How to Treat Camallanus Red Worms In Aquarium Fish

Photo of author

How to Treat Camallanus Red Worms in Aquarium Fish

Fish diseases can be notoriously hard to diagnose, but one of the more easily recognizable illnesses is an internal parasite called the camallanus red worm. Multiple species of roundworms and nematodes that belong to the Camallanus genus can infect aquarium fish. They feed by attaching themselves to the intestinal walls. The immune system may be affected by factors such as tank aggression or poor water quality, which can lead to serious injury and even death.


Does My Fish Have Red Worms?

In the early stages of the disease, the fish looks quite normal for a while. You may notice that the juvenile fish grow slower than normal, the adults are not breeding as often, and eventually, you will lose a few fish every month. Hobbyists have also reported a decrease in appetite.

If you see one or more red worms emerge from the fish’s vent, this is an indicator that it is serious. It may look like a small cluster of scarlet threads that extend about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6.6-3.3 cm). This stage of the disease can cause fish to become abnormally thin due to worms eating all their nutrients. Because the worms are blocking the intestines, secondary infections can take root and cause other symptoms to appear.

Camallanus red worms are often more noticeable in small livebearers like guppies because it only takes a few worms to cause serious problems in a nano fish. It takes worms longer to reproduce to a size that can take down larger fish like angelfish.

Guppy with camallanus worm protruding from the anal vent

What Are the Causes of Camallanus Red Worms

Infected fish can spread the parasites to their aquarium by eating the waste of the healthy fish. This is what causes the tiny crustaceans cyclops to eat the larvae. A healthy fish can eat infected crustaceans. This causes the larvae to mature and become adults, which allows the cycle to continue. Some species of camallanusworms don’t require an intermediate host. Fish can also get infected by eating larvae-rich fish feces. The disease can be spread from one tank to another.

How can I get rid of Camallanus Worms

Fritz Expel P, which contains levamsole and targets roundworms like camallanus, is a good dewormer. The medication paralyzes adult worms and allows them to be expelled by an aquarium siphon. Follow the instructions provided on the box to use 1 packet ExpelP per 10 gallons of water (38 L). Perform a 25% water changing to get rid of the parasites after 24 hours. Because levamisole is not effective on unhatched eggs, it is best to wait for two weeks before you start the second treatment. Then, add Expel-P to the tank to eliminate any remaining parasites.

Fritz Expel–P medication for parasitic disease

Some articles suggest that you put the dewormer into food and give it to your fish. However, we prefer to treat the entire tank as fish can lose their appetites and you can’t always control the amount of medication they eat. If your fish has secondary infections, you might consider broad-spectrum antibiotics and antifungal treatments.

The key to recovery is not medication. It’s about lowering stress levels in the aquarium and hospital tanks. Feed plenty of high-quality foods to help them gain weight and expel the worms more quickly. To eliminate paralyzed parasites, keep the water quality high. You can also disinfect siphons, nets, and any other equipment that is shared to prevent the spread of disease.

Dosing a packet of Expel-P

How Do I Prevent Camallanus Worms?

All new fish should be quarantined for at least a week to monitor their behavior and appetite before being added to your tanks. This will allow you to avoid infecting any of your animals. While the trio of antibiotics can prevent most infections (bacterial, fungal, or parasitic), you should consider using Expel-P to treat specific concerns. Most fish can survive with red worms for a while before it becomes problematic, so keep clean water, feed fresh foods, and endeavor to lower the stress in the tank. Keep the quarantine area separate, wash your hands after touching it, and use separate siphons and nets for fish in quarantine.

Check out our articles for more information about fish diseases. Learn how to diagnose, treat, and prevent the most common ailments.

Attributions 190729 Guppy 1 by BlueBreezeWiki. (CC BY -SA 3.0).