How to Get Rid of Parasites in Fish Tank? (8 Important Things You Can Do!)

How to Get Rid of Parasites in Fish Tank? This article talks about 8 things you can do to prevent this from happening. Parasites can be dangerous for your fish and make them sick. 

The parasite feeding approach might be detrimental to the fish if it is not adequately nourished or healthy in the first place.

The parasite does not want the host to die since it is its primary food source.

Still, if the delicate host/parasite balance is disrupted, particularly in frail fish or fish that have acquired a secondary fungal or bacterial infection, the fish may die.

Parasite outbreaks may spread rapidly in the enclosed environment of the aquarium, making timely, correct treatment critical.

Parasites often have many life phases, both on and off the fish.

It is critical to adhere precisely to the therapeutic dose and redosing regimen to effectively treat.

If the fish has acquired a secondary infection, begin by treating the parasite and then the fungus or bacterium.

It is thought that a small number of parasites cannot damage the aquarium’s creatures since the water has sufficient food for them.

However, if substantial populations of these worms are discovered, they must be eradicated.

What is a parasite?

A parasite in a fish tank is one that resides inside the fish tank.

Parasites are creatures that live on or inside another organism and feed on the host’s nutrients.

Not just humans, but all living species are hosts to parasites!

In fundamental terms, the parasite, whether visible or undetectable to the naked eye, depends entirely on its host for survival, often eating only minute amounts of the host.

The host in this situation is a fish.

How to get rid of parasites in fish tank?

  • Trap it just needs a few fresh pieces of meat and a little gauze bag to put together.
  • During the night, the trap is set and the parasites are put inside, before being extracted the following morning.
  • The rest of the neighborhood is safe, but you won’t be able to remedy the problem immediately.
  • Removing and sanitizing all of the aquarium’s parts, including the floor and driftwood In order to get rid of the worms and their eggs, everyone and everything must be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Fresh water is added to the tank and set the temperature of the tank to 35 degrees or higher for around two hours.
  • Natural deposits of fish occur at this time of year.
  • The high-temperature hits kill the turbellarians.
  • Aquarium worms are devoured by the fish in their own tank.
  • Parasitic parasites of apple snail, paradise fish, and firemouth cichlids may be consumed.
  • Treat with Anti-Parasite Slime and Velvet.
  • Assist fish’s immune systems with Aquilibrium salt.
  • Conduct water quality tests and treat as necessary.
  • An aquarium worm treatment containing fenbendazole may be acquired through a veterinarian’s office or a few pet businesses.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper dosage and administration of these medications.
  • Gills may get infected, making breathing difficult, and most treatments deplete the tank’s oxygen level, so keep an eye out for fish gasping for air and consider adding more aeration.
  • Eliminating parasites from a fish tank might be a preventative step.
  • It entails purchasing plants only from large retailers and quarantining them before arriving in the aquarium.
  • All aquarium equipment must be cleaned, the water should be changed on a regular basis, and the fish should not be overfed.

Why do parasites occur in fish tank?

There are many different reasons why pathogens and parasites occur in fish tank.

The most common reason is genetics.

If an infected male and female mate, then its offspring will be diseased or parasitic as well.

Another cause can be an infected host getting into the tank when the cleaning is not done correctly,

such that you don’t remove all of it when you clean your filter environment with water changes.

Common Source of parasites:

The most common Source of parasites in fish tanks is fecal contamination.

Anything that creates feces on the floor can introduce these disease-causing agents into the tank.

Maintaining a strict hygiene regimen is necessary to maintain healthy fish populations,

and an integral component of this includes managing sources of touching feces on the floor,

so there’s less chance for related contaminants.

When fecal bacteria are introduced to water,

it has no real immediate effect because these bacteria can’t survive in water without organic food,

whereas outside sediment provides this organic food source.

It means that if feces touch any wet surface,

Then naturally occurring attached bacteria will be drawn into it.

After which, they establish themselves soon enough as long as nutrient-rich water conditions remain favorable for their survival.

If the tank is well maintained, then these bacteria should pose no problem for healthy fish populations. 

Fish Behavior:

Chinese scientists have found that certain parasites living in freshwater fish can cause them to behave erratically,

affecting their sleep cycles and causing the fish to become more sociable just before they die.

The parasitic infections are tracked back to nearby rivers where untreated sewage flows. 

The most common symptom of parasites in fish tanks are the following: 

lack of appetite, lethargy, skin lesions, and fin rot.

Parasites can be found in any water-based ecosystem, including lakes, ponds, rivers, and aquariums.

The best way to prevent parasitic infestation is by using a quarantine tank or hospital tank for new additions to your fish community.

It will help avoid adding more parasites to an already infected environment. 

Here are the eight most common parasitic fish behavior changes: 

  1. The fish’s body becomes swollen or distended.
  2. The fish has difficulty swimming.
  3. The fish has a red streak on the abdomen, which ichthyophthirius multifiliis can cause.
  4. The skin of the fish develops white spots that are often found near the head and gills of the fish.
  5. A brownish film may cover some areas of the skin, especially around the fins.
  6. One or both eyes protrude from their sockets due to an infection called columnaris disease (affects mostly freshwater).
  7. Common parasitic fish behaviors that may indicate a problem, such as aggression, lack of appetite, and hiding 
  8. How to know if your water quality is poor: parasites can be an indicator for this too!

Types of parasites

Parasites can affect fish in a tank, whether they are fish that live in the wild or in your home aquarium.

However, there are different types of parasites, and these can affect your fish depending on their species.

For example, one type of parasite is flukes,

which attach themselves to the gills of fish and feed off them,

while another type is anchor worms,

which latch onto the skin of a fish where they suck out its blood until it dies.

It’s important to know what kind of parasite you have so you can treat it appropriately with medications! 

  • The parasite on the fish Tetrahymena
  • Parasite hymena corlissi
  • Parasite monogenea
  • Parasites on the gills of fish
  • Parasites on common molly

Some types of parasites are noted below:

Invisible – White Spot Parasites

The Ichthyophthirius parasite causes White Spot.

To avoid outbreaks and help your fish recover, control stress factors.

The little white spots on the fish are the parasites mature stage and will not be altered by therapy.

White spot treatments need two doses to capture the parasites early.

After the parasites finish feeding on the fish, they drop and start reproducing in a cyst on the tank’s bottom.

Prevent white spot Parasites by:

Preventative measures are usually preferable than curative measures,

and there are a few things you can do to help prevent this annoying parasite from returning!

  1. Perform frequent water testing and partial water changes to keep an eye on the health of your aquarium’s water.
  2. When purchasing fresh fish, always check them thoroughly at the shop.
  3. Also, after you’ve arrived home, keep an eye on them in your tank since the stress of the transfer might cause an epidemic.
  4. If possible, keep fresh fish in a separate tank for at least a week before introducing them to ensure they’re healthy.
  5. If that’s not an option, apply Disease Away to your tank when you get your new fish.

Invisible – Slime & Velvet Parasites

Slime and velvet are produced by a variety of parasites that are seen in modest quantities on aquarium fish.

The symptoms include a covering of excess mucus – slime – on the skin and a scattering of small gold flecks around the body.

In a healthy tank, the fish’s immune system will deal with these parasites; nevertheless, fish stress (usually caused by poor water quality) may result in large parasite outbreaks.

Limiting stress factors is the primary method of avoiding outbreaks and will also aid in the recovery of the fish after therapy.

Parasites feed on the fish and then breed, producing a huge number of new parasites into the aquarium water.

These young will then seek out their own feeding host to restart the cycle.

Because of the cycle, parasites spread quickly in the correct circumstances, thus immediate action and treatment with Anti Slime and Velvet is advised.

Some parasites develop resistance to therapy at different phases of their life cycle, necessitating a second treatment.

Adherence to the treatment recommendations is essential.

Visible Parasites – Gill Maggots & Leeches/Crustaceans

These parasites, if left untreated, may cause life-threatening injury to the body and are difficult to identify, diagnose, and cure.

The most apparent parasites are anchor worms (lernea), fish lice (argulus), gill maggots (ergasilus), and fish leeches (Piscicola).

These parasites are pretty uncommon in aquariums and are often introduced with new fish or plants —

check any fresh fish carefully and consider quarantining them before putting them in the aquarium.

Parasite treatments are designed to fight parasites at their weakest point in their lifecycle,

thus correct therapy is required to guarantee a successful treatment and recovery.

Follow all redosing directions on the treatment instructions carefully.

Note: It is critical to be 100 percent certain of a diagnosis before to treatment,

since medications used to kill visible parasites are quite powerful and will impact biological filtration,

necessitating careful management of the aquarium’s water quality throughout therapy.

While aquarium salt may be used to cure surface parasites, it isn’t as effective for treating internal parasites.

The parasites are dehydrated to death by the salt before the fish,

which have greater bulk and stored water, are impacted.

See our entire post on how to cure ill fish with salt for detailed details.

Anchor Worm Parasites

Anchor worms are a type of parasitic worm that can cause severe damage to fish.

They latch onto the skin and body tissue of the host,

feeding on it until they grow in size.

The parasite will then release eggs into the water,

which hatch into larvae that look like tiny pieces of spaghetti with hooks at one end.

These larvae attach themselves to other hosts to continue their cycle,

including humans who contact them when swimming or wading in infested waters. 

Trematode (fluke) Parasites

Trematodes are a group of fluke parasites that live in the guts of fish.

They have a very complex life cycle and infect a wide range of different fish species.

Trematodes can cause serious diseases such as swim bladder disease,

bleeding from the gills, or even death.

Tapeworm Parasites

Tapeworms are parasites that can be found in fish.

They use the host’s blood for food and have a long,

flat body with no digestive system of their own.

These worms can grow up to 30 feet or more inside of a fish!

Tapeworms start as eggs and become larvae.

They eventually mature into adults while living inside of a fish’s intestines.

When the adult tapeworm leaves the intestine,

it enters another part of the body where it lays its eggs which develop into new larvae that get eaten by other fish through contaminated water or food sources.

Parasitic Crustaceans

Parasitic crustaceans are often viewed as a nuisance in the marine environment.

They attach themselves to fish, crabs, and other invertebrates, causing damage to their host’s skin and gills while taking away some of their nutrients.

This blog post will discuss what parasitic crustaceans are, where they live, what kinds there are, how they infect their hosts, and how you can prevent them from coming into your home.

Parasites are known as ciliates:

These are single-celled organisms often seen “walking” on plants or even making their way through gravel;

Parasites known as ciliates for fish are a common problem with aquariums that have been neglected.

They can also pose a threat to humans, but it is best to avoid contact with them if possible. 

Ciliate infestations usually start when the water in an aquarium gets dirty and unclean, allowing these organisms to thrive.

Once they become established, they will reproduce quickly and cause major problems for the aquarium owners.

The only way to get rid of them is by completely cleaning out the tank and starting over again from scratch;

doing anything less than this will not work because their eggs can survive even after months without food or oxygen. 


Multi-cellular forms of protozoans can be both free-living and parasitic,

inflicting various types of disease not only to other protozoans but also to invertebrates (sponges, clams) and vertebrates (fish);

The word “protozoa” is often used to refer to single-celled organisms that are not animals, plants or fungi. 

Hexamita: is a ribbon-like ciliated protozoan parasite.


The least harmful of the pesky fish parasites, this copepod is usually found on slime-coated scales and fins.

Myliobatis parasites are a type of flatworm that infects fish and other aquatic animals.

They reproduce by shedding eggs into the water, which hatch to become free-swimming larvae. 

Ceratomyxa maxima: 

Another form of turbellarian flatworm can be contracted when introducing new water into your aquarium tank or through osmosis in live tanks that house “inside filter” models. 

How to treat your fish if they have worms?

Worms are a common problem in aquariums, especially with tropical fish.

Fish can get worms from many different sources, including tank water and substrate.

If your fish have worms, it is important to treat them quickly before they infect other fish or spread throughout your entire tank.

It is also extremely important to prevent new infections because if you don’t,

your whole tank will be affected by this parasite which could cause all of your fish to become sick and even die!

Here are some simple steps that you can take today to treat any infected fish in just a few days!

There are at least 30 types of worms that can live in fish, and they all need to be treated differently.

For the most part, diet is the key to effectively treating these tiny parasites.

If your tank size is large enough (20 gallons), you may dump dish soap into the water, where it will kill some adult parasites (but not eggs).

You may also use aquarium salt to reduce parasite populations,

but beware that if freshwater fish are placed in saltwater environments, they have adverse reactions.

There are also certain medications available online that people have had success with though it is important to distinguish between medications for different worm species.


I hope you have found all the information you were seeking.

White worms are unpleasant but can be eliminated.

Remember to wash and dry any new plants before putting them inside the tank after cleaning them in alum or 5 percent bleach for a short period of time.

Follow the right feeding technique.