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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Disease/Health 3

FAQs on Angelfish Disease: Angelfish Disease 1, Freshwater Angel Disease 2, FW Angel Health 4, FW Angel Health 5, FW Angel Health 6, FW Angel Health 7, FW Angel Health 8, FW Angel Health 9,

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

Angelfish listless, stares and won't eat 5/29/08 Hi folks. I recently bought 4 medium sized angelfish from a highly reputable LFS. Put them in a 125 gallon tank. One of them disappeared within 2 days and showed up dead about a week later. Two of them are fine and doing great. The final one stays in the back of the tank near the filter and just stares at the glass all day. He will not eat, even if the food comes right near him. Every now and them he'll venture away from the filter, but not go far, and then come back. Otherwise, he looks in generally good health...no spots, slime, etc... No idea what to do with him, but please see the following for an interesting side note... <Angelfish, and indeed cichlids generally, are sensitive to water conditions, and one of the first things that happens when they become sick is their appetite drops. Nitrate for example is relatively harmless to most community fish, but cichlids become distinctly stressed by levels as "low" as 50 mg/l, and in most cases 20 mg/l should be considered the maximum safe concentration. Nitrate provokes a variety of sicknesses, but Hexamita infections are particularly common. Alongside loss of appetite, Hexamita infections often cause changes in colouration, listlessness, stringy faeces, and eventually death. Odd blisters ("holes in the head") are also commonly associated with this disease and/or high nitrate concentrations.> About three months ago, I bought another three angels from the same store. Two are fine. The third also started staring off into space, and eventually got what "looked like" ich and some slime on his body. I quarantined him and tried various medications (fungus, parasite, ich out, etc), but nothing worked. After a couple of weeks, he eventually died. <This could easily be Hexamita or some other bacterial/protozoan infection.> I have been reading something about a new angel disease called "Siamese Angelfish Disease" with symptoms similar to what I am seeing. <Never heard of this, I'm afraid.> Can you tell me what's going on here, and what I might do for this new Angel before he progresses to the point of the dead one? <Do review water conditions, particularly nitrite and nitrate. Also try the obvious thing: change the food. Not all fish like flake, and most of mine ignore it. Live foods are risky, but wet frozen foods should be safe. Frozen bloodworms for example are loved by Angelfish. Live brine shrimp are safe of course, but their nutritional value is nil.> Thanks! Larry <Cheers, Neale.>

Really fast mysterious angel fish death  5/29/08 Hi, Really good web site (and large)! Tons of information, maybe to <too> much. I think it's hard on my brain bucket to try an stuff it all in there. Please keep up the good work! <Okay... but this will make the site larger...> On to my story. 180 gallon tank, partially planted, sand substrate 3", huge trickle filter with 30 gallons bio balls, 1000 gph flow rate. Cycled three months ago. It had three angles, two 5 year olds and one about 3/4 grown, 1 Bristlenose Pleco The 3/4 grown one was the best I had ever seen, vibrant color half black  smoky. I think it could have won a best of show some where. Fish are fed 4 or 5 times a day, tropical flake, frozen blood worms, frozen brine shrimp. I don't do scheduled water changes, but change when it needs it every other day or every other week what ever it takes to keep crystal clear. <Sounds good> PH 7.6 Nitrite 0 Ammonia 0 Hardness 6 dKH 106 GH Nitrate Less than 10 Temperature 80 deg I've been keeping fish for more than 45 years. I have raised just about everything that I have wanted to. So I decide must be time to try some angels. I went to the LFS and got 5 Silvers half dollar size and put them in a 55gal tank to raise up and look for a pair. After about a week one gets sick, gasping at the surface, not eating. I treated with Clout and Jungle medicated fish food <Good... these have Metronidazole...> for a week the one that was sick died in less than 24 hours. It is a community tank with 6 Cory's, 5 neon's, 4 guppy's and the 5 angels. Nobody else gets sick. Three weeks later another angel goes down same thing. This time I treat with Jungle Parasite Clear nobody else gets sick two months later all fine. The remaining angel fish pair off and now I have at least 1,000 babies. I'm running out of room.. Ya know what happens when you go to the LFS. There's these 1/2 black smoky 50 centers oh so cool looking got to have some. So 2 months ago I buy 2 and put them in quarantine. In one week one comes down the same thing I treat with the jungle Parasite stuff, the one dies, one makes it. I moved the one that lived to the 180 gal tank after 5 weeks its in there 10 days maybe. I feed it frozen blood worms at 9:30 pm,,,. 9:00 am hanging at the surface gasping and the only other sign of anything wrong (and the other two did not show this symptom) the fish looked like it didn't have a slime coat, it was kind of dull looking and dead by noon. LFS says oh angel fish just fall over dead sometimes (yeah right!!) <Mmmm> I searched the internet and WWM till my head hurts and didn't really get a good answer. Is there a treatment that should or could be given to new arrivals that would stop this? <This IS the bazillion dollar (about a tank of gas nowadays...) question... My answer: unfortunately yes... see below> You can bet your very last $1.00 bill somebody knows what this is, and what to do about it, all we got to do is get them to share!!! I have been referred to (in the local area) as the Fish Doctor but this is beyond me. Well I've ranted on long enough, again keep up the good work!!!! Later, JR, <I would (if I were still "really" in the trade, run all incoming Pterophyllum/Angels (and some other groups/families of fishes) through a routine of ingestible/food delivered Metronidazole/Flagyl (for Protozoans, in part. Octomita/Hexamita) and a vermifuge (Levamisole or Praziquantel likely) for worms... Too many sudden death syndromes as you've experienced are directly imported with the fishes from the Far East. Bob Fenner>

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>

Angelfish... with lips! 4/1/08 Hello, we currently have a 100 gal tank with 4 angels and a couple other fish. One of the angels has developed over the last few weeks very defined lips. The fish is fine otherwise. We are just trying to see if there is anything wrong with this fish. The other fish haven't developed anything. The lips are rather large like its puckering up to put lip stick on. Thanks, Cenneidigh <Difficult to know without a picture. Mouth Fungus can cause the mouth to become inflamed and swollen, so that's one thing to consider. When cichlids fight (and Angels are cichlids) they bite, and that means they can be at risk of skin damage (which leads to Finrot) or dislocating their jaws. So we really need a photo to take this forward. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: angel fish - 4/3/08 I've attached two pictures of the specific angel. Hope this helps. Cenneidigh <Too blurry to be sure, but I'd guess either Finrot or Mouth Fungus. Both will be fixed by a suitable antibacterial (e.g., eSHa 2000) or antibiotic (e.g., Erythromycin/Maracyn) treatment. Don't waste your time with tea tree oil or tonic salt or any of that sort of stuff. Use the medication promptly, and always remember to remove carbon from the filter. Mouth Fungus is, despite its name, a bacterial infection, also known as Flexibacter columnaris. It is, like Finrot, ultimately caused by poor water quality, even if the triggering factor could be something else such as physical damage. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick angel fish -- 03/10/08 Hi. We have a 20 gallon tank, which we set up at the end of November 2007. We have one angel fish, one Botia, one algae eater (not sure of type), two Serpae (sp?) tetras, three painted skirt tetras, five neon tetras, and three Danios. <Serpae Tetras (Hyphessobrycon callistus) and Painted Skirt Tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) are both incompatible with Angelfish -- they are notorious fin nippers. In addition, please do not buy painted fish -- this an incredibly cruel practise where paint is injected into the muscle blocks without anaesthetic. Many fish die in the process, and their immune system is measurably compromised. All vets and animal welfare groups are against it, but the Asian fish farms will keep performing this sadistic process as long as people keep buying them.> The tank is lightly planted, with gravel. We feed the fish in the morning with flakes, some/most evenings with pellets. Once per week we give them bloodworms. We keep the temperature of the tank at 76F-78F. We do monthly water changes (approximately 25 percent). We check pH, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia monthly. <Fine.> About four or five nights ago, we noticed that for the first time ever, the tank was crystal clear - it had usually been a little cloudy. <Sometimes happens. Do a 50% water change, and check the mechanical filter media isn't due for replacement.> We tested the water last night. pH was 6.0, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5. Historically, the pH was at 7.2, and the nitrate was between 5 and 10. We also did the 25 percent water change last night. Water out of the tap is 7.2; we usually let the water sit for at least 24 hours, if not three or four days, before adding it to the tank. <Letting water sit isn't usually necessary. A good dechlorinator does the job in minutes. Also remember NEVER use water from a domestic water softener. It is not acceptable for use in fish tanks (too much sodium).> We are not sure what caused the pH to drop from 7.2 to 6.0. We plan on checking the pH again tonight. <OK.> As for the angel fish... we have had the angel fish for about two months. Two nights ago I noticed that the angel fish was having trouble defecating (long string that would not come out all the way). The next morning (yesterday), I found it on its side near the bottom of the tank. I turned on the light, and it started swimming again. However, I also noticed that its body was slightly bent/curved. <Not good.> All yesterday and today, the angel fish is swimming/floating at a slight angle (maybe 5 to 10 degrees from vertical), sometimes starts swimming in circles (always in the direction it is bent/curved) and is bumping into the glass a lot. Will also go to the top of the tank on occasion, something I never saw before. I have not seen it on its side, or at the bottom, since yesterday morning. The condition of the angel fish does not seem to have gotten worse over the last 24 hours. <Hmm... could be a variety of things. Difficult to say. Toxins like paint fumes and insect sprays can cause things like this, but so can ammonia in the water or sudden changes in pH.> Physically, I do not see anything else wrong with the fish. Stomach does not appear bloated. No change in coloration. Eyes appear normal. Any ideas what might be wrong with the fish? Any ideas what we can do for him? Thanks for any ideas!!! David H. <No firm ideas... not enough data. My main fear will be that the Serpae tetras especially will turn on this fish in its weakened state -- Serpae tetras have a "feeding frenzy" behaviour. I'm also concerned by your mystery "algae eater" -- if this is Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, this is a fish notorious for its bad temper and bad habits. It will, for example, suck on the side of Angelfish and eat their skin! In the meantime, I'd check water chemistry, paying particular attention to whether or not it varies through the day (e.g., do a pH test in the morning and another in the evening). If you can send a photo some time, that would helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish Plague? New Angelfish Causes death And Destruction 3/2/08 Hello Crew, I'm Missi Blue and I contacted you about 1 1/2 years ago with some odd angelfish behavior and your advise was very helpful. Things have been great in the tank up until now. I gave away a couple of fish 6 months ago that were too big for my 55 gal tank and I thought were possibly crowding the angels. I'm embarrassed to say that I caved while buying some filter supplies at PetSmart (the 4 LFS closed since PetSmart opened) and bought a juvenile angelfish that was above average looking, brought him home and introduced him to my tank with my other angels. I am aware and learned a valuable lesson about not having a quarantine tank and buying fish from PetSmart but I can't change what has already happened. You've probably heard it a million times but I'm not writing to bore you with my idiocy! After one of my angels dropped dead on Feb 27, he had a whitish slime coating that prompted me to use "Lifeguard" (probably another bad move) because I thought the new fish had just introduced some funk into the tank. To get to the point one more dead on the 28th and now the third of four dead today, I expect the fourth to follow tomorrow. Yesterday I got online and tried to find some information and read about angel "aids" or the plague and it sounds spookily like what I have been dealing with. -Introduced new fish -Within a week fish were gathered at back of tank gasping for air, one with whitish slime -introduced fish perfectly healthy and zipping around eating -other non angels in tank perfectly normal also -10 days later first fish drops and promptly followed by other All of the angels I have had for about 6 years so I am pretty bummed but more worried that PetSmart is selling fish capable of devastating an entire fish population in 10-15 days! If you do think it is possible I have something on the order of Angel aids how do I go about cleaning my tank and starting over? Should I contact the pet store or send one of my fish somewhere? I'm just not sure if this is a big deal besides to me so I would appreciate your input. Thanks again all of WWM! Take care, Sincerely, Missi Blue < Your new angelfish may have carried a disease that it was already resistant too. When introduced to your old angelfish they may have never encountered this disease and had no built up immunity. It could have been a new strain of an existing disease or a virus. There is no cure for viruses. Some aquarists have tried to heat the water up to 90 F like for discus. This seems to work while the water is warm. When the water cools back down to a normal temperature the disease continues to progress. If the disease has not attacked the other fish I would recommend leaving the tank alone for a few weeks. Place any new fish in a quarantine tank for at lest three weeks and treat as needed.-Chuck>

Fresh water angle trouble 2/24/08 I have a Koi angle fish . It is about 4 inches from top to bottom . Here is my problem he is laying at the bottom of my tank for the last three days some times upside down . When I nudge him with my hand he will swim around for a while right side up then go right back to behind the plant and turn upside down . there are nothing else's wrong with him . He will not eat and the water quality is fine .when I first discovered this I did a 25% water change and changed my filter cartridge. This did not help him though any suggestions Thanks Tom <Hi Tom. Without knowing anything else, I'd say this fish is dying. When cichlids behave thus, it is normally a sign of serious water quality or chemistry issues, or possibly environmental shock, e.g., a sudden change in temperature. Your assurances that the water is "fine" doesn't inspire much confidence in me I'm afraid; you may well be correct, but most people who give their own judgment calls on this sort of thing haven't got a clue what they're talking about. So please, tell me AT MINIMUM, the following data: temperature, aquarium volume, pH, and nitrite (as opposed to nitrate). Ideally, I'd like to know the hardness of the water as well, even in general terms (i.e., is it "hard" or "soft" water). Changing filter cartridges can make things worse if you change all of them at once: filters work because they support bacteria, so at most, you should only change 50% of the filter media at any one time. Do understand that Angelfish are NOT 'hardy' and can't be used in brand new tanks. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fresh water angle trouble sorry for the lack of information it was late last night and I was not thinking. I tested the water here are the results as followed ph 7.4 ammonia 0 nitrate is very high though and nitrite is zero . I did not check it the last time is tested because I had no ammonia or nitrite. <When fish get sick, pH and nitrite should be your first thing, even before e-mailing WWM! If the pH has changed from normal, then you have a water chemistry problem; if the nitrite isn't zero, you have a water quality problem. That's why these two test kits are, in my opinion, essential.> Last night I did a 25% water change and today I did a 50% water change . <Good call.> The tank is a 20 long, temp is around 77 F the tank is a moderately planted tank with Anubias nana, java fern plants and some micro swords. I am running two filters on it one is a marine land bio wheel up to 20 gallons and a Eheim ecco2231 which is rated up to 35 gallons I am well aware that angle fish are not very hardy but the tank is well over a year old and there are also another angle in there who is doing fine along with 4 Corys and four phantom tetras which are eating and acting normal. <That all sounds fine. To be honest, I don't know why your Angelfish isn't healthy. When small cichlids can't swim and have lost their appetite, it really isn't a very good sign. But it is difficult to pin things down. I'd start by running down the usual list: Any signs of Finrot? What about Hole-in-the-Head or Lateral Line Erosion? Is the fish noticeably emaciated or abnormally swollen and suggestive of internal parasites or worms? Beyond these things, without a photo, it's difficult to say much more. Cheers, Neale.>

Diseased angel fish? 1/31/08 I just purchased this angel fish. When I got home I noticed this reddish spot above his gill. <Hmm... not obvious in the image (despite its size; do note we specifically ask for *small* or *cropped* images, not full size ones 1.5 MB in size).> I recently got my aquarium reset up from a horrible ice storm that killed all my fish, and have been waiting for it to cycle before adding any. <Empty tanks don't cycle; unless you're adding ammonia, the bacteria are dying.> Is this something I should worry about & not introduce into my aquarium? I found something about blood spots on a www search, but no pictures to know exactly what it looks like. <No idea what "blood spots" are. Fancy Angelfish are very inbred and often have things like malformed gill covers, as with the so-called "blushing Angelfish" which lack pigment on the gill covers. You also see gill covers that are twisted or incomplete, exposing the red filaments underneath. So do check this. If the red spot is obviously a wound, i.e., a cut or ulcer, then treat proactively with a Finrot remedy to prevent secondary infection.> What do you think & can you give me any suggestions on what I should do? Thank you. <Cheers, Neale.>

The red area of the operculum is genetic. RMF.

Angelfish Help 1/17/08 Hi WWM Crew. <Hello,> I bough a bumblebee cat for my 20L South Am. set up <Which "Bumblebee Cat" -- there are several species sold under this name, not all of them are good community fish.> and a week after (I don't have a hospital tank..) the cat had ick and so did my angel so I tried to treat but the plants absorbed it like sponges. <Hmm... no. Plants don't "absorb" medications.><<Mmm, can absorb... remove. RMF>> So I put him in my in my 47C with my rainbows b/c I have a 14 African with all scaleless fish. <Let me get this straight... you had a catfish with Ick, and before it was cured you moved it into ANOTHER tank...? Sounds a great way to give the Rainbowfish Ick as well as the catfish.> A week later it finally cleared up but during the process he became timid and always hid in the 20 and 47. <It's a catfish. This is what they do. Most catfish are nocturnal; ergo, most catfish hide. If you want fish that move about during the day, get something else.> The only strong current was in the 47 but its deep so he stayed @ the bottom. Hasn't been the same since. His eyes are kind of cloudy and is shedding mucus. <Doesn't sound promising. Check the water chemistry and water quality. Let's assume this catfish is Microglanis iheringi. It wants spotlessly clean water that is neutral to slightly acidic, with relatively low (but not zero) hardness. Cloudy eyes are often caused by mechanical damage: clumsy netting for example, or swimming into scratchy objects. Microglanis iheringi is a social species and should be kept in groups of at least three specimens. If yours is a singleton, the stress of being moved to a new tank may have made it distinctly unhappy. Adding some pals would help.> He would always wait for me and watch what I was doing now he hides in corners and in plants. He was one of my very first fish and is about 1 1/2-2 yrs old. <Check water quality and chemistry first. Look at the fish for signs of Finrot and/or Fungus. Act accordingly. All else being equal he should settle down in time.> Thanks, Dan <Cheers, Neale.>
Re:: Angelfish Help 1/17/08
Sorry if I threw you off. Everything was about the angel. <Ah, wasn't at all clear in your letter. Regardless, the advice still stands: check water quality, chemistry. Look for potential sources of mechanical damage. Observe for Fungus/Finrot. Act accordingly. Angelfish are super-sensitive to poor water quality, including nitrate. I'd likely treat a fish with cloudy eyes in a quarantine tank with anti-Fungus/anti-Finrot medication such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000 proactively. Won't do any harm, and could help. Cheers, Neale>

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

Fixing Up My Grandparents Tank... FW Angel sys., hlth.  12/25/07 Hello WWM, <Joe> Recently, on Christmas day, I visited my Grandparents and it was sad to find out that the Angelfish I had bought them 6 years ago passed away. I set the tank up for them when I was in 7th grade, about the time when I was getting into the hobby. I didn't know a lot, and I set up a 6 gallon eclipse tank with some tetras, the angelfish, and an anubis (sp?) <Anubias> plant. The tetras never made it, but the plant and angelfish did. <Needs more room...> The anubis plant is still around, and has grown well and green. The angel grew very large in the small tank, reaching about 4 inches in length, not having a lot of room to swim. It was until a year or two ago I realized the tank was too small, and was surprised how he was still alive and well. <Might have lived much longer, better in a bigger volume> Getting them a larger tank would be hard, since they don't know a lot on how to keep the tank. <What other possibilities are there Joe? Patterns... consequences> I considered taking him and placing him in my larger freshwater tank, but it would have caused problems in my tank, and yet the angel provided my grandparents with company. They loved the fish, <... not by my def.. If/when something is "loved" the folks involved do their best to provide what is "positive to the nature" of the other/s...>  and were pretty sad to see him go. I couldn't tell what was wrong with him, couldn't see any markings, but I did notice his eye was a little red in one spot for a while, and when he died that his mouth was a little chopped up looking. My cousin said it was fungus, but I am not sure. It looked like he had "chin hairs' or something. Now we need to decide what to do with the tank. Its been established for 6 years, and I don't know if it is a good idea to dump it, do some serious cleaning, take out the rocks, etc. I figured I would clean half the tank water out and wait a few weeks in case there were diseases. <Environmental only likely> Here are the parameters. Temp 79, Ph. 6.8, Nitrate 35. I need your advice on what to do. Should I get a new tank, do some cleaning, dump it. Also, a suggestion on what fish would do well in the tank and some plants that can also cope with the low lighting the tank has. Thank you Joe <All posted on our site, "waiting" for your perusal... Including FW Angelfish Systems if you'll look. Bob Fenner>

Help! FW Angels, hlth.   12/25/07 Hello all, Searched the sight to no avail this is my problem, I have a 55 gal fresh water tank with 4 angle fish now its down to 3 The problem started about 2 weeks ago. The one angle <Angel...> the larges of the 3 started to get a small spot on its side just under the line on its side all the scales are missing then the same happened with 2 of the other ones, I did a water change and at the time the ph was around a 6 and zero for the ammonia those have not changed after a 25% water change a few days after that they began to develop small white spots "not ick spots" just 1 or 2 on the upper fin close to the body they look like small pimples and almost looked like ph burn along with time where the scales where missing along with a large hole in the top of their heads about the size of a bb right above the nostril, I started treating them with Melafix stuff <Worthless> as directed then the pimples where gone but left a hole where they where from one side of the body to the other, it almost looks like something bit chunks out of them in places, there is no loss in feeding no odd swimming and no odd behavior I don't understand what is going on, I tried to get a photo of the one larger angles problems but it is kind of hard to see and I apologize. Any help would be great, Thank you, Ryan NY. <Do you have access to a microscope? These marks could be something resultant from a chemical insult of some sort, but might be parasitic... Look like injury sites as well... what other livestock is present, have you seen them fighting? Have you introduced new life, live foods... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangdisfaq3.htm and the linked files above for more roundabout input. Bob Fenner>

Sudden FW angelfish death... & Epistylis/Protozoan f'  11/25/2007 Hi, <Hello.> I've been reading and reading your site looking for answers to the sudden death of one of my Leopard Angelfish. <Hmm... sudden deaths are always signals to check aquarium conditions: water chemistry, water quality, correct functioning of heaters, filters.> I've had these 5 Leopards ( none larger than half dollar size and most between half dollar and quarter in size) for about 4 weeks in a 12 gal QT. <Quite a small tank even for juvenile Angels, and small Angelfish do not, in my experience, always travel well. I recommend people buy them around half-size, say, 5-6 cm.> The fish arrived just after an outbreak of ich in my 55 gallon cycled tank and so I had to move the worst victims of ich into the hospital tank leaving the 12 as my only resource and not cycled. I have been doing twice weekly 25% water changes ever since to the 12 gal QT and checking the levels of ammonia, PH 7- 7.2 , nitrites and nitrates and all were kept at zero or nearly so. <When it comes to nitrite, "nearly zero" isn't good enough. Cichlids generally, and Angelfish especially, are sensitive to dissolved metabolites.> The nitrate being the only one ever over 0 and not over .25. <0.25 mg/l of nitrate is safe. But do you really mean this? Not many test kits are this accurate! Most seem to measure on a scale of 0-100 mg/l. Nitrite, on the other hand, is commonly measured between 0 and 1 mg/l.> Is this enough of percentage of a water change each time? <No. 50% per week, minimum.> This tank also has a Bio Wheel and I added a small pouch of charcoal- ammonia absorbent in addition to it's regular filter material. <Well, bin the charcoal for a start. If this is an uncycled tank, then you may as well use Zeolite (ammonia remover) exclusively. I'd personally skip any sort of fancy filter for this. Just go with a plain vanilla bubble-up box filter stuffed with Zeolite. Replace the Zeolite every week. You can usually recharge Zeolite, so get two "batches", and use one batch while recharging the other. There's absolutely no point cycling a tank with Angelfish -- they will die long before the filter bacteria come on-line.> They've been healthy and lively and voracious eaters, but not overfed I think. This morning I noticed one of the larger angels staying low in the water near the heater. Tank heat is kept at 80 degrees. I have just seen on your site that I should probably vary their diet more than I have been doing. They've mostly been on flakes and freeze dried worms. They ignored my attempts at adding an algae pellet though. <Angels will eat anything... if hungry enough. They are easily overfed. I'd use a mix of plain flake, Spirulina flake, and live/frozen/freeze-dried insect larvae. Because they willingly gorge themselves, you have to be careful not to put too much food in the tank. One or two flakes per day is plenty for Angelfish this size. Since they're young, feed perhaps twice per day. Do watch the nitrates though, and try to keep below 20 mg/l and certainly no more than 50 mg/l.> I went ahead did my regular 20-25% water change this morning, and by this evening the lethargic angel was worse, lying or hovering near the bottom seeming to gasp for air. The other fish were fine, acting normally and active except for one other large angel that seemed to be chasing the other three away from the sick fish. <Indeed. Angelfish are schooling animals when young, but become territorial as they mature. All too often people end up with a single big Angel that rules the tank.> I did another water test and the levels were the same, Ammonia 0, Ph around 7- 7.2 and the nitrates and nitrites 0. At about midnight my poor angelfish died. <Oh.> There were no signs of any battering, discoloration in fins, skin, not a mark, but I did notice a tiny speck of red near the outer edge of the eyeball on both eyes, but in different placements. I'm totally baffled as these fish were tank raised and extremely healthy from the minute they arrived and showed no signs of any distress or illness whatsoever. I've grown quite attached to them to the extent that I don't even want to put them into the now healthy 55 community tank and would like to upgrade to a 30 gallon tank for just them. I considered them so "pristine" and didn't want to take any chances on them being exposed to diseases. <Quarantining new stock is always a good idea.> What do you think happened? The only thing I can think of after all the reading I've done is water quality and ammonia, nitrate or nitrite poisoning, but that doesn't make sense with the readings I took. The kit is fairly new, but I'm not exactly sure of the expiration date since it was marked on the covering of the kit which I threw out a while ago. I hope this is enough information. <To be honest, I have no idea what precisely happened here. Sometimes very young fish don't travel well, and one or two in the batch will die. This is less of a problem with big fish because people tend to bag them up sensibly. Profit margins on big fish are proportionally smaller, so everyone along the distribution chain takes more care. But small fish are often overcrowded. Individually each fish makes a proportionally larger profit, so if a few die, it doesn't matter. Mass-produced fish also tend to be produced for a quick sale rather than quality, and there's free use of antibiotics by the farmers and wholesalers, and by the time they arrive at your house these drugs have worn off and the results of overcrowding become apparent. For now, I'd not blame yourself, but simply focus on water quality and correct diet.> Thanks for your wonderful site. It has the best tips, help and advice I've found anywhere on the internet. <Thanks!> Thanks you in advance for any insight you can give me. Polly <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death 11/25/2007 Neale, <Polly,> thanks for some answers to water quality, tank size and feeding. Good advise. <Cool.> This morning the remaining 4 Leopards are still fine and looking unaffected by whatever killed the other one. These fish came from a very small breeder in Michigan and I was worried about them travelling when I bought them via Aquabid, but they were well packed, double bagged and in Styrofoam qt. size cups, with oxygen, a mild sedative and an ammonia blocker and when I acclimated them to the QT they moved in and bounced back like champs almost immediately. I think I was very lucky there. The breeder/seller communicated with me and wanted to know how they arrived, talked me through any questions about acclimation and general appearance, behavior, etc. A good man who was into his fish, which he bred himself, rather than the moola, I think. <This is indeed the best way to buy Angels, and it sounds like you've dealt with a very decent supplier. My comments were really more about the mass produced fish farmed in Florida and Southeast Asia, primarily for the low end of the market.> So you think a 50% WC once a week is better than 25% twice a week? <Yes.> Not to sound dumb here, but why is it better? <Many reasons. Primarily a question of dilution and reducing the effect of acidification. So, your filter removes certain pollutants, but does nothing about nitrate, phosphate, organic acids. These accumulate. Nitrate is a known toxin to cichlids generally, being at least one of the factors behind hole-in-the-head as well as a general lack of vigour. Diluting by 50% each week is the cheapest, easiest way to get good water quality. Works better than carbon for a fraction of the cost. Acidification is something that happens in all aquaria. The longer the interval between water changes, and the smaller those water changes are, the more acidification takes place. This is one of the reasons why new fishes put into an old tank sometimes fail: the existing fish have adapted to the sub-optimal conditions, but the new livestock are shocked. Again, water changes are the cheapest, easiest way to maintain a steady pH.> I never intended to use the angelfish to cycle the QT tank, just got stuck because of the Ich in the 55. I've been looking around for a good price on a 30 gal for them, but since I'm running a 30 with 7 female Bettas and 5 Corys, the 55 community and two 10 gal with guppies in one and 6 baby Pearl Gouramis in the other and three 5 gals with single male Bettas I have to tread softly with my husband who is strictly a dog person! lol <Indeed! Perhaps keep Dogfish, so you'll both be happy. (Note to Americans: a Dogfish is British vernacular for small sharks, particularly Scyliorhinus spp., which for some bizarre reason Americans called Cat-sharks!> Also, do you think I should switch over to a sponge filter in the 12 QT instead of the Bio Wheel? I have one spare hanging around. <If both are being used as purely biological filters, then stick with the one that is most mature. But in quarantine tanks, using a box filter filled with Zeolite is invariably easier, cheaper, and more reliable than any biological filter. You have a zero run-in time, and you can sterilise it between uses.> Thanks again, Polly <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death 11/25/2007 Neale, <Polly,> all makes perfectly good sense to me and thanks for the answers to my questions. <Good-oh.> We always called those small sharks, Dogfish around here in Maine too and they are nasty guys. Like to go for the bait in the lobster traps and will follow the traps up while they are being hauled. Just hoping for the bait or a nice fat Lobster to fall out I suspect. VBG <Ah, I guess that's why they call New England 'New England'... because you speak English rather than Americanese! And yes, ours steal food from Lobster Pots too. They're actually pretty amazing animals. Live for at least 30 years, and perhaps as many as 100 years. The eggs take 2 years to hatch. Not something for the impatient aquarist!> I will switch to a 50% WC in my tanks once a week from now on and just rotate the days when each tank is scheduled, add to the diet for the angels and follow your advise. <Sounds good.> I'm going to look into the Zeolite too. <Yes, Zeolite is definitely a good idea in temporary tanks or any sort of tank where you don't have time to mature the filter. Cheap and effective, provided you start off with enough to deal with the ammonia produced by your livestock.> Thanks, Polly <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death  11/26/07 Neale, <Paula,> when it rains, it pours! <Indeed?> The Leopard Angelfish are still fine, but when I was doing the WC in the Betta/Cory tank, I noticed that my largest Cory had some spots on him, def. not ich or velvet. They appear to be oval-ish and are concentrated on his spine and the base of the dorsal fin and tip of dorsal. <Hmm... sure this isn't Ick? Do also cross off silt particles and air bubbles. Both of these can stick to fish and be mistaken for parasites.> I QT'ed him in the hospital/baby tank, promptly discovered that the Gold Platy was starting to give birth, moved her into a breeding/bearing net hung over the side of the community tank where she lives and went to do some research on the internet to see what was up with the Cory. <Not a great fan of breeding traps, so do take care not to stress her. I prefer to use floating plants, and then remove the fry as they're discovered hidden among the plants, either to a trap or to another tank.> It sounds like Epistylis from the descriptions given. Can't seem to find any pictures that show it though. I went back and took a magnifying glass and flashlight and checked him out and the spots are not ich-like in appearance at all, not moving and one spot, near the end of the dorsal fin, is tufted a bit. The other spots are oval, greyish-white in color as well and as I said, concentrated in two or three areas. He has a space missing on his tail fin, but no growth or spots on that area. <Does indeed sound like Epistylis.> If indeed it is Epistylis, do I treat him in the 2.5 gal tank with something like Jungle fungus meds? <I'd treat the tank with the anti-fungus medication of your choice. Corydoras generally tolerate these medications well.> Do I treat the Betta/Cory tank as well or just keep and eye on the others and see if something develops? <Treat the tank.> I did noticed that some of the other Corys have a few ragged fins! <Fins sometimes get ragged when Corydoras are mixed with aggressive or nippy fish; otherwise can be a prelude to Finrot.> I try and spend time each day sitting and closely looking over each fish to see if there is anything different in their physical appearance or behavior. Yesterday this sick Cory was just a tad underactive. Think it's a female from the size and width of the body, but not positive. I didn't notice any ragged fins on the others until today either. You must think I'm a bad fish mamma at this point. Sorry to keep bothering you. <Don't worry about that.> thanks, Polly <You're welcome, Neale.> BTW, the Platy has had three babies since I moved her and then stopped giving birth. Stress from the move most likely. Babies look good. <Good-oh.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death -11/27/2007 Neale, <Paula,> Just went and looked at the Cory in the QT and the lesions/spots have reduced in number, but some are still present. Are they going into another reproductive phase, something like the ich spores do? <No, I don't think so. Epistylis is a ciliate protozoan that mostly just sits there on a fish. It's not a parasite as such; as I understand it, it's more a fouling organism than anything else (i.e., like barnacles on a boat).> That brings up lots of questions in my mind, secondary infections etc. but .... I then checked the Betta/Cory tank and three of the Corys have no signs of fin damage, color good, very active and looking for food. The fourth is looking a little lethargic, fins ragged and no spots or lesions, nada, just out of sorts and not active or looking for food, similar to how it started with the sick Cory. Should I haul him out into the QT with the sick Cory and still treat the Betta/Cory tank as well as the QT tank? <Definitely treat both tanks with anti-Fungus/anti-Finrot. Trying to target one particular fish is probably a waste of time here because the pathogens are in the aquaria generally.> BTW, Bettas are fine and active, eating, clear of anything on their skin. <Good.> As of midnight last night, I did another 25% WC on the Betta/Cory tank, bringing the total WC for yesterday to 50% on that tank. There was some uneaten stuff and crud underneath an aquarium decoration and around the roots of some of the heavier planted sections of the tank .  I removed the large decoration and tried to really clean up the crud, for lack of a better description, and left the decoration out afterward to make it easier to do WC in the event of doing treatments to the tank for any length of time. Did a 50% WC to the QT tank as well. <Good.> As for the weapon of choice in treatment. Here's what I have in house right this minute. Will any of these do any good? I have been trying to buy meds every time I go to the LFS to have them on hand, but as you can see I am still way under stocked on what I imagine are all the basics. Ich Attack by Kordon, for ich, fungus, Protozoans, and dinoflagellates <Might work; Epistylis is apparently sensitive to Formalin and Malachite Green.> Ick Guard II by Jungle <Ditto.> Fungus Clear Tank Buddies by Jungle (tablets, 1 tab per 10 gallons) <Won't fix the Epistylis, but will help with the ragged fins.> Pimafix <Useless.> Melafix <Useless.> Bettafix <Useless.> Aquarium Salt <Might help if used in the same way as for treating Ick, but not my weapon of choice here.> Erythromycin and another antibiotic...it's downstairs at the moment and I forget, but I tried to get one gram positive and one gram negative when I bought them. <Useless. Antibiotics are for bacterial infections only.> I do live on an actual island. No bridge, and therefore can't just pop into town willy nilly. My husband is going to go over to the mainland this afternoon and if there is anything he could pick up this would be a good time. What meds should I have him get if none on hand are appropriate? <See above; you may already have the tools required. Check the ingredients lists on the medications, or simply test them out. Epistylis isn't doing the fish any direct harm -- the problem is that they open a wound that can become infected, and furthermore that they occur at all is a sign of middling to poor water quality.> To sum up, still treat the Betta/Cory tank as well as the QT with a fungus med? Move the second Cory exhibiting signs of Epistylis to the QT , OR treat him in the Betta/Cory tank? <Treat both tanks. There's no mileage in isolating diseases caused by environmental issues, since all fish are likely subject. So treat all fish up front to prevent further infections.> Much thanks once again. You are very patient with all the questions and problems I've thrown at you in just two days time. Let's hope the rain stops pouring ASAP. <It will.> BTW Angelfish still fine. <Double-plus good.> Thanks, Polly <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death  11/28/2007 Hi Neale, <Polly,> well, I lost the first sick Cory in the QT . <Too bad.> I had started treating both tanks with the Jungle Tank Buddies for Fungus as I hadn't heard from you and I thought I needed to do something quick. (The time difference between us. ) I didn't go with the Kordon Ich Attack as it doesn't contain anything but botanicals, no chemicals like formalin or malachite green. <This is a somewhat unwelcome trend: eschewing proven pharmaceuticals in favour of ingredients that may be safer and less toxic if overdosed, but are of questionable usefulness in some cases.> I probably waited too long for the first sick Cory or he was traumatized by the move and being alone as well. You know how Corys are. They look like little tanks that can take anything, but they are so social. <Indeed. With schooling fish it is normally best to treat the tank rather than individual fish. Lone Corydoras don't necessarily die, but it is one more stress factor on an already sick fish.> I did a water test before I did anything to treat the 30 gal tank or do the WC that brought me up to the 50% WC total, forgot to mention this last post. Everything read as it should. Ph was between 7.2 and 7.6, I have high PH normally from the well water, the ammonia was 0, nitrites and nitrate 0 as well. <All sounds fine. Corydoras are relatively indifferent to water chemistry, and tolerate hard, alkaline water just as readily as soft, acidic water. What matters to them is stability and quality more than anything else.> That didn't make sense to me since the problem is an environmental one, so I did a test on the 55 and got the same results except the PH being different from the 30. The 55 gal was at PH 7-7.2 and nitrate and nitrite 0. Could the test kit be getting old and need to be replaced? <Possibly. But it also important to remember that aquaria have a background acidification process. So as soon as you put water into any aquarium, it gradually becomes more acidic unless something acts to stop that. The key factor is decay of organic material, which produces organic acids, and these lower the pH. The speed with which the tank acidifies depends on its size, its loading of fish, the amount of organic matter (including plants and algae), the presence of alkaline buffers such as tufa rock, the nitrate level, the ammonia level, the amount of carbon dioxide, aeration, and the frequency of water changes. In other words, no two fish tanks will acidify at the same rate, so it is entirely possible that these two tanks will have very different environmental conditions despite receiving the same type of "new" water each water change.> I bought it within the last month, but it was the last one for FW on the shelf at the LFS and didn't know about expiration dates for tests. Didn't check to see what the date might be and it was apparently on the outer clear packaging cause I can't find it anywhere in the actual test kit. <Test kits can and do go "bad", but this is rare unless the kit is extremely old. The chemicals are largely inert, and provided they are stored somewhere cool and dark they should be stable for many years.> Since I wasn't sure of the test kit's accuracy, I did a 50% WC on all the other tanks that hadn't been done over the weekend, except the guppy and baby tank (did 20% on that ) because that tank seems to always be fine, totally knackered me, but done. I'm so completely paranoid now about the other tanks that I see cilia and parasites in my sleep. lol <Ah, the joys of fishkeeping.> Obviously, my problems are directly linked to poor water quality and my husbandry. My question ( will they ever stop you think?) is... are water parameters not always linked with cleanliness, are the two not one and the same? <Interesting question. Most disease is directly or indirectly linked to water quality and water chemistry. Provided those two factors are appropriate to the fish being kept, the incidence of disease should be very low. While disease can sometimes happen for other reasons, such as genetics or the introduction of unquarantined livestock, at a first-pass there's a lot of wisdom in assuming any unexplainable sickness was caused by water quality and/or chemistry issues. Now, cleanliness can be looked at two ways. Oddly enough, visible waste tends not to be a major problem. Yes, decaying plant material and fish faeces contribute to acidification, but "the wild" is full of decaying material that the fish don't seem to be harmed by. Indeed, many fish, such as catfish and loaches and cichlids, positively revel in the stuff, extracting significant parts of their diet from the decaying material or micro-organisms living therein. Invisible waste, on the other hand, is the killer: nitrite and ammonia in the first league of dangers, and then nitrate somewhere below them. On the other hand, regular water changes undertaken to remove solid wastes in the tank invariably dilute the invisible wastes, and a good mechanical filter with plenty of current will not only remove solid wastes but like have plenty of space for a good biological filter as well. So while the two things are not identical, they do tend to go hand-in-hand as far as practicalities are concerned. It's too simplistic to say a clean tank is a healthy tank: after all, a brand new aquarium may look spotless and yet have high levels of ammonia and nitrite because the filter isn't mature. But established aquaria that are kept clean through water changes and adequate filtration tend to have zero/low levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate as well.> Can there be too much goop or pollution in the bottom of the tank that never show up on a test kit's results and should water from testing be from the lower regions of the tank? (why the Corys were the first affected?) <Not normally, no. But if the sediment at the bottom of the tank becomes anoxic because it isn't regularly cleaned somehow, it can house bacteria that can, in theory, cause problems. In practise this is an easy fix. If you're using sand, for example, keep it thin and install some burrowing snails (such as Malayan livebearing snails) which will aerate the sand in the same way as earthworms on land. Catfish and loaches generally like to dig and will keep sand very clean anyway. Gravel can be more of a problem to keep clean (surprisingly to some) but when stirred once a week at water change time cleaning gravel shouldn't be too difficult.> Hypothetical question.....say the second sick Cory makes it and has some open wounds from the Epistylis. Should I then treat the tank for possible secondary bacterial infection problems? <Yes.> What would be the med of choice? If antibiotics, gram positive or negative? <I can't really answer this from experience, since antibiotics aren't available to aquarists in the UK. But my expectation would be a product such as Maracyn would be appropriate. Really anything to treat Finrot, as that will get the Aeromonas/Pseudomonas bacteria likely the problem here.> The more I write, the more questions I have and the guiltier, to the fish and you I feel. Is there a book you can recommend that I should buy that you consider the best reference for fish disease and treatment? <Many, many choices. I happen to like the 'Manual of Fish Health' by Chris Andrews et al.> Thanks Neale, You Da' Man, Polly <You're welcome.> Angel fish fine, mother Platy ate the 3 babies, you are right about breeding nets! <Indeed. Trust me: floating plants work much better. Simply check the tank once or twice a day and scoop out the babies as you see them. Any floating plants will do. Even bunches of pondweed or algae. Plastic plants even. The baby fish instinctively go into them, and the parents tend not to notice them.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death 11/28/07 Once again, thank you Neale for the detailed answers to my questions.  They are extremely helpful and make me want to do more reading on water chemistry, acidification, substrates, different types of filtrations systems, aeration, etc. Lots more reading! VBG <Very good! Once you understand the basics of water management, everything else in fishkeeping is easy. But if you're muddled about water management, then things become more dicey. An hour or two spent reading around this topic is time very well spent.> The second Cory is still with us and shows improvement. He never developed the full blown growths on his body and after spending most of yesterday on the bottom hiding in some plants, came out in the early evening to hang out with the other three and actually start to actively ferret around on the gravel for food. <Good stuff. I find that once a sick fish starts feeding again, you're almost always home free.> On further examination of the hype on the Jungle Fungus Tank Buddies box, it states that it also contains something to fight secondary bacterial infections, but I will probably also treat with something else for the fin damage that he displays. The other three Corys still seem unaffected. <I have never used that medication so can't speak from experience.> The substrate in this tank is a combination of an under layer of Fluorite with some gravel over it to keep the fluorite in place and make cleaning easier. The fluorite is great for the plants, but I've found it hard to deeply vacuum without causing major cloudiness. <A problem with sand. The trick is not to vacuum. Instead, let the catfish and plants and Malayan livebearing snails do the hard work for you. Also lower the sand on one corner so detritus collects there. You can then siphon or even pipette waste as required. Much easier.> There is probably an inch of Fluorite and a 1/2" of gravel over it. In our LFS it's is very hard to find small/ medium uncoated gravel for our FW tanks. <I sympathise. I tend to buy my substrates from garden centres. Easier and cheaper, provided you choose smooth, lime-free sand or gravel rather than, say, sharp sand.> I like the Fluorite for the plants, but am not too sure I like the substrate for the fish. I have just Fluorite in the 55 gal tank , about 1" deep. The Betta/Cory tank is running a Bio Wheel filter, minus the media right now. I will be adding Zeolite, which my husband found for me on his mainland trip the other day, to all the tanks. <Zeolite is completely redundant on tanks that have biological filters. Serves no purpose whatsoever other than wasting your money in these cases. Zeolite is exclusively for tanks with no biological filter, e.g., quarantine tanks or tanks with strongly acid pH.> I love planted tanks, but have decided that too many decorations such as rocks, caves, artificial tree trunks, etc. are too hard to clean around if not lifted at least every other time I do a WC, so have removed quite a bit of the aquascaping add ons and will try letting the plants and maybe one cave for the shy fish, suffice. If you're finding too much silt and detritus, it is likely you have insufficient water movements and/or mechanical filtration. In a tank with complete circulation, there shouldn't be any solid waste on the plants or gravel. Well, maybe a bit, but not enough to be unsightly. So, do check water currents around the tank, and if required, add another filter. If the bottom of the tank has poor water flow, this will mean higher levels of ammonia and nitrite down there, and this could be a factor for your catfish's ill health.> I went to amazon.com to see if the Manual of Fish Health was available and found there seems to be a revised edition. The Interpet Manual of Fish Health by Andrews! I assume it is a revised edition anyway, and will order it. <My copy is from '88. It's a good book. Good level of science, but lots of photos and charts explaining what's going on.> As for snails......I had one hitchhiker on a plant and now have what seems to be a million in the Baby/guppy tank, Yikes! No sure I want to introduce them on purpose as I'm sure they will appear, as if by magic in due time in the tanks they haven't yet. LOL <Snails can be a mixed blessing, but do remember they turn waste into snails. In a clean tank, their numbers tend to be very steady, and removing them by hand works fine. Snail plagues almost always follow over-feeding and under-cleaning.> I'm cultivating a Java Moss like type plant in the baby tank and will move some of it into a birthing tank. Will save those breeding traps for brief isolation and examination purposes. VBG <Enjoy the babies! Best bit of the hobby, I think.> Thanks again, Polly <Bon chance, Neale.>

Constipated angelfish (severe), FW  - 11/20/07 HI Bob, Your site is awesome! I've taken the advise of using Epsom salts @1tablespoon per 10 gal. in order to free up the blueberry sized intestine of my 8 yr. old, 5 ½' black angelfish. It's a 20 gal. tank shared with 2 very small catfish and one large plant. I've had the angel and the plant for 2 ½ years, there have been no sudden changes to the tank. The water condition is fine. I use TetraMin pro, but noticed the worm and shrimp diet recommended on the site. However, today I'm going to stop putting any food at all in the tank until this fish relieves itself. The problem looks severe, the anal is so swollen that it's becoming slightly red. All the fish behave normally except that yesterday I saw the angelfish twitching its 2 lowest fins and making small jerking motions with it's body. I've tried different things with a skinless smashed green pea, but the fish won't eat. It still rushes to the top of the tank always anxious to eat whenever I approach the tank though. Today I'm going to begin slowly upping the dose of salt. Any other suggestions? Thank you! <Greetings. Constipation in cichlids is very common, much more common than people might think. Pellet and flake food is especially bad at causing this, as will freeze-dried foods. The best foods for clearing up constipation are peas, algae, live Daphnia, and live brine shrimp. It does sound as if your fish has developed a prolapsed anus. This will heal by itself once the infection caused by the constipation subsides. Not feeding the fish at all for a couple of weeks will do no harm whatsoever, and if you starve the fish a bit, it might eat the tinned peas more readily. Alternatively you may want to provide live Daphnia or brine shrimps every day or two, as few angelfish turn their snouts up at these. Raising the Epsom salt concentration will also help. Cheers, Neale.>

Orange spots on edge of angel fish fin  10/23/07 Good Day, I have asked my local aquarium store fish specialist and used numerous web databases to try and find out what the orange spots on edge of my angel fish fins are. They just appeared yesterday (see attached photo). There doesn't seem to be any fin deterioration or rot, and no white fungal growths. There are two angel fish in the tank (20 gallon) and only one is affected by the orange spots so far. I have a 20-gallon octagon tank with a Pelican bio wheel filtration system. A brief history of recent events in the 20-gallon tank: 1. Three weeks ago: I noticed that the male angel was getting a bit of white growth on the bottom of his mouth but none on the female angel. He has had this occur periodically over the last three years - so I treated the tank with Furan-2 as this usually takes care of the problem. I followed the directions of the Furan-2 package for dosing and water changes. After the treatment was finished, I did the final 25% water change and put in a new carbon filter. 2. The male seemed recovered but the female was beginning to shoe signs of distress. Her abdomen was swollen, "panting" when breathing; she wasn't eating - just hanging out in the back of the tank. I talked to my local aquarium store fish specialist and he suggested that I switch to Maracyn-Two. So, I treated the tank for the recommended five days. The female began eating some and seemed to be recovering. 3. Then the tank took a bad turn. Seems the Maracyn-Two killed all of my good bacteria. Water quality: ph was about 7, ammonia was zero, but the nitrate was high. The tank clouded up, so I began dosing the tank daily with Cycle to rebuild the nitrifying bacteria population. The tank cleared in about four days. 4. The female was still swimming around and more active but still not feeding very well. The local aquarium store fish specialist suggested that the female might be egg bound. So, I looked this up on a web database and the suggestion was 1 tablespoon of Epson salt per 10 gallons of water. I treated the tank once and the female seemed to perk up a bit more. But was still not very interested in eating. These angels usually eat right away and I feed them twice a day. So, here we are now with the orange spots on the edge of the females fins. She is not eating when I observe at feeding time, but both of these angels have the habit of grazing on bits of food that they miss that settles on the bottom of the tank; maybe she is eating that way. The water quality today is: was about 7.2, ammonia was zero, but the nitrate was still high. My local aquarium store fish specialist today suggested the Nitra-Zorb filter media to rebalance the water quality. I bought one this afternoon and have removed my charcoal filter and installed the Nitra-Zorb. Any ideas on what is causing these orange spots? Joyce <Hi Joyce. At first glance, my guess here would be that these are Finrot, and should be treated as such. They might be some other bacterial infection (such as Mouth Fungus) but most of these external bacterial infections will be treated by anti-Finrot medication anyway. Don't waste time with salt, Melafix, etc. Go straight for the antibacterial medications. Do be sure to remove carbon from the filter if used. Carbon not only removes medications before they do any good, but they're also a waste of time and money. Far better to replace with real biological media that will do something useful. Hope this helps, Neale>

FW Angel... plague return?  10/2/07 I cannot find what may be causing EVERY single angelfish that I put into my tank to die. <... Is this a pandemic of Octomita?> I had 2 very healthy ones for about a year in my 46 bow, I got a new 125 gallon tank and transferred them to that. Water conditions excellent, no ammonia/nitrites/nitrates to speak of, runs crystal clear. Every other fish in the tank is thriving, however I bought a few baby angelfish and put them in, they died within a few days. I got bigger ones, they died within a couple days. Then my older ones died after about 3 weeks of doing well in the tank. I have 22 other fish living in the tank, which include 1 Giant Green Terror <Yikes... not compatible> 2 Flame Dwarf Gouramis 2 Neon Blue Dwarf Gouramis 3 Blue Gouramis 2 Gold Gouramis 2 Large Bala Sharks 2 Boesemanni Rainbows 2 Ornate Rainbows 1 Turquoise Rainbow 3 Clown Loaches 1 Small Black Tiger Oscar <Ditto... will consume most of the other fishes in time...> 1 Albino Cory Cat The old angelfish lived with the Green terror and Bala sharks and turquoise rainbow and loaches in my 46 gallon, and all the other fish were added later. They weren't being harassed by anything, my Oscar is very friendly and keeps to himself all of the time. It has 2 Whisper HOB 60 filters, a Fluval 304 canister run inline to UV sterilizer, and undergravel filtration as well. The decor is currently minimal, with just a couple large slate caves. Is it possible that there is some sort of disease that is transferred only between angelfish? It all seemed to happen after I put the first couple small ones in there <Would you had read... here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangdisfaq3.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish Die Off, FW comm.    9/27/07 Hello <Hi there> I own a live tropical fish store in Michigan and within the past six months, I have not been able to keep freshwater angelfish alive. Is there a problem that you know of that is causing these poor creatures to perish after 72 to 96 hours of arrival? <Yes... a couple in particular... One, an older plaque of Octomita that was the causative organism of "Angelfish Disease" years back... can/should be treated with treatment of existing systems (with Metronidazole/Flagyl), and strict quarantine and treatment with same for all questionable/Far East imported angels or angels that may have come in contact with... The second syndrome is "just exhaustion/stress" from import... Both situations can/are best remedied by buying your Angels from local, or as local as you can find, breeder/s> My suppliers out west will not ship to anyone via plane because they have had other customers complaining of the same problem. Six months prior, angels were great, healthy, and eating. Now they come in looking healthy but within a couple of days, perish. Could it be the same as with the piranha deal? <Mmm, yes> Thank you! Sincerely, W.L. <Try the Metronidazole... get folks about you to breed/supply you... Bob Fenner>

Freshwater angel fish... sys., hlth.    9/25/07 hello crew, <Hello.> greetings and thank you in advance, I will describe the problems I have been having with freshwater angels. I have only been trying plain Jane pet store angels, not wild types etc. I have had success with convict cichlids, breeding and rearing the young no problem, and my nano reef tank is doing just fine, right now still just "easy" animals, Zoanthids and parazos and a three stripe damsel, and "utility" species, so I have a decent amount of experience keeping fish, my Malawian tank is doing fine, not breeding yet but giving it time, so enough back-story. <OK.> I have recently purchased a few angel fish, one whose body was roughly the size of a half dollar, and 5 the size of a nickle, I watched the tank as best I could. The large fish is still alive and swimming, but the small guys have all perished. <Very small angels do not travel well. Also, angels are bullies, and big ones pick on small ones. Contrary to popular myth, they aren't really schooling fish. Juveniles congregate in groups, it is true, but adults form territorial pairs. So, the classic way to start with angels is buy a group of 6 identically sized angels, rear them together, and then remove the excess fish once a stable pair has formed.> There are not detectable levels of ammonia or nitrite, the nitrates are a bit higher than i realized, the tank had previously been the home of my breeding pair of convicts, as well as some tiger barbs and a guppy, the guppy being the only one still in there. <Angels, like all cichlids, are intolerant of nitrate. The goal is less than 50 mg/l, and ideally less than 20 mg.l.> I had tried angles before, prior to the convicts, and failed then, i then tried the convicts and right away, in the same tank they did just fine. <Convicts and angels are very different fish in terms of hardiness. This is especially true with "fancy" angels, which are the ones most commonly sold. These have been selected for looks, not hardiness or behaviour, with the net result that many fancy angels are very unpredictable in terms of maximum size, disease resistance, hardiness, and aggression.> ok on to the questions, I apologize for the long story before the question. Just how sensitive to hardness, nitrates, and PH are domesticated angels? <Varies, but as a baseline, tank-bred angels are indifferent to pH and hardness within a range of around 5-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8. Nitrates as mentioned can be more of an issue.> Am I likely to have better luck starting with slightly larger angels? <Quite possibly. But the main thing is to ensure your water chemistry is similar to that of the breeder. As with any fish, changes in water chemistry are more of a deal than what precisely the water chemistry values are. Also, try and avoid the very fancy varieties, things like veil-tails and koi angles. Ideally, pick wild-type angels, as these have been messed about with the least. They will have three or four vertical bands on the flanks and red eyes. Marble angels seem to be reasonably robust, too. Gold angels are less so, and black angels significantly less so.> oh sorry, the tank is a 55. <Should be fine for 6 angels while they're young, but a breeding pair could easily dominate it.> I did massive water changes, using a API tap water filter prior to angel fish introduction, like 13 gallons changed out, current filtration is the H.O.B. filter I had in with the convicts, as well as new Zeolite, (fear of overwhelming the system) and a recently added Fluval 303 which I had not been using, but has carbon in it as well. <OK. Here's some comments on your filtration system. For angelfish (and cichlids in general) you need a filtration system that provides at least 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. The Fluval 303 has a turnover of about 220 gallons per hour, to which you should add the turnover of your second filter. You're looking for a total of at least 6 x 55, i.e., 330 gallons per hour. But this also depends on how well the filter is maintained, and also on what media you use. Zeolite and carbon are both redundant in a well maintained aquarium. Zeolite isn't very useful. It needs frequent replacing (weekly, really) and isn't as effective or economical as a biological filter. Zeolite is really only for hospital tanks and very acidic tanks where filter bacteria will not grow. Carbon is even less useful. It serves no useful purpose at all in a properly maintained freshwater aquarium. Doing 50% weekly water changes will dilute dissolved organics in the water much more effectively than adsorption by the carbon. Moreover, carbon removes medication from the water, making it impossible to treat your fish. So remove both the carbon and the zeolite. Instead, invest in biological filtration. Pack both filters with a bit of mechanical filter media (perhaps 1/3rd) and the rest biological filter media (the remaining (2/3rd). the water I have is very hard, i don't have to add anything for the Malawis. <Shouldn't be a problem. People routinely keep and breed angels here in England where the water is harder than Lake Malawi.> I am at a loss, and i need to know what I am doing wrong. please help, I desperately wan to have success with angels, and eventually Discus. <Whoa... get the angels right, and then move to discus. If you can't keep angels, you have no chance at all with discus.> I am at the point of all but giving up on any soft water species and sticking to the African rift lakes, central America and salt water creatures. <That's certainly a viable approach to take. Fishkeeping is a whole lot easier when you choose fish that like your local water conditions. But in this instance, I'm not sure water chemistry is the critical factor.> Also at some point, after moving to my own house rather than apt. I wish to try native fish, so albeit yes I have "Great Expectations" I am trying to progress in a logical sort of manner. again Thank you for your help, Forrest P.S. have tried to eliminate any typos, spelling errors or grammatical errors. <Well, I hope this helps! Neale>
Re: freshwater angel fish -- 09/25/07
thanks again. will add up on the biological filtration more, and get the nitrates down ASAP, and yeah the Discus are quite a ways off, figure it's always good to have a goal though, I am not thinking of discus in less than 3 years. Thanks again, Forrest <Very good. I'm not sure it takes 3 years to get up to speed for keeping discus, but definitely keeping and breeding angels for a year or so will teach you all the basics. Modern discus are really not all that difficult to keep, especially compared to wild discus. But they ARE less forgiving of mistakes than angels. Once you're happy you can handle angels and get them to breed successfully, there's no reason to feel nervous about discus. As ever read, learn, and be patient while your skills improve. Cheers, Neale>

Re: FW Angelfish, Stocking plan, planted tank start up. -- 09/25/07 Hey Andrea, <Hi Terri!> Its me again! Thank you very much for your wise ways, I am now completely obsessed with organizing this new tank...its sort of funny and very neurotic;) <It gets that way ;-). Beware of MTS (Multiple Tank Syndrome.)> Anyway, due to various reasons, things have really changed and we've decided that we should go with a smaller 20 gallon tank. <Bummer. I usually try to get the biggest I can. I never hear anyone say "I wish I went smaller."> Now we have to learn about new compatibility setups. I have some questions; please advise.. <I'll do my best.> Planned setup is now 20 gallon planted tank: 2 Apistogramma <Ok.> 5 neon dwarf rainbows <Ok.> 3 zebra loaches <Ok. Sounds good!> 1) Could I fit another small school of tetras in here? If so, which compatible species do you recommend? <Hmm...I'd say really that this is pretty stocked the way it is. I suggest you start with what you have picked out, the least aggressive (rainbows, then loaches) to most aggressive (Apistos) and do more learning and research. This is a hobby of patience. Get these, and enjoy them over time (start slowly, stock this over about 3-4 months) and do some extra learning. Subscribe to one of the many aquarium forums out there, and start making some friends. It will help TONS, and you will learn a lot of tricks of the trade, that will help you decide if or whether to stock anything else, and what to add.> 2) I read that dwarf or chain loaches are very inbred and tends towards aggression. Is this true? I think they would be a better match for my setup since they are smaller, but not sure if I can get them here where I live. <I think that Botia Striata (zebra loaches) are a fantastic choice. I have not heard the same inbreeding information as you, but that does not mean it does not exist. I suggest doing a search for chain loach on the WetWebMedia site and online for more information.> 3) Would the zebras loaches be ok with the Apistos? <Yes, I believe so, but again, search on WetWebMedia is your friend here ;-).> 4) Would yo yo loaches really be unsuitable for a 20 gallon setup? <My feelings are yes. They can get pretty large. Also, they really like to dig, so they might really disrupt your plans for a planted tank.> 5) Is there a personality difference in general between Apisto. bitaeniata and Apisto. agassazi? I'm having trouble finding information on the former. <As far as I am aware, there is not much of a difference personality-wise, no. You might try searching on Google.com proper for Apistogramma dedicated sites, which might have more species specific information. Breeders, and breeding registries for specific cichlids generally keep up on a lot of species specifics. You might also try the local library, for books on South American Cichlidae.> 6) Would the loaches be ok in a heavily planted aquarium? I know they have a tendency to move stuff around, but was wondering if you ever heard of it being a major issue with this species. <Some are ok, others can be a real pain. Kuhli loaches like to bury themselves in the substrate. Clown loaches get very large and can knock over rocks and driftwood. However, I have kept skunk Botia and zebra loaches and even clowns in planted aquaria. Much of it depends on a few factors: Your determination and tolerance of their tendency to move things/dig and whether or not you want to keep substrate stirring snails. Snails are a natural part of loach diets. Many planted tank keepers are huge advocates of Malaysian Trumpet Snails and other decorative snails and shrimp. The two do not mix. Loaches will eat them. So, it is one of those compromise things, where you will have to research and decide for yourself.> 7) I live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Canada and the pet store here really doesn't have a good selection of fishes. I sort of have to wait for whatever to come in and then get it then. Are you aware of any good online stores that ship to Canada? Do you think online purchasing and shipping of fish is safe? <I think it is safe, as I have done it many times. I have both sold and purchased fish online. The key is to do so from reputable sellers and buyers. Try checking out some of the sponsor sites on wetwebmedia.com. They are ALL reputable online fish retailers, and I am sure many service Canada. Also, there is a site specifically for fish that is similar to eBay called Aquabid.Com that you could look into; many Canadian sellers on there.> 8) Do you think Apistos are a better choice compared to (German Blue) rams? <I think both fish are fantastic fish. It is personal preference.> Thanks so much for your time, it is so greatly appreciated as I am starting to feel slightly overwhelmed by all the options. You guys are a life saver! <You are most welcome. Anytime. Get yourself an account on an aquarium message board, they are a huge help. I really love the one here on wetwebmedia.com and aquariumadvice.com.> Cheers, Terri

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

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>

FW angels lying on bottom, precious little data   6/20/07 I have three angels. The first started lying on the bottom, breathing heavy and stopped eating. <Very bad signs> Now and then he would start to swim as if nothing was wrong, but eventually would go back to the bottom. About 2 weeks later, the second angel started doing the same. The other fish (third angel, sharks and algae eater) are doing fine. What could be the problem Debbie Ferack <Likely either low dissolved oxygen and/or too much accumulated CO2... No info. offered re the system, maintenance, water quality tests, foods/feeding... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangeldisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>  

Angelfish behavior   6/18/07 Hello Crew, <Hello.> Thank you so much for your speedy reply. I am disappointed to say that I have new developments with the angels. <Oh dear.> The bubble swimming continues with no change and they are swimming up stream toward the power head) but one of my angels has a few other symptoms now and I would like your personal opinion on which medication to try next, I hate to put them through more than one due to the unnecessary stress it causes. <OK.> So last time (5 weeks ago) I used Maracyn-Two and that was when only one fish was showing symptoms and they weren't that clear. <Wouldn't have been my response. Antibiotics are potent tools and used improperly cause more harm than good. If used at all, they're used last of all. It's also axiomatic of good medicine that you don't use a treatment until you've identified the problem.> Now another angel has some "stuff" (pictures attached) around base of his left pectoral fin. <At first glance I'd have said it looks like fin rot. The odd thing is that the fin membrane itself looks fine, it's the base of the fin that is infected. Typically, fin rot works from the distal end of the fin (the "fringe") inwards to the base.> This has been there for the duration of the problems but was much smaller and was hard to tell if it was just an imperfection. Now it is very obvious it is nothing of the kind and needs attention; could this also be what is making the bunch swim crooked from time to time? <Hard to see how or why, except this: when fish find themselves in the wrong water conditions, their instinct is to swim out of them. In the aquarium, this manifests itself by swimming into the current. Now, couple this was Finrot (or possibly Columnaris (a Flexibacter infection) and you have two signs indicating that not all is well in the aquarium. Not proof, but an indication. At the very least, check ammonia or nitrite, nitrate, and pH as these will give you a good handle on the environment. Fin rot is definitely associated with high levels of nitrite and ammonia, and Columnaris tends to be common in overstocked tanks or tanks where water changes are infrequent enough, and the nitrates will indicate this nicely. You're aiming for ZERO nitrite and ammonia, and under 50 mg/l nitrate (ideally under 20 mg/l). The pH for tank-bred angels should be around 6.5-7.5.> In my past experience with infections they have progressed so much faster than this so I am in new territory. <Depends on the infection. Viral infections like Lymphocystis take quite literally years to develop and then fade away, while other infections go from nothing to life threatening in days, as with whitespot.> All the descriptions for treatments I have looked at describe the cotton-like stuff and I have seen that many times and this looks different. <The three "fin" infections are Finrot, fungus, and Columnaris (sometimes, but inaccurately, called "mouth fungus", even though it can occur on more than the mouth and isn't caused by a fungus). Fin rot is usually a pink infection where the fin membrane dissolves but the bones are left behind, creating a ragged appearance. Fungus looks like off-white threads and almost always is associated with mechanical damage such as fin-nipping or poor handling. Mouth fungus is usually a greyish slime with a texture like short tufts or threads. Commonly on the mouth (hence the name) but can occur elsewhere. Almost always occurs on fish kept in fetid, poorly maintained aquaria.> It is light peach colored and more dense and localized. <I agree, it is odd. But I'd assume it is fin rot and treat accordingly.> Hopefully you can see this from the pictures. Also I attached another picture showing the "hair like" extensions you were wondering about. Hope I was right in thinking they were a good sign. <Just the style of fancy angelfish you own. Wild angels don't have these threads, but some of the artificial varieties do.> Thanks again and I will be awaiting your reply. <Cheers, Neale>

FW Angel with "pop eye"   6/13/07 I have exhausted all resources and cannot find a diagnosis, treatment or answer to my problem, so you are my last hope/resort. I have a 40 gallon tank with 2 Bala Sharks, 3 Angels and 1 plecostomus. I have had the tank and all of the fish for close to 5 years and have never had a problem until about 3 months ago. One of my angels had an eye problem, it was protruding, looked like a big bubble but there was also white strands coming out of the side of the bubble. After research and talking to my LFS, angel was diagnosed with "pop eye" and I was told that it was probably due to poor water conditions. <Mmm... if so, the other fishes would show discernible behavioral changes...> Which I could understand as I had not changed the water in some time. I was advised by my LFS that Maracyn-Two would be the most effective treatment and after medicating, to remove and rinse all the gravel. <No...> I did, and angel was fine. Twelve days ago, its' other eye popped out. Again, it almost looked as though it had a big zit behind the eye because there was a white stand coming out of it. Went back to LFS and bought more Maracyn-Two and after 5 days of treatment angels eye had still not fully "deflated" so did another 2 days of treatment, then another 2 days of treatment. Looked as though almost back to normal and was going to do a water change the next day and wow, angels eye is bigger than I have ever seen it! Angel is still eating okay, just has to lean to one side to see the food and spends most of the time in one corner of the tank. My LFS thinks I'm crazy for the amount of money I have spent on medication but I'm not too sure if I'm even using the right medication. Again, your help is greatly appreciated. Kindest regards, Liz Smigel <There are a few possibilities here in terms of probable collateral "cause"... Perhaps water quality is/was an issue... I would NOT continue adding Minocycline or other antibiotic... Perhaps the one angel is "getting old", has some predisposing genetic/developmental issue... That the other angels are not-affected leads me to consider that they may be somehow playing a role here... as aggressors... If it were me/mine, and I had facilities to do so, I would move this one affected specimen elsewhere. Bob Fenner>
Re: angel with "pop eye" -- 06/16/07
Hi Bob - thanks for your advice - unfortunately I don't have the facilities to move my poor angel elsewhere. But you got me thinking when you mentioned the other angels possibly being aggressors - I think that it might be the Bala sharks. <Could be... Balantiocheilus get very large...> I've been concentrating on my poor sick angel and water conditions but never thought that it might be due to injury. My Bala have grown bigger than I thought they would and they are very active, always have been but now they are a 1/3 the size of the tank and they rule. <Yikes... need more space> I have been watching more closely for the last couple of days and they definitely seem to pick on the injured one. So, I have now finished the last of the medication and am going to clean the tank and see what happens. I might just have to face the fact that "angel" is getting old - I don't know what the lifespan of angelfish is but "angel" is now going on 6 years. <Can live for a few decades...> Anyway, thank you again for your time and reply. <Welcome... Thank you for this update... I do think aggression is the root problem here. BobF>
Re: angel with "pop eye"... Bala shark deaths    6/21/07
Hi Bob - last night while I was at work I got a call from my son at 7:30 saying that one of the sharks was lying upside down in the tank - he was dead by midnight. I did a lot of research on the internet as to "sudden death of Bala sharks" and the common answer was that because they are very active they can injure themselves so assumed that was the cause. <Is a common problem, yes> Today I went to my LFS to see what they had to say and they concluded that it was probably self injury or old age <Mmm, Balantiocheilus live a good long while... get surprisingly large... a foot and a half long... Not likely the source of mortality here> or natural causes - heart attack, stroke, along those lines. When I got home this afternoon, my other shark was lying upside down! His eyes are very cloudy! <Environmental...> I keep turning him over but I don't think he's going to survive much longer. Very sad!! Good news is my angels eye has almost returned to normal. Any suggestions? PH is fine. Thanks again for your help. <A bigger system really. Live, tall plants for psychological comfort... Bob Fenner>

Blind angelfish - help!  - 05/26/07 Hi!  I never received a reply to this email.  Please respond.  Thanks so much! <Mmm, okay... have you read here?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelfishes.htm and the linked files above?> Hi WWM Crew!  I have a freshwater tank with one beautiful angelfish in it.  He became very sick a in early April with what I think was either a severe bacterial infection or parasites that led to cloudy eye, fin rot and maybe even hemorrhagic septicemia as his one fin became blood red throughout and very ragged, and he had bloody spots on the long trailing fins beneath him that caused them to fall off below the bloody spots. I treated him with Tetracycline for a few days but discovered it was expired and wasn't strong enough.  He continued to decline to the point that he was circling on his side at the top of the tank and then crashing to the bottom in a death spiral.  In a panic, I immediately changed over to Erythromycin and after two 4-day courses of treatment, he started swimming upright and got better (believe it or not).  However, he is now blind!  Have you heard of this? <Oh yes>   Is there any chance of him recovering his eyesight? <Some, not much... but, can live a good life as is>   I have to feed him by hand each day (which is quite labor intensive as you can imagine!), as he can't see the food to eat it off the bottom or even if it floats down right in front of his face.  But if I put it in his mouth, he gobbles it down.  It is so heartbreaking.  Any suggestions?  <Time going by, vitamin supplementation, hope...> At this point, he is swimming and eating well (when I feed him by  hand), and his ragged fins have completely grown back.  His eye has cleared up as well. And so other than being blind, he is doing very good.  Any advice you can give me would be most appreciated.  My local pet store can't believe he had such a strong will to survive and is still with me!!!  Neither can I, and I am grateful.  Thanks!  Shrek's Mom :-) <Welcome. Bob Fenner>  

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