Traditional compounds used to treat fish diseases in aquaculture and the ornamental fish industry (such as formalin and malachite green) can be more toxic to the hosts than their parasites. With the reviviscence in the use of herbal products, various botanicals have been heralded as cures for particular pathogens, but the efficacy of these compounds for parasitic worms is questionable. Here, we tested a range of garlic (Allium sativum) products against a major aquarium pathogen, Gyrodactylus turnbulli, infecting the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). All garlic products significantly reduced parasite mean survival time in vitro, from 13 h to <1 h. In fully randomised trials, the number of parasites was also significantly reduced on infected fish exposed to garlic from different sources. Two garlic treatments (minced and granule forms) reduced worm burdens by 66% and 75% after three doses, whereas Chinese freeze-dried garlic and allyl disulphide were 95% effective after a single application. In fact, Chinese freeze dried garlic was equally effective as Levamisole, a licensed livestock dewormer that is highly effective against G. turnbulli but not routinely prescribed for use in fish; hence, garlic may be a potential alternative treatment for gyrodactylosis.
Keywords: Garlic; Guppy; Gyrodactylosis; Monogenean; Poecilia reticulata; Treatment.
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