Tuesday, 18 December 2007

"The dreaded Camallanus worm"

On Sunday I noticed something red and spiky protruding from the anus of one of my female Macropodus in the main tank. When I looked at them carefully, I saw something similar on one of the males. While I had never seen anything of the sort before, it was easy enough to recognise based on the descriptions I had read online - my tank was infected with "the dreaded Camallanus worm". A quick Google search reveals two things - one, that aquarists dread this worm (a genus of parasitic nematodes), and two, that there are two fairly well-established treatments: fenbendazole and levamisole. Fenbendazole is a common dog dewormer, and levamisole is apparently used for pigs. Fenbendazole was available at the pet store locally, so I went with that. However, levamisole is probably easier to use, since it can be applied to the water, and is usually effective with a single treatment. Fenbendazole needs to to ingested by the fish, and involves a three-day treatment cycle, followed by another treatment two weeks later. Since the fish have to ingest the drug, the issue of dosage becomes very complicated. On the other hand, the more powerful a drug, the more suspicious of it I am. I was reassured by the low level of warning on the fenbendazole package as well.

Based on what I could find online, I decided to make a solution (or suspension) of the fenbendazole and soak bloodworms in it. For good measure, I also added some sinking pellets to the mix. The fish at both quite happily, so it does not seem like the drug made the food unappealing (either that, or it didn't soak in well enough, which is a concern of mine).

Like everything else in the world of fishkeeping, the major source of information out there is the bulletin boards. And like everything else, I'm hesitant to trust them. I'm glad I came across this University of Florida IFAS Extension document. It was also nice to find this essay at PetFish.net - most people use levamisole, so it's nice to have something against which to compare my own experience.

No comments: