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Possible fluke infection...or parasitic copepod?


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A few days ago I noticed my gramma flashing in my tank. When I looked closer I saw 5-10 very small motile parasites on his head, about 2-5mm long. I grabbed him and put him in a FW dip with copper for 5 minutes where many of the parasites died and fell off. I put him back in the tank and watched him to make sure he was ok.


The next day I saw a very small parasite on my Oc. clown that resembled a FW anchorworm but not as large. It has not moved and is still there - I think I will catch her and pick it off with pliers. Any ideas?


Back to the gramma - now his right operculum is swollen and has some white lines/spots of missing color on it. That gill also seems to stick out a little and he is holding his mouth open. The inside of his lips seem a little light as if a fungal infection were beginning to come in, and he is much quicker to hide than ever before. I see perhaps one or two of those motile parasites every now and then, but they seem to disappear into his skin. He is trying to eat but has difficulty with pellets because his lips are sensitive.


I have seen this sort of thing once before in a brackish tank at work (LFS). A Tiger Datnoid got a large abcess-looking inflammation on the same operculum which I eventually lanced as an abcess and it released a large amount of white pus-like product. However, the next day I came in and the Datnoid and the tank were COVERED in these small motile parasites. They seemed to crawl in and out of his skin through tiny holes and sometimes poked out from the holes. Under a microscope they looked like a copepod. The closest I could find in literature was a type of parasitic copepod that hosted in snails prior to laying eggs under the fish's skin (since we'd fed the puffers in that tank wild snails that week). I treated the tank by increasing the salinity and administering 1.5 tsp formalin/25 gallons every day for a week. That didn't seem to stop them at all so I switched to PraziPro (5% praziquantel) twice in a week and it seemed to help a lot, though they did not disappear completely. The Datnoid was able to recover enough to keep another infestation from occurring but the organisms remained in the tank in small numbers. I am not sure if these are the same creatures but I hope it will give some insight into what's wrong with the gramma. I am debating putting him into quarantine or just doing daily FW dips. I have already added PraziPro to the tank to help control the little beasts.


Any ideas on what could be going on? Treatment? Thanks!

I would try to take a picture but now when I approach the tank he hides for at least 15 minutes, and he's rather shy about showing that side when he does come out.


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