Anchor worms are parasites that infect fish and one of the main problems with them is that they increase the risk of attracting other diseases. The anchor worms can cause serious damage to a fish and can eventual kill the fish themselves, but anchor worms are only seldom the cause of death in fish with anchor worm since the damage weakens the fish and opens it up for other diseases that end up killing the fish.
Anchor worms are in fact small crustaceans. These crustaceans start out their life as free swimming and find a fish to burrow their way into. They burrow themselves too far into the fish to allow for safe removal. When they have buried themselves into the fish they move themselves into the muscles where they live for several months while developing. They then make their way out of the fish, a process that often leaves ugly wounds, and releases their eggs before dying. The circle will then start over again.
The wound caused by the crustaceans often gets infected which is one of the main reason this disease can invite so many other diseases to infect the sick fish. The long time the crustaceans spend in the fish also makes it hard to know where this disease was introduced from and if it has been cured. The symptoms of anchor worms include the fish scratching themselves against everything in the tank and white green threads hanging out with inflamed centres on the body of the fish.
Anchor worms can be treated with potassium permanganate in the community tank (will color the water) or by bathing sick fish in a potassium permanganate solution (10mg per litre) for 20-30 min. Treating the entire community/holding aquarium will as I said color the water and be a little messy but it is still a god idea since it guarantees that no other fish are infected and that the disease doesn't return in a few months by emerging from a fish that is currently showing no signs of infection. If you decide to treat your entire tank you should add 2 mg potassium permanganate to every litre of aquarium water in your tank.
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