How to Treat Camallanus Red Worms In Aquarium Fish


How to Treat Camallanus Red Worms in Aquarium Fish

Fish diseases can be notoriously hard to diagnose, but one of the more easily recognizable illnesses is an internal parasite called the camallanus red worm. There are multiple species of nematodes or roundworms that are part of the Camallanus genus that can infect aquarium fish. They feed by attaching themselves to the intestinal walls. The immune system may be affected by factors such as tank aggression or poor water quality, which can lead to serious injury and even death.

Is my fish a victim to red worms?

For a while, the fish will look quite normal in the beginning stages of the disease. In the later stages of the disease, your fish may look normal for a while. However, it is possible that your fish start to change. Your fish may be growing slower than usual and the adults may not be reproducing as well. You might also notice that you are losing fish slowly over time. Some hobbyists also reported a loss in appetite.

The telltale sign of this sickness is when you see one or more small, red worms coming out of the fish’s anal vent. You may see a group of small, scarlet threads about 1/4 to 1/2 inches (0.6-1 cm) in length. This stage of the disease can cause fish to become abnormally thin due to worms eating all their nutrients. Secondary infections can occur when worms block the intestines.

Camallanus worms can be more easily seen in small livebearers, such as guppies. It only takes a few larvae to cause serious damage in a tiny fish. To multiply sufficiently to be able to consume larger fish such as angelfish, the worms require a longer time.

Guppy with camallanusworm protruding out of the anal vent

What causes Camallanus red Worms?

Infected fish can spread the parasites to their aquarium by eating the waste of the healthy fish. This is what causes the tiny crustaceans cyclops to eat the larvae. A healthy fish can eat infected crustaceans. This causes the larvae to mature and become adults, which allows the cycle to continue. Some species do not require an intermediate host. In fact, fish can be infected simply by eating fish feces containing larvae. Either way, the disease is fairly contagious, so adding plants, gravel, or equipment from an infected tank to a healthy tank can cause cross contamination that also spreads the parasite.


How do I get rid Camallanus Worms

Fritz Expel P, which contains levamsole and targets roundworms like camallanus, is a good dewormer. The medication paralyzes the adult worms, allowing them to be removed from the fish via an aquarium siphon. Follow the instructions on the package and use 1 packet Expel-P for every 10 gallons (38 liters) of water. To eliminate the parasites, do a 25% water change after 24 hours. Wait two weeks to treat unhatched eggs with levamisole. After that, you can then add Expel P to your tank.

Fritz Expel-P medication for parasitic diseases

Some articles suggest putting the dewormer inside food and giving it to the fish. We prefer to treat the entire tank, as sometimes fish lose appetites and you don’t have control over how much medication each fish consumes. Also, if your fish has secondary infections that need to be addressed, consider using broad-spectrum antibiotics or antifungal treatments as needed.

Other than medication, the key to recovery for worms is lowering stress levels in their aquarium or hospital tank. Feed plenty of high-quality foods to help them gain weight and expel the worms more quickly. Keep the water quality high and vacuum the substrate more frequently to remove any paralyzed parasites. Also, consider disinfecting any nets, siphons, and other shared equipment to stop the spread of disease.

Dosing a packet of Expel-P

How Do I Prevent Camallanus Worms?

All new fish should be quarantined for at least a week to monitor their behavior and appetite before being added to your tanks. This will allow you to avoid infecting any of your animals. Preventative treatment with the quarantine medication trio helps ward off most bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, but if you are worried specifically about camallanus worms, consider adding Expel-P as a separate treatment regimen afterwards. Most fish can survive with red worms for a while before it becomes problematic, so keep clean water, feed fresh foods, and endeavor to lower the stress in the tank. You can avoid cross-contamination by keeping the quarantine tanks in separate areas, washing your hands after touching the tank, and using separate siphons and nets to quarantine fish.

Check out our articles for more information about fish diseases. Learn how to diagnose, treat, and prevent the most common ailments.

Attributions 190629 Guppy 01 by BlueBreezeWiki. CC BY-SA 3.0