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kerry123

Goldfish Anchor worm

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I have a fantail goldie and a week ago I start noticing its skin near it's belly fin is red and swollen with a little white string on it, I thought it might been hurt by one of the aquarium deco. But 3 days later I notice the string is getting longer but the swollen part remain the same, the fish was eating normal and swims normal but it tend to bang itself in the aquarium glass often.

So I did some research and think it can be anchor worm, I took the fish out last night and try to figure out if it is anchor worm, but the string is so thin and the fish is flopping around that I can't see the "anchor" of the worm

Does this sound like anchor worm? If it is will it better to use tweezer and take the worm out or is it better to use anchor worm medicine on the whole tank(I have 2 other goldie in it) and let the worm fall off on its own?

Also how do I treat it's wound cause by the worm?

Any help with be appreciated, thanks.

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Hello, could you please fill this out


    Test Results for the Following:
  • * Ammonia Level
  • * Nitrite Level
  • * Nitrate level
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
    Other Required Info:
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?
  • * Water temperature?
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)?
  • * How often do you change the water and how much?

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size?
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners?
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often?
  • * Any new fish added to the tank?
  • * Any medications added to the tank?
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

And also if you could upload pics/video of the wound site, that would be fantastic.

Are the other fish doing OK? Are there any signs of infection on them?

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    Test Results for the Following:
  • * Ammonia Level: 0
  • * Nitrite Level:1ppm
  • * Nitrate level:10ppm
  • * Ph Level Tank: 7.5 (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
  • * Ph Level, Tap: didn't test (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
    Other Required Info:
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? : API Master test kit
  • * Water temperature? : around 18 C
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? about 40 gal, been running for 3 weeks with fish, 3 weeks without fish
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? aquaone double filter cartridge
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? 1 time per week, 30-40 %

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 2 days ago, 40%
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 3 goldies, about 3-4 inches each
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? water conditioners, stress zymes
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? goldfish flakes, 1 time per day
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No. 2 of them introduced on the same day, the other the day after
  • * Any medications added to the tank? Nitra-Zorb to lower the nitrite and nitrate level
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment: none except nitra-zorb for 5 days now
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?: found some bloody streaks on the tail of one of my oranda red cap, but it had been like this since the day it came from the aquarium.
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? The oranda had been staying in the bottom for 2 days before, but then it acts normal again and start swimming around.
  • One of my other fantail also have a broken scale on the side of its body with red swollen but no string.

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I am really concerned about your level of nitrites. It looks like your tank is having a cycle bump or hasn't properly been cycled. You really need to get as low of nitrites in your water as possible. You should do a seventy-five percent change and then do at least that much every other day until your cycle is sorted. It looks like you haven't treated any of your fish or quarentined them, so it is a good idea to treat them all for flukes and parasites right now. You will want to get some aquarium salt. You can also use pickling salt or kosher salt as long as it doesn't have any other ingrediants in it. You will want to add 1 tsp. per gallon (make sure to dissolve it in a bit of warm water first). Then when you do your water change you will need to add the same amount of salt back in that you remove. If you do a fifty percent change, then you need to add 15 more tsps. back in. The next thing you will want to look for is prazi-pro. I treat for four weeks with two days off. You can also add the prazi back in after doing a waterchange. Let me konw if any of this is confusing.

I do think a picture or video of the fantail is worth posting as well.

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Does this sound like anchor worm? If it is will it better to use tweezer and take the worm out

Also how do I treat it's wound cause by the worm?

Any help with be appreciated, thanks.

I just pluck them out and disinfect wound site with cottom bud dipped in disinfectant such as peroxide or mecuricrome or iodione , even methylene blue works.

repeat after 24 hours if necessary.

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I've just salted the tank to 0.3% in the past, and that has worked very well. The salt here also has the added bonus of protecting against nitrite-induced brown blood, since you seem to have gotten past the ammonia stage in the cycling process.

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Today I've just realise the other goldie also has a similar red wound in the tail area! Its a red wound with a white dot on it but no string yet, like my other fantail! So now all my fish has this!

So I'm pretty sure its either anchor worm or some kind of contagious diseases.

I'm about to go out and buy an anchor worm medicine that I found yesterday and it is said to treat external fish parasites(including fish lic, gill flukes and anchor worm).

But Im just wondering that if there's only a white spot on the red wound but no string yet, will putting the medicine in the tank be effective in killing the parasites that is in the fish's skin?

p.s I do have aquarium salt at home, but I'm thinking at this stage will it be quicker to use medicine instead of aquarium salt to treat the parasite?

Edited by kerry123

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You will need to pull it out. You will see it more clearly by tomorrow, I bet.

The anchor worm treatment inhibits chitin synthesis and the formation of new anchor worms, so you have to get rid of these adult females yourself.

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So tonight I will first pull out the one with the string, then I add the medicine, then if the other worm came out of the other 2 fish, I pull them out too?

Do I need to treat the wound site with some iodine?

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Yes! :)

You can swab with iodine, if you like.

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Just one more question, because I'm currently using Nitra-zorb in the filter to lower down the nitrite and nitrate level.

If I want to put the anchor worm medicine in, do I need to take the nitra-zorb bag out or can I lave it in there? It didn't state in the instruction on the medicine or nitra-zorb but I want to make sure that they both won't affect each others performance.

And can I leave my carbon cartridge inside the filter(also didn't state in medicine instruction)?

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I don't know about the Nitra-Zorb, although my suspicion is that it won't interfere with the med.

However, the carbon most definitely will and needs to go before adding meds to the water.

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Ok, but carbon is responsible to keep the tank water clean, if I take it out, and the medicine say treatment time is 5 days each time, so it means I can't change the water in those 5 days. Will that affect the water quality and stress the fish more?

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Ok, but carbon is responsible to keep the tank water clean, if I take it out, and the medicine say treatment time is 5 days each time, so it means I can't change the water in those 5 days. Will that affect the water quality and stress the fish more?

Firstly, I actually don't know that you need to add anti-anchor worm medication. In my own experience and that of others, pulling out the female adult and doing large daily water changes, as well as adding salt (incrementally at 0.1% every 12 hours to final concentration of 0.3%) should be sufficient. Medication is only necessary when the infestation is out of control.

Secondly, carbon is nice to have, but it is completely unnecessary. A lot of us on the forum don't actually use carbon (other filter media, yes) because you have to replace it monthly and it really is useful only when you need to clarify the water or to remove meds. As for not change the water, you can still do it. You just have to add back the medication that was taken out with the water.

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Just a quick update, yesterday I've pick the worm out with tweezer althought I can't see the anchor... So I'm not sure if it is anchor worm, it is just a thin white string with a little bit of black. I've also put some iodine on all 3 fishes wound. Upon close look, their wound is actually kind of slimy and sticky when I cleaned with cotton stick, and the slimy blood got on the cotton. Not sure if it's normal?

I've also added the parasite medi just in case and also some aquarium salt. But I've found a new prob, and that's the nitrite level in my tap water is actually 0.25ppm, I'm not sure if that will increase more nitrite in my tank with each water change? Bcos the nitrite is still pretty high in my tank and it doesn't seem to decrease with water change.

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You are at the stage in the cycling process where nitrites will shoot up sky high, even after only a few hours after a large WC. Thankfully, because the ammonia oxidizing bacteria are now in place, your ammonia levels are zero, which makes it permissible for you to add salt as you've been doing. In addition to all the other benefits of salt, it will also do a fantastic job and blunting the toxic effects of nitrites.

Having said that, don't let nitrites go up too high. You can rely on salt and Seachem Prime to make the tank safe against nitrite up to a point, but the ultimate solution is giant water changes. Just make sure you add back the correct amount of meds and salt with each WC :)

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So will the 0.25ppm level of nitrite in my tap water affect the level in my tank with each water change? Is that kind of nitrite level in tap water normal or do I need to seek other water sources?

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Nitrites should always be zero. However, it's an unfortunate reality that some municipal tap will contain some ammonia and/or nitrite, and a well-establish biological filter should be able to consume them within 24 hours after water change. During this 24 hour period, you should use something like Seachem Prime (water conditioner) so that it will destroy chlorine & chloramines, and detoxify ammonia and nitrites. Prime stays activated in the water for 48 hours, approximately.

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I've never used Seachem Prime before and not sure if they have that in Australia. The water conditioner I'm currently using only neutralize ammonia, chlorine and chloramines but it didn't say it will neutralize nitrite, so shall I stop using this and try look for Seachem prime?

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If you can, definitely get Prime, because it really is so much better. They do have it in Australia, as a bunch of our Australian members use it :)

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Ok will go have a look tomorrow, thanks again for your help!

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Just another update:

Two of my goldies wound are almost healed! You can only see a little bit of pink now and they looks much happier and swimming around with their fins wide open(however the worm didn't come out of them, so I'm not so sure now if it is anchor worm or just ulcers...)! But the other one still have a pretty red wound and seem a bit depressed sometimes but it is getting better everyday!

Tomorrow will be the fifth day that they are on parasite medication and according to the instruction manual, "Repeat treatment after 5 days if necessary", I'm not sure in this situation if its best to continue another 5 days treatment on this medication or stop it and let the aquarium salt do the rest of the job?

P.s I will also be doing another 40% water change tomorrow since nitrite is still pretty high at the moment.

Edited by kerry123

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I would just let salt finish up the healing. Try 80% WC, instead of 40%.

I'm glad everyone is on the mend! :)

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Ok thanks. So if I changed 80% of the water, I will have to add the equal amount back into the new water right? Currently I'm doing 1tbs salt per 20L of water according to the instruction manual, so 80% of water for my tank will be about 120L of water so I add back 6tbs of salt?

Also can I put the carbon back in filter to remove any remaining medication? Will carbon affect aquarium salt?

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