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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Disease Treatments  

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 7, 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,

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 DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

When, where in doubt: Partial water changes! And maybe the addition of a bit of activated carbon in your filter/flow path.

Dying FW Angel        6/29/19
Hello, I am Yazu Nakarmi a fish keeper from Nepal.
<Good evening from Neale in England!>
I've been on your website and I've found it extremely helpful. Being a fish keeper, I'm facing a disastrous problem right now. My angel fish are dying one by one.
<Oh dear!>
I've lost over six of them now. I just can't figure out the problem. Many white worm like dots appear on the head of the angelfish and the condition worsens everyday. I just don't know what to do.
<To be honest, nor do I. The photo doesn't really help. If this is something developing over several weeks, I'd be looking at either a simple Hexamita infection or something known as Hole-in-the-Head disease, which is connected with Hexamita but possibly not identical. Either way, you'd treat this with Metronidazole together with an antibiotic. Metronidazole is about the only thing that works against Hexamita parasites. The antibiotic helps clean up wounds and prevent secondary infections. Hexamita and Hole-in-the-Head infections have complicated causes, and some argue that the pathogens involved are latent in most farmed cichlids. So what triggers these diseases? Seems to be environment: overstocking, leading to low oxygen and high nitrate is probably the biggest issue. Frequent water changes and lower density stocking will help. There may be a dietary factor involved as well; in particular, the lack of fresh greens in those cichlids that need them. Cooked peas will be eaten by hungry Angels, but failing that, frozen Spirulina-enriched brine shrimp if you can get them.>
Your kind response and help would be much appreciated. Thank you!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re:       6/29/19
Thank you Neale. What's the dosage for the metronidazole?
<Will direct you to some relevant reading:
Quote: "Metronidazole can be administered orally at a dosage of 50 mg/kg body weight (or 10 mg/gm. food) for 5 consecutive days.">
Also I've found thick white poop in the aquarium and all the dead angelfish have red coloured heads.
<White, stringy faeces is a CLASSIC symptom of Hexamita infection.>
I think it is internal bleeding.
<I don't. Cheers, Neale.>

Black angelfish... dangers of having medications     9/10/14
<Hey Jude>
Last July my spouse and I went away for a week and got a pet sitter. They REALLY overfed the fish as we had to do a 90% water change. Anyway the black angelfish had white all over it's mouth when we came back.
<Likely just water quality...>
The thought it was Columnaris and treated
<Hypochondria will kill your livestock more assuredly than pathogens>

the fish in the 10 gallon for this. He is in a 75 gallon normally. Anyway the treatment did not work and now there is a white "bump" that is fairly large near the fin on the side. The fish is eating and acting normally. I would've thought he would be dead by now. There is no cotton stuff on the white on the mouth. I was thinking of moving him back to the 10 gallon and treating for ICK.
<? No>

I would've thought that Ick would've killed him by now also. There are no other white spots on the fish and all other fish in the tank are healthy.
Thank you
<Leave the fish in the main display. Bob Fenner>

My angels are very pale and not as active as they normally are.     5/29/14
I was a bit worried that my angels may be showing signs of a problem.
Usually they are extremely active and lively but today they are pale can hardly see their usual black lines and are very still. Just sort of hoovering around the middle of the tank and swimming very slowly.
Any ideas? My water checks out fine temp is about 79-82. If u can help that
would be great!
<When, where in doubt: Partial water changes! And maybe the addition of a bit of activated carbon in your filter/flow path.
Bob Fenner>

Neale: urgent help Angelfish swimming circles      3/29/14
Hi Neale, hope you are well, you have helped me a lot in the past, let me remind you what I have:
53 gallon / 200 liters community tank:
2 Angelfish
2 striped Raphael Catfish
4 Bleeding Hearts
5 Cherry Barbs
I've had them for more two years. 
Today my female Angelfish started swimming in circles and kind of upwards too, at times seems she's going to flip back, my male was attacking her today because they has hatched eggs, but she always hide when he tries to poke her, but today it's been different, she doesn't look ok.
<Indeed. If at all possible, isolate the female to another tank. If you can, remove water from the main aquarium and use this in the hospital tank so she doesn't experience any changes in temperature or water chemistry.>
I have to accept that their water change was due about three days ago but I have a baby so my husband does it, and he did until today. :(
How can I help her, she seemed so healthy yesterday!
<A water change can be a good "shot in the dark" and if she perks up, then
 environment will likely be the issue, so you can then assess and act accordingly. Cichlids are prone to going loopy (disoriented, odd swimming positions) when exposed to things like sudden changes in pH and even temperature, but recover once things in the aquarium improve. They're more sensitive, I think, than most other fish -- perhaps a reflection of their higher intelligence than the average fish. On the other hand, some parasites and pathogens can cause "whirling" symptoms and these may be difficult, even impossible to treat. In any event, isolating the fish and seeing how she looks when she doesn't have other fish harassing her may be the best thing to do. As I say, if there's a stress problem here, isolating and improving the environment should cause her to settle down.>
Thanks a lot,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re: Neale: urgent help Angelfish swimming circles      3/29/14
Thanks Neale, newest thing is she's resting in the leaves, I have huge leaves as it is a planted aquarium, so now I see her resting completely upside down, at first I thought she was dead, or dying :-( but I reached her with the net and she started swimming normally, then a few minutes later, the weird pattern again.
<Is she bloated at all? You could try the Epsom salt trick for constipation, in the off chance that's a problem. 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres will do the trick.>
I can tell Mimo, my male Angelfish, her partner is very upset for all of this.
<I would not anthropomorphise here. "Interest" is not "affection" in the animal world. Personally, I would still isolate her, though of course reintroducing an adult Angel into this aquarium after a week or two would need to be done carefully, perhaps by removing them both, moving a few rocks about, turning out the lights, then putting them in simultaneously, so they both feel like newcomers. At the very least, watch out for aggression if/when she's put back.>
Water is perfectly clean now as always, honestly we've kept great care of them, it was just a couple of days delay, still I added an air pump for extra oxygen, if it indeed was an environment issue, how long till she recovers?
<Normally if it's a brief stress, cichlids recover in a few hours.>
Should I still isolate her? He's not poking her anymore.
<That's a good thing.>
<Welcome, Neale.> 
Re: with picture Neale: urgent help Angelfish swimming circles
Resting in the leaves :( 

<Possibly, but fish also get trapped among leaves when they can't control their movement properly, the water current pushing them around until they got lodged into something such as a plant. Not a big fan of mixing Serpae Tetras with Angels; like many other Hyphessobrycon, Serpae Tetras can be aggressive fin-biters. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Neale: urgent help Angelfish swimming circles

Ok Neale, I will do as you suggest, thinking now it's not only stress as this has been the situation for the last 36 hours now. She's not normal. 
I noticed a white tiny pimple on her tail, but just one, the male doesn't show any. Is it Ich?
<Could be. Hard to say without seeing it. You may want to use your Whitespot treatment of choice. The old salt/heat method is pretty low risk and can be used alongside Epsom salt and antibiotics without problems.>
Thanks so much. 
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Neale: urgent help Angelfish swimming circles

If I give her antibiotics and Methylene blue it won't worsen her condition right?
<Likely not, but I'm not a huge fan of randomly medicating animals or people. A vet certainly wouldn't do it, not a doctor. So better to review the situation, look to see if things are improved by isolating the sick fish and providing it with optimal living conditions. Methylene blue is a treatment for -- and pretty much only for -- external fungal infections. If that's not the issue here, don't use it. Likewise antibiotics are used where there's clear sign of a bacterial infection of some sort, whether internal or external. If the abdomen is bloated, or there's sign of sore red areas or dead tissue on the outside of the fish, then antibiotics would be worth using.>
I got an ample spectrum antibiotic called 3 Sulfide, do you agree?
<See above.>
You are the closest I have to a fish vet, thanks so much for your help Neale.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Neale: urgent help Angelfish swimming circles

Neale, hi,
We had a spare tank but it's a 7 liter!
<Not so much a tank as a bucket, methinks.>
I bought it once for a Bleeding Heart, it is very small so I have to get a new one for my Angelfish, can you tell me which is a right size for a hospital tank, for an Angelfish?
<A 10 gallon tank would be minimal but okay for a singleton Angel.>
I read in one of the forums to stop feeding them for 3 days in case it was an over feeding situation. What do you think about that?
<Worthwhile. But if the fish is eating okay, then it probably isn't that sick, and time in isolation would probably help it recover under its own steam.>
Also, if it's a bladder problem, do you think she will survive?
<Swimming problems come from two main sources. The most common is constipation, of which much is written here. Search the site for "floaty, bloaty goldfish". But bacterial infections that cause dropsy are also quite common, and these are sometimes referred to as "swim bladder disease" even though that's not necessarily the part of the body that's infected!>
In any event she hasn't eaten since Friday when all of this started because when I feed them she doesn't eat she swims around but I don't see her eating, this is all so upsetting, not being able to cure her already.
I am so sad seeing her most of the time upside down on the leaves :-(
Is she in pain/suffering?
<Possibly, but animals have a certain degree of quiet dignity in such situations humans seem to lack.>
But then when I see her flip over and swim alongside my other Angel perfectly straight for a few seconds, it makes me think she has a chance...
<I would agree. Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish help      3/24/14
Hello crew!
I have a bit of an issue with an angelfish i purchased two days ago. I purchased him from a local pet store by my house that is pretty trustworthy, and they usually have healthy fish for sale. They had 3 angelfish for sale, and they are each a pretty good size ( I would say the size of your palm.) i put him in my 20 gallon quarantine tank,
<Good move>
with a small filter and bubbler. Here is the problem. He is swimming very lethargic, and i had to turn off the filter because he was constantly getting sucked to close to the intake.
<Yikes! Change the water out here: USE the water in another one of your set up, established tanks to replace it... STAT!>
He never actually did, he was just really tired. He doesn't react to movement, unless he is scared, and he rarely moves around the tank. There are no decorations or caves for him to hide, should i add a flower pot so he isn't in open water?
<If you'd like>
He doesn't even respond to blood worms
<...search WWM re these>
or flaked food, he just sits there. The other angelfish that were in the tank did pick on him a bit, his tail has a small split that isn't infected, and he shows no sign of any physical problems like fungus or anything, he just sits and doesn't eat at all. Is there anything i can do to make him more comfortable?
Thank you,
<Change the water NOW and read on WWM re FW Angels. Bob Fenner>

Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish; Epsom conc., w/ plt.s      10/6/13
<I see Neale is busy; I will resp. here and place your msg. in his in-folder as well>
Hi there, a while back you guys helped save one of our angelfish from dropsy by recommending dosing with Epsom salt. At the time we used 2 tsp per 4 gallon, so at the high end of the range. Since then we've gradually reduced the salt dose, and finally moved our fish (5 angels, 3 well-behaved
yoyo loaches, one pictus catfish) to a planted tank that hasn't ever been dosed with Epsom salt. All fish in this tank look happy and all levels look
OK (note: have not tested GH and KH). Unfortunately it looks like we need continued dosing Epsom salt, because the same angel has started swelling again.
<Mmm, perhaps soaking this one fish, adding antibiotics of use to its food... even injection w/ soluble... Likely bacterial involvement here>
 He/she still looks lively and eats well, but we're approaching the original shape that got us worried in the first place. My question, how much Epsom salt can freshwater plants handle?
<Depends on the species of plants; but most only about as much as you've been using>
Would the original
recommended dose of 1-3 tsp/5gal kill any plants?
<On the high end it may; you could try and just be observant; change water out if you see the plants suffering>
Thanks for maintaining the site, and the always insightful answers! -Joe
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish  10-6-2013

<<Yes, I do agree with Bob that the Epsom salt should be safe for most plants save those that need truly soft water (which is very, very few). All it really does is raise the general (not carbonate) hardness without affecting the pH, and to some degree acts as a muscle relaxant which in turn makes it easier for fish to undo some types of problem (constipation,
bloating, and sometimes dropsy). I will observe that in my experience Dropsy often comes back, so it's as well to identify what might be stressing the fish. Some varieties/species are particularly prone, too, and there may be little you can do to prevent reoccurrence even if you treat the fish successfully. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish  10-6-2013

Thanks, glad to hear that it at least won't instantly kill all plants!
I'll start on the low end and keep an eye on the plants.
<Real good. BobF>
Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish  10-6-2013

Thanks for the second opinion. I’m happy to ‘dose for life’ if that keeps him/her healthy and doesn’t bother the other fish, so here goes.
<<Shouldn't come to that. But if Dropsy keeps reoccurring, you might want to take a more holistic approach. Perhaps an antibiotic / Metronidazole combination, as this seems to fix a variety of systemic problems with Cichlidae generally. Cheers, Neale.>>

Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish    1/13/13
Dear WWM crew,
I've been reading the great advice on this site throughout the past few years while we learned how to maintain a freshwater aquarium. Thanks for all the effort you guys put in!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I’m hoping you can help us with a persistent bloating problem that we’re having with one of our freshwater angels. First about the aquarium: we have a 55gal freshwater tank, with about half an inch of coarse gravel (small stones), plastic plants, a piece of driftwood, a rock and a ‘fake plastic rock’,  an Eheim 2217 filter ‘in good health’ (occasional coarse filter rinse, occasional fine filter swap, rarely a carbon pad, rarely a gentle rinse of the bio media to prevent clogging), UV sterilizer before the filter, air bubbler, filtered tap water with AquaSafe conditioner, recommended dose of CopperSafe (can you tell we’re afraid of diseases?), temperature 78F. The water here is outlandishly hard, pH something like 8.5 if I recall correctly. We do about 20 percent water change per week as we vacuum the gravel. We don’t add salt. The aquarium never gets direct sunlight, but it’s in a room that gets kind of warm during the day, room temperature may vary between 65F-85F throughout the day. The aquarium has been running for a few years without major problems.
<All sounds good, save for the rather high pH. While farmed Angels aren't delicate at all, they do best in soft to moderately hard water between 2-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8.>
We have four medium sized freshwater angels, one tiny angel, one pictus catfish, one blue gourami, one pearl gourami, and three yoyo loaches. Everybody seems to get along fine these days. We feed tropical flakes, frozen shrimp, bloodworms, and two more from the ‘freshwater pack’ from ‘San Francisco Bay Brand’. All have good appetite.
And now for the problem, one of our angel fish started getting bloated about seven weeks ago. After initially hoping that it was pregnant, it’s now clear it has a problem. It used to be one of our strongest fish, getting to all the food first, so we also considered that it was just getting fat, but the bloat seems localized, like something is pressing outward. Over these 7 weeks we've tried several things, including putting it on a diet behind a divider for two weeks (no clear change), feeding it peas for a few days (no effect – didn't eat much either though), giving it medicated food (Jungle Anti-bacterial), and treating with Maracyn II and Tetra Parasite Guard simultaneously. Throughout all of this it has basically looked the same, see the attached pictures. We do have the feeling that it gets noticeably worse if we feed it even tiny amounts of food.
<To recap the basics: Dropsy occurs when fluid accumulates within the body cavity. Though often considered terminal, it can be cured if caught early, which may be the case here if the Angel is still active and feeding. Start by raising the water temperature to 28-30 degrees C/82-86 degrees F, then add 1-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt (not tonic salt) per 20 litres/5 gallons of water. Ideally, add an antibiotic medication like Maracyn (a good antibacterial like eSHa 2000 can be an adequate substitute that might be used in lieu of antibiotics). After about a week, the swelling should subside. Since dropsy is usually a sign the fish was stressed by its environment, this would be a good time to review things like filtration and water changes. Because Dropsy is almost always caused by some sort of environmental stress, review the aquarium conditions.
Stocking, water changes, water quality, filtration, etc.>
Given everything we’ve done we’re at a bit of a loss. Can you think of anything else we can try? Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
<Deworming is something you might want to do, though serious worm infections usually cause the fish to waste away at the same time its abdomen swells up. The Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace combination also works well with mystery cichlid problems >
Best regards,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish    1/13/13
Wow, thanks for the amazingly fast response. So based on the pictures you think it's most likely dropsy, not constipation?
<Assume both. Treatment for one will work fine with the other.>
Can we do the salt
<...Epsom, not regular salt...>
treatment in the main tank or will it stress out the other fish?
<Is safe with other fish.>
If it's dropsy, should we continue to feed normally, or feed the sick angel only minimally or even not at all?
<As normal, but given constipation may be a factor, leave out flake and other dried foods, and instead focus on brine shrimp, daphnia, cooked peas, and perhaps spinach if your Angel eats the stuff.>
Thanks again for the advice. -Joe
<Welcome, Neale.>

Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish   4/8/13
Hi there, just a quick follow-up on our bloated angle fish problem. In the end were afraid to move him to a hospital tank for fear of added stress, and we didn't want to medicate the entire tank again with antibiotics. We kept the divider in the tank with the sick angel in a small section (like 1/4 of the tank) with some plants to hide behind, adding the recommended dose of Epsom salt, and feeding very sparingly. I'm happy to report that after one month or so he got back to normal size. By now the divider has been out for about six weeks, and he's feeding as greedily as ever before without any sign of bloating. Hurray! Thanks for the advice. The healing was so gradual that for weeks we convinced that things were not improving, until one day we realized that he was back to normal. A true fishmas miracle!
<So great to hear a happy ending to this WWM story! Thanks for writing in. Yes, I agree, the Epsom salt treatment is slow but does sometimes work miracles. Wouldn't have believed it myself without having had to try it out. One of the best tricks I've personally learned from Bob Fenner. Take care, Neale.>

angel fish pregnant or not? FW Dropsy f'    1/9/13
I have a 36 gallon tank with a variety of small fish including 3 medium/large size angel fish.  One of the fish looks very pregnant or bloated, he/she is about twice the normal width. I thought she was pregnant and I prepared the tank for her laying eggs.  However, it's been close to 2 months now and nothing has happened.  The fish appears to be healthy in
other ways but the only observable difference has been this fish somewhat secluding from the others and one angel fish keeping the third one away from this pregnant or bloated fish.  I also just observed this fish swimming vertically with the mouth up for just a brief moment.  Do you have any guidance for me?  Thank you,
Greg R.
<This fish has Dropsy. Dropsy occurs when fluid accumulates within the body cavity. Though often considered terminal, it can be cured if caught early. Start by raising the water temperature to 28-30 degrees C/82-86 degrees F, then add 1-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt (not tonic salt) per 20 litres/5 gallons of water. Ideally, add an antibacterial medication. After about a week, the swelling should subside. Since dropsy is usually a sign the fish was stressed by its environment, this would be a good time to review things like filtration and water changes. Because Dropsy is almost always caused by some sort of environmental stress, review the aquarium conditions.
Stocking, water changes, water quality, filtration, etc. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angel fish pregnant or not?    1/9/13

Thank you so kindly, that is very helpful!
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angel fish pregnant or not?    1/9/13

Thank you again, I had one more question, would you consider dropsy to be contagious? 
<It is not. Dropsy is a symptom that the organs inside a fish aren't working properly. Specifically, those organs concerned with osmoregulation such as the kidneys. So it's more like a organ failure than a disease, though opportunistic bacteria may be involved. Fix the environment, use the heat/Epsom salt treatment, and medicate against internal bacterial infections (something like KanaPlex in the US), and you can save a fish with Dropsy, especially if it is still feeding and swimming about. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angel fish pregnant or not? Dosing MgSO4     1/16/13

Hello, how often would you say that I need to treat the water with Epsom salt?  Is it a one time thing or should I repeat the dosage daily/weekly? 
Thank you again,
Greg R.
<Dose the tank once to start up with, sufficient for the entire volume of water. So if your tank holds 36 gallons of water, at 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons, that's about 7 x 3 = 21 teaspoons altogether. Mix in a jug of warm water, then add slowly to the tank across half an hour or so. Doing this avoids shocking the aquarium fish in any way. Now, each time you do a water change, replace only as much Epsom salt as the water change took out. So if you take out 10 gallons of water, then you need to add10 gallons of new water, so you add 2 x 3 = 6 teaspoons of Epsom salt. Keep doing this for as long as necessary for the Dropsy to go away. Epsom salt is not toxic or even stressful to the fish (it's a laxative of sorts, and helps to "reset" the osmotic balance inside the fish, or so we think) so you can use it for many weeks, even months if needs be. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angel fish pregnant or not?
Wonderful!  Thank you again!
<Welcome, Neale.>

Baby angelfish sick?   /RMF     9/26/12
Hello crew! I've been looking around on your website for a few hours now but I can't seem to pin point what is wrong with some baby angelfish I recently got.
I got three baby angelfish (maybe around 3 months old) 5 and a half days ago. One of them would not eat, i tried flake, blood worms, frozen brine shrimp, freshly hatched brine shrimp, and daphnia, but she just refused to eat. She started to get swim bladder issues so i tried some aquarium salt to see if that would help, but she later passed. Now with only two of the babies, I've noticed that my veil tail one is started to get some clamped fins, at the top of the tank a lot, breathing hard. Also I've noticed when feeding them today, he has this kind of filmy look on his sides. He swims just fine and has a great appetite. Should I try some Melafix or maybe some fungus clear?
<I wouldn't use either. The new angels may have a pathogenic issue... that would be treated in a commercial setting w/ a combo. of Metronidazole and an anthelminthic, perhaps Praziquantel>

The second little angel is perfectly fine, swims around a lot, eats great. No signs of anything wrong with him.
Ammonia is 0, nitrates and nitrates are also 0,
<How is NO3 rendered thus?>
 pH is at a 6.8. Tank has been running for 1 year and half, with two full grown angelfish.
<Mmm, there may be an issue of bullying by the larger specimens>
Simple HOB AquaTech 30-60 with just carbon filter. I do plan to get a new canister filter to help keep the tank clear. Temp runs about 76-80. Sand substrate, mixed with weekly 50% water changes.
If I somehow missed what this could be some where on your website, then sorry for the trouble!
Ciao, Bailey
<Mmm, tough to suggest the expense and stress of treating here... I would just watch, wait. Small angels have genetic/developmental troubles that do show up at times months after birth. Bob Fenner>
Baby angelfish sick?   /Rick      9/26/12
Hello crew!
I've been looking around on your website for a few hours now but I can't seem to pin point what is wrong with some baby angelfish I recently got.
I got three baby angelfish (maybe around 3 months old) 5 and a half days ago. One of them would not eat, i tried flake, blood worms, frozen brine shrimp, freshly hatched brine shrimp, and daphnia, but she just refused to eat.
<Bad sign>
She started to get swim bladder issues so i tried some aquarium salt to see if that would help, but she later passed. Now with only two of the babies, I've noticed that my veil tail one is started to get some clamped fins, at the top of the tank a lot, breathing hard. Also I've noticed when feeding them today, he has this kind of filmy look on his sides.
<Maybe costiasis. Quarantine this fish if you can for treatment. It is contagious.
See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/CostiaF.htm
Yes, that's Bob F and I going back and forth a few years ago.>
He swims just fine and has a
great appetite. Should I try some Melafix or maybe some fungus clear?
<Parasitic, so rid-ich maybe.>
The second little angel is perfectly fine, swims around a lot, eats great. No signs of anything wrong with him.
Ammonia is 0, nitrates and nitrates are also 0, pH is at a 6.8. Tank has been running for 1 year and half, with two full grown angelfish.
Simple HOB AquaTech 30-60 with just carbon filter. I do plan to get a new canister filter to help keep the tank clear. Temp runs about 76-80. Sand substrate, mixed with weekly 50% water changes.
If I somehow missed what this could be some where on your website, then sorry for the trouble!
<Good luck>
Ciao, Bailey

Help with Popeye in freshwater angelfish - 5/9/2012
Hi, WWM: Andrew In December I had two angelfish with PopEye symptoms (in both eyes), brought on by water quality issues which occurred while I was out of town. After a few days both fish quit eating, and I moved them into a quarantine tank and gave them an antibacterial treatment, which seemed to work since a few days later their energy levels and appetites improved significantly. After a couple of weeks their eyes were still enlarged but I assumed this was permanent damage and the infection had gone away since the fish were now behaving normally, so I released them back into the main tank. Unfortunately, their condition rapidly deteriorated and they both died within days. A few weeks later, I lost another angelfish who had not exhibited any symptoms whatsoever. Then, a few weeks later, another angelfish died in similarly mysterious fashion. Then, one of my clown loaches got PopEye (in both eyes). I decided not to quarantine him out of a worry that he would get more stressed by being isolated from the other loaches and was still behaving normally, eating well, etc. A week later his energy level dropped precipitously and I also lost him. WWM: Mmm, a good accounting of observations Then, three weeks ago another angelfish started displaying mild PopEye symptoms, and I immediately quarantined him and started treating him with the same antibacterial medication as the first two fishes. He's in stable condition but isn't showing any signs that his condition is getting any better or worse. He's eating well and not showing any signs of stress. The remaining fish in my main tank also seem to all be doing fine. Not sure what to do at this point. I read in your FAQ that Epsom salt could help, but given that this really seems to be caused by an infection WWM: Agreed; and difficult to treat in most cases... as you state, typically these exophthalmias are long term, perhaps permanent and not by trauma I'm wondering if there are some other measures I should take. Also, how would I know when it is safe to move the quarantined fish back to the main tank? I don't want to risk spreading whatever is causing this to more fish in the main tank. WWM: There are other antibiotics, antimicrobials that folks (anecdotally) report as efficacious... Chloramphenicol is a fave if you can acquire it... added to foods... One complicating factor is that I live in China, and fish medicine isn't very advanced beyond offering various "cure-all" potions that I'd never risk giving to my fish. I've found a way to buy tetracycline and erythromycin locally but I don't know how to properly dose this for fish to consume. WWM: TC HCl is relatively safe... best to mix dried foods (pellets, flakes...) in with any given measure (a 250 mg. capsule contents); shake in a bag, serve, store in a fridge twixt uses. Bob Fenner

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>

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 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.>

Cichlids slowly dying 3/27/11
Dear WWM crew,
First off, thanks for such an excellent site.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
It has been a useful reference point for many of my fish questions. However, I am now stumped by my cichlids' deaths. My tank is 150 liters or 39gallons (50x50x60cm or 19x19x23in) planted, running with an Eheim professional 2224 (700l/h or 55gal/h) and was set up 3 months ago. The spray bar is set in a way that makes a lot of bubbles but the fishes can swim easily. Temperature is 26'C / 78'F. I feed TetraMin crisps (gone through 40mL so far, expires 09/11) and occasionally thawed frozen daphnia or boiled vegetables. The tank is stocked with juvenile fishes (3-4cm): 9 Rummynose tetras,
<Can be a good, reliable species.>
5 livebearers,
<What sort'¦?>
and 3 peppered Corys.
<An excellent species.>
Also, I tried stocking it with a few German rams, but they died off one by one over 2 months.
<Ah, yes, a fairly delicate species to begin with, and inbreeding plus antibiotics on farms has only made things worse.>
I got 3 batches trying to replace them, alternating stores. However I went through 10, but each time they didn't make it.
<Unfortunately a VERY common experience.>
The symptoms weren't really noticeable at the time, they would just sulk in a corner and gasp, not eating, so I separated them (one at a time as they fell ill) in a home-made breeding box made of netting so they could stay near the surface to get more oxygen. I turned the lights off so they wouldn't be so stressed or have problems from being too warm. It went like this for every fish, with about a week between deaths. The first couple I didn't really notice that much and just netted them out and got new ones. I assumed the batch was bad (hence went to a different store for the replacements). But they kept dying so I would separate them as above, but they never made it. None of the other fishes in my tank ever had any problems, it was only ever the cichlids. I gave up on Rams and decided to get angels instead (2-2.5cm diameter)
<Although Angels are fairly hardy, at this size they are delicate. I would recommend the ones at 5 cm/2 inches body length.>

Originally 6, the angels did fine for the first weeks and had no problems just like with the rams. But then two weeks in one of them started having the same problems (lying in the corner, if swimming then always sideways, obviously trying to get to the top, not eating).
I separated him the same way as with the rams, but unlike them the angel made it through the night. He looked worse so I got desperate and set up another tank to put him in, with a kind of hammock for the fish so he could lie gasping near the surface and otherwise strong aeration. It was a 30L tank (8gallons). I just siphoned water out of my main tank to fill it and put in the fish (so he wouldn't have to adjust to new parameters), then medicated with TetraMedica+ Gold Oomed (out of desperation, it was all I had and is supposed to medicate against everything). I used the prescribed 'high' dose according to instructions. The fish didn't survive another 6 hours.
<Indeed. In general, medicating "randomly" rarely does good.>
I wanted to separate the angels to observe them individually, so I immediately set up a 70L / 20 gall tank, and put all the angels in there separated into 15cmx15cmx35cm compartments by netting. Two weeks later the same symptoms started showing up in another angel just before I went to school, and when I got home he was dead. Out of curiosity, I took him to school and dissected him at 10x magnification, he was tiny (Bio student...what can I say) but everything seemed pretty normal.
<Likely so at this magnification.>
The only slightly off thing might be that there were two darker patches in the intestines, but it didn't look clogged up or anything. I don't know about the swim bladder, though, because I've never dissected an angel before and don't know what's normal. If you want I have pictures but they're kind of gory and you may not want them on your site... Now, one week later another angel is showing the symptoms again: lying on the bottom of his compartment, not eating, if I try to net him he struggles a lot even though he was usually very peaceful when netted before, when I let him out to 'exercise' which I do twice daily for 10min or so (I'm using these fish for a science experiment involving 'shaping' their behavior with food to swim through a simple up-down maze). Anyway a few days ago he stopped being so enthusiastic over food, but when I reduced feeding to once a day he really went for it and started eating again. Today he isn't doing so well though and refused eating completely, was lethargic, exact same symptoms. I'm really worried now because this keeps happening to my cichlids, and is somehow not contagious but keeps affecting them.
<Hmm'¦ rather than being contagious I would instead think about what it is cichlids are sensitive to. Cichlids are very sensitive to non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels. I would never keep them in an aquarium less than 3 months old, and ideally one that was more than 6 months old. Cichlid aquaria should be under-stocked and over-filtered. Water changes should be substantial and regular. Cichlids are also more sensitive to water temperature changes than most fish I've kept, so check your heater is working properly.>
I did two 20% water changes today because I just don't know what else to do. This disease thing has me stumped. I tend to feed 3-4 flakes, soaked a bit prior to feeding; could it be a digestion problem?
<Unlikely if the flake food is good.>
How can I save my poor angel? Should I feed something else? And why are none of my longer-bodied fishes affected while the deep bodied fishes/cichlids are? Also I live in the Ukraine right now and it's really hard to come by some supplies. All my test-kits have expired by now and readings are all over the place, but I can't get new test kits.
<Do check nitrite and nitrate levels if at all possible. If not, then assume they're not zero and act accordingly: feed as little as possible, skip every 2nd or 3rd day, and perform regular water changes: 20% daily if you can. Check the filter is up to the job, and put as much biological media in the filter as possible. Don't use carbon or Zeolite. Don't medicate. Don't add salt. Clean filter media every 6-10 weeks, but very gently, in a bucket of aquarium water.>
Please help. I'm really desperate here!
Thanks so much,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Cichlids slowly dying 3/27/11

Thanks for your fast reply. Although that Angel didn't make it, I've changed my maintenance routine to include the daily water changes and hopefully that'll do the trick and the rest of them live long, happy lives.
<Certainly for the first 2-3 weeks, doing small water changes every day will help offset any water quality problems. Afterwards, 20% water changes
once a week should do fine.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish lying flat on bottom of tank 11/18/09
Hello WWM,
<Hello Barbara,>
I'm sorry to bother you, but I did look through your site, and could not find my exact problem.
I saw lots of entries on fish lying flat, but nothing specific to what I am observing. I have a 44 gallon tank, established since March 2009. It contains two angelfish that are full brothers, and are two years old as of this past September. It also houses four Congo tetras, a Bristlenose Pleco, and a 6" lace catfish (Synodontis). (the fish besides the angels are recent "rescued" fish and temporary) Everyone gets along fine.
<As they should; this sounds like a nice combo. I happen to like Lace Synos a lot myself, and it's shame these bigger Synodontis aren't more widely kept.>
One angel has grown since I put them in this tank last March, and is now about 4" across. The other one has not grown at all, (it is about 2.5 to 3" across), and has slowly gotten thinner and thinner, although he appears to eat well.
<Ah... I see. Often with farmed Angels you have problems with "wasting diseases" of various types, sometimes worms, sometimes bacterial.>
Previous to this, he was a big eater, and grew at the same rate.
<Can also be simply a social thing. Angelfish are not gregarious. If you have two males, one *will* become dominant. As such, he'll take more food than his brother.>
For the past two weeks, he now lies flat on the bottom of the tank, breathing hard
<Now, this is serious...>
When I feed, he will struggle to swim up to the surface, and eat food in a very enthusiastic manner, as if he is starving.
<I would put in his own tank (10 gallons upwards) and feed separately from the other Angel. In the hospital tank, treat the Angel with Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone as per the packaging.>
I feed sinking granules by Tetra, Tetra Crisps, and frozen brine shrimp, along with a few "treat" foods such as freeze dried Tubifex worms from time to time and freeze dried baby shrimp. There are no other signs of
Water quality is 8.0 for pH (he is captive bred and was bred in local waters with similar pH), 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10ppm nitrate. Water is ground spring water, but I use AquaSafe with each water change, and no
other chemicals. Filtration is for up to a 70 gallon tank, partial water changes, and vacuuming of 25% every two to four weeks.
<All sounds fine.>
As I believed he had an internal bacterial infection, I have tried treating with Maracyn Two and Maracyn.
<These two aren't terribly effective... they're sort of like penicillin... good for some stuff, but less so for others, especially drug-resistant strains.>
He seemed to get stronger for a day or so after treating with Maracyn, but has grown weaker since. I work at UPG Aquatics, and am an experienced fish keeper. I have kept reef tanks, biotope systems, community systems as well as a 3,500 gallon pond. From discus to corals, and have never had a fish act like this. Usually, once a fish gets to this point, they seem to perish in a day or so.
This fish is fighting for his life. Normally, I would just humanely euthanize the fish, but he shows so much fight.
<May still be necessary.>
In any case, I typically do not use medications, except in extreme cases, and do not want to just throw more in without any positive results. I am now thinking parasites, but I don't see how he could have gotten them.
<May well have shipped with them. Some evidence things like Hexamita are endemic to cichlids, and only cause problems under certain situations.
Stress caused by fighting between the two Angels could well be the issue.>
Can you help me?
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
RE: angelfish lying flat on bottom of tank...

Hello Neale,
<Hello Barbara,>
Thank you for your reply.
<Always happy to help.>
I will try the meds you have suggested.
<Chuck certainly recommends these two medications for treating diseases of this type. I can't vouch for them from personal experience, since they aren't available in the UK without a prescription.>
Hopefully, he isn't too far gone.
<I hope so too.>
<Good luck, Neale.>
RE: angelfish lying flat on bottom of tank
Hi Neale,
Well, I don't know who Chuck is,
<Charles "Chuck" Rambo... one of the American crewmembers, and a noted cichlid expert; see here:
but I did want to say I was a bit surprised at your comment on the Mardel products.
<Not sure I said anything about them... merely that Maracyn is a good standby antibiotic, but doesn't cure everything, certainly not protozoan infections. While some Mardel products are sold in the UK, antibiotics are not, as is actually the case virtually everywhere except in the US. I've had discussions with vets about whether over-the-counter antibiotics are a good thing, and they seem divided. There are arguments to be made on both sides. On the one hand, it's more convenient and often cheaper to buy antibiotics from a pet store rather than from a vet. So that reduces suffering and improves fish survival rates. But on the other hand there are legitimate concerns that misuse of antibiotics can create long term problems with drug resistance, especially given that dosing with antibiotics reliably is beyond the abilities of most aquarists (how many aquarists know how much their fish weigh?).>
I have used them for over 20 years with great success in most cases. They have only failed me once. The company I work for makes a few medications, two of which are the ones you recommended, so I did a water change last night and introduced them.
He still looks pretty bad this morning, so it may be too late, but we'll see. He's hanging on anyway. You guys are great. I recommend you to our customers daily. (I'm in technical support, and have been for 18 years) I don't usually need to ask for help with a fish tank, but this poor fish has me stumped. Thanks again for all your assistance.
<I'm happy to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
RE: angelfish lying flat on bottom of tank

Interesting that antibiotics are only sold OTC here in the States. I didn't know that.
<Indeed the case, at least in Europe and Canada. I dare say in Somalia the law isn't quite to strict!>
I had heard that hydrogen peroxide was popular in Europe though.
<Not for treating fish... fairly nasty stuff!>
I typically don't use any antibiotics these days, I gave that up a while ago, until this guy got so sick. In most cases, a water change takes care of any problems I have in my tanks.
That didn't help this time, and since he is fighting so hard, I decided to try to save him. I suspect he will need to be humanely destroyed though.
I'll make that decision tonight.
<I understand.>
Anyway, seriously, your site is wonderful, you guys are great, and I recommend you to newbies all the time, who have all sorts of questions about their new hobby.
Take care and keep up the great work,
<I plan to, and I will try to...>
<Cheers, Neale.>

White Spots on Angelfish, Larger than Ick - Help please! 5/5/09
<Hi there Joe>
A couple days ago, I noticed several white spots on my freshwater Black Angelfish. I got him about 5 months ago and he's currently about 3.5" from mouth to tail. The spots look larger than your typical Ick. The largest spot is about the size of a poppy seed and appears to protrude from the fish. There were 3 spots on the fish at first, all on the same side.
These subsided and left small white marks behind, but now there are four more on the opposite side of the fish. Then today I noticed that he is spitting out his food. He had a great appetite until today, and he still looks very hungry rushing up to the food but then takes it in his mouth for a few seconds and spits it back out. This is the second time I've had issues with angelfish.
<There are some formidable... historical issues with captive Pterophyllum, particularly the black/er hybrids>
A fish I had before I got this one began spitting out his food one day, then developed bumps that looked like they were under the scales before finally succumbing.
<A good clue>
Do you have any idea what this illness might be and how I might be able to treat him for it?
<Could be a worm of various sorts (phyla)... and some Protozoans can produce such etiologies...>
The tank is a 75 gallon. Water parameters are pH=7.4, KH=7 degrees, GH=10 degrees, temperature 82, ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate=10ppm. The tank has a UV sterilizer.
These angelfish are beginning to break my heart. Any ideas you might have would be greatly appreciated.
<W/o any further "look-seeing", use of a microscope (and unfortunately sacrificing the specimen/s), I would peremptorily treat with both an effect vermifuge and protozoacide (my choice? Praziquantel and
Metronidazole). Please see WWM re these (the search tool), and carefully read and heed the product inserts. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish, FW... hlth. 4-13-09
<Hello Claire,>
I just have a quick query... I came downstairs this morning to find one of my angel fish stuck under one of my plants, I thought this odd at first as it is generally a strong swimmer and wouldn't get caught.
<Agreed, though if the aquarium is small, Angelfish can get wedged into corners if the plants are stiff, plastic plants without much give.>
However when i moved the plant away from him, I noticed that he seems to be paralyzed in a left turning motion - I'm not sure how else to describe it?
<Could be either physical damage (e.g., from bullying) but also a reaction to water quality/chemistry/temperature issues. Cichlids react exceedingly poorly to sudden changes, so when they act "loopy" it's a good idea to review the tank. Doing a 50% water change is rarely a bad idea if chemistry and quality seem okay; it's just possible the water has been poisoned with something, and by doing a water change, you can flush out some of what's in there. If the fish perks up, then repeat with one or two further water changes 6-12 hours apart.>
He is almost curled up, and can't seem to swim at all, even off the bottom of the tank.
<Ah, this is serious.>
I have Googled and tried calling my local Fish Store but thanks to the public holiday I'm at a loss and Google isn't helpful. I was hoping you could give me some insight as to what may be the problem?? And if it is curable???
<Cheers, Neale.>

angelfish with something on its "face", FW, English, reading 9/17/08
28 gallon tank, with heater, light, filter, bubbles, living plants
2 Cory catfish (about 1 year old)
2 Otto (less than a year old)
1 molly (about 2 years old)
<Mmmm, needs very different water quality than the rest of the fish species listed here>

1 angelfish (about a year and a half old)
the problem is with the angelfish.
<The beginnings of sentences are capitalized...>
swims fine, wants food all the time (a bit more than normal though in the last few days and i
have noticed that I have to break the pieces up smaller so she can eat them)
2 weeks ago i noticed a small white-cream dot on her front side, in front of the gill, lower than her mouth. than a day later the molly had Ich.
<Likely from stress of being in "the wrong water conditions"... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm
treated the tank,
<... with?>
molly is normal again. however the thing on the angelfish was still there. read some stuff online and gave the angelfish a saltwater dip (1tbs, 4.5 gallons of water, for 30 min) 3 days ago, the dot-thing shrank.
today I watched the angelfish for longer than usual, she acts like she always does. but the white-cream thing is there still and it has gotten longer, it now sticks out from her body a bit and on her body the area has swollen. it really looks like a worm or something has buried it's head into her and it's tail is sticking out.
I can't find anything online though. i searched for parasites, since that is really what i think it is, but nothing comes up matching what this thing looks like. the side of her 'face' is a bit swollen so it is a little bit harder for her to eat, so i have been breaking the food up smaller, she is eating normally other than that, if anything she is more eager for food (not less). The thing on/in her, it is almost like if I could just hold her still I could pull it off/out, but I do not know if that would hurt her and have no way of holding her still, she is a fast one (and pretty smart, took me forever to catch her for the dip)!
the other fish are all acting and all look normal. i am at a lost, i don't know what to do.
<Mmm... have seen this sort of thing before... Could be our old nemesis Octomita (Hexamita) rearing its ugly head yet again... maybe even a worm of some sort... I would treat sequentially with Metronidazole, then an anthelminthic... See WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Orange Spotting and Fin Rot on Angelfish 12/30/07 Thank you in advance for your expert advice. <Hmm... let's see if we can help first!> Summary: I have two full-grown Marble Angelfish, both of which have developed irregular, orange spotting on their crowns and dorsal fins. Also, one of them appears to have developed a secondary infection resulting in a ragging rotting of the caudal fin. At the suggestion of two local fish stores, I treated the tank for two weeks with the natural fish medications, Melafix and Pimafix, however, the situation has not improved. I think the hard, alkaline water at our new home may have stressed the Angelfish and made them susceptible to an unknown disease. <Hard, alkaline water couldn't matter less to artificial hybrid Angelfish of the sort you have here. These strains have been crossbred and deliberately selected so often now that they are quite easy to maintain in hard and alkaline water up to at least pH 8, 20 degrees dH.> Background: The Angelfish are about four years old and share a 20-gallon freshwater tank (equipped with a Tetra Water Wonders filtration system, Tetra Whisper 20 air pump and All-Glass Aquarium 100W heater set at 75 degrees Fahrenheit) with two Plecos. <Your tank is too small for this amount of livestock, and quite likely water quality is less than perfect. Do bear in mind that Plecs of the standard sort (Pterygoplichthys spp.) require tanks around the 55 gallon mark EACH just for themselves, let alone when cohabiting.> Note: Just prior to the appearance of this unknown disease, I was planning to move them to a larger tank because they seemed to be outgrowing the 20-gallon tank. Their diet has consisted of a few pinches of tropical fish flake food twice a day. To care for the tank, I did the following: 1-Replaced water as necessary (using tap water treated with Tetra AquaSafe) <Define "as necessary". If less than 50% per week, then not enough.> 2-Changed the filter every month or so (using Tetra Bio-Bag disposable filter cartridges with activated carbon) <Carbon is a WASTE of space in this sort of aquarium, and of course removes medication before said medication has a chance to cure diseases. Much better to give over that space to more biological filter media.> 3-Cleaned the tank thoroughly every couple of months (using Lee's Ultra GravelVac) 4-Tested the aquarium conditions occasionally (using API 5 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips), today's measurements are: KH 180-240, GH 60-120, pH 7.0-7.5, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20-40 <The water is basically fine for these fish. The nitrate is a little high though, and long-term nitrate is definitely something that reduces the health of Cichlids.> A final note regarding their environment: We moved to different city in August 2007 and the fish did not appear to be stressed due to the move. However, the tap water in this new city is extremely hard and alkaline. Could this have stressed the Angelfish? <Unlikely.> Current Situation: On December 11, 2007, I noticed that both of the Angelfish had developed irregular, orange spotting on their crowns and dorsal fins (see image). I called a local fish store and they said to bring one or both of them into the store, which I did. They said it looked like a bacterial infection and advised me to treat the tank with Seachem Stability and Melafix for 7 days, do a 50% water replacement on the 7th day and then, treat with Melafix for another 7 days. <Melafix is of marginal value in situations like this. Time to "get real" and use suitable combination Finrot/Fungus treatment such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000.> They also advised me to switch to a pellet food (New Life Spectrum all-purpose food) and raise the temperature of the tank to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Note: Their appetite has been consistent (even, voracious) and they seem to like the new pellet food fine. <Diet shouldn't be a factor here, beyond basically keeping them healthy. Yet to see Finrot or Fungus caused by fish getting flake instead of pellets!> As of December 25, 2007, the situation had not improved so I consulted a different local fish store. They advised to continue treating the tank with Melafix for another seven days and to add Pimafix as well, then, to do a 50% water replacement on the 7th day and continue treating with Melafix and Pimafix for another seven days. <Melafix and Pimafix are tea-tree oils, and don't really do much.> This morning, I noticed that one of Angelfish has developed a secondary infection resulting in a ragging rotting of the caudal fin. <Get into gear and use a REAL medication ASAP!> I am concerned that these natural treatments are not aggressive enough and/or are not treating the actual problem. <Quite so.> Also, I searched WetWebMedia.com and found two related posts but neither situation is exactly the same as mine: New Angel- Old Problem? (Encouraging A New Fish To Feed) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dwafangdisfaq2.htm Orange spots on edge of angel fish fin 10/23/07 http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangdisfaq3.htm Question: Do you have any suggestions that might improve the situation by strengthening their immune system, perhaps a more aggressive treatment (such as introducing a food supplement treated with a broad spectrum antibiotic) and/or an environmental change (such as using distilled or deionized water)? <Promise me you won't start messing about with water chemistry! That's the last thing these fish need to deal with right now. Just use Finrot/Fungus medication as instructed (disposing of the carbon at least while treating).> Again, many, many thanks for your help. Kind regards, Aida <Cheers, Neale.>

White protrusion on Angelfish... HLLE?, FW    9/2/07 Hello, <Hi there> My large male angelfish has several areas around his eye, nose and head that look like white shreds. From one of these areas, there is a white protrusion, like the tip of a worm, but from what I've seen described it's too big to be an Anchorworm. <Ah... not likely... instead... this sounds like "neuromast destruction"... aka as Head and Lateral Line Erosion... the white "worm" is mucus from the fish... maybe accompanied by a good deal of the Protist Octomita... formerly Hexamita ... necatrix mostly> I also have discus, <Mmm... much to relate here... by and large I am NOT a fan of mixing Pterophyllum and Symphysodon...> and in the past two of them have gotten this same symptom. <Yes... way too often such parasitic (and infectious) diseases "ping pong" twixt these genera> The first one I treated with a parasite medication (I think it was the jungle one that fizzes) <Actually, there are a few...> and also an antibiotic because the area where the protrusion was coming out from looked infected. He survived. When the second discus got this, however, I did the same treatment but she did not survive. Now the angel seems to have the same thing, only with his there are several shredded areas (the discus only had one) and the shreds seem to be coming out from around his eye as well. When I look closely, he also has a number of very small areas where the scales seem a little popped out. The protrusion itself is pretty big...about an eighth of an inch long and wide. These 3 fish have not gotten this one after the other....there was probably about a 2-3 month span from the first discus to the second one, and it's now been over 6 months since the second one died. I can't find anything in the various fish disease descriptions that matches this. I did notice when I was looking thru your FAQ's on discus that someone else had written about the same thing with his discus, and you advised to treat by dabbing Merthiolate/iodine on it. <Sometimes works> Is this even available in the U.S.? <Mmm, if not... easily mixed, made-up...> I thought it was banned because of containing mercury. <Maybe...> Is there any other treatment for this? <Yes... likely the symptoms can be cleared by a one-time use of Metronidazole/Flagyl. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm and the linked files above... ... but the root cause... By improving water quality and separating the Angel/s and Discus...> Have you had anyone else describe this type of disease? <Oh yes> Thanks so much for your help. I really don't want to lose this angel, but I'm afraid I may have discovered it too late, since he has so many areas affected. P.S. he lives in a well established 60 gallon tank I've had for over 2 years with various other community fish, including other angels (his children actually), discus, Congos, Rasboras, rummies, threadfins, Plecos, catfish, and a black ghost knife fish. Everyone else seems healthy and happy, and the water tests out fine. Jaz <Well... quite a mix... Please take the time to read up re each species here... in terms of water chemistry and temperature ranges... Along with space issues, you really need two tanks here. Bob Fenner>
Re: White protrusion on Angelfish  9/2/07
Thanks so much for your prompt reply. Unfortunately, he died overnight. I was afraid he would, given the advanced state of his condition. When I removed him from the tank, he had several holes where the protrusion and shreds had been coming out of. The shreds and protrusion were gone. Before reading your email this morning, I saw that and was thinking it might be HLLE. I've researched this on the web and there seems to be varied opinion on whether this disease is contagious, some saying it's opportunistic towards stressed fish; others saying it's more genetic. <Agreed on/with all... In addition, does appear that protozoan involvement might be either a cause or net effect proposition... IF the conditions are present (stress from various sources, dietary...) AND coupled with genetic/developmental allowance... can be or at least appear to be "catching"> I'm concerned now for my other fish in the tank. We are doing a major water change today and I intend to watch the others closely for signs, but in your experience is this a contagious disease? <Can be, yes...> Should I be concerned that my angel released organisms in the tank that will now attack my other fish? <These "other organisms" were likely present before... at issue is the entire equation of initial health, suitability of the environment... AS WELL as presence and pathogenicity of disease causing organisms> So far everyone else seems very healthy. Thanks again for responding so quickly. Like most hobbyists in this field, I love each of my fish just like I would a cat or a dog, and I hate losing them or seeing them suffer, so it's great to know that your staff is so prompt in responding even on a holiday weekend! :) Jaz <Thank you my friend... I am not advocating the pre-emptive use of Flagyl here... I would try spiffing up the environment, and bolstering the livestocks' immune systems through vitamin/HUFA supplementation of foods. BobF>

FW Angelfish Not Eating   2/23/07 Dear  Mr. Fenner and the WetWeb Crew: I currently have a 55 gallon freshwater tank, with 4 (4inch) angels (purchased November 2006), and 2 (quarter sized) angels, purchased approximately 3 weeks ago),  of which one I am questioning about. Ammonia, and nitrate levels  are at 0.The 4 original angels are feisty, eat voraciously and cruise the tank as angels do, along with one mutated ( it looks like its side fins have been chopped in half) small angel that was purchased in 2007. My concern is: the one small angel is not eating at all, it swims up like the others to eagerly eat but then looks and swims away. It will eat the odd flake but usually spits it out. When I first purchased  the fish its size was just under a dime, it is now quarter-sized, so it is growing and getting nourishment somewhere. I don't see it browsing for food like the rest do, unless it does it at night. Its feces at times, of what little it has, is a white clear color, not like the others. Should I be concerned or just let things be as is? At times the fish will flutter one fin, as if it is agitated, but other than that, it does not hang at the top, or the bottom , as would indicate perhaps a bacterial infection or poor water quality. I do not have a hospital tank available to me, but am worried that if this fish is carrying some kind of infection it will pass it along to the other inhabitants. I feed them all a varied diet of Mysis flakes, blood worms(as a treat only), earthworm flakes, regular flakes and Spirulina flakes on a rotational basis. Your advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated, and I would like to  commend you for a wonderful informative and user friendly site you provide. Thank-you. Sincerely, Debbie < Thank you for your kind words. Whoever I have a cichlid like your angelfish that does not eat, I always treat it with Metronidazole for internal infections. It will not hurt the other fish. Follow the directions on the package.-Chuck>
Re: FW Angelfish Still Won't Eat After Treatment   3/4/07
Dear Chuck & WW Crew: Thank you for your prompt reply. Since then I did put the two smaller angels in a hospital tank (one mutated, no side fins) and the other (not eating ) angel. I have dosed them as instructed on the meds for 3 sessions being , one week, and still no improvement. Both either swim suspended at the top or bottom of the tank and no longer come to *greet* me  when I offer food. I believe both of these came from  not so favorable stock but still I don't want to lose them. The mutated one has fight, but cannot maneuver well, this is showing up to be a deterrent, and its survival precarious, the other angel that isn't eating, is still not. However, the only improvement I see is that it doesn't have the once in a while trailing slime.  I have read on your site that it is beneficial to have them ingest the Metronidazole, but they wont eat so that is out of the question. I have tried to offer various types of food but still no response. I don't know what else I can do, and this has been going on now for aprox. 3 weeks. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. I read your website on a daily basis and find it the best on the web. Kudos to all the wet web crew. Sincerely, Debbie < The key to a successful treatment is to treat as soon as the fish stop eating. The Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace are still the best treatments, but if you are getting no response then treating with Clout. Thanks for the kind words.-Chuck>

Dark discoloration patches on angelfish    4/25/06 Hi there We have an old angelfish (probably about 5 or 6 years) <Mmm, more like "middle aged"... am in this range m'self... and overly sensitive re> who has recently gone off its food and has dark colour patches appearing on its body. These patches have been coming and going over recent weeks and I cannot find any information on this anywhere. Help! Regards Lisa Knott Christchurch New Zealand <... need more info. Water quality, set-up, history, other tankmates... When, where in doubt, water changes... Bob Fenner>
Re: dark discoloration patches on angelfish   4/26/06
Hi sorry about that. 120 litre tank PH is fine, do 20% water change and gravel clean once a week Tank mates (non of which bother him/her) are: Plec, ruby shark, Neons, guppies, platies, kribensis, Bristlenoses cat fish, algae eater, other catfish Cheers Lisa <... likely water quality, crowding, and/or some of these fishes (the "shark", Kribs) bothering it. See WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelfishes.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Angel fish with a strange lesion  - 01/12/2006 Hi, <Hello> I have an ill angelfish and I don't know what to do. I asked everyone and every website I know but I got no answer. It has a lesion on its one side. <I see it... good pic> This lesion was small at first (approx. 0.1 inch in diameter) but it grow bigger in about 1 month (to approx. 0.2 inches). I'm sending you its photo. I bought it when it was a baby. When it was growing bigger some black spots appeared on its sides but I didn't know it could be a disease and I did nothing. <I wouldn't have either> Then they have disappeared spontaneously. I've read the section about black spots on your website and learned that it was not an urgent problem and can be ignored if the fish is otherwise healthy but can black spots be related to that lesion? <Maybe... perhaps they're rupture led to the original break in the skin here...>   My angel's appetite is well and it's very active. It looks so healthy.. apart from that lesion... Please tell me if you know what disease is this and if it's curable. Thank you in advance Mia <Is curable... and I would try to do so... I suspect a bacterial infection here is eating at this sore... I would try daubing it (by catching the angel, gently holding the side up, out of the water) with a mercuric (Merbromin, Mercurochrome...) like those used as topicals for humans... with the use of a "Q-Tip"... directly over this area/region... allow to dry for a couple of seconds... If this doesn't lead to obvious re-growth over the area, let's chat over a likely antibiotic regimen to try next. Bob Fenner>

Re: angel fish with a strange lesion  - 01/12/2006 Thank you very much for your answer. Now all I need to know is the dosing regimen. Should I apply it once a day or twice? For how long before I expect a response? <Once should do it here for the daubing... Furan compounds are covered on WWM. Bob Fenner> Mia

Re: angel fish with a strange lesion   1/13/06 Hi again, <Hello again> Sorry  to disturb you so frequently but I have to ask something. I applied mercurochrome with a Q-tip as you say and now, after approximately 2 hours, a transparent flake is waving like a flag from the top corner of the lesion Is this normal? I'm trying to take a picture of it. <Is normal, as in to be expected> I took a picture of it. I hope it helps (the pinkish color is coming from the mercurochrome). You can see the flake in the top corner of the lesion area. It was bigger at first and soon after I took the picture completely gone. <No worries. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish won't heal   2/6/06 Hello all! My three year old marble angelfish all of a sudden developed a white round translucent bubble on one of his eyes, my guess after reading up on your site was it was from an overnight injury. <Likely so> I treated for a week with Epsom salt at about a tablespoon every ten gallons which did nothing. Then I tried a treatment of (sorry to admit this, but I was desperate) Melafix, again to no avail... It's going on a month now, he's still eating, bubble has not spread or increased in size (about one quarter the diameter of the eye itself), and it hasn't shown up on any other angels in the tank. Also the eye itself is not swollen. My nitrite and ammonia levels are zero, and I feed flake food and bloodworms, changing about a quarter of the water every 10 to 14 days through gravel siphoning. In a separate case, my female blue ram just died after a month of not being able to eat! It wasn't for lack of trying, she would "hit" the food, but was unable to "suck it in" or "catch" it... Now, she was small, and I did break the flakes up into small bits for her, but prior to this she had no problems with even the blood worms everyone else was eating. So, she just wasted away, over about a month long period. I did have a brief problem with water quality, as I live in Florida and hurricane Wilma knocked out power for 2 weeks. I did my best to maintain the tank, but lost her mate to hole-in-the-head, most likely from the storm related diminished-water-quality thing that went on. Any guesses as to what happened to her, and what can I do to save my angelfish's eye? Thanks a million! <Often these eye problems prove to be persistent... lasting for many months to forever. Maintaining good water quality, nutrition is about all one can do. No "treatments" have proven efficacious. Bob Fenner>

Success in treating freshwater parasite problem >Hi Marina: >>Good morning, Bill. Your treatment seems to have worked! The white angel is free of all outward signs of ick and the other fish are all fine. >>Excellent!  Very glad to hear it. >I bought a device that allows me to read salinity and it is at 3 ppt, and I am going to leave it there for a couple of more weeks just to be certain. >>A refractometer, perchance? >Can loaches and Bala cats tolerate the salinity treatment? Would a seawater dip work with an Oscar?  (My Oscars are fine, but just wondering for future possibilities.) >>Yes, they can tolerate this better than they can certain medications. >Boy, I love keeping fish! (Although I do feel a little odd when I eat sushi now - and should I catch me any salmon, trout, halibut or grayling, it's going to feel a little different than it used to, now that I have fish buddies.) >>Yes, some folks do find themselves in a similar quandary.  As of yet, I have no problem eating what I keep (raising animals for food does help in that area).  Very glad I could help!  Marina

Angelfish treatment Hello I want to thank you for the knowledge I acquired on your wonderful website, however I couldn't find an answer for my specific question. Please help me save my angels. I have 6 angelfish the size of a quarter I would say and they are exhibiting these symptoms. Its like there color is disintegrating and leaving a transparent outline of fins and tails. First I noticed it on just 1 angel, in the lower fins, one was shorter than the other, then all the others started getting kinda scraggly looking, like someone rubbed them the wrong way. Kinda hard to give exact description and I couldn't take a better picture than this, sorry. I figured its fin rot so I isolated them in a new set up quarantine tank ( not cycled) and started treating them with Quick Cure 10 drops per 10 gallon daily. Says cures ick not fin rot, this is what Petco gave me, said should help. I don't think they have ick but Petco should know more than me I guess. Now I understand that salt helps so been adding aquarium salt as directed along with meds. Now the Quick Cure direction state to only treat for 2 days and to perform a 25% water change should you need to repeat treatment. Well that was no problem I change 25% every other day just because tank isn't cycled with a no carbon filter (did put an old sponge filter that was in a cycled tank awhile to help the process).  But does not state how many treatments can be repeated and I don't know what I need to look for to know its cured. Just slowed the progression I guess then I should transfer to original tank and fins heal in awhile? < No. Keep them in the quarantine tank and treat them with Nitrofuranace.> The angels are eating and swimming kinda lopsided sometimes, don't know if that's normal, however I have no idea if I should raise the heat or when the meds are working and should stop? < Stop treating with QuickCure, use the Nitrofuranace medication as per the directions on the package.> It looks like the symptoms have not progressed any further but has not disappeared, but I understand this will take some time to grow back. If I transfer back to original tank I have Cory's bottom feeders and they don't like salt too much. So when to transfer them back to original big tank? < When they are eating and acting normally for two weeks.> I know it must be stressful being in uncycled tank. I just don't know what to do, please point me to the right direction, thank you so much beforehand for your response. Another thing one angel has real red gills was always like that and since he's an albino I thought maybe its normal, but a friend of mine said it must fluke or something. I understand ammonia makes the gills red, couldn't find nothing on fluke so ?? < Some breeds or angels are referred to as blushing angels. This is just a trait from the breed.> Also she suggested treating fin rot by putting a penny in the tank, so don't know if I should do this in addition to Quick cure or what. If I do put a penny will it affect the nitrifying bacteria as the meds would hence transfer in hospital tank. I had a hard getting the tank cycled and would not want to go thru the process again if possible < Don't put a penny in the tank and stop listening to the guys/gals at Petco. Their advice may have cost you the lives of your angelfish.-Chuck> Teresa Azzopardi

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