Isopod ParasitesParasite Diseases is one of the common diseases that occurred in wild catch fish due to many of uncontrolled variables in the natural habitat of the fish.

Parasites can be the result of a bad ecosystems or even an invasive species that “accidentally” spread by some carrier and released in the ecosystems. Most parasites that we know that infected in empurau fish is this isopod / parasitic crustacean that usually live inside the empurau belly and absorbs nutrition from it as the host. The fish that infected usually getting thinner as time goes since the parasites are absorbing their nutrient and eventually at some point the fish will die with a big hole in the belly.

This parasites usually infected the fish from the eggs stages which travel in the water and get caught by the fish gills or accidentally eaten by the fish and hatch inside the fish gut.


Isopod parasite is quite easy to diagnose. Such symptoms are:

  • Fish are getting thinner;
  • Fish belly is looks bigger with odd shapes;
  • there is a big open wound in the anal area of the fish



Parasite locationThe first action to do when the fish are confirmed that infected with this parasite is to remove the parasite at any cause necessary! the most concern is that the parasite is already lay egg in the fish and the fish will be a carrier for the next victim since the eggs will be transferred by water or will be stick to food and get eaten by the fish.

parasite removing

The method to cure the infections if the problem already in critical situation is need special handling (ask help from experienced person!) and there is a 25% chance or more that the fish may not survive the process! depends on the stress level, health, and size of the fish.

First thing we need to do is separate the fish in a solitude compartment and use some anesthetic to sedate the fish (can use MS222 or other fish anesthetic) after the fish is sedated made a small operation to remove the parasite, we do small incision near the anal of the fish or the belly (wherever the suspected parasites is there) although usually the fish already have open wound because of this parasite size is bigger than the fish belly itself!

Do not forget to cure the remain wound with betadine or if can make a simple surgical suture / stiching if the wound is large. After the process is done, put the fish back in the quarantine compartment with fresh water and high aeration rate to recover. The surgical wound is usually healed in 2-3 weeks period depends on the fish itself.

Parasite on the fishOther way that can be done it the situation is less critical or a prevention is use a temephos larvacide solution such as phosphorothioc acid (C16H20O6P2S3) for 5-10 gram in 100 Liter of water (or 1 ppm) to kills the larvae before they develop into mature insects. In effect, it short-circuits the cycle that disseminates the pathogen to the host. This solution will prevent the isopod parasite to develop new exoskeleton that will cut their life cycle.

A thing that need to be concern that using this temephos larvacide medicine is not suggested to be used in continuously long period since it will made the parasite became resistance to the solutions.

Note : all images are taken from our private photos