What are Flukes
The parasite flukes can affect the body (body flukes) and gills (gill flukes) of a goldfish. If it goes untreated, flukes can destroy the gills and kill the sick goldfish and then infect the other goldfish in the tank. Under a microscope, flukes resemble a small worm that contains the next generation of flukes inside it. Gill flukes live and lay eggs in the darkness of the gills of a goldfish. These gill flukes have developed eye spots while the body flukes who bear live young on the body of the goldfish have not developed eye spots.
The symptoms a goldfish sick with flukes can include scratching against surfaces, redness of skin, mucus on the gills or body, sunken bellies and rapid breathing.
How to Treat Flukes
If you own a microscope, take a scraping form one of the sick goldfish and examine it to diagnose the flukes parasite. Treatments for flukes in goldfish can be expensive and potentially harmful to goldfish; it’s important to accurately diagnose flukes before treating for flukes. If you don’t have a microscope, you can diagnose flukes by eliminating other possible goldfish illnesses.
Do this by raising the goldfish tank water temperature up to 70-78*F and then treating the water with an aquarium salt and Dimilin or Program. Aquarium salt will treat over seven known pathogens and Dimilin or Program will eliminate all but the flukes parasite. By ruling out these other goldfish illnesses, you can diagnose flukes.
Before you begin treating your sick goldfish, disconnect any biological filters but don’t remove them. Not only is it important to keep the nitrifying bacteria in your filters alive to avoid ammonia spikes, the flukes parasite can be everywhere in the goldfish tank, including the filters.
Treat the entire goldfish tank with Droncit. Add three and a half 34-milligrams pills per 10 gallons of tank water. Droncit is the pill form of praziquantel and is mainly used to treat dogs and cats for worms. It’s an expensive treatment but is the least harmful to your goldfish.
Once the first treatment is complete you may resume your biological filter.
In four days repeat this treatment a second time to kill the second generation of flukes that were not eliminated during the first treatment.
It’s not uncommon for flukes parasites to have several generations of larvae inside the mother flukes; it’s recommended that a third treatment is carried out four days after the second treatment.
Four days after the third treatment, your flukes problem should be resolved and you may once again performing routine water changes.
If you can’t get Droncit, try this alternative that treats gill and body flukes, fish lice, anchor worm, gill mites and ragged fin
Different treatments to cure flukes in goldfish can be hazardous to the health of the goldfish or any other creatures living in your goldfish tank. They can cause skin irritations, inflammation or burning of the fins and body. It’s important not to overdose the tank with these treatments: Fluke Tabs, Formalin (Health Guard), Copper, Chloramine T and Acriflavine.
Prevent Goldfish Flukes
To avoid getting flukes in the first place, place new goldfish into a quarantine tank for a minimum of four weeks; six weeks is recommended. Ask your goldfish dealer if their new goldfish are quarantined before they sell them to the public. An extra quarantine period lower the risk of introducing a sick goldfish into your established goldfish tank or pond.
Reviewed By: Tim Winter
Tim Winter has an unwavering affection for animals and his extensive experience in caring for various pets has motivated him to impart his personal successes and failures to enlighten others on the best practices in pet care. Tim obtained his Bachelor of Science in Advertising from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.