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Anchor Worms


Name of disease: Anchor worms (Lernea Elegans)

Type of disease: Parasite

Occurrence: Very common, and unless most other parasites, Anchor worm is not stress related. It is highly contagious as well, so the whole tank needs to be treated.

Symptoms include: A very visible parasite, so no microscope is needed. A anchor worm will attach to the body of the fish.Unlike fish lice, the anchor worm doesn't move around on the body of the fish once its attached. Flashing and scratching when the anchor worm is still in the larvae stage, since the larvae will attach to the fishes body with the same menace then the adult.

Appearance: A long stick like shape, with two extensions, shaped like a "Y". The color can be green, white, yellow. It might be a bloody spot where the head of the anchor worm hooks himself under the scale of the fish.

Caused by: Like mentioned above, anchor worms are not caused by stress of the fish. They can be brought in on a newly arriving fish, that hasn't been quarantined, or even as an egg on plant.

Treatment: The anchor worm can be removed with tweezers from the infected fish, the bloody spot dipped once with iodine or hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab, and then daily application of neosporin creme. If the anchor worm is on a newly aquired fish in quarantine, thats mostly all thats needed. If the whole tank is infected, additional measures are asked for. Medications like Dimillin or Program as well as other readily available remedies are neccessary in that case. Anchors Away can be used, and has (Dimillin)Diflubenzuron as main ingredient. Salt is great as well.

Precautions: Even though the visible anchor worm might be removed, there is still a good chance that there are larvae in the tank, especially if the tank is heavily infested. Before the anchor worm can be seen,damage could already be done to the gills and skin of the fish. Secondary infections from the open wound are also possible, so a round of medicated food is a good idea.

Picture of affected fish (Thanks, Wyukin! :))

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