VIIII. Annabelle’s Diary: From Tapeworms to Camallanus Worms

Annabelle’s Diary: From Tapeworms to Camallanus worms
Oct. 29, 2008
My fahaka puffer came in the mail. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to put her in her new tank. This is the puffer I waited so long for. I did all my research, my tank was ready, her food was purchased and I had IP medications on hand. I put her in her new tank. She ate the very first day. She had a great appetite. No problem getting her to eat.

Nov. 4, 2008
I tried to treat her with prazipro, she refused any food soaked in the meds.
I then soaked her food in geltek. She ate it. Not a problem. I treated her for 3 days.
I was not really worried about IP’s because her belly was not sunken in. It was nice and round even when I skipped a day or two of feeding.

Dec. 5, 2008
After 40 days in a quarantine tank I moved her into her permanent home. We had a near disaster.
She shares her tank with a few guppies. It started with a pair of guppies that I’ve had for approx. 8 months. That pair then multiplied into about 20 or more. She doesn’t bother them and she doesn’t try to eat them. This is when I decided that I would move the guppies into the new tank and take down the smaller tank. I noticed during the acclimation that my guppies were dying quickly. It took me a few minutes to realize that I forgot to put prime in the new tank after refilling. I panicked! I quickly took everyone and moved them back to the smaller tank. I treated the new tank with prime waited until the next day. I check the tank and the guppies that had been moved were doing fine.

Dec. 6, 2008
Started the acclimation process on the guppies and Annabelle. It was going well. I am expecting to have a mini cycle now. After all I did forget to put prime in the new tank “after moving her filter over”. I know I probably killed off most of the bacteria in the filter. Annabelle quickly started exploring the new tank. All the guppies are looking well and there have been no more deaths after adding the prime.

Dec. 10, 2008
Once more I treated her again with food soaked in geltek. Again she ate well. I did the treatment
for 3 days straight. I would only feed her a minimum amount, I was waiting for the mini cycle to start.

Dec. 12, 2008
After moving Annabelle into her new home and a near disaster she is now going through a
mini cycle. I’m planning daily water changes to keep up with the ammonia levels in her tank.

Dec. 20, 2008
Mini cycle is officially over. Annabelle is doing great, eating well, exploring the tank and
she has learned to bury herself in the sand. We are now playing a game where she hides, I have heart failure, seek then find. She seems to be settling in very well.

Jan. 5, 2009
Annabelle had an eye injury. One eye turned cloudy over night. I purchased melafix and pimafix to treat her eye. I will be treating her tank for 5 days.

Jan. 10, 2009
Today was the last day I treated her for the cloudy eye. Her eye has cleared up, now other problems arise. Annabelle has stopped eating. She refuses all food that I try to feed her.
I noticed that her anus was staying open. This is a sign of constipation. I thought maybe
the meds and the food strike may have given her the constipation. I decided to treat her tank with Epsom salt. I then put a 1/2 dose in her tank. Tomorrow morning I will add the other 1/2 dose. After looking her over really well, I noticed that her tummy looks really odd. There’s a huge lump and its changing places. The first time I looked it was in the middle of her tummy, and then it moved to the left and is now on the right. She hasn’t eaten in 5 days. She shouldn’t have a lump, her tummy should be flat.

Jan. 11, 2009
I noticed something white about 1/4″ long coming out of her anus. I looked her over
really well not sure if this was IP’s or not. I had already treated her twice for IP’s so she shouldn’t have any. After watching the movement of the lump in her tummy, I knew then she had IP’s.
I then added the next 1/2 dose of Epsom salt. Within a few hours she had started to pass a tapeworm. Everything I have ever read and heard always said the puffer’s belly will become emaciated not swollen and lumpy. This was not what I had been told time and time again. Even though I had treated her twice for IP’s I decided to treat her tank. She was not eating so the tank had to be treated. I used prazipro for the tank treatment. I will treat the tank as directed on the bottle for 3 days.

Jan. 12, 2009
Annabelle is still passing worm. I treated her tank again this morning with a full dose of Epsom salt.

Jan. 13, 2009
Treated the tank once more with full dose of Epsom salt. Annabelle is still not eating. More worms were passed today.

Jan. 14, 2009
I did a 50% water change. There are still signs of worm. Dosed the tank one last time with Epsom salt. With Annabelle refusing to eat I feel that I have no other choice than to try to force feed her. The way I do this is to puree shrimp, vitamins and garlic, place it in a syringe with no needle, scoop her out of her tank into a bowl and slowly push the food from the syringe into her mouth.
I tried to force feed her and it didn’t go well. She spit every bit of food.

Jan. 15, 2009
Added prazipro to the tank. This is the second 3 day treatment. Annabelle is still passing tapeworm.

Jan. 16, 2009
Annabelle is becoming lethargic. I’m starting to worry that I may be dosing her tank too often.
I have not added anymore Epsom salt yesterday or today. I don’t plan to use any more Epsom salt at this time.

Jan. 17, 2009
Today is the last day for prazipro. Time to force feed Annabelle again I measured 8 ml of pureed shrimp in the syringe. This time I used a bigger syringe with a long tip so that she had to swallow and couldn’t spit everything out. When I put her back in the tank she spit out another mouth full. After feeding her I poured the water out of the bowl and I only measured 5 ml of pureed shrimp. I’m hoping that I got at least 3 ml in her tummy. It’s not full and round but it felt like I got something in there. And I didn’t have to use a tube. She is a little perkier tonight.

Jan. 18, 2009
I did a 50% water change today. After the water change was complete I did a second 50% water change and added carbon to the filter to get out as much of the meds as I could. After the water change she started to swim around again and is less lethargic now. She is fanning her tail and stalking the tank. I noticed that she is still expelling worms. Got up to check on Annabelle and she had passed more of the worm. Part of it had this orange ball attached. It looked like egg yolk. She still will not eat on her own, I tried about 6 times today. I took her out and got about 1ml of food in her this time. She was showing some interest in the guppies. Although she has never eaten one (that I have seen) she was chasing them. She is becoming more and more active now.

Jan. 19, 2009
Someone sent me a pm and told me that it sounds like Annabelle had passed the head of the
worm. Finally! Hoping he’s right. Later today I noticed she has black pooh! The worm stage is over! Now I have to make sure I have to treat her again in about 30 days for reinfestations. Did another 50% water change today and she is starting to look better and better. She is still refusing food. She has now passed approx. 24″ of tapeworm.

Jan. 20, 2009
Did a 50% water change. She is refusing food. No other changes.

Jan. 21, 2009
I tried to feed Annabelle again with the syringe, this time it did not go so well. Moving her into the bowl was no problem. Once I got the syringe in her mouth, she started to do a death roll like an alligator. I didn’t want to hurt her by trying to hold her too tightly so I just put her back into her tank. I have finquel on order and it will be here soon. I will try to tube feed her once I receive it. I don’t want to do this but I feel I have no other option at this point.

Jan. 24, 2009
I tried to get Annabelle to eat again this morning and now I’m starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with her teeth. She act’s hungry and goes for the food, bites it then spits it back out. She’s been doing lots of yawning in the last week that I’ve noticed. I plan on using the finquel tomorrow, I have the day off so that I can keep an eye on her. I’ll put her under trim her teeth (don’t look like it needs it but will do it anyway) check her mouth really good to if there’s a problem in there and tube feed her. Hopefully I can get all this done without hurting her. After thinking things over, I decided to go ahead and do it tonight. I took the syringe filled it with pureed food and got it ready. By got it ready I mean: I used a toothpick to get as much air out of the food as I could. The last thing I want to do is fill her belly with air. Then I took out 2 glass bowls from the cabinet. In one bowl I put fresh water from her tank. In the second bowl I used her tank water and added finquel. Scared to death but I did it! I put her under, it didn’t take long. I just left her in the bowl with finquel until she stopped moving around. I have been told to wait until the puffer goes belly up but I didn’t want to knock her out completely. I check in her mouth, everything looked ok.
Her bottom teeth were a little pointed so I trimmed them straight across, no more point. Her teeth were harder than I expected them to be. After trimming her teeth I got the syringe and slowly inserted it just past her gills and pushed the food in, about 3ml. I didn’t want to overdo it.
I soaked the food in beta glucan, extreme garlic and pureed it. I checked her belly, slightly rounded not bulging so I stopped. She woke up pretty quick in the freshwater bowl. I went ahead and moved her back into her tank. She’s now resting on the bottom under a log.

Jan. 26, 2009
The tube feeding must have done some good. I had planned to tube feed her again tonight, it looks like I won’t have too. She has eaten a piece of shrimp on her own today.

Jan. 27,28,29,30 & 31, 2009
Annabelle ate great. She is getting healthier and healthier as each day goes by. She’s active, begging for food & chasing ghost shrimp.

Feb. 1, 2009
Annabelle’s eyes don’t have that shine. I’m worried about a secondary infection. I have decided to start a 5 day treatment with penicillin. I’m using gel-tek penicillin, 5 drops twice a day on a piece of shrimp. Today I only treated her once.

Feb. 2, 2009
Annabelle passed something this morning it looks like slime, it had black in it but also had some white. It did not look like a worm. I’m going to start treatment with gel-tek ultra cure px today for precaution. I will continue the treatment for 5 days as directed. She’s eating so there is no need to treat the entire tank. Two treatments of penicillin have also been done today.

Feb. 3, 2009
First feeding with medicated food went well. She ate all of it. There are no signs of pooh this morning. Second feeding with medicated food also went well. Still no sign of pooh. I haven’t seen any other signs for worm today.

Feb. 4, 2009
Noticed that about 3 in. of worm is coming out of Annabelle. She picked at her food this morning,
just enough to get her first dose of meds in her. I’ll be feeding her with medicated food
again later today. I have decided to treat her tank once more with Epsom salt to help her pass the worm. I’m adding 1 tbsp per 10 gallons. After work, I soaked her food in meds. The second feeding went well. She ate all of her medicated food.

Feb. 5, 2009
Annabelle is still showing worm, there is some black in her pooh this morning. I’m not sure if it’s because I have black sand in her tank and she has ingested some of it or if we are at the end of the worm again. Her first feeding this morning did not go well at all. She barley picked at her food.
This evening she ate well, I did not see any signs or worm tonight. She has been lethargic today.
Only one more day of treatment. I noticed tonight that she was scratching on the driftwood in her tank. I also see some white spots on her body. While watching the guppies in her tank I noticed they were doing nose dives into the sand. First signs of Ich. I don’t’ want to start treatment until I finish the gel-tek ultra cure treatment. I’ll keep an eye on her for a few days.

Feb. 6, 2009
Annabelle’s eyes are really looking nice and shinny today the cloudiness is gone. She is more energetic this morning. She ate all her medicated food and is begging for more. This is a good sign. This will be her last treatments of penicillin and ultra cure. She also had about another 3 inches of worm expelling from her anus this morning. I may have to repeat the treatment in a few days. Tonight she ate her medicated food and was begging for more. Now that the worm treatment and the penicillin treatment are over, I defrosted her a few more pieces of shrimp and fed it to her. Her tummy is nice and round tonight. No sign of worms. When I got home this evening she was in the corner of the tank. I walked over and started talking to her (yes I talk to my fish). She came right out of the corner, very energetic and ready to eat. I picked up some Ich Attack this morning. I have never used it before but spoke to someone who has. The guppies are acting
normal tonight and she’s not scratching on the driftwood. I was planning to do a 50% water change tonight and start the ich treatment tomorrow. I now plan to wait another day. I want to see how she looks tomorrow but I don’t want to wait too long if she does have ich. I also don’t want to treat her with too many different meds too close together.

Feb. 7, 2009
After watching Annabelle for the last few days to see if she does have Ich, it was confirmed. She has white spots on her body this morning. I did a 50% water change and added a double dose of ich attack to her tank. She ate very well today and there are no signs of worms. Her anus is not swollen and her tummy looked good after her meal. Now I have to concentrate on the ich problem. After I’ve finished treatment for ich I’ll do another worm treatment just to make sure
she is clean. At the end of the day I checked on Annabelle. She is still showing signs of worm. I have decided to continue the worm treatment.

Feb. 8, 2009
She passed a large glob of worm again this morning. I am still treating her for worms with gel-tek ultra cure and also treating for Ich with ich attack. She ate well today and she has energy.

Feb. 9, 2009
I was told this by a fellow boxer: This second bout of IPs looks more mucus-ey and less worm-ey – I’d say protozoan IPs, which have multiplied now that the tapeworm is dead. The flubendazole and metronidazole should be effective on them, but may take more time to work. Metronidazole can be added to the water as well, it can be absorbed through the gills, and will kill lingering protozoans from poo that may be in the filter or gravel. Metronidazole, while not a reliable treatment in itself, will help kill free-swimming ich. I will continue the treatment.

Feb. 10, 2009
Annabelle ate very well this morning and this evening. During both feedings I treated her food with gel-tek. I was reading articles about fish disease and worm and came across and article that explains the new worms that are now showing up on Annabelle. They are called Camallanus cotti and Camallanus lacustris, the outcome does not look good. I’m going to continue treatment and hope for the best. I am still treating her tank with ick attack.

Feb. 11, 2009
Annabelle ate both meals today, still soaking her food in gel tek. I consulted with the author about the Camallanus worms. We have decided to use levamisole hydrochloride for treatment. I contacted a vet today and waiting for a call back.

Feb. 12, 2009
I received the call back from the vet. She was not much help, everything she said, I already knew. I’ve ordered the levamisole hydrochloride today, it’s on the way. I’m still treating Annabelle’s tank with ick attack. It seems to be working, she’s not scratching on the driftwood, the guppies are no longer doing nose dives into the sand and the white spots on her body are now gone. She has eaten both meals with gel-tek.

Feb. 13,14,15,16, 2009
Annabelle has eaten her medicated food each morning and each evening. There has been no change, I’m waiting for the levamisole hydrochloride to come. I have also been adding ich attack to her tank each day.

Feb. 17, 2009
After the post office has sent her meds to the wrong city and then back, I finally received them. I have to work for the next 5 days, I wanted to do the medication on my day off. I need to be home to watch Annabelle for any signs of stress or discomfort with this med. I will wait until my next day off to start treatment with levamisole hydrochloride. She is still active, eating her meds twice a day and acting normal.

Feb. 18, 19, 20, 2009
No change in Annabelle’s routine. I have one more days of ich attack for a two week treatment. It seems that there is no more ich in her tank. I start the levamisole hydrochloride in two more days for the Camallanus worms.

Feb. 21, 2009
Just put the last treatment of ich attack in the tank. No signs of ich and the shrimp are still alive and well. Annabelle ate her medicated food with no problems. Tomorrow I will start the treatment for Camallanus worms. I thought it would be best to wait until I had a few days off to monitor the situation and make sure there would be no ill effects on her. I’ll have the 10 gallon ready with the extra filter from her tank for emergency removal. I plan to mix the meds in a cup of water and add 1/4 cup at a time every 30 minutes. If all goes well she will stay in the main tank throughout the treatment. If she starts to show any reaction to the medication I will promptly remove her to the 10 gallon and continue to treat the main tank. At that point I will have to find another solution to treat Annabelle. For reference: the gel-tek ultra cure px has not had any effect on the Camallanus worms.

Feb. 22, 2009
Today I fed Annabelle breakfast, she ate well. After breakfast I did an 80% water change and set up the 10g emergency tank. I then mixed the levamisole hydrochloride in one cup of water and added it to her tank 1/4 cup at a time in 30 minute intervals. After the second dose she started to get very active, I was watching her closely. Her color started to change from dark to light. I waited 30 minutes she was still looking good no bad effects. I then added the third dose. Again her color went from dark to light this is the only affect to the meds I have seen thus far. 30 more minutes pass I added the last dose, I waited one hour and had a good look at her. Her color was fine, she was laying on the bottom as usual no signs of stress. Later that evening I tried to feed her, she refused to eat. I expected this so I’m not worried. I checked on her several times during the day, still no effects from the meds are showing. Later that evening I saw her swimming around, just before lights out I had another look and she’s handling everything really well.

Feb. 23. 2009
This morning I rushed down to check on Annabelle, it’s been almost 24 hours since I’ve added the levamisole hydrochloride to her tank. She was in her favorite corner waiting for breakfast. She didn’t eat as well as she had been but she ate. An hour later she’s cruising the tank chasing down ghost shrimp. Her color looks good and she seems happy.

Feb. 24, 2009
It has now been 48 hours of treatment. Annabelle ate like a pig this morning and was begging for more. I checked her again this morning, her vent is looking almost normal again. 98% of the worms are white. This means they are dying and not feeding on her blood. All good signs. I’m planning to add a half dose of Epsom salt to her tank today to help her expel the worms.
The faster we can get them out the better off she will be. Tomorrow I will do an 80%-90% water change and vacuum the sand really well to remove all of the dead worms. I have been advised not to clean the glass or any decor in the tank. I’m unsure as to the reason why but I plan to follow directions to the T.

Feb. 25, 2009
Annabelle ate very well this morning. I received confirmation that she is out of the woods. First treatment is now over. I’m doing an 80%-90% water change to remove any dead worms in the tank. I will retreat the tank in 21 days.

Feb. 26, 2009
Annabelle ate very little this morning. She’s acting lethargic. I’m concerned that the dead worms may be causing her some discomfort. I’m going to treat her tank with a full dose of Epsom salt and hope this helps her pass them.

July 8, 2011
Update: Annabelle is a very healthy puffer. The tapeworms and the Camallanus worms have never returned. She is currently 12” long.