When bad things happen to good fish, Part 2. THE TREATMENT.

When I last left you, my wonderfish Blackie was suffering from parasitic anchor worms.  For those of you unfamiliar w/ anchor worms, let me just say YOU ARE LUCKY.  Now onto their Treatment.


Unfortunately, the literature is divided as to whether or not one should attempt to remove anchor worms from an infected fish.  Half saying it will kill the fish, half that it will save them.  We opted on the side of GETTING THE DAMN THINGS OUT.

Using tweezers, my husband gently removed each of the protruding anchor worms.  It didn’t look hard – each seemed to slip right out w/ the slightest pull.


BUT BOY WAS IT GROSSSSSS>!  Those anchor worms are VILE.  Truly the stuff of nightmares.  And as I don’t want to scar you for eternity, I’ll just share a MERE SHADOW of one.



BOY I am SOOOO GLAD I didn’t have to touch them.  For enduring this whole horrific ordeal, both my husband & Blackie should be awarded gold medallions.

Step Two: THE DIP.

After much research, my husband determined potassium permanganate was our best course of treatment.  Potassium Permanganate is a chemical which kills parasites and helps heal sores.  WIN-WIN.  So, on Friday, John obtained some from a biologist friend at work.  He then prepared a very dilute solution of potassium permanganate in regular tap water.  As we didn’t have exact measurements for this application, he used mere granules of the substance.  It came out a vivid purple.  In this case, I am hoping PURPLE = gooood.  It was quite an emotional several minutes for us all, as Blackie soaked in the solution and looked at us w/ his big googly eyes.  I know I wasn’t the only one thinking DEAR GOD PLEASE LET THIS NOT KILL ME.




After the chemical soak, Blackie was released into a spring water recovery bowl.



It’s a bit hard to see from the photo (YOU ARE WELCOME) but he has a multitude of lesions all over his tail and sides.  These mostly look like huge gaping open sores.  Since they are underwater, they never get the chance to scab over and look less scary.  So the whole thing is indeed hideous.  Our daughters keep commenting that Blackie’s skin is “falling off” but it’s just open flesh, really.  Several areas still look highly suspect, like a parasite may be on the verge of emerging.  Yesterday, John removed Blackie to tweezer out a late-emerging anchor worm.  And today there are a couple spots that look bad – like worms are peeking out – but nothing yet.  We will just keep watch.  Tonight we are planning a second round of the Dip.

The fact that Blackie has survived thus far is TRULY a testament to his strength and will.  Keep sending those well wishes.  I will keep you posted.

19 thoughts on “When bad things happen to good fish, Part 2. THE TREATMENT.

  1. Let me just say that you are a much more devoted pet owner than I. As in “not this little gray duck.” You deserve your own Disney scenario where little woodland creatures come to clean your house and sing to you. I really hope Blackie thrives and prospers. You, too.

  2. don’t let the word get out or all pets the world over will be vying to live with you!!!

    it takes very dedicated and loving people to go to this extreme for a small creature. I am rooting for all of you!!!! xxooxxoo

  3. Thanks Hayden! Me TOO! xo

    Are you listening, foul anchor worms?? DROP DEAD ALREADY! Gracias Pandita!

    Tracie, you have just painted my sweetest dream. My very only flock of devoted animal friends, keeping my house CLEAN. Now there’s something that sure ain’t happening in real life. Do you think Kiwi reads my blog?

    Hah! Thanks Daff!

    Connie, the ladies would be THRILLED to hear that. They have been hounding us for more pets — and it does not help that we lost yet another dear friend on Saturday. Maddie’s hamster Panda passed. Worse yet – one of her friends seems to have been the cause. Rough handling. NOT GOOD.

    NATALIE!! ARe YOU SUGGESTING I Euthanize Our FISH??>!! Oh, you’re just JOking, Well that’s okay then. xo

  4. Oh my GOODNESSSS – Connie we went to a big country fair this past weekend and you can just imagine the begging taking place. All three of us – hounding John – PLLLLEEEEEAASSSSSSSEEEE.. Good news. We found a superb chicken shack DIY kit for $385. Bad news. No chickens. YET.

  5. Have you seen this? Whatever you do, don’t pick a fight with hubby – ’cause you sure don’t want to eat Blackie, on so many levels!

    “Houston Woman Fries and Eats Pet Goldfish After Fight With Husband

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    PASADENA, Texas — Authorities say a Houston-area woman who was burned up at her former common-law husband fried their pet goldfish and ate some of them.

    Pasadena police say it’s a civil matter and no charges will be filed. The seven goldfish were purchased together by the couple during happier times.

    Police spokesman Vance Mitchell says the man reported on Saturday that the woman took the goldfish from his apartment.

    Mitchell says the two argued earlier about some jewelry the man had given her but took back. She wanted the jewelry returned.

    Officers who were dispatched to the woman’s home arrived to find four fried goldfish on a plate. The woman said she already ate the other three.”

  6. I don’t know If I said it already but …I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  7. Oh Tracie – that is just plain wrong on so many levels! Uuuughhhh. PS: Kiwi sends her love.

    WHY Thank you JimmyB! What a nice thing to say. WELCOME!

    Laura – so great to hear from you! And I couldn’t agree more. xoxo

  8. Hey Connie! Blackie is on the mend. Still in the recovery bowl, which he HATES. But otherwise doing okay. The wounds are healing, which was a big concern. The spots on his tail seem to be shrinking rather than sprouting. We haven’t pulled any more anchor worms in a few days. His aquarium has been soaking all week in bleach & disinfectant. Going to scrub everything down, hope to get him transferred back this week. Blackie’s will to survive is amazing. Hope you’re having a great weekend! xo

  9. Oh, I’m so sorry you guys! We have a totally crazy story to tell you about one of our cats. You know there’s a place in heaven for both of you just because of all this effort you are taking to take care of him. Big hugs to you all – hope all is well! xo

  10. Ooh NO! Hope all is well w. Jude & Paulie! Cannot take any more losing and/or injury of these pets, be still my heart! Am sending you a little something today girlfriend — been thinking of you!! xoxo

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