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Old 05-05-2014, 01:39 AM   #1
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Anchor worms on goldfish

Hey I'm having a problem with anchor worms. I first noticed one on one of my fish as it appeared as a small "string" hanging from his head. It went away or so I thought and left a red mark on his head. A couple of days later I notice two red marks on his body. One on his side and one on his tail. I also noticed the white worm hanging from both red marks. I now have another fish with an anchor worm attached to his back so I know I have an infestation in the tank. I've read that you can use tweezers to remove but I dont think I want to go that route so I bought cupramine, as advised by my local fish store. I have juSt added this to my tank and am awaiting results. So what should I expect? Will the worms fall off the fish and kill any remaining eggs in the tank? How soon should I see results? Is there anything else I should be doing?



The tank is setup as follows



- 36 gallon tank

- 3 goldfish (smaller size)

- air stone

- canister filter ( carbon removed)

- water tested. With perfect water



Thanks for any advise
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:29 AM   #2
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Similar to ich, anchor worms can only be killed when free swimming. They are not actually a 'worm' but a crustaceous copepod. Your looking at a minimum of 3-4 weeks of treatment to hopefully break the life cycle. Unfortunately, anchor worms can live encysted within a fish's muscles and tissues for a very lengthy period of time. The visible 'worm' is the end stage of the female anchors life cycle when she releases eggs.

Although copper will work, its quite toxic and never can be permanently removed from a tank once added. Carbon will not fully remove it. It should also be used in conjunction with an appropriate copper test to assure levels are correct for treatment and not reaching toxic levels. Its something that should only be considered as a last resort when other options have proven not effective. There are safer and less toxic alternatives for addressing anchors. However, as copper has already been added, you will need to finish the course of treatment that you have started. Monitor your fish's condition and behavior closely during treatment and make sure the water quality is maintained. Please ask if you have further questions!
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:15 PM   #3
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Copper is rarely effective against crustacean parasites.

You can sometimes kill anchor worms attached to the fish by dipping the fish in 20g per litre salt solution for ten minutes although adult female worms are difficult to kill without using organophosphates (banned in uk) Goldfish will easily tolerate this dip for up to 15 minutes, but this should not be necessary.

Anchor worms don't encyst in the muscles. Juvenile worms that reinfest the fish do so mainly in the gills. The worms you are seeing are adult females that release many eggs over their lifespan.

In the tank, the best way to break the life cycle is to remove the fish for seven days.... 10 to be sure. So, you should be successful if you can dip the fish and keep them elsewhere for a week or so.

Treating the whole aquarium with 20% salt will rid it of anchorworm in ten mins also, but will of course wipe out your filter bacteria! If you have to keep the fish in the tank, adding 5g pe litre salt and maintaining that solution for 30 days (the lifespan of a female) should also eliminate the parasites.
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:27 PM   #4
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20g/l of salt will not kill adults and it has been scientifically demonstrated they can tolerate higher levels for 6 or more days. As a complete life cycle can take up to 25 days at 84f (much longer at lower temps), simply removing a fish for a week from its environment is not going to accomplish very much. Treating long term at a .5% salinity (19grams per gallon or 5g/l) has never proved successful when I have dealt with anchors and they actually seemed to flourish at these salinity levels necessitating the use of insecticides.

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa185


Although organophosphates are not allowed in the UK, you do a chemical called emamectin benzoate (brand Mectinsol/Lice Solve) available to you that is has shown to be extremely effective against fish lice and anchors while being virtually nontoxic and degrades quickly when exposed to sunlight/UV. Unfortunately, its not available to the public in the US yet (beyond agricultural applications) though hopefully it will be soon!
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:26 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies guys. Right now my fish seem to be doing okay. The worm is still on both of the goldfishes though . I still have the copper in the tank so I'm just waiting to finish that treatment before trying anything else. I have tried to salt dip both of my goldfishes.
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:05 PM   #6
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A complete lifecycle may take 25 days, but a fish is needed as a host for the parasite. If the fish are removed, any eggs left in the system will hatch, but the larvae need to find a host within 7 days or they will perish.
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