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Boring worms

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by shoggoth43, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I've been running into a problem lately with my cardinals.

    I had one that had a lump on the side with a squigly line inside the lump. I took it to the LFS and was told it was some type of "boring" worm. I treated the tank at the recommended dosage with PraziPro per their recommendation for a week, did the water change, and then treated again at full strength for another week just to try and make sure I got it.

    All seemed fine, but I noticed yesterday that two more cardinals had the problem. They were culled as well and I'm dosing the tank again. So far ONLY cardinals have been afflicted. No corys, ottos, embers, glolites, or discus have gotten this. I'll probably end up dosing this tank for a month or longer at this point to try and make sure I get the full life cycle of whatever the heck this critter is.

    The obvious answer is better quarantine, but all the fish in that tank have been quarantined for 6 weeks or more. I had recently moved the embers out of quarantine. I didn't move any of the shrimp out of that QT tank and I haven't seen any issues with the remaining neons or ottos in the QT tank.

    I'm fairly stumped as it seems to be the "older" cardinals that are getting it, the ones that I've had in there for months. The newest batch do seem to have some odd patchy dark blotches on them, but nothing seemed to come of it. As of now I'm going to be stuck moving this tank to another room instead of emptying and selling it to help pay for the new big tank. I also don't want to have to dose the big tank with something that may cause deaths with any inverts I throw in there later if it leaches into the substrate and/or silicone. I can't move them back to QT to dose them as I've got shrimp in there but I might have a smaller 15 Gallon I can put all the cardinals in, but that's a lot of cardinals to stuff in there and I have no idea who has what when it comes to any worm eggs/larvae/whatever so I'm stuck medicating the whole tank.

    All the fish in the tank seem well fed and have rounded tummys. I haven't noticed anything else that's odd about their behavior and other than the lumpy growth, there isn't anything different about the swimming or schooling or eating patterns.

    I've attempted to add some photos. I apologize for the blurry pics, the blackberry isn't all that good, and the cardinals don't like to sit still. One shows the lump with the worm in it. The other photo shows the "new" blotchy cardinal with an "older" cardinal behind it for reference. You could also compare to the one with the worm as all the "old" cardinals have the nice even blue/red/silver colors.

    Thoughts?

    -
    S


    I've updated the photos finally.
     
    #1 shoggoth43, Jan 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2010
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    No Smart Folk, So Here I AM

    Hi S,

    I was kind of hoping one of the smarter types would weigh in, since they have not, I will give it a shot.:(

    Have you pulled one out of the tank and sedated it to get a better look as to whether it is a worm, larvae, protozoan, flukes or something else? Perhaps pull or tease it out? ;)

    My general advice would be to isolate the affected fish in a quarantine tank with bare glass bottom, siphon everything off the bottom at least once a day (two or three times would be better).

    If when you have the fish out of the water, the ‘thing’ tries to leave. Take each affected fish and lay it out on a towel (keep them warm), and dab the wounds with Iodine or Merthiolate. Keep the fish quarantined and observe for a week or so. Same treatment if it turns out to be some kind of anchor worm, obviously pull them off. Secondary infection becomes the danger, so back to quarantine.

    If you have,:cool: can buy,:) rent,:D borrow:eek: or steal:eek: a (cheap is okay) microscope 100X or 400X would be great, if you can Gram stain, so much the better. Eighty plus percent of fish problems is Gram-negative.

    If protozoans, then something like Trichlorfon or Mebendazole, I have heard, good results with Piperazine citrate (never used it).

    Formalin bathes are another possibility

    Pull one of those guys out and take a good hard look. :)

    Biollante
     
  3. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Well, I can't really do much to quarantine the fish at this point. I did however freeze said fish after culling them so I can try and get better photos when I have some more time. At the moment I don't really have a setup I can use as an emergency hospital tank. I wasn't happy culling them, but given the choice of trying to treat using a med that should have already worked the first time but didn't or risking massive continued infection from eggs or some other process I feel it was the more prudent option. I don't have a clue what these are or their life cycle so it's tough to know how/when to treat at the appropriate times.

    I currently have the PraziPro in there, but I've been reading that more and more flukes and other beasties are becoming resistant to it. Most likely due to the discus hobbyists who immediately throw meds in the water without following directions and moving the fish from the tank for a bit to starve off the remaining fluke larvae. Classic evolution in action, but I have heard about the trichlofon if I can find something with it in there. I've also considered Clout which I can find locally but what I've read indicates it's pretty brutal on plants. I can pull all the plants out of the tank since they're in pots, but then I don't quite know what to do with them to clean them from either the Prazi or any remaining eggs/larvae. I had treated the tank next to that one with the prazipro but none of the fish in there showed any sign of the worms that I could see. I just don't want to throw the plants into that tank and end up with an active infection in two tanks.

    Basically I have no idea what the life cycle on these parasites is but I'll definitely try to get a photo of the deceased posted. I should be able to get a clear picture but I suspect there will be massive frost damage so it may not really help much. Should another one come down with it I'll separate them into some other tank/container and see what I can do. It's not really a worm I can pull "off", more of an "out of" thing. Hopefully the newer photos will help. I may have to grab some meds online. I just hate keeping them around because they decay and I don't really want to have something dangerous lying around that I may throw in "just in case". The temptation for using the meds inappropriately is pretty high at times. OTOH, once the big tank gets here and I'm set to start in on it I'll be able to put aside some stuff to make a proper hospital tank. A microscope and PAR meter are on the list of things "I should look into getting". :)

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    -
    S
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tumor?

    Hi S,

    Given that when you handled the fish to euthanize and preserve, you seem convinced it was not a worm or anything you could pull off, even anchor worms and active protozoa should have seemed movable.

    It is always possible they are tumors, would seem odd for two at once, but they may be from a group genetically, predisposed to tumors.

    My limited understanding is that most tumors in cardinal tetras, is that unless they are on the skin or in the gills, there really isn’t anything to be done. That it is not contagious would be the good news.

    Biollante
     
  5. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I did get some photos but probably won't be able to post them until Sunday night. For what I can see, it may very well have been some sort of anchor worm that was external, but for all intents and purposes it appears to be encased in some sort of lump on the fish. It looks more like something grew within the fish causing a tumor like protrusion. Hopefully the photos will be usable enough to show this. It's rather mystifying since it seems to only hit cardinals thus far. It's also very concerning since I've had my hands in the tank with healing cuts on them.

    -
    S
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    S,

    I have no experience with this issue, but have had many others with cardinals in general over the years.

    I have found that sometimes they just do not weather the trip and poor conditions well and get minimal care until they arrive at your house.....This weakens them to parasites and other issues that may not normally be an issue for healthy fish. Their immune systems will be weakened.

    Getting them to eat would be a good sign.

    Where do you get your cards?

    That being said, I would be careful of using any medication if unsure if the medication is indicated..Esp if it is local to only some fish, dosing the tank may not be the best bet.

    I have used a 5 gal bucket, heater, and HOB filter as a quarantine tank..Cheap and easy to setup :)

    I would wash my hands well and use a desanitizer as well while handling the fish......

    Hope no more losses........
     
    #6 Gerryd, Jan 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2010
  7. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    No problems with eating. Everything in the tank eats just fine. It's almost like watching a reef shark feeding frenzy when the cardinals and embers get into the food. Even the ones that had the worms. The cardinals that are getting it are the ones I've had for a few months now. It's possible that I've somehow stressed them but I don't really know what might have changed recently to cause this to become a problem. It's just odd that it's the really healthy ones, at least in appearance and not the less robust looking ones. If it is some sort of internal critter, It might be from back when I used to feed blackworms and possibly something less benign hitchhiked along.

    I fully agree with the med usage. I only used the Prazi since that's what the LFS suggested when they saw the last cardinal/worm. They suggested the worms would be shedding eggs/larvae everywhere. When I get the sump set up I'll probably throw a sponge filter in there so the next time I need to do an emergency tank I can just toss the sponge into the hospital bucket.

    I wash my hands every time I'm done with the tank. I DEFINITELY do so before eating after doing anything with the tanks. :D

    -
    S
     
  8. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    S,

    I have to say that I had many cardinal/pencil fish losses in quarantine when feeding blackworms.. I lost batches of cards to the neon tetra disease and it SEEMED like the outbreak was the day after the start of blackworm feeding.

    No evidence of cause and effect, but have since stopped feeding blackworms and have had no losses since.

    I am not normally superstitous, but why tempt fate?
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Quarantine, Sterilize Or Sanitize

    Hi Gerry,

    Good argument for culturing your own live food.:)

    Superstitious or not it only took me a couple of disasters to convince me of the quarantine, sterilize or sanitize rule. Live food is so important to many of our critters, but live food is a major disease/parasite vector.

    Cards shouldn't be all that susceptible to neon disease, not that it matters once you have lost them. I lost some goldfish (GF for Detritus Mulm) to neon tetra disease. Convinced me of the importance of internal controls, since the neon tetra disease was from a group I had in quarantine. Do to poor procedure on my part I ended up killing a some of LoudCreatures' Goldfish, which in turn was hazardous to my health.

    I want to second your quarantine/hospital does not have to be fancy.

    And yes wash your hands before and after. Thankfully most of the thingys in the water are not harmful to humans, but there can be a few real nasties.

    Biollante
     
  10. yashaswibs

    yashaswibs Prolific Poster

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    Allow me to indulge in a little quackery.

    Mebendazole requires multiple dosing and will work on nematodes/cestodes. No real resistance to this drug has been noted. Sub surface worms will not be affected much by this drug. Surface application of this drug to my knowledge has not been tried on worms.

    Praziquantel or some other brand of this drug is also effective against the above worms. Requires multiple dosages and has more side effects than Mebendazole. No longer the drug of choice.

    Albandazole is the newer drug with single dose formulation. Works on most nematodes/cestodes.

    All of these drugs work after being ingested. I would love to know if topical application works at all. There certainly are no wide studies proving it. It does cause some skin irritation when used on open wounds.

    There has been little resistance to above drugs.

    Yes- wash your hands and sanitize them post procedure.

    I wonder if you have a surface dwelling worm which has buried itself under skin and now refuses to come out. Anti protozoal drugs are not very effective under those circumstances. I guess you could try albendazole.
    More likely scenario is the point of insertion would get infected by bacteria. Just have to wait that out I guess with regular water change in QT tank.
     
  11. DaBub

    DaBub Guru Class Expert

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    I cannot believe Biollante doesn't have you operating on them. :confused: doing biopsies and autopsies or necropsy, or whatever.

    culturing stuff, growing it petri dishes :(

    mounting stuff

    What a monster! :eek:
     
  12. LoudCreature

    LoudCreature Prolific Poster

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    Any update?

    LC
     
  13. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just Curious

    Hi S,

    Any update, do not mean to be a bother...

    No more anything?

    Just two fish, tumors then?

    Yes I can be a pain and I don't like unexplained deaths.

    Biollante
     
  14. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Total of three fish thus far with the lumps with squigly bits in them. None recently. I just tore the cannister filter apart today and gave that a solid rinsing out. Sadlý quite filthy and probably another good reason for me to move back to a wet/dry with a prefilter I can get at without diving in after it. The prazi treatments may not have helped with the dirt I found.

    I lost another card today, but probably due to the filter cleaning. Overall the fish do seem a little happier.

    I've got better photos but need to find either my media card reader or the special funky cable that goes to that camera. Tomorrow I tear that room apart and clean it so hopefully I find one or both of them.

    -
    S


     
  15. yashaswibs

    yashaswibs Prolific Poster

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    Does ur camera have Macro mode?
     
  16. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yep. But it's a very old unit so I don't know that I got the best of pictures on this.

    -
    S
     
  17. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Still having issues with this. I have no idea what it is, or why it infests only the cardinals as far as I can tell. I've sadly pulled ALL of the cardinals from the tank and have put them in a 15 gallon tank on the floor. I'm going to try feeding them with food soaked in Garlic Guard and see if that does anything since Prazi doesn't touch it. I have a couple actively infested so this should allow me to monitor them. I'd like to figure out what to do and how to cure this vs. destroying the lot of them. I somehow managed to also get some glolites with protruding gills. At least this is what it appeared to be initially. However, on closer inspection vs. a healthy glolite it almost looks as if something tore off the gill plates on these two as the amount of silver over the gills just doesn't look like it's "enough", if that makes any sense. Anyway, I've pulled those two and they're also in with the cardinals so I can try some things to see if that's the case or if they're truly maimed. If so, I have no idea what could have hit them and tore off the gill plates without tearing the fish in half in the first place. They don't otherwise seem affected.

    In other news...

    I may have discovered a useful cover for my tanks. Out of desperation for a cover to keep the cats out of a tank at nose level that's infested with those worms I cut up some eggcrate to fit just inside the tank and resting on the lip of the rim. It's actually pretty strong and the think edges on the eggcrate seems to be uncomfortable for the cats to stand on as they immediately hop off the tank when they climb on top of it. I may need to come up with some plexi covers to put on top of that as a way to cut down on evaporation if that becomes a concern at some point. I think I could also cut out the eggcrate a bit more if needed to allow the plants to poke up through it easier as well. A side benefit will be to help reduce the amount of light going into the tank somewhat as there's a noticeable change in the brightness. I have not experimented with the directionality of the eggcrate to see what that does.

    I was an idiot and tossed some blyxa out of my shrimp tank into my biocube 29. The blyxa was pretty ratty so I figured I'd save it. The shrimp tank has the beginning of a snail infestation and I just wasn't thinking when I did it. ARGH. I might have gotten away with it but we'll see.

    I picked up a new critter for the 29 as well. Flower shrimp. I tried to explain what this was to my someone and they just didn't get it. I eventually said it's a shrimp that finds the best current in the tank, sits there, and since it has no claws it deploys... JAZZ HANDS!!! Ok... Yeah, it's late.... Off to bed....

    -
    S
     
  18. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    updated photos

    As promised here are the clear photos. One shows the head of one of the unfortunate cardinals. You can clearly see the worm or whatever it is in the jaw area. I've included a photo showing the distension/"tumor" effect. The third photo shows and above view of the tail of one of the other cardinals. There's a lump/distension on the left side with a worm clearly visible inside it. Unfortunately I couldn't get a clear show of that from the side but it's pretty much the same as the one in the head of the other cardinal. Still no idea what these are or how to kill them and keep them from coming back. Again, nothing else in the tank seems affected.
     

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  19. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Round or Flat

    Hi S,

    I cannot tell if it is a round or flat worm. If round does it taper at both ends?

    Any chance you can cut the worm out. Lay the worm out on a dark background and a couple of those photos should be good.

    Where did those fish come from, usually I would associate this with wild caught fish.

    Biollante
     
  20. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Cats?

    Hi S,

    Do you have cats?

    Biollante
     
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