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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Disease/Health 7

FAQs on Angelfish Disease: Angelfish Disease 1, Freshwater Angel Disease 2, FW Angel Disease 3, FW Angel Health 4, FW Angel Health 5, FW Angel Health 6, FW Angel Health 8, FW Angel Health 9,

FAQs on Angelfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional (e.g. HLLE), Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...), Genetic, Treatments,

Related Articles: Freshwater Angels, Discus, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General,

Related FAQs: Angels 1, Angels 2, Angelfish Identification, Angelfish Behavior, Angelfish Compatibility, Angelfish Selection, Angelfish Systems, Angelfish Feeding, Angelfish Reproduction, & FAQs on: Wild Angels (P. altum), Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease, Cichlid Reproduction,

Sick freshwater angelfish    3/16/12
Please read below. I had to forward the email myself.
Pictures will be sent in separate email since this won't let me attach them to this email. Sorry!
Begin forwarded message:
I have researched what could be making my angel sick but have come up empty handed. Doesn't seem to be ick since its not white spots per se. Almost like black speckles with some raised scales mainly on the forehead and along it's spine. Treated for bacterial infection and ick but no change.
Healthy appetite and is active. Currently in a qt tank with regular water changes. Can you point me in the right direction as to what it might be?
<Not w/o more data... system, maint., water quality, foods, feeding
... This specimen looks fine to me... melanization not unusual on the head, raised areas hormonal...>
 I have had him almost two years with 5 other angles with no issues.
Noticed this about four months ago slowly and has progressively gotten worse.
> Thanks,
> Lisa
<Read (all) here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FWAngDisF6.htm
the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fwd: Sick freshwater angelfish... not rdg.    3/19/12
He is currently in a 20 gallon tank,
ph: 7.2
nitrate: 2.5
ammonia: 0
this one is the only one showing any unusual symptoms.  It goes from the head to the tail with bumps or raised scales.
<... did you read where you were referred. Don't write back. Read!~>
 At some points, it looks like mucus or a small string of slime somewhat floating by its tail.  The scales are not smooth and healthy looking but he isn't acting sick my any means.  I just don't want any of my other angels to get this.  I thought he was getting better at one point when I had separated him the first time but it "flared up" and I placed him back in the qt tank.  I use a hang on the back filter (penguin) and try to keep the tank as clean as possible.  I feed flakes twice a day minimally and he is fully interested in food.  I'm hoping these new pictures may be able to show you some of what I am talking

angelfish twirling , spinning    2/29/12
I hope you can help.  My son has  had a 20 gallon tank for about a year. 
He has 2 angelfish, a shark,
<Can be very mean... some species get very large>
a gourami, and a catfish in there.  After losing a bunch of fish initially these five seem to have been cohabitating without issue for about ten months.  However, ever since we did a 25% water change and really gave the tank ( which had become really dirty) a good scrub 4 days ago one of the angels has been acting really weird.  He is spinning and twirling almost incessantly.  He seems very energetic ( Not acting sickly other than this twirling business.)  Looks like his top fin is bent to the left.  Is that why he can't find equilibrium?  His buddy, the other angel, seems to be avoiding him.  What to do?  Worried. - Kim
<Nothing can be done... likely just the change in water chemistry is at play here. The fish will either recover or no. I suggest weekly water changes... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaint.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: angelfish twirling , spinning 2/29/12

Thank you - hard to know where to get good advice.  The guys at PetSmart say something different every time.
<... BobF>

Angelfish problem    2/24/12
I saw your site had a large variety of information for sick fish but when I thought I found the answer the situation only got worse... My angelfish that’s been in the tank for only 3 months now has been getting some fungal like growth on the base of its left fin, which then turned into lumps, then back to fungal.
 I used the Kordon Rid Ich Plus
<See WWM re this product... formaldehyde and Malachite... not often efficacious in hobbyist settings>

 treatment for the past 3-4 weeks now but I haven’t been getting any results and the two lumps on its dorsal fin (went from white to red) has also been getting worse. I have a 30 gallon tank with another angelfish in it but he’s not aggressive towards our other problem fish,
<Am not so sure>

the weird thing about it is my black one is in perfect condition and they have been in the same tank from the shop we got them from (the tank they were in was about 10 gallons with 2 other angelfish).
<Too small a volume>
 I tried taking some pictures of it as well in case I wasn’t descriptive enough.
<Something is wrong here... the one fish beating the other likely. I'd be separating them. Bob Fenner>


Re: Angelfish problem   2/24/12
Thank you for replying so fast and I'll try use that product you suggested.
<? Welcome. BobF>

Angelfish hollow bellied and prolapsed anus 2/21/12
Hi, I've been searching your site for about a week and even though it is the best site by far on internet i still can't find an answer to my problem.
Before I describe it here is the history of the tank: I'm new to the hobby but already hooked, I have a 5ft long tank, 355 liter, a 2180 Eheim canister filter turning 1200 liter/h with a spray bar giving a fairly strong current, the substrate is white sand, lots of hiding places (logs, caves) and only fake plants which I will change to live plants when I will feel more proficient at fish keeping, one learning curve at a time.
<You are wise here>
There is one white fluorescent tube, on for 10h a day and one blue on for 12h a day.
<Switch this latter out when you are up to stocking live plants. See WWM, elsewhere re the rationale>
I did a fishless cycle and 3 days after all the readings where at 0,
<Mmm, how was this cycle done? Three days is not enough time in almost all circumstances, cases>
I added my 1st fish the 4-12-2011 which are: 4 medium size Silver Dollar, 2 adult blue Gourami, 1 adult gold Gourami, 1 adult honey Gourami, 2 other Gourami (don't know their name, they are 1.5 inch half of the body is yellow the other half red), 1 young Pleco
<Mmm, what/which species? Important to know, as many sold are gigantic as adults. See WWM re Loricariid ID>
about 10 cm and 2 young Rainbow fish.
<Better in larger groups>
I also had some small fish, Tetras and Danios, but they were not happy in my tank, the tetras stayed at the bottom and a couple of them eventually started to develop cotton mouth and one of the Danio got sick from internal bacteria I believe (started with a redness under the skin then listless and loss of appetite, I quarantined him at that point and treated with Interpet Anti Internal Bacteria but his scales raised all over his body like pinecones and he died a few days later) I got so upset that I gave them all away (the Danios and tetras) to an experienced hobbyist, 6 weeks ago. I suppose the current was too strong for them and put them under stress, you might have another explanation.
<Yes; at least a component of incompatibility w/ the larger species at work here>
At the time I was feeding them flakes
<Mmm, need more than this>
3 times a week
<And this interval>

as everything was newish I thought better to underfeed than overfeed but maybe it wasn't enough. So as everything seemed fine in the last 6 weeks I though it was time to get some more fish so i bought 1 Parrot fish (adult)
<The mutant cichlid?... not compatible with much that you already have>

and 2 Angelfish one about 12cm the other about 9cm. The guy I bought them from sounded very experienced but his tank looked very overcrowded to me and when i tested my water after putting the fish in my tank the nitrate had jumped to 20 instead of my usual 5, i assume it was from his water in the bag which went in my tank, I did a 50% water change, cleaned my filter and vacuumed the substrate and my reading went down to under 10. I have had them for 1 week now. Every morning I check all my fish for anything unusual and from day one I noticed something like white flesh coming out of his anus, at the time I thought it was normal, maybe a sign of gender but after doing much research I now believe that he has a prolapsed anus.
<Possibly... from what cause? More importantly and related; how to cure?>
I found interesting information on your site on that but it is coupled with a very pinched belly, like if he was starving, but he eats well. I can't find any information on these symptoms together. 3 days ago the prolapse doubled in size and i got very worried so I elevated the temperature from 26 degree to 29 over 3 days and added 2 tablespoon of aquarium salt, the prolapse is now back in as it was before if not even a little more in which reassures me but the belly is still very hollow. I feed them every morning a pinch of flakes and a pinch of Hikari Gold cichlid pellet, once a week I give them frozen Daphnia with some algae wafers instead, and another day frozen bloodworms and boiled shelled peas, and nothing at all on Saturdays. My ammonia and nitrite readings are always zero and nitrate generally around 5. I do one or two 20% water change weekly and keep the tank and filter clean. Every morning I'm terrified to find my Angel dead, please tell me what to do to save him and please tell me whatever I do wrong as I want to become a good fish keeper. Many thanks.
<I would do one thing for sure (and possibly others), and that is, switch the staple food to a good quality pellet (of appropriate diametre/size); either New Life Spectrum, or the Hikari brand. I strongly suspect that a lack of nutrition is at least partly at play here. Do continue to keep an eye on the Parrot Cichlid (I would remove it), and search on WWM re "prolapsed colon". It may be worthwhile to dose w/ Epsom. Bob Fenner>

Koi Angel Fish, hlth, little data 1/19/12
These are some symptoms that our Koi Angel Fish has, it looks like it's gasping for air, lips are enlarged, not eating as much as it use to eat and it has three white spots on its gill. Thank you for your help.
<Hello Deborah. Do need some information here. How big's the tank? How long has it been running? How long have these Angels been installed? What's the water quality and water chemistry? (For these latter, you should have, at minimum, a nitrite [not nitrate] test kit and a pH test kit, and we need the numbers, not your opinions of them.) Meantime, do read:
Most problems with fish are environmental; poor water quality, wrong water chemistry, too small an aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Koi Angel Fish 1/19/12

Wow thanks for your quick,
<Most welcome.>
so here's a quick review on our tank. We have a thirty gallon tank,
<Should be fine for one Angel or a matched pair of Angels. Larger groups are risky unless you have six or more, in which case you want 55+ gallons.>
changed the thirty percent of the water two weeks ago, removed the gravel (using the net and washed it off) and put it back in. We were having a fuzzy growth on the gravel, but since we did this it disappeared.
<Wonder what that was? Blue-green algae? Nasty, slimy, smelly stuff, often strongly coloured green, black or some other shade. Often implies infrequent water changes, poor filtration, and/or poor water movement.
White to off-white fluffy threads may be plain vanilla bacteria and/or fungi, and these imply a lot of organic matter (faeces, etc.) in the gravel and poor water movement.>
Here are the levels, Nitrate 160,
<Yikes! Cichlids really must have less than 20 mg/l if at all possible, and certainly no more than 40-50 mg/l in the case of hardy species like Angels (and even then, don't be surprised if they sicken). Without low nitrate levels cichlids are VERY prone to disease, especially the dreaded Hole-in-the-Head disease and Hexamita infections. These latter can only be treated with Metronidazole (Flagyl) which may be available over the counter (in the US) but in most countries from vets.>
Nitrite 0, Hardness 150-300, Chlorine 0 Alkalinity 40-50, PH 6.2 -6.8 and we have been using 15mm of Easy Balance once a week for two weeks now.
<I'm not a fan of these "weekly additive" products. Do little of use compared to water changes.>
Our tank has been set up for over a year and the Angel has been in it almost that amount of time. The Angel was given to me so I don't know it's actual age.
<I see.>
Thank you,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Koi Angel Fish 1/21/12
So with the Nitrate levels being so high (160), do you have any suggestions on how to lower this level? Also, in reference to the filtrations that we currently have an under the gravel system as well as a whisper filtration system. Any suggestions on these? Let me know. Thanks again.
<The key thing is to establish the nitrate level of your tap water. If it's, say, 20 mg/l, and your aquarium has 160 mg/l, then the difference, 140 mg/l, came from the aquarium -- biological filtration and decay of
organic materials like faeces and plant leaves. So, you can lower the nitrate level by [a] doing more water changes to dilute the nitrate; and [b] by minimising the amount of nitrate the aquarium creates (e.g., by feeding less, by stocking fewer/smaller fish, by removing organic material before it rots). Simple as that, and contrary to much of what's said/sold in aquarium shops, there are no magic products or cures that make high levels of nitrate go away. Nitrate-removing media do exist, but they are only cost effective when dealing with relatively low levels of nitrate to begin with, e.g., in marine aquaria where lowering levels from 5 mg/l to 1 mg/l is worth doing in terms of livestock health. You'd run out of money long before these would be worth using lowering 40, 50 mg/l levels down to the 10, 20 mg/l we want. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Epsom salt and PopEye diseased angelfish 1/17/12
Hi Crew,
I first would like to thank all of you so much for the wealth of information you make available to everyone. I am kind of new to fishkeeping and you guys are my 'go-to' for any questions I have.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have been searching the site, but I still have a question. I have an angel fish with PopEye in one eye. I have put this fish into a hospital tank that I currently have a baby pineapple swordtail (about 4 months old, 1.5 inch long) that got stuck between rocks and broke its tail. I have been treating the swordtail with Melafix for about a week and it is getting better. Now I want to treat angelfish with Epsom salt in the same tank. Can I do this?
Will the Epsom salt be okay with other fish, the swordtail, being in the same tank at the same time?
<Safe. But angel may eat bite-size fish.>
After treatment, do I need to change the water completely to remove all of the Epsom salt from the hospital tank before using it again as a nursery?
I really appreciate your help!
Thanks so much,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish rapid breathing 1/17/12
Hi. Thanks for providing a great service. I have gained alot <Mmm, no such word> of information from you guys.
The tank is 600 liters heavily planted co2 injected running for 3 years.
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5/10, Ph 6.5/7.
<Do take care w/ such a low pH and CO2 injection. Do you monitor alkalinity? You should>
The fish in question is a 1 year old male Angelfish that I raised from egg myself. A few days ago he and his mate were spawning for the first time when the lights came on which freaked them and they started to eat the eggs. Next day he is hiding and breathing rapidly (120 bpm) and not eating for the past 5 days. There are no other visual symptoms. His mate is fine and protective. On a side note, 2 days prior, the German blue rams spawned with fry doing well (in separate tank with same water) as are parents (same tank). Any suggestions as to how I can help this fish would be greatly appreciated.
Kind Regards. Nick.
<Mmm, really, just time going by. Please do check your alkaline reserve here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Angelfish rapid breathing

Hi. Thanks for your quick reply. The kH and gH are checked regularly to avoid any ph crash. Not to sure what you mean by 'just time going by' .
Thanks. Nick.
<Ahh, that there's no treatment suggested... simply patience and your good care. BobF>

Hi I need help with angel fish! And Discus... mis-treated, no reading 11/28/11
Hi there!
I don't know if you guys can help me, but this is weird. I have there huge tanks/Aquarium in my house. 85 gallon (4 months old), 155 gallon (7 months old) & 200 + gallon (1 year old). I have angel fish in all the 3 tanks.
I have a single pair in 85 gallon and 155 gallon tank. Which is healthy and fish are happy in those 2 tanks. My other 200 + gallon tank had 9 angel fish (same age and size) and 4 discus (different age, size and new to the tan).
<Three and tank; with you so far>
The tank which is 200 + gallon, had no problems, It was going fine. One day I added 4 discus to the tank.
<Sans quarantine>
When I had purchased the 4 discus fish, I put both thin discus in my 85 gallon and the both shy discus fish in 200 gallon (they were in there for more than a month). Later on I did moved the both shy discus to 155 gallon tank, where they were in there for more than 15 days. When I added them and uploaded pictures of them on a forum. People over the forum informed me, that all the 4 discus has internal parasite.
<Quite common...>
So I needed to cure them. I asked for a suggestion to a LFS here (same place where I purchased the discus) and followed his medication procedure (confirmed it on a forum as well).
<... not so fast pardner... What med./s? and the SOP employed please>
That is, moved the discus fish into a bath tub and started the treatment,

where they died the very next morning.
<Most such Symphysodon treatments are administered via foods...>
However, I don't think so the discus were sick. 1 of them stayed in the corner, the 2 of them were extremely thin, the 4th red discus (my love) was okay, but he was shy once in a blue moon. The discus which stayed in the corner all the time, use to come out only, when I use to exit the room.
When I use to get back in the room, again he use to hide behind the trees.
The previous owner said of this 4 discus said, his 4 blue diamond discus died in the same tank where these discus were there. So he don't want to go into loss and he does not has time to take care, so he is selling his fish.
But still as per forum users and shop keepers, I followed their advice.
Now the problem started after discus's death. The tank which is 200 gallon + had around 9 angel fish along with the 2 discus (which were moved to a different tank later and into a bath tub). In those 9 angel fish 2 were males, 6 were females & 1 undetected (however suspected male). The very next day after the discus died, 1 of my female angel fish had a big tummy (I knew the trouble has started, thinking internal parasite has spread),
<Your changes in time are maddening>
but she was not on any of her side or upside down. She was swimming perfectly. She was constantly on top of water. I moved her to a tub for cure & she died. Then same thing started to happen with 4 female angel fish and the undetected angelfish (one at a time). However the 2 males are healthy and perfect till date. Now I am left with a female and 2 male angel fish. Where as the other 2 tanks fish are happy and healthy, without any problem. I have done more than four times 80% water change even past 2 weeks. Currently the last female angel fish in the tank shows no signs like that, since I have done water change yesterday. Still wondering this thing, the discus were there in all the 3 tanks, 2 tanks are healthy from past 2 months without a problem. The biggest tank of mine had problems with only female angel fish. The shy discus were big and dead, where and the thin ones are improving and currently in 200+ gallon tank with angel fish. Any idea about what's going on? I hope I haven't confused you guys. LOL. :P
<... Well, could be your choice or means of administering "med./s" are the problem here (can't tell as you haven't related what was used and how), and/or that there is some biological agent involved here (Protozoan, Worm...), or...?
DO read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/discusdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above, and here for Angels:
and on WWM re the use of whatever it is you've been pouring in... Oh, and Metronidazole and Anthelminthics...
Bob Fenner>
Re: Hi I need help with angel fish! & Discus, hlth. 11/29/11

Thank you for you reply's!
Didn't expect is so quick.
<Glad to help.>
So here are the answers to the questions.
Regarding the discus cure, the LFS told me to move them in the bath tub as all the 3 tanks had angel which were healthy and discus may spread the disease.
<Would treat ALL fish in ALL tanks if there's any risk of cross-contamination, e.g., through moving fish between tanks, shared buckets and nets.>
The LFS store keeper requested me to use Metrogil or Flagyl to cure the discus fish. He came and check the size of my bath tub. I checked the medicine shop here and Metrogil was available at the moment, so e told me to add 4 bottles of Metrogil and fill the entire tub. As soon as I added discus to the tub, they were happy. However next morning they died.
<Used correctly, ideally with veterinarian help, Metronidazole (Flagyl) should be completely safe.>
So I believe I will have to make 1 more tank for my remaining 4 discus fish. XD kewl. I will do that by today itself. & Also once the tank is ready and cycled. Shall I keep it bare bottom tank for discus? As I have heard that bare bottom tanks are best for discus fish.
<There is an argument for bare-bottom tanks when keeping Discus. They're easy to clean, and with less "dirt" in the tank, there's less risk from bacterial infections. On the other hand, avoid bright light bouncing off the glass at the bottom -- Discus hate this! There is an ample literature available on the care of Discus, here at WWM and elsewhere. Modern forms are fairly hardy, and can be kept in traditional tanks with plants and gravel. But avoid mixing with known carriers of diseases, such as Angels, and keep stocking levels LOW.>
So do you want me to currently put the medicine in all the tanks or only infected tank?
<See above.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish health question 10/21/11
I've got two Angelfishes a couple days ago and one of them has this strange lump under its skin towards its tail. I've checked your site but couldn't find anything similar.
Other than the appearance it does not exhibit any symptoms, swims and eats well.
Could you, please, help me to diagnose the problem and maybe suggest some options for treatment?
Best regards,
<This is some sort of physical damage, Michael, and should be treated as you would treat Finrot. Ideally, use something like Kanaplex or eSHa 2000 that treats both bacterial and fungal infections. I wouldn't bother with Melafix at this point, or any of the other tea-tree or pepper-tree potions.
Do also try to figure out why the fish is damaged. Is it a burn? Did it scratch itself against a jagged rock? Are its tankmates aggressive (including other Angels!). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Angelfish health question -- 10/22/11
Would NeoPlex work instead of Kanaplex?
<Should do, yes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish health question -- 10/22/11
Thank you for helping me!
One more thing, just to make sure. Those pictures might not show all the details real well but it appears that the skin itself is intact - there is no rot or anything. The lump appears to be _under_ the skin. Do you still think it is physical damage or could it be something else?
<Yes, still think is physical damage. Not a parasite attached to the fish.
Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater Angelfish... hlth... comp. 10/20/11
Hello WWM, <Hiya Christapher!>
About a month ago we treated our 50 gallon tank with a broad spectrum medication treatment because a couple of the new fish we had gotten had died (a Bala shark and an angelfish). <Did you manage to identify the cause of the deaths?> This seemed to do the trick because the other two (another Bala and angelfish) survived. We also have Neons that we had before the new fish and they are still kicking. <I would not recommend mixing angels with Neons. There is too much risk that the angels will pick on them. Assume the above are all the fish you have here?> However, now the Bala and angelfish are looking bad. The Bala is getting thin it seems and doesn't seem to want to eat much <does it eat at all?> and the angelfish eats plenty, but it's fins seem to be rotting away. Also the angelfish's tendrils look thinner and broken. What do you think this could be and how should I treat this?
<Firstly, the Bala shark is a fish that gets very very large very quickly. I also do not recommend mixing it with slow moving fish such as angels.
From your description, it sounds like the angel has Finrot. A photograph would help identify the disease but you should be seeing damage to the fins; almost like they are frayed. If so, any good Finrot medication will help if diagnosed in time. Read here -
For the Bala shark, how long have you had the fish? They tend to be pretty hardy, if a bit shy. Do keep in mind that when they are smaller, they do tend to prefer company and may school. Not practical however given the size of tank you have. You can read here about the Bala shark
Please check your water parameters and make sure all is good with them.
From your description, it sounds like the fish are stressed and you need to identify the source. Likely environmental/water chemistry related. - Good luck! Sugam>

New Angelfish, hlth./env. -- 10/12/11
Hello Crew,
<Hello Rose and Peter, Sugam with you today>
I started a 45g tall tank in Feb, and have used your site as a reference whenever I needed help.
Normally I can find the answer I need no problem, however today I am in search of some help and have been unable to find a similar situation amongst your archives to help.
<Happy to assist as best I can>
We have a 45 gallon tall tank (24" H x 12" W x36" L), a steady 78 degree, planted, with a Rena XP2 Canister filter (carbon changed monthly), Flora Sun Light, Whisper 60 air pump, with a 24" wand and action air decoration.
My pH is 7.0, Ammonia is 0 ppm, Nitrite is .25 ppm
<this is toxic! Since your tank has been up and running since Feb, the Nitrites should be down to zero. How did you cycle this tank and what are you using to test your water>,
and Nitrate is 10 ppm. We do a single 10 gallon water change a week.
<what water are you using for your water changes? Do check it for nitrites>
Our school up until yesterday consisted of 1 panda Cory, 3 skunk Cory, and 2 bandit Corys (all about 6 months old and no bigger then 1.5") and probably about half a dozen snails that must have been eggs that hitch hiked on my last addition of plants.
They have been a great yet unexpected addition, as I do have some algae growth<.> <How long have you had the snails and have you identified the species?> Yesterday my boyfriend added 4 small (quarter size) veil angelfish ( 2 each of marble and gold, they came from same tank in store), 3 upside down cat fish (about 1" in length each) and 8 neon tetras about .5" in length each, as a surprise for me Everyone ate dinner when they were fed earlier, a mixture of crisps, pellets and brine here and there.
<That is a lot of life to add in a single day. Please be vigilant of you water parameters and rectify your nitrites at the earliest. Any amount is toxic and the new additions are only going to accentuate the problem. The angels alone, at adult size are going to be a handful in this tank and as such, I do believe you are quite heavily stocked. Do keep in mind that they are cichlids. While not as aggressive as some other cichlids, I wouldn't place them with small fish such as neon tetras. Too much of a risk in my opinion.>
The angels are swimming around at the surface, with their lips kissing the surface ever since I took them from their bag and released in the tank. I have had 2 angels in the past one <so>I know it normally takes a day or two to come out from hiding in a corner. The tetras, also seem to be coming up and gulping air here and there, but nothing like the angels who are staying at the surface. The upside down cats are hanging out behind the filter output tube/wand.
Are they acting this way because there is not enough O2 in the water, <could well be the case but oxygen levels are easily tested. I would imagine the nitrites are a major contributor here> cause I introduced too many new fish at once <also likely to add to the problem as stated above>,
or is there something possibly wrong with my water.<as mentioned above>
Thank you for taking the time to read my question, any advice is greatly appreciated.
<Please do read here regarding caring for the angelfish.
Please also use the search feature to research the other species you have in your tank. Do work towards rectifying the nitrites at the earliest and manage the levels through dilution. As for your query on oxygen levels, do secure a test kit or take a water sample to your store for testing. A rather simple guide for oxygen levels is surface agitation. Typically, if there is sufficient movement on the surface of the water, oxygen levels tend to be higher. This, however, is just a basic indicator and I do recommend testing.>
Rose & Peter
<Good luck! Sugam>
Re: New Angelfish, hlth./env. - remedial action 14/10/11

<Hello again, Rose>
The Nitrites have been 0 from Feb-until this week- we test weekly and that was the first time they ever registered.
<Aha good! Likely because of the bioload added>We use a API Master kit to test all the levels. We use our tap water, we fill 2 water jugs, let them sit for 5-7 days before adding to tank. <Good practice, letting it sit. I assume you continue to use some water conditioner to neutralize other pollutants as well?>I called the location I got my plants from... and the snails are offspring from whatever they have in their tank... all they could tell me was they were "plant safe" <Okay, just watch keep an eye on them. The reason I asked is I have had hitchhiker snails multiply like crazy in my tanks in the past. You can read about freshwater snails here - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwsnailfaqs.htm>I just measured the tap(city) water tonight to see if there is nitrite in it, and it reads as 0ppm, we did a 15 gallon water change (what we had already set out for this weekends water change, and we filled the jugs back up so they are ready to go if we need to do it sooner) <Sounds good, how did the nitrites read after?> When we started the tank in February (weekend of Valentines Day), we filled it with 40 gallons of tap water that had sat, plus 5 gallons straight from the faucet. We added half the amount of salt that the API carton called for (4.5 tablespoons instead of 9), and 45ml of API Stress Coat+, we then let the tank run/cycle for 3 weeks, at 1 week I added a 12" x 6" x 3" wood that I had soaked for a week, changing the water out everyday to get rid of some of the tannins. I choose to add the wood not only for aesthetics, and a hiding place for the fish but because or<our> pH was high, for the first 2 months or so, despite treatments, & using reverse osmosis water for the water changes it wouldn't come down. <That's interesting, likely the source water has high pH.> At three weeks we added 3 Corys and some tetras, the pH was too much for the tetras and they didn't last more then a month but we still have the Cory's and the pH has also leveled out to a 7. Since doing the water a couple of hours ago, all the fish have stopped bobbing at the surface, except for one who periodically goes up for a minute then goes back down to mid tank. The nitrite reads less then .25 ppm. <Excellent! They should read 0 so keep testing over the next few days and ensure they get back down. Glad your problem seems to be sorting itself out. Do keep in mind that the water change has likely helped in two ways - for starters, it has diluted the nitrites which, I suspect, were the cause for the behavior you observed. The process of pouring in new water has also likely improved the oxygen levels in the tank. I would be checking both the parameters over the next few days as the water starts to stabilize and age. You do sound like you are on the right track and I am certain your fish appreciate the efforts you are making to keep them health and happy!>
Thank you <Anytime!>
Have a wonderful evening! <And you>
Rose & Peter <Sugam>
Re: New Angelfish, hlth./env. - remedial action 14/10/11

<Hi Rose>This morning I woke to the fish back at the surface with a .25ppm reading on the nitrates. <Did you mean nitrates of nitrites? I assume the latter. As I mentioned in my previous email, this isn't entirely unexpected. Since a significant bioload has been added to the tank recently, a mini-cycle may well have been triggered. Are you reading any ammonia? While there are commercial products in the market that will help you bring nitrites under control and you may well consider them, I prefer to strike the balance through dilution. Have had a decent experience with some of the Sera bacteria starter products if you are inclined to go that route.> Peter was getting ready to do another water change as I left. <Try not to change too much water at once. I find it is better to do smaller quantities more often.> Besides the water changes is there anything we can do to help remedy the situation? <As mentioned above, I would suggest staying on top of the testing and water changes until this mini-cycle runs its course. Please also look at cutting down and even stopping feeding completely for a few days until you have things back under control. Don't worry, fish can typically go a few days without feeding. Whether the food is consumed or wasted, it is still adding to the problem.>Thanks Sugam!
<You are welcome! You do seem to be vigilant about the conditions and I hope things come back under control shortly. Please consider how you are going to address the potential issue of the angels getting to a size to harm the tetras.>
Re: New Angelfish, hlth./env. - remedial action 14/10/11

Everyone seems to be doing better, we did have one loss.<Sorry for the loss Rose but keep at it and as conditions improve, the fish will get better. As long as the exposure is not long term, the chances of them making it through are pretty decent.> Nitrites, and all other levels are holding. <Glad to hear it. Please stay on top of it till things stabilize.> Thank you for all your help and support. <Glad to have been able to help!>

Question - Angelfish -- 10/07/11
I've searched Google and angelfish forums for several days now and cannot find out the information I am looking for, so I thought I'd ask and see if you knew what was going on with my fish. I'll try to be as detailed as possible, sorry if its a long mail.
About two months ago I had a 10 gallon aquarium, with 2 Cory cats, 2 Rasboras, and 1 glass-painted fish. (The small ones) I decided to get an Angelfish, and the store said that 2 angelfish would be fine in that aquarium.
<Uh, no.>

I know, I should have done more research ahead of time, but I assumed they were being fine. One of them died, and I figured it was just that fish, and when I was at PetSmart the next day, I bought another one. (They, also told me that it was fine in a 10 gallon) That one was quite smaller, and it ended up dying, but my first one was fine. Then after that one died, I did some research and joined an angelfish forum, and they told me that I needed a bigger aquarium.
<Correct. We all make mistakes starting out in any hobby, and I'm pleased you're learning from the ones you've made so far. Well done.>
So I bought a 30 gallon aquarium, and after I got it up and running for several days (using the stones, aerator, and castle from my old aquarium)
first I let my Cory cats stay in there before switching over my other small fish. Then I bought 2 more Angelfish, another Cory cat, and a Gourami. I have a heater for up to 50 gallons, a 50-60 gallon filter, two live plants, and an aerator also. The filter/heater were new as of a month ago.
Everything was going fine as far as we could see, until about 2 weeks afterwards, and we started noticing the angelfish were staying towards the bottom of the aquarium and not coming up as much as they use to (they were always very friendly) I then noticed that their top fins were smaller and looked like they "fell down" and the part in between the fins looked like it was filmy and deteriorating. I did water changes and checked the levels.
The Nitrates were a bit high before I did the water change (like 30? I don't remember its been a couple weeks ago) but they both ended up dying.
<Now, the odd thing with nitrates (with an "a", rather than nitrites with an "I") is that they're fairly harmless to most fish, but cichlids are among those fish for which this isn't true. You want nitrate levels below 20 mg/l if at all possible. All cichlids, including Angels, need ammonia and nitrite levels of 0 mg/l.>
I took the dead fish to the store to see if he knew what was going on, and he said that it was "definitely" something in the aquarium eating on them.
So I told him what all I had, (including the Gourami in which I bought from him) and he said that Gourami's can be kind of nippy and so that was the source of my problem. This was about a week ago. He said that he would take the Gourami back and switch it for another Angelfish. So I did that and bought another angel to go along with it.
<Fin damage can be caused by Finrot, and it can be caused by physical damage (like fin-nipping). It's very difficult to tell the two things apart if you don't know what you're looking for. And worse, physical damage to the fins can let Finrot start, so you might even be dealing with both at once!>
So that was Last Friday, and yesterday morning one was dead. It had no signs at all it was just suddenly dead. The other one's top fin fell down and looked a bit filmy also. It started hanging at the bottom of the aquarium, opening and closing its mouth also. We got my 10 gallon up and running again and put her in there, but she ended up dying too. None of the other fish are acting differently at all. The Cory's like to flit to the top every now and then and go back down, but generally they stay on the bottom. No one is gulping or lethargic or anything, they are all acting fine. My levels this morning are 0 nitrites, 15 nitrates, 0 ammonia, and 8.2 for the pH. I do have a lot of algae, its brownish-green with some darker spots here and there. I took a picture of it but its just normal algae.
<Algae isn't a problem here. In fact your water quality seems quite good, though the pH is a bit high. I assume you have very hard water? Farmed Angels should cope with this, but do be aware it's less than ideal for them. Angels naturally come from soft, acidic water where the pH tends to be low. I'm not telling you to change the water chemistry -- that would be risky if you don't understand how to soften water and how to slowly change conditions in the tank. But you do need to be aware that Angels aren't necessarily at their easiest to keep when maintained in hard, alkaline water.>
I use the API water tester with the vials and droplets, and I use (well I use to use AquaSafe to do my water changes but the past two water changes I've used API water conditioner because it is suppose to help with damaged fish. I feed the fish every night regular tropical fish flakes, about two pinches as to avoid overfeeding. My temperature is always between 72-76.
<A bit too cold for these fish. Turn the heater up a notch today, and another notch tomorrow. Aiming for 25-28 C/77-82 F is about right for Angelfish. They're very much hothouse flowers! When kept too cold their immune system doesn't work reliably. Most Corydoras will be stressed above 25 C/77 F, so that may limit how high you can go, but Corydoras sterbai is the exception and thrives in water as warm as 28 C/82 F.>
I'm really at a loss as to what's going on. I love my angelfish but don't want to keep getting something if its going to die. what can I do?
<Angels are normally quite easy to keep. But they are vulnerable to fin-nippers, so choose companion barbs and tetras with care. Avoid, for example, Serpae Tetras, Black Widow/Petticoat Tetras, Tiger Barbs and Ruby Barbs. Likewise, they're so slow that they're easily bullied by aggressive tankmates including Three-Spot Gouramis (which includes things like Blue, Gold, and Opaline Gouramis). Angels prefer tanks with a gentle current, warm water, soft to moderately hard water chemistry, and suitably peaceful tankmates. They dislike bright light and they like plants.>
Thank you for your time.
<I do wonder if there's a combination of factors here: bad luck, cool water, bullying tankmates, and perhaps some fin-nipping from the Rasboras or Glassfish (the Rasboras especially need to be kept in groups of 6+ specimens). Cheers, Neale.>

New Angelfish laying at the bottom of the tank breathing 10/3/11
My boyfriend and I just purchased two Angels from Petco and we woke up this morning with them floating around in circles and eventually landed at the bottom of the tank, they are still breathing though. We don't know if this is from stress or swim bladder disease or what is going on. They were breathing hard when we got them from the pet store. I really want to save them and we have no idea what to do...there is feeding them the peas, Maracyn, quarantine?
Michelle and Brenden
<Hello Michelle. Do need information on the aquarium. Sounds like environmental stress of some sort. How big is the tank? How long as it been set up? Is the filter properly cycled? What about water chemistry and temperature? There's really no such thing as "swim bladder disease" in the way many beginners assume, so instead, concentrate on what might have shocked or otherwise stressed these fish between the retailer and now. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New Angelfish laying at the bottom of the tank breathing
The tank is a 60 gallon tank and it's been set up for almost 4months. All live plants throughout the tank, look healthy.
<Sounds good.>
There are two hang on back (HOB) filters and a sponge pre filter for the intake on one of the HOB filters, also 4 evenly spaced powerheads connected to an undergravel filter. The tank has been home to 9 Serpae tetra,
<Known fin-nippers; I wouldn't be keeping these with Angels!>
5 black long fin tetra, 5 leopard Danios, 5 guppies, 2 Cory cats without trouble. The substrate is eco-complete black.
<Can be scratchy, and not ideal for Corydoras.>
When using the API freshwater master test kit...Ammonia: 0ppm, Nitrite:
0ppm, Nitrate: 0ppm, pH: 7.8+
Temperature is around 81 deg F
<Much too warm for Corydoras.>
One of the angels started 'stressing' while at the store when they bagged it. Also one went through a recent 15% water change. My thought is that either the water change did it, or they were stressed at the store to begin with. They were breathing hard in the store tank when we found them. One of them didn't show any stress signs until 24 hrs after acclimating it to the tank. The other started showing signs within minutes after acclimation.
Acclimation took 30 minutes...first getting them used to water temp, and the slowly mixing in my aquarium water with the store's.
We've just moved both of them into a baby breeding tank with some hornwort to keep the other fish away.
<Isn't any obvious reason for your problems. Tank sounds okay, if a bit warm, so cooling down a bit might be beneficial in terms of raising oxygen concentration. Water quality looks fine. Do consider possible external sources of stress, poisoning; paint fumes for example, or children dropping pennies into the tank. Would tend towards optimising conditions (dim lighting, lots of oxygen, frequent small water changes) while allowing fish to recover. Moving them again and again is likely to cause further stress.
Cheers, Neale.>

egg bound angelfish, FW 8/31/11
Hi crew,
I have an angel fish that is egg bound. I read on the site to do a 50% water change, turn up the temperature to 82 and cover the tank.
<... cover the tank? What re the use of Epsom Salt... Are you sure you're referring to WWM?>
I have done all of the above and she is still real swollen this morning. Is there anything else I can do for her?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
She is in a 56 gallon tank with a Betta, another angel fish which I am supposing is a male, and a juvenile angel fish. I feed flake food,
<Cut back on this>
frozen brine shrimp, and blood worms. They only get fed once a day.
<Feed twice...>
All parameters are good. She did lay some eggs but the other angel fish was keeping her pinned at the bottom of the tank so I took her out and put her in the 75 gallon when I realized that she had more eggs to lay. She is now back in the 56 with the adjustments that I mentioned above.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: egg bound angelfish 9/1/11

Do you mean for me to feed the blood worms and brine shrimp twice a day and stop the flake food?
<Cut the dried food to a minimum>
I added Epsom salt to the water at a dosage of 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon, dissolved in warm water. I also gave them some frozen peas. I have to go get a stronger pump to put more aeration in the water with the higher temperature. Is there anything I did not get from my reading?
<Sounds like you're on your way. Relax. BobF>
re: egg bound angelfish 9/6/11

Hi Crew,
This fish is now doing back flips and trying to keep her nose up by the surface of the water. I figure the eggs have caused an internal infection but I am unsure what to treat her with. Will the salt still help her or should I try something else?
<... already answered.>
I have watched her for an hour now and she can not right herself. Should I put her in a breeder box to keep her from running into stuff and hurting herself? Help please. Is there anything I can do to cure her or is she certain to die? If she is not curable then should I euthanize her? I am unaccustomed to losing fish, so this is hard for me to watch.
re: egg bound angelfish 9/6/11

She died this afternoon.
<Sorry for your loss Laura. B>

Peculiar growth and ill Angels- 8/20/11
A friend of mine has been watching over my fish for the past two weeks and I've come to find out that when she'd cleaned the tank, she cleaned out ALL of the water and rinsed EVERYTHING.
<Okay. But so long as the filter media wasn't cleaned, you should be absolutely fine. Only if the filter media is cleaned will "over-cleaning" like this cause problems.>
When I can to pick up my fishies, I noticed what looked like a brown, translucent sheet of some stretchy looking brown gunk all across the bottom of the tank with small, fluffy, white balls here and there was well as wispy gunk on the tanks glass.
<Likely bacteria, silt, diatoms or some combination of the three. In and of itself not a problem. Do a series of small, regular water changes, maybe 10-20% per day, siphoning out any of this gunk with each water change. Diatoms and bacterial blooms normally reflect unstable conditions in the tank, and settle down within a month, sometimes 6 weeks.>
Not only that, but my Angels are all blinded and have clouded pupils.
<Now that's more serious. If it's just stuff stuck to their eyes, it's usually silt in the mucous coating these fish have on their bodies. You'll see the silt wobble with the water current. In time, this cleans up. But if the actual cornea part of the eye that's been damaged, that can take time to heal. Slight damage will heal by itself, though treatment with an antibiotic can help. Pop-eye is a related condition where the eye has been sufficiently damaged that infection behind the eyeball causes swelling. Treatment is largely "wait and see" plus the use of Epsom salt, and optionally, antibiotics. See here:
If one eye is damaged or popping, that's commonly physical damage, e.g., by clumsy netting or a frightened fish bumping into the walls of the tank. If both eyes are damaged or popping, that's often to do with poor water quality.>
My two mollies, my Betta, and my Cory Catfish all seem to be in good condition. Only my Angels seem to be suffering. My Mollie even gave birth recently (But ate all but one baby who managed to hide away and is now safe in it's own tank). They are now staying in my boyfriends very well maintained tank with his fish, (Two Angels, three Cory Catfish, three Minor Tetras, and three Gourami) and we are treating them with medication. But all of a sudden, one Angel began to zip all around the tank, tire and float down, zip around then float down again where he lay until he died. None of the other Angels or fishes are doing this except the Angels are all now swimming at the top with their mouths to the surface of the water. They will not eat, even if they happen to suck in a flake.
<Does sound like they are stressed.>
My Betta will not eat either, but he seems fine. Is it possible he's upset with me because I was gone? ( I know it sounds absurd..but I like to think he didn't get excited when I came around JUST because my presence meant food) He doesn't even come to see me at the glass. He actually swims away and even goes into the plastic skull.
So my questions are: What was in my old tank?
<Difficult to say without any data from you, e.g., water chemistry, water quality. At minimum, check pH in the aquarium is where it should be (typically the same as your tap water) and that nitrite (not nitrate!) level is zero.>
What caused that Angel to act that way then die?
<Again, difficult to say. A combination of shock and physical trauma can certainly kill fish.>
Why will they not eat? Even my seemingly healthy Betta?
<Give them time. If they can recover, they will get their appetite back. DO NOT try to tempt them with food every few hours -- uneaten food just adds to water pollution. Wait a few days, even a week, and certainly don't feed them if nitrite level is not zero.>
Are my Angels going to die because their cloudy pupils aren't the only problem?
<Damage to the eye is not in itself fatal.>
Can Bettas hold grudges?
<No, but if scared of something, it may take a couple weeks for them to settle down.>
Thanks- J. Solyka
<Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish 8/18/11
I have a 75 gallon tank with 16 quarter size angels in it. All was fine and then suddenly they're in a tight group at the top or in the corner.
I change about a third of the water weekly. Everything has been fine for about a month till now. Feed flake food with brine shrimp twice a week. Any suggestions? Thanks Shark
<Water testing... somehow you have an anomaly of some aspect/s of water quality on your hands... Likely Chloramine sanitizer (from the tap water or conditioner) and/or some type of metabolic accumulation (ammonia, nitrite?)... Chemical filtrant use, careful storage and treatment of change out water (a week) ahead of use is suggested. Bob Fenner>

Pterophyllum leopoldi hangs at surface 8/2/11
Hi guys!
<Hello Aslak!>
I have a 240 litre SA community tank with some (five) young Leopoldi angels.
<Nice fish.>
I've had the fish for about six months. I've noticed that they from time to time "hang" at the water surface. I know fish tend to do when there's too little oxygen in the water, however none of the other fish in the tank does this, and I've read a couple of places that this behaviour is considered normal for Leopoldi (or angelfish in general perhaps?) because they like to skim the surface for algae.
<Perhaps. My understanding of Angels in the wild is that they feed primarily on insect larvae at the surface. I would be open minded about the oxygen issue, and check circulation is adequate, especially in summer.>
I have tried to find more info but it's a difficult issue to search for as the search terms give me mostly irrelevant hits.
<I bet. In older books this species was known as Pterophyllum dumerilii, even though this name is (apparently) a synonym of Pt. scalare.>
They do seem to stop this behaviour if I direct the flow from the canister filter along the tank, but I figure that might just as well be because the increased flow removes the surface algae film or makes it hard to "hang out".
<Sounds more like the oxygen issue. Do provide a good turnover, 6x the volume of the tank per hour, but disperse the current by directing jets at the sides of the tank, tall rocks, etc. Spray bars can work nicely.
Alternatively, add an airstone or two.>
I'm also curious about plants. As far as I know Angelfish in general lives in areas with little or no aquatic plants.
Is this different for the Leopoldi?
<Not so far as I know.>
Right now the tank is scaped with mostly driftwood and roots, but I do have some Vallisneria in there as well.
<Which will be welcomed.>
I am considering removing the Vallisneria and introduce some Amazon Frogbit as the only plant life in the tank. Any thoughts on this?
<Floating plants would be excellent additions to this system, but do ensure they don't block the oxygen exchange between the water and the air above.>
Thanks for any enlightenment you can provide ;)
Cheers, Aslak
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Pterophyllum leopoldi hangs at surface 8/3/11

Evening Neale!
Thank you for your reply. I'll be sure to keep an eye on the Leopoldis and increase the flow if needed. The last few days I've had the spray bar turned downwards and "backwards" towards the wall of the aquarium.
<Can work well.>
I'll once again turn it back out towards the open water if needed.
- Aslak
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

cloudy eye on angelfish 7/16/11
Hi Crew,
I have searched the site and found some information, but need more advice for this fish. This angel fish was given to me because it was being picked on in my friend's tank so it came to me with this cloudy eye. I think it got startled and scratched it's eye. The eye is not swollen but I am worried it will turn into pop-eye. I am not sure it I should isolate this fish to treat it.
<I would neither isolate, nor "treat">
All of my levels are with normal limits and all fo the other angels in the tank are fine and growing normally. Should I isolate this fish for the salt treatments?
<... no>
Will the salt mess up my water conditions?
Nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia are all at 0. My tap water is a little hard, but the fish are doing fine in it. I do 10% water changes 3 weeks out of the month and gravel vac once a month. I feed a mix of flake, crisps, blood worms and frozen brine shrimp. The tank is 75 gallon and there are 12 other angel fish in the tank. There are no sharp objects for the fish to hurt themselves on. There are plenty of fake tall plants for the fish to hide in. I see no aggression as of yet, but have a 29 gallon tank that I can set up if I have to separate any of the fish.
<All sounds good here>
Thanks for your help
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
cloudy eye on angelfish 7/16/11
Sorry I forgot to attach the picture
<As you speculate, likely resultant from a mechanical injury. Will heal on its own, though this may take months. BobF>

Re: cloudy eye on angelfish 7/19/11
<2.1 meg pic...>
Mr. Bob,
We have a new development with the angelfish's eye. It is coming to a point and I am not sure why or what to do about it. I will send a picture with this email so you can see what I am talking about. Please advise.
Thanks for your help
<Same response. B>

Re: cloudy eye on angelfish 7/20/11
Thank you for your knowledge and your willingness to share it with those of us need it. You're awesome. By the way, Patches is doing wonderful and is in the big tank in the living room,
<Ah, good.>
Thank you,
<Certainly welcome>

Angelfish urgent help!! 7/2/11
Dear crew, I have an issue with my freshwater angelfish. I turned on the lights to my 20 gallon high tank and his eyes looked swollen and puffy.
Under his eye there was sprouting fungus on the right side . I moved the net in the tank to make sure he still had his sight and he does. Also, he has 2 other angelfish, three black rosy tetras, 1 honey Gourami , and a small Firemouth.
<This last should be elsewhere>
none of the other fish mess with him because he is the alfa <alpha> male.
Can you tell me what meds to treat him with? I already put in some salt .
Thank you for saving him! I have hope,
<Use the search tool linked on every page on WWM... put in the string "freshwater angelfish eyes" and this same string in the upper left "highlighted terms" tool on the searched pages. Likely the Firemouth is
brutalizing this fish. They need to be separated stat. Bob Fenner>

angel fish with suspected lip fibroma 6/12/2011
I have an angel approx. 2 years old that has what appears to be lip fibroma. Its lips started getting big about 6 months ago and I thought it was just maturing. They continued to grow to a point that I knew it was not normal but the fish continued to appear healthy and happy. I noticed yesterday that it could not get food into its mouth to eat. It is trying to eat but the food bounces off his lips. His tail fin has always been the way it looks in the picture so no worries about that. In researching I have read that there is no cure. I have seen mention of surgically removing the growths. Can you tell me how to do this? If so please include how to tell where to cut so that I do not damage healthy tissue. Let me also mention that I will need explicit details from start to finish, as I have never done anything like this before and would like to ensure the best possible outcome. I have a 55 gallon tank with a few other angels which all appear to be healthy. Thank you so much for your help!
<Hello Cynthia. This is very strange, and unfortunately, I can think of no treatment for this condition. Surgery is out of the question, at least at home. Fish have very delicate mouths that are filled with nerves, and there's no way you could trim the lips without [a] causing the fish immense pain and stress; and [b] damaging the bones, muscles and lips and in the process making the fish vulnerable to secondary infections. A vet *may* be able help, but for a fish species this small, surgery would be extremely difficult. In all likelihood this is a genetic problem -- you have bought a "fancy" variety of Angelfish, and these are inbred, especially the fantail ones, and if you look at the shape of the ventral and tail fins of this Angelfish and the others in the photo, you'll see lots of other deformities too. It just so happens this deformity is so severe it's become an eyesore.
Bottom line is that so long as the fish is feeding I wouldn't worry too much; should the fish actually start to have problems, then euthanasia may be the best way forward.
Cheers, Neale.>


Re: angel fish with suspected lip fibroma 6/12/2011
Thanks so much for the speedy answer. The fish has not eaten for 2 days, although it tries. The growths are so large that he cannot effectively open its mouth which causes the food to bounce off his lips. Can you recommend a food that may be easier for him to eat. I feed brine shrimp, beef heart and flakes. I wonder if baby brine shrimp would work or would it be more humane to buy some clove oil?
Thanks so much for your help!
<Do try feeding finely powdered flake food first, a little at a time. Yes, baby brine shrimp will be eaten, and can be surprisingly good regular foods for even quite large fish. Daphnia are another good option. The problem is more likely to be competition from other Angelfish than actually finding something he'll eat. Keeping the fish alone or with non-competitive tankmates (e.g., Corydoras) would be the best thing. In any case, you might be surprised to see that some cichlids have lips much like these, but deliberately so, as in the case of Abactochromis labrosus.
Cheers, Neale.>

Ghost -- 05/30/11
Hi Crew,
<Hello Laura,>
I have another situation that I am not sure what to do. First the facts; 56 gallon tall tank. 6 dime size angels.
<Do beware of these very small Angels -- they don't travel well, and the more inbred forms can be delicate.>

5 Glowlight tetras
<Angelfish food in the wild.>
20% water change every week. Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Ph 6.
<A low pH like this is beneficial in some ways, but do understand its effect on biological filtration. Also, the need to buffer the pH at low carbonate hardness levels can be a chore, especially once fish get big and messy.>
Gravel vacuum once a month. When I went to feed this morning, the gray angel came up to feed as vigorously as the rest but I noticed that one eye is swollen.
<Likely physical damage -- fighting, usually, but can also be clumsy netting by the retailer or you (if the popped eye appeared in the last 24-48 hours) some point between being purchased and settled into your tank.
Alarm reactions, e.g., bumping into sharp rocks, can also cause this sort of physical damage.>
No other damage on the fish or any of the other fish. I remember reading one post in which Bob suggested that the damage could be from fighting over territory. I watch these fish like a nervous mother and I do not see any one fish being dominant. What do I do for this fish? It is now gasping for air, and I noticed little white spots on its back fin. The angle does stay with the other fish, but does not forage like the other ones do.
<Does sound like any physical damage is either a result of stress or causing stress. Sometimes a fish is weakened somehow, and then the dominant fish attacks it, and then you find damaged fins or popped eyes. Review water quality, make sure pH is absolutely stable (I'd be aiming for a steady pH 7 with generic angels rather than 6, but altering the pH is a whole other can of worms -- don't be one of those folks who dumps in "pH down" potions without understanding how carbonate hardness works and what buffering solutions to use instead.>
Thank you for your time and wisdom
<Do read here:
Epsom salt in the water at a dose of up to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons can be useful, together with optimised water conditions. Review social behaviour -- Angels school when young, and only become territorial pair-forming fish once mature. But even as youngsters dominant members of the school can be aggressive. Cheers, Neale.>

re: Ghost -- 05/31/11
While waiting for your instructions, I netted the angel and put it in a breeder box so if there was a dominant angel picking the box would protect until I could treat. Within a few hours the angel died. There was no other damage on the fish, so I am not sure what happened. The other 5 angels are fine and still not showing any aggression. Thank you for such a wonderful site and for your time in answering my questions. You all are wonderful and are truly appreciated.
<Sorry to hear things ended badly, but not altogether surprised. These very small Angels are not easy to keep, and I don't much recommend them for beginners. In any case, do expect aggression among your Angels as they mature. Singletons are usually harmless to mixed community fish, but a pair will need a 20 gallon tank, and in anything smaller than, say, 55 gallons, they will often be very aggressive towards any other Angels. In the wild Angels only school when [a] young and [b] outside of spawning, and because
aquarium conditions are so favourable, mature fish are in spawning mood pretty much constantly. Cheers, Neale.>

Small Angel Fish, colour, hlth. 5/10/11
Hi Crew,
I have several questions to ask. I am glad I found your site, it is full of interesting and useful information. I have two tanks of angel fish. I have a 55 gal with 6 quarter to half dollar size angels. I have another tank that has handicapped fish in it. Their fins have been chewed off mostly because the place I got them from had to many in a very small tank. The handicap tank is 35 gal. I had the water tested today and all of the measures are good. Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, ammonia 0, Ph is 6. All Angels are dime to penny size. I keep the tank temp at 82 F. Now for the questions.
1. Is there any knowledge about why some fins grow back with color and some grow back clear?
<Mmm, there likely is, but I am not familiar w/ it/this. Perhaps querying on Cichlid sites, or a visit to a large college library. Do see here re searching for literature: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm
2. I am in question about the dark mark under the fin in the picture that is attached. It looks like a scratch, but on closer inspection in the picture it looks like it may be just a coloration thing. Can you tell me if I should be worried or isolate the fish?
<I would not be worried. This appears to be "natural", not resultant from some pathogenic disease>
I know that if there is a concern then I should isolate, but moving such a small fish would cause stress, so why cause stress if there is no need to do so?
<We are of a like mind>
I have attached two pictures. One of each side of the fish so you can see the difference.
3. How big are angel fish when they start to pair off?
<Sometimes as small as the body size of a quarter>
The 6 in the 56 gal are quarter size to a bit bigger, so I am wondering how soon it will be before they start this process. I keep the tank at 82 degrees.
Thank you
<And you for sharing. My survey article and our collective input re Pterophyllum is archived here:
and the linked Angel files above. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Small Angel Fish 5/11/11
Thank you for your fast reply. I truly appreciate it and the web site that continues to offer insightful information. Thank you for the referral to other resources for my investigation about fin growth color. Could I ask one more question? One of the small angels has bent fins. Should I try to clip the bent part off?
<Mmm, I would not. Though if the "reason" for these deformities is developmental, and "fix-able" through genetic determination, it is "too cruel" in my present value system to justify the pain, likely loss>
I am concerned that this break will be a place for infection, although the fish is not showing any signs of it now. I will attach a picture of "ZigZag" so you can see what I mean.
Thank you so much
<And you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Small Angel Fish 5/12/2011
Mr. Bob,
<Ms. James>
You're awesome! This website is incredible. Thank you for your swift reply as I was worried about ZigZag.
<Welcome dear. B>

White stringy faeces 5/13/11
Hi crew,
I am once again concerned for Patches. I woke up this morning to find him passing a really long string of white faeces. I went to the website to read what it could be, then went to the LFS to get some medicated food with active ingredients Metronidazole, Praziquantel, and Levamisole. I had the water tested while I was at the LFS and everything was alright as far as water quality. Nitrites, Nitrates, Ammonia all 0. Ph was a little high but still within safe limits according to the bottle label. I had already fed them their regular diet of TetraMin crisps, so it did not surprise me when the spit out the medicated food. I changed 10% water. Added conditioner to the refill water and 1 table spoon of salt. This evening Patches has developed so bumps along his stomach area on one side that I can see. I will attach pictures. Am I on the right track and is there anything else I should be doing? What other signs should I be watching for?
<Perhaps a look/see at this fecal material under a 'scope... in order to find worms... Otherwise, the medicated food, for all in the tank. BobF>
Thanks ever so much

Re: White stringy faeces 5/14/11
Mr. Bob,
<Ms. Laura>
Patches and crew are not eating the food.
<Patience; time going by>
Would it be as good to get the treatment for the water and feed regular food?
<I'd stick w/ the medicated food>
Patches is looking pretty pasty. I do not see any signs on the rest of the fish. Will they eat if they get hungry enough?
<Yes they will>
Sorry to be a pain. I have taken care of these wounded fish and am real worried.
<No worries. BobF>
Re: White stringy faeces 5/15/11

Mr. Bob,
Thank you for your time. For some reason I trust your judgment (this is not normal for me).
<Your trust is well-placed. I know little of other fields, but am well-versed in ornamental aquatics, by academic and practical learning>
I will stick with the medicated food. I also have set up a med/iso tank so that when I purchase new fish, they will get medicated food for three days before getting to be in the healthy tank as you suggested to another 'patient'.
Thanks again,
<Life to you, BobF>
Re: White stringy faeces 5/15/11

Mr. Bob,
<Ms. Laura>
All the fish are hiding now and the water is getting a little cloudy.
Should I do a water change and if so how much and how often?
<I would... and 20-30%, every few days>
No one is panting or gasping for breath. ZigZag seems to have acquired tourettes because while he is hiding, he shakes his head from side to side in a jerking fashion. Is this a symptom of the parasites?
<Can be>
Also the Glowlight tetras that are in the tank have developed white tips on their fins. Is this a sign of something going wrong in the water?
<Again, it may well be... but what? What water tests (kits) do you have?
What recent measures can you relate?>
The directions on the bottle of medicated food say to feed 3 days on and 4 days of regular food. No one has been passing the white stringy faeces anymore, but I have seen Patches and a few of the others rub themselves on the decorations. Not a lot of constantly, but they have been doing it. Is there something I should be putting in the water to help this situation?
<Not really... not w/o knowing what specifically is amiss, if anything.
Thank you
Re: White stringy faeces 5/16/11
Mr. Bob,
I do not have any test kits, but every few days I take water from all 4 takes, properly marked, to the local LFS and have it tested.
<Mmm, you really need some of your own kits Laura... some aspects of water chemistry can change a good deal in such transits>
I did this yesterday and the nitrates were up to 3.
<Not a worry. See WWM re NO3>
We also set up a 75gallon tank. I moved the healthy angels from the 56 to the 75 and took some of the fish from Patches' tank and moved them to the 56. I did a 25% water change in both tanks. The cloudy is going away and all concerned seem to be happier. Both Patches' tank and the 56 are in the same room, so feeding the medicated food will not be an issue. Can you suggest a good test kit to purchase?
<Yes. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwtstkitfaqs.htm
I have been thinking about getting one of the kind that hangs in the tank and takes constant readings.
Are those any good?
<Not really... tend to drift... are inaccurate and imprecise>
Suggestions welcome.
Thank you
<Welcome. BobF>

Angel fish w/possible dropsy symptoms 5/11/10
I have a beautiful black angel fish. We've had her about 1yr. I've only had a tank for 1.5 years. For about 1.5 wks she has had a swollen belly and her scales are flaking off, leaving a white, thin material hanging off.
She doesn't eat and looks as if she's constantly gasping for air. Very lethargic. The 45-gal. tank has good readings overall. However, our water is hard and is very alkaline.
<How much so?>
I add stress coat to the tank after every water change and aquarium salt.
<... salt is a very poor idea generally. Causes more troubles than solves problems. Please read here:
The other fish seem fine. I've had all of them for about the same amount of time (at least a year). I added Epsom salts yesterday and today. What else do I do? And how often do I add the dosage?
<Read the above... not to be re-added unless you change out water, dilute therein>
Should I get some antibiotics for her?
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm
Melinda G.
<Do write back Mel, if there are still questions, concerns not-addressed.
Bob Fenner>

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