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Management of Hexamita in Ornamental Cichlids

Ruth Francis-Floyd and Peggy Reed

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Hexamita is a flagellated protozoan found in the gastrointestinal tracts of a variety of cold and warm water fish, including several species of Cichlids which are popular aquarium pets. It can be a serious health problem in angel fish and discus. Occasionally hexamita is found in healthy fish. Stress from malnutrition, shipping, over-crowding, or poor water quality may lead to rapid reproduction of the protozoan, resulting in disease. The genus hexamita was formerly called "Octomitus" because of eight hair-like flagella which project from the organism ( Figure 1 ). Three species of hexamita have been associated with disease in fish, Hexamita salmonis , Hexamita truttae and Hexamita intestinalis . It is unknown whether these species or new species which have not yet been identified are responsible for disease in ornamental fish. 
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