Need help identifying this parasite

hywaydave

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I realize this isn't a tropical fish, but they're US native sunfish and I have an emergency with a parasite infestation I need to take care of quickly.

I have a 53 gallon tank with one pumpkinseed and one bluegill, both taken from the same pond at the same time, about 3 weeks ago. Tank is cycled and has been running for 6+ weeks using the fishless cycling process; my ammonia and nitrites have been 0ppm for 2+ weeks, while nitrates are generally 5ppm or less. No fish existed in this tank prior to these two.

The bluegill came home with a white worm-like parasite attached to it's pectoral fin, about a half inch long. I was going to try and get him out of the tank and remove it with tweezers, but put it off a few days and then it was gone. The pumpkinseed looked clean from the start. Fast forward 3 weeks today and now I'm seeing multiple white hair-like worms on both fish, mostly on fins but the pumpkinseed also has a couple attached to the body. I've been googling a lot and can't quite figure out what these are. They don't appear to be anchor worms because I don't see a Y shaped body, but maybe that's more microscopic. I can't tell if they're skin flukes either. I want to get these identified quickly so I can treat it with the appropriate medication. I appreciate the help, and would also appreciate recommendations for medication. I don't have any other fish, snails, or shrimp. Just a bunch of Anacharis and a few Anubia plants. Please see attached photos for reference.

Thanks,

Dave
 

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hywaydave

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You're looking at two different fish; my bluegill and pumpkinseed. Both have them and they are the only two fish in the tank.
 

mjfromga

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No. Flukes are microscopic in nature and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Those look like anchor worms - which are treated by removing as many as you can manually and then treating with a medication called dimilin.
 

DoubleDutch

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No. Flukes are microscopic in nature and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Those look like anchor worms - which are treated by removing as many as you can manually and then treating with a medication called dimilin.
Anchorworms are even bigger to me and have eggsacs at the end of their body. These haven't to me.
 

mjfromga

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I said to me they LOOK LIKE anchor worms. I am not 100% sure they are. I think they are, though.

But I AM 100% sure they aren't flukes because again, flukes cannot be seen with the naked eye.

This is the thing about removing wild fish from random bodies of water, oftentimes the diseases and issues they can have aren't as easily identified as common aquarium diseases.
 

DoubleDutch

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I said to me they LOOK LIKE anchor worms. I am not 100% sure they are. I think they are, though.

But I AM 100% sure they aren't flukes because again, flukes cannot be seen with the naked eye.

This is the thing about removing wild fish from random bodies of water, oftentimes the diseases and issues they can have aren't as easily identified as common aquarium diseases.
True, though anchorworms and several others are out there as well.
 

Colin_T

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not anchorworm.

they look like leeches. add some salt (2 heaped tablespoons of rock salt for every 20 litres (5 gallons) of water. Keep salt in there for 2 weeks.
 

Dajuyu

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Careful about adding salt ... make sure that its in a quarantine tank instead of the main tank since It will be. harmful for your main tank if there are lots of plants on it.
 
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hywaydave

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I do not have a quarantine tank, just started this tank a month ago and just have the two fish and a bunch of anacharis and a few Anubias. I can always start over with the plants if it means getting rid of these parasites for good in the tank. Will salt kill off the ones attached to the fish too? They both have quite a few of them.

What about Dimilin, should I try that first?

I did a 20% water change 5 days ago and dosed the tank with Prazipro without any carbon filters, no luck. I added a second dose last night, I'm still not seeing any improvement.
 

Dajuyu

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You can try treated it with other chem like Dimilin , as for me I will stick to salt as its more natural treatment. Yeah it works with my tank and cure the parasite for good.
But I have to learn it the hard way since my plants are effected with the salts thats added.
 

mjfromga

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I would try the salt first. Then if that doesn't work, try the Dimilin.

If those don't work - return those fish to the natural body of water you found them in, thoroughly drain and clean the tank, set it back up, and carefully select healthy looking fish from your LFS to hopefully avoid this issue.
 
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hywaydave

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I would try the salt first. Then if that doesn't work, try the Dimilin.

If those don't work - return those fish to the natural body of water you found them in, thoroughly drain and clean the tank, set it back up, and carefully select healthy looking fish from your LFS to hopefully avoid this issue.
My kids really want a tank with native fish they've caught. I would just rather keep those two fish and deal with it I guess.
 

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