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Thread: where do parasites hide?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    where do parasites hide?

    or do they hide at all?

    Parasites can be found all over a koi's body. But of course because of their size we imagine that they are hiding everywhere in the pond. Truth is, most parasites are DEAD if they fall off the koi's body and do not hitch a ride on another one in a matter of hours ( not true with all but with some of the common ones- like flukes- very true.

    And although parasites can be found anywhere on a fish's body they tend to gather at key points on the fish. These points of congregation are where slime coat is thinnest or where blood circulation is closest to the surface or where epidermal erosion is the greatest ( rapid skin replacement). Favorite spots are also areas where they can't be brushed off so easily with flashing and also where current is not as great a factor.

    So when you scrape a fish, you might want to concentrate on areas like this;
    1) behind the gill cover as the fish is constantly trying to 'blow out' parasites settling on the gills themselves.
    2) near the pec joints- a great relaxing area for parasites
    3) along the sides, where the slime coat is thinnest along the lateral line
    4) same for the upper belly and chin- great comfort zone if you're a bug!

    The beginner is often worried about pressing too hard when collecting a slime coat sample on a glass slide. Admittedly, it takes a little bit of technique to do this easily and quickly, but its not that hard to learn. And except for the smallest doitsu fish ( very thin skin and no scale protection) you are not likely to cut the fish's skin. Think of it as shaving face or legs- a firm but controlled motion. The proof in the results and if you see the mucous on the edge of the slide- " you Done good"!
    Just spread it with the cover slip and add a drop of water from off your finger tip--- cover and you are ready to scan.
    Do remember that the microscope light will dry this sample so you only have about three to four minutes use if that sample. Scan like you would read a line in a book but when you get to the end of the 'sentence'/slide, drop down and move over the line from right to left. then drop down again and go from the left to the right -- repeat-- until you have read the entire slide.
    The parasites will appear to be 'hiding' on the slide sometimes- again, they aren't hiding but based on collecting technique, you may find they are bunched up in only one area of the slide. Or if the light is too bright, invisible due to the fact that the bright light burns right thru their thin walled bodies and makes then hard to see.
    Getting good at this takes practice. But you can go to a local poorly run pet shop ( one of the chains) and if they have not salted too much you can usually find two or three different types of parasites on them for study. If that fails, go to a bait shop--- BINGO! JR

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, Florida
    Very helpful post.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    New Port Richey, FL
    What about the anal/vent region?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    yep as I mentioned any area where continuous slime layer is thinner or where parasites can get out of the passing current. The vent area is particularly good for Trichodina ( bacteria feeders). JR

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Thanks - Just in time for when my new microscope arrives!

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