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Read About Fish Parasite Problems

Fish parasite problems can pose a real health risk to your fish. Although parasite can be present in all fish in small quantities, making them quite harmless. If there are signs of parasites, it is important to treat the problem quickly and correctly, so that they do not endanger the health, or even the life, of your fish.

There are generally two types of fish parasites: ectoparasites, which are found on the external surfaces of the fish (skin, fins and gills) and endoparasites are typically found on the internal organs and tissues.

The most common parasite problems, especially among ornamental fish, are ectoparasitic, and can include, leeches, lice and anchor worms, which can be seen with the naked eye. Other indications are swelling or redness on certain surfaces of the fish, or the fish's tendency to rub or scrape itself against other surfaces.

There are also many parasites which cannot be seen with the naked eye. These can include the many types of protozoan parasites, which are single celled organisms, and are usually free living in the fish's environment. Protozoanic parasites are also among the easiest to identify and control. Signs of your fish having this type of parasitic problem may be indicated by "itch" or "white spot disease", gills that are swollen or covered with thick mucus, or excessive mucus creation in the fish. Even bulging eyes can be an indicator of parasitic activity.

Other signs of parasitic activity in your fish, both internal or external, can include lethargy, weight loss, and heavy breathing, which may be seen in a fish with parasites affecting its gills. Often a mucus or gill sample can be taken for microscopic identification of parasites.

Early treatment of parasite fish problems is important, in order to ensure that the problem remains under control and does not endanger your fish. Treatment will also depend on the type of parasite present, as not all treatments work on all paratites. It is also important to know that some treatments will have effects on the water chemistry of your tank or pond, so this should be kept in mind.

Common treatments involve different solutions of potassium permanganate, or special foods which contain thiabendazole. Leeches can be removed with forcepts, and Trichlorofon added to the water.

The important thing to do when treating fish parasite problems is to do your research. Information on particular fish parasites can be found online, in books, from your local pet store employee, or from your veterinarian or other expert on fish diseases, parasites, or other common problems in fish.