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The Goldfish Sanctuary

Fish Lice (aka Argulus)

Symptoms: goldfish may scrape against objects to get the lice off, parasites of up to 1/4 inch may be visible, attached to the fish's body

These parasites are a kind of crustacean which are capable of swimming from fish to fish. It appears as a very flat, round, transleucent louse. It punctures the fish's skin with a poisonous proboscis spine as it holds fast to the fish with its suckers.

The female louse will lay her eggs on the tank bottom or on tank decorations in straight lines where she coats them with a jelly-like substance. There they stay until they are ready to hatch.

The first thing to do is to contact your vet or petstore for further instruction - treatment is not recommended without expert supervision as treatment may involve pulling out the lice with tweezers or giving the fish a chemical bath. General medications are also available. It is wise to treat your main tank in order to destroy any larvae. Fish lice are somewhat difficult to treat, and may reoccur after treatment has appeared successful, so patience and careful observation are necessary. It is advisable to move your sick goldfish to a quarantine tank during treatment.