Anchor Worm infestation.....help!!
This is my first post to these forums seeking help desperately
I recently built a pond in my garden measuring 9ft by 3ft by 2ft (length, width, depth respectively) to house my lone Giant Gourami which had outgrown its indoor aquarium tremendously. It measures about a foot in length.
To keep it company, I introduced about a dozen Koi and another dozen Goldfish. The poor Goldfish disappeared slowly, guess a predator got them. Interestingly, I do not suspect the giant, since I never saw it chase any fish or attempt to gobble them up. And never saw any injured or half eaten fish.
Coming to the main issue now. The Giant Gourami got infested with Anchor Worms. I do not notice any of the Koi having any visible pests, though I may be missing some. Anyway, they do not show any signs of slowing down/ill health.
I visited my local fish dealers and got two kinds of medicines. Unfortunately, both did not list the active ingredient or contents. The first looked like Methylene Blue and the second was quite surely Formaldehyde, judging by its distinct odour.
First, I used the bluish medicine in the dose recommended by the seller. The Gourami did seem to respond in that it got back to its active self. However the ugly Anchors did not physically disappear from the fish. The treatment was followed by a clean up of the pond.....half water change and a good siphon to remove the organic debris at the bottom.
After a few days, the Gourami slowed down again. I attempted to use the Formaldehyde but the fish got so upset with just a few drops (darting about like crazy) that I abandoned the idea, fearing I would harm the fish.
Next, after researching a bit on the www, including these forums, I put around a teaspoonful of Potassium Permanganate in the pond. Today, I made a one third water change and siphoned the bottom again. The Gourami still has visible Anchors though.
Now my questions:
1. Comments on the above are welcome for benefiting from constructive criticism.
2. How do I accurately calculate the dosage for the Pot. Permanganate treatment?? I roughly calculated the one teaspoonful dose after reading various articles on the www.
3. What to do now???
4. When the Anchors are affected/killed by treatment, do they still hold on to their hosts??
5. I have a couple of freshwater Turtles ready to go in the pond. Have put the idea on hold due to the ongoing treatments. When may I safely introduce them?? By any chance, do Anchor Worms infest turtles too??
6. Ive stopped feeding the fish for the past two days, hoping they would feast on any visible Anchors like many people say. I was thinking whether I should get some more fish and introduce them hoping they would do the job more efficiently. Community Cichlids maybe?? Plecos?? Silver Sharks??
Thanks in advance for going through my longish writeup. Waiting to hear from you guys.
Best wishes and regards to all.
I just found this article on how to dose.
I think I would get a pond treatment unless you are very comfortable using the PP.
Thanks for the quick reply!
Just went through the helpful article. Unfortunately for me, Pet Medications in general are not easy to obtain in our part of the world. So I am left with just one choice of the PP, which is available due to its common use for a number of applications.
I understand the Hydrogen Peroxide is used to neutralize (and Nullify the effect) the PP. The article fails to mention the duration after which we should add the HP, which is the treatment period window.
Also as per the article, I should get ready to treat my pond for the third time, hopefully after which the Anchors may be eliminated.
We have some knowledgable members who would certainly be more help than I can be but we are having a holiday here in the states so today it's pretty quiet here. I hope your post will get some attention later tonight.
Thank you yet again for the response,
Its night here and I just went to the pond to check on the fish. Shone a torchlight closely at my Giant Gourami. At last some success!! I could see that most of the Anchors on the fish appear to be dead and listless with a brown discoloration, probably from the PP. A few seem alive though. Thus I plan to repeat the PP treatment tomorrow.
Hopefully this time I d be successful
Shall wait for the others to chip in.
Been waiting for more input on this...
Updates from my end...
I treated the pond for the third (and hopefully last) time last evening. With knowledge gained from the helpful links provided, I put in the PP at dusk since its said to get degraded by light. Thus it would have the night hours to act on the pests.
I inspected the Giant Gourami again in the dark and amazingly it allowed me to touch I managed to gently grab one of the anchors and pulled it off. It came off easy, with tiny tentacles and all. I took the disgusting creature indoors and poked it around with a pen tip. It showed no movement at all. Hopefully dead??
I resumed feeding the fish today which were quite hungry, understandably too. I think I can conclude that at least the Koi do not have the guts to go messin' around the Giant and gobble up the anchors. So it brings me back to a point in original post. Whether to add more fish or not.
Last but not the least, when would it be safe to introduce my turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii) to this pond???
You said your pond was 9 x 3 x 2 and you had added a dozen Koi + the gourami. I wouldn't be adding anything else to that pond. Those koi's will all reach a foot and that's 12 ft of koi to a 9 ft pond already.
Do you have a filter in the pond? The cycle is now probably gone so you will have to be careful for a while and keep up with water changes. Sounds as you got rid of the anchors. You may want to take this opportunity to clean out the pond and vac up that bottom of anchor worms and dead snails.
Hello to all,
Wanted to provide you with some interesting updates.
As it turned out, the Anchors were not gone from the pond. Laying low maybe but not gone. I found out the hard way after I came across a female Giant Gourami for sale locally. Though she was just about half the size of the male I had, I thought she might make a suitable bride for my lonesome prince.
Just a few days after adding the lady, the Anchors were out in all fury covering her now.
It made me do a lot of head scratching.......whether to repeat the meds or what.... I started to think on the lines of biological control then. Surely, anchors would have natural enemies?? I Googled on this but came up with absolutely zilch. More head scratching......
Then an idea popped in my mind. Controversial yes, but maybe it would work?? I thought about the fishes which have a habit of nipping fins and taking a bite out of whatever they see hanging and dangling in the waters......went to my local market and looked around.
Came home with bags full. Had bought the following:
-Dozen Tiger Barbs.
-Dozen Mbuna Cichlids
-Dozen Mollies (wild grey colored variants)
-Pair of Shovelnose catfish.
Added the crowd to the pond. Unfortunately the Shovel nose did not survive. Had got them for the first time and was very enthusiastic, even with all the horror stories about the final size and all.
Guess what happened??? My 'experiment' was a success!!
Within 2 days the anchors were history The male Gourami made a speedy recovery and all the lesions, the red sore spots healed quickly. The female was also cleansed of the pests. Now the male spends time courting the lady, though he is a bit of a harasser.
The other fish are doing good too. The mollies are up to their usual business of making babies. Lots of fry in the pond, even with so many big mouths round.
The filtration system as asked by lady hobbs is inadequate for the pond, especially after the new additions. I plan to add another bigger power filtration system very soon. My dealer was out the last time I visited so Im waiting for them to get fresh stocks.
Ive dropped the idea of adding the Turtles to the pond given the load of fish it has now. Now a new design for a separate combined turtle and tortoise setup is circling my head.
Best wishes and regards to all.
I am certainly happy to hear your anchors appear to be gone but it would concern me that other fish simply ate the part of the worm that was exposed and the head is still inside the body. Another concern is that anchors lay eggs inside the fish so those will still hatch and present a problem later on.
I would continue to search for a medication especially for anchor worms and perhaps a store there can order it for you. Two medications used for anchor worms here in the States is a product called Clout and another called Anchors Away. Hopefully you can run across an achor worm treatment where you are.
Thanks for the quick response, as always!
The point of part of the worms remaining inside the fish did occur to me but the red sore areas showing up as red spots of almost a centimeter dia have all disappeared within the course of less than a couple of weeks. Im hoping that the fish is making a full recovery given this 'clinical sign'.
About the eggs......well they could be a problem.......unless the fish eat away any new anchors they see as they appear. That's what Im hoping for.
Fingers crossed, hopes alive. I shall report back any problems I have down the line. How long do you think would it be before I can safely say the anchors are eliminated, given that there are no more seen??
Unfortunately for me, I reside in a third world country where simple things can be very difficult, if not impossible. If you order something online, one must clear unthinkable hurdles like delayed/damaged/disappearing shipments, Customs Duty and what not. I shall however try one of the better dealers in town and hope they carry Clout or Anchors Away.
I reside in Karachi, Pakistan btw.