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Dealing with the challenge of gill worms in fish farming

Alltech Coppens Boost Concept

The impact of gill worms

Gill worms can create substantial problems for marine and freshwater fish farmers. These gill parasites compromise the health of fish by affecting their breathing organs. With their own attachment organs, gill worms latch onto the sensitive gill tissues of fish, which results in complications like gill lesions, anemia, gill lamella alterations, excessive mucus production, accelerated breathing, hypoxia and inflammation. These issues also elevate the risk of secondary infections through other parasites and bacteria. Severe infections can lead to lethargy, poor feed intake and increased rates of mortality.

Two of the most common gill worm species are Sparicotyle chrysophrii and Dactylogyrus sp., which manifest widely in caged sea bream farming and in freshwater catfish, eel and cyprinid farming. Both of these gill worms are hermaphroditic, egg-laying monogeneans that produce and release eggs on a daily basis. These eggs adhere to nets and tanks before hatching, and the free-swimming ciliated larvae can then reinfect the fish population. The lifecycle of gill worms at the usual farming temperatures is quite short, and as a result, these parasites often spread quickly.

The conventional approach to combatting gill worms involves regularly conducting microscopic health checks and chemical treatments when necessary. Although juvenile and adult worms can both be treated effectively, the resilience of gill worm eggs often leads to reinfections, resulting in poor health, growth issues, increased mortality rates and financial losses for fish farmers

Gill worm def 1

Image 1, 2: The two most common gill worm species namely Dactylogyrus sp (left) and Sparicotyle (right).

Alltech Coppens Boost: A comprehensive solution

Along with strictly enforcing the proper biosecurity measurements and fostering optimal farming conditions, Alltech Coppens Boost has become an integral part of gill worm control for many farmers. A nutritional solution that helps keep fish healthy, Alltech Coppens Boost combines chelated minerals, Bio-Mos, Bioplex Iron, extra vitamins and a blend of plant extracts to strengthen the mucus barrier in the gills, which helps fish fend off anemia, boosts the immune response to parasites and supports a significant reduction in the number of gill worms present.

Image 3, 4: The Alltech Coppens boost concept includes a mixture of additives including a blend of plant extracts.

Implementing Alltech Coppens Boost for sustainable gill worm control

Alltech Coppens Boost can be used before and during periods of gill worm issues, as well as year-round.

Some of the main benefits of using Alltech Coppens Boost include:

  • Up to 80% fewer parasites per gill arch
  • Up to 80% decrease in the prevalence of gill worms
  • Improved gill health
  • Reduced mortalities
  • Improved FCR and growth by up to 10%
  • Fewer or no chemicals treatments required

Alltech Coppens Boost has a long-lasting impact on gill worm control and positive implications for all fish farmers. A sustainable and comprehensive solution to gill worm infestations, Alltech Coppens Boost is an integral component to ensuring the overall health and productivity of fish farms.

Success story featuring a fish farmer in the Mediterranean

Watch the video here to learn how Alltech Coppens Boost has impacted this aqua operation, including a remarkable 80% lower prevalence and an 80% decrease in gill worms per gill arch!

We have seen a significant reduction in gill worm infestations since adopting Alltech Coppens Boost.
Angus Sharman , Malta Fish Farming