Unknown External parasite (with pictures) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Unknown External parasite (with pictures)

Over the past week or so I have noticed what appears to be some sort of external parasite on 2 cardinal tetras in a community tank. I first noticed it on one at the base of its caudal fin as a pink spot but upon closer inspection there is a white thread like object that I would assume is some type of worm. Tonight I noticed that another of the cardinals has pop eye with the same thread like worm appearing to be on the surface of the eye. I was able to get a picture of one. I did some research but could not find anything conclusive. At this point I will assume I need to treat the entire tank (55 gallon community).




To add more context, I do regular water changes of 50%. Usually every week, sometimes 1-1/2 weeks. The tank has been up and running well since april or may of this year. It is heavily planted with EI dosing and DIY CO2. AQ110 HOB filter, Marineland C220 filter, and a large sponge filter. There are 29 fish, 4 shrimp, and 2 snails. I recently had an ich outbreak which I treated successfully with heat, followed by Paraguard for some lingering fin rot. At the end of that I had only lost one cardinal tetra, and one black neon lost an eye. Although now I'm wondering if those were victims of an opportunistic parasite. Anyone have any insight as to what this may be and how to treat it?

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 03:26 AM
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They might be anchor worms.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 03:45 AM
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They might be anchor worms.
sounds likely
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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I had considered the possibility of anchor worms, however my understanding of anchor worms is that they tend to embed only their heads into the flesh of the fish while the rest of their body is left to dangle. These appear to have their entire bodies attached to the surface of the fish. I found some scant information on this website that suggests they are some type of round worm. They included a picture of a cardinal tetra that looks almost exactly the same as mine.




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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 01:15 PM
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Regardless of what type of worm, do an anti-parasite med. API General Cure?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Good point...

I may try Seachem's Metroplex (same active medication as API's General Cure) combined with their focus, which allows the medication to be delivered via food source and decreases the risks to invertebrates. I'm going to start off with using Paraguard while waiting for the other medication to arrive, hopefully it will at least reduce the severity of the one fish's pop eye.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 03:10 PM
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Metroplex and focus is a good idea, should help for sure. Prazipro might also help knock the little suckers.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2018, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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This thread has been dead for a while but I'd figure I'd give an update in case anyone else stumbles across this same thing. After some extensive searching on the internet, I found information that points to an organism called "dermosporidia." I wasn't able to find a whole lot of quality information as there doesn't seem to be much out there within the aquarium community. I have a feeling that "dermosporidia" may not be the actual name of the organism as it seems to have been mostly used on fish keeping forums. That being said, it is some sort of a parasitic organism that seems to preferentially affect cardinal tetras. One account I read suggested that it may be a fungus as opposed to a worm. I have seen them pop up occasionally on one or two tetras at a time over the past few months. The fish themselves never seem to be affected by it, and I've had no deaths because of it. The "worms" drop off or disappear within a week or so, leaving no apparent damage to the fish. I have 6 species of fish in my tank (including other tetras) and none of them have been affected by the dermosporidia except for the cardinals. The outbreaks have gotten less frequent, and seem to be less severe as well since first witnessed. As I have not medicated the tank in quite a while, I would think that the fish could have developed an immunity. This link has some very good information as far as observations of the process. Hope this helps someone else!


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2018, 05:45 PM
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Interesting. Never heard of this one before. Found an old thread where it seems to also be known as dermocystidium as well. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/21...osporidia.html

Some more info on dermocystidium: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermocystidium

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2018, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBaconater View Post
This thread has been dead for a while but I'd figure I'd give an update in case anyone else stumbles across this same thing. After some extensive searching on the internet, I found information that points to an organism called "dermosporidia." I wasn't able to find a whole lot of quality information as there doesn't seem to be much out there within the aquarium community. I have a feeling that "dermosporidia" may not be the actual name of the organism as it seems to have been mostly used on fish keeping forums. That being said, it is some sort of a parasitic organism that seems to preferentially affect cardinal tetras. One account I read suggested that it may be a fungus as opposed to a worm. I have seen them pop up occasionally on one or two tetras at a time over the past few months. The fish themselves never seem to be affected by it, and I've had no deaths because of it. The "worms" drop off or disappear within a week or so, leaving no apparent damage to the fish. I have 6 species of fish in my tank (including other tetras) and none of them have been affected by the dermosporidia except for the cardinals. The outbreaks have gotten less frequent, and seem to be less severe as well since first witnessed. As I have not medicated the tank in quite a while, I would think that the fish could have developed an immunity. This link has some very good information as far as observations of the process. Hope this helps someone else!

Iím just curious. Did you QT your fish before you put them in your DT?


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2018, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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I did not specifically quarantine the cardinal tetras as they were some of the first fish in the tank. The local aquarium spot has a specific quarantine procedure for the cardinal tetras that they sell which I believe is because they are more susceptible to certain illnesses due to the fact that they are mostly wild caught. I suppose that something could have been introduced to my tank through poor quarantie of plants. The illness didn't appear until probably 6 - 12 months after I first purchased the fish.


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