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FAQs on Freshwater Fish Parasite Diseases 1

Related Articles: Freshwater Fish Diseases, Freshwater DiseasesFW Disease Troubleshooting, Ich/White Spot Disease, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Malachite Green,

Related FAQs: FW Fish Parasitic Disease 2, & FAQs on: Diagnosis/Identification of Parasites, Internal Parasites, FW Parasite Treatments, Freshwater Protozoan Parasite Diseases, Diagnosing/Identifying FW Protozoan Diseases, ( Ich/White Spot Disease, Freshwater Velvet, Sporozoan Parasites, Whirling DiseaseHexamita/Octomita in Freshwater Systems,) Worm Diseases, Cichlid Disease, African Cichlid Disease, Aquarium Maintenance, FW Infectious DiseaseFreshwater MedicationsAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid DiseaseBetta Disease 1

Endler's Game - 10/28/2005 Hi, how are you? <Beat, pooped, exhausted, drained - and soooo ready for a quick hike before bed! Woo-hoo!> I searched the site up and down before emailing and I can't find the questions and answers that I am looking for. So here I am emailing you. :)  <And here I am answering. Oh, Sabrina with you this evening.> I have been raising fish for about 2 years now and I have been having some problems with one of my tanks. I invested in some Endler's (total Endler's - 12). I cycled the water before purchasing these little guys. The pH, Ammonia, Alkalinity, Nitrates and Nitrites matched the water from the pet gallery almost down to the T. <Hopefully ammonia and nitrite are zero, nitrate less than 20ppm....?> I added them to the tank about 1 1/2 months ago and when I added them some were a little stressed out, but slowly got better. Well, about 2 weeks ago I lost 1 female and 1 male. The girl looked like she was gasping for air and her fins were almost all clamped up, the pH is always 7.0, and all nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, etc... Is always where it should be. <Hopefully as above....> Then the male he would just float at the bottom of the tank "almost look like he was relaxing" but I guess that wasn't the case, he relaxed one last time and died. <Yikes! Bummer.> Well, I have some other females and one has her fins so clamped together she almost looks numb, her top and bottom fins look like they are almost gone, and her tail fin is almost white transparent looking and it's totally clamped together and the white translucent color travels up to the middle of her stomach. <Does NOT sound good. My first guess here is toward "velvet"/Oodinium.... I've seen this in livebearers, guppies especially, many times.... is often fatal, but can be treated. Many folks recommend "Clout" for this.... I have used Metronidazole in food with some success.> This is what she looked like when I first got her.  <Beautiful.> I wish I still had a cam so you could see what she looks like now. HUGE DIFFERENCE NOW! <Again, bummer. So sorry to hear this.> I moved her alone, because she started floating to the top with her mouth at the surface of the water and the bottom of her body was moving all ways, but with a stiff look. Like if you moved side to side with no flexibility.  <My guess is still toward Oodinium.> Then my guppy had some fry and out of 8 of them, 3 of them are having almost the same exact symptoms, they were in the Endler's' tank in a breeding net, but I removed them into another 10 gallon tank of mine and its to is totally cycled "Been cycled for about 1 year" and I noticed on all of them it looks like their fins have been almost chomped on, but I haven't had any of the fry together with any other type fish. I've been watching them for about 4 days for about 1 hr at a time, then decided to put the camera on them for 24 hours and they are not nipping at one another. One of the fry back fin it's so gone it can't even swim and the other 3 have no top fins, its almost like their fins just flaked/chomped off. <I think I'd try Metronidazole on these guys.... ASAP.... or Clout (though that's a much stronger/harsher med).> They all eat really well and are growing really fast. And another thing that the guppies and the Endler's have been doing "Only the ones with clamped fins" they back up into one another. And like lets say one of the guppies with clammed fins back up into one without clamped fins, the one without clamped fins will clamp its tail fin up. I even went as far as taking the water to the gallery where I purchase all my fish and they put samples from all of my tanks under a telescope <Microscope?> and they didn't see any deadly or harmful parasites in the water. <Mm, the parasites will be on the fish, not in the water.... If one of these fish dies, bring the body in and see if they'll have a look.> The only thing that was in all the water samples was plant eating nematodes.  <Probably not a problem in the least.> I have never ever had this problem, I breed rainbow fish "some only mate once a year, very rare" and almost all of my discus have had fry. In the past my guppies have had babies just fine without any problems. This same exact guppy has had fry 3 times and ALL of them lived, except this last batch, they have been clamped all up. Any help will help me! <Just as above.... I would seriously consider medicating ASAP.> If there is more information that you need to know to determine what the problem is, please let me know. Thank you in advance! -Jasmine. <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>  

Endler's Game - II - 10/29/2005 <Hey hon, looks like someone may have already replied to ask you this, but could you please re-send this not in all caps? We really don't have the time or manpower to re-type these.... Thanks! -Sabrina> All re-typed now. <Ahh, delightful. Thank you kindly.> I just wanted to say, Thank You! I looked up the "velvet"/Oodinium and I took a look at a bunch of pictures and it seems to be just that! The only thing that I cannot find is some pictures of fry with the velvet parasite infecting them. I was wondering if you have any pictures with fry infected with this parasite?  <I do not, nor do I know of a site that does. As I recall, fry with this would tend to keep their fins very tightly clamped, look kind of universally grayish, and would not live long after exhibiting symptoms.> Now I search around the Internet and I can't find anything with "understanding" details about velvet, people just say "Oh you don't want this in your tank" and "They are goners once they have it." How does this parasite work? Is it that its free swimming at first then attaches itself to the fish, then that fish becomes a host for the velvet parasite and then the velvet parasite goes from one fish to another? <It can pass fish-to-fish, and I believe does have a "free swimming" (or maybe more accurately "floating" stage. In any case, it is easily communicable - though I have had occasions where only one or two guppies would contract it and it wouldn't spread.> Today my other Endler's just passed and she was pregnant - "I'm sad now." <So very sorry to hear this.> Also, once the fish dies do the parasites leave the host to look for another one?  <Umm, I'm not so sure its life cycle is long enough for 'em to care that much. I think they just continue with their life cycle.> And about my baby fry, I want to treat them all. Do you think I should flush the ones that I can tell that something is seriously wrong with, or should I try treating them all at once and see what the outcome is?  <Flush them? Certainly not. If you do choose to euthanize them, do a quick search on our site using our Google search tool on the home page, and look for "clove oil". I would consider treating all the fish.> The Clout medications that you told me about, would you happen to know where I could but it? <Might try a search on http://www.froogle.com  .> I took a look at PetCo and Petsmart.com and didn't see it there. And would you recommend treating the fry with it, like with smaller dosages? <Umm. Risky at best. I would try first to find a food with Metronidazole in it.... Jungle now makes such a product which can be found at PetSmart.> Also, my other female Endler's are pregnant, would you recommend me treating them with that medication or with any other medication? <I would be concerned that this might affect their young - but I would be more concerned for the adults' lives right now.> I just don't want the little ones to die too.  <I understand.> I looked on the Internet and found a medications for fish called CopperSafe, do you think that will work?  <Likely, but I would be very hesitant to use this on the fry. Be very cautious with it if you do use it, and do most certainly NOT overdose with it.> I just want to say, what you are doing to help others is just wonderful! I really appreciate all of your help and valuable time! <You are so kind.... thank you for these words!> I know how it is answering 1,000's of emails a day! <Oh, not thousands, fortunately! Though we have over 10,000 visitors to the site every day, only a few dozens write in. I can only hope that the others are finding their answers - I'm sure we don't have the ability to answer thousands a day!> Just wanted to say Thank you, thank you, and thank you again! <And thank you, deeply, for your kind words.> Have a wonderful weekend and thank you Sabrina! ~JASMINE. You as well, Jasmine! All the best, -Sabrina>

Urgent!!! Help PLEASE!!!!! Angelfish fry deaths 9/26/05 We have been breeding Angel Fish for approx. 6 yrs now.  We have come across a problem we can't seem to find a remedy for.  All our fry are dying within 3 days of hatching and never seem to come up to swim.  We have quite an elaborate system set up in our basement.  Each tank having its own filtering system (to avoid cross contamination from other tanks) and a large holding tank where the water is filtered, heated and tested before use in changing water in the fish tanks themselves.   Currently we have 1-150gl tank, 9-70gl tanks, 1-35gl tank, 3-30gl tanks and 4-10gl tanks.  Our 10gl tanks are the ones we use for fry hatching away from the parents.  We are on a well water system.  3 months ago we had a lab come out and test the water in the well.  All came back within normal limits with Iron (Hard water) being just a tad on the high side of the normal, but still within the normal limits.   Our batch that hatched 2 days ago were all found dead this morning.  Out of no where it almost looks like white dust floating all in the tank.  What ever it is, they appear to be floating/swimming on their own.  Not so much as ONE fry is left anywhere to be found.  Only these white specks.  Is it possible, that when the well water is brought up to temp in a tank, it wakes up some kind of "bug" (for lack of a better word) that is killing our fish??  Have you ever heard of anything like this before or are aware of anything to correct this problem.  We are quickly running out of Angels here and it is becoming very frustrating.  We have checked and double checked all levels in tanks, holding tank and well system and can't seem to come up with any reason our fry keep dying off. >> I would have to guess, but it is likely that you have a parasite on the loose in your tanks that is not affecting the adults. Best guess would be Cryptosporidium which is famous for killing fry. You can treat the water with general antiparasitic medications and see if this resolves the problem, after that you should check to see if there is maybe some heavy metals in your source water that are affecting the fry. Good Luck, Oliver

Request help to identify disease/parasite killing our fish <Not enough info., response> 7/20/05 Hi, we have recently begun having fish die in one of our freshwater tanks, and we can't figure out why. We treated for ich/velvet with Maracide on the advice of a staff person at our local aquarium supply, thinking that was the problem, as we kept seeing these tiny grainy/bubbly looking specks appearing on their bodies, but it doesn't seem to be working. I came home today and found another dead cardinal tetra, and as I looked closely (it was right next to the front glass), I noticed these very tiny white scuttling things clustered around the body, and upon closer inspection, saw that there were many all throughout the gravel in the tank, not just around the body. What are they? <Mmm, some sort of worm or crustacean... could be cause, resultant> They are about the size of a grain of sand and move very quickly. I'm not sure if the two are connected, if the white scuttling things and the grainy white bumps on the fish are related or not. Can you help us find out what's killing our fish? <Yes> Here are the numbers from a water quality test we did just now on this tank, to give you an idea of the current environment: Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 Nitrates: 10 parts per million Ph: 7.3 We appreciate any advice you can give, thanks! -April <Need to know much more re your system, its history... and time is short here... Please read, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm re proper set-up, cycling, and on to the sections on disease... Bob Fenner>

Anchorworm, using WWM 7/7/05 Hi, Thank you for creating such an informative website. I learned so much from it. :) I just plucked an anchor worm off the tail of my goldfish. I could not find information of what to do with the goldfish - should I quarantine it or release it back into the container pond? At the moment now, it is in a 1 gallon tank. I don't have space in the townhouse to set up a real QT tank. All the other fishes seem healthy. Thanks, Lai Hwa <... go to the homepage of WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/index.html put in the term "anchor worm" in the Google search tool... Bob Fenner>

Please help, My fish has internal parasites HI! My name is Amanda and I was looking things up on the web and found this web site to be very helpful. I got your e-mail from the article Marine Aquarium Parasitic Diseases. But I want to make sure what happened and what I saw is right. I have a silver arowana that is about a foot and a half. The other day there was this cocooned looking thing in the bottom of the tank. My boyfriend took it out and it was this sack like.....thing!  So we went to the local aquarium store (where they know what they are talking about ). A lady there, who is a bio major or something and said that it was a parasite she said she could see the head and butt and organs. And I am really scared because she said if there is one there is many. She said the best thing to do is to feed garlic and raise the temperature. We feed him Krill, but in the past there was feeder fish and where we got him from that was all that was fed.  We can notice a change in his behavior, he doesn't swim around has much and just kind of lingers in one corner of the tank. I want to treat it but from what your web site said that could be worse. Please let me know what I can do if any. If you can help me......thank you Amanda <Mmm, I doubt this is/was a parasite... more likely by far to be a waste product... I would not be concerned if your water quality checks out, the fish appear healthy. Bob Fenner>

Velvet and Sensitive fish Dear Crew, <Erica> Thanks for a fabulous site.  It's great to get polite, professional and accurate help.  Currently our tank has a  persistent case of Velvet. Our tank inhabitants include: 1 Striped Peacock Eel, 1 South American Dragon Fish (Violet Gobi), 1 Bala Shark, 2 Algae Eaters, 2 Red Glass Barbs, 2 Glass Catfish, 3 Pineapple Swordtails, 5 Neon Tetra's and 6 Black Neon Tetra's. The tank is salted.   <I hope/trust not very salted... as the Tetra's really don't like this> On the web and even in your own site postings I have found conflicting info.  I read that all of these are unsafe for our sensitive fish: formalin, Acriflavine, copper, all dyes like: malachite green, Victoria green, and Methylene blue.   However all treatment options recommend one of these. <Both correct, and yes, conflicting> Half doses of formalin have been tried, bio filter was ruined, between constant water changes and the harsh medication the fish became stressed and ended up with several other problems.  All have been corrected and we are down to only velvet again.  Less traumatic treatment would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate All Your Help Erica <I would go the Acriflavine route here... possibly with turning the lights out, covering the aquarium with dark paper as well. Here's Novalek's go at describing this use: http://www.petsforum.com/novalek/kpd29.htm Likely you don't need to worry re the below 7.0 pH issue, but I would monitor this and ammonia. Bob Fenner>

Anchor worm on a molly? We have a gold dust molly we purchased her with a mate about 6 months ago her mate died about 1 month ago and now she seems to be get fat quite fat under her belly she has a white round opening and it seems to have a well I am not sure what it is it looks like 2 red thin things sticking out it sort of looks like one have of a sword tail maybe I am really not schooled in fish and the fish belong to my 9 year old daughter she wanted fish so my husband them for her  we have a 30 gallon tank with 6 fish Neons, the molly, and zebras, and a head  light tail light with 2 of the cleaning fish one is large and one is small I am  worried about the molly my husband says fish lay eggs but from my research I see  that is not correct please help clueless   <Does sound like anchor worm, Lernaea (actually a copepod).... please put this name, term in your search engine, look at pix... and if this is so, consider carefully pulling these adults off the fish (with tweezers)... W/o intermediate hosts (snails) they cannot (likely) reproduce in your system. Bob Fenner>

Troublesome parasite Dear Bob, I have tried to post this question on the WetWebMedia forums but it keeps getting refused (I am a new member).  I've searched the web and all of my fish books to no avail so I'm hoping you can help.  A few months ago I bought some Emperor Tetras and plants for my freshwater planted tank (100L, pH 6.8, GH 6, Nitrate 10, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0). After two weeks quarantine the Emperors went into the tank and all seemed well until a few days later when tiny white dots were seen on the fins of a few of them (needed a magnifying glass to see) they were treated for Ich but no improvement was seen and the dots grew into white/cream worms (they don't look like any anchor worm I've seen, more like a round worm). They grow to about 12mm and are coiled as they get bigger, although I haven't actually seen them move or squirm.  The fish don't seem to suffer much discomfort apart from flicking the affected fins but when the worms get to 12mm the fish begin to look tired and a bloody patch appears where the worm is, just before it disappears (I'm assuming it drops off). One male has a 'worm' coiled in his mouth.   None of the other fishes in the tank are affected yet but as more Emperors are affected now I really need to sort this out. If the fish were bigger I would try to pick them off with tweezers/spot treat, but these are such small fish. I tried treating the tank with salt (very slowly increasing to 3 tsps per Imp. gallon which had no effect except damaging the plants) I have also used Sterazin (for 2 weeks!!) and Paragon (Waterlife) to no effect apart from the most affected fish perking up a bit (not all at once obviously). Have you had any experience of this? Any help will be much appreciated.  Thank you for reading this. Regards Paula O'Leary (UK) < If they are true worms then try Clout or Fluke-tabs. It may be a bacterial infection and the "worm" may actually be a small fungus spot after the bacteria have damaged the fish. It you think it may be bacterial then treat with Nitrofurazone or erythromycin. The latter does not color the water. The former will turn the water green. -Chuck>

Re: Troublesome parasite - II Hi Chuck, Thanks for your reply. One of the Emperors died today, she was the most affected and had been struggling all yesterday. I feel so bad for her, and the others if they go the same way.  However I managed to detach one of her anal fins complete with parasite and  get it under the microscope. Two things were apparent, firstly the parasite was not easily detachable (which is why I had to take an anal fin) secondly it looks for all the world like some kind of leech!! It has what appear to be 1 head at each end, a round 'head' and a more pointed 'head' - since it would be unlikely to have 2 heads I can only assume that it fits the description of a leech. I have taken photos if you would like to see them.  <<Yes!  Please resample/resize to 300 pixels largest side, and 1K or under for our inbox requirements.>> They show the silhouette of the 'worm' and its position on the fin. I have tried to photograph the parasites on live fish but Emperor tetras move very quickly. Regards Paula < These parasitic invertebrates can be nasty. But you did the right thing but taking a sample. I would still go with the fluke tabs or clout if you can find them.-Chuck> 

How Do Fish Get Protozoa Infection How do fish get protozoa infection? My aquarium is not new and I just got done cleaning it and I put that Ich-rid in it. Thank you for the information and you helped me A LOT!! Samantha <As with any infection, first it must be present in your tank. And then, in most cases, the fish must be stressed to a point that lowers his immunity. Wrong temp, poor diet, bad water can all cause stress. Why did you add Rid Ich? Did you have Ich? Never treat unless you must. Keeping a stable temperature, feeding high quality foods and frequent partial water changes will do far more for your fish than chemicals randomly dumped in your tank. Don> 

SICK TANK Hi! I have a 29 gal. freshwater tank with 4 platys, 5 Neons, 1 skirted tetra and a Pleco. I have been treating for ich & velvet for 1 month now. (Ich is gone) I am still seeing "gold dust" on my Pleco. I have been using CopperSafe and covering up the tank. I was also using Maracyn 2 for fin rot and any secondary infections that might crop up. Now last night the ammonia levels jumped up to 4.0! Did water change and added AmmoLock. I now have cloudy water with a film on top. I did a 40% water change and now I am not sure what to do. I did not add any more CopperSafe because I bet that is what has killed my bio. filter. How do I treat the remaining velvet, get my bio filter back and at the same time try to save my fish? < Remove the Pleco to a small bare hospital tank and treat him there. Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel. Service the filter and add carbon to remove some of the medication. Check the ammonia and nitrites. Both should be zero. The nitrates should be under 25 ppm. Add Bio-Spira from Marineland. Feed sparingly until things settle down.> My QT is in the 3rd week of cycling and the ammonia levels are way high! I have Rid Ich Plus and Ick Guard Two. Can I use the Rid Ich Plus while doing water changes to get the copper out?  <No, won't do any good.>  Or is that hard on my fish? Whew! I am new at this and this has been stressing me out! Please respond. I have looked through hours of info on the website and never found exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for any help!!! Holley < Velvet is actually pretty rare on most tropical fish except some killies. While treating the ich the medication has severely affected the good bacteria needed to break down the fish waste. The Bio-Spira will help, it just needs some time.-Chuck>

QUARANTINE FISH TO SAVE SHRIMP Hello! Just a quick question about my dear little Bamboo/wood/Singapore shrimp... I was unaware that these little guys could jump so well! I had a problem with a parasite on some of my other tropicals - Blue and Dwarf Gouramis and a couple stray fruit tetras, plus three Pictus Cats. The cats brought some sort of white parasite in with them.. much smaller than any ick I've seen, more like dust. I'm thinking (and treating for) fish lice, but the meds I have cover the bases for gill flukes etc as well. Any thoughts?  Anyhow, he needed to be separated since the meds said NOT FOR USE ON INVERTEBRATES on them. I had him in my hospital tank, just a 2g with a small filter/airstone and heater, but I left the lid off. Hearing a noise, I discovered he was GONE. I found him, about 5 minutes later, on the carpet. Will this kill him? Anything I can do to help him? He seems shocked. Well, any input appreciated! Thanks a million! Krystin < Most aquatic arthropods can handle some terrestrial time as long as the gills are not allowed to dry out too much. Your problem stems from not quarantining your new fish prior to placing them in your main tank with the shrimp. Many medications can harm and even kill shrimp so treat your new fish in a hospital or quarantine tank to keep your invertebrates alive and well in the regular tank.-Chuck> 

Question about Betta behavior and velvet Hi, I just bought my Betta about two weeks ago. He is very colorful and active. Lately, however, I've spotted several small areas on him that look a little discolored. There wouldn't be a whole spot, just like two scales. I did shine a flashlight on him and thought that perhaps he had velvet, so I treated him with Maracyn-Two (given to me by the pet store). <Mmm, Minocycline? Antibiotics are useful here only for secondary effects http://groups.msn.com/TheBettaObsession/bettaillnessandtreatment.msnw > I followed the instructions as well as given him a salt bath. The spots disappeared, but he sometimes starts swimming up and down in the corner of the tank and kind of jerks about and I don't see him scratching against the decorations. I change the water very often, so I don't think it's the water or poisoning. He doesn't stay on the bottom neither nor is there a lack of appetite and he acts pretty normal. Sometimes he does open his mouth wide, but that is rare. Is this behavior normal? or is he sick? Thanks for the help! LST <Hard to say... is the fish's tank/container heated? Lethargy is pretty much a normal state with Bettas... more so at lower temperatures. 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> 

Velvet disease Hi there.  I had a Blood Red Parrot Cichlid for about 6 years.  Recently I introduced two algae eaters into the tank (55 gallon), but I didn't quarantine them like I should have.  About two weeks later, my Blood Red Parrot fish was showing signs of velvet disease (white spots, lethargy, rubbing on rocks, etc.)  I did some research to find out what to do, and I treated the tank with copper sulfate, aquarium salt, and raising the temp. to 82 degrees.  Unfortunately, he still died about 3 days after beginning to notice symptoms and treating him.  I still have the two algae eaters in the tank alone, and I have thoroughly cleaned the tank, replaced filter cartridges, etc.  The algae eaters are not showing any signs of the disease, and I'm beginning to think that maybe they weren't the cause of my fish's death after all.  My question is, could they still be carrying the disease but just not showing signs of it? < Absolutely. You probably have ich or some other protozoa disease. The medication may have killed the parasite or it may not have. The algae eaters could still be hosting the parasite without showing any symptoms.>   I have other fish that I would like to add to the tank, but I don't want to put them in danger of becoming sick. < Remove all the fish in the tank for one week. The parasites in the tank will starve to death. The tank will be free of parasites but the fish may still be carrying it. You should look into a quarantine tank to prevent further costly outbreaks.-Chuck> Thank you for your help.  Laura Hash Monogeneans from the gills of Mormyrid fishes Dear Professor, <Blahoua> I hope you will understand this message easily; my English is quite poor. <No worries> I am called BLAHOUA KASSI Georges. I am a doctorate of the university of Cocody-Abidjan (Ivory Coast). I undertake my research in Laboratory of Hydrobiology. I just red in the internet one of your publications which title is: The Elephantfishes, family Mormyridae, in Aquariums My topic concerns the Monogenean from the gills of Mormyrid fishes. Concerning the bibliography, I have some difficulties because I don't have any previous publications. I will be duly grateful you send me publications on Gills Monogenean parasites from Mormyrid fishes. You can also give me names and e-mails of some persons who have worked on my topic that you know. Doing so you will help me a lot in my research works. Best wishes in 2005. Sincerely yours. <I suspect you don't have easy access to large library collections as well do here. Where would I send this material? Bob Fenner> BLAHOUA KASSI GEORGES Address postale : University of Cocody, UFR Biosciences, LABORATORY OF HYDROBIOLOGY 22 BP 582 Abidjan 22 (Coast of Ivory)

Mysterious repeated hatchet fish death I have an ongoing mysterious death problem with common (silver) hatchet fish.  They are in a  24 gallon 5year old community tank with congenial tank mates. Temperature is 79 degrees, good top water agitation, chemistry is consistently within specs (PH between 6.5-7).  I buy them from a local store with an excellent reputation with fish maniacs. <Hee heee! Good so far> The problem: One by one they just quit working.  They show no signs of damage or disease and everybody else is doing just fine. If I introduce 4 of them,  1 will die within a week or two, a month or so later another will go down and so on, leaving 1 survivor. This process has repeated over years (for a while I just gave up on them entirely) Obviously I'm missing something they need. Thanks for your time! Peter <Might be a lack of nutrition... for such seemingly small, inactive fish/es "Gastropelecids" are pretty high metabolic animals... that eat a lot of insect larvae in the wild... need a good deal of high protein food, frequent feedings to do well in captivity... Otherwise, I fully suspect that their internal parasite fauna (all are wild-collected) are showing themselves in your mysterious losses... If you and I had a "hatchetfish farm" and were in dead earnest re keeping our herd alive, I would lace their food with Metronidazole/Flagyl AND a broad spectrum antibiotic (Tetra and HBH used to sell foods pre-made with these... but I don't know if they're still about), and feed the new arrivals for about a month once a day with same... in an effort to rid them of problems... BTW, this is a not-so-uncommon source of anomalous mortality in quite a few groups of non-cultured fish stocks... e.g. "wild" angels, dwarf South American Cichlids, Discus... Bob Fenner>

I really don't think it's ich Hi, I'm writing about a problem with my Pleco.  I bought a clown Pleco recently and put it in my tank, and a few days later noticed a few white bumps on his body.  I don't think it's ich... I've had fish with that before, and ich looks like sugar or salt sprinkled on the body, right?   <Usually, yes> This looks more like he has warts.  They're about the size of his eye or larger.  I read up to see if it was a fungus, but all the stuff on fungus described it as "cottony"...and this isn't cottony, it's smooth.  Yesterday it spread to our loaches... I don't know what it is, so I'm not sure how to treat it.  On that note, though, all I have in the tank are Cory cats, upside-down cats, loaches and the one Pleco.  So would I need a special medication, since they're all scaleless? <I would treat this as it has spread... and may well be parasitic in nature... with a less toxic "ich" medicine (are good for most all external parasites) at half dose, raising your water temperature to the mid 80's F., and possibly adding a teaspoon of salt per five gallons of water (okay for Corydoras at this concentration) over a period of three days> It's a 55-gallon with an undergravel filter, if that helps... Thanks for your help, Sarah <Does help. Do monitor your nitrogen cycle and have new water available in case you need to change... Bob Fenner>

Parasites Hello I was wondering if someone could tell me what the symptoms of internal parasites in a Jack Dempsey would be, How to treat it, and will the fish fully recover from it. Thanks < Internal parasites are usually pretty rare in Central American cichlids. Almost all of them are captive bred in either the U.S. or in the orient. They are transported at a relatively small size so they really don't have much of a chance to pick anything up. One thing they could get is bloat or dropsy. This is an internal bacterial infection caused by stress and the wrong kind of food. It is treated by cleaning up the filter and doing a 30% water change. Treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. As soon as the fish stops eating it should be treated. Early detection is the key to a quick and complete cure.-Chuck>

Worms! Hello again. I have recently written in about my Pleco and the headache I'm sure he gives himself. I have a 90 gallon fresh water, with live plants and community fish. 16 gallon water changes every 2 weeks with aquarium salt added in. My new problem is I came home this morning and I discovered that one of my fish looked like it had a fire cracker explode in it. This is one of the fish I brought home for feeders and it didn't get eaten. It just grew. I thought that maybe some of the fish got at it, but this was not a small fish. And I try to be as careful as possible when getting new fish.  That they aren't aggressive. So what I want to ask is, is there a parasite that could make my fish "explode"?  It was the strangest thing I have seen. While fishing out parts of the fish. I notice that there was a worm like thing on the cover of the tank, on the under side. I have thought about clearing out, the tank and starting over, this weekend.  Would it be a good idea to save about half the water in the tank, or should I start right from scratch? I was going to turn off the filter and siphon out the top part of the tank and reuse it and then take another 45 gallons, and let it stand for a couple of days. Does that sound like a good idea? I have no where to store 90 gallons of water and I don't have a smaller tank to place my fish in, so I cant wait the 2 weeks to cycle the tank. Thanks for your help Lukas <Sounds like your fish have worms. These are common in wild caught fish, like most plec's or fish bred outside, like most feeders. Breaking down the tank will not help. Try here for medicated de-worming flake. http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/31/cat31.htm?452 And once again I warn about offering feeder fish unless you can QT them for at least a month. Don>  

Parasite??? Hey All, I seem to have a serious problem and I can not get rid of it.  I have a 75 gal tank with a bunch of cichlids in it.  I have 13 cichlids, 1 Synodontis multiplisomething catfish, Pleco and 2 Thai crabs.  A few of my fish seem very agitated and are scratching constantly, darting and flicking there fins a lot.  I have treated the tank several times with quick cure, raised the temp to mid 80's and put a good dose of salt in the tank.  The last treatment I ran was for 7 days straight, adding quick cure daily as described on the package.  The fish seemed to get better when added then the next day were rubbing again.  Some even seemed to stop rubbing completely. Then one fish really began rubbing even after tank was dosed.  I also have 2 Emperor 400 filters going and I did remove the carbon and I added a bubble wand to help add a little aeration to the system also.  Some fish seem to have heavy breathing going on.  Can you recommend anything here?  I am so frustrated, should I try a copper solution?  Should I have kept the Quick Cure treatment up longer?  This was like the third time I have treated the tank this way for about as long, 6 days.  Please let me know your thoughts. < Check the nitrates and make sure that they are under 25 ppm. Clean the filters and do a 30% water change. Vacuum the gravel to remove any sludge that has accumulated there. Now that the tank is nice and clean you need to remove the BioWheels from your filter. Place them in a bucket with some of the aquarium water and make sure that they are always moist. Check the pH as it should be at least 7.5 or higher. Add a teaspoon of rock salt for every 10 gallons of water. Remove the filter cartridges because they contain carbon and will remove any medication. Treat the tank with clout as per the directions on the package. This should take care of the protozoans attacking your fish. After the treatment is complete, then add the cartridges back into the filter to remove any medication still in the water. After a couple of hours you can put the BioWheels back in the filter and your filter will pick right back up where it left off without having to recycle.-Chuck> Jeff

Parasite??? Ok I did everything you said below actually gave them 2 treatments of clout, they seem to get better then they start scratching again.  I removed the filters but put back in just the flossing part, no carbon.  Also I forgot to mention a green algae I have growing in the tank, there was some brown but it slowly turned to green, did not know if this had any effect in the fish. I have not touched the water since last treatment, just wondering if there is still enough of a trace amount in the water to keep killing what ever is irritating my fish.  Some one suggested using copper safe since copper stays in the water for like a month.  Let me know what you suggest. < Copper levels that kill parasites are very close to the lethal levels that will kill fish too. Copper will work but you need to follow the directions very carefully. Some fish cannot handle the levels recommended so you will need to watch them carefully for signs of stress. I would recommend either Kordon's formalin or Kordon's Rid-ich+. If these don't work then it may be bacterial. I would try Nitrofuranace or Kanamycin. For any of these medications to be effective the water must be clean. The algae problem suggests high levels of nitrogenous wastes that need to be addressed.-Chuck> Jeff

Re: Parasite??? So far so good with the copper, the only mistake I made was putting in cleanfilters.  Coppersafe says filters must be 5 days old not to affect the treatment.  Seemed great at first but since I put those filters in copper levels must be diluted.  I am waiting on a copper test kit to get here Friday before adding any more.  I guess one question I have is, one fish seems really effected by all this, it looks like he is being drained of color.  Would a bacterial infection do this if it was bacterial? < Sick fish may have initially been affected by the Protozoans and a secondary bacterial infection may be taking place.>   Also would the fish seem to get better and stop scratching after medicating, would this also occur if it was bacterial.  Just bouncing my thoughts around. < To be sure you must run the treatment through the recommended length of time. If the fish stop scratching then the copper worked and it probably was a protozoan infection. I don't think copper works too well on bacterial infections.-Chuck> Jeff

Re: Parasite??? So far so good with the copper, the only mistake I made was putting in clean filters.  CopperSafe says filters must be 5 days old not to affect the treatment.  Seemed great at first but since I put those filters in copper levels must be diluted.  I am waiting on a copper test kit to get here Friday before adding any more.  I guess one question I have is, one fish seems really effected by all this, it looks like he is being drained of color.  Would a bacterial infection do this if it was bacterial? < Sick fish may have initially been affected by the Protozoans and a secondary bacterial infection may be taking place.>   Also would the fish seem to get better and stop scratching after medicating, would this also occur if it was bacterial.  Just bouncing my thoughts around. < To be sure you must run the treatment through the recommended length of time. If the fish stop scratching then the copper worked and it probably was a protozoan infection. I don't think copper works too well on bacterial infections.-Chuck> Jeff You have been very helpful in all this and have helped me from getting too frustrated and I really appreciate your time.  I am sure you get the same questions over and over and it must get a little mundane, but thank you. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I will let you know how it goes. At least in all this I have not lost a single fish yet (crosses fingers). < Thank you for you kind words and hope you have a happy Thanksgiving too.-Chuck> Jeff

LFS Manager needing assistance!! Bob and all,     I want to say first, how thankful I am with all of your postings regarding everything you need to know about the hobby, and you didn¹t even forget the kitchen sink!!! <That's coming in Plumbing Web Media> I am the newly appointed ³manager² (so they call me) of our fish department and we have a few problems one being the wall of ICK.  One of the fellow pet counselors decided he would  Â³adopt² a Large Jack Dempsey with a ³cool snow like coating² from an owner who said it was too large to flush and didn¹t want it anymore.   This employee then placed the Jack into one of my tanks & not telling anyone else what he did.  I was on vacation and came back to find the entire wall unit now infested with ICK.  After some investigation I found out what happened and have been on a little revenge spree to this one employee.   <Happens all the time> Now that I am past my pain and revenge stage, I have treated the tanks with Coppersafe using the dosage amount they recommend. 1 TSP per 4G¹s. What I am confused about is how often do I place Coppersafe into the tank system.  Should I keep doing it daily until the ICK is gone? Is the one dosage enough to last? Should I medicate Coppersafe more often to prevent said outbreaks from new tank mates that arrive weekly?  Should I do water changes to get the copper out of the tanks? <None of the above... you need/want a chelated copper test kit... and to test for free cupric ion... but am getting ahead of myself... I would treat this FW Ich problem with other medication> With reading all that I have about having a QT vs. using your display tank I have to wonder what is the best option for me.  I am unable to have said QT¹s due to $$ problems (love those owners) and space. Our tanks have a filtration system of bio-balls & filter pads before returning to the display tank.  There is no active Carbon in any of our systems.  I can only assume that too much copper or even a little copper will destroy the bacteria on the bio-balls. This I have gathered from some of the postings. <You are correct here> In the five months my store has been opened we have never had any disease issue¹s. I do have my fish guys salt the tanks each week when the new shipment comes in. PLEASE help, Kyle Ledford <Kyle, please read through our freshwater Ich section. Bob Fenner>

Parasite in Parrot Gills Hello I have lost two parrot fish in the last three months.  They all have long red tubular growths coming from the inside of the gills.  The gill area has busted open since they got this and is growing out of the gills.  The aquarium store told me it was most likely gill flukes and so I treated them repeatedly with no cure.  They told me that they were a hybrid fish and if they appeared to be OK them let them go.  I did and I lost one parrot 3 months ago and 1 last night.  I noticed last week that the red tubular growths had purple tips on them and that the rosy barb in the tank was sticking its head into their gills and eating it.  Please help.  I've had these fish for over three years and I am very attached.  The aquarium seems to think they may be anchor worms.  There are two angel fish, a Pleco and a rosy barb in the tank and they do not have these growths.    Kathleen < To get rid of either gill flukes or anchor worm I would recommend Fluke-Tabs. If your local store does not carry them then you can order them online at DrsFosterSmith.com.-Chuck>

Fish Scratching on Rocks and Agitated Fins... Worms likely   Ok I found a few things out about what I think may be wrong with my tank, read below, sent in earlier.  I had a snail in my tank that I believe brought in yellow grub/black spot parasite.  One of my fish has it pretty bad, little black dots on body and in the eye.  I got rid of the snail, most info I read said to get rid of birds flying around and or snails, obvious which problem I had.  Snails gone.  Was wondering though if my fresh water crabs could keep the cycle going also or if I should be ok on this end. Please let me know ASAP.  Thank you so much. < To get rid of external parasites it is hard to beat formalin. Add a teaspoon of rock salt per ten gallons of water and try treating with formalin or rid-ich for the parasites. You might have to move out the crab for awhile until treatment is complete.-Chuck> Jeff Fortier

Single celled question thank you chuck, but what is a protozoa?? < It is a pathogen that has a complex life cycle that is also very motile so they can spread disease rapidly in an aquarium.> Also I got this food its called Pepso or something and it said that it killed parasites. < That medicated food is used for internal parasites.> Another thing is my fish's eyes look like they popped out of their head. My pH is high but my nitrites are unsafe. < Do a 30% water change to reduce the nitrites and treat the fish with Metronidazole for pop-eye.-Chuck>

Freshwater Oodinium/Velvet, Flukes Dear Crew, Finally got a diagnosis of Oodinium and flukes in my tank (three goldfish).  On recommendation by vet, have been treating both main tank and QT with copper/malachite green combination.  The sick fish in QT died first day of treatment.  As I was worried about toxicity and also about the precipitation of copper compounds, I halved the dose of medication but increased the frequency of doses to double the recommended frequency.   Praziquantel was used for the flukes - two treatments, one week apart.  Vet claimed that these two treatments would not interact badly.  My question is about my other equipment - QT, buckets, etc. I've looked through the FAQs but I can't seem to figure out how to best clean it. I see that for marine velvet, a 4-6 week fallow period is recommended to eradicate the tank. However, it's not clear whether freshwater Oodinium is photosynthetic or not - if it is, surely no fallow period will work? < It is.> The QT was also treated for flukes, but has been broken down - all parts are now dry.  I'm worried about eggs and cysts surviving to attack new fish in my QT (obviously there's no point in quarantining them in an infected tank).  Can they survive on dry surfaces?  Do I need to use any other cleaning substances? (I'm reluctant to use bleach but will if I have to.) Thanks for all your help over the last couple of months. < I don't like to use bleach either so I use a heavy brine solution. It does not sterilize everything but it gets rid of most everything. I get a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with hot water and get as much rock salt as I can to dissolve in it. I then soak the equipment and whatever, take it out and rinse it and let it dry. I wipe down tanks pretty good with the solution and then do the same thing.-Chuck> Melissa Platy Parasite? Help needed for treatment. Mmmm, and Octomita? Hi again, I appreciate always getting good advice from you guys - I hope you can help me again. Here's the setup:  I have a 5g tank with a filter that has a carbon filter pad and a bio-wheel. There are 3 platies in the tank - 1 male that we've had since7/25, and 2 females since 8/14.  The females both gave birth about a week ago, 3 days apart, but the babies are in a separate tank (and doing just fine).  The tank has been set up about a month and I was pretty sure it was well cycled, all water levels were fine.  Our water is from a well, so very alkaline and very hard. Just after the females gave birth I noticed their feces were often white & stringy, sometimes clear.  I had I was advised not to treat simply on that "symptom" but I watched them carefully. They were still very active and eating well, and looked generally healthy and happy.  Early this week I noticed that one of my females was hiding a lot, and that both females had a single white spot near their mouth. I watched it over the course of a day and it was getting larger.  My male also seemed to be acting strangely - laying his fins down and just being much more calm than usual. Though most of the time they were all active and definitely were all eating well.  But based on the behavior and the spots,  I assumed it must be a parasite and treated with CopperSafe on the 24th (which I've had very good luck with in a previous tank when my male platy was new). Before treating I removed the bio-wheel and kept it in a plastic container with water from the tank.  The following day I got a spike in Nitrites, which I assumed to be from removing the bio-wheel. <<And killing off beneficial nitrifiers with the copper. RMF>>   I started doing 20% water changes daily starting 24 hours after treatment. I couldn't get the Nitrites to go down, so I put the bio-wheel back in yesterday (the 27th).  I haven't even gotten to testing the water yet today, but I woke up to see one of my females covered with white spots!  First I thought Ich, but they might be worms... I can't get a good look. One was kind of "hanging out", which is why I thought worms.  And the "spots" sometimes seem to protrude more than others.  All the fish are energetic (no more hiding out) and eat VERY well (though I reduced feeding because of the Nitrite levels).  They look great, except for the very obvious parasite on the one fish.  Could it be from the water changes? (reducing the amount of CopperSafe in the water) I thought I'd be better off reducing the amount before returning the bio-wheel.. but with Nitrites going crazy, I thought it worth the risk to put it back anyway.  I'm just confused and not sure what to do next.  I also though it possible that the meds may be forcing the internal parasite to the surface and maybe this isn't such a bad thing. But I've seen no change since this morning (it's been approx 6 hours). Any help with this would be much appreciated.   < There are a few things going on here. I think your fish had ich. Worm type parasites usually don't multiply like that overnight. Hopefully the CopperSafe has gotten rid of the ich by now. Next time you do a water change you should vacuum the gravel to remove the junk that has accumulated there. That will help reduce the nitrites. While your fish are sick they don't eat and the food then goes to ammonia and nitrites. Make sure that all the food is eaten in a couple of minutes each day. Once the water is stabilized you can see if they truly have any worm type parasites. If they do I would treat with clout.-Chuck> Jennifer

Re: Platy Parasite? next steps Thanks. I think it was Ich after all.  We lost one of the female platies 2 nights ago. The morning after I sent the email to you, the 2nd female ended up covered with spots.  Another day went by and the 1st female's spots started to disappear, and the 2nd had less, so I thought the treatment was working. I started adding additional CopperSafe with water changes to make sure I wasn't diluting it too much.  Unfortunately the next afternoon female #2 started to float vertically (tail up) and so I removed her to a new container immediately with fresh water (conditioned and ready for future water changes) hoping she would perk up.  Unfortunately she was gone in about 6 hours.  Do you think it's more likely the ich that killed her or nitrites? She had ich spots for maybe 24 hours and they were all gone by the time she died. < I think she was weakened by the ich and done in by the nitrites.> I finally went and bought Start-Zyme bacteria started and added it to the tank (since I'm sure I've killed off the bacteria with the copper).  I do 20% water changes twice a day now, trying to get Nitrites in check.  I also bought another 2g tank for treatments and quarantining new fish (since our other ended up full of babies).  I am setting it up today because I may have to move the male out of the main tank.  Now he's just got one female to chase, and I'm afraid he's running her a bit ragged. I certainly can't add new females till I get the water stabilized. Does this sound like I'm doing the right thing? < Separating a stressed fish from an over anxious male is a good idea.> I don't want to make things worse.  By the way, I always do my water changes with the gravel vac so that I can get as much waste from the bottom of the tank as I can... and also my fish are still eating very well and finish everything I give them. I've reduced feeding because of the Nitrite levels, and just give them a small amount once a day.  Once I get my tank cycled and am ready to add new fish, how long should I quarantine a new Platy before adding her to the tank? < At least a couple of weeks.> (I am hoping to get 2 more females).   Also, how long do you think it will be before the babies are big enough to swim with the adults in the main tank? < They should be at least 1/2 the size of the adults so they don't get eaten. The adult males will chase young females in an attempt to spawn.> And how many Platies do you think I can keep in the 5g tank without overloading it? I've got 11 babies, and we'd like to keep a few and we'll try to find good homes for the rest of them. < Depending on the size of the fish and how often you do water changes I think 10 or so would be ok for awhile. Continue to check the nitrates. If the nitrates get above 25 ppm in between water changes then you need to remove some fish of do water changes more often.-Chuck> Thanks again for your help! It seems like I'm asking questions of you guys all the time. Jennifer

Parasite Attack Hi crew, <Hi Lorenzo, MacL with you today.> I'm afraid I have a parasitic infestation in my tank. <Not good Lorenzo, not good at all.> These parasites look like little oval semitransparent lice that become white and tear away from fishes when I dip them in fresh water. <Have you seen the picture here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopodfaqs.htm, is it one of these?> I think they are trematodes or Argulus sp. (crustaceans). The problem is that after one or two week that I've done the freshwater bath they come back again over fishes eyes and in my puffer's gills. <I really think you need to get the fish out of that tank and put them in a quarantine system. Let the tank go fallow and keep the fish out for 4 weeks.> I can't treat my display tank because have live rocks in it. And when I'll pass to a grater tank in November I have to use my live rocks that I afraid infested by these parasites. <You'll move whatever is in the rock into the new tank unless you let the parasites die out by letting the tank go fallow.> I'm trying cleaner wrasse to control the spread. What can I do to heal my fishes and to disinfest my tank? <I would continue with the freshwater dips and consider putting them in a quarantine system with a low level of copper for the parasites. I would let the tank go fallow for at least four weeks before I put any fish back and let the parasites die out with nothing to feed on.> Thanks for your help!!!! <Hope this helps, MacL> Best regard Lorenzo

Gold veil angel rams I recently purchased 5 gold veil angel rams from my LFS.. they normally get them twice a year and are gone as soon people realize the store has them in stock so I decided to go on ahead and buy them even though they seem to have what looks like as an internal parasite or tumors or something of the sort.  besides.. at this point I'm curious just to know what exactly is wrong with them and how to properly treat them or if it's even at all possible to treat them. the "tumors" as we'll call them are about 2-3mm in diameter, oval shaped and brown or gray in color.  you can see them through the body of the fish as they are somewhat translucent.  they don't show any signs of struggling.. they are responsive to stimuli, they eat regularly and are all housed currently in a 5 gallon quarantine tank with no substrate and a sponge filter as you would find in a fry tank.   they are currently being treated with a 1/4 teaspoon of paragon every other day with a 2-3 gallon water change every fourth or sixth day.  I've had them for about a week and they don't seem to be getting any better, but they aren't getting any worse either.  I was wondering if this really could be a parasite or infection and if I'm treating them with the proper medication.  I have also given them a salt bath using freshwater salt but could only do this for around a minute or so before they were beginning to float on their sides.. I thought I was sure to have killed a couple doing this but I quickly moved them back to the 5 gallon tank and to my surprise they all lived and returned back to their normal state.  if you have any suggestions I'd really appreciate it.. even some background information on the fish would be great as I know they are relatively new to the stores, or at least here on Oahu.. in fact.. this is the only LFS on the island that ever gets them.. hence why I thought I may risk buying these ones.  I have called the LFS since to check about the rest of the fish to find that they too aren't getting any better either. < Many of these parasites that infest the body of the host are difficult to treat because the tissues of the fish prevent the medication from getting to the parasite. The other problem is when the parasite dies then this dead thing starts to decay and rot inside the fish. Sometimes these things are parasites that have numerous hosts. They start out in a snail and then invade a fish. The fish gets eaten by a bird and excretes the eggs of the parasite that then hatches and lives in a snail for a while and starts the cycle all over again. I would quickly try and breed the rams and start a parasite free generation.-Chuck> thanks again Jonathan

Getting On the Right Track With Black Spots - 05/31/2004 Someone else has asked about this problem and wanted to know what caused the black spots and the answer was about the quality of the water.   <Mm....  Might help to have more background on your specific problem.  Not having the other FAQ in front of me, I don't know about the other person's scenario, but it will be difficult to aid you without details of your situation.> I understand that probably is the cause but the question of that person as well as myself is are the black spots due to a fungus or a bacterial infection because the treatment is different. <Really, without details, I can only give you a generalized answer, based on assumptions....  I can assume that you mean the "classic" 'black-spot' disease, which is a digenetic fluke - a parasite, passed to the fish from another animal - which appears as small, black spots, like bits of pepper on the fish, almost.  For this, there isn't really a great deal you can do to treat, but it shouldn't be terribly life-threatening.  If the fish is horribly infested, it might be worthwhile to try a Praziquantel bath, or try treating orally with Levamisole or Piperazine, but I really don't know how effective this would be.  'Course, with this assumption, I might be WAY off track - perhaps you have some other disease in mind....  Ah, I realize now, I don't even know if you're talking about a fresh or saltwater tank....  If you can, please get back to me with more information - fish affected, type & size of aquarium, other inhabitants of the tank (especially presence of snails - the first host of the fluke responsible for 'black spot'), how long the tank's been established, how long you've had the affected fish (newly acquired fish may bring along 'black spot' if they were collected in the wild or raised in a pond), water parameters.... anything else of note.> Yes, I know to change the water and correct the problem for the future, but I wish to treat specifically with medication but don't know if I should use an antibiotic or an antifungal????   <Again, without details of your situation, I cannot give you an answer; without details to try to diagnose with, I don't know if your fish has 'black spot' or a common cold.> Please Help.   <Would love to, really; please do get back to us; I'd be delighted to give you a better answer, once I have a better understanding of what's happening in the tank.> Thank you <Thanks for writing in - wishing you and your fish well,  -Sabrina>

MONOGENETIC Gill Flukes Infect Snails and Fish? - 05/31/2004 I am told by a moderator on an aquaria message board that my Pomacea bridgesii snails have given my guppies gill flukes.   <Mm, no....  May have brought other things, like digenetic trematodes responsible for 'black spot', but not gill flukes.  As you note in the title of your question, gill flukes are monogenetic....  need no other host than the fish.> I have searched the net for weeks and can find no evidence that this is possible.  The snails are captive bred/raised, <Can still be captive bred/raised in outdoor ponds with access for visiting birds (or just visiting bird poo), which would allow for transmission of some parasites, like 'black spot', as above - I'm not at all saying this has happened, and probably does not at all relate to your situation - just another reason to quarantine *all* animals, *especially* snails.> and as far as I know, gill flukes are monogenetic.  This would mean the fluke would have to be non-host-specific and infect both snail and fish alike.   <Mm, no, found only in fish.  Another fun tidbit - gill flukes are usually of the genus Dactylogyrus, but skin flukes are of the genus Gyrodactylus  - I'm too easily amused....> This seems like a big stretch, and I have no real evidence that the fish have/had gill fluke.  Some did/do appear to have some gill irritation which began with 48 hours of being introduced to a completely disinfected new setup that had cycled without fish for over a month, and to which I then added the P. bridgesii about 1 week before the fish.   <I'd test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, also consider if the fish have had any major changes in pH (either from the store to home, or from QT to main tank); I would think this far likelier than flukes.> Is it really possible that the snails gave the fish flukes or is some other cause more likely? <I would hedge my bets on 'some other cause'.> I would appreciate any information, documentation or verification of this possibility. <Can give you documentation *against* it, but not for it, I'm afraid.> Thank you,  Karin Wiechert <Any time.  Wishing you, your fish and inverts well,  -Sabrina>

MONOGENETIC Gill Flukes Infect Snails and Fish? - II - 05/31/2004 Thank you very much, Sabrina.   <You betcha, Karin.> In all my research I could find no evidence that a gill fluke could live on both the gills of apple snails (quarantined for over a month, I might add) and then infect the gills of aquarium fish, but hearing it from you increases my confidence 10 fold.  Thank you so much. <Any time.  That's what we're here for.> I kept notes of all the parameters of the new tank, including even O2 and CO2 levels, but I neglected to keep track of the parameters in the quarantine tanks since I was replacing the water with fresh tap water every couple of days.  There almost certainly would have been a pH change of as much as 1 degree, <Zowie.  That in and of itself might be/might have been the issue.> and certainly more dissolved solids.  In addition, I had an entire mail order of plants die and foul the new tank, <So a bundle of decaying organic material, too, then - do check that this hasn't given you a bit of a pH swing, as well.> so I used an enzyme cleaner <I, personally, feel that such potions are bunk.  If you can't reach it to siphon it out, you might want to look into a longer siphon tube, perhaps?  A little elbow grease will go a lot farther than a magic cure-all-in-a-bottle.> to help break it down what I couldn't reach with the siphon so it could be removed by the bio- and mechanical filters.   <If there's not a whole lot of debris, it can be confidently left without worry.  If there is a whole lot of debris, again, maybe a longer siphon tube....> It seems possible that some of that enzyme may have also remained in the tank, possibly causing some irritation.   <I don't doubt that it's possible that this concoction may have caused some discomfort in your critters; I really don't put much stock in them.> I'm so glad to be reasonably assured that gill flukes are not the problem, and will be more careful to acclimate new fish in the future.   <If you're feeling daring, and have a microscope (or high school/college laboratory to make use of), you might take a skin scrape just behind the operculum to look at; this would be sufficient to reassure you, one way or the other.  Dactylogyrus, after hatching, make their way along the body of the fish to the gills, so you need not take a scrape of the gills to see if they're present.> Maybe I'll start by replacing the quarantine water slowly with water from the main tank so that they become accustomed to the dissolved solids, pH, and other things before introduction. <A perfect plan, indeed!> If you have some documentation AGAINST the fluke hypothesis, I would be interested in reading it (one can never learn TOO much). <Oh, my....  crackin' out the books....  We'll start with "Tropical Fishlopaedia", by Bailey and Burgess, p. 274 & 275, "Gill Flukes - Strictly, any fluke that parasitizes the gills, but in aquarium usage applied to the monogenetic flukes of the genus Dactylogyrus.  Some 50 species are known, with a size range of 0.15 to 2mm in length.  All are gill parasites, found only in fish, and occasionally also occurring on other parts of the body."  Next, "Handbook of Fish Diseases", by Untergasser, page 100: "Dactylogyridea - Monogenetic flukes or trematodes of the order Dactylogyridea live mainly on gills."  Next, "Aquariology: The Science of Fish Health Management, Master Volume" by Gratzek et. al., page 241, under "Monogenetic trematodes": "Dactylogyrids are usually associated with the gills, and for that reason are called gill flukes."  Lastly (and not leastly), "Fish Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment" by Noga, p. 88-93, aside from having Dactylogyrus listed as Monogeneans, even has a diagram (page 90) of the life cycle, with the fish as the only host (er, since they are, after all, monogenetic).  And from page 89, "The oviparous Dactylogyrids are primarily gill parasites of freshwater fish (Yamaguti, 1968)."  There is far, far too much information in these books to even begin to type it all out for ya, but I hope these excerpts have settled your mind a bit; as it is, "You don't have to take my word for it".  Also, now you have a list of books to go diggin' for, should you choose to see the info firsthand :) > Thank you again.  Your helps is greatly appreciated. <Any time.  I live to research.  Wishing you and your fish well,  -Sabrina> Sincerely,  Karin Wiechert

MONOGENETIC Gill Flukes Infect Snails and Fish? - III - 05/31/2004 Thank you again, Sabrina! <Sure thing.> Now, I not only have reassurance that the fish aren't infected with gill flukes, but I have a way to check without trying to scrape gill filament from tiny little GUPPIES!  Eeek!   <And even still, I think the likelihood of gill flukes in your case does not even warrant checking; just if you feel so inclined, less trauma for you (and the fish).> I also have learned a lesson -- no enzyme cleaners (although I'd have had to dismantle and drain my heavily planted and decorated tank to get rid of the muck -- <...?...  Uhm, do you really have portions of the tank that are *that* inaccessible?  Zowie.> looked okay until I stuck my hand in and everything disintegrated into goo).  Maybe should have siphoned out all the water and replaced it a couple of times.   <Aaaaah.  I see.  Just, *poof*, eh?  Yeah, water changes will give you much better results than a fix in a bottle.> Thanks also for the titles/authors.  I need some good reference books, and you've given me a place to start with my next visit to Borders or Barnes and Noble. <Well, to point you in the right direction, then, I'd strongly recommend "Tropical Fishlopaedia" by Bailey and Burgess.  This is a very useful little book, though I wouldn't recommend it to a first beginner or a youngster, in most cases.  For someone a little more advanced, it's a great all-in-one, and has very easy-to-understand information on disease and medication.  It's a little more up-to-date than Untergasser (which is still a favorite of mine, and probably my second recommendation), and much simpler than Gratzek and Noga (cheaper, too!).  Though, be sure to bookmark pages 189, 213 and 317, or you'll have a heck of a time with it.... much as I like this book, it has a major shortcoming of having no complete index.> Thank you so much for your help. <Any time.  -Sabrina> Sincerely, Karin Wiechert

Characid Parasitology help sought Dear Sir, I feel most enthused in your marvelous efforts in elucidating parasites of Fish to the students all over the world. I have in my attachment an appeal onto where my research work lies. School of postgraduate Studies  Faculty of Biological Sciences Department of Zoology  University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 14- 05- 04.  Dear Sir, I praise your academic prowess, especially, in the area of fisheries parasitology. May your efforts and strength never waver in your imbued march towards bettering nature. I am a postgraduate research student in the above department and University, working on the parasites of Characidae in the Anambra River Basin, Nigeria.  The following are the objectives of this research work:  Ø There is scanty relevant parasitological information on fisheries development and management in Nigeria. An informed reason to fill the gap. Ø Fish are the most readily available animal protein both in the hinterland areas and cosmopolitan areas of Nigeria. Our over 120 Million population is the largest consumer of fish in Africa. So, there is burning desire to ensure availability of fish in our meals thereby ridding them of these parasites.  Sir, I am in great need of your assistance, which is inevitable to the accomplishment of this Research work. Such assistance is needed in the following areas:  ü The latest scientific methods, materials on the parasitic investigations on Characidae.  ü The parasites of the Characidae.  The aforementioned are fulcrums that will pilot the research to a logical success.  I would be grateful if my request is delivered.  Thank you.  Your sincerely,  ECHI, PAUL CHINEDU  paul_echi@yahoo.com Thank you. <Paul, will post your request for others response. We don't "do" research per se (but relate others experiences), but am hopeful your message will be found. Have you contacted the Smithsonian asking for reference help? I would. Bob Fenner>

Hydra, discus Hello, I really need to know something bad I have had from time to time in my discus tank which is a 125 gallon with a 350 magnum and two double bio wheels on back, tank has been up for 2and 1 half years do water changes ones a week on it 35 gallons at a time. my fish have darted around and had to dip one in salt before I noticed today one was darting again, last week I saw some things on glass quite a few look like hydra (octopuses) trying to buy Flubendazole? do you have some or no ? do you think this is my problem? have had a lot of my fish for as long as the tank but have lost some too,, Hexamita?????? you have a great site this is my first time on looked for information on this could not see sorry to bother but looks like your the man????? thanks Kathy < First of all I would do some water quality tests to start. Check the ammonia, should read zero. Second check the nitrites, should also read zero. Then the nitrates, should be less than 25 ppm. With the BioWheels the ammonia and nitrite should not be a problem. If the nitrates are a problem then they need to reduced with either larger or more frequent water changes. Service the filters. I know that servicing these canister filters can be a hassle but a filter only collects waste so it can removed by you and taken out of the system. I would vacuum the gravel too. This gets rid of all kinds of waste that can contribute to a nitrate problem. Now that we know the water is clean the fish should be looking better and have more resistance to disease. Watch your feeding so all the food is getting eaten in a couple minutes each time. If the problem persists then I would start looking at the pH. A high pH can be irritating to a fish use to soft acidic water from the Amazon. An RO unit may be needed to soften and acidify the water. The water temp should be around 80 degrees. Clean ,warm, soft acidic water should have your discus looking and acting like true champs. But if there is still a problem and they are not getting better then I would isolate the fish in a quarantine tank and treat with Kanamycin. The hydra by themselves are no danger to your discus unless you have small babies in the tank. Once you take care of all the environmental factors then I think your hydra will go away with the other problems.-Chuck> 

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>> Unknown fish with whirling disease My fish started swimming around like crazy, really fast.  He bumped into the sides of the aquarium a lot. <It would be very helpful if you tell me what type of fish you have.  If it is in a freshwater, brackish, marine tank.  Knowing what other tankmates and it's living conditions are often sheds better light on what could be causing problems.> Then, one of his fins stopped moving.  He then started swimming in circles and upside down and then on his side.  He started swimming crazy again and actually jumped out of the aquarium.   <Since I'm not sure what type of fish this is it's really difficult to know if this is something that is due to infection or possibly environmental.  This sounds like a fish could be infected with Myxospora, which is commonly called the whirling disease.  It's actually a Protozoan that effects the fish.  Symptoms of Myxospora are Loss of equilibrium Swims in a whirling motion Bodily deformations Nodules and boils appear on body Dark coloration on posterior third of fish The disease progresses very slowly over a period of months. Affected fish slowly lose their ability to maintain a normal position in the water and will whirl and/or swim with their head down. In some cases respiration increases.  Sadly if the fish is infected with this it is incurable.  The standard thing to do is euthanize the fish.  There are medicines on the market that is suppose to help fight this protozoan but, I have not heard of any cases were the fish survived more than a few weeks to a month after treatment.> We put him back in and then he was motionless at the bottom of the tank.  He was upside down.  We took him out and placed him in a separate container with tank water. What's going on??? I hope he doesn't die.  Any information will help.  Thank you. Theresa <We had some a pair of our Koi in a breeding aquarium contract this.  Sadly the fish never recovered from it.  The problem is that the condition stresses the fish, and a stressed fish doesn't eat.  The fish usually wastes away if it can't right itself.  For questions in the future please be sure to give all the info you can so we can help you more.  Type of fish, tank size, tank mates, filtration, water parameters, tank temp.  All of these can offer info for us to help you. -Magnus> Ich on glass Hey WWC, My customer has an ich infestation that wiped out his tank. <Ouchie... that isn't good.> I set him up with some quick cure which he used but didn't pull the carbon from his system.  He lost everything over a few days and was down to just a Bala shark by the time he pulled the carbon and redosed with quick cure.  The Bala shark died as well.  So far nothing surprising.  But then he tells me that the ich is also and the glass of the aquarium! <I have never heard of anyone having ich on the glass of their aquarium before.  The parasite lives off of hosts, hence the reason you see them on fish.> He claims they look like salt grains (they are white) but they also have small trailing tentacles.  What do you think? <I do not feel that this is a ich.  It probably is some form of worm or pest.  They might have been the reason for the loss of fish.  I had someone email me noticing white objects "walking" on the glass surface after a fish had recently died of gill flukes.  Their might be some correlation between the things.  But in most instances the tank conditions were right for pests to grow as well as the parasites that killed the fish, for instance Planaria (white little worms).  The Planaria won't hurt the fish, but they are a symptom of too much gravel containing too much uneaten food, and that is not good for fish. > This is a freshwater tank, he patiently cycled it and had a stable population for several weeks before this event. <He also needs to quarantine new arrivals before adding them to the tank.  Bala Sharks can be a bit sensitive in my opinion, and need to be kept in tanks that have been established for a month or two.  If to many are introduced to a new tank quickly medical and parasite problems have been known to occur.  If he wishes to retry the aquarium, it will be best if medicates the tank with no fish in it, then leaves it fishless for at least 4 weeks so that any surviving parasites die off.  After that he can do the water changes, and get the tank going with fish.  Have him add fish at a rate of one per two weeks, preferably quarantining them during the time.  Which will give the fish a time adjust, and the tank a time to build up the bacteria bed to handle the fish load.> Any ideas? Thanks in advance, Neal Isaacs Aquatica <Good luck -Magnus>

Discus with Hexamita? - 02/02/2004 Please help...I don't want to lose me discus fish. I have been treating with rid-ich for 5 days now. The ich is almost gone, but the fish have developed cloudy eyes, a whitish clear coating on their bodies and ragged fins.  <This sounds perhaps like "skin slime disease" - caused by protozoan parasites, likely Hexamita, or possibly Ichthyobodo (Costia), Childonella, Trichodina.... All should respond favorably to Metronidazole administered in food. Metronidazole can be found made by Aquatronics (Hex-a-Mit, green or blue box) and by Seachem (simply Metronidazole).> I have a 55 gallon aquarium. Temp is at 86 degrees. Nitrates, nitrites and ammonia are ok. Ph is at 7. I've been doing a 20 - 25% water change daily, and I added 8 tablespoons of aquarium salt to the water. Please let me know what else I should do.... <A good start - and may in and of itself effect improvement or cure. I would still treat with Metronidazole in food.> Thank you sooooo much, Anna <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Sick guppies        Hello, I'm having a problem with guppies dying. They are in a community tank (20 gal) with a couple mollies, two white clouds, a SAE, and a 1-inch FW puffer (adult size, no worries, he doesn't even try to eat the baby guppies). >>Hello :D I think will eventually have a problem with keeping puffers and guppies together. Puffers are notoriously aggressive fin nippers, and will start shredding tails at some point. The mollies can also be quite aggressive. What is the scientific name of the puffer? (Tetraodon travancorius?) These are two species that I would NEVER recommend to put with guppies, as generally, guppies should be only kept with non-aggressive fish.<< Oh, and there are currently two adult male and two adult female guppies (the number of small guppies varies with time, of course... maybe three tiny guys right now). This problem has been going on for a couple of months, and I'm at the end of my rope trying to figure it out/solve it. The symptoms are rapid breathing and progressive loss of energy, and a decreased interest in food. Some of the fish occasionally flick against the bottom. Only the guppies show symptoms/die. >>Normal, since guppies are the least resilient fish you have in the tank.<< I've treated the tank with Maracyn and Maracyn 2, thinking that this is an infection of the gills, but no success in eradicating it- every few weeks another fish starts having breathing problems. I have added aquarium salts to the tank (tsp/gal), having read that that will help with the breathing and should make an inhospitable environment for the infecting agent... not inhospitable enough, apparently! I have checked my water quality for pH and ammonia- 7.4 and 0 ppm (comes out of the tap at 7.2ish). I change the water regularly (every 1 to 2 weeks). >>You will need to treat with an anti-parasitic medication, like Super Ich Cure, or Quick Cure. I like Quick Cure because the Formalin in it helps against gill flukes. Remove your carbon, of course. Your pH is a tad low for mollies, and perhaps the puffer, too, depending on the species of puffer you are keeping. You have tested ammonia, but what about nitrite and nitrate? We really need to know this. Nitrite is just as toxic as ammonia, and a nitrite spike can last quite a long time. How much water do you change? What percentage, that is..<< Part of the reason that this has gone on so long is that only one fish at a time ever shows symptoms then dies, so I've thought that I had cleared up the problem previously, only to go through the same agonizing process a week or so later. Also, a friend who has many years of fish experience told me not to worry, that the guppies that were dying were probably just old...  >>I doubt this.<< I won't take advice like that again from anyone who regards my fish as just a food source for bigger fish! It's now affecting fish that I know are only 7 months old. Please help if you can! I feel so awful watching them get sicker and sicker, not knowing what else I can do for them! Thank you! Sarah O PS I think I comb through your site about once a week, learning a bit more about aquaria and fish each time. It's a great resource, thank you for providing it! >>As I mentioned, go to your local fish store and buy an anti-parasitic medication. Your fish have gill flukes, a parasite. -Gwen

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>

De-worming fish in the hospital tank (11/22/03) <Hi! Ananda at the keyboard tonight...> Hi, I had some bad luck with internal worms, so I decided to start a nurse tank to minimize my losses. <Good idea.> My mother who is also a fish lover advised me to medicate the tank. <I always try to avoid medicating the display tank -- much easier/cheaper to medicate a hospital tank. Some courses of medications get so expensive with a big tank that you'd actually save money if you bought a small tank and treated the affected fish in the small tank.> She said not to use the full dosage but wasn't sure what meds to use or how much. What would you recommend in such a situation. <For internal worms and similar nasties, Discomed is a good one to use. Since you soak food in Discomed + water, you just follow the directions on the box.> I want to make sure the fish I put in my tanks are disease free. All of the tanks are fresh water community-semi-community. Thanks <Ah, that brings to mind an image of a town full of fish driving tractor-trailers.... Your desire to keep your fish healthy via a hospital tank is a good one. Do check out our freshwater forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk . --Ananda>

Treating velvet Hi, <Hello, Sabrina with you today> We are complete novices at this, we have a 55 gal aquarium, what is the best treatment for ick and velvet, a third of the fish are infected with what appears to be velvet. We are currently treating with Mardel's Coppersafe, but does not seem to be doing any good, we do not have a sick tank.  So far the Bala Sharks have it and a neon tetra.  Hoping you can help us.  Larry and Maggie Fleming <Well, first off, a proper treatment is going to depend on what fish are in the tank you're treating.  Copper should be effective against velvet, but neon tetras are really quite sensitive, and probably shouldn't be treated with copper, so I'd stop with that immediately.  A better route for you is probably to treat with quinine (I believe Aquatronics offers this as "Quinsulfex"), add aquarium salt at 1-2 tablespoons per ten gallons, and (unless the outbreak is very severe) raising the temperature to 82 degrees F or so, provided you have no fish that will be intolerant of that.  It'd also be a good idea to keep the tank lights off until you've completed treatment as the protozoa are photosynthetic.  I will caution you, however, to watch very closely to be sure that none of your fish are overly sensitive to the quinine; I'm not sure how the Neons will fare with it, and I also don't know what other fish are in your system; you only mentioned Bala sharks and neon tetras.  Be sure to read all details on the box to see if there are any warnings against use with any of the fish that you keep.  Wishing you and your fish well,  -Sabrina>

- Freshwater Black Spot - Hi, I wrote you guys/girls a while back asking for some help on the black spots that my angel fish got. You provided a link but the link only took me to the parasite part of your website and plus my angel fish are freshwater and it was the saltwater parasite part. <Doh! Sorry...> Thanks anyways but I was wondering if you could help me again. <I'll try.> Let me describe the parasite it is black "spots" about the size of a pencil tip. As if someone had poked the fish about 10-15 times with a pencil on both sides. It appears to be under the scales. The fish do not rub themselves however and they eat fine. The dots are getting worse however. I have looked all over your site and at almost every parasite article that you offer. My water parameters are perfect and even my local fish store does not know how to solve it.  I've used MelaFix which I now know does not really do anything, <Agreed there...> parasite guard, and some other medicine that is in a white tablet form. I'm all out of ideas as to what to give them to fix the problem. Hopefully you can tell me of a medicine or some remedy to solve the black spot dilemma. <It sounds to me like this might be freshwater velvet... which is treatable. Your best bet is to start by putting this fish into a separate tank for quarantine, and perhaps even considering removing all fish from the main system while you treat this problem. Marine and freshwater velvet are caused by related protozoans and these have life cycles which will continue as long as you have fish-hosts. To treat freshwater velvet, raise the temperature a couple of degrees, and then [in the quarantine tank] treat with a copper solution for a minimum of two weeks. Keep plenty of water around for small, frequent water changes to keep the ammonia from building up. You can also add a little salt to the quarantine tank water to help offset the osmotic balance of the protozoans - much like a freshwater bath for marine fish, a saltwater bath for freshwater fish has shown to be of some use in these cases.> thanks, Sam <Cheers, J -- >

Info Not on WWM... Or is it? Like Ragu... - 8/13/03 Hi, this isn't really a question but I didn't know how to contact you guys any other way. My angel fish recently had a parasite and not finding it on your site I went to all the fish stores I could find.  They too didn't know what it was and said they had never seen it before and I have been to these stores numerous times.  Knowing that these people knew what they were doing, some with over 25 years worth of experience I went to one last store.  I brought my fish with me and showed the people there.  They too were stumped because the fish had no eating problems behavior problems and in all respects was perfectly healthy except for small black dots that looked as if someone has poked the fish all over with a pencil.  The fresh water fish expert there said to give it Jungle Parasite Guard.  This cleared the fish of all dots within 4 hours.  I would just like u to post this somewhere for people with angel fish, discus, and cichlids as they expert there said this parasite can probably get in these fish as well.  Melafix will not work as I tried the 7 days and then 3 extra days of medication.  However to achieve the 4 hour fix add the recommended amount of aquarium salt for your aquarium and repeat medication in 6 days with a 25% water change before adding. Hopes this helps you guys and the people who have fish with pencil like black dots. <FWIW.. Melafix I swear is a marketing joke. But regarding your black spots, are you sure that you are not dealing with Paravortex (AKA Black spot disease) turbellarian worms. Usually seen on tangs, they can afflict other fishes [see more here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm (scan archives for black spot FAQs).  best regards, Anthony>

Sick Goldfish with Odd Behavior >I hope I am addressing my question to the correct place. >>We hope so, too. ;)  Marina today. >I think my goldfish has some sort of disease, but the symptoms don't exactly match anything that I've found in my many hours of searching the web.  Ok,  the fish is young--about 1 year old.  It was a fairly pale orange and seemingly healthy and active.   Then I noticed that only his head was turning a milky white color.  The white color is becoming whiter by the day.  It spends most of it's time down on the bottom corner of the tank pushing itself between the side and the air tube like it's trying to swim right through the glass.   >>This is very odd... >It has done this so much, it is wearing the scales off of that side that it is rubbing.  Its respiration is also faster than the other two goldfish that are in the tank with it.  The other two fish are perfectly healthy, active, and hungry.  The sick fish is not eating and it kinda looks like it cannot open its mouth.  About 1 week ago,  I tried separating the sick fish and treating it with salt.  This did not help---I put it back in the main tank. The sick fish is beginning to look emaciated in the head area.   The rest of it's body and fins look fine. >>Decidedly strange. >Do you have any ideas?    Thank you very much for any help you may be able to give me.     Jody Louis >>This is SO odd that I'm putting my money on a parasitic infection.  I would suggest putting it in a separate system and treating with Hex-a-mit, see if that garners any results.  This sounds like NOTHING I have ever encountered, though, so I am sort of shooting in the dark.  I think we can easily rule out the more common diseases; ich, furunculosis/ulcers, or the usual internal parasites that tend to lodge in the gut.  This is why I'm suggesting the Hexamit first.  If anyone else on the crew has any ideas and reads this, PLEASE chime in!  Sorry to hear of this, Jody, and let's hope this treatment works.  Marina

Freshwater good and bad news Greetings to all!  The bad news is that I recently bought a number of fish to stock my recently-established 180 gallon freshwater tank and now a couple of the fish have a "light" case of ich.  The good news is that I started them (and have kept them since purchase) in a QUARANTINE tank!!  I have read through your site a number of times, and the importance of using a quarantine tank has been stressed repeatedly.  Although I have been doing this for more than 20 years without quarantining new fish, (dodged a lot of bullets, I guess) I took your advice and I'm happy I did. <Me too! The general quality of freshwater livestock has vastly disimproved over the last decades>   The quarantine tank is my old 58 gallon Oceanic with established biofiltration.  The new fish currently residing in the Q tank are clown loaches (small), two small Cory catfish, small Pleco and a couple of blue gouramis, several small glass catfish and hatchetfish.  Right now only one Gourami has spots -- just a couple on tail fin and a couple on the body.  I have begun raising the temperature from 79 F to the goal temperature in three days of 84F.  I am hesitant to medicate the tank, because the fish look so good otherwise.  They are swimming, eating, and active. Is the temperature treatment enough to "cure" the outbreak?  If I use medication, do you recommend the Rid-Ich (malachite and Formalin?)  Should I get the medication and watch and wait and only medicate if the problem worsens? <Yes. This is what I would do. Wait a good few days to a week... see if the ich "cycles off" and doesn't resurface... another week and you are past a "highly virulent" phase... with little likelihood of a recurrence. Bob Fenner> thanks for your help! tom

- New Tank, New Problems - Hi, <Hello, JasonC here...> I am Ferlyn. I reside in coastal Karnataka, South India. I love aquarium keeping but from day one, I am not successful in it. The reason is unknown to me. Once the fishes started to die by getting flat bodied (please tell me the remedy), <Are they eating?> now my goldie has got a white lice like parasite attached to its fins. I have kept it in blue solution with salt for the past 2 days, no use. <What is it you are using to make the water blue? What kind of fish is this?> The parasite is stuck to its fins & not dropping .please help. <If you could tell me a bit more about your fish, I would be more than happy to help however I can.> Ferlyn. <Cheers, J -- >

Treating Parasites with Scaleless fishes 7/10/03 I just recently e-mailed you guys (and gals) about the feeding of a freshwater moray eel (I found this in fact, it is Gymnothorax tile).  Now, I have another problem.  My tank came down with ICH.  But, I don't want my moray to die or have a reaction to the medication I use, so which of the following would be better for me to use: QUICK Cure, Ingredients: 25% Formaldehyde, 75% Malachite Green or Maracide (ingredients: Tisaninomethane, Dibromohydroxymercurifluorescein, Aniline green)?  Or something else that I don't have? <Neither are wholly safe for this eel... it would be best to separate the eel from other fishes with a hospital tank and treat accordingly> On your website, you said that organic dyes were poisonous to morays, so is Malachite Green an organic dye?  What about Aniline green?  Is that an organic dye too? <yes to both> Thanx So much for your help, Adam <use straight Formalin in a bare-bottomed tank if you must treat the eel. Best regards, Anthony>

Help with my Black Moor gold fish - Internal Parasites 7/10/03 My sister just got 2 black moor goldfish, one recently died. But the other has been pooping out this whitish, stringy stuff. <Often a sign of internal parasites. Do seek and feed medicated fish food to correct> And tonight we noticed a  orange worm looking thing coming out of (I'm assuming its butt) it is not living or anything, but it was like 2 inches long with that white stringy stuff on the end, then he shook real good and it fell off and floated on the top.  Then a few minutes later he did it again. And meanwhile he ate the first stuff that was at the top. Can you tell me what this is, and if the fish is ok? Thanks Very Much......          Michelle & Spike (fish)   <If the fish is eating dry foods (flakes or pellets) then it may very well be suffering from internal parasites... else the feces would be solid and darker in color. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: Leeches Dear P.F., Thanks for responding to my e-mail so promptly. I'll use your suggestions as a jumping off point for further research. Your truly, A. Pearlman <Sorry I wasn't able to provide more information, and I hope you get them under control soon. Have a good weekend, PF>

Leeches For the reader that was trying to control leeches, Dimilin or Formalin will work, but care must be used in selecting dosage. Be careful!  Formalin will cause problems in bio-filters if applicable. Also try: http://www.state.me.us/dep/blwq/doclake/leech.htm Craig>

HELP!! ICH!! Flukes Hi Ronni, <Hello Ruth> I just wanted to say thanks for your help and input!  It was good to get reassurance about the flukes.  I have been doing the ammonia/nitrite checks, partial water changes, temperature @ 82Ëš and salt all along, all has been well in that department.   <OK> But then a few days ago I noticed MORE white spots on a red zebra, and after doing some more reading on line decided to try Coppersafe.  The lady at my LFS told me that there are getting to be some very resistant strains of diseases out there that don't respond as readily to traditional treatments any more.  In any case, the scratching and head shimmy has all but stopped now, and everyone is behaving much more normally.   <Very good!> I was thinking about doing a regime of Piperazine flakes as I noticed some stomach bloating on a couple of the fish, even though they look normal now.  (Of course these two are the most enthusiastic feeders!)  Can this hurt even if I'm not sure they've got internal parasites? ,Nope, shouldnt hurt them at all. I wouldnt do it for an extended period but short term isnt going to hurt anything.> Have a great weekend! Ruth <Thanks! You too! Ronni>

Velvet?? Hello to all, <Hello there> Sorry to be such a bother.  I did the number 1 no no when adding new fish I didn't qt them.  I have a 10g tank that originally had 3 Neons.  I added 3 more Neons 1 mystery snail and an African dwarf frog.  Also added 2 live plants. Over the past couple of weeks I have lost the new Neons and now one of my original has died the only thing I have noticed is rapid breathing. Still eating and otherwise acting normal.  Also the snail has died.  I checked my water ammonia-0 nit-0  ph 7.6 (I know this is high for the Neons but it has been in this range since I've had them) temp 78. I just wonder if you have any idea what this might be.   <Because Neons are so small they will often die from a disease before any symptoms become visible. You might take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm but its probably going to be pretty tough to pinpoint the exact cause.> And if I have to start over with my tank what is the best way to go about this because I have read that the frog needs and established tank. And also if I do should I treat the tank with anything or just wash it really good with bleach.  I'm getting another tank to make a hospital tank because I feel really bad about what I did.  Thank You so much for your help. Amy <I would leave the tank with just the frog in it for at least a month before adding anything new. If you do tear the tank down, you can wash it with bleach and make sure to rinse it very well. Ronni>

Re: HELP!! ICH!! Hi Ronni, <Good morning Ruth> Thanks so much, I didn't think about a secondary.  I went to my LFS today, and they recommended "CLOUT" (which I bought).  Will that cover it? Thanks again... Ruth <Well, Im sure youve already used it and found out for yourself since Im slow in replying to this one but Clout should work fine. Good luck! Ronni>

Mysterious freshwater parasitic disease? >Hello Marina - >>Hello Bill! >Not so long ago, you helped me with a question, and while I hate to impose and become a nuisance, I have another one I hope you might have some thoughts on. >>Not to worry, Bill, "nuisance" away my friend. >Not too long ago, a white angelfish that I have in a 55 gallon tank with several other fish, including a clown loach and a Bala cat, developed what I interpreted to be ich. A white spot that indeed resembled the proverbial grain of salt appeared on each of her front flippers. Because of the presence of the clown and the Bala cat, I treated the tank with only a half-doze of "Ick Away" for about a week. At the end of that time, I detected nothing similar on any of the other fish, including the clown loach and the Bala cat, but the salt-grain-like things persisted on the angel. So I moved the clown and the Bala into another tank, and have since been treating the 55 with a full dose - for five days now. >>Interesting that the Bala and loach haven't expressed any symptoms, especially being scale less. >The salt grain like things persist on the angel, the other fish remain symptom less. From what I read, I understand that those salt-like things ought to break open and spread their young about every three days, and that is when the ick medicine attacks and kills them, so, as nothing seems to be happening either on removing the grains from the angel (who, in all other respects, seems fine and healthy) and nothing similar has appeared on any of her tank mates, I am wondering if this is ich at all. >>In my opinion it probably speaks more the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the IckAway.  It seems to me that the prudent course of action would be to add salt, starting the angel off with a saltwater dip (yes, just like seawater).  Purchase a small amount of salt mix, or if your LFS carries it, you can use real seawater.  Dip the fish for several minutes (till fins are erect with the fish losing equilibrium).  I am going to link you to two articles, with other links within for more specific treatment information (and options). http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm >It presents me with a bit of a quandary, as I do not want to continue subjecting the fish to the medication if it is not ich, yet, if it is, I do not want to stop prematurely. >>Indeed, a prudent caution, but you also cannot allow the infection to continue this way.  Read the articles, I'm sure they'll give you a good overview of treatment and future prevention. >Worse yet, I travel frequently and when I am gone my wife feeds the fish, but it will be asking a lot of her to medicate and change the water (I have not yet done a water change but have one planned for tomorrow). I leave for about 10 days Friday. >>If utilizing salt to treat, she won't have to do anything other than the usual feeding.  Neat how some stuff works, eh? ;) >Any thoughts? Could this be something other than ich?   >>As above, I believe that this information will help you greatly.  Best of luck to you, Marina 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>

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

Re: Salt Compatibility Hi crew <Greetings> I have some questions to ask...I have a female velvet swordtail and the coloration on her mouth alone is white.  Since the rest of her is a very rich dark orange color, it is very easy to spot this white patch.  It also looks a little flaky.  I also observed that a long almost transparent piece of stuff was coming out of her backside. Normally their feces is the color of the food they eat, so this looked quite strange.  She is fatter than usual, so I assume she might be pregnant.  Is this transparent stuff the beginning of her delivery possibly? And what is the stuff around her mouth. <She most likely is pregnant but the transparent feces and the white mouth are symptoms of a disease. Please read http://www/wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm for more info.> My last question involves the use of aquarium salt.  I have a little Pleco, a Pimelodelid catfish, a Betta, 2 swordtails, 2 guppies, 2 Corys, and 3 zebra Danios who all get along peacefully.  Are all these fish salt compatible? <Youll need to do some research on these fish to find out their compatibility with salt. Do a search for each fish at http://www.wetwebmedia.com. http://www.fishbase.org also has a ton of info. You can also use your favorite search engine to search the web.> Thanks for your time. J.P. Luque <You're welcome. Ronni> Disinfecting/getting rid of parasites or any other unwanted micro-organism in/on, being carried by snails w/o killing it Dear Robert, Let me just preface this email by saying, "What was originally only suppose to be a single fish in a bowl of h2o has evolved into a lesson in bio and environmental chemistry and lengthy searches on the Internet!" <Same as it ever was...> Here is my problem; I thought it would be cool to, "create a varied" ten gal. tank. for the kids! My tank includes 1 red cap goldfish, 2 fancy goldfish, and 1 black bubble eyed moor/Aufish. (whatever) 1 aquatic frog, A Chinese algae eater, 2 live plants and YES 2 snails hopefully NOT the prolific kind! 1 is very light "orangish" color and the other is a basic brownish tan color. Not that it matters, that's not the issue. I now have fish lice. The red cap is the one I noticed w/the affliction, but as I already know everything MUST be treated. <Actually... not the snails or frog. Would remove these while treating the goldfish, tank> I will treat my 10 gal w/1 tab Clout minus the frog, snails, and plants. My plants I will soak in KMnO4( I got it from the chem. lab on campus) It's hard to get just the right amt. <Agreed... you'd be better off using Alum (aluminum sulfate)... if you do use the potassium permanganate as a dip/bath, make this a "light purple" solution... and only leave the plants in for about a minute> it's in granule form plus I'm dealing w/city tap h2o that is chlorinated. So, what is light pink anyway when KMnO4 is purple? Question; How or what do I use on my frog and snails to ensure every thing is de-contaminated! I will be keeping the frog and snails separate from my tank, fish & plants after the clout treatment. Until, I can figure-out what treatment to do w/ the frog and snails. Thanks Lori P.S.  What is your thought on a complete water change after treatment? Overkill?! <Not a problem if the water has been treated, stored for a while> FYI; I have a heater for the tank if that matters in this case. Oh, I can't catch anything SERIOUS from my tank. CAN I?! <Likely not. Bob Fenner>

Re: uv sterilizer in FW tank I am intrigued by this question: <Interesting... that the UV alone improved water quality this much, and "zapped" the free-swarming stages of the parasites... what about the resting stages in the main system?> What do you mean by "resting stages in the main system?"  I would imagine if the parasite can remain dormant then this may be happening.  But if this is what you mean, then who cares?  As long as the fish don't get stressed. <Mmm, the two organisms you mention, Ichthyophthirius and Amyloodinium have alternating "active" (seeking as in moving about in the water column, and feeding on host fishes) and "inactive" as in developmental, encapsulated (attached to substrate...) phases. The only time an Ultraviolet Sterilizer can kill these parasites is during their "free-swimming" stages... and you're right re parasites are dormant, capable of re-emerging to infest your fishes at later times... Hence, UV's are not really able to "cure" infestations of ich, velvet, but can aid in their treatment (by killing free-swimming forms)... And stress can/does exist as an abiding factor in favor of the parasites. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm re the three sets of factors that determine health/disease. And possibly the UV FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/UVFAQs.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks!

Re: uv sterilizer in FW tank Ok, yeah I got that.  Clearly, the UV is helping control the free-swimmers. as long as water stays good, hopefully dormant ones will stay dormant.  And if they swim, I'm hoping UV will help control. But I too am surprised by the success! <Me too, on both counts. Bob Fenner>

Unknown Disease Killing Fish First, thanks for your swift reply. <Youre welcome.> Second, I read that one inch of tropical water fish requires twelve square inches of surface area. My tank has 200 square inches available and with all the original fish it still came under my tank limit of 16 inches of fish. Is that right?  <Yes, some people do measure this way and your calculations are correct for this method. I always go with just the basic rule of 1 per gallon, this way I know the fish arent overcrowded.> I think my ammonia was high because I had switched to a new type of food that the fish couldn't eat so the pellets just floated around in the tank. <Very possible. Now that youve switched back, has the ammonia dropped?> Also will Organophosphates affect aquarium plants? And is there a cure all for parasite infection? <Shouldnt. Most medications that are safe (and I use that term loosely!) for fish are safe for plants. There are a few exceptions to this of course.> There are some other parasites that cause some of the symptoms that I have seen, but I won't know for sure unless I take the dead fish to a vet, which I would rather not do. <Not really a cure all but there are several medications that treat multiple parasites. Check at your LFS to see what they have available.> Thanks again. <Youre welcome. Ronni>

Sick South American Leaf fish -- how to treat with a new medication? (02/15/03) I have a South American Leaf fish (Monocirrhus polyacanthus) who I believe is infested with Camallanus sp. parasites.  He has the swollen anus with red fibers that move in and out.   <That is the primary symptom...> I have tried Piperazine (which I did not expect to work) and Discomed (Levamisole).  I dosed the Discomed at 1 tab/8gallons per an article I read on a cichlid site.  The results have been mixed: fewer fibers, but some remain.  There is one other drug I have seen talked about, Ivermectin.  I have this "gold standard drug" but I can not find any recommendations on dosing.  For humans the dose is 150-200mcg/kg.  Should I dose per volume (kg=liters) of the aquarium?  That would be a lot of Ivermectin (almost 21 mg). <If you choose to try this, I would dose by the weight of the fish, and administer the Ivermectin in food.> I thought about moving him to a quarantine tank, but his current tank would remain infected and will have to be treated with Ivermectin anyways and the problem of dosing the quarantine tank remains. <You might want to put the fish into a quarantine tank anyway -- the substrate and decorations in the main tank need to be cleaned, and you can somewhat mitigate the problem by "screening" the larvae away from the fish. Dieter Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases" suggests suspending a fine screen above the bottom of the aquarium, which the larvae will fall through, preventing the fish from eating them off of the bottom of the tank.> Also, I have read several articles about the use of Ivermectin with salmon to treat sea lice, so I assume Ivermectin is safe for fish.  Any thoughts or ideas? <On Ivermectin, no. Untergasser suggests a couple of different methods for treating this, which I'll summarize. One is Concurat L 10%: dissolve 2gm in 1 litre of water. Soak live bloodworms in this until the first ones die, and then immediately feed the still-live ones to the fish. Another is Flubenol 5%: add 100mg to 100gm feed mix. Then give that five times every second day, with only one normal feeding on those days. The book includes recipes for the feed mix, also. This is a book I recommend to every serious aquarist with expensive or unusual fish!> This is a very interesting fish and from what I understand this infestation is fatal unless treated.  I would appreciate any advice or anecdotes you have to offer on my attempt(s) to help it. <Do get the Untergasser book. You might also be interested in its "big brother", Edward Noga's "Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment". I would be interested in hearing which approach you take and how it works out.> Thank you Steve Thornton MD <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Update Re: Monocirrhus polyacanthus with Camallanus infestation - 02/22/03 Ananda, Just an update.   <Hello, and thanks for the additional info!> The Discomed actually appeared to have worked.  I dosed 1 cap per 8 gallons twice over 5 days with a 30% water change in between.  The leaf fish no longer had the bulging anus with the red fibers and appeared to be getting back to normal as the feeder fish were disappearing.   <I did a little digging and found an alternate way of administering this for fish that are fussy eaters. Dissolve one capsule of Discomed in 2 ounces of water. Soak live brine shrimp in that for a few minutes and immediately feed them to the fish. This was fed to the fish -- killifish, in the example I found -- twice a day for two weeks.> However, two days ago he suddenly developed  bulbous <bubble-like> lesions on the right side of his face that proceeded to become hemorrhagic looking.  I tried dosing with PCN <penicillin> and tetracycline after doing another water change, but it was futile as was dead the next day. <I'm sorry to hear that -- this is such a neat fish. Did those lesions release any fluid?> I have never seen anything like this before.   <I haven't read about anything like this, either.> It was strange that it only affected the right side of his face from mouth to gills, but no lesions on left side of face or body.  It could have been a burn, but from what I don't know.  The heater is a submerged type and the temp in the tank was only 78 degrees.  Unfortunately, I am stuck with only speculation. <Me too. I'm going to pass this along to the rest of the crew and see if these symptoms sound familiar to anyone. --Ananda> Steve Thornton MD

There is a very safe treatment for flukes <Ananda here today...> Flukes are easily and safely treated with the dog worming medication: Droncit.   <With a bit of research, I found that Droncit is also known as Praziquantel. It is prescribed as a tapeworm medication for both dogs and cats.> Treatment on day 1 and day three or four, successfully kills flukes in Goldfish.  See Dr. Erik Johnson's book, Fancy Goldfish for precise dosages. Best wishes, Goldfish geek <Thank you for the heads-up on this book. I took a look at the book previews and it appears to be a very good book to have, even if you don't keep goldfish. --Ananda>

Re: fish now has fungus or something, how do I treat? Hello Bob, It's me again. I stopped treating with medications, turned up the heat to a little over 80 <Should be about 85 F.> and added a little salt. Not too much because I have Corys and otos. Everyone I talked to told me not to worry and just leave the tank alone. Well, Now the Corys are scratching on the bottom sand. Not a lot, just once in a while. My Gourami and tiger barbs seem fine but today I noticed that one of the Rosies that had been rubbing now has a little white junk around the edge of one eye. Fungus I assume. I am obviously new to the hobby so I looked up the symptoms in my Barron's fish health book and saw that it might be too late. Here's what I decided to do: with some difficulty, I netted the fish and gave him a salt water bath at 2 tsp salt to 2 cups water and then put him in my quarantine tank. He just about croaked in the dip so I made it a quick 1 or 2 minutes and it took him 5 minutes to swim normally again. I don't know how to medicate now. I have Melafix which healed my Gouramis fins nicely in 7 days. I also have Rid Ich (formalin and malachite green), Aquarisol and Ick Guard II for scaleless fish (37% formalin, Victoria green, Nitromersol and acriflavine). Are any of these right? <The Aquarisol is useful here... but do add aeration (the formalin makes it hard for the fishes to breathe), and be testing for ammonia and nitrite as this material will kill off nitrifying ("good") microbes along with the bad> And should I treat the main tank too? <A good idea> I do a water change once a week so I don't know what I am doing wrong. I have 13 small fish (including 2 otos) and a Gourami in a 29 gallon with a power filter and aeration. The pH has been a little high (7.8) and the temperature might fluctuate a few degrees but never below 78. Maybe overcrowding is the problem. I have been trying to figure this out for weeks now, can you please help me solve this? I am worried about the Adolfoi Corys--they cost me some $$ ya know? <Wouldn't it be great to make time move backward (and forward while we're wishing), then you could have quarantined all your incoming livestock, likely have avoided these disease issues. Best to keep studying, stay a given course of treatment at this point. Bob Fenner>

Re: Spotted Rafael Catfish Blisters <Ananda here, fielding the freshwater fish questions...> Hello Again!  I wrote in a week or two ago about a Spotted Rafael that had blisters and I was directed to your freshwater FAQs which I read through, but what I found was just a massive amount of letters about ich, and some other random things that didn't seem to match at all what I have been seeing on my fish. <Most of the freshwater disease questions we get are about ich.>   <<And a huge gap of "need to be written" areas on all but our marine section on WWM>> I have been watching him very closely and calling a couple local and not-so-local fish stores looking for a definitive answer on what my fish is ill with and what I can do to fix it and all I have gotten is a consensus that this IS some sort of parasite.  What my fish has is something I have never seen before, I have kept aquarium and pond fish for 13 years and never come across this.  I am by no means an expert on fish disease, all I have ever seen really are Popeye, ich and anchor worm, so I am stumped by this one.  He has blisters, they are about half the size of a pencil eraser and after a few days away I came home to check on him and, looking closely at the blisters, saw a tiny tiny worm, like a nematode, in each blister. <Yep, it's a parasite...though of course that's the easy part. I have been reading up on stuff for a couple of days, and am not finding much on skin-based blisters containing worms. It seems most worm infestations are more internal if they are not in the gills.> I don't even know where to start, I bought the medicine that the fish store handed me -- something I have never used and never heard of, it's "General Cure" for parasites by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. <I have no familiarity with that one, either.> Of course, none of the pictures they show on the front match what my fish has <That would make it too easy....> but the particular LFS said that was the answer.  I was also suggested to use Paragon (spelling??) and Maracyn 2, among others I cannot remember...I did not however pick up anything but the general cure because the store nearest to me only carried the general cure (and I didn't recognize any of the names except Maracyn 2 and the particular LFS assured me it was not what I wanted anyway,) <I think I agree with that part of it.> <<This is likely some sort of "worm" parasite (more likely a digenean trematode/fluke but maybe a nematode) that is erupting from your Rafael... not too rare in wild-collected South American catfishes. The Paragon might help... there are other vermicides... Levamisole, Fenbendazole, Piperazine... that might be tried. These are all administered orally... via food if nematodes are involved here. Praziquantel (as a bath/dip, injected or orally) would be my choice of therapeutic, assuming this is (most likely) a fluke infestation>> so away I went to treat my fish and nothing has happened, it's an every-other day medication and it seems (understandably) that my fish has gotten worse instead of better.  Five days later, he developed a blister on his belly -- his blisters disappear and reappear at random, and leave very little evidence of where they used to be, they do not seem to explode or anything of that type. <Very odd.> But since adding the medication he has grown somewhat listless, although he still eats.  I'm so sorry of the incessant rambling!  I'm very fond of this fish and I don't want to lose him!    <Understandable.> I have heard a lot about using saltwater dips and the like, but I don't know if that would be appropriate in his case or if the fish itself would handle it well. <I do not think the fish would tolerate it particularly well, and am not sure it would help, as these seem to be somewhat internal in nature.> <<I concur>> I have been trying to figure this out for two weeks without any clues so ANY advice/help/clues/suggestions would be wonderful.    <I would start on an anti-parasitic food, if you can find such. How do the fish's feces look? This may help diagnose the problem. Additionally, can you get a copy of Dieter Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases"? There is one treatment method suggested in there that sounds like it should work (method C6) -- if you do not have this book please let me know and I will provide details....> Again, I'm so sorry for this long email! <No problem.> Thank you for your time and great advice! Rachael <You're welcome...this has been somewhat of a stumper for me, too, so I am passing it along to the head "pet-fish boy" for further comment.  --Ananda> <<Bob Fenner, who encourages you to seek out a copy of Edward J. Noga's Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment.>>

Anchor Worms Hi, I have a 90x37x32 tank with various livebearers in. By the way I have 10 tanks of various sizes.  I recently purchased a couple of platies and 4 Siamese fighter females and 1 male with about 4 new plants.  (Not from a reputable dealer!! - mistake no 1). The tank has been running for about 4 months now. In the past 3 weeks my male Siamese fighter and 3 females had anchor worms (worm with a v tail) which I have treated successfully with Interpet No13. I treat the fish in a hospital tank.   I purchased 4 more females of which two acquired the worm again.  They are undergoing treatment. <I suspect this is the economic poison Dimilin... or the older DTHP (Masoten, Dylox...) Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/contrpdparasit.htm> My question is how do I cure the tank without damaging the plants which by the way are stunning.  I do realize that I will have to strip the tank which is no problem.  My plants are my concern. <The plants should be fine if the product mentioned is either of these organophosphates. If it is something else, please write back, Bob Fenner> I trust to hear from you soon. Kind Regards, GRAHAM LIGHT UITENHAGE SOUTH AFRICA

Nalagram & neon disease Bob,     The reason I'm contacting you is that there seems to be so few people that have used Nalagram on this disease and have a good report. It seems the more I study up on it , the more conflicting things I come up with; all the way from curable to tear it down and start all over from a sterilized scratch.    I have a lightly populated 140 gal. heavily planted tank. The fish, really, are secondary to the plants. Did you use the product in a planted tank ? And if so-- did it adversely affect the plants ? Any information you could give, or advice on how to use this product in my tank would be greatly appreciated. I have 6 packets of the Nalagram tabs on their way. So far, only one of 16 Neons is displaying the disease.             Thanks for any advice you might e-mail me,                                            Bill Mandeville <This compound, Naladixic acid, a quinolone, has been used with mixed results by me, and others... more mixed in more recent years... It does/should not adversely affect plants, unless so much is used for so long as to alter your water chemistry severely (through biological processes/collapse)... On contemplation, thought I might have the time to put into a more complete set of statements about this malady, its "cures"... and the Upjohn co. product... Instead, please read through "the krib" archives of The Aquarium Gardeners Association for this.  

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