Fish Lice and Leeches
Whether fish live in an aquarium, a pond, or in saltwater, they are at risk for being infected by parasites. Some parasites are particular to the type of water, but one parasite that infects fish living in all three types of water is the protozoan parasite Ichthyobodo.
Reasons for Ichthyobodo infection
The most common instigator of this protozoan parasite infection is stress due to poor sanitary conditions and overcrowding of the aquarium, tank or pond. Stress leads to a weakened immune system, which leads to vulnerability to this parasite. Even overfeeding can stress the fish and lead to parasitic infection.
Signs of Ichthyobodo infection
This parasitic infection affects the skin and gills of the fish. The skin of the infected fish looks steel-grey in color and produces a blue or grey colored mucus.
Generally, the infected fish will show signs of lethargy and weakness with loss of appetite. The fish may swim near the water surface to gulp air and may also rub against objects. The condition will steadily worsen.
Treatment for Ichthyobodo infection
You will need to see a fish health specialist, who will microscopically diagnose the infection before treating it. Under the microscope, the parasites have the appearance of a flickering flame.
Infected fish are treated in water that has been medicated with formalin, salt, and potassium permanganate or copper sulfate. (Do not attempt to treat your fish with any of these chemicals without professional guidance.)
In order to successfully treat your fish and prevent a reoccurrence of the infection, the sanitation and living conditions of the fish should be corrected immediately.
Prevention of Ichthyobodo infection
These protozoan parasites can be prevented from infecting your fish by giving the fish a stress free environment to live in, thereby ensuring that they have strong immune systems. In addition, the aquarium, pond or tank should be regularly cleaned, the fish must be fed the correct amount of food to prevent excessive organic debris in the water, and the number of fishes should not increase beyond the size of the holding tank.