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  1. #1

    Default Help me ID this parasite? (photo included)

    0 Not allowed!
    Hello Aquatic Community,

    Wow... it seems like whenever I post on a forum of any sort it is usually bad news. I feel a bit guilty. Anyways, here is the situation, maybe someone can help:

    On Sunday the 25th I noticed something white sticking out from the side of my largest Blind Cave Tetra. It is hard to ID. Trust me I have been googling fish parasites for the last few days. Initially I thought it was Ich, but it seems a little too big. Then I thought it was a scale that is coming off. I have ditched that hypothesis because it doesn't look like the other scales.

    Behavioral observations seem inconclusive. Sometimes I notice her hovering near the bottom occasionally "yawning," nose angled down. Always in the spot I feed them. She is still eating. Other times she is swimming around merrily with the rest.

    I think I can rule out fish lice because of the coloration and lack of black spots on the parasite. The part that appears to actually attach to the fish looks a little darker and sort of pointed, reminds me of a tick's mouthpiece. Perhaps it is some sort of fluke?

    Nitrates: 0
    Temp: 75F
    Hardness: uncertain
    Salinity: uncertain
    Additives: flourish excel (daily), flourish comp (biweekly)

    These are the actions I have taken so far.

    - Immediate 25% water change. It was water change day anyways, I aim to do them approx every 12 days.

    - Netted the tetra and gave her a 1hr paraguard dip in my bucket. 3cc/gal

    - Dosed tank with 8cc paraguard per day since sunday. The tank is 20 gal. The instructions say 5cc per 10 gal. I figure 8cc makes sense because I am trying to compensate for decor and substrate displacement.

    - Dosed ~4cc melafix. This is a small dose, and I dont plan to do any more because I am not sure if it will interact with the paraguard.

    I was tempted to try a salt bath but I cannot find definite answers regarding cave tetras and salt baths.

    I have linked images. I tried to enhance the contrast in one of them. Sorry for the blurryness, I worked with what I have - a magnifying glass, phone camera, and patience. Any input on this issue is greatly appreciated.

    Last edited by Public Alias; 11-29-2012 at 02:31 AM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    0 Not allowed!
    It's an anchor worm.
    When I go fishing I just throw sharp rocks in the water and wait for the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.

    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
    Dear naps, sorry I hated you so much when I was a child... Love me

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by mommy1
    It's an anchor worm.
    Well thanks for the quick answer! Interesting, I thought they were longer and usually appear with red irritation on the skin. Of course I'm sure that comes later once it has had more time to feed.

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    If it is an anchor worm, the redness on the fish will start to appear when the parasite has been at work for a little while, and at that stage you should be able to see the cotton like tail of the parasite hanging from the angry looking wound. They can appear to be white red or green.

    I'm not actually too sure if the Paraguard will be much good to treat it with. Salt will do nothing to get rid of anchor worms, but will probably be good for any secondary infections that might pop up. Something like PraziPro or Clout - something that treats for flukes is usually what you need to get rid of these little nasties.
    Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn. ~Chuck Clark

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks escamosa. I intend to not allow it to get to that stage.

    According to my research the paraguard will kill hostless anchorworms, but it might not kill those that already have a host. So I intend to keep dosing paraguard.

    Clout looks like a good option but it isn't good for my amanos. A potassium permanganate dip looks like a good cure - I can do that in a bucket so as not to expose my shrimp. Does that strategy sound good?

    I just need to find some potassium permanganate. Already called two lfs, local pet and garden supply store, local hardware store, and a local drug store. I might have to just order online.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    If you can get hold of some potassium permanganate, then that would be a good strategy. Just keep a very close eye on the rest of your fishes, as quite a lot of the time, where there's one of these kinds of nasties, there's more.
    Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn. ~Chuck Clark

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Anchors Away or Clout will do the trick for you, as well.

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    I ordered 35 grams of potassium permanganate online - came out to $13 with shipping and I should have it by the 3d. In the meantime I've been doing small (10%) water changes every other day, and continuing the paraguard treatment.

    I've been watching the fish very closely. All seem to be acting normally. Good appetites. I have noticed another one of the larger females has some reddening around the base of her left pectoral fin. I wonder if that has always been there but I am just now noticing it, or if it is new and possibly related to my other female's issue. Either way, when I get the PP I'll probably just dip both females for safe measure - since I read it can treat both parasites and bacterial infections.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    Could be you are not seeing the sores associated with anchor worms yet because the worms have not yet buried themselves inside the fish. It's after they have become mature and laid their eggs that they will exist the fish and that's when you will see a nasty looking open wound.

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    You must be right Lady Hobbs! Just last night I noticed a small reddish/pink sore on one of the smaller cave tetras. It has approximately a 2mm diameter and it sort of looks like there is a missing scale there. Must be an anchor worm related sore.

    So at this point I have:

    The worm protruding from the side of my largest female (as pictured above). Which has gotten smaller with Paraguard but I still plan on dipping her.

    The redness around the base of another female's pectoral fin.

    And now this sore on another cave tetra.

    As soon as I get home from work tonight all three are getting a Potassium Permanganate bath! The poor things. I think it is interesting that I'm only seeing these manifestations on my females. Anyways, I will update this thread as the situation develops!

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