There are a number of different types of fish parasite, and some are more harmful than others are. They can occur in both fish kept as pets, as well as fish found in the wild. Fish lice (argulus) are one of the most common types of parasite, and they are one of the few types of parasite that is visible with the naked eye, as long as you look carefully. Sometimes, in the beginning of an infestation, the fish lice can be mistaken for algae. Looking closely, you will see that there is a huge difference.
Fish lice are small, yet easily seen green disks that have two eyes and can crawl around the fish. You can often see tiny red spots on your fish that indicate where the fish louse has pierced the skin and gills with its small, yet sharp hooks. The lice are very irritating to the fish, and sometimes this irritation can even make the fish rub against objects in its environment. They do this to try to remove the parasite.
Even more than just irritating the fish, the holes created by the claws of the fish lice are open wounds, which leave the fish vulnerable to other types of infection, such as skin ulcers and disease.
Fish lice can be brought into your community of fish in one of several ways, the most common of which is hitching a ride on a new fish or plant being introduced. They then will attach themselves to your fish, digging in with their claws and the proboscis, which injects a substance into the fish that liquefies it. They can then feed on the fish in this manner, like a tiny vampire.
If you have a pet fish that has fish lice, it is very important to get the problem treated immediately. One of the earliest methods employed to remove lice was by holding your fish with a damp cloth, gently but firmly, and removing the lice with tweezers. There are now medications that can be used to treat the entire tank, however. Although the tweezers method has lost favor, it can still provide some immediate relief to your fish as you wait for the medication to begin killing the lice in the tank.
Recent studies show that there has been an increase in cases of fish lice around the world, and many are blaming the hot, sunny weather due possibly to global warming. While there is no conclusive evidence that this is the case, the problem of fish lice does seem to be on the rise. This has become an increasing problem in a number of trout fisheries in the United States. Of course, treating fish lice in hatcheries and in the wild is far more difficult than if you were treating fish in your own tank at home.
Remember, when you are treating your fish, take care so that you do not stress the fish, as this can slow their recovery time. The parasites have already caused the fish enough stress.
Take care of your fish or other small animal. Save at PetCareRx today.