White worms on a shrimp head
Recently I have got some very nice blue dream neocaridina davidi freshwater shrimps. The shrimps are Ok, they are breeding, but some odd white marks on their heads were bothering me. So, I took a closer look and I have found little white parasites on heads of two shrimps. Couple of years ago I have this problem with the other shrimps, so I knew what to do
These parasites are flat worms. Their are scientific name is ‘Scutariella japonica‘. They are similar to planaria, however, behave differently. Scutariella japonica seems to be seen mostly on neocadina shrimps.
They have a suction on one end and use it to keep themselves attached to a shrimps shell. It’s good they are not going in to shrimp body though. The other end of a worm has some tentacles. The worm is moving its body and its tentacles from time to time.
It looks like Scutariella japonica worms should not kill their host shrimps. Most of the parasites need their hosts creature be alive. However, lots of parasites can weaken the host creature and speed up their death. I haven’t seen these white worms sitting on shrimp gills (it’s on a side of a head), but it they do, they can harm shrimps quite fast.
These flat worms can move over the shrimp body or even from one shrimp to another using their suction and tentacles. They also lay eggs on a shrimps shell and spread their presents in the tank this way.
Now we have come to the main question. How to get rid of these worms and do not kill the shrimps.
In my experience it was pretty easy. This time and two years ago I have used a salt bath.
I have prepared a salty water solution using 1 table spoon of an aquarium salt for 1 US cup of water. After the salt was completely dissolved I have put an infected shrimps into the solution for 20-30 seconds. Once I got the shrimps back from the solution, no parasite were spotted. It looks they are salt water made them relax their suction and they were falling down from the shrimp. I have checked the container with the salt water. I hope the parasites cannot survive in the salt water.
After doing some research on-line I have found successful stories about using Seachem Paraguard, Praziquantel and Sera Mycopur medications. I haven’t used them personally for these purpose.
I think it’s a good idea to make a big water change and use one of the mentioned medications to kill parasites and their eggs living in the tank.
I have a good experience with Praziquantel, which I was using to treat some other problem with my shrimp.
Look at the head of the same shrimps just after the salt bath.