Fish lice (Argulus japonicus) are a type of parasite which is quite commonly seen in most pet stores worldwide. They are distinct from other parasites because they are macroscopic and can be seen by the naked eye. These lice are green in color and are shaped like a disk, and will often move along the body of the fish.

How will Fish Lice Affect Your Fish?

Fish that are suffering from fish lice will frequently rub up against objects to scratch and get rid of them. Tiny red spots may also be visible on the fish where the hooks from the parasite latch onto the fish’s body or its gills. The danger of fish lice is that once their hooks latch onto the fish’s skin, it causes severe irritation creating an open wound that makes the fish vulnerable to bacterial infections or parasites such as Costia.

Another factor that makes fish lice dangerous to your pond’s ecosystem is the manner in which they reproduce. Once they enter your pond, they will begin laying eggs on any ornaments, plants or structures you have in your pond. After a number of days have passed the baby lice will emerge and will spread throughout the pond, looking for a new host that they can make their own. Depending on the temperature within the pond, it could take between a month to three months for fish lice to completely spread through the pond. Therefore, it is critical to begin treatment as soon as their presence has been detected.

Another Parasite To Look For!

Another dangerous fish parasite is Ich, also known as Ichthyophthirius. It is a large protozoan that can only be identified with a microscope. It has a nucleus which is shaped like a horseshoe, and it appears most commonly in warm water fish. Fish that have Ich will rub themselves against the bottom of the pond in order to rid themselves of it. This protozoan is exceptionally dangerous to pond fish and if left untreated it can kill them in large numbers. Ich is a parasite which is simple to prevent, but is incredibly difficult to eliminate once it appears in the pond. The best way to avoid it is by maintaining quality water and quarantining every fish before they are added to the pond.

Symptoms of Fish Lice

  • Small black or red spots appear on the fish’s skin
  • Fish frequently rub themselves against objects
  • Fish exhibit increased stress levels
  • Fish develop open wounds

Fitz’s Fish Ponds is the Best Fish Care Specialist to Help You Combat Fish Lice

At Fitz’s Fish Ponds, we highly recommend Diflubenzuron and Dimillin for treating pond fish that have been adversely impacted by fish lice. Our team members are experts in handling fish lice and we can physically remove the visible lice from the body via tweezers. The red spots which result from the hooks can be treated with Panalog. Neosporin is also an effective treatment.

Identifying and treating fish lice is no easy task, especially if they are spread throughout your pond. Should this happen, intensive fish care and pond maintenance and cleaning will need to be performed.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can treat fish lice in your ponds!