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Hirudinea, , 19
Leech


Leeches

According to Innes, the small white worms found on the glass in many aquaria, by so many defined as planaria, are leeches as well.
Leeches can be seen from 0.5-5 cm in an aquarium. It is not a pretty sight. They can be removed from the fish with tweezers. The wound should be treated by placing the fish in a mild antibiotic for 48 hours. If someone has some information how to get rid of a bloodsucker plague please inform me.

I had a plague in a 30*20*20 tank. After removing the fish. Tried to get rid of them with a medication against worms, it didn't work. After removal of the plants I placed the soil in a bucket with boiling water. I found over a 100 of them in the soil. It took a long time and several repeats to kill all of them. Kept the plants separated from the tank for a long period. Half a year later again over 30 of them in the tank.

In general most species cannot endure life in an aquarium for longer periods of time. However, if leeches become large in numbers, larger fish may suffer from loss of blood, and the wounds may become infected. Leeches can be lethal to small and juvenile fish.

They are usually introduced with new fish,plants, or live food(Sometimes they are found in portions of live red mosquito larvae).

Treatment:

Placing the fish infected with a leech in a saltwaterbath will cause the parasite to detach itself from the fish. This bath should be made from plain NaCl/salt, with a strength of 10-15 grams per liter. Duration of the bath should be until the parasite detaches itself, but no longer than 20 minutes.

Disinfect the aquarium with ammonia after the fish are removed. A teaspoonful of household ammonia to five gallons of water. Duration 2 hours, and then a 100% waterchange(This treatment supposedly doesn't damage the plants, although some very susceptible species may suffer from it). Keep th fish in quarantine for a period of time to allow small leeches to detach themselves from the gills and skin.

Picture references: Picture 1: E. Naus

References:Innes, W. T.(1936): The complete aquarium book. Halcyon house, New York, U.S.A..Schubert, G.(?): Ziekten van aquariumvissen. B.V. W. J. Thieme & cie, Zutphen, The Netherlands

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