes, Tapeworms/Cestodes, Leeches/Hirudineans, "Other" Worms and Worm-Like Parasites... Paravortex/Black Spot Disease, Anthelminthics/Vermifuges... De-wormers (Piperazine, Praziquantel...) & Vermifuges, Yellow Tang Disease, Parasitic Disease 2, Parasitic Disease 3, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, RoundwormsYellow Tangs, Tang Health/Disease

Mmm, Nematodes/Roundworms, Acanthocephalans/Horsehair worms.... quite a few more Phyla... and many worm-appearing (mainly crustaceans like Copepod) parasites.

Valentini Puffer; prob. nematodes 09/15/08 Hi! <Hello Amy.> My Valentini Puffer, Stanley, is roughly a year and a half old. He was in a 100 galloon, tank with several other fish. We recently moved him to a tank, that is a much more stable environment, i.e. water quality maintained, light conditions correct, etc. He is now in a 75 gallon, with a goby, live rock and some coral. (He hasn't decided to taste the coral... yet.) He has been in the new tank for about two weeks. Stanley has been his normal, very friendly self lately, but he appears to be lopsided. His belly has gotten enormous (probably from over feeding.) I wasn't too worried about it until the area around his left gill and pectoral fin became inflated. The inflated area stretches from his belly up behind his gill to his dorsal side just behind his eye. It is only on his left side. <Probably nematodes and/or an internal bacterial infection.> He doesn't appear to have nematodes (we can't see any under his scales). <There are many different kinds of parasitic nematodes. Some live under the skin, some infect various internal organs. Fast growth of an unsymmetrical swelling is a typical symptom.> And I tried burping him. He puffed several times (for the first time ever) but no air came out of him. Any suggestions on what else could be wrong with him, or if there is anything I can/should do? <Treat in a hospital tank with a wormer for at least 3 weeks. Fenbendazole, Flubenol or similar depending on where you are, what you can get, if you are willing to consult a vet, would be good choices. Also see WWM re nematodes, treatment options.> Thanks for your help! Amy < Im sorry but have to tell you that this can be lethal. Good luck. I hope he gets well again. Marco.>

Subcutaneous worms  Bob what are your thoughts on these worms?  Nematodes?  Are they Nematodes?  What is your best advice in form of treatment?  He is asymptomatic and seemingly unaffected by them. Eating, doing well and has been in captivity for a year or so.  The rest of the inhabitants are uninfested , or at least from outwardly perceptions.  Fish only with live rock system that is stable throughout. <Randy, I believe them to be nematodes and the symptoms will be asymptomatic. My question is, does the fish look underweight for its size. My mode of attack for this problem would be to inject the eel's food with Metronidazole and feed him 10 mg of Metronidazole per meal. This might work but I am not sure. I will forward this to Bob Fenner and maybe he will have something better. MikeB.> <Yes, very likely nematodes... Perhaps Praziquantel... Metronidazole/Flagyl is an anti-protozoal med.... Bob Fenner>

My 6 line wrasse needs help   2/1/06 I am trying to save a 6 line wrasse I bought about 4 weeks ago.  It had a large abdomen at the time but seemed otherwise healthy.  Over the last few weeks its abdomen has swelled greatly.  Its now has severe buoyancy problems, it tries to wedge its self to stay upright and flips upside down if not moving. Its vent is inflamed, and at times a thick ivory colored mass seems to protrude then retract.  I am treating with MelaFix <Worse than worthless> in a hospital tank, and suspecting an intestinal worm or other parasite. <Maybe> The fish is still eating well.   Is there any thing I can do to help this fish or is euthanasia the best option? Thank you for your help, Kim     <Only if in your opinion the animal is "overly" suffering. I would add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per ten gallons of system water here... and see if "this too passes". Bob Fenner>

Re: my 6 line wrasse needs help   2/2/06 Hi Bob, Thanks for the response! I will try your suggestion, I hadn't considered Epsom salt.   <A very useful, inexpensive, readily available, safe cathartic> I did use Prazipro last night, which is fish Droncit and ordered Discomed on line last night when no one in town had it.  I gave a brief, 2-3 minute dip, which it didn't seem to enjoy much as it thrashed about, I removed it when its breathing became labored.   But right away worms began being expelled. <Interesting>   They were almost ½ inch long, very thin on one end with the thicker part the last to come out. <Likely either nematodes or acanthocephalans> One was still alive but died right away. I looked at it under a microscope and didn't see any obvious segments. <Cutting a coronal section near the distal (head) end and looking end-on may reveal a roundworm definitive triradiate esophagus> The fish abdomen was much smaller this morning and it seems a bit better able to maintain its balance. Two more questions if I may: If it survives, I am wondering how I will know when it is "cured" and safe to go into a tank?   <A few weeks...> This is my first experience with this problem, so I am also wondering how infectious this type of problem can be?     <Mmm, as in spreading to other fish species? Not very in general... and all fishes (and humans for that matter) have gut and parasite fauna> I had hoped the MelaFix would help with the vent inflammation, I take it you're not a fan. I will stop using it today.   <I would (stop)> Looking forward to seeing you again at the WMC, Morgan tells me he may be coming as well.   It should be a great time. Thanks again for your help. Kim <Will indeed... and twill be a hoot. See you then/there. Bob Fenner>

Toadfish internal parasite  - 1/18/07 Dear WetWeb Crew, I purchased a gulf toadfish this past weekend and didn't notice this until I got home.  The fish appears to have some internal parasites. <Yes> There is an outline of a worm in the abdominal area and 2-3 clusters around the anus.  Any idea what this may be? <As you state, some encysted groupings of worms... likely Nematodes> What would be the best means of treatment?  Praziquantel or Metronidazole? <The former, or other anthelminthic...> The fish is in a qt tank and eating well.   Thank you, Jason <Do monitor water quality (of course)... If the fish is eating, the "vermicide" can be administered via food... otherwise injection. Please report back your experience. Bob Fenner>

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

ID - Please Can you tell me what is hanging from my purple tangs rear end?? It's certainly not the usual muck. Thank you, Julie. <Mmm, appears to be a good-sized mass of worms... likely Nematodes... though it might be Acanthocephalans... I would be treating this fish/system with a vermifuge... Likely Levamisole... please see WWM re such. Bob Fenner>

Figure Eight Puffer Parasite Hello Mr. Fenner, I acquired several Figure Eight Puffers for a tank that I recently finished cycling. The Puffers are the only inhabitants. I've had Figure Eights for almost a year now in another tank, so I'm pretty familiar with the usual health problems that crop up with them, since most are wild caught. One of my new Puffers was suffering from fungus, so I was treating the whole tank with MarOxy as well as Maracyn and Maracyn ll for any infection that might be present. Unfortunately, yesterday the sick Puffer took a dramatic turn for the worse and died. I wanted to get a closer look so I examined it under close-up magnification. Photos of what I found are enclosed. The images are magnified approximately 34X. <Good photo work> The parasites that I found aren't easily noticed with the naked eye. One image shows an elongated lump near the tail of the Puffer that is actually a worm living under the skin. Under magnification I could see it moving. It's approximately one inch long and 1/16" in diameter. There were A LOT of these worms under the skin on various areas of the fish. <Yes... nematodes> I was curious to see what might be lurking inside of the Puffer so I sliced the stomach open. More worms rolled out of the body cavity. These were in the body cavity and not in the intestine (I hadn't yet perforated the intestine). The photo shows one of the worms measuring between 1" and 1 1/4" in length and 1/16" diameter. Interestingly, when touched the worm retracts into a coil. <Typical> The other photo enclosed shows a yellow area that I assume is infection or irritation caused by the worms. <Perhaps> I've had no luck identifying this particular parasite. It just doesn't resemble the descriptions I have found of other worm-like parasites of fish. I'm hoping that you might know exactly what it is and also possibly recommend a course of treatment. I'm stumped! Thanks in advance. JoAnn VanDersarl <Hmm, where to start, or how to narrow down a statement here... The infestation you describe and show is likely resultant from an initial exposure from the wild... these roundworm parasites typically have "complex" life cycles that require one or more intermediate hosts... Maybe some lack in diet, environmental challenge hastened the "winning" (and ironically losing) phase of the worm parasites causing the death of their host (and themselves), but perhaps not much... It's very hard to access (unless you sacrifice and examine a significant portion of a good size sample of individuals) how much of what their parasite load is... All vertebrates (yes, including you and I) have something of such a mix of organisms living in and on us... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and the FAQs beyond for more of a general understanding of the predisposition to these events. Bob Fenner>

- Wasting Disease - <Hello, JasonC here...> Hi crew, have a problem I haven't been able to find much on. Have a Sebae clown, wild caught, about 4 years old; always been in perfect health. Recently, I moved him to a larger tank, fish with some inverts, no anemones (yet). About 2 weeks later he developed Popeye, one eye, which I successfully treated with Epsom (thanks!). He still has a good appetite, even still has that pearly iridescence around the white bands that fresh-caught clowns have, BUT, he is beginning to lose mass; first, developing the typical pinched forehead, now progressing rearward both above and below the lateral line; no other clowns in the tank, other specimens unaffected. He eats and comes out less but is otherwise still pretty normal. <So you do see the fish eating... it would seem to me with the other occupants, this fish might be getting less that its fill.> His offered diet hasn't changed, if anything is better because I am feeding a large French and Atlantic blue tang, and very wary of HLLE, so they eat better than I do. My past experience is that this guy is headed for checkout, but its been a while, and if there is anything I can do I want to do it, so, suggestions? <Well, isolation might help - make sure the fish is eating well and without competition from the larger fish. Also, because this is a wild fish, it is also more likely that it has an internal parasite (or two) that are competing for the same nutrients, quite possibly nematodes or Cestodes [tapeworms]. Both can be treated - you should be able to obtain Praziquantel [for the Cestodes] and/or Fenbendazole [for the nematodes] from your local veterinarian. I would work with one of these at a time, and administer in baths for 2-3 hours. More information on these treatments can be found in the Edward Noga book, Fish Disease, which while expensive is very complete... and an eye-full.> Thanks, Steve J. <Cheers, J -- >

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