There are a variety of parasites that can adversely affect the skin of your fish. Two of the most common are Gyrodactylus and Dactylogyrus. They are small flatworms which commonly infect koi, goldfish and other species which are commonly found in ponds. Both are a type of monogenean trematode which is derived from the Dactylogyridae family. These skin parasites may appear in healthy fish, and when in small amounts, they won’t necessarily cause any harm.

How will Skin Parasites Affect Your Fish?

Skin parasites that appear in large numbers on fish can become dangerous. The fish will typically display ulcers or sores within the gills or skin, and they may also look pale in color. Some fish may also display tiny hemorrhages. Whenever you detect skin parasites, they must be treated as soon as possible because they can be deadly when they spread.

Skin parasites have hooks which they will use to attach themselves to the fish. The hooks are primarily responsible for much of the damage that the fish sustain when they break through the skin’s surface. Many skin parasites only need a single host to finish their life cycle, and they will almost always be found either on the fins or skin. The fish will respond to these parasites by rubbing against the walls of the pond to get rid of the irritation they cause.

It can be exceptionally difficult to determine which parasite is affecting your fish as many cause symptoms which are nearly identical. The only way to know for certain which type of parasite is present is through a microscope. The tissue damage which results from the hooks of the skin parasites can cause secondary fungal or bacterial infections.

Symptoms of Skin Parasites

  • Fish display frequent gill movements
  • Fish become lethargic and less active
  • Fish stop eating
  • The skin of the fish displays a milky look
  • Fish frequently rub against objects
  • Fish display ulcers or sores

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

At Fitz’s Fish Ponds, we treat skin parasites by prescribing water which is medicated along with praziquantel and formalin. The quality of your fish’s environment will play a crucial role in their ability to fight off infections resulting from skin parasites. We will also clean and sanitize your pond, as well as insure that any new fish that are added are quarantined. We’ve been in the pond construction and maintenance business for more than 7 years and our team is dedicated and passionate about the work we perform.

Skin parasites are nothing to play around with. They can be tough to detect and even tougher to resolve once you do. Many pond owners attempt using salt to combat skin parasites, and while salt is certainly effective, it will also kill your plants and should never be used in conjunction with zeolite filters since it will emit ammonia and nitrites into the water. Remember, salt should only be used on fish individually. Contact us today to learn more about our pond fish care services!