Skin or Gill Flukes

The Skin Flukes and the Gill Flukes if found in large numbers might be dangerous to the life of the fish. Flukes are parasites that feed on the tissues of the fish for the living and development. These are common parasites like Gyrodactylus and Dactylogyrus. The tissue of the fish is affected and it might lead to lesions in the fish. This would cause some other side effects to the fish like hyperplasia which might further pave the way for other secondary infections of the fish like the ulcers caused by bacteria. If you do not treat the fish that is affected by skin fluke or the gill fluke then you will find the need to treat them for other diseases too, that are contracted over a period of time. Hence it is better to start the treatment of skin fluke or gill fluke as soon as you identify it.

These parasites called flukes are just 2 mm in length and they need a host for their development and living. Flukes are monogenean. This means they need only one host to complete their lifecycle. There are some parasites that need two or more hosts to complete their lifecycle. They are called as digeneans. Flukes are monogenean trematodes. The flukes have many hooks in one end of the body which is used to hold themselves with the host. Some of the varieties of flukes are viviparous, which means they are live bearing and some of them are oviparous which means they are egg-laying type. The egg-laying types have distinct head and eyespots in them.

Having bad water quality is the ideal condition for these parasites to grow. If you have bad water in the aquarium chances are that you are helping these parasites to grow rapidly. Under such conditions in the aquarium you can find many of the fishes are affected by flukes. One of the types of flukes grows and multiplies rapidly in warm water conditions. Hence it is necessary to see that the water in the aquarium is not high. The flukes double in population in just a single day.

As with other stressed conditions you can find the fish restless when it is affected by flukes. The fish will be rubbing itself with the other objects in the aquarium often if it is affected by flukes. At some point, the fish will stop rubbing and might have low activity. This might tempt you to think that the infection is gone, but actually it is in the advanced stage. In the more advanced stage the fish will find it alone at the bottom of the tank and you can witness skin clouds on it. You might also see excess mucus. Gill biopsy or skin scrape is the best way to determine whether it is affected by flukes. Flukes might cause direct death of the fish or through other secondary infections.

Giving salt bath to the fish that is affected for up to three days might be helpful in treatment of flukes. Quaternary ammonium compound can be used after the salt bath so that the excess mucus are cleaned and it will also clear the skin and the tissues that are damaged. Strong doses of formalin and malachite can be used in the treatment of flukes. Masoten can also be used in the treatment. Bath treatment using high dosage of chloramine-T is also effective against flukes.