Anchor Worms in Fish

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 28, 2008

 Anchor Worm Infection In Fish

There are many skin parasites that infect fishes. One such parasite is the anchor worm. However, despite its name, it is not a worm, but a large, parasitic crustacean of the Lernaea species. And although the parasite can infect any fish, pond fishes are most susceptible. Once attached to the fish's skin, it buries its head deep into the muscle tissue.

Symptoms and Types

A fish infected with anchor worms will have red and inflamed skin irritations. Take a closer look, and you can see the parasite's body sticking out, appearing like whitish-green threads. The fish will also rub or brush itself against objects, in an attempt to get rid of the anchor worm(s).


The anchor worm can be easily removed by carefully pulling it out from the fish's skin. The infected area is then treated with a topical antibiotic ointment. Afterwards, the pond or aquarium should be sanitized and disinfected, in an effort to remove any adult parasites, larvae or eggs.

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