To treat and rid your tank of Argulus, commonly known as fish lice, there are several methods one can try. One of the most effective treatments against the fish lice is using an organophosphate.
Organophosphate has been used successfully on removing lice, fleas and other parasites from dogs, cats, horses and even gardens. However, the United Kingdom has banned the use of organophosphates for use a fish disease treatment. You can still purchase it but it will be costly.
Using organophosphate in three treatments over the estimated life cycle of the parasites almost always removes the fish lice. You would do the three treatments at 10 day intervals, which would not only remove the adults and juveniles but any juveniles that may be hatching or recently hatched making sure the fish disease doesn’t come right back. A more common organophosphate is known as Fluke Tabs.
Fluke tab treatments should not be continuous, as many types of fish, but especially the larger cyprinids (Koi and Goldfish) may experience a strange inflammatory dermatitis if the product is left in the water longer than 48 hours. Therefore, it is recommended that you do a fifty percent water change after 48 hours, and re-treat after a 24 hour hiatus in the middle.
Organophosphates certainly do eliminate monogenetic trematodes with varying effectiveness, but it is known that these Monogeneans can and DO develop resistance to the compounds. The unique, carbamate-pesticide portion of this compound is the important adjunct that enhances its parasiticidal effect.
Do not use on tropical fish from the Amazon River. Discuses are particularly sensitive. There is significant toxicity of the Carbamates to certain fish, most notably Discus and Catfish, who may be affected adversely.
There is some that recommend using a chitin inhibitor, such as dimilin against this fish disease, which will prevent the juveniles from developing into adults as they shed their exoskeleton but we have not found any conclusive testing to back this theory. Dimilin is said to interrupt the parasite’s life cycle and reproductive processes. It is said to be safe for any water plants you may have in the tank and will not discolor the water.
Dimilin should be used as soon as parasites are observed on the fish. Fish lice infestations are easily spread to other tanks by nets boots, clothing & hands. Moving an infested fish to another tank will spread the disease to other fish.
You can also use Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate. Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate is an odorless blue crystal that readily dissolves in water. It is also soluble in methanol, glycerol and slightly soluble in ethanol. Copper Sulfate, some-times referred to as Blue Vitriol or Bluestone, is a readily available and economic source of copper. You would use one drop per every gallon of water in your tank. Never use this if your water hardness is less than 50ppm, the optimum is 200ppm.
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