Leeches on Fish as Parasites

Let's talk about leeches on fish as parasites. You may think leeches are in rivers and ponds and attach to humans and animals, but did you know that there are leeches that can make their way into your aquarium and attach to your pet fish.

Fish commonly develop parasitic, bacterial, and fungal infections. Some of these are caused by poor care on the fish owners part. Many parasites find their way into aquariums on plants, rocks, and new fish. Thoroughly look at a fish before you buy it from a pet store. Do not even buy a healthy fish if it's in the same tank as a dead fish or any fish that appear to be sick or have parasites. Do not put plants from your local creek, pond, or river in your aquarium. You really have no way of knowing exactly what could be on the plant. Parasites can start out microscopic and grow until they are visible to the human eye. By that time they can have already spread and harmed your fish.

If your fish has leeches on it, you should be able to see them. They are external parasites that look like worms or disks. They are usually darker in color. Leeches will remove themselves from fish, but only when they are full of the fish's blood. This blood loss alone can be lethal for certain types of fish. Therefore, leeches must be removed immediately.

To remove a leech you should use your fingernail or something to break the seal that the leeches oral sucker has on the fish. These oral suckers at on both ends of leeches. Break the seal of the small end first and then the larger end of the leech. When you break the seal, the leech will detach its jaw from the fish. This is the safest way to remove a leech from your fish. If you just pull the leech off it can harm the fish and leave the leech's jaw in the fish which can cause a dangerous infection.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your veterinarian or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment.