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Old 01-10-2008, 04:48 PM   #1
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Arrow Please help - gouramis extruding red worms!

Hi - I have a new 55 gallon planted tank. Has been up less than a week. Has 15 plants from two different stores, and 7 small fish from two different stores (two blue gouramis, two dwarf gouramis, two flying fox, one otocinclus). And two algea-eating shrimp. I know, pushing the envelope!

Here are the stats. Temperature steady at 78F (25C), PH 6.8 to 7.2, hardness 120, alkalinity 150, nitrite 0, nitrate 0 (all steady), ammonia went up to 1.0 ppm two days ago, 50% water change, ammonia steady at around 0.25 ppm since then. CO2 injection during the day along with 110 watts of compact fluorescents at 6500K, air bubbles at night. I added Cycle last night.

The Worms! About 30 minutes ago, just after feeding, all four gouramis quickly sprouted segmented red worms hanging down from their barbel areas. One had about two inches of worms (four worms) hanging down, end to end! They all came out at once on all four fish. I ran to set up a salt water bath and by the time I got back ten minutes later, all of the worms had fallen off.

So what should I do? Please help!
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Old 01-10-2008, 05:26 PM   #2
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Sounds to me like you've got some anchor worms, but I didn't think they let go short of death. You could try something like parasite guard, but I'd do some more research. That may not be what you need or the best product to do it with.
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:46 PM   #3
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Arrow Camallanus worms

Hi - it looks to be Camallanus worms. See here and here.

Luckily, a supply store (Western Farm Center in Santa Rosa, CA) near me can obtain soluble levamisole which will be shipped to them tomorrow and available for me to pick up on Monday. According to everything I can find, that is the best option. Second-best would be fenbendazole, which my LFS said they could have by tomorrow. But I am going to hold out for a few days, feed lightly, and use levamisole as it is the least-toxic, most effective product and I have to treat my tanks, not just the fish, due to the insidious nature of this infection.

More about levamisole.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:35 PM   #4
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Good luck with your treatment, let us know how you make out.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:42 PM   #5
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Hey Martonic thanks for posting the web site. It really looks like a site that has some REAL value!
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:11 AM   #6
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I used this product successfully before. If you do a search for "levasole" on google-shopping, you will find many places to buy.

Good luck with the treatment. I think I remember reading that the product actually paralyzes the worms, but some of them can recover after it is gone from the water, so it is important to dose for a while and to do very thorough gravel vacs to make sure you are getting rid of as many worms as possible.
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:04 AM   #7
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Question

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Originally Posted by fearlessfisch View Post
I used this product successfully before. If you do a search for "levasole" on google-shopping, you will find many places to buy.

Good luck with the treatment. I think I remember reading that the product actually paralyzes the worms, but some of them can recover after it is gone from the water, so it is important to dose for a while and to do very thorough gravel vacs to make sure you are getting rid of as many worms as possible.
Thanks.

The thing is, a) I am a total newbie, and b) this is a 55 gallon planted tank. If I am going to thoroughly vacuum the gravel, what do I do with the 16 plants?
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:22 AM   #8
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Levamisole is also found in pig and poultry wormers.. Over here there is one called "big L" which we dillute down to 1ml per 7L of tank water.. It costs about $30AUD for a 1L bottle..

It's great for treating all sorts of worms and internal parasites... So is praziquantal. Another worming substance..

Apparently it's also not to good for scaleless fish, so heed caution if you have any.
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:41 AM   #9
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Levamisole is also found in pig and poultry wormers.. Over here there is one called "big L" which we dillute down to 1ml per 7L of tank water.. It costs about $30AUD for a 1L bottle..

It's great for treating all sorts of worms and internal parasites... So is praziquantal. Another worming substance..

Apparently it's also not to good for scaleless fish, so heed caution if you have any.
Thanks! Tomorrow I will pick up a bottle of pure powdered Levamisole HCl (Levamisole Hydrochloride, or "soluble levamisole").

Do you know how concentrated your solution is? If I knew that, then I could convert the quoted dilution into what I need with the powder.

Also, should I remove the "Bio-Sorb" (carbon) from my Rena XP3 during treatment?
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:03 AM   #10
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Arrow Decontamination Plan - looking for comments

Here is a picture of the worst (primary) infected fish (with camallanus worm infection):



I removed two fish from the tank and returned them to the store for study - the worst infected one (shown above) and one other that had been in the same tank in the store. They said they would be careful not to spread the infection!

My 55-gallon tank has about three inches (100 pounds) of Bio-Complete substrate, covered by an an inch (50 pounds) of half small/half pea-sized gravel. And sixteen plants. Two rocks and two driftwood.

Note: the tank is not cycled yet! It is a new tank - started one week ago - this is the FIRST tank I ever owned and the infected fish shown above is the FIRST aquarium fish I ever bought!

Now in the tank: Two dwarf gouramis, two flying fox, one otocinclus (all small) and two algea-eating shrimp. Moderate ammonia (not alarming). PH about 7.0. CO2 by day, air bubbles at night.

Fishless cycle you say? Perhaps, but I was relying on (probably ridiculous) advice that "a planted tank cycles quickly and easily".

Okay! So here is my decon plan (looking for comments and suggestions).

I expect to start this tomorrow after I pick up the Levamisol.

1. Remove and discard the driftwood. Replace it later with fresh driftwood.

2. Remove and bleach the rocks.

3. Remove all plants, place them in a bucket with fresh dechlorinated water, and soak in a mild bleach solution for a couple of hours. Then move them into another bucket with fresh dechlorinated water. Add a dose of Levamisole and leave them sit overnight. (Question: will they be okay when the temperature goes down to 62 F? Swordplant, purple waffle, red edge, anacharis and more.)

4. Vacuum the gravel.

5. Siphon out most of the water from the tank.

6. Fill tank with fresh dechlorinated water - and dose with Levamisole.

7. Leave it sit overnight with the fish in it and the filter/heater/air bubbles running as usual.

8. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 the next morning.

9. Return plants to tank.

10. Perform 50% water changes and add 1/2 dose Levamisol every week for the next four weeks.

Any comments or suggestions?
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Old 01-14-2008, 05:50 AM   #11
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No sorry, I don't have any bottles laying around in my new house.

Here's my suggestion though..

1) Take the fish back because they sold you sick fish.. Stamp your feet and pull your hair out like a 4 year old in the shop until they take them back.

2) Cycle your tank properly.

3) Go and buy more fish that aren't sick.

4) Enjoy your healthy, cycled tank.
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:06 AM   #12
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I also think your best bet is to return the fish. There is no better way to get frustrated and leave the hobby than by getting contaminated fish. I would start from scratch and do a proper fishless cycle.

If you do still want to treat the fish, a couple changes I'd make:

-I don't like bleach. I prefer not to use it in the aquarium hobby because it likes to stick around longer than its needed, and quickly can destroy any biological filter you may have. When done properly, sure its safe, but why chance it? Hydrogen peroxide accomplishes exactly the same thing and all that is left over when it sits is water. No fear of trace amounts left over, the oxygen bubbles out and the by-product is simply water.

-Also your bleach dip times are wayyy to long. Most of us use 5% bleach for 2min or so. Depending on the plant this time can be modified slightly, but really don't go much over or you begin to damage the plant. Most people also don't put the roots in the dip. A 30 second dip in peroxide (a NEW FRESH bottle to 2-5 gallons of water) should get the job done.

Oh and a HEAVILY planted tank with perfect nutrients and higher light may well never see detectable free ammonia, but you have to be perfect (which is why I NEVER recommend this method to anyone unless they are experienced aquatic plant owners). There's just too many things to worry about at a time when you should be ENJOYING your tank.

These parasites have a weakness. As the name implies they require a HOST (fish) to survive over long periods of time. Take their host away for a while and they will die off. Treat the tank once or twice to make sure all eggs/stubborn buggers are killed and you can be pretty sure they've been eradicated. This is another check in the corner for doing a proper fishless cycle. The time it takes to get the tank ready for fish (ammonia/nitrIte-wise), will also benefit by killing off the parasites too.

It's just not worth the time/effort/heartbreak for something that wasn't your fault to begin with.

HTH
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:08 AM   #13
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Arrow

Hi 7Enigma - thanks for your advice about the bleach.

The tank is well on the way through cycling with ammonia gone, and with both nitrites and nitrates now testing positive.

The two fish that brought the infection into my house have been returned.

It would be great to just start all over and not have to worry about these awful worms, but the problem is - I have two other, very nice dwarf neon gouramis from a different source - and they got infected too, almost immediately.

Therefore I am treating the tank with levamisole and the fish with fenbendazole, and hoping for the best.

I have not removed the plants to vacuum the gravel, but I will do so today, and change the water, and dip the tops of the plants in H2O2 and avoid the bleach.

I will report the results of this procedure as time goes on.

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 01-16-2008, 01:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by martonic View Post
Hi 7Enigma - thanks for your advice about the bleach.

The tank is well on the way through cycling with ammonia gone, and with both nitrites and nitrates now testing positive.

The two fish that brought the infection into my house have been returned.

It would be great to just start all over and not have to worry about these awful worms, but the problem is - I have two other, very nice dwarf neon gouramis from a different source - and they got infected too, almost immediately.

Therefore I am treating the tank with levamisole and the fish with fenbendazole, and hoping for the best.

I have not removed the plants to vacuum the gravel, but I will do so today, and change the water, and dip the tops of the plants in H2O2 and avoid the bleach.

I will report the results of this procedure as time goes on.

Thanks again for your help!
Ah, I thought all the fish were new from the same place. Anyways you might want to treat the whole plant with the peroxide dip. I take a priority approach to these situations. Your fish are more important than your plants, and so I would risk killing the plants (with a full dip), rather than risking the possibility that the roots have hitchhikers that will further infect your tank. Yes you might lose some (all), but its for the good of the fish!
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:11 PM   #15
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Arrow

Thanks again.

I have decided to leave the medication in the water for another day, then do the vacuuming, water change and peroxide treatments tomorrow.

I will dip the whole plants. I doubt that exposing the roots to a mild peroxide solution will have serious detrimental effects.

What stuns me is how fast this infection can be passed from fish to fish.

Without any intermediate hosts, the infection can be transferred directly from fish to fish within hours, and the newly infected fish may show obvious signs of infection within just a day or two. Incredible.

The camallanus worm is a scourge that should be known better - it is apparently widespread in ornamental fish, yet not much information is available, and the recommended treatments (levamisole and fenbendizole) are obscure, expensive, hard to find, and hard to use (because of the lack of dosing information).

For reference:

The recommended dosage of pure powdered levamisole HCL (soluble levamisole) is one gram per 20 gallons of tank water. It should probably be repeated at intervals (say, every three weeks) for some time to fully disrupt the life cycle of the worms.

Stay tuned to this thread for further updates.
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:18 PM   #16
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Thanks for posting and updating this thread it is very informative and educational, although I hope I don't every have to go through this. But I will know what to do if it does occur

Thanks Tess
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Old 02-06-2008, 11:34 AM   #17
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Arrow Update

Here is an update.

The two fish that originated the infection were returned. The tank has cycled. However, the cammalanus worms are hard to get rid of - I continued to see them from time to time - although not for more than a week now.

I removed the driftwood and removed the plants. I will replant the tank with fresh plants when I am sure the worms are gone. I bleached the decorative rocks.

I have been treating the tank once per week with soluble levamisol (1 gram per 10 gallons) and with fenbendazole (1 teaspoon of 10% suspension, per 20 gallons).

I have been thoroughly vacuuming the gravel every few days. At present, I see no signs of the worms.

No fish have died, but I did kill one of our shrimps with the gravel vac.

Hopefully, the worms will stay away, and I will be able to stop putting chemicals in the tank and get it planted again. What a pain. This is my first attempt at aquariums. I really hope this vigorous regimen will resolve the problem.
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