Anchor Worms - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-04-2006, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Anchor Worms

We are really new to this whole aquarium thing. My husband wanted to go out and purchase this huge tank and I went behind his back and picked up a small 5 gallon so we could at least learn about keeping an aquarium first. Already we have messed up somehow and our two goldfish have anchor worm.

Whats the best way to treat this? These anchor worms are pretty big and nasty looking. Ive read that you should use tweezers to pull them off, but how exactly do you do that to a goldfish? And how do I disinfect my little 5 gallon tank now? And advice would be welcomed.
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-04-2006, 01:35 AM
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Hi and welcome aboard, newbie.

Try to grasp tightly(not too tight) your goldfish to prevent it from squirming out of your hand and pull the anchorworms with a tweezer. Do it on the end of its body where it attaches to the skin of the fish. Treat your fish's wounds with Maracyn afterwards by placing them in a quarantine tank.

I'd recommend you buy a quarantine tank or make your 5 gallons a quarantine tank and buy a new tank(preferably 50 gallons) and after using the quarantine tank, use bleach to disinfect the tank.
Explanations as to why I recommend buying a larger tank is stated below.

On the side note, 5 gallons is far too small for 2 goldfish. Most goldfish are known to reach 25 cm in size and you'll need a 50 gallons tank for that. 5 gallons will often have large ammonia spkies as goldfish are quite messy and tend to poo a lot. More poo means more ammonia produced if tank hasn't cycled. The poo itself will also raise nitrate levels which can inhibit your fish's growth.

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post #3 of 4 Old 12-04-2006, 06:49 AM
Yes, i agree with Blue. I have had goldfish since i was little. They are like little waste disposals and a 5 gallon is way to small. You will have to keep up on your water changes. And small aquariums can be rather difficult to care for compared to a larger one.
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-04-2006, 02:05 PM
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A little bit of information on Anchor Worms for you:
They are an external parasite that needs a living host to survive. Once removed from the fish via tweezers method, as Blue described (good description Blue, I have done this many many times over the years at the store, it's not a fun job), the biggest issue is then with infection. Melafix is a good medication to use for this.
When plucking the anchor worms from the fish, try to grasp the worm as close to the fish's body as possible, so the head of the worm doesn't break off and sink deeper into the flesh of the fish. The head of an anchor worm has "hooks" on it, and you must remove this entire head piece to get rid of the anchor worms.
As was already advised, please get a much larger tank. Fancy goldfish reach up to 8 inches, and comets up to 14 inches, and they grow extremely fast. 50 gallons would be a bare minimum for 2, and would still be temporary(the first year or 2). Full grown, these fish will need 75 - 90+ gallons for 2 of them.
As for how they got anchor worm... it is likely that it was there when you purchased the fish, simply due to the fact that it needs a living host to survive. Once 1 fish is infected, any other fish in the tank are likely to have it soon. It's important to pull the worms and treat the fish as soon as possible, as infection sets in quickly, especially if waste levels in the tank are high or if the tank is cycling. In a new 5 gallon tank, I would expect to see both of those problems.
Let me know if there's anything more I can do to help.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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