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Anchor worm (Lernaea cyprinacea) - A Crustacean parasite

Anchor worm (Lernaea) on a goldfish Lice-Solve

Plus Argulus fish lice and gill maggots (Ergasilus)

Called the anchor worm for the fairly obvious reason that the 'head' end is anchor shaped and embeds in the tissues of the fish.

Lernaea - both male and female are parasitic as larvae, they mate on the gills then the male becomes free living and female moves onto body and embeds her anchor. A female will produce about 200 eggs in each clutch and several clutches per season!

Infections with Lernaea need to take into account the life cycle. Adult parasites are very resistant to treatment and need individual attention.

Susceptible to organophosphus treatments now banned in the EU this is a really nasty parasite as larvae. Our Lice-Solve will kill Anchor worm very effectively.

Because the adults are embedded they won't fall off when killed so we recommend that the fish area anaesthetised and examined behind the fins, on the body, under operculae etc for the presence of Lernaea, any of which should be gently but firmly grasped using forceps and pulled out, ensuring that the ‘anchor’ is extracted. Sites should be treated as small ulcers - topical treatment using Tamodine on a cotton bud and covering with Orabase or your favourite water resistant cream.  

Fish lice (Argulus) are related and also unpleasant. Their eggs are  laid during the summer and hatch in 15-55 days and the larvae need to find a host within 24 hours. They grow and are sexually mature in 30-35 days.  So during the summar numbers can build up quickly - Again Lice-Solve is effective.

Finally, Ergasilus - only the female is parasitic, she mates in the water and the male remains free swimming, these don't live as long as the females which live on the gills moving around and "browsing". Each female produces about 40 eggs per "clutch" and several clutches per season. They probably overwinter, the females then producing a clutch in the spring prior to dying off and the cycle begins again.

Anchor worm (Lernaea) on a goldfish Lice-Solve


Argulus fish lice


Ergasilus gill maggots Lice-Solve


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