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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Social Disease

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), 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 DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

There is no substitute for your keen observation of your livestock and system.

NEED to match water quality AND temperament to assure compatibility... NOT coldwater, dirty fishes like Goldfish; nor more aggressive cichlids, most gouramis, larger Pleco species, Chinese Algae Eaters...

Angelfish - hole on its back      2/20/17
Dear Crew,
<Hello Imrich,>
Concerning lesions had appeared on my koi angelfish. I've noticed a lesion on its back about 6-7 weeks ago. First I thought it is just an injury caused by a stone or a byte (I haven't seen any chasing or attacking),
<I would agree about a bite. I'd be looking at my fish carefully.
Aggression is the obvious thing. But opportunistic feeding can't be ruled out. Puffers are the obvious suspects, but you don't have those. Otocinclus on the other hand are known "fish grazers". They will latch onto minor wounds, scraping away at the mucous and eventually the skin and blood. Otocinclus do this mostly when hungry (they're almost always starving in community tanks because they are quite specialised animals) so these would be first choice suspects here!>
but about a month later a pimple appeared on the opposite side of it's back, then it changed into a lesion and then they merged from each side and developed into a hole. Now I can see through it's back and if I see right, another pimple is developing next to it.
I have not treated the initial lesion for about a month, I was just monitoring it because the fish was happily eating and swimming around, but then I've tried to cure it with API Melafix, but no improvement.
<Not unexpected. Melafix isn't very reliable. Plus, if the fish wound is the result of biting or feeding by some other fish, the medicine can't do much to stop that. Isolating injured fish is the ideal, so that a suitable antibiotic or antibacterial medication can work properly. In Europe, where I live, I'd always recommend eSHa 2000; in the US, where antibiotics can be purchased more easily, something like Kanaplex or the old Melafix 1 and 2 combo are much better than Melafix.>
The fish is still eating and swimming, but I'm concerned, because the lesion is getting worse. It's not red, so I guess it's not inflamed, and the lesion is not cottony either, so it's probably not infected with fungi.
<Quite so, which is why this wound looks as if it's being "picked at" and kept clean. Otocinclus will certainly do this, but I've seen characins and loaches do this as well; for example, Anostomus. So keep an open mind, and in particular understand that this could be happening at night when the tank is dark and the room is quiet.>
The tank is a 240 liter tank, very heavily planted, probably a little bit over crowded:
7 not fully grown angels,
3 dwarf gouramis,
2 guppies,
6 tetra neons,
2 scissor tetras,
3 glass tetras,
1 male Betta,
1 Siamese algae eater,
1 kuhli loach,
1 Otocinclus,
3 platies,
3 harlequins,
3 panda Cory,
2 torpedo barbs,
5 penguin tetras,
8 bamboo shrimps,
3 Amano shrimps
I'm adding 10 ml of liquidised CO2 every morning before turning on the light and 3 ml plant fertilizer.
Weekly changing 25 % of the water and the water stats I can measure are:
Temperature: 26'C
pH: 7.6
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 20-40 ppm
Please advise with what should I treat the lesions and how. Thank you very
much in advance!
Best regards,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Angelfish - hole on its back     2/21/17
Hi, Thank you Neale, I'll do as advised and will let you know about the progress. Best regards, Imrich
<Glad to help, and good luck! Neale.>

Angelfish fins are ragged       6/10/15
Hello, I have a 10 gallon tank, with 2 Angels, 2 Pink Kissing Gouramis, and 1 Plecostomus.
<This aquarium is literally ten times too small. Pair of Angels? Twenty gallons, alongside various little fish (Corydoras for example). Kissing Gouramis, which get to about 8 inches/20 cm as adults, they're more suited to tanks upwards of 55 gallons, plus difficult to feed as well, so not for beginners. Plecostomus? Massive fish. 18 inches/45 cm within 2-3 years, and easily 8 inches/20 cm in the first year. Minimum tank size 55 gallons, and that's only if you generously filter the water unless you enjoy seeing bucket loads of faeces floating around. Realistically, 75 gallons upwards. Mix them all together, and we're talking about a jumbo fish community, 100 gallons upwards.>
The tank has been set up for about 2 months. I have a water heater (water stays around 80F), and a Whisper Filter, which I change filters 1X/month.
<"Change" or clean the filter? You shouldn't change biological media once the tank is set up. Rinse in a bucket of aquarium water, then return to the filter. The only filter media that need replacing monthly are carbon and zeolite (often this latter is sold as "ammonia remover") neither of which you need. Biological media is all you need for plain vanilla freshwater community tanks.>
I have added the recommended amt. of AquaSafe when setting tank up and also add during water changes which I have done 1X/week.
The Angels, "Ghost" [a black&silver striped Angelfish] & "Shadow"[a all dark black Angelfish] have been in the tank since I set it up (2months).
<Nice looking fish.>
Ghost has grown at a faster rate than Shadow. I assumed this meant one was the dominant one.
<Almost certainly correct. Angels are sociable when young, but become territorial as they mature. Unless you have a mated pair -- and no, you can't sex them -- then it's pot luck whether two specimens will coexist. Two females usually will, but two males won't, and the usual story is one bullies the other, and the weak one at the very least becomes stunted from lack of food, but often gets killed. Angels are best kept singly, as mated pairs, or in groups of at least 6 specimens that allows aggression to be diluted.>
The Gouramis I added a month after I set up the tank (1 month ago). The fish seemed to get along fine, the Gouramis chase each other around the tank most of the day
<Again, not social when mature. "Kissing" is actually fighting.>
and the Angelfish have paired up (Ghost always being the dominant one of the two) and follow each other around
<Do observe who follows who. If it's mutual, sometimes Ghost leading, and sometimes Shadow, they may well be a pair. Females grow slightly more slowly than males, and on top of that there is variation in growth rate and adult size, just as with humans. But if one is always in front and the other always following it, the one doing the following may in fact be chasing the one in front, in which case aggression could be occurring. To repeat: Angels are social when young, not as adults, at least not under aquarium conditions.>
while the plecostomus sucks no pun intended, until lately, Ghost is acting more "macho" or aggressive or territorial (not sure which one) towards all the fish but the plecostomus, (I assume because he/she stays out of his/her way) but especially most towards the smaller Angel (Shadow).
<See above.>
Ghost seems to bully Shadow especially around feeding time [trying] to make sure Shadow doesn't get any food (possibly the reason one is bigger than the other?) A week ago I noticed Shadow (the black Angel) had what looks like nips on his fins. Today he(she)? has even more ragged fins. I'm concerned and know this is not right. Please help, I don't want any of my fish to suffer! R.S.V.P. A.S.A.P! Thanks for any suggestions/info.
-Holly & Ivey​
<Raggedy fins are a sign of fighting. Next stage will be Finrot and/or Fungus. Move one of them to another aquarium -- not a breeding trap! -- and provided the raggedy one isn't infected already, it'll get better. This tank is too small anyway, so retire the 10 gallon to hospital and breeding tank purposes, and go invest in something MUCH bigger. Alternatively, return some fish, and keep a single Angel in something sensible, 20 gallons for example. Thanks for sending in a nice and simple question! Not often things are cut and dried, but the problems are obvious here, so solving them will be straightforward. Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish problems     1/10/15
Hi guys, hope this email reaches you!
<Yes indeed.>
So I've been having angel fish problems for over the last 6-7 months say, and the condition is stable, but I just wanna know what's going on with my little fella!
First things first, I'm from the UK, been keeping fish for around 5-6 years but never really got into the scientific side of things.
<Half the fun!>
Never had water problems and I'm good with my changes. I'm at university at the moment so doing water changes only once a month (70% at a time), this is all I can do as I'm only back home once a month, and parents haven't a clue! I knew this would be a problem so I ripped out my internal filtration and external 1400 litres per hour beasts in, so filtration wise - were all good! Ohh, tanks a 4 ft 150 litre by the way!
<A decent size.>
So ages back, my 4 Angels were always fighting, pairing off or whatever I don't know but I was getting worried, it was always one fish that was being picked on.
<Indeed. In tanks this size I would keep EITHER a singleton OR a mated pair (tricky, but sometimes sold, or you can extract from a group of six juveniles you raise). Your tank is plenty big enough for 6 juveniles, but as time passes it should become clear that two (hopefully a pair) rule the roost. Remove the surplus. Angels are ever-popular, so rehoming, even selling, subadult Angels is not a problem.>
I added more bog wood and plants in the tank to add more hiding spaces but this didn't really work. The fish became ill, really ill and developed these Black dots/worm things on him. (Some were dots (holes) others were like a black wormy thing). Anyway, I came home from work and he was floating at the top of the tank and I thought he was dead, I took him out immediately and put him in a 26 degrees centigrade quarantine tank (the big tanks running at around 23/4 degrees).
<A bit cool for Angels; they're hothouse flowers -- 25 C is okay, but 26-28 C optimal.>
In the quarantine tank I put in some internal bacterial medicine, cus all I had read up on stated that this type of medicine should work, so he was on this and I was doing water changes and he was stable, not better or worse just stable. I did some more reading and I came across Epsom salts, so I went a gave him some salt baths for 5 minutes at a time, and this was no
harm to him, he wasn't flipping out or anything. And after about a week or two on the medication and the salt baths he got better, started eating again and being responsive, but he still had a black mark over his left eye and it was almost merging into his eye, anyway, he was cool, eating and stuff but his eye was turning black and he had like a film over it, it looked painful, but he was showing no signs, however his swimming got bad.
He was swimming all over the place, on his back, upside down, round in circles... And I have no idea why?!
<Likely physical damage to the eye, perhaps blindness (Angels often bite the eyes from other Angels), and when they lose an eye, their swimming goes haywire until they get used to being one-sided.>
More weeks passed and I was doing weekly changes to his water and brought off medication and still eating all good and the water was good, and his eye got that bad that it sort of ate away at it's self. It hasn't dropped out so to speak but it's just an inward dome and white. And his swimming still hasn't improved. These black things have gone but his swimming is that bad that I could not put him back in the community tank cus he will be picked on cus he can't swim properly, he just does his own thing and floats all over the place, but as soon as foods involved he can make himself nice and erect, and swim just like any other normal fish would do.
<See above.>
Now I do not think my fish is in harm, his fins aren't rotting and he has a healthy breathing pattern, both of his 'feelers' are going off to the same side under his body, imagine this is how they should be:
Instead there like this:
<Physical damage, I fear.>
Now should I correct that so it goes their her way? Could this be affecting his balance hence why he's swimming funny? Or is he floating because he can't see and to him it's normal?
He's had a pretty tough life being bullied and that, and it's not his fault, so for as long as he's in my care I want to make him as comfortable as possible! Only problem is being at university stops me from doing super regular changes. what advice can you give to give this fish the happy life he deserves??
Thank you for reading and your time,
<Fundamentally adult Angels can only be kept (reliably) as singletons, mated pairs, or groups of 6 or more specimens. Your one-eyed Angel should eventually settle down, and could make a fine addition to a community tank where he'll be kept with smaller fish. As top-dog, he'll be happy. The other Angels can be rearranged or rehomed as indicated above: singly, pairs, or groups of 6+ specimens. Cheers, Neale.>
(Presumably) Damaged FW angel       2/3/14
My name is Mylissa. I have recently gotten a baby(4cm) Angelfish. It has a wound on it gill. I want to know how I should treat it(if at all) and about how long it should take for it to heal. It swims well, doesn't appear to be struggling to breath and is eating good. Thank you for your time.
<Could you send along a photo of this fish? I would not treat it given the info. provided... but simply keep it in ideal, stable conditions and provide good nutrition. See WWM re both; and send along data re the system, water quality, tankmates.... Bob Fenner>
Angelfish with Swim Bladder Problems, Won't Eat Peas, Seaweed or Vegetables. Genetic, soc. dis. f's 6/4/14
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
Hello from Houston, Texas. I love your site by the way. I must say your advice is much better than what I generally find online and from aquarium shops and very useful. I have been keeping fish since I was three and I
have yet to see a resource so comprehensive.
<Thank you for this valuable input; kind, encouraging words>
I currently am having severe problems with my female freshwater angelfish Gabriella (I believe she is of the koi variety). Around the start of May I noticed she was listing on her side occasionally but since she generally
did it when the lights were off and where plants overhung her I thought it was just her maneuvering. But unfortunately it turned out to be real swim bladder issues. I suspect constipation because I haven't seen her poop
anything other than 1 or 2 mucus strings the whole month. I feed my fish vegetables to prevent this problem but unfortunately she refuses to eat any of them.
<Other laxative foods might help... brine shrimp (frozen/defrosted or live), Daphnia...>

The tank I normally keep her in is a 105 gallon aquarium with a canister filter and an undergravel filter,
<I do hope this gets vacuumed regularly>
and I acquired 8 years ago as part of a deal with Aquarium Environments Inc., which comes to service the tank with ~90% water changes once a month.
<Mmm; a poor routine... MUCH better to vacuum once a week... just 20-25% at a time>

It originally was given to me with a set of fish that came with it (I didn't realize this was part of the deal
initially), including tiger barbs, silver dollars, Mbuna, parrot cichlids, and Leporinus.
<Wow! WW III, IV and V!>

Needless to say this didn't work out. All I have all of the original set of fish are three silver dollars (2 were killed by the Mbuna) and since then I have been struggling to build a tank around these three.
Right now I have five Blackskirts tetras, five Corydoras, one dwarf neon rainbow, the angelfish, and four weather loaches. I know I should have more of the dollars, Blackskirts, rainbows, and cories, but I have reasons for this. The rainbowfish introduced a weird disease into my tank that caused bloody, bubbly feces, ulcers, gill hypertrophy with white stripes, bloating, and skeletal deformity, and it wiped out most of my 12 cories
and 20 Blackskirts , all but one of the ten rainbowfish.
<... quarantine of new stocks>
The silver dollars remained unaffected throughout, but they are so huge that I can't find any of a similar size in stores and I worry the small ones I do find will be bullied by them rather than be recognized as part of a school.
Enough about the 105-gallon tank, though (that's for another day...it's a long story involving terrifying diseases and nigh-invulnerable silver dollars for some reason). Now that the Blackskirts were few in number, and
Gabriella was having trouble swimming, they fin-nipped her like crazy, breaking bones and drawing blood. I set up a 12-gallon hospital tank with a BioWheel for her. I seeded the biofilter with gravel from my undergravel filter and put salt and epson <Epsom; not the printer> salt in the tank for her fins and constipation respectively. I set the temperature to 82 degrees.
When I caught her she had bloody streaks on her fins and inflammation on the fin base, so I gave her a full course of API Tetracycline, which cleared it up. Since then I've been doing water changes every two days to
clear the color stain in the water (I don't want to use carbon to do it in case I need to medicate again)
The problem is that while she is cured of infection her swim bladder issues remain and I'm not sure what to do if I can't get her to eat anything that will unblock her system. Everyone recommends peas, but she won't eat them.
I tried hand-feeding her, but she still refuses. I then tried feeding her seaweed, since I know from past experience she will occasionally eat that, but she still wouldn't eat. She swims so poorly she has trouble eating
anything, and she is too afraid of my hands to accept anything. She will be excited to see me when I walk by and try to swim upright for a while, but it exhausts her and she is forced to sink to the bottom of the tank again.
If you could please give me some advice that would be great.
<The laxative crustaceans mentioned above>
She breaks my heart, even though she has been a bully to the silver dollars (my sister's favorites) before she got ill. She has bred before, and I wanted to give her to someone else now that the Blackskirts are aggressive to her, but with her such a condition I cannot do that.
Please help.
Thank you.
<Well; the troubles are very likely related to this being a "Koi" variety (given to genetic issues); the maintenance routine and the long-standing social disease... getting beat on. This fish may recover in time; but can't live as it had been. Bob Fenner>
Re: Angelfish with Swim Bladder Problems, Won't Eat Peas, Seaweed or Vegetables. Use of frozen/defrosted foods     6/7/14
Dear Wet Web Media crew,
I followed your advice and began feeding Gabriella (the angelfish) frozen brine shrimp. She loves them and I think she may have produced a bit of feces (I'm not 100% sure it is that, though--it could be an uneaten brine shrimp with the gills fallen off). Do you have any idea how long it should take for her to get unblocked if I feed her brine shrimp regularly?
<A few days>

The rest of my fish also like them and I think it will be useful for the Corydoras since they also are somewhat more carnivorous than the other fish. I've never fed my fish frozen food specifically for fish before; only dried, freeze-dried, and people foods (like vegetables and seafood).
<Ahh; both can be good... some FD can cause constipation>
I think I'll use it instead of freeze-dried from now on; it should allow me to navigate situations like where the store tells me their freshwater gobies are eating pellets but actually they only want frozen worms.
<Ah yes>

As for the routine, it makes sense then that is the case, because sometimes one or two of the fish die when the service comes. I always assumed it was because they move decor around and scrub algae off the sides (making a lot of stressful movement) but I think it's more likely the fish are getting shocked by sudden changes in water quality. I can do 20-25% changes weekly from now on, but I don't think I can turn the gravel over completely that often because...I'm short.
<We both reach all the way to the ground! Look for a longer siphon...
Python products makes a wide array of lengths>

The tank combined with the stand is so tall I need to stand on a chair just so I can feed the fish.
<Perhaps a nice two or three level step stool:

The cover is very heavy
<Have someone handy take a look... and possibly arrange a lift that can be pulled up to raise and lower this... See here:
and the linked files above>
and so is the decor (there is a whole cypress log and several large mountain rocks in there).
<Have someone help you... to scoot these about periodically>

I can vacuum the gravel parts that are exposed, but I think I'll need the service to still completely go through everything. If I do weekly water changes and tell the service to reduce the amount of water they change (so it's not so traumatic) is that okay?
(Also the service uses a carbon bottle when changing the tank water...they claim if I do water changes of my own I could traumatize my fish by not using this. I was just going to use a chloramine detoxifier like Amquel ...is that adequate?)

With regard to quarantine since my tank is large and the maintenance schedule monthly I typically have added one or two large fish or 10-20 small schooling fish within a limited time window right after the service comes. The problem is this makes it hard to quarantine as it requires a large isolation tank and I don't have space for one. I think changing the water more often will solve this as it will make the tank clean enough to let me add fish gradually at any time of the month.
One last thing: when I test the main 105 gallon tank with my API master liquid test kit right before the service comes, I get three 0's for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
<Unusual to have no NO3 accumulating, registering. See WWM re>
I don't buy the latter one much,
<Ah, me neither>

but none of my reagents are expired, so what is the problem?
<Read on!>
The service people claim it may not register because my tank is actually one of the cleanest they've seen (there's barely any organic waste in the gravel and such so they say...this is probably only b/c the current stocking density is low and I feed my fish as much as I know they can eat)
<Is possible>
but I take their advice skeptically. I bought a new nitrate test reagent a few days ago, and I'm going to see what it says.
Also, one thing the service did claim is that my water is incompatible with my fish. A water test right after their water change revealed a pH of 7.9, GH of 11 degrees, and KH of 5 degrees. Is this reasonable chemistry for community fish to adapt to if I keep the water maintained?
<Many species; yes>
Thank you for your patience,
<And you for yours. Bob Fenner>
Re: Angelfish with Swim Bladder Problems, Won't Eat Peas, Seaweed or Vegetables      6/10/14

Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
Hello again.
I would like to report that Gabriella (the angelfish) is eating more and more and is swimming more, floating backwards less when she does so. She still spends a lot of time on the bottom, though, and hasn't had much...excrement, but I think the fact she is eating more is a good sign.
I reluctantly added carbon to the hospital tank filter since apparently water changes weren't getting the tetracycline red stain/yellow foam out, and I want to see more clearly if her fins are improving. I had in where carbon would be the gravel from the main tank's undergravel filter, and I had to remove it, but I didn't want to take out too much biofilter (not sure how much bacteria spread to the BioWheel yet) so I just put in the bottom parts of the tank where Gabriella hasn't liked to sit.
Unfortunately she's changed her mind and decided to sit there anyway. Do you think I should take the gravel out, because I don't want to scrape her skin.
<Leave the gravel there>
One development that has concerned me is that her left pectoral fin base (where the joint next to the body is) has gotten really red, with two pinpoint dark red spots. Nowhere else on her pectoral fin is there any sign of fin rot or any bite marks left from when Blackskirts nipped her and I think a reason for the redness may be she lies on her right side and waves constantly her left fin to push herself around along the bottom. Is it possible a fish could injure a fin from overuse and what should I do about this? Should I add salt back to the water to prevent infection?
(There are red lines running parallel to the fin rays at the far forward fleshy part of her anal fin and in her pelvic fin but I think these are blood vessels?)
With regards to the main tank, I did the nitrate test with the new test reagent and found 20-40 ppm (my sister thought it looked like 80 but she was placing it down on the paper and this shadowed it...I think you have to hold it above of the paper). Regardless this looked too high for my tastes and so I did a 20% water change...
nitrates went down to 10-20 ppm. Two days later the service came and did a 50% water change. From now on I am doing weekly 20-25% changes and I think this should help with the one or two fish
slowly dying of mystery diseases I have had over the years since. These sick fish typically have been small schoolers so it possible they are stressed by the silver dollars?
<Some; yes>
They don't chase or bite them, and I've never seen any wounds on the small fish, but perhaps the dollars are just too big. When I had more schooling fish than I do now the service people said they'd never seen them school so tightly and claimed it was cause they were scared of the dollars.
Case in point: while changing the water I found the defleshed bony plate of one of my large Corydoras. It was emaciated when it died. I have been trying to feed them sinking wafers at night but the silver dollars
literally snatch the wafers right out of their mouths. I literally have to throw in five handfuls of wafers before they leave them alone. Should I hide the wafers in a nook the dollars can't reach?
<Best to feed both groups (in different areas) simultaneously>
Thank you,
<W. B>
Re: Angelfish with Swim Bladder Problems, Won't Eat Peas, Seaweed or Vegetables     6/11/14

Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
This might seem like a little too many replies but to be honest I have only known about this site for a few months so if you could point me to where the correct information is stored that would be great. Let me know when you think I'm taking too much of your time.
<Try the search tool (on every page) and indices? BobF>

I tried the feeding in both midwater fish and bottom feeders in different areas at the same time, but while this happened I was able to take a good look at my main tank fish, and I have been so focused on my angelfish lately I hadn't realized how bad things had gotten.
One of my weather loaches has fin rot on the tail, and two have sore gills from passing gravel into their mouths and out their gills (my gravel is the rough-hewn angular kind, and they burrow in it anyway). Only two cories are left, and one has redness on his bottom (probably also from the gravel).
Several of the blackskirt tetras look like they have bacterial infections of some sort.
The silver dollars are the only ones who don't have any problems. I think even though the nitrate levels are down and I'll do weekly water changes from now on, my fish just aren't compatible with each other or the tank decor I have now.
To be honest when I got many of them years ago I didn't know their requirements; I went with what Aquarium Environments staff at their store (the Fish Gallery) had recommended as silver dollar tankmates. I didn't realize (as I know now) that my gravel is actually pretty sharp, that weather loaches are coldwater fish, blackskirts are fin-nippers, etc. I thought since their advice sounded more plausible than the obvious perils of the original set-up it was okay.
What I ask is...where can I find reliable information about compatibility of fish with silver dollars? Looking at the compatibility FAQs for dollars, it mostly seems to be people putting them into tiny 30 gallon tanks, which I'd never do given mine are the size of 3x5 in index cards and still growing.
I checked my tap water's parameters (to avoid effects of decor and fish waste) and found it has a pH 7.6, general hardness 10 dH, carbonate hardness 6 dH...so it seems my water is moderately hard but has lower-middle buffering capacity. Who could I keep with the silver dollars (other than more of them) that also can stand rough gravel and these water parameters? NOTE: I forgot to mention the tank has Malaysian burrowing snails. Should I just forget about fish that sift through gravel and leave these as bottom feeders?...worried they'd get out of control w/o the loaches to eat them.
Aquarium Environments Inc. advertises its paid monthly service as "All you do is feed the fish," but it seems this isn't really true...
I think you should warn people about services like this...there are many different brands, and they all advertise with perfect-looking tanks in hospitals, shopping malls, etc, often full of incompatible fish. I've since found out those tanks are maintained daily. People need to know the misleadingness of these advertisements, and you'll always need to maintain your tanks.
Thank you,

Sick Angel... FW; hickeys from an "algae eater"
Hi I have a sick Angel, I've had him awhile and he's always done great.
Recently I have noticed that my algae eater has been feeding off of him, <THESE need to be separated ASAP, like NOW! Gyrinocheilus and some Plecos will kill angels>
my Angel bucks him off but the algae eater is pretty persistent. I have also noticed that the Angels eyes have become milky, his right more than his left but even the left has a level of milkiness to it. The top side of his
body has also started changing color. Is there anything I can do to help/save him, is the rest of my tank in danger?
<REMOVE the CAE/Pleco>
I have a 60 gal tank 17 small Angels, my sick Angel (palm sized) and my algae eater.

Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 


Sick angels, one with lumps and one with missing scales & rotting fins... Too large pix files, no reading on WWM   5/3/13
I have a 75 gallon currently stocked with the following: 2 medium-sized angels, 1 gold dojo loach, 1 2.5" clown Pleco, 1 4" leopard Ctenopoma,
<Mmm; can be aggressive>
1 albino Cory & 7 rainbows (2-3").
<What/which species?>
 The problems began a week and a half ago when I found my third angel viciously attacking the black one (out of no where). I removed him from the tank. At the time the black angel was missing some scales and had tail & fin damage. Soon after I noticed bumps on my gold pearl angel. One bump (on its right side) has a dark center that has been growing. Otherwise these bumps have remained mostly the same. Neither angel healed as quickly as I'd thought; while the black one's fins & tail healed very quickly, its scaleless areas seemed to be growing. I checked the parameters, and all was zero, except there was a small amount of nitrates. I forgot to check for pH, I'm now realizing.
Anyway, fearing bacterial infections, I moved both to the hospital tank & treated with Maracyn & Maracyn 2.
There were no changes other than that the largest lump on the gold pearl grew a bit, and the dark center grew a bit too. My LFS recommended treating them with Melafix,
<Of no use; may even be detrimental... interrupting nitrification>

 so I put them back in the 75 gallon & began treatment--all following a 35-40% water change. (The black angel was attacking the gold pearl in the small hospital tank.) They also said that if I was worried I could treat for parasites, so I treated fully with Tetra Parasite Guard because I had it on hand. This produced no changes.
<... these fish (same species, actually cross) don't have pathogenic disease... these are wounds born of being attacked, bitten by some other fish>

Now, today (day 3 of Melafix), the black one has white areas on its tail fins and some missing pieces of its tail.
<It's the API tea extract... see WWM re... worse than a sham... It's poisoning your angels>
There was no fraying at the ends, but rather the fraying started closer to the base & caused breakage. There are also a few more small regions where scales are missing. The worst area (on the black angel's left side) seems to be more if a hole now, although there is no redness; it just looks deeper. The attached pics were taken a few days ago before this worsened.
Please help! Both fish are acting & eating fine, and all other fish in the tank appear fine. The tank is filtered with a 75-gal Aqueon & a 90-gal Marineland BioWheel. We feed the fish flake, cichlid pellets & occasionally frozen bloodworms. We perform weekly water changes of 20-25%.
<All these fish need is enough space, clean water, and a dearth of getting beaten (by each other?). Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick angels, one with lumps and one with missing scales & rotting fins     5/3/13
Thank you very much for the quick response, Bob! In my opinion this site is the best for researching and resolving fish issues, but I didn't realize I'd get such a fast response.
<Heeee! Depends "who's on"... Do ding dang hot here in San Diego (nineties F) that can't work on garden, barely stand to cook>
The leopard Ctenopoma is a gentle giant and sticks to herself unless her curiosity gets the better of her, in which case she just approaches a fish and gives it a once-over (unless it's small enough to be consumed). The attacks were definitely caused by the marble angel. He has been a problem off and on for some time, but never to this degree.
<I see>
My primary concern was and is that some of the regions/bumps are growing.
If you think that all they need are space and pristine conditions, then we will do a large water change tonight and reinsert the carbon into the filters, as well as stop the Melafix. I will continue with daily changes until they are healed, hopefully,
<Yes; this is all I would do... not likely this is anything parasitic; that needs treating>
I would really like to make sure you are of the same mind after viewing the pics. Or did you see them, and they were just not able to be posted to the WWM site? Thanks again!
<We're just limited on space period. Hence ask folks to limit file sizes.

Ragged Angelfish Fins, beaten       8/18/12
Hello all!  I am a novice fish enthusiast and am having trouble. I have searched the website and it has terrific information, but I am really wanting to have confirmation on what is going on with my tank.  I started out at my locally owned fish store and bought a 20 gallon tall tank, had many difficulties with cycling and losing fish, and also with the types of fish I was keeping together.  I was ready to throw the towel in when I found an out of town pet store, family owned, not the big box store, that helped me greatly!
Sorry for the tout but I feel its very important for people to realize the difference in a place looking to earn a buck and a place that is concerned with educating its customers.  Anyhow, after the cycling problems, I emptied the tank completely, left the rocks unwashed, and refilled and since my water quality has been greatly improved.  That was two months ago.  I am using a Aqueon on the tank filter with a carbon insert,
<Carbon is largely useless in your sort of aquarium; instead, concentrate on biological media. Remove the carbon and replace with filter floss or sponge or ceramic noodles.>
and a Terra Easy Strip tester kit.  According to the tester strips my Nitrate is just below 20, I assume this because the color it turns is slightly less pink than the color it should be if it is 20ppm, Nitrite is 0, Hardness is 150 GH ppm, Alkalinity is 80 KH ppm, and pH is 6.8.
<All sounds fine for Angelfish.>
I am thinking I need to invest in a good quality vial test kit, and wonder which one is worth my investment.
<Possibly; I use the strips and they're quick and easy. But as/when they run out, and you really want the accuracy liquid test kits provide, be sure to get a nitrite test kit and a pH test kit, as these give you the best "quick look" tests for water quality and water chemistry.>
Onto my fish problem.  Once I felt my tank had stabilized I ended up with 4 small juvenile Angelfish, 2 Pictus Cats,
<These are restless, predatory fish that do better in schools and need much more space than 20 gallons (and to make matters worse, a "tall" 20 gallon tank provides even less swimming space than a plain vanilla 20 gallon tank!)>
2 White Tip Sharks,
<Do you mean the catfish? What used to be called "Arius jordani" but is properly called Ariopsis seemanni? You do understand this isn't a freshwater fish? It needs brackish
conditions when young, and preferably marine conditions as an adult. Even in a 20-gallon marine aquarium you wouldn't keep these catfish -- they get HUGE, easily 20-30 cm/8-12 inches, and sometimes a bit more than that.>
and one algae eater.
<What sort of "algae eater"? A common Plec, i.e., a Pterygoplichthys species of some sort? Again, a huge fish -- 30 cm/12 inches within the first year, and 45 cm/18 inches within two; barely viable in a 55 gallon aquarium, and really needs 75-100 gallons unless you happen to like murky, faeces-ridden aquaria. Trust me, if defecating were an Olympic sport, Plecs would win the gold!>
Everyone seemed very happy and I was doing 20% water changes every week to week and a half.  After about a month I noticed one morning that one of my Angelfish was barely swimming on its side near the bottom of the tank, it died later that day.  Within 48 hours I lost a total of 3 angels to this problem.  They still looked healthy except for some ragged fins.  The one pictured attached had ragged fins but persevered and other than the fins was acting normally.  I did a 50% water change and tested the water before and after and the water did have a low level (.5) of Nitrate, after the water change, none.  Since then the survivor seemed to be doing well, eating vigorously, but his rear fin hasn't grown back, and his top fin is ragged this morning.  I checked the water quality and those are the stats I gave you above.
<I don't trust those values. It's not necessarily the test kit is inaccurate (though dip strips are, at best, approximations) but you can easily detect no nitrite or ammonia when you test the water at a certain time of the day, but at another time of the day the nitrite and ammonia are well above zero. Try testing every half-hour for 2-3 hours after giving the fish a good feed and see what happens. But I do believe this fish is suffering from some sort of bacteria-mediated Finrot, perhaps caused by stress, including water quality problems. If one fish has ragged fins, then aggression of nipping may be an issue. But if multiple fish have ragged fins, then you have to suspect the environment as well.>
I also turned the heat up a bit this morning because I keep reading that 80 degrees is best, and on my stick on thermometer (which I will be replacing because it doesn't give me a specific reading) was hovering between 76-79 degrees. So what now?  I'm wondering if I should treat him for fin rot.
<Yes, but do bear in mind some medications (copper, formalin especially) can be toxic to catfish. Antibiotics should be safe though.>
I am terribly upset that I took 4 healthy Angelfish from the store where they breed them, and have caused 3 of their early demise!  Am I on the right track?
<No. You're doing a great deal wrong. Neither catfish species belongs here, and it's not entirely out of the question they're attacking the Angelfish at night -- after all, both species are predators, and while the Pimelodus pictus can be combined with Angels of similar size, they may go for small/weak specimens. The Ariid catfish simply don't belong at all, and though they are total pussycats when kept with brackish/marine fish of appropriate size (Monos, Scats or large Damselfish for example) large specimens view much smaller fish as food.>
Also the sharks and cats are aggressive eaters but the Angelfish holds his own.
<For now. Angelfish aren't adapted to fight for food.>
I am feeding a combination of dried ocean plankton and flake food, is this sufficient?
<Let's assume you're getting rid of the two catfish species -- neither species has any long-term future in this tank, so this isn't even something to delay or argue about. It's a done deal. You made a CAT-a-strophic mistake if you'll pardon the pun. A "tall" 20 gallon tank is adequate for a mated pair of Angels. Since you can't sex Angels, you can't buy a pair, so you need to buy six, rear them together, then remove the surplus fish. Realistically, you need 40-55 gallons for a group of six Angels up to the size when they'll pair off (around 8 cm/3 inches). So, what we're talking about is a single Angelfish here, perhaps with a 5-6 Corydoras sterbai (a good warm water-tolerant Corydoras) at the bottom and 6-8 medium-sized tetras (such as X-Ray Tetras, a very reliable, easy species) in the middle. All these would thrive on a mix of good quality flake and small sinking pellets (mostly at night, for the catfish). Augment with freeze-dried food if you want, but occasional live daphnia and/or brine shrimp are really useful for avoiding constipation.>
Once this problem is solved I would like to get another Angelfish so I at least have a pair, is it wise to do so?
<Keeping a pair is fine. Getting a pair is hard work. Two random Angels will likely fight, the weaker one being bullied. Has been tried many, many times. Unless you happen to get two females or a male/female duo that happen to pair off, this isn't a reliable approach. If it's any consolation, Angels can't always sex themselves either, and "homosexual" pairs are quite commonly reported, usually two females, each laying eggs on a leaf assuming the other was a male!>
Thank you for your input!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone
<Oh gosh, another of these ridiculous "from my phone" messages… when will they stop? Who cares? Who's bright idea was this nonsense?>

Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)     8/19/12
I confirmed that the suggested fish were in fact what I have in my tank.
<I see.>
They will be going back tomorrow.
I'm hoping the out of town store will take them in since the local store didn't care enough about them to give me complete and accurate information.
<"Caveat emptor" I'm afraid. Welcome to capitalism. It's up to the buyer to make sure the thing on sale is what he/she needs -- the seller is under no obligation to sell you what you need!>
I will then treat the Angelfish for fin rot and follow through with the other things you mentioned.
I have read I need to remove the carbon filter before I treat with medication, is it okay to replace it with  the filter floss during or before treatment or should I just remove the carbon filter insert and leave it empty until I am done medicating the tank?
<I would remove the carbon and replace with filter floss.>
How often and how much of a water change is needed during treatment?
<Usually, none during treatment, but a good-sized (25-50%) water change a day after the last dosage is a good idea. Check with the instruction leaflet that comes with the medication you use.>
How long after treatment should I consider purchasing the other fish?
<As a rule of thumb, wait at least a month after any sickness before buying any new fish. That gives you chance to [a] make sure the sick fish is better and not contagious; and [b] to make sure the filter has recovered from any troubles that might have caused the fish sickness in the first place.>
Thank you for your time and expertise!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)(Bob, does Melafix actually harm filters?)<<can>>     8/21/12

Good morning from Michigan!
All the catfish have been rehomed.

I picked up a bottle of Melafix to use for treatment.
<Hmm… have you kept the receipt? This isn't a very reliable medication. At best (and I'm being generous) it has a mild antiseptic quality, so it's rather like dabbing a cut with antiseptic lotion. But it isn't an antibiotic, and once the bacterial infection is established (i.e., your fish are showing symptoms of Finrot) it isn't terribly effective.>
I'm curious though about the carbon filter insert.
<Junk it. Provides little value in freshwater systems.>
Carbon is supposed to be changed every few weeks from what I read, so I wondered if its even active now.
<Good analysis. The reality is that carbon works for around 2-4 weeks from new, and after that point it becomes so clogged with bacteria and detritus it's basically a biological medium. While it might be useful in that capacity, there are better media, such as high-quality ceramic noodles. There's some debate about whether "old" carbon can release toxins, but it can certainly mess up dosing medications, removing at least some of each dosage, so overall effect of the medicine isn't as expected.>
I haven't changed it out for 3 months. I am curious though, if I remove the foam insert that has the carbon inside it, won't I also be removing the good bacteria that is keeping my tank chemistry stable?
<Bacteria don't really affect water chemistry; their job is water quality, which is a much different thing. Anyway, you can remove up to 50% of the live media in a mature filter and have no impact on its working efficiency. Add some new media, and within days that new media will be fully matured. It's remarkable really, and an example of why bacteria are so useful in those applications where we've learned to "tame" them.>
Since the tank stabilized I haven't changed this insert out of this fear.  Will the Melafix harm my biological system?
<Doesn't normally, but it's a scattergun antiseptic, so there's always the potential.><<Can indeed destroy biological filtration. RMF>>

Also I've considered adding live plants to the tank to enhance the biological filtration, what plants would you suggest?
<The easiest plants are floating plants, especially Floating Indian Fern (sometimes called Water Sprite, Ceratopteris thalictroides). This plant grows in most situations, doesn't mind being under an aquarium hood (some other floating plants do), and its long roots bring plenty of helpful bacteria! It also happens to be hands-down the plant most loved by aquarium fish. You only need a bit -- it grows fast!>
Thank you again for taking the time to indulge all of us novice fish keepers!
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)     8/21/12

I think I may have just had an epiphany, should I cut the bottom of the insert and just remove the carbon and leave the insert in place????
<If that works, sure! Cheers, Neale.>
Update on Fin Rot Angelfish - 8/24/12

Hello Neal,
Just wanted to give you an update.  I started treatment with Maracyn.  The Angelfish had already started to regrow his rear fin, not such dramatic regrowth on the top fin but no more loss either.
I'm hoping that will rejuvenate with time.
<Yes. There's definitely a point with Finrot where things stop getting bad before they clearly start getting better.>
I did notice the new growth on his tail seems a little bent, but have read on your website that's not something to be hugely concerned with.
<Yes. In fact if you look at most pet Angelfish, "odd" fins are very common. Once the fin rays (the finer bones) get damaged, they often split or fork or grow back crooked. Sometimes the fins eventually grow back how they're meant to be, but often not. This is something you see in the wild too, but farmed Angels are that bit more genetically messed around with, so you also get genetic abnormalities thrown in as well.>
Can't wait to start shopping for the Tetras you suggested, but I know I have to be patient!  Is there another colorful species of Tetra you would recommend?
<The top 5 tetras in terms of adaptability and good value are (from the best) the X-Ray Tetra (Pristella maxillaris); the Black Widow or Black Skirt Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, occasionally nippy if not kept in a decent group); the Silvertip Tetra (Hasemania nana, again can be nippy in a small group); the False Penguin Tetra (Thayeria boehlkei, actually the standard hobby species compared with the rare "true" Penguin); and the Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri). None of these is fussy about water chemistry and all of them are omnivorous and easily maintained. Of these, the False Penguin and the Emperor Tetra would both make outstanding companions to Angels, being distinctly different in shape and colour. If you want some red, take a look at Cherry Barbs rather than tetras; again, they're unfussy, and the males are cherry-red, the females peach-pink, so you get two colours for the price of one! Don't imagine all barbs are fin-nippers -- some are, but these aren't, and their behaviour is fun too, the females schooling together while the males are vaguely territorial, holding their own "displaying areas" around favourite plants.>
I've read about Cardinals, but also saw that they may be more difficult to keep.
<Sort of. They're actually hardy in soft, acidic water, but do poorly in hard, basic water conditions.>
An article on your website about them was very informative.  Mostly wanted to say thanks for all the great information and give you the good news about my recovering Angelfish!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Possible Mouth Rot Photo Attached      7/26/12
I need guidance for my angelfish. They have been lip locking and fighting and now his mouth looks like possible mouth rot,
<At least damaged>
 but I'm not sure if he's injured or if it's more then that. In the photo, you can see where his mouth looks like its separating and is almost see through as you can see some red like its the inside of his mouth. I do water changes every 4 to 5 days about 50%   With his mouth I've moved to 3 days.
Temp is 78-80, he still eats
<Even better>
 and they have a varied diet.  Almost all silk plants in aquarium (20 gal tall)  No ammonia or nitrites and nitrates never register to 20ppm, tank established for a year and my injured fish is almost a year old (he's huge which I think gives testament to how well i take care of them).  They are the only two fish in the tank.  The other angel doesn't look like his mouth is bad, but I'll put a photo of him too as it seems like his lips are puffy.
I'm not sure if he's just hurt or if it's something more then that. What do you recommend I do?
<Mmm, likely nothing more than you already are doing>
  I have been reading up on E.M. Erythromycin
<This or Sulfa... but again, I'd leave all as is for now>
 and if this is something I should get and treat with as I've read Melafix and Pimafix are worthless.
<They are worse than worthless>
What do you think I should do?
Thank you,
<Keep up the good water quality maintenance and mixed diet. Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible Mouth Rot Photo Attached – 07/26/12
Thank you for your response. However I don't think the right photo was attached. The silver marble has a "puffy" mouth, but it's my black marble that I'm questioning with the injury/possible mouth rot. Photo below & thanks again so much.
<Ahh, thank you for this correction... where did I/we get the other pic...?
Would still not medicate.>
<Cheers, BobF> 

Re: Possible Mouth Rot Photo Attached – 07/26/12
I had attached both of them in the original email but I guess my system (or I) did not attach properly.
 I wanted to show the black marble as he was the one with the injury and show my silver marble as his lips seemed swollen. Since I will keep doing what I'm doing with water changes, feeding varied foods etc, and not medicate, what should I watch for in case I have to medicate? 
<Signs of decomposition... Hyphae...>
I know a symptom is "cotton" like stuff by the mouth. I noticed he had a string of one which is what made me think he had a bacteria infection.
<May be>
I just wanted to say thank you and I am very grateful for your website and assistance. I have become somewhat of a geek with my fish as its my #1 hobby
Thanks again
<Glad to share. B> 

Angelfish death.... FW       7/5/12
I have a 90 gallon community planted tank with a wide variety of bogwood, wood, plant features and these fish:
9 rummy nosed tetras
1 roseline shark (3.5")
2 Apricot gouramis (3.5")
2 Black angelfish (3.5")

1 leopard catfish  (5-6")
1 Siamese algae eater (3.5")
These guys have coexisted for a year or more, I've experienced 5+ cycles of eggs (2 types, but can't tell who the parents are) that the black angelfish have preferred to freeze-dried/frozen food.
I have become accustomed to this vigorous gustation of eggs by the black angelfish pair. Surprised, even, that I'm ATTACKED if I try to rescue the eggs (but they are eating them...so they're protecting a food source)
<Mmm, cichlids can be very attentive parents>
Sad, because I feed them bloodworms daily (they dance so cute).
<... do see the Net, WWM re these sewer worm larvae. Trouble>
Yesterday, I bought/added 2 sherpa <Serpae?> tetras to the mix and a plant (from Thailand, packed in gel, and I rinsed under running water as I subdivided and picked away the dead matter.
Today I  came home to find one of my black angelfish dead. On the bottom, sideways, A bulge with refuse in the anal area. It was the smaller of the 2 angelfish, the gourami are not as aggressive, no eggs have been laid (that drama was last week).
And the sherpa tetra and Rummynose are miniscule, non threatening.
I did a 30% water change on Sunday (3 or 4 days ago) So what caused the sudden death?
<Perhaps the minnow shark, or gouramis... Maybe some sort of "internal difficulty", even genetic predisposition>

 I'm so sad, this angelfish was but a teenager (full sized but less than 2 years old). The angelfish have been the most aggressive aficionados of the eggs in the tank (2 cycles of small orange/brown, covering an entire leaf, 2 translucent egg drops that covered probably  a 2"x2" area of bog wood or drift wood (I have plant, wood, rock features in addition to a 2 inch polished gravel substrate).
I change 30-50% of the water weekly. Nobody else is sick. I introduced 1 new plant, extremely well rinsed/trimmed.
Why did a young black angelfish die? The new sherpa tetras brought a disease? They look fine. The plants brought a disease?
<Not likely pathogenic... elsewise others would be malaffected>
I'm so sad, I love the "lab retriever" wagging that the angelfish do when I come into the room. Their water was changed/cleaned on the weekend...
<I would keep up the water changes. Perhaps a read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Angelfish death....     7/6/12

Thanks Bob Fenner!
<Welcome Li'l Jen>

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>

Angelfish fins 1/15/10
hello all...
I have several angels that look to have ragged fins.
<As is their wont. There are three things to consider. Firstly, genetics.
Anything "veil tail" is likely to have raggedy fins. These fish didn't evolve to have such long fins as some breeders deem attractive, and things like their blood supply can't necessarily cope with the extra burden. The end result is that long-finned fish very often have raggedy fins. The second issue is tankmates. Angelfish are a sitting target for nippy fish: tiger barbs, Serpae tetras, and so on. Arguably, they are best kept alone or with species unlikely or unable to attack them, such as Corydoras.
Finally, there's water quality. Like all fish, Angelfish are stressed by poor water quality, and one symptom of such stress is Finrot. At a low level this manifests itself as erosion of the membrane, with the fin rays (the bones) being left behind a bit longer, so you see a distinctive raggedy, cobweb-like edging to the fin.>
I have had most for almost two years and haven't noticed the severity before. I understand they cant have perfect fan tails all the time but it seems this may be a bit extreme. I have had a close call with my tank almost crashing (bad water quality) and I don't know if they are just recovering from that.
<Could very easily be.>
I have never had fin rot, with this tank or any others before so I don't know how to tell if its just recovery stress or something else. no other symptoms...eating well, swimming fine. just the fins...55 gal aquarium and the water quality is great. nitrates 2.0, ammonia & nitrites 0, ph 7.2. here are some pics. it just looks bad. thanks
<Wouldn't necessarily treat with anti-Finrot medication just yet, but would review tankmates and water quality. If nitrite and ammonia levels are zero, and nitrate less than 20 mg/l, the fins on these fish should heal by themselves. If there's no sign of healing, and the fins clearly get worse, would treat with a suitable antibiotic or antibacterial. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: angelfish fins -- 01/17/10
ok, I will monitor the angels and see how they are...how long do you suggest it give them if I don't notice a change? a week or so?
<A week or two. Obviously, if it gets *worse* within that time frame, you have a problem.>
also, I have gold barbs that get red circular spots on them, like a sore.
they come and go, then where it is healed is a white spot on the scales, like a scar. not sure if this has anything to do with it but is this something I should watch also?
<Not sure what these are, but I'd check water quality first of all. If there's any trace of ammonia and/or nitrite, assume Finrot, and fix water quality problems. With luck, that should prevent any reoccurrence. If the water is fine, then you might think about possible parasite infections. Ick (Whitespot) for example bursts through the skin when mature, and this eruption can allow secondary infections.>
several have had these mysterious red sores for the last few months, here and there.
<Please do use some capital letters next time. It's rather tedious reading messages that are all in lower case! You're also likely to give a poor impression to any passing psychiatrists! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angelfish fins 1/19/10

Ok...Capitals it is. I was lazy and type quicker when I don't use caps...I had a thought yesterday. Could the fins of my angels be nipped off?
<Yes. Black Widow tetras, Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, are notorious fin nippers. Puntius semifasciolatus are generally good compared with other barbs, but they are greedy fish, and might be a bit rough at feeding time.
Both these species are schooling, hierarchical fish, and neither will behave properly if kept in groups of less than six.>
The reason why I ask is because about a week or so ago I decided to cut my feeding down to once a day for my fish. I usually feed morning and evening because I have so many fish, including a ghost knife fish (who I found out
later like to eat little fish).
<Well, this isn't a secret, and as we often say here, if you read about a fish prior to purchase, such unfortunately incidents will be less likely.>
Since I was trying to reduce feeding to reduce nitrated I cut it down to one time in the evening...at the same time is when I noticed the fins.
<Your Puntius semifasciolatus certainly seems to have a nipped dorsal. But Finrot can be superficially similar, and in tanks where ammonia and zero are not zero, Finrot is very probable.>
I just wasn't sure if the fins might be eaten because I reduced food or if it was because of stress from the tank almost crashing (a week or so ago) which is why I decided to reduce my food, to maintain nitrates and ammonia.
<Overfeeding can certainly cause water quality problems. But do also review aquarium size, stocking, and the size of the filter.>
As for the red sores that scar into a white spot, I am also wondering if it is a bite mark from the ghost fish. He is usually the first one out of his hiding place when I put food to the top so he is definitely hungry. I'm not sure if its best to find him another home or if there isn't usually a problem...I never see him chasing anybody or being aggressive at all so I don't know if I'm blaming him for nothing. Here are pictures of the gold barb minnow with a white scar as well as a pic if the knife fish (please ignore the water streaks on the glass). My question is, do you think that he could be the culprit since I have cut feeding in half or should I wait and see?
<See above.>
I have already started feeding twice again, with major water monitoring for ammonia and nitrate, to see if the fins start to grow back (that means he's hungry).
<Cheers, Neale.><<And a Bala Shark Neale... BobF>>

Re: angelfish fins 1/20/10
<<And a Bala Shark Neale... See today's Dailies for the pic... BobF>>
<<<Thanks for this Bob. Are these fin nippers? Cheers, Neale.>>>
<Can definitely be so... for slow moving fishes with long, flowing fins... Pterophyllum, you bet. As with many other Cyprinids... out of their shoal/school numbers of individuals in particular. Cheers, BobF>

Re: angelfish fins 1/21/10
I received this email by accident, I think...
<<Mmm, no; I send my (and others here) "further input" to all concerned parties. RMF>>
but yes, I do have two Bala sharks currently. All of my fish have been given to my by people who no longer want or can no longer keep their fish. I didn't get any from a pet store.
<It's good you're rehoming fish, but of course "no good deed goes unpunished", so there's no guarantee your waifs and strays will all get along. Indeed, given people keep friendly fish but want to rehome difficult fish, the odds aren't in your favour.>
I have had gold barb minnows (I originally had 8 when they were smaller but now they are down to 5), 2 Bala sharks, 5 black skirt tetras, and the ghost knife (well, I have only had him the last 6-8 months, with my angels for over a year with no issue with nipping before. No really, no problems before. Their fins were beautiful and long. I just noticed the fins disappearing about the last week or two. But about a week prior to that is when my ammonia, nitrites and nitrates were extremely high. I brought it all back down to 0 and have been on top of things. As soon as the tank was out of whack, I reduced feedings to once a day. That's why I was wondering if it was fin rot from the bad water or because they are super duper hungry since I cut their food in half.
<Possibly both. Certainly poor water quality can cause Finrot; but hungry barbs and tetras may be more nippy than otherwise, and thereby cause the physical damage that triggers or exacerbates bacterial infections.>
I'm still monitoring the water (three weeks later) and its still all 0, nitrates are at 1.0. I will be doing a large water change to help with the fins to heal but have also went back to feeding twice a day but not leaving any food in the tank. I hope to notice that they fins start to heal within the next few weeks.
<Would look for changes within a week; if not obviously stabilised, then begin treating as per Finrot.>
Even before they ate everything I gave them. There was never anything left over to decay in the tank...
<Cheers, Neale.>

FW Angelfish postmortem 2/25/09 Hello Crew, <Nicole,> I'm writing in with some sad news from my tank here -- I've lost three angels over the past week. My tank is a 46g planted tank, 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite and 0-5pmm nitrates (actually kind of a problem for my plant growth, but that's a different story). pH is a bit high (7.8) but steady, and temp is at 79F. The tank has been up and running with no problems for about three months, and has one Opaline Gourami, a few platies and half a dozen bronze Corys. <How big were these Angels? The coin-sized specimens are notoriously delicate and often underweight, and I wouldn't recommend anyone buy them. Much better to go with specimens 5 cm (about two inches) in diameter upwards.> About three weeks ago I introduced 4 angelfish, and all seemed fine at first -- I was watching them pretty closely for the first two weeks for any signs of aggression, as I was worried about how the Gourami would take the to angels. Aside from a bit of chasing I didn't see any actual nips or other problems, until a week ago when one of the smaller angels came up to feed with severely damaged fins. I wasn't sure if the angel had been attacked by the Gourami or one of the other angels (one of the angels has grown a lot faster than the others, from a nickel or quarter sized body to probably about 5cm body length in a few weeks!). <Ah, Opaline Gouramis can be aggressive. Males have longer dorsal fins than females, so sexing isn't difficult. Males are (sometimes) very aggressive, and can, will molest things like Angels as well as other Gouramis.> By the next morning, the angel's fins were looking ragged, spiky, and much shorter, and I thought this might be a case of Finrot and not just an attack. <The two things often go together. Physical damage opens the way for Finrot and Fungus.> I set up a 5g hospital tank and moved the angel there, and treated with Maracyn tetracycline. He looked pretty bad, and I wasn't surprised that he didn't make it more than a day. By this time, another one of the angels was showing signs of the same thing -- raggedy, clamped fins, less activity and less appetite, but not nearly as advanced. I moved that one to the hospital tank and medicated, but the tetracycline seemed to do nothing, and he also died within a few days. Same story with the last guy -- clamped fins with a bit of fraying to completely deteriorated fins and death in a few days, despite the antibiotics. <Hmm...> The remaining tank inhabitants seem to be fine, and I don't think I'll introduce anyone new soon. But, I'm hoping that you can give me some postmortem thoughts so that I can learn more from this and better care for my Angelfish in the future -- do you think the Gourami or the larger Angel might have been harassing the little ones, maybe at night when I wasn't watching? <Well, it's certainly a viable explanation.> Should I have used a different med for the fin rot? <Maracyn should work, but if it doesn't, swap for Maracyn 2.> I'm feeling a bit dismayed here, because I thought that Finrot was treatable, especially in the case of the last two where I removed them earlier. What should I do for next time? <There's a definite art to stocking community tanks, and that does involve knowing which fish "turn nasty". Male Trichogaster trichopterus are certainly on my list of fish *not* to keep in community systems, despite widely being sold as such.> My apologies for not writing in sooner when some advice might have actually saved a fish, but I've been feeling a bit run ragged myself with all the water testing and changing and medicating and fish dying. thanks, Nicole <Good luck, Neale.>

Sick angelfish, FW - 6/20/08 Hi, I have an established 40 gallon tank with the angelfish, 2 swordfish, 1 bottom feeder and (I know) one goldfish. I have had these same fish together for over 5 years. I have never added anything new to this tank. I do weekly water changes and everything else seems to be fine. No trauma or fighting. I noticed today that my angel seemed a little more excited than usual when I was feeding her this morning. I was a little concerned and noticed that she did not calm down after her feeding. She kept trying to get my attention and was almost following me around. The clincher was that I noticed that she was gulping little bits of air from the top of the tank. I know she is sick but do not know what to do other than do another water change and increase the temp by a little bit. I did not see any unusual behavior last night. Please advice. Is there any hope? Is she just too old? I don't have a secondary tank to separate her out. This is so distressing. Thanks! Julie <Hi Julie. There isn't anything obvious to blame here; Angelfish are generally fairly robust fish, and assuming it gets settled into a tank properly, the average Angelfish does quite well without complaint for anything up to 10 or more years. Obviously the first thing to do is check water chemistry/quality; looking that the pH is stable and that there's no nitrite in the water is a good approach to take. Gasping is often a sign of problems with water chemistry/quality, and Angels, like all cichlids, are particularly sensitive to their environment. Do also check the water isn't too warm or too cold, as both of these things can cause problems; the normal 25C/77F is good for tank-bred Angels in mixed species settings. If the fish is eating properly and shows no abnormal swelling, colouration, or fraying on the fins, you can generally assume it's healthy. I know this isn't very helpful, but at least I can say that no, it isn't old age, and no, it likely isn't dying. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick angelfish - 6/20/08
Thank you so much Neale, <Happy to help.> I hope you are correct. I really do. She is a spitfire and the "light" of my tank for a LONG time. The temp is always stable so that can be ruled out. I will do a large water change and watch her carefully. <Changing the water -- assuming you keep the temperature and water chemistry reasonably stable -- is always a good idea. Those little "dip stick" water chemistry/quality tests are also great for things like this. They may not be perfectly accurate, but they're plenty good enough to alert you to a crisis, and being cheap and easy to use makes it more likely we'll use them!> Good to know she has the capacity to live for 10 years! <Angelfish can easily top 12 years, but 10 years is a good "average". It's perhaps worth observing lifespan in the wild is surely much less than that. Cichlids tend to live longer, get bigger in captivity.> Believe it or not last winter we lost power. The tank dropped to 60 degrees. I had to warm it up with warm water in the dark with flashlights. She stressed a little, did not eat but managed to pull through fine. She is a tough girl! <Cichlids are indeed notoriously sensitive to cold water. I guess their highly sophisticated brains don't work when they get cold! For short period they go loopy and seem to lose orientation as well as appetite, but usually recover none the worse for wear. Prolonged cold periods will kill them. There's quite good data from observing how (feral) cichlids have spread across Florida, USA; they have advanced only so far north and then no further. There's a cut-off line where the regularity and coldness of winter stops them in their tracks, about halfway up the state. Anyway, as you've observed, good quality tank-bred Angelfish are really very adaptable and robust. But there's a lot of variation in quality, as well as inbreeding involved in making really fancy varieties, so you never really know. Great fish though, very characterful.> Thanks again! This is a great service! Julie <Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Sick angelfish -- 06/23/08 Update:
Neale she is doing fine! Thank goodness. The tank could not be any clearer! You were right on the money. I hope to have her for another 5 years. Thanks again! Julie <Hi Julie, this all sounds good news. Keep us posted if she starts behaving strangely again. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick angelfish... FW... mixed with goldfish...   4/18/08 I am hoping you can help me with this poor little angelfish. I am relatively new at keeping fish and have been learning things as I go. <Mmm, better to read, study up ahead of actions> I have a 65 gallon freshwater tank. In it I have 3 small goldfish, 3 larger fancy goldfish, 2 pond comets, <Will get too large for this volume eventually... and...> 2 fancy catfish and an angelfish <... not compatible. Had you read... tropicals and goldfish don't mix... In this case they're more than behaviorally incompatible... the angel not only needs much warmer water, but more soft, acidic than goldfish...> (I don't know what kind, but it is white in color). I now know this combination of tank mates is probably not the best, but did not know it at the time. Anyway everyone has been living together without a problem for close to a year so I have left them together. My angelfish seemed to get sick close to a month ago. She has been lying on the bottom of the tank, not eating. I did everything I could think of at the time. Treated the tank with medicine, frequent water changes, different food, but nothing seemed to help. She does not seem to be getting worse but is not getting better either. At first I really thought I was going to lose her but she just keeps hanging on. But it is so sad to see her just lying on the bottom of the tank. I don't understand this, none of my other fish are sick, the water quality is good and nothing is helping her to get better. Is there anything you can suggest? She has been this way for quite a while. I really appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks, Penny <Have just skipped down. Read on WWM re the needs of the life you present... These two disparate groups of organisms need two different settings. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick angelfish  4/19/08
should I take her out of the tank and put her in a tank of her own? I had suspected that maybe the water temperature might be the problem, but since she did so well for so long , before this, I was afraid to take her out of the tank she was used to. I was afraid of stressing her further. But if you think a tank of her own will help I will start up a small one just for her. Any suggestions on how to do this? Should I leave her by herself or give her a companion. Also what about plants? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelfishes.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

My Angel fish... beh., hlth.  -- 07/08/07 Hello! <Ave!> I've found your website very interesting and appreciate the knowledge you are sharing with us!! My question seems to be a difficult one, since I've been searching for an answer for 3 days online now. <Okeley dokeley.> I noticed on Friday evening that my angel keeps shaking her head, her feelers and her fins. The shaking is random, not all at once, but it is very fast and vigorous. <Often irritation, e.g., from ammonia/nitrite, or else an early sign of whitespot, which irritates the gills before anything else.> It is a fairly young angel, and on the smaller side. I've had my aquarium for about a month now, and she is the only angel that has survived. <Ah, angelfish are among the worst fish to start with. They are very, very sensitive to ammonia and nitrite. So I'm guessing water quality issues are at work here. What's the nitrite and/or ammonia level in the tank?> So far, she has been very resilient to anything and everything; swimming fast and eating well. She is still eating, but seems as if she's hungry all the time. <Angels are constantly hungry. Pretty typical of cichlids generally. Do watch what you give them though. Angels respond to extra effort in their diet. Frozen (wet, not dried) bloodworms are the absolute ideal.> I watch them and she gets her fair share. I also have freeze dried brine shrimp and frozen food that I supplement 3 times a week. <Sounds okay, but brine shrimp are the fish-food equivalent of iceberg lettuce or celery -- no nutritional value at all. Fine as a treat, but not a stable. Good quality flake and pellets are the way to go, ideally "vegetarian" flake and "regular" pellets, since most of your fish are herbivores/omnivores (Plec, shark, loach, silver dollars, platies.> I have a 30 gallon tank with 2 silver dollars, 2 black fin tetras, 1 Plecostomus, 1 red fin shark, 1 catfish and a clown loach. There is no stress, they all seem to co exist peacefully... <Famous last words. Your red tail shark will OWN that 30 gallon tank by the time it is mature and everyone else will be living only for as long as he lets them. The catfish -- I'm assuming a Corydoras -- should be in a group. They're not happy kept alone. The Plecostomus is almost certainly not that at all, but a species of Pterygoplichthys that will grow to around 45 cm long at which point it physically won't fit in the tank. Silver dollars can (will) get large and are far too big/active for a 30 gallon tank. Even a 60 gallon tank would be a tight fit for them. Clown loaches are also schooling fish, and get to 30 cm long when mature, and routinely require tanks around the 100 gallon mark to do well. But apart from the fact most of your fish won't fit in the tank you have, they're *almost* all nice community species. Who's the odd man out? The Black Fin Tetra, which I'm assuming is our old friend Gymnocorymbus ternetzi. This fish looks a bit like a mini-angelfish with a greyish body and black vertical stripes. Lovely animal, but A NOTORIOUS FIN-NIPPER! One of the classic species NEVER to keep with angelfish. To Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, an angelfish is a swimming buffet, to nibble on at leisure. When kept in groups of a dozen, they're sometimes fine, but when kept as just two, they are not only nippy towards their tankmates, they're also deeply unhappy.> ...so I cannot figure out what the problem is. <Likely water quality issues and/or fin-nipping.> Any and all advice is most appreciated. I thank you for your time and hope you all have a great day! Kristi <You're welcome! I hope you're able to sort things out, but even in the short term this community is unlikely to work out. Be sure and buy an aquarium book (or borrow from the library) and read up on maximum size, social behaviour before purchasing! Good luck, Neale>

Problem with angel fish   1/27/07 Hi, <<Greetings, Slawomir. Tom with you this morning.>> I've had my two angel fish for almost 3 years and the past summer my fish laid eggs, and all of the eggs turned white and they were eaten. It's been around 6 months, and my fish laid eggs again two nights ago. <<Okay.>>    The first question I have is how can I tell which fish is male and which is female. My one fish is huge (4" head to end of tail by 6" top fin to bottom fin) then my other fish is much smaller (3" head to end of tail by 4" top fin to bottom fin). Is the larger fish the female, (she does protect the eggs, and the smaller fish tried to eat the eggs) or are they possibly both female fish? <<Determining the sex of freshwater Angelfish is close to impossible. Even experienced breeders of these fish will place, generally, six of these fish together and wait for a couple to form up. The males can be the larger of the two but this isn't guaranteed nor is any other specific physical trait. About the best you might hope for is actually seeing these fish spawn to see which is which.>> Next question:  when the smaller fish tried to get close to the eggs, the larger fish attacked the smaller fish, now the smaller fish is missing scales, its fins are badly torn and damaged. Why was the fish attacking the smaller one? <<Angelfish are a Cichlid species and become extremely territorial and protective after spawning. Unlike most other freshwater species of fish, Cichlids will raise and protect their young for up to six months. During this time, intruders even of the same species will be dealt with by the parent(s) aggressively very aggressively. If I were a betting man, Id say the larger of the two (a dominant female) laid the eggs and the smaller fish (another female) got too close and too curious about the eggs. Not very smart, it seems.>> After I noticed that the fish was aggressive towards the smaller fish, I put the smaller fish into a different tank, so it could recuperate. Should I have done that?   <<A very wise move on your part, Slawomir.>> And today I noticed that the smaller fish that's in the new tank had two strands like spider webs on its on fin and tail. Could this be ick? ( I had guppies and goldfish and they had ick also) but the fish does not have any bubbles on it?   <<Not Ich, Slawomir, but a fungal infection resulting from the injuries it received from the larger Angelfish. Very common for this secondary condition to occur but it must be treated along with the wounds that prompted the infection. The safest and, probably easiest, way to do this is by adding aquarium salt to the water. You might try checking with your local fish store for other medications that can be used to treat fungus outbreaks. Unfortunately, medications that we often recommend aren't always familiar, or available, in other areas. Aquarium salt is probably the best way to go here.>> Could this be caused by the fish tank, it is only 5 gallons. Is it too small? <<All aquariums have fungus and bacteria residing in them. Healthy fish aren't bothered by these. For fish that are sick, stressed or injured, its another story, though. A five-gallon tank is a little small for an Angelfish but shouldn't pose a big problem since its being used for a hospital tank. Actually, smaller tanks are better for this purpose, anyway. It makes medicating the fish much easier and, ultimately, cheaper since less medication will be required. Not to worry.>> Please help. I've had these fish for so long and I don't want them to die. <<We wont let that happen if at all possible. Make sure to keep the water conditions optimal in the small tank. Good water conditions are as important as any medication you can use to treat your fish. Best of luck to you. Tom>>
Re: problem with angel fish II
  1/27/07 Hi again, <<Hello again, back.>> When I woke up this morning, I noticed that the larger angel fish that I have ate the eggs, and I know that is normal. Does that mean that I can put the smaller angel fish back into the bigger tank immediately or should I first wait until the fish is healthy, and does not have any fungus on it?   <<Wait on this, Slawomir. Right now, you should consider the smaller fish to be "under treatment". The less stress, the better. No need to invite unwanted problems.>> And if I should wait for the fish to become better, then when could I put it back into the big tank? Right when it heals or wait a while to make sure that the injuries are completely gone? <<Be patient with this. Your fish took a pretty good beating. It has a long life ahead of it yet and a little extra time now is going to seem pretty insignificant in the long run. What I will suggest is that the smaller environment might become stressful to the fish in which case you won't have much choice but to move it back to the larger tank. Hopefully, this won't occur until it's a lot more healthy, though. Best regards. Tom>>

PLEASE HELP ME: freshwater angelfish trouble.   8/8/06 Hello; I need help. :\ <<Hi, Callie. Tom here.>> I have a 36 gallon tank with 4 Danios, a Plecostomus, an Oto, 4 clown loaches and 1 angelfish.  No one else SEEMS to be at all affected, but my freshwater angelfish is terribly sick and I am not finding the right information.   <<You've got six fish in with the Angelfish that might find him an inviting target. Let's go on...>> It has three round white spots/sores that have grown with time (in number and size - about a month ago now it was just one).  They look like the scales are being eaten away; there is no blood or growth on them from what I can tell.  There is also a hole developing now in what I can best describe as the bottom right side of it's jaw.  I thought it was maybe hole-in-the-head for a while, but that doesn't seem the best fit.   <<Not on the surface, it doesn't, but we're looking below the surface on this one (pun - if there's one there - intended).>> I researched worms because about two weeks ago there were small black worm-looking creatures (I couldn't diagnose which type of worms they were exactly through my research) on the cover of the tank when I lifted it to feed one morning.  I wiped them off and have seen only one and now none of them since, but I don't know what they were about either.  My angelfish is slow moving and I am pretty sure is not eating at all anymore.   <<One of the ironies with Angelfish is that their reputation for being occasionally aggressive around tank mates tends to overshadow the fact that they themselves can/will fall victim to certain types of fish. Their tall, flat bodies along with their slow movements make these fish prime targets for the Clown Loaches and Plecostomus. Even the diminutive Otocinclus is known to attach itself to fish such as Angelfish to feed on the mucus coating on the fishes' bodies. Once traumatized, then stressed, I'm not surprised your Angelfish isn't feeding, or even trying to. Now, while Cichlids don't have the entire monopoly on HITH disease, they own a big chunk of it. Commonly believed to be associated with high nitrates/bacteria in the water, more often than not, it's a nutritional issue. A Cichlid that isn't eating, i.e. your Angelfish, has "nutritional issues".>> It doesn't fight for food or even seem to see or sense it with any enthusiasm.  I think it would certainly eat again if I could fix whatever made/is making it sick.   <<You can fix this but it will mean removing him/her to other quarters...permanently. Your Angelfish would be perfectly fine with the Danios alone but the other fish you have with it, regardless of whether it's an individual or a "multiple endeavor", will end up killing the fish. Not in an outright fashion, perhaps, but the result will be the same.>> A couple days ago I removed a bunch of gravel from the tank bottom because it came to my attention that we had too much and it was possibly harboring a lot more waste than is healthy for our tank.  I was waiting to see if there was change in my angelfish's condition, but today I noticed something coming out of it's anus.  This may sound ridiculous and now I am just paranoid, but I can't determine if I have just never seen it poop before or if it is a parasite finally becoming visible.  I thought maybe it was Camallanus, but from all of the questions on your website, they are threadlike and red.  This excretion is white, short, and staying attached so far.   <<What you see, focally speaking, is due to either infection or, simply, because the fish hasn't eaten for some time. Due to the trauma to the body of the fish as well as it's loss of appetite, it would be premature to suspect an internal parasitic or bacterial infection at this point in time. Pristine water conditions, a good diet, a little aquarium salt and rest are what this animal needs and, I might add, quickly.>> I am new at the fish thing, so I am certain there are a million things that I am doing wrong, but I do care very much about having healthy, happy fish.   <<Excellent. Now, let's make your Angelfish healthy and happy. :)>> I am feeling very helpless now.   <<Try not to. If you don't have one available now, try to set up a quarantine tank. Shouldn't have to be more than about 10 gallons in size. A hang-on filter, aquarium salt and a heater is about all you'll need for now. If at all possible, procure a bottle of BIO-Spira (Marineland). This will - virtually - cycle your QT immediately. Use water from the large tank to (just about) fill the small one. Top off with dechlorinated tap water and about one tablespoon of aquarium salt and move the Angelfish over. (We're not concerned with aesthetics.)>> If you could be of assistance in any way I would be most grateful. <<Please, get back with any questions that you might have. Easier to deal with "specifics", anyway.>> Thank you for your time, Callie Nelson <<You're welcome, Callie. Tom>>
Re: PLEASE HELP ME: freshwater angelfish trouble  - 8/10/2006
<<Hi, Callie and Mike.>> I just want to thank you so much for your help.   <<You're more than welcome.>> My fiancé© and I decided to take the angelfish back to the store so that he could find a more suitable home.  The store employees said that they definitely looked like bite marks and that he should be fine.   <<Very glad to hear this, of course.>> And to think I felt so helpless and terrible.   <<You both did well and should be pleased with your decision.>> I have one more request if it is not a burden.   <<Oh, stop. It's what we're here for...>> I was wondering if you know of a web link or some kind of resource for knowing best what to put together as tank mates.   <<Callie, aside from our own site - with experienced input ;) - you can do a search on Google that will turn up a number of sites that provide "recommended" tank mates for the fish you have. I will share with you that your Clown Loaches are going to be "problematic". As they mature, they don't remain quite as "cute" as they do when they're juveniles.>> We would like to add a few more fish now, because we lost our Oto and our angel yesterday (the Oto was dead yesterday morning with no signs of anything other than the Plecostomus was sucking on him; my assumption is that the angelfish victimized him because he was small like the Danios but not as fast moving, and the angelfish was no doubt hungry and a little hostile). <<Otos, like electronics, tend to suffer from "infant mortality". I won't bore you with the details but, they make it or, they don't. Your Angelfish had little, probably nothing, to do with your Oto dying. Your Pleco, on the other hand, was simply being "opportunistic". Large as they become, they don't range far. Your Oto just "presented" itself to your Plecostomus, in a manner of speaking.>> We want to add another clown loach and maybe a team of angelfish. Would they be able to hold their own if there was more than one? <<No. As Cichlids, Angelfish inherently hold a different temperament than other fish do. Can be assertive. Can be aggressive. Can be territorial. My two are getting along famously in a community tank and I don't trust either one farther than I could throw my house. They don't form "teams", as such. It would be a mistake to add Angelfish to this tank again.>> The ones at the store are very small also, so we'd be acclimating them to the tank when they're small.   <<Callie, your Loaches are going to become more "predatory" as they mature. They'll "outgrow" the tank in the sense that the cute, colorful, little fish that they are, when small, will not be the same fish when they "grow up". First, the coloration of the fish will change. (They'll become rather bland in appearance in adulthood.) Next, they will likely take from "scrounging" around to going after their tank mates, if possible. Not a "given" but, certainly, probable.>> If you could direct me to a good source or have some input, that would be wonderful. <<Again, Callie, recheck our site or, do a Google search. We don't affiliate ourselves with, or promote, any particular sponsors or sites. The opinions we share with you are our own based on our training/experience.>> Thank you again, so much, Callie & Mike <<Hope I've helped a little. My best to both of you. Tom>>

Help -- Sick Angel   1/13/06 You guys are really helpful and I would appreciate any advice you might offer.  My son (he's 5) and I are running a 29 gallon freshwater tank with 2 parrots, 2 angels <Mmm, a bit crowded... or soon will be... and the parrots and angels are a potentially bad/incompatible mix> and 2 catfish.  We've been feeding flake food, <Need more than this...> ammonia levels have been down (nearly nil) and stable for many weeks. pH runs at about 6.8.  The tank is about 3 months old.  We've noticed that one of the angels (the somewhat smaller one) has been eating much less (if at all) and has been more lethargic than the other angel. <Good observation... typical result from crowding... One larger than other/s...> More recently over the last several days, the angel has been "panting" -- breathing much faster than the other angel and hovering near the top and in the corner of the tank.  I've been keeping my eye out and doing research, and just yesterday I thought I noticed some mucous (sp?) near the gills, but I'm not positive.   <This is very likely "secondary"... the root problem/cause is a lack of nutrition... can't live on flake food...> I'm thinking "gill disease" maybe but, again, I'm just not sure.  I cleaned the tank and did a 25% to 30% water change over the weekend. <Good to do weekly, small water changes... covered on WWM> I also raised the temp a bit (its now at about 81).  I've looked at "CopperSafe" and various antibiotics and/or "QuickCure."  But I really want to make sure I give him the right stuff.  Should I move him to a QT (I've got a 10 gal. that is probably just about cycled) or can/should I treat the whole tank? <I would not treat this tank period. And would avoid copper, formalin...> Any advice on what to use??      Many, many thanks. Eric M. Kogan <Mmm, a mix of some meaty foods... limit the flakes to about half the total... once a day let's say, with frozen/defrosted, freeze-dried... alternating. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help -- Sick Angel   1/18/06
Sorry to report that the sick angel died.  I think your advice was right on.  We had started him on brine shrimp and he had started to eat and perk up.  I also removed some of the "toys" we had in the tank to give the fish more room.  Then, our electricity went out for several hours while we were away from the house, the heater was off, the temperature dropped. <Ohhh> By the time we got home and realized the electricity was out, it was too late.  The other fish survived as we were able to heat water with a gas stove and keep the temp at 75 in the tank until the electricity kicked on. Thanks for your help anyway. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Bullied Freshwater Angelfish I have a sunset blusher angelfish that I introduced into a large aquarium. I first put a divider between her & the old angels so they could get used to each other. After a couple weeks I took out the divider and everything seemed fine. Well after just a couple days, I noticed that she was acting different. After close observation, I noticed that she had this white stuff covering one of her eyes. She also had frayed fins. She was looking very rough! <She had probably taken quite a beating.> I immediately removed her from the tank & put her in the hospital. I put some Melafix in the tank. <Ah! The wonder of all wonder drugs. This is one instance where it maybe of some benefit, but I prefer more traditional means.> Yesterday she was swimming on her side. Today she seems a little better, she ate a little. I am wondering if I should medicate her with something? <Medicated foods are a good option.> All her fins are in terrible shape. Please help. I do not want to lose this fish. Thanks you very much, Danielle <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Stressed-Out Angel 11/04/03  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  I have a 46 gal tank,pH-6.6-6.8, 0 Nitrites, 0 Ammonia, H2O temp is running @ 76 deg., etc. Her name is Lace and I would be devastated is something happens to her, if I can help. he is approx. 5-6" in size and I have had her for quite some time. All variables have been constant. Two days ago, my husband & I introduced a marble kissing Gourami to the tank ( I have had a Gold Gourami in with Lace; NEVER had any problems ). It was within minutes, the INDY 500 between the Gourami "vehicles." I put the gold Gourami in a breeders net for a 12 hr." time out, " which seemed to help. The next am, we the intro. again....after 10 min, the race resumed.. gold Gourami assured 1st place. This fish has now found a new home, & all is quiet . HOWEVER, this seems to be the time I began to notice changes in my Goldveil...she interacts with me constantly...coming up to the frt of the tank, eating out of my hand, etc. Since this occurrence, she appears to want nothing to do with myself or my husband, "hangs" in the back corner of the aquarium and appears very interested in the food ( she's a top feeder ) but only eats very little if anything...no visible signs of anything wrong, no gill redness, but she just acts " out of sorts" She's not "gasping for air" but it looks like her mouth is going constantly, though I'm not sure if this is new or not. Can you help? Could she just be stressed? She just appears timid of everything, us & food included...esp. with the "food part" she looks at it, appears to want to go to the surface to eat, but she just " looks scared " to me. This has only been going on for less than 48hrs. Between the race, adding the breeders net, netting the culprit, confining him, taking him out again, confining him again, (this took 15 min to coax him out of hiding), then completely removing him from the tank...I stressed just telling you my story...Could you help diagnose her condition and/or what we can do to help? Please respond to my HOME e-mail address. The e-mail address is:  <If the only change was adding the aggressive Gourami to the tank, even though you have removed it, the angel could be stressed-out from the whole ordeal. I'd do a water change & add StressCoat. Get her some of her favorite live foods; brine shrimp, or even better yet, some bloodworms.>  <Pufferpunk>

Angel Without Wings I have an angel fish that had its fins eaten by other fish. I was wondering if the fish could ever grow back the fins lost? He has lived for 2 months in my father-in-law's tank with the other fish and we just recently took him and put him in his own tank. I was wondering if you had any suggestions because he seems to be healthy except he has no fins. Thanks! < The fins probably will grow back if they have not become fungused or diseased. Make sure the water is clean and I would add a couple of teaspoons of rock salt per gallon it keep the slime up.-Chuck>

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