Anchor Worms On Betta: Causes, Common Symptoms & Treatments

Bettas, also called Siamese fighting fish, are popular pets in the aquarist community. They are distinct by their vivid color and complex fin displays.

To keep these little beauties, you must apply special care to ensure they are healthy and happy.

However, your pets still get some diseases like anchor worms. Many new aquarists wonder: Will anchor worms kill my fish?

Luckily, there are various methods to treat anchor worms on Betta once you find the causes and common symptoms. Let’s dive into this post to learn more!

What Causes Anchor Worms On Betta?

The parasitic crustacean copepod called an anchor worm embeds its tail into Bettas’ skin and swells it outward.

These parasites go through several non-parasitic phases in the tank’s water.

Introducing more plants and aquatic creatures into the aquarium generates these parasites.

These parasites spread the disease quickly. They will promptly breed, distribute, and infect other fish in your aquarium if a Betta brings a few parasites into it.

It’s much easier to detect these parasites on fish than on aquarium plants.

Fish are the primary transmission source for mature worms, whereas plants are the leading cause of the spread of larvae.

Additionally, it is considerably harder to notice the larvae.

potential causes of anchor worm on betta

Potential causes

What Are The Common Symptoms Of Anchor Worms On Betta?

You could observe several indications in your bettas if they have these parasites. Below are among the most apparent signs that betta fish have these parasites.

You Can See Them With The Naked Eye.

Compared to other parasites, the large size of anchor worms will make them simple to spot on your fish.

They may grow up to 0.8 inches in length, which is observable by the naked eye.

If you pay close attention, you will notice that these parasites resemble green, red, or white worms.

They usually seem to have broken in two at the tail, facilitating identification.

These parasites are most frequently found around the base of Bettas’ fins, so look there first.


Your bettas scraping against items in your aquarium is another common indication that they have anchor worms.

Betta fish will begin scratching their bodies against the aquarium as they attempt to free themselves from the parasites.

If you observe this sign, check your bettas to eliminate these parasites.

Redness And Ulcers

You can see redness, sores, and ulcers on your fish. These happen when they brush up against things, wearing away their outer layer.

If you observe one of the above issues, inspecting your bettas is essential. If you discover some parasites, it’s best to find treatment immediately.

However, other illnesses may cause this symptom, such as ich, velvet, gill flukes, or columnaris.

Lethargic Behavior

They may also seem sluggish, which is among the most typical signs that anything is terrible with your fish.

Bettas are less active if they are ill. Examining them for these parasites is not harmful if you detect lethargy.

If you do not see any worms, it might be anything from depression to temperature shock to various betta ailments.

Breathing Problems

Anchor worms may dig and break the organs inside your fish’s body.

It will be worthwhile to glance around your fish to check if any parasites attach when they have this problem.

If not, they may have columnaris, gill flukes, or ammonia poisoning.

blue betta

Common symptoms

How To Treat Anchor Worms On Betta?

If your bettas become ill, you must always place them in a hospital aquarium.

Otherwise, you risk the medication you’re taking hurting the other organisms in your aquarium.

Therefore, how do you get rid of worms in betta fish? You should follow these measures to clear these parasites from your Bettas.

Pull The Worms Out

It is the most practical technique to remove these parasites from your fish. To pull these parasites out, let’s follow these tips:

  • Bring your fish to the tank’s surface using a net.
  • Grab and pull the parasites out using tweezers.
  • Catch an anchor worm close to its head when you draw it out.
  • To prevent the head from staying in, you must rush and capture them while they are unaware.
  • Ensure you periodically put your Betta back into the tank water so they can breathe.
  • Nevertheless, if the parasites burry very profoundly, be aware that plucking them out might seriously harm your Betta.

pull the worms out of your betta

Pull the worms out

Add Potassium Permanganate

You must provide potassium permanganate to your tank. Many aquarists use this substance to treat bacteria- or parasite-infected fish.

Follow these instructions to use it properly:

  • When using this chemical substance, you should submerge your fish for about 5 minutes.
  • Pour dechlorinated water into two containers and put an airstone in the first container.
  • Pour more than one gram of potassium permanganate and ten liters of water into the first container.
  • Pour dechlorinated water into the second container.
  • Ensure the temperature in the two containers is the same before adding fish.
  • When potassium permanganate dissolves in water, add your fish and leave them there for about five minutes.
  • After that, place them into the second container for 5 minutes.
  • Finally, remove them from the second container and rinse them with fresh water before releasing them into the main tank.

Use API General Cure

You can try API general cure if you do not want to use potassium permanganate. Follow these tips to apply this Betta parasite treatment:

  • For 10 liters of water, add one packet of API General Cure.
  • Before adding the second packet, wait for two days.
  • After using two packages, wait for another two days.
  • Finally, change 25 percent of the water in the tank and add activated carbon to remove the remaining chemicals.

If you want more treatments, you can click on this video:

Wrapping Up

While anchor worms on Betta are uncommon, they might attach to your fish under some circumstances.

It’s easily preventable if detected quickly. As soon as you notice the symptoms, it’s best to apply treatments immediately to save your pets.