How To Get Rid Of Camallanus/nematode Worms

  • #1
How To Get Rid Of Camallanus/nematode Worms!!


Most infected fish go through quarantine tanks with no symptoms. Camallanus worms can take up 6-12 weeks to develop to a large enough size or to multiply enough for the average aquarist to notice. Free-living first-stage larvae may survive for more than three weeks in the tank without fish. They can live in the water and substrate/gravel. This means the entire tank must be treated not just individual fish exhibiting symptoms. It can also pass through eggs/babies of infected fish.

This parasite is becoming fairly common. It may be prudent to treat all new fish in a quarantine tank over the course of 4 weeks per the recs below before introducing them to your main tank.

Fish Symptoms:
• Red or pink worm protruding from the anus. Several worms may protrude at the same time. They move quickly back into the body cavity when the host fish is active.
• They cause wasting away disease and white feces.
• Fish may become listless and bloated. Refuse to eat.

Levamisole Treatment: (basic killing dosage for Levamisole HCl is 13 ppm) per recommendations on this link) Treating Your water with Levamisole
• Change the water in the tank to be treated, as close to all of it as you can. Don't try to scrub the tank clean.
• Watch the fish for the next 3 days and 2 nights. Net out any dead ones. Let them dry on a news paper or paper towel and into the trash. NOT THE SINK or COMMODE! Don't put them back into our water system.
• Keep feeding fish as usual.
• After 3 days, change the water again to remove the dead Nematodes and the Medication.
• Treat the tank in 3 weeks due to the fact that pregnant females may expel infected eggs. Change the water in 3 days.

DISINFECT EVERYTHING THAT TOUCHES THE WATER: siphon, nets, buckets, etc. I would not recommend placing fish with visible signs of worms in your quarantine tank or moving them to a tank with uninfected fish. This will result in spreading the parasite. Once you see this worm, likely the other fish have it and are in varius stages of worm infestation. Treat the entire tank & sanitize everything that the water touches. This parasite can be spread in droplets of water by using the same nets, siphon, etc. from the infected tank. If you have multiple tanks it would be prudent to treat all of the tanks if you use same nets, etc.

It may be necessary to euthanize infected emaciated/bloated fish & those with visible signs of worms. Some have reported fish's stomach or another part of the body literally explodes with worms. Seems more humanitarian to euthanize the fish to prevent months of suffering. Once treated if fish does not expell all of the worms, the worms decay inside of fish leading to eventual death and secondary bacerial/ fungal infections. Then the secondary bacterial and fungal infections spread to the surviving tank mates causing new problems.

This parasite is a serious problem. I have seen it sugar coated on many sites with innacurate treatment recommendations which results in long expensive battles that result in persistent reinfestations/disease outbreaks.

Some recommend euthanizing all fish, sanitizing everything with bleach solution & starting over with a new cycle. If you do this I would recommend removing all water, fish, gravel, filter media. Leave in all decorations you want to reuse & refill tank. Treat tank, wait 3 weeks to do follow up treatment. Treat tank at least twice with Levimasole first to kill off any surviving worms. Then sanitize everything & start over.

Most recommend removing 100% of the water. I am guessing this means put fish in a bucket of exhisting water, remove tank water, refill tank, then return fish using a net. This may be why many folks who have experienced this parasite also go through a minI or full cycle after treatment.

Camallanus worms have developed immunities to common wormers on the market which have reduced effectiveness or do not work at all. Callamanus worms are reportedly immune to PrazI medication, Praziquantel powder, Droncit (Prazi), Prazipro, Trichlorfon, Metronidazole, (& possibly fenbendizole)etc.

Note: One site recommended to avoid feeding fish tubifex or other worms because they can be contaminated with other worms/parasites. Caution should be taken when using live foods because feeder fish (especially livebearers) can infect the fish when eaten.

I would recommend washing any towels used while doing water changes separate from other clothes in bleach & hot water.

I have gathered this info from multiple posts, websites, chemist & vet suggestions. I hope compiling this information in one place will help reduce confusion in those who like me were looking for answers.
  • #2
Nice! This would make a great "sticky" in the Freshwater Fish Disease section.

I hope I never encounter these nasty little buggers!
  • #3
Awesome, awesome, awesome, thank you thank you thank you!!!

I didn't find any info in the links on how to obtain the levamisole hcl, so I sent an email to the author. I'm going to ask a veterinarian too.

My last shot at saving any fish in four tanks!!!
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
e-mail Charles Harrison <> Let him know you'd like to purchase some, he sells prepackaged individual treatments for 100G that you can divide. He will e-mail you & you can pay him via paypal. He is apparently the Camallanus guru...Good Luck!!!

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