Not only for your betta but also for you, becoming infected with anchor worms might be a nightmare. You may have observed your betta clawing a lot or having respiratory problems. This might indicate that your betta is being attacked by anchor worms, but you should read on to learn more about the issue.
Fortunately, anchor worms attacking your betta are an extremely uncommon occurrence. It is quite rare in-tank fish, but it does happen.
As a result, we’ve compiled a summary of everything you need to know about anchor worms, including their causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
Read on to find out all you need to know about the illness.
What are Anchor Worms and What Do They Eat?
This is a sickness that rarely affects aquarium fish, but it is most commonly encountered in pond fish. Despite its rarity, nonetheless, it can happen.
Anchor worms are a kind of crustacean known as lernaea, and they are not wormed. They cling to the fish’s skin and dig deep into the flesh, wreaking havoc on the animal from within.
What Causes Betta Anchor Worms?
You might be wondering why, if the condition is rare, it can still happen. So, here are all of the reasons why your aquarium can have anchor worms.
Anchor worms do not appear or develop in the tank on their own; rather, new fish or plants that have already had anchor worms adhere to them bring them in. They are incredibly contagious, and if introduced to the tank, they may soon grow in power and attack anything in the tank, including your betta.
On a fish, detecting anchor worms is not as tough as it is on a plant. The majority of large worms are likely to have been moved from a fish, whereas larvae are more likely to have been transmitted from plants, which are more difficult to notice.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of an Anchor Worm Infestation?
When your betta is infected with anchor worms, you’re in luck since they’re easy to discover and treat straight immediately. When your betta has anchor worms, it will exhibit a variety of symptoms. For your convenience, I’ve included a comprehensive list with their descriptions.
1. You’ll Notice Them On Your Betta
Because of their large size, anchor worms are easy to spot on your betta. They can reach a length of 0.8 inches and are visible to the naked eye. Furthermore, they can be identified by their white, green, or red-like look. When looking for them, you may observe that their ends have broken in half, making it simpler to diagnose your betta. These worms are most commonly seen towards the base of the fins because it is where they attack the most.
2. Pushing Themselves Against Things/ Scraping
Another typical sign of anchor worms is your betta continuously rubbing itself against the tank walls or any other item in an attempt to get rid of the worms. This is because they are unpleasant, but make sure to examine before establishing a diagnosis because scraping may also occur in velvet, Columnaris, and other infections.
3. Redness/ Ulcers/ Sores
Many other illnesses, such as velvet, itch, gill flukes, and others, have similar characteristics. So, before you begin any treatment, make sure to inspect your betta first. The redness and scars on your betta’s body may have formed as a result of its continual rubbing and scratching.
4. Breathing Trouble
Anchor worms may easily penetrate deep into your betta’s interior organs and cause damage. This makes breathing harder for your betta. However, if you notice that your betta is gasping for oxygen again, make careful to inspect it since it might be suffering from Columnaris, ammonia poisoning, or gill flukes.
5. Sluggish/ Lethargic Behavior of Your Betta
If your betta is not behaving in a normal way and exhibits signs of sluggish behavior, it may be because of Anchor worms at a preliminary stage. You need to pay more focus to identifying the presence of anchor worms.
Anchor Worm Treatment in Betta
After you’ve made the diagnosis, you’ll need to build up a quarantine tank and relocate your betta to it. It’s past time for you to get to work without prolonging your therapy. Move the fish to the tank once it is set up since the powerful medication used to cure the condition will not damage the other fish. You may also treat your betta individually with ease and care.
1. Pulling the Anchor Worms Out of Your Betta
The first step in treating your betta is to remove the anchor worms. You’ll need to use a net to catch your betta and remove it from the tank for this.
After your betta has been removed from the tank, use tweezers to remove the worms. Also, while pulling the worms, make sure you catch them by the head without their realizing it, as the head may remain in the worm. Don’t worry, it can be remedied, but you’ll need to act swiftly to avoid more damage.
Also, don’t let your betta out for too long; it needs to be back in the water to breathe. However, if the anchor worms are buried too deeply inside the betta, taking them out will harm the betta.
2. Dissolve Potassium Permanganate in Water.
Following that, you’ll apply potassium permanganate, a chemical that’s used to clean up decorations and plants before putting them in the tank. Many aquarists also employ them to clean the tank of germs and parasites. If you’re going to use it, make sure you read the directions on the bottle or consult a professional.
Here’s a general guideline that could be useful to you.
When treating anchor worms with potassium permanganate, leave your betta in it for five minutes. In terms of the containers, fill two of them with dechlorinated water and set an air stone in the tank. Add one gram of potassium permanganate to every 10 gallons of water after that is done. Also, make sure the temperature in the bowl is the same as in the main tank before introducing your betta. Allow 5 minutes for you to sit in the potassium bowl, and quickly place it in the dechlorinated tank if you observe him struggling or attempting to leap out. If your betta does not struggle, let it in for 5 minutes before removing it and placing it in the other bowl. It is critical to be precise with the timing. Rinse your betta after putting him in the dechlorinated water and return it to the main tank. If the initial treatment does not work, a second treatment can be given after one week, but not a THIRD OR MORE treatment.
3. API General Cure for Anchor Worms
You can use API general cure instead of potassium Permanganate dip if you don’t want to use the potassium permanganate dip. This is the most effective parasite treatment for your betta. This is excellent for anchor worms. To use API in general, add one packet to every 10 liters of water and wait 48 hours before adding another packet. After that, you should do a 25% water change before adding activated carbon to the tank to get rid of any remaining chemicals.
4. Adding Salt to Your Aquarium
After you’ve completed the preceding steps, add aquarium salt to the tank to assist get rid of any leftover anchor worms or larvae. This will keep your betta from becoming their host once more. When using aquarium salt, use 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of water, and do not add the salt to the tank immediately; instead, mix it separately in the tank water before adding it to the main tank. After four days, make a 25% water change, and continue the process for up to two weeks.
5. Keep Your Betta in the Aquarium Tank
If you have a full community of betta, you should isolate your diseased fish in a separate tank for 28 days. This is because an anchor worm has a 21-day lifespan and will die if it is unable to find a new host. As a result, it ensures that the betta is worm-free and may be returned to the main tank.
How Can You Prevent Your Betta From Anchor Worms?
There is only one method to keep anchor worms out of your betta tank, and that is to quarantine everything. Especially any new fish or plants you’ve recently added to your tank, since they may contain anchor worms and spread if you don’t separate them.
Keep your fish in a separate tank to observe whether the anchor worms arrive; if they do, start the treatment on your new fish; if they don’t, return it to its new home in the main tank with the other fishes.
Is it Infectious To Have Anchor Worms?
Anchor worms are incredibly contagious, so if you notice them in your fish, the first thing you should do is remove them from the main tank and place it in the quarantine tank, where you may begin treatment.
The good news is that this virus is quite uncommon in aquarium fish, so it should be the absolute last thing to your concern.
Is It True That Anchor Worms Are Fatal?
It is entirely dependent on the state of your betta’s anchor worms. If you catch it early enough, the anchor worm can be treated and healed, but if you wait too long, the anchor worm will have spread to your betta’s internal organs, making treatment difficult. If the illness is not treated, the sores on your betta will eventually succumb, resulting in a secondary bacterial infection. As a result, the sickness becomes lethal in this case.
The Bottom Line On Anchor Worms On Betta
Now that you’ve read the material, we’re certain you’re aware of all of the important details, such as the disease’s cause, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. This will assist you in curing your fish and assisting it in leading a better lifestyle. Just make sure you’re not being irresponsible and that you’re taking good care of your betta. Because this sickness is quite rare, and if it does arise, it might be problematic. But don’t worry, just follow the above-mentioned instructions and don’t forget to get guidance from your veteran.