Latin name: Dactylogyridea Other names: Pathogen:
Microscopic examination of gills and gill arches’ slime shows parasites,
Fish hang near the surface,
Fish stop feeding,
Darkening of gill filaments,
Mosaic gills coloring,
Slime comes out of gills,
Uneven (rough) gill edges,
Infected fish show signs of anxiety, loss of appetite. They float at the surface gasping for air, rub against objects. Gills are pale (mosaic coloration can sometimes occur) and covered with large amounts of mucous, their edges are frayed, gill filaments growth together. As the disease progresses, affected gills turn pale and disintegrate. Microscopic examination of scrapings of mucous from the gills and gill filaments will show the parasites.
The disease is caused by the sucking parasite belonging to the Dactylogyrus genus. The parasite reaches the lengths of up to 1 mm and has at its posterior portion a sucker which has two central large hooks, surrounded by fourteen smaller hooks for attaching itself to its host. It infests gill filaments. Fertilized eggs fall to the bottom of the tank and hatch into larvae. Free swimming larvae must find a host fish within 24 hours of hatching before they die. Once on a host, they move over the body until they reach the gill filaments. If a larvae does not find a host within 24 hours, it dies. Flukes multiply rapidly in temperatures of 22-24C (72-75F).
Diagnosis is based on clinical signs. The parasite is introduced into the aquarium with feed, water, plants, and gravel (if it has not been boiled or tempered) taken from natural reservoirs as well as with fish, plants, water or equipment from a contaminated tank.
How to cure:
Anti-parasite treatments are used to treat the disease, namely sodium chloride solution (one spoon per 10L of water) in a separate tank. Affected fish are given baths: Bicillin-5 (in the main tank); Bicillin-5, Copper sulphate (in a separate tank).
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Good maintenance of the aquarium is essential, feed should be taken from fish-free ponds.
Fish susceptible to the disease/disorder:
Disease affects mostly warm-water fish.