Anchor worms are microscopic parasites that are visible to the human eye. They are most often found in koi and goldfish, but they are also found on various other freshwater fish. Anchor worms on betta are uncommon but are possible.
As previously stated, the odds of discovering anchor worms on aquarium fishes such as betta fish are minimal to none. It does, however, happen. If you suspect your betta has anchor worms, you must determine the reason as soon as possible because the method of prevention and treatment is dependent on it.
What are Anchor Worms?
Anchor worms are a crustacean copepod parasite that embeds itself in the fish’s skin and has a worm-like tail that protrudes from the skin. There are several non-parasitic stages of these parasites that occur in the water.
Anchor worms are introduced into your aquarium with other fish and plants. Because they are very contagious, if a fish afflicted with them introduces a few into your tank, they will soon reproduce, proliferate, and infect everything else, including your betta fish.
Anchor worms are much easier to see on fish than on plants. Adult anchor worms are most likely to be transmitted by fish, but larvae are more likely to be transmitted via plants. The larvae are likewise much more challenging to see.
Symptoms of Anchor Worms on Betta Fish
When your betta is infected with anchor worms, you can expect to see a variety of symptoms. Anchor worms, on the other hand, are relatively simple to detect. Here are some of the most prominent symptoms of anchor worms on betta fish.
Anchor worms should be easy to identify on your betta due to their enormous size. They can reach a length of 0.8 inches, which is easily visible to the human eye. If you look closely, you will see anchor worms have a white, green, or red worm-like appearance.
They frequently appear to have split in half at the end, making identification easier. Check towards the base of the fins for anchor worms, as this is where they are most likely to be found.
Ulcers And Redness
You may observe redness, ulcers, and sores on your betta fish. These occur when he rubs against objects, causing his exterior to wear off. It is worth checking your betta if you see any of these problems. If you find any anchor worms, you should start treatment right at once.
Scraping Against Tank Equipments
Another frequent sign of anchor worms on betta is your betta scratching or rubbing against objects. As he tries to separate himself from the worms, the betta will start rubbing its body against the tank. If you notice this, you should look at your betta fish for anchor worms.
Lethargy and Shortness of Breath
Anchor worms are known to dig so deep that they reach your betta’s interior organs. If you find your betta has trouble breathing, it is worth checking for anchor worms on the betta.
He might also look lazy and lethargic. Bettas tend not to move about as much when they are sick. It will be helpful to examine your betta for anchor worms if you sense such behavior from your betta fish.
Causes Behind Anchor Worms On Betta Fish
When a new fish is introduced to an aquarium, it may have young anchor worms or a reproductively active female anchor worm under its skin. This parasite spreads quickly when appropriate quarantine is not followed.
Free-swimming juveniles may be present in the water around the plants, even if they are not on the plants themselves. If not adequately confined, aquatic plants can introduce a variety of germs and parasites into your aquarium.
Because there are no fish to host parasites, quarantining plants in a plant-only system will disrupt the parasite life cycle, just like your new fish. This solely applies to fish-keeping plants. Your new plants will be free of fish illnesses if they have never been kept with any fish.
Treatment And Prevention For Anchor Worms On Betta
It is tempting to just remove anchor worms off your fish after they have been discovered, but try resisting the temptation. Anchor worms on betta must be removed appropriately by your veterinarian while the fish is sedated. They will have to get rid of the parasite from beneath the fish’s skin, including the feeding end.
Adults are not killed by over-the-counter “anchor worm” treatments, which are typically reasonably successful against juvenile anchor worms. Removing your substrate and decor and putting your water under a UV lamp is another way to eliminate your aquarium’s free-swimming immature stage.
The easiest way to avoid anchor worms is to quarantine any new aquarium additions. Remember that young larvae are tiny, and you may not see them until it is too late. You may avoid the transmission of disease to the main aquarium by carefully quarantining your new fish.
A chemical called potassium permanganate is used to clean decorations and plants before putting them in your aquarium. Many aquarists, however, utilize them to sterilize fish that have parasites or pathogens. Alternatively, you can use API General Cure Kit for anchor worms in betta.
Adding aquarium salt to the tank can help destroy surviving larvae and anchor worms, ensuring that your betta does not become their new host. It would help if you dissolved the salt in a cup of aquarium water before adding it to your actual tank.
FAQs Related to Anchor Worms on Betta
Are anchor worms on betta contagious?
Anchor worms are very contagious, so if you see any fish in your tank with them, remove them right once. However, anchor worms are highly unlikely to appear in your betta tank.
Can anchor worms kill a betta?
Anchor worms on betta should not be fatal if they are treated at the right time. It is, however, dependent on the condition of your betta fish; if it is too late, the risk of death increases.
How long can anchor worms survive without a host?
Adult anchor worms may survive without a fish host for around two weeks, while recently born larvae can stay for one or two days without a proper host.
Can humans get anchor worms from betta fish?
Even if humans get anchor worms from betta fish, these worms are not harmful to humans. Therefore, you need not worry about anchor worms affecting you.
Although anchor worms on betta are scarce, they can latch on your betta in certain conditions. If identified swiftly, then it is easily treatable. You should look for the symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible.