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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First, I want to thank Pat for the help so far with my attempt to kill what I think is callamanus worms. Just wanted to get some more opinions.

A month ago I got a guppy from a LFS that definitely had the red worms in the anus. I was stupid and did not quarantine the fish for a full two weeks before mixing them with my other fish. The infected fish died shortly after I removed him from the main tank as soon as I saw the red worms appear. I was hoping my other fish were not infected and waited to treat them because the new guppy was only in the tank for 2 days (foolish thinking?).

A few weeks past and this week I lost 2 more guppies that I originally got from Petsmart 2 months ago. These guppies were pooping white transparent feces for awhile now even before I introduced my callamanus infected guppy, but they both appeared healthy otherwise, eating well and active compared to the callamanus infected fish that died weeks ago (he couldn't eat and was very slim and timid). Before these 2 died their stomachs swelled up (looked bloated, but with a slightly irregular shape) and the scales on the bottom of the stomach stuck out a little and the anal opening became very enlarged, but with no visible red worms hanging out. It was definitely not dropsy because I have observed dropsy before. They ate fine, but died soon after the visible bloat/swelling occurred.

After I lost the 2 guppies I decided to dose levamisole for 3 days and vacuumed the gravel because there were worm-like things in there. I didn't notice any worms being discharged from my remaining guppy or the chili rasboras during the entire treatment. I did leave the lights off and checked on them once in awhile. All fish survived, but I lost a young cherry shrimp.

Now I can still see some of the worms alive in the gravel. I thought the medication paralyzed the worms in the gravel as well as the ones in the fish? These are white, stringy, about 1/4" longest and not red. I assume the camallanus worms are only red because they were sucking the blood from their hosts and the ones in the gravel are baby worms. Do you think it is planaria, baby worms or something else? What killed these 2 guppies, but left the smaller rasboras alone? Should I do another dose of levamisole and increase the dosage?

Thanks for the help and sorry for the long post. I appreciate any feedback.

Cheers.
 

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Callamanus are hard to get rid of. If you can, I would move all the livestock into a spare barebottom tank and dose them there while dealing with the worms/parasites in the gravel separately. I found that because the worms were so small, it was very hard if not impossible to get them out of the gravel by vacuuming.

My "nuclear war option" was to actually break down and disinfect the entire tank after treating everyone, so they spent a few days in a smaller hospital tank. I cleaned and disinfected EVERYTHING in the tank, which took care of any remaining worms in the gravel, and haven't had any issues since reintroducing them. It's probably a bit extreme, but my thought was that if there were parasites or worms still in the tank, a total clean would let me start fresh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I don't know if I want to go to that extreme, but I guess I will have to if the second dose doesn't work. How did you disinfect your tank? Did you bleach it or dose the a higher level of meds? And what about plants? Thanks.

Are you sure the worms in the gravel are related? They could just be planaria.
See I don't know how to tell. I don't know what young callamanus worms look like. Are they always red?

These are small white worms. One was dislodged from the gravel during the cleaning and swam like a snake, but the rest are in the gravel. They don't appear on the glass at all and they are too small for me to see a triangle head. The only reason I see them is because I see some in the gravel that is pushed against the glass. They don't appear to be on the surface or on plants/decor.

I was feeding more than usual because the guppies were out competing the rasboras for food, but there was never any food left lying around because the fish ate it all and anything left was devoured by shrimp. Could there is still be Planaria? That doesn't explain how the guppies died though. It was definitely a parasitic death. I just can't figure out if the worms are related.

I can't take a photo, but I guess you can say they look like these...
http://www.oscarfish.com/articles/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=2-nematodes.jpg

Thanks for the help.
 

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Hey, Atom. Sorry to hear that your fish are sick.
I don't know anything about worms but the Vancouver Aquarium's veterinarian is speaking at UBC tonight. (It's a Wet Coast Aquarium Society meeting, info in their sub-forum) Why don't you hop out there and ask your question? I'm sure the vet has seen every kind of nematode known to aquarium hobbyists...
 

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I use a VERY mild bleach solution to disinfect the tank, and then rinse it with vinegar, then multiple times with clear water, and a final time with dechlorinated water.

Same thing with gravel, except I put it in a bucket outside and just run a hose through it for about 10 minutes to rinse.

For the plants, I rinsed them in a weak bleach solution (about 1 tsp to the litre), but my plants were pretty tough (java fern etc.) so you might do something else for any really delicate ones.
 

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I'm sure the vet will tell you adult camallanus worms cannot live outside a fish's body .. The worms you see in the gravel could be one of several different species of detritus worms; some white , some red , and all harmless to fish ( as far as I know) with many fish food if they see them. I don't know of any worms that you will see visibly swimming or in the gravel that are parasitic on fish. The larvae of most parasites are too small to be seen swimming in your tank. Maybe someone can ask the vet at tonight's meeting if there are any worms found in the gravel or visibly free swimming that are parasitic on aquarium fish. I would like to know his ( or her) answer. To my knowledge , any large enough to be seen in the gravel or swimming are not harmful, but if there are some, I'd like to know .
 

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Hey All,

First off, I would like to say that purchasing fish at PetSmart, may not be a good practice to stick with. I have found that 95% of the time, the fish are sick and the staff really don't know what they are talking about and just want to sell any fish to anyone with money.
Secondly, you may be feeding your fish too much too often. If you have live plants in the tank, chances are there is a lot of live biology in the tank. Most fish will do well with feeding on bacteria that lives in the tank in between regular feeding. I would recommend feeding once every one or two days. I have a 29g tank with guppies, pencil fish, shrimp, a sailfin pleco, tetras, loaches and other single specimen catfish. I feed my guys once every two days and they are doing great.

My local pet store guru informed me that most fish have some good and bad internal parasites in some quantity (makes sense). However, when fish are fed too much too often it can cause swelling in the stomach, which in turn places stress on other internal organs of the fish. Whenever fish are stressed, it leaves them open to various illnesses. That can then allow the bad parasites that live in manageable quantities in the fish to take over. In turn, camallanus worms are able to infect the host more thoroughly. Perhaps cutting back on feeding quantity will help with future outbreaks.

Having said all that, ALREADY having the infestation makes the subject pretty much moot.

The following webpage may be of interest to you all:

Camallanus Worms: An Aquariasts Worst Nightmare

I don't know how easy it is to come across the medication, but I am going to check out tomorrow with some of the local vets to see if I can't get some. Once I do, I'll let you know how it turns out.
 

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All you ever wanted to know on identifying Callamanus and how to treat it is here right on our own BCA. And MyKiss sells the Levamisole HCL to deal with it also.

http://www.bcaquaria.com/forum/hospital-section-12/experiences-callamanus-worms-solutions-695/

Just reread the first post, and the stringy white poop is likely other internal parasites and a wormer like Levamisole probably wouldn't help, especially since you tried it. Perhaps Prazipro is in order. That would try Protozoans and other internal stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone.

lol, I think I have read every callamanus article on the web so far. I still don't know what the white worms are, but they seem to be diminishing. I am going to reduce feeding for awhile and aggressively clean the gravel. The remaining guppy and rasboras seem to be fine and the callamanus has not affected them. Fingers crossed.

Never again will I buy fish from Petsmart. Lesson learned.
 
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