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TamtheLittleBlackMoor

Treating For Anchor Worm And Hemeraging

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Ah, I dunno where these worms came from. All I did was a water change on my 55 with the normal de-chlor and pH stabalizer, a few days later my fish all have bloody legions and anchor worm. :( I have moved all 4 into a 20 galon hospital with a 350 bio-filter and doubled the oxygen flow into the tank. Added a teaspoon of salt, and the suggested dosages for Maracyn to treat the hemeraging and prevent dropsy as well as a parasitic/fungal med. for the worms.

ammonia, nirites and nitrates all read 0ppm

pH 7

the 55 has been running on the newer Penguin 350 since october and has a great bacteria colony. The 20 OT was set up this afternoon.

I do 50% water changes twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

There are 4 fish, one roughly 6 inches, two that are 5 inches and a runt at 3 inches.

I use Amquel+ and Kent pH stabalizer with every water change, the 20 has maracyn and a parasitic/fungal med as well as a teaspoon of salt.

I usualy feed them Hikari Lionhead sinking pellets and blood worms.

All 4 fish have been lethargic and listless staying near the bottom for a few days though when places in the medicated water they peerked up quite a bit.

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Treating in a 20 gallon tank will be easier for it will take less meds, but if you will have to make sure that the qt tank is kept pristine - is the filter cycled? If not - the tank may need to be changed twice a day with LARGE water changes. Poor water will make things MUCH worse. If you are using the 350 from the 55, then I am assuming it is cycled (By the way - the 350 is not really sufficiant for a 55 gallon tank by itself. It is a fine filter, but you will/do need more.)

You also need to treat your main tank in some form, for anchor worms will remain in the tank, sitting and waiting for fish to attack.

Anchor worm can lay, dormant in egg form for many months to a year - opportunisitically waiting to attack. They are not particular about stressed fish or anything else - but some have hazarded a guess that warm water, followed by cooler water can trigger a breakout. You need to remove and treat all the microscopic juveniles that are free swimming in the tank, as well as remove the eggs so you will not get hatchouts in the future.

You can either treat your fish in the main tank, treating the tank at the same time, or you can keep the fish in the smaller qt and break down the 55 (keep the filter cycled and leave it alone. Treat the filter with the salt/meds).

The best way to do this is to remove all the gravel, where the eggs hide and boil it. The water can simply be changed out 100%. Treating the tank with anchorworm meds (salt, Anchors Away, Program, Diminlin) should take care of the free swimmers that remain in the filter and will preserve the cycle. Treat the fish - removing adults as seen. I like to dip in salt and replace them in the cleaned tank, then treat the tank.

Anchor Worms are one of the pests that are virtually eliminated from the equation when a tank is run bare bottom. There is no place for eggs to hide - so you can erradicate them more quickly and easily.

Anchor worms are not horribly difficult to conguer. They just take dilligence. They will not kill a fish, but the secondary infection from them can. Keep an eye on the places where the adult worms attach. You may need to treat for a secondary bacteerial infection. The MAracyn should take care of anything there, but keep your eyes open. The bloodly lesions are most likely places where an adult worm has burrowed under the fish's scales and attached. They can been nasty.

The amount of salt (1 tsp) you have in a 20 gallon tank is nothing. You need to run 3 tsp per gallon. A 20 gallon tank holds about 18 gallons, so you need to use 54 teaspoons of salt if you wish the salt to help. Maracyn will help prevent secondary infections. I am assuming the "parasitic/fungal med" is designed to conquer anchor worms.

:)

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Always a help Daryl. Thank you.

I'm going to keep them in the 20 and just totally break down the 55 because I need to boil the driftwood in there. It is a bare bottom, with a few large and small river rocks scattered around between the drift wood. I've got two 350's on the 55. The newer one is still running on it while the older one is being used without the carbon for the QT. :) I wouldn't dare run a 55 on just one alone.

I'll bring up the salt levels as you suggested gradualy. The worms might have 'hatched' when the cooler waters from the change were added. What bothers me is the burrowing under the scales. Will the meds. kill these worms as well?

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Yes - an anchor worm is not encased under the fish's skin like the ich parasite is. In ich, the adult that has burrowed under the skin (making the telltale white bump) is untouchable by meds when it is under the skin. You need to treat all the free swimmers and wait until the adults hatch out - burst out of the white spots. They are susceptible then.

Anchor worms hang off the fish - only their heads are buried into the fish. Since they are quite large, they lift up a scale and dive in. This leaves a fair sized bloody divot out of the fish - even when the adult drops off. You can kill adults that are on the fish with meds. If an adult is in a particularly hard place to get or the fish is particularly uncooperative, you can just wait for the meds to kill the worm rather than plucking it off, and then rub a wet towel down the fish's side - this will dislodge any pieces of worm that are left. If you do decide to pluck, do it carefully and gently. The worm has taken a large "bite" out of your fish, and if you pull hard, you can pull away a chunk of fish flesh at the same time.

Where the worm enters leaves an opening for opportunisitic bacteria to attack. Having the anitibiotic in the water is a fine thing for fish heavily infested with anchor worms. It will not do anything for or against the worms, but will help prevent secondary problems.

The worms are readily killed in their free swimming form. What you want to make sure you do is have medication reach every inch of a tank to kill off any waiting in the wings. If you fail to get them, some time, down the road, the creepy things will be back.

Ewwwwwh.... <_<

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Ew, that was a very interesting/disturbing bit of info. I've plucked the easiest ones off, and man are they ugly. I saw what you said were the heads, they're sort of star shaped. To catch all the late bloomers would it be ok to keep the meds going for a little it longer than what the packages suggest? (a weeks treatment)

EDIT:Spelling.

Edited by TamtheLittleBlackMoor

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