These parasites, are internal parasites which affect a wide variety of fish species including carp as well as aquarium fish such as discus. There are a number of different tapeworms, but all of them have the same ultimate effect on the fish which they infest – they affect the digestive system and can eventually cause blockages. Any tapeworm infestation will affect digestion, and hence the body weight and general health of the fish. The most common tapeworm species in carp including koi is Bothriocephalus acheilognathi. This tapeworm can kill young koi, but will cause weight loss and digestive disorders in older fish.
Tapeworms have an indirect life cycle, that is they require an intermediate host in order to compete their life cycle. In the case of carp tapeworms, the intermediate hosts can be copepods, or small creatures which naturally inhabit ponds as part of the normal ecosystem. Other intermediate hosts include small snails, and even in some cases birds can be implicated.
The route by which fish become infested with tapeworms is usually subsequent to the introduction of infected fish. Once a pond or tank is infected, the only way the infestation can be completely cleared is by removal of the intermediate hosts when the fish are treated. However, this is not usually an option with large water volumes such as hobbyists’ ponds, so the next best solution is to routinely treat the fish with Fluke-Solve™ on an annual basis to ensure that there is no build-up of tapeworms in the fish.
For aquarium tanks, again it may be tricky to have a complete clean out of the system, so annual treatment with Fluke-Solve™ Aquarium will ensure that the fish remain free of these parasites.
As a general disease control measure, any new fish should be treated with Fluke-Solve™ before introduction to the pond to prevent the introduction of this problem.
Thanks to Paul Butler for the photograph.