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Lice And Leeches in Fish

Lice And Leeches in Fish


Parasites are commonly the cause of skin disorders in fishes. In particular, external parasites, such as lice and leeches, are usually bloodsuckers which can lead to fatal anemia (reduced number of red blood cells) in the fish. Both lice and leeches attach themselves to the fish, and then penetrate the skin to feed.


Symptoms and Types


Lice lie flat against the fish's skin and are appear like small, clear disks. Leeches, on the other hand, are worm-like and contract when touched.


Common symptoms for fishes infected with either lice or leeches include lethargy (due to anemia), paleness, and inflammation and redness surrounding the affected area. Fishes with these parasites will also rub or brush against objects, attempting to remove them on their own.




Lice and leeches have to be physically removed from the fish's skin. The infected area may also need to be treated with topical antibiotic ointment.


In addition, the aquarium, tank or pond should be treated or sanitized to kill any adult parasites, larvae or eggs.