Fish that have parasites are highly contagious and must be separated from the other fish in your aquarium. The infected fish must be treated and the fish tank they were in must be thoroughly disinfected. Some of the more common parasites that can affect your tropical fish are:
1. Fish lice: These lice attach to the fish and will turn almost the same color as its host. Your fish will rub up against things in the fish tank, trying to rid itself of the lice.
2. Anchor Worm: The females of this parasite have an anchor shaped head (hence the name) that will bury into the flesh of the fish. There may be some bleeding where the head is attached and there will be a little white worm coming from this spot.
It will be necessary to remove the worm with tweezers. This is a very delicate procedure as it is easy to injure the fish with the tweezers.
3. Leeches: A wormlike parasite that attaches to both ends of the fish. Remove as soon as possible.
4. Flukes: Gill flukes turn the gills pink and red and your fish will always stay near the surface where he can easily get air. Skin flukes cause localized swelling and sores.
5. Ichthyophthirius: Known as Ich or white spot for short. You will see raised white spots on your fish about the size of a grain of salt. Ich is probably the most common parasite found in aquariums.
6. Oodinium: Also known as velvet as it creates a golden velvet coat on the body and fins of the fish. Because of its golden color it is hard to see on gold fish.
7. Hexamita: Also known as hole in the head disease. This is an internal parasite that is harmful to your fish when he is weakened by stress, age, or poor water conditions. White stringy pus and pus filled sores on the head are signs of hexamita.
Taking good care of your fish with proper nutrition and maintaining your aquarium goes a long way to keeping your fish healthy.
Barb Jensen lives in upstate New York with her numerous pets. [http://freewebs.com/tropfish]