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FishDeals.com | Aquarium Fish Disease Identification, Diagnosis & Treatment
Anchor Worms - Identification & Treatment

Major Sick Fish Diseases:

Much has been written on the topic of stress & disease, below is summary to help guide you throughout Anchor Worms prevention and identification. Please feel free to send any comments or suggestions to Ask An Expert.

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  • Anchor worms (lernea) can be seen with the naked eye
  • Frequent rubbing or "flashing"
  • Localised redness
  • Ulcers my appear
  • Inflammation on the body of the fish
  • Tiny white-green or red worms in wounds
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Commonly near the base of the fins
  • General lethargy

  • Symptoms of Stress & Disease
  • Anchor Worms General Description
    This is a parasite that is extremely rare in aquarium fish. It is a copepod. It must be brought in by an infested fish. It is usually found in ponds. The head of the worm is anchored into the fish's skin.

    Anchor worms were highly contagious and that they are not actually worms, but a freshwater copepod. Only the female will attach itself to the fish, underneath a scale usually deep into the muscle tissue with its powerful extensions on the sides of its anchor shaped head (hence the name anchor worm). The male lernaea will then attach himself to the female’s body. The female will produce egg sacs fertilized by the male, which are then released into the water column. The eggs hatch into a free swimming larvae or nauplii. This is the stage where the crustacean will attach to the fish completing the life cycle. After releasing the eggs, the parents will die off leaving a gaping wound, which is highly susceptible to secondary infections.
    Anchor Worms Treatments
  • Potassium permanganate dip at 100mg/2.5 gallons of water, or
  • Salt dip
  • Formalin dip at 2 to 4 ml Formalin/2.5 gallons of water for 30 minutes, the fish may lose equilibrium and must immediately be transferred to clean, fresh water
  • Modern antiparasitics (such as Disco-worm, Fluke tabs, and Clout) may help
  • Salt in the aquarium at 1 to 2 tablespoons may help prevent secondary infections

    The best treatment is to remove them by hand and quarantine the tank. You may have to do the following a few times. Tweezers work well for removing the anchor worms, try to grip them as close to the wound as possible. Pperiodically dunk the fish into the bucket of water to let him get a few breaths before continuing. After removing as many as you can see, use stress coat and pray.
  • Anchor Worms Prevention
    Really the only way to get this is to bring it in from somewhere else, Local Fish Stores that are infected. Be sure to quarantine all new fish and never risk your established tank fish! Also remember to use any and all precautions necessary to protect you and your fishy friends when working with harmful chemicals.
    Image Gallery of Anchor Worms

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    Anchor Worms Frequently Asked Questions

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    #ImageDisease TitleTop 3 Symptoms
    1. Ammonia Poisoning
  • Red streaking on the fins or body.
  • Purple or red gills.
  • Fins are torn & jagged.
  • 2. Anchor Worms
  • Tiny white-green or red worms in wounds.
  • Frequent rubbing or "flashing".
  • Ulcers may appear.
  • 3. Black Spot
  • Small black speckles on body.
  • Frequent rubbing or "flashing".
  • Small black smudges on fish.
  • 4. Cataracts
  • White or grey "foggy" eyes.
  • Eye looks like it has a slime coat.
  • Tendency to bump into things.
  • 5. Cotton Mouth
  • White "Cotton like" fungus on the mouth.
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • White spots on mouth, scales, and fins.
  • 6. Curved Spine (Fish TB)
  • Curved or Crooked Spine.
  • Lesions on the body.
  • loss of scales.
  • 7. Dropsy
  • Huge, Fat, Bloated Belly.
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • Scales almost popping off.
  • 8. Fin Rot
  • Fins turn Jagged or whitish and die back.
  • Fins look like they were ripped off.
  • Fish is not eating.
  • 9. Hole in the Head
  • Hole in the head.
  • Small sore on head.
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • 10. Ichthyophthirius
    (white spot or ick)
  • Small white "salt-like" pimples on fins & body.
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite.
  • Frequent rubbing or "flashing".
  • 11. Neon Tetra Disease
  • Restlessness.
  • Whitened areas deep into the fishes' flesh.
  • Spine may become curved.
  • 12. New Tank Syndrome
  • Sudden Death.
  • Cloudy Water.
  • Unexplained Death.
  • 13. Oodinium (velvet)
  • Fine grey-gold to whitish 'dust' on the body.
  • Very rapid gill movement.
  • Scratching or flashing.
  • 14. Parasites (External)
  • Large ugly sores on body.
  • Skin looks grey in patches.
  • Fish swim aimlessly.
  • 15. Planaria
    (white hairlike worms)
  • Small White Hairlike Worms.
  • Tiny, Wiggley Worms often found in the substrate.
  • 16. Pop Eye
  • One or both eyes protrude from the head in an unusual fashion.
  • 17. Skin / Gill Flukes
  • Fish gasps for air at the water's surface
  • Gills open and close rapidly
  • Gills are covered in mucus
  • 18. Swim Bladder Disease
  • Erratic Swimming Position
  • Loss of equilibrium
  • Fish will be unable to maintain buoyancy
  • 19. Vitamin Deficiencies
  • Scoliosis (Curved Spine)
  • Reduced Growth
  • Anorexia (Lack or Loss of Appetite)
  • View Symptoms per Vitamin
  • References/Further Reading

    The Manual of Fish Health
    Dr. Chris Andrews, Adrian Exell and Dr. Neville Carrington.
    New Jersey: Tetra Press, 1988

    Handbook of Fish Diseases
    Dieter Untergasser
    Translation by Howard H. Hirschhorn
    T.F.H. Publications, Inc., 1989

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