Identifying parasite in/on Rams for effective treatment.


I'm at my wits end trying to solve the this mystery parasite that is currently afflicting my Rams. For the past few months these two have been nothing but little worm hosts. During this time I have spent months scouring the internet and I have found practically nothing that would indicate to me what these worms are. The only leads I have found are two separate threads on AcuarioFilia (Thread 1)(Thread 2). Google Translate tried its best, and what I gather is that they both concluded it was Dermosporidia but neither had success with treatment, or at least did not return to the thread to confirm anything. One concluded to euthanize and the other to accepting it and physically remove larger worms. I have never heard of dermosporidia afflicting anything besides Cardinal Tetras (which are in the tank, and have had it), nor have I seen any indication that causes harm to the fish. I've attached one image of a dermosporidia strand I pulled off one of the Cardinals a while back, just for comparison's sake.

The worms also "behave" differently than Dermosporidia. They are not in a mucus blister on the outside of the fish. They are underneath the scales (and a b**** to remove) and do not seem to burrow into the skin until they become larger. They can also intwine themselves in the membrane of fins (see Side 1.png). They also move extremely slowly, no more than a millimeter a day. In Side 2.png I marked the path one of the larger worms took before it reached the eye and broke the skin. He also has a worm that grew inside his nostril, causing the area to swell and redden. Normally I would have attempted to remove these, but due to the close proximity to the eyes I didn't want to injure them if the fish thrashed. I may attempt to remove one or two worms get them under a microscope slide, but can't promise it.

At one point I thought the might be anchor worms, but they don't have the telltale anchor head and physical removal doesn't stop reproduction, no matter how small I get them.

For the fish's part they don't seem to care. They do not flash, there is no noticeable decrease in energy, and the only change in is that the GBR seems to have problems with depth perception. Poop looks like normal fish poop. The rest of the tank has remained unaffected, but due to the length of time I'm treating on the assumption of complete tank infection.

Treatment attempts:
  1. ParaGuard for ~2 weeks.
  2. Raise tank temperature to 86-88 for ~2 week, w/added salt. Did clear up a little ich a tetra caught.
  3. Physical removal - works, but is extremely stressful on both me and the fish. Can cause physical trauma such as ripped fins/scales. Not a long term solution. Pictures are taken after I stopped removing them after 3 weeks.
  4. Ignoring it and hoping it is Dermosporidia (This obviously didn't work, don't do this).
  5. Currently on frozen food mixed with Metroplex/Focus soaked in GarlicGuard. Only day 4, no change, but too soon to tell.
Potential Treatment(s):
  1. PrazlPro. But if they are a type of roundworm, it won't be effective right? Can I dose this while also using Metroplex food?
  2. Salt Dip/Bath. Never done one before. Parasites seem partially external so it may help. What is a good ratio of aquarium salt to gallon for a GBR?
  3. KanaPlex? If it really is just a variant of dermosporidia then it is a fungus, I think. So KanaPlex should help?
  4. Open to suggestions, reason I am here. Euthanizing is not an option yet. I'm in too deep to give up now, especially since the fish don't seem to be suffering.
I can set up a hospital tank for any medications that aren't plant/shrimp friendly.

Obligatory Tank Info
  • 75G
  • 2x Eheim 2217 Canister Filters
  • 1x Eheim skim350
  • 1x Hydor Inline 300w Heater (set to 79-80)
  • CO2 injection
  • EI fert dosing
  • Weekly 50-60% water change, loosely vac substrate (don't want to uproot repens carpet)
  • Parameters (Disclaimer, long expired test kit from 2017, results may not be accurate)
    • PH = 6.6 (with CO2 running for 30ppm, resets to 7 at night)
    • Ammonia = 0ppm
    • Nitrite = 0pmm
    • Nitrate = 60ish ppm*
      • *This is unusually high, but I'm attributing it to it being the end of the fert week (Water change day is tomorrow) and I've been overfeeding medicated food to make sure the Ram's get their fill. Going to attempt to keep this lowered to below 40ppm by weeks end. Will reduce KNO3 dosing, extra ~30% water change, and be more on top of pruning decaying plant leaves.

Fish Stock
Fed once per day, 4-5 times a week. Varies between Frozen Bloodworms, Frozen Brine Shrimp, Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms, NorthFin Community Pellets, and flakes. ~1/4tsp which is usually gone in about 3min. Will feed an extra pinch of flakes that day if they are still in a frenzy. Farlowella/Otos/Shrimps live off the algae, but I give them blanched cucumber every few weeks.


  • Dermosporidia.jpg
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  • Nose bump.png
    Nose bump.png
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  • Side 1.png
    Side 1.png
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  • Side 2.png
    Side 2.png
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Friendly bump for you, I hope you'll be able to get some assistance.
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