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Newbie, just discovered anchor worm and need advice!

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Hey everyone,

Setup is:
20 Gallon 12x12x24
1 Aquaclear Mini HOB w/ small sponge filter on inlet
1 med sponge filter with airpump
Planted, 2 Blood Gouramis, 3 Khuli Loaches, 5 Ghost Shrimp, 9 feeder minnows which appear to resemble White Cloud Mountain minnows
0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, 5ppm Nitrate


I've been working on my first planted tank and also first aquarium for about 4 weeks. Things have been going well so far, a couple of hiccups but nothing major - the tank cycle went through quickly and was completed on Oct 28. My first additions (not counting the couple Ghost shrimp I cycled with) were 3 Kuhli Loaches. On Nov 2nd I added two Dwarf Blood Gourami's.

All was well and on Nov 4 I noticed what appeared to be a bent dorsal radial (I think this is what it's called) didn't think much of it. Upon closer inspection this evening I saw it was forked on the end and I freaked out. After some quick research I'm 100% positive its Anchor Worm. I only see one on the one, larger, slightly lighter red Gourami. I have some photos, but I'm not sure how to hyperlink them here and I can't include attachments. It also looks like it's in the final phase releasing eggs. I don't know if my Kuhli's can take it; they are still pretty small.

Eddy (that's his name) has been behaving normally from what I can tell, but this is my first time keeping fish so I'm not the best judge.

So I searched around more in panic because I don't want my newly established tank to implode with parasites. Also I named him so damn it, I can't let him down. I filled the aquarium bucket with a half inch of water, waited patiently to net Eddy without freaking him out TOO much, put him in the bucket and carefully tried to remove the anchorworm with tweezers without hurting the guy. I definitely got the forked portion off but unfortunately I think the base is still rooted. I quickly returned Eddy, less than 30 seconds felt like eternity.

For treatment, I've found a post that recommends bathing the fish in a bath of Potassium Permanganate and states "Ideally, the bath should last 30 minutes and have a concentration of 25 mg/L in the bucket." It also states to treat the aquarium with Dimilin.

Am I on the right track? Have I done the right things so far? This is my first tank and I don't have a spare tank for use as a hospital. That's also why these guys weren't QT'd, I was hoping for the best but got burned it seems. All I have spare is a 2 Gallon plastic tank that's empty at the moment but I don't have spare equipment for it and it seems too small for him.

I plan to go to the LFS and pick these things up tomorrow after work, hoping the spread hasn't taken hold yet. Any further recommendations? Have I done anything wrong?

Maybe related, he's a slightly lighter shade of red than Ed (gourami #2), but he's also a bit bigger. After I put Eddy back in from the 10-second operation, he was acting quite aggressively towards Ed but calmed down when I turned the lights off.

Bump:


Here is a photo of the anchorworm.



After attempted removal, I think the white spec is the remaining base. I don't want to make another attempt to avoid further stress to the fish.
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Okay it has been years honestly since I dealt with anchor worms and they are truly SOBs. The best method is honestly manually removing them from the fish. I dosed the tank with meds to avoid reinfection but I ended up taking out each fish. Then with tweezers (and you have to be fast so it doesn’t retreat) remove the anchor worm. Then dab with hydrogen peroxide.

My BF and I turned it into a two man operation. One would net the fish the other would bring the fish to the kitchen where there was good light and remove them. I had them on a plate haha. It was tedious but they never did show up again.

I was lucky that I only had a CAE, rainbow shark, and a handful of neons at the time. Despite losing a few neons before realizing what I was dealing with, all of the fish I removed the anchor worms from lived. The rainbow shark and CAE both lived to be nearly ten years old.

They are very rare but the forked end is clear anchor worms.

Edit: Found my notes with the medication. Lifeguard. I dosed the whole tank to avoid a risk of reinfection. If you are worried about livestock or plants, I've used storage totes (for christmas decorations, halloween decs, etc.) as temporary holding tanks quite often. Usually a HOB will fit over the lip. Its how I moved all of my livestock when I moved two years ago, and they were all fine and dandy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the insight! I'll look up the Lifeguard, hopefully my LFS carries it. I tried manually removing it before I posted this thread, but I only saw the forked tail on my tweezer end and now that you mention that they can retreat, I believe the remainder may have retreated because I don't see the remaining ~1-2mm (1/16") white stalk.

So far Eddy seems okay, I just came home after work and he seems to have stopped being so aggressive and there is no sign of visible anchorworms but some of the minnows are more active than usual. Not sure if it's my paranoia making me think that.

I was calling and searching around today but it seems difficult to acquire Potassium Permanganate and Dimilin in the Greater Toronto Area, I may try ordering some online to keep on hand for the future.

Thank you for the tips, I appreciate it.

If I see a re-infection I may gather a bunch of totes and do what you mentioned.
 

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Thank you for the insight! I'll look up the Lifeguard, hopefully my LFS carries it. I tried manually removing it before I posted this thread, but I only saw the forked tail on my tweezer end and now that you mention that they can retreat, I believe the remainder may have retreated because I don't see the remaining ~1-2mm (1/16") white stalk.

So far Eddy seems okay, I just came home after work and he seems to have stopped being so aggressive and there is no sign of visible anchorworms but some of the minnows are more active than usual. Not sure if it's my paranoia making me think that.

I was calling and searching around today but it seems difficult to acquire Potassium Permanganate and Dimilin in the Greater Toronto Area, I may try ordering some online to keep on hand for the future.

Thank you for the tips, I appreciate it.

If I see a re-infection I may gather a bunch of totes and do what you mentioned.
I never ended up having to use the Potassium Permanganate. Just used the hydrogen peroxide. My fish returned to normal pretty quickly after they were removed.

It’s a nasty one but luckily not to hard to treat.

To add: the other thing that works great for a temporary fish tank are large coolers. After just rinse with some bleach and they are ready to be used again.
 
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