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Body And Gill Flukes


Name of disease:body and gill flukes (monogenetic trematodes)

Type of disease: parasite

Occurrence: one of the most commonly found parasites on a goldfish

Symptoms include:excessive slime coat, isolation, clamped fins, scratching and flashing, sores and ulcers as the result of the scratching. With gill flukes, its gasping at the surface, gills being irritated and cloppy looking.

Background: Both types of flukes can be found on the fish simultaniously. but are different in their way of reproduction. The gill flukes lives in the gills and lays eggs in the tank, while the body fluke lives on the fishes body and bears live youngens. Flukes will not bite the fish or suck blood, but feeds on the fishes slime coat, therefore endangering the fishes protective layer and allow penetration of other parasites as well. The gill flukes can do exessive damage to the gills, and cause bacterial gill disease as well.

Treatment: A blanket salt treatment can take care of at least 7 pathogens, but it will not affect the fluke. Commonly used treatments are pottassium permanganate (PP), Droncit, Fluketabs, Formalin and Healthguard and Quick Cure. A repeat treatment is neccessary, since the eggs or larvae can still be in the tank, even thought he first round of treatment would have killed off the mother fluke. A follow up treatment is recommended every 4 days, and just as a precaution, a third one after another 4 days.

A simple dip, with great success done by JoAnn Burke, the founder of Dandy Orandas, works good as well - 1 part of hydrogen peroxide (commonly found in the stores) and 9 parts of tank water mixed together, and the fish dipped in it for no more than 10 seconds will knock both types of flukes off really good, but a treatment of the tank is still neccessary with the above mentioned medications.

Precautions: Since the treatment will kill off your beneficial bacteria, the filter media should be taken out during treatment. One might say that fluke larvae might still be hiding in the media, so a reintroduction into the filter after the 1. treatment brings the fluke back. But the larvae that remains in the filter media will need to get out and find another host, otherwise it will starve. So, with a 2. and 3. round of treatment you can assure that all the larvae are out of the media.

Also make sure that you measure the dosage correctly, since a lot of those treatments are potentially dangerous to the fish.

Prevention: The newest research on flukes has discovered an interesting result - a closed population of fish seem to develop immunity against the flukes, and that will eliminate the fluke over time. The risk of fluke investation is lowered tremendously if one can resist the urge to keep introducing new fish to an established aquarium, or any new arrivals would need to be treated for flukes automatically, since the fluke is found in aquariums and pet stores all over the world.

Fluke, as seen under a microscope....

View attachment: FlukeUnderMicroscope.jpg

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