Flukes fish disease


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Flukes are not the name of a single disease but rather the name of a number of parasites. The term flukes are used for a number of different about 1 mm long flat worms that all can be treated and diagnosed in the same way. Unlike many other health problems in fish, flukes can infect healthy fish if introduced to your aquarium and it is therefore important to try and prevent them from ever reaching your aquarium in the fist place.

Preventing flukes from entering your aquarium can be done by quarantining all new fish for a couple of weeks before letting them into your main aquarium and by avoid using live food from insecure sources such as water with fish in them. Ideally you should avoid feeding live food that you haven't cultivated yourself to make sure that you avoid the introduction of flukes with the live fish food.

The symptoms of flukes are similar to those of ich/ick. It is however possible to see the difference using a handheld magnifying glass. If you are dealing with flukes you should be able to see eyes and movement which you won't see if you are dealing with ich/ick.  Common symptoms include fish scratching itself against everything all the time, mucus on gills or body, sunken in bellies, rapid breathing, and reddened skin. In severe cases the fins on infected fish can be eaten clean of the fish.  Flukes will if left untreated kill the fish by destroying its gills.

Fluke treatment is carried out using potassium permanganate. You can either bathe the sick fish in a potassium permanganate solution (10mg per litre water) for about 20-30 minutes or treat the entire holding tank. Treating the entire tank will help make sure that you kill all flukes and help you avoid a new fluke problem, but it will be a little messy as potassium permanganate will color the water in the aquarium. Despite this I recommend the later option as it is safer and doesn't involving catching the sick fish and subjecting it to extra stress, and because it helps make sure that all flukes are eradicated.

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