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Old 01-27-2004, 04:19 PM   #1
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Parasite? Please Help

Please Help
about a month ago i noticed a few small white worms (about 1/4 inch) on my oscars head. They dissapeared later that day and i had dismissed them as perhaps some banged up scales. I recently started battling an algea outbreak and now the worms are back on the top of my oscars head. They are also very prevent in algea growth on the glass. They are definetly small white worms of some sort. about 1/4 inch long and very skinny. I need to know what i can do to get rid of these things as soon as possible.

P.S. The oscar seems to chow no signs of stress and the only other fish in the tank are nocturnal and i have been unable to determine if they too have these worms.
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Old 01-27-2004, 04:49 PM   #2
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Surprised...

Let me see if I understand you correctly....the worms that are on the Oscar's head are the same kind as worms that you're seeing in the algae on the glass of your aquarium?? Do the worms on your Oscar's head seem to be attached there or do they move around?

I would have immediately diagnosed your problem as 'anchor worms', which are actually parasitic copepods that burrow into the fish's body and leave a visible, thread-like body extending out like a hair. However, the thread-like phase of the 'anchor worm' life cycle isn't free-living (you won't see them swimming around or moving through the algae).

Little worms that you see crawling around in algae are usually free-living nematodes that shouldn't cause a problem with your Oscar. I certainly wouldn't expect to find them crawling around on his head, however. There ARE parasitic nematodes but they're generally internal parasites.

Do the little worms appear to be flat or rounded? If they're flat then you may be looking at planaria...which are also not parasitic.

All in all....a very curious situation. Any additional information would be welcomed.
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Old 01-27-2004, 05:01 PM   #3
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Sounds like anchor worm to me if your fish is with any others i would quarantine him ASAP if possible. Try removing the parasite with a pair of tweezers if you can and treat wound with Mercurochrome or what ever your local pet shop recommends. There is a solution called Melafix which is made from a tea tree (all natural) that treats almost all things. Is your tank underneath a window I have heard that if your tank is under a window that it actually promotes algea growth other then that I don't have any other ideas. Good Luck!
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Old 01-27-2004, 06:14 PM   #4
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*nods and agrees with Fruitbat and precious*

You have 2 different types of worms in your tank. The ones on the tank walls are harmless; if they were dangerous to fish they BE on em and not on the tank walls. They are a result of extra nutrients in the tank. Cut down on feedings, and do a daily gravel vac for a week and you should see a reduction in em. To completely remove em would likely require cleaning out the tank entirely.

The ones on your oscar's head is another story. Do the worms have a sorta split tail? Is so, its probably an anchor worm. If not, could be a host of other parasites, such as fish lice. I would isolate him as precious mentioned.

However, Melafix is useless for parasites; the only thing Melafix is good for is minor fin rot and minor wounds. I wouldn't suggest it in this case.
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Old 01-27-2004, 06:35 PM   #5
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Though there are those who advocate removing 'anchor worms' with tweezers...I am not one of them. First of all...the part of the 'worm' that you can see is only a tiny part of the entire organism. The 'anchor' part of the 'worm' is embedded in the flesh of the fish and is difficult to remove without causing a pretty nasty little crater. Parasite Clear...a product of the Jungle company....worked absolute wonders for me when I had an outbreak of these parasites on my gouramis. I heartily recommend it in your case. If you decide to try this product, make sure you remove any desirable invertebrates you have in your tank (shrimp, snails, etc.) before treatment.
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:21 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the responses- a lot of questions to respond to. I've taken a really close look at all of this tonight and i do believe the worms on the oscars head to be the same as those in the algea. I was looking for info earlier and read a lot about anchor worms. The worms on my oscar do not have forked tails. They also dont appear stuck to the oscar- kinda like theyre just crawling around. theyre on the top of his head, not by the gills or mouth. There are quite a few of these little guys on the glass in algea. also they seem to get on and off of the oscar fairly often. What i mean is sometimes theres one on his head, sometimes 4. They are round and not flat. thanks for all the help-
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:22 PM   #7
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Posted twice- dont know how that happened
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:48 PM   #8
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I agree with Fruitbat I don't like the tweezer idea either just letting you know what my book said on the subject. I have ordered a better book put out by the goldfish society which I hope will be more informative. I have also ordered a book that is suppose to list the latest diseases and their symptoms of all freshwater fish both tropical and non-tropicals. I would try alli's advice about the feedings and vacuuming the tank and see if anything changes. Best wishes,
Cristina
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