• Scraping against substrate or décor
  • Rapid gill movement
  • Mucus covering the gills or body
  • Gills or find may be eaten away
  • Skin may become reddened.

There are many species of flukes, which are flatworms about 1 mm long, and several symptoms that are visible. They infest gills and skin much like ich, but the difference can be seen with a hand lens. You should be able to see movement and possibly eye spots, which is not found in ich. Gill flukes will eventually destroy the gills thus killing the fish. Symptoms of a heavy infestations are pale fish with drooping fins, rapid respiration, glancing off aquarium decor, and /or hollow bellies.

Treatment can be done with a 10 to 30 minute bath in 10 mg per litre of potassium permanganate. Or treat the whole tank with 2 mg per litre, but this method is messy and dyes the water.

Salt baths are also very effective.  Mix 1 cup of rock salt in 10 litres of water in a bucket.  When the salt is fully dissolved, place the fish into the bucket and leave it there until it is almost about to expire.  The salt will burn the parasites off.  It is important not to leave the fish unattended during this process as some will be stringer than others.  When you think this fish cannot take anymore, return it to its tank quickly.

Medicated treatments for skin and gill flukes include Trichlorfon and sulphur based medications like sulfadimidine, sulfadimidine and sulfadizine.


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