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What is Fluke Disease?

Fluke parasiteFluke is often associated with parasitic infection that can easily kill a large batch of fish especially young fry. If you notice that there is a sudden increase in mortality rate causing large number of death among the fish, you should take steps to identify and check whether it could be due to fluke infestation. Usually fish that are infected with the disease will often show lethargic condition with excessive slime buildup on the body including gills. Sometimes they will even scratch on any aquarium surface in which it might led you to believe that they have contacted ich but in actual fact, this is not the case.

Identifying flukes can usually be confirmed by taking a sample and analyzing it under the microscope. The parasite can be easily distinguished based their tubular appearance and also the presence of a suction cup present at one end and a hook on the other. Based on scientific studies, it has been confirmed that there are actually two different types or species of fluke, one which is a body fluke and another is a gill fluke whereby both are differentiated based on the location on the fish anatomy in which they are commonly found. Whichever cases, both are equally lethal and if no proper treatment is being administered, the condition might even escalate up to the point that body sores will appear everywhere, eventually causing the host to die. Another way of identifying the presence of fluke is by using a magnifying glass with close observation and this seems to be a more viable method for use in home aquarium compared to using a microscope.

Recent studies done by scientist has also confirmed that the fluke parasite is in fact present in different types of fish and the reason why the victim has yet to reach a critical stage and becoming sick has something to do with the body immune system preventing the condition from getting worse. However, with poor water condition, which will cause the fish to be under stress and thus, lower the immune system, this will actually present a chance for the fluke to develop. Another area of infestation is through introduction of new fish to the aquarium tank which haven’t gone through proper quarantine period whereby the immunologically naïve fish will be used as a new host to for the fluke to establish itself.

So far, treatment for the disease is by using potassium permanganate in which common salt bath will prove to be almost ineffective in this case. Be careful on the dosage that you intend to use because usually concentration of 10mg per liter of water might endanger the fish as well especially on smaller sized aquarium species. Based on my experience, usually fluke infestation breakout can almost wipe out the whole population but those that manage to survive eventually will buildup sufficient immunity to sustain another wave of attack. The best approach to prevent another breakout of the disease is by applying good aquarium practice to quarantine or avoid introduction of a new batch of fish to the same tank until you are sure that they will not carry any risk that will jeopardize the whole tank community.

Other threats to aquarium fish health involving parasite:
Fish Lice and Anchor Worm

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