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Native parasite

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#1 Duckman77

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 12:19 PM

I have a parasite that has affected my tank for at least two months.  The parasite affects my pumpkinseed sunfish more than my other natives, but were found on my warmouth and northern longear before.  Since the initial infestation, the longear and warmouth have shown no signs of the parasite.  The bowfin in the tank have never been affected.


The parasite has only been found on the fins:  The pectoral fins, caudal fin, anal fin, and soft dorsal have all been locations I have found the parasite.  I have most recently found one under the "ear" of the gill cover of my largest pseed. 


Most often they are white or slightly grayish in color.  They move while on the fish and after I have removed them from the fish.  The largest parasites are about 1-1.5 cm long.  The most recent one I removed from the gill cover was whitish in color one day, then deep brown the next day when it was removed. This led me to believe the parasite was ingesting blood from the host. 


I brought the above mentioned parasite in to my biology classroom and put it under the microscope.  Based on what I can see and comparing with known fish parasites, it appears to be an annelid/leach.


I have treated with Prazipro a couple months ago, but apparently that did not eliminate this parasite. 


Does anyone have a suggestion of how to treat if the parasite comes back (currently I do not see any parasites attached to any fish in that tank)?


I will try to attach pictures later.

#2 littlen

  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 03 February 2017 - 01:38 PM

As I see it, you could try a few Neon gobies.  But those probably won't last long off of the reef.

Copper is an excellent killer of inverts and should make quick work of your pests.  However, be aware that if you have any [pet] snails in there, they will die also.  IF you go this route, you can just as easily kill your fish if you overdose.  So dose appropriately.  One last thing, copper will absorb into porous materials and then seep back out over time which could cause problems down the road.  IF you use copper, I'd remove porous stuff (some rocks/gravel, driftwood for sure) before treatment, if possible, if you're treating in tank.  A better option would be to do a dip.

On that note....


You could try a salt dip.  I'd easily go up to 20ppt for sunfish.  You can leave them in an aerated 5gal. bucket for 5, 10, 15 minutes.  Coworkers of mine once caught some Pseeds in the wild at 20ppt and copper'ed them as part of a QX treatment.  They did really well in both environments (copper and salt).

What other tankmates do you have with your sunfish?  You could consider slowly raising the salinity of your tank, but some smaller natives might not tolerate the higher levels of salt as well.

IF you go with copper, Polypads and carbon work great to remove the chemical after treatment is over.  Just place both in your H.o.B. or canister filter(s).

Nick L.

#3 Duckman77

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 02:01 PM

Thanks Nick.  The tank has a couple pseeds, a couple northern longears, 1 warmouth, and two bowfin.  I don't have any invertebrates.

#4 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
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  • Ohio

Posted 03 February 2017 - 02:39 PM

I have heard that bowfin are not tolerant of some meds. Might want to take them out and do a strong salt bath on them to be safe.

The member formerly known as Skipjack

#5 Duckman77

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 02:46 PM

Ok. Thanks!  I would rather not treat the entire tank, so the bath idea might be the route I will go if necessary.

#6 sbtgrfan

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  • Charleston, SC

Posted 03 February 2017 - 03:46 PM

Salt. 5 ppt salt in the tank itself long term will help. Won't harm the fish at all. I wouldn't go past 6 ppt though.

Stephen Beaman
Freshwater Aquarist
South Carolina Aquarium
Charleston, SC

#7 Cu455

  • NANFA Member

Posted 03 February 2017 - 05:32 PM

I would try hydrogen peroxide. It is very safe, cheap and effective. Salt will work well too and can be used in conjunction with peroxide. Keep up with water changes.

It sounds like I had something similar.


#8 gerald

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  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:47 PM

Leeches do not typically remain on fish all the time.  They may drop off after feeding and burrow into the substrate.  A salt dip in a separate tank obviously wont get the ones that aren't currently on the fish.  Unless there's a LOT of them, they dont usually do much damage.

Gerald Pottern
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel

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