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Nematodes and Blue Rams

Discussion in 'Dwarf Cichlid Health' started by mambee, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. mambee

    mambee Guest

    I have had 3 Blue Rams in my 90 gallon community tank for about 9 months. Even though they have a reputation for being delicate, they have thrived and spawn every 3 weeks.

    About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that 1 of the females had a small worm on its side. I posted a question on another forum, and someone responded with a picture of a Blue Ram with the same worm. It turns out that I have an infestation of nematodes.

    I suspect that the nematodes got into my tank either from feeding live blackworms or some Ender's Livebearers that I purchased.

    I am treating the tank with Levamisole (a livestock wormer). So far, 1 of the Rams died, and a male A. Caucatoides is looking pretty miserable.

    After treating for 2 days, the female Ram still has 2 worms on her side.

    Has anyone here had experience with treating nematodes?

    Mike
  2. fishgeek

    fishgeek New Member

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    nematodes are round worms and should be internal. they will parasitise the gastrointestinal tract
    if you are seeing things stuck to the outside of the fish i would guess that you have either flukes or leech's and that praziquatel would be the appropriate treatment then

    levamisol in my hands has been very safe, though there are some internet reports of neurotoxicity, if you fish seemed healthy prior to adding the medication other than having 'worms' attached to them i would do some rather large water changes through the next few days and not treat until you are happy the fish look better

    andrew
  3. mambee

    mambee Guest

    These things aren't leeches. On the female that died, these worms were coming out from behind her eye sockets. Nasty little buggers.
  4. algaefarmer

    algaefarmer New Member 5 Year Member

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    As fishgeek said, Levamisole is for internal worms (Camallanus, etc.). If it's Camallanus your fish have, you'll see them protruding from your fishes' anus. Some internal nematodes will surface through the skin though. Levamisole works great but won't get external parasites at all (as far as I know). It should take about 36 hours to complete, after which your fish should be passing the worms from their guts.

    I doubt what you have are flukes, since they aren't really visible to the naked eye. Praziquantel will kill flukes fast and it's gentle on everything else (fish, biofilter, etc).
    Levamisole and prazi are great meds to have to treat new and wild caught fish in quarantine tanks by the way. Flukes are very common, pretty much all wild fish have a few. They don't cause problems in the wild but in a closed system aquarium they multiply fast and kill fast.

    If it is a leech, Praziquantel won't do anything. Not sure how to get rid of leeches - you'd probably have to do a salt bath and then maybe pull the leeches off by hand. Perhaps a copper or organophosphate treatment, don't know. You'll want to treat the tank somehow too.

    I suspect you have Anchor worms (Lernea), which is actually a copepod. Sort of like a very long version of the disgusting fish louse (Argulus). Potassium permangate treatments and Dimlin are the only thing I've ever heard to be effective for anchor worms unfortunately. I don't think salt works for crustaceans.

    There are other external worm-like parasites, but they are very rare. Most visible external parasites are one of the above. Check out some photos of anchor worms and see if that's what you have.
  5. mambee

    mambee Guest

    They definitely aren't anchor worms. I have had experience pulling them off of goldfish.

    I'll see if I can get a picture.

    Mike
  6. mambee

    mambee Guest

    Fishgeek,

    I don't know how to post a picture so I am emailing it to you. Tak, a moderator at cichlid-forum, was so kind to provide the link.

    The picture shows the same worm on the same fish that I have.

    Mike
  7. fishgeek

    fishgeek New Member

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    The only external parasites that are visible with the naked eye(you can provide a link with the link button above)picture sent to me

    are generally accepted as being lice anchor worms and leech's

    the only way i can see these being nematodes is if they are migratory larval stages from another species, ie they are lost and wandering aimlessly through the tissue of the fish, just causing damage

    Ideally uou need to take one of these parasite's and do microscopy to identify it
    Also a feacal sample would be ideal to rule out any gut athogens that maybe involved
    Tissue stages of nematodes are hard totreat as mediction doesn't usually penetrate tissue at sufficent levels to be effective

    Tubellarian maybe an alternative, they are not thought to be parasitic but do look somewhat like the picture and can occasionally be seen on the outside of fish, especially after the fish has died

    Hope that is of some value
  8. mambee

    mambee Guest

    Update on my nematode infestation.

    I tried treating with liquid levamisole with poor results. I lost a Ram and a male A. Caucatoides. The remaining 2 Rams still had visible nematodes on their bodies and extending from behind their eye sockets. One side effect of the levamisole is that many of my fish have a loss of color.

    I switched to Pond Prazipro last week, and for the 1st time the visible nematodes on the body have been killed. I am going to give them a follow up dose this weekend after I do a water change. Also, Prazipro doesn't seem to be a harsh medication as my Rams are handling it well.

    Mike
  9. fishgeek

    fishgeek New Member

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    non response to levamisole confirms that the infestation is not nematodes

    response to praziquatel makes me think that either flukes or cestodes
    andrew

    ps what does of levamisole did you use?
  10. mambee

    mambee Guest

    I think that I used 15 ml for a 90 gallon tank.

    Mike
  11. fishgeek

    fishgeek New Member

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    do you know what concentration the levamisol was and whether it had any sugar in it?
    name of product etc

    andrew
  12. mambee

    mambee Guest

    Here is what the manufacturer says:
    LEVAMISOLE PHOSPHATE

    AgriLabs

    Injectable Solution, 13.65%

    Sterile

    Anthelmintic

    For Subcutaneous Injection in Cattle

    ANADA 200-271, Approved by FDA

    Levamisole Phosphate is a sterile solution recommended for the treatment of cattle infected with the following parasites. Each mL of solution contains levamisole phosphate equivalent to 136.5 mg of levamisole hydrochloride.

    STOMACH WORMS:

    (Haemonchus, Ostertagia, Trichostrongylus)

    INTESTINAL WORMS:

    (Trichostrongylus, Cooperia, Nematodirus, Bunostomum, Oesophagostomum, Chabertia)

    LUNGWORMS:

    (Dictyocaulus)

    DOSAGE: Inject subcutaneously in the mid-neck region at the rate of 2 mL per 100 lb body weight. It is recommended that no more than 10 mL be injected at one site.

    Consult your veterinarian for assistance in the diagnosis, treatment, and control of parasitism.

    The maturation of some helminth species may be arrested at pre-adult stage when adult worm populations are heavy.

    Cattle that are severely parasitized or maintained under conditions of constant helminth exposure may require retreatment with two to four weeks after the first treatment.

    ADMINISTRATION: Thoroughly clean and disinfect syringes and needles by boiling in water for twenty minutes. Use 14 or 16 gauge 1/2 to 1 inch needles.

    Do not remove rubber stopper from the bottle, but clean and disinfect it with 70% alcohol. With syringe attached to needle, insert needle through the rubber stopper and withdraw the required dose.

    The proper method of injection site preparation by swabbing with 70% alcohol or other suitable disinfectant, and the proper method of administration under a fold of skin in the mid-neck region are demonstrated below. A clean, sterile needle should be used for each animal to avoid spreading infection.


    CAUTION: Careful cattle weight estimates are essential for proper performance of this product. It is recommended that Levamisole Phosphate be injected only in cattle in stocker or feeder condition. Cattle nearing slaughter weight and condition may show objectionable reactions at the site of injection. An occasional animal in stocker or feeder flesh may show swelling at the injection site. The swelling will subside in 7 to 14 days and is no more severe than that observed from commonly used vaccines and bacterins.

    The mid-neck region is the preferred injection site. Always use sterile needles and syringes. Non-sterile equipment may cause abscesses at the site of injection. Contents should be used as soon as possible after the seal has been broken. It is recommended that the cap be wiped with alcohol prior to withdrawing solution. Also, skin at injection site should be swabbed with alcohol to avoid infection.

    Muzzle foam may be observed; however, this reaction will disappear within a few hours. If this condition persists, a veterinarian should be consulted. Follow recommended dosage carefully.

    Experience under field conditions indicates that stressful procedures such as vaccination, castration, dehorning, concurrent exposure to cholinesterase-inhibiting drugs, pesticides, or chemicals, may increase the risk associated with the use of this product. Such concurrent stress should be avoided when using this product.

    Consult veterinarian before using in severely debilitated animals.

    Available in 500 mL vials

    Do not administer to cattle within 7 days of slaughter for food to avoid tissue residues. To prevent residues in milk, do not administer to dairy animals of breeding age.


    WARNING: KEEP THIS AND ALL DRUGS OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN.

    STORAGE CONDITIONS: To assure maximum potency and efficacy,

    STORE AT OR BELOW 70°F

    REFRIGERATION ADVISABLE

    AVOID FREEZING.

    600096
  13. fishgeek

    fishgeek New Member

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    dosage for levamisol is 1-2mgs per litre of water for 24 hour bath

    13.6% solution is 136mgs per ml of injection
    therfore 1 ml would treat 65-135 litres of water

    if i call a gallon 4 litres you have 360 to treat and would require no more than roughly 5 mls

    i have used upto 7mgs per litre though without having untoward effects
    i wonder whether the phosphate has any bearing i was using levamisol hydochloride

    andrew

    toxic effects should be neurological and inappetance in fish
  14. mambee

    mambee Guest

    I'm just happy that the prazipro did the trick. I thought that I was going to have to euthanize a tank of my favorite fish.

    Whatever the worms were, they are now gone from the bodies of my Rams.

    Mike