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COMMON AROWANA DISEASES

Understanding the Common Arowana Diseases

Asian Arowana (Scleropages Formosus), also affectionately known as Dragon Fish (龙鱼) in Asia, is native to Southeast Asia. Asian Arowanas inhabit blackwater conditions in rivers and wetland, where the water is soft and acidic. The Arowana is a geomantic and majestic fish and often regarded as a symbol of luck, wealth and prosperity. Arowana owners believe that if it is treated well, it will protect them from misfortunes and bless them with good fortune and good luck. Sometimes the Arowana will become ill, but by knowing how to identify the disease, the correct treatment can be administered. Below, we look into some of the more common Arowana diseases, their prevention, and most importantly, how to treat them in the unfortunate event they become sick.


Anchor Worms

Causes

Anchor Worms (Lernaea spp.) are crustacean, copepod parasites. It is parasitic at the Copepodid stage (juvenile) and the female at the Cyclopoid stage (adult).

The female adult will bore into the Arowana usually at the skin, fin and gill area after mating and embed herself in the host tissue using its anterior anchor. The adult female measure about 9mm and appears on the host body as worm-like threads. Poor water parameters and tank conditions will often result in secondary infection, resulting in inflammation and subsequent swelling at the area where female adult burrow into the Arowana.

Most hobbyists will often observe a behavioral change in their Arowanas which alerts them to the presence of the Anchor Worm, e.g. Arowana constantly rubbing against surfaces or ‘darting’. The Anchor Worms are often introduced into aquarium through new fishes or ‘live feed’ especially goldfish.

The optimal temperature range for Anchor Worm is 26–28°C.

Prevention

Quarantine new fishes and reduce feeding of ‘live feed’ to minimize risk of introduction of diseases or parasites. If possible, treat feeder tank with OceanFree® ‘0’ Anchor Worm & Fish Lice. Dose OceanFree® ‘0’ Anchor Worm & Fish Lice according to the recommended dosage.

Treatment Method

Dose OceanFree® ‘0’ Anchor Worm & Fish Lice according to the recommended dosage. It targets the insect’s nervous system which causes them to turn from transparent to opaque white, the dead Anchor Worm will only drop off the Arowana after 2-3 days. Repeat medication and perform a 30% water change every 3 days. It is recommended to maintain the treatment for at least 2 weeks even when the Arowana has recovered earlier to ensure that the Anchor Worm has been thoroughly eliminated. Physical removal is not recommended as it is stressful for the fish and it is not easy to completely remove the Anchor Worms.

Notes

Increase oxygenation with an Air Pump during the course of medication. After dosing, observed your Arowana for any signs of distress or heavy breathing for the next two hours. Immediate water change is required should the Arowana appear to be in distress (1/2 tank water change, ensure that the fresh water supply has been properly treated and de-chlorinated).


Barbels Infection / Hemorrhoids

Causes

This is common among Arowanas that has a habit of rubbing their barbels against the tank. Long term abrasion may cause the tissues to become injured. Poor water parameters and tank conditions will often result in secondary infection, resulting in inflammation and subsequent swelling.

This can be identified by a small growth on the barbell and often mistaken for fungal growth.

Treatment Method

Important, consult your local veterinarian or a professional for the following procedure.

  1. Transfer the Arowana to a smaller tank/container.

  2. Refrain from feeding your Arowana at least 8 hours before anesthesia.

  3. Anesthetize your Arowana with OceanFree® Special Arowana Medication-6 (Stabilizer) according to the recommended dosage, taking care to slowly dose till the Arowana is anesthetized.

  4. Disinfect the area and swiftly remove the growth with a sterilized instrument.