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FAQs about the Imperator Angel Disease/Health 3

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FAQs on Emperor Angel Health by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Pathogenic (see also:
Angels and Butterflyfishes & Crypt), Social, Trauma, Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: Imperator Angels, Pomacanthus Angels, Marine Angelfishes

Related FAQs: Emperor Angels 1Emperor Angels 2, Emperor Angels 3, Emperor Angel ID, Emperor Behavior, Emperor Compatibility, Emperor Angel Selection, Emperor Angel Systems, Emperor Feeding, Marine Angelfishes In General, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Health, Feeding, Disease,  

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Pomacanthus imperator with flukes and mystery raised scale patch 5/13/09
I purchased my first large angelfish a couple weeks ago. He's a beautiful juvenile Pomacanthus imperator. He's been eating like a pig (I've been feeding him green Nori with added garlic, Formula 1 and 2, all soaked in Zoe and VitaChem on a daily rotating basis). Sadly, he's had some problems.
<<Christine here. Sorry to hear that he has issues, but it seems you knew that before you purchased him. Risky, but I am encouraged to see you really doing this thoughtfully. Feeding regimen is superb.>>
He is housed alone in a 20 gallon quarantine tank with some PVC, live rock rubble, and an established sponge filter. The water parameters test as such:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 10
pH: 8.3
Specific Gravity: 1.024
Temp: 78 degrees F
<all good. You can drop the salinity a bit if you like to encourage any uninvited "friends" living on him to drop off.>
A couple days after his purchase, I noticed him scratching specifically at one gill. Assuming he had ich (I could see a white spot or two) I began treating him with 2.5mg/L concentration of Cupramine.
<Test kit for Copper levels I hope?>
Two days later, I found him displaying telltale signs of flukes. He was twitching his head from side to side, had discolored blotches of skin, some of his fins were frayed, and he was breathing rapidly. I thought for sure that I would lose him. Worried, I did a 5 minutes freshwater dip and flukes fell from his gills, his eyes, and his body.
<Superb work>
I did a 100% water change to remove the Cupramine and stopped the treatment altogether. I did some research and decided to treat the quarantine tank with PraziPro at the recommended dose of 1 teaspoon (5 ml) for the 20 gallons. So far, I have been treating him for 3 days. I saw him scratch once but overall, his breathing has calmed down and he's behaving normally. After 5 days of treatment, I plan to wait at least 3 days and treat with PraziPro again for another 5-7 days at 2.5mg/L
<Good as well.>
Something else bothers me. In the store, I noticed a small area of lifted scales. It looked like a simple physical injury to me and, after being tempted by a cheap price tag, didn't seem like too much of a concern. I've been keeping my eye on it and it seems as though it's slowly changing, almost as if part of the area is shedding off. I'm worried it's another external parasite but this is my first fish problem besides ich. The spot itself is lifted and white. I tried to take some photographs but the fish is so active that it's difficult to get a great shot.
<Angelfish are terrible at posing unfortunately. The pic makes it look like the area has some fleshy tan bits hanging off--is this so, or an artifact of the picture?>
Do you have any ideas on possible treatments and/or a diagnosis? Does his current PraziPro treatment seem realistic and effective?
<Depends on what the problem is. Praziquantel is wonderful for flukes, but not effective for much in the way of unicellular parasites and bacteria, so it won't help you there. Two things: one, if he had ich before, and you did a partial treatment, he still has it in all likelihood. Before he joins your other animals in the display I'd make sure he has had a full course of treatment for ich, either hyposalinity or preferably the rest of the Cupramine course. Second, that lesion could be anything based on the photo--viral, bacterial, remnant damage... You can watch it and see how it goes, or while he is in the middle of the Praziquantel courses you could add some antibiotics to ensure no bacterial infections. Favorites of mine include Kanamycin (hard to find at your LFS but can be found at fishyfarmacy.com) or Nitrofurazone (available locally). For me, expensive desirable fish=high desire to try to treat instead of wait :) >
I know the special needs of this fish regarding diet and space. His final destination will be in a 125 gallon with a 38 gallon sump. Because he is my most expensive fish and I am cheap at heart, I am determined to give him the best care possible!
<As I said so far your treatment and handling has been well thought out and thorough. Do let us know how it goes.>
Thanks for your help!
<pleasure, Christine>

Re: Pomacanthus imperator with flukes and mystery raised scale patch 5/28/2009
Thank you for the quick reply!
Yes, I did test Cupramine while it was being administered. I began testing with a API Copper test kit but found the levels to be somewhat ambiguous. I purchased a Red Sea copper test kit to double check my doses, finding the color chart to be more user friendly. According to Seachem, the Red Sea kit is appropriate.
I've always been wary of copper. I talked to Seachem support to discuss the treatment of flukes with Cupramine.
<Mmm, not my choice of treatments... I'd look to Anthelminthics... Levamisole would be the best... Prazi, others secondary. Less toxic, more specific>
They told me that to be effective against flukes, the copper must be at 0.4-0.5 mg/L. I've only ever treated at 0.25mg/L without issues and am reluctant to use such levels on a delicate fish like the emperor.
<Me too... I would not exceed 0.35 ppm of free cupric ion period>
I will give the emperor a week after the PraziPro treatment to decide to treat for ich. He'll be in the tank for at least three weeks by then. I will keep him in the quarantine until his raised scale issue is healed, which should be plenty of time for ich to raise its nasty head. If it does or if I see any signs, I will treat at 0.25mg/L.
You are correct about the "fleshy bits". The area does have a little fleshy area hanging off. It concerns me greatly. If it does get worse, what would you recommend as a course of treatment?
<No treatment... perhaps the stocking/using of cleaner organisms>
Like I said before, I have little experience with pathologies...I hear a lot about formalin dips. Is that advisable?
<No... too harsh and stressful to move the fish>
Of course I will do more research on treatment options while awaiting your response.
There are other things I noticed today. It seems that this morning, the angelfish was breathing with only one gill. His breathing rate was calm. I've heard that this could be just normal, albeit mysterious behaviour for the fish.
<Yes... also indicative of gill "complaints", e.g. flukes/Trematodes>
Another thing I have observed is two white spots on the ventral (anal?) fin of the angelfish (seen in the image attached now and previously). These have been present for at least four days without change. At first, I thought they were flukes but did not come off during the freshwater dip. They haven't fallen off and/or spread like ich...Could it be something like a slight case of Lymphocystis?
I will take a trip to the LFS to look for the antibiotics you mentioned (Nitrofurazone or Kanamycin). While I am wary of mixing medications, you mentioned adding them to the existing PraziPro treatment. I will do more research in the meantime!
I sincerely appreciate your feedback!
<When in doubt, treat with nothing. BobF>

Re: Pomacanthus imperator with flukes and mystery raised scale patch 5/28/2009
I was rummaging around in my collection of random aquarium bottles and found that I had some API Melafix. Would that work for an antibacterial agent? Personally, I'm not quite sure it is effective...
<It's worse than a hoax... not to use>
I'm pretty sure that the LFS has Nitrofurazone in the form of API Furan-2. Would that be appropriate?
<... I'd leave off with this here as well>
Sorry about sending numerous e-mails. I'm beginning to feel rushed, especially because I'm unsure what to do about the lifted lesion-like area! That, and I do not trust the word of my money-hungry LFS.
<See my prev. close... RMF>

Emperor angel bumps: Probably Lymphocystis SW Viral Disease 4/30/2009
Hey Crew!
<Hi Grant>
Any idea what these bumps on my emperor angel could be?
I really only have experience with ich and this doesn't look like that, it's all clumped up and looks fleshier looking.
<It looks like Lymphocystis You can see some pictures of it here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/viraldislymph.htm and read the FAQs about it here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm >
For history on him, he came from Christmas Island about 2 months ago. I quarantined him, he had ich, I treated with Cupramine.
Once he had been disease free for a period of time, I introduced him to my display tank. He has been fine for about 2 weeks and now he is getting these bumps. there are some on his fins and then some on his side.
<Which is typical>
Thanks for any help you can offer!
<Read the FAQs, Not much really to be done other than keep up with the water quality and good diet. It normally clears itself up in a few months time.>

Treatment Options for Juvenile Emperor with Ich -- 03/22/09
Hello WWM Crew,
Thanks you for your outstanding website. With the help in no small part of your collective advice, I have managed to develop a 135 gallon SPS system which is thriving in a way I could not have imagined when I began this venture about two and a half years ago.
<Ahh, congratulations>
If nothing else, I hope this message is a testimonial to other readers about the value of the quarantine tank.
I also hope that get some of your experienced advice in connection with a juvenile emperor angelfish that I acquired last week. He is a bit small (about 1-1/4 inch nose to tail) but exceptionally energetic and curious. He also demonstrated a very good appetite at the LFS store. I purchased him and introduced him to his temporary home; a 20 gallon OT with "mature" sponge filter, heater and a couple of power heads.
Unfortunately, after a day or two in quarantine, he started showing signs of Ich. Referring to the attached photo, you will likely see the tell-tale spot on his pectoral fin, as well as a couple tiny spots on his caudal and anal fin.
<I see this>
My first response was to begin to lower the salinity of the tank and monitor the progression of the parasite and host (i.e. see if the fish can fight off the Ich with its own natural defenses as he continues to gain strength in QT). I am also wiping down the floor/walls of the QT and replacing about four gallons of make-up water (taking "diluted" water from the main display) on a daily basis.
The salinity is now down to 22 ppt
<Mmm, needs to be quite lower for hyposalinity to be of use here>
and emperor is showing no signs of distress and maintains his voracious appetite. But there is also no evidence of any significant reduction at the affected areas.
<Also good>
I have done lots of research on the subject of Ich and believe that early and decisive action is very important, so I am presently considering two treatment options. The first is to continue the water change and hypo salinity regimen (taking salinity down to 15-16 ppt for the prescribed duration). Assuming I can get to the point where there are no longer any visible spots attached fish, I would do a 100% water change (again, using diluted water from the main display) and completely wash down the interior of the QT.
The second option would be treatment with SeaChem Cupramine, but given the "tender age" of this juvenile emperor, I am concerned about the toxicity affects over the (hopefully long) lifetime of this particular fish.
I realize that it is up to the individual aquarist to take responsibility and implement the appropriate treatment option, but I would very much appreciate hearing the thoughts of folks with your collective experience.
Would you follow one (or both) of the treatments outlined above, or possibly something else altogether?
<Due to the factors you mention, I would go with the first option>
Thanks in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Need help with lesions on emperor angel 2/18/09 Hello, crew: <Steve> This will be a long email but I want to give you full info of my tank, inhabitants, and diet. I have a 600 gallon tank with approx. 150 g sump tank that contains 650 lbs of live rock and the following livestock: 5" juvenile emperor angel 8" queen angel 6" miniatus grouper 8" panther grouper 9" Volitans lion 5" porcupine puffer 12" Naso tang 6" powder blue tang 7" Lunare wrasse 6" harlequin wrasse 13" snowflake eel 5" blue cheek trigger 5" niger trigger 6" pink tail trigger very large red hermit crab (none of the fish even try anything with him) no other inverts I feed the fish quite a varied diet as follows: twice a day I feed a varied combo of Nori alga, angel formula with sponge frozen cube food, life line frozen cube with Spirulina, mysis shrimp, prime flake food, spectrum pellets, Dainichi marine and veggie pellets. I mix and match all these foods during each feeding so I don't overfeed. I make sure the amount given at each feeding is fully consumed within 4-5 min. Every M, W, F, I feed meaty foods consisting of squid, krill, clam, scallops, and silversides. I don't just drop the meaty foods in, but rather try to focus on getting them to the groupers, lion, and puffer. I feed the eel and hermit one piece each with tongs M, W, and F. The wrasses and triggers always get some too as they are so fast. I don't feed any live foods or freeze dried foods. I soak the foods in Zoecon (soon I will try Selcon as I have some on order) and Kent marine Vit C. The water parameters are as follows: nitrate 20-30 ppm, nitrite undetectable, pH 8-8.4, temp 76, SG 1.021-1.022, <Too low...> calcium 420 ppm. <And Mg?> I do run a carbon filtration system (uncertain of exact size/model), UV filter, and ozonizer with orb controller that reads out 380-430 (generally reads about 400). I don't add any iodide or calcium or magnesium specifically to the water. I don't know exact skimmer make but there are two and each is rated for 600 gallons. Don't know exact watt of lighting but is a combination of actinic and VHO bulbs set up to give very nice visibility. No chiller, the water remains at 76 F by itself with two heaters. Tank was set up about 1 year ago and fish have been in it for about 10 months. All fish (including emperor angel-see below) have very healthy appetites and body mass. I have not found one type of food that every single fish in there will not go crazy for during feeding. My groupers go nuts over alga and sponges, and don't spit it out either. The queen angel occasionally chases the emperor and Naso for maybe 1-2 seconds and then forgets about them. The Naso seems to ignore this. The emperor moves away and then immediately continues doing what he was doing when the queen loses interest. This has never resulted in a fin damage or body damage that I have seen. Have had no disease outbreaks thus far (see below comments). All the fish seem to get along well and appear to be acting completely normal. The tank gets a 20% water change every 2-3 weeks. Now that you have the info, here is my main question: I need help figuring out what is affecting my emperor angel. I included some pics for you to see. I figure it is HLLE vs. hole in the head, <Yes... neuromast destruction...> but can't tell which one. The lesions are very symmetric over his face and around his mouth; and they started about 4 months ago, gradually. You really can't tell one side of his face from the other (lesions are very symmetric). Also, you will see the lesions going up his gill margins. As you can see, he is in the process of going toward adult coloration. Not sure if his pale looking face is just part of that change too, but it seems almost translucent to me, rather than a healthy white of the adult (his face is normally more pale and white than shown on the pics). And the pics may not show it, but I can almost imagine a slight red tinge around his mouth area (which I have read is a dietary deficiency issue). The lesions look like deep pitted acne scars and he has one or two perfectly round "holes" near his eyes. Again, all very symmetric. Absolutely no lesions along his body or lateral line area. Over the last couple of weeks, I think I am noticing two extremely tiny (1-2 mm size) holes under the chin area of the queen angel now. These too are symmetric (one on each side of midline) They are so tiny, however, that I am not sure that they aren't just a normal marking or something. The queen has beautiful and full perfect fins and adult coloration otherwise. None of the other fish show any detectable variances off of their normal coloration/markings, etc from the wild.  All (including the angels) have perfect fins and clear eyes. I have been adding some Hikari Metro+ to some of the frozen cube food in 3 day treatment cycles. I have done this for 2 three day cycles. I am just not sure what else to do or how long it should take to see some improvement. This is all a little tricky because the angel's face is white as an adult so I don't know how much of this is normal coloration change. Even though I suspect most if not all of this is HLLE or hole in head. I am kinda at my wits end. I thought I would be able to take care of this angelfish in this system by supplying appropriate diet, etc. I guess I may fall in with all the other aquarists in that I should not try to keep an angel. I just don't know what else to do here. Thanks for any advice, Steve <Does seem unusual... given the foods you list, the use of Zoecon... to have such a pronounced nutritional deficiency syndrome here... Do you have another system you could move this Angel to? Otherwise... perhaps the Selcon will help... I would supplement Iodide-ate maybe weekly with water changes... And possibly add "Miracle Mud" to your sump, culture a Red Algae there... Bob Fenner>  

Re: need help with lesions on emperor angel 2/18/09 Bob, <Steve> Thank you for the quick response on such a lengthy email question and description. I will try what you suggested. I also will try some Hikari A and S marine pellets just in case. <Worthwhile> Regarding the SG, I thought having it a little low would help with Cryptocaryon, etc. <Does, but... the trade off in added stress can be a bad choice... Pomacanthus imperators from certain areas in particular are very susceptible to neuromast destruction syndromes> I saw the article on your website about a year ago of the guy with 20-30 angels, triggers and tangs in a 240 gallon aquarium that keeps the SG somewhere below 1.015 for that reason (no corals). <Yes... and is cheaper in terms of salt mix cost, and you can much higher stocking densities due to higher dissolved oxygen, and...> I will, of course, increase the SG if you feel that would be best. <I do... along with the "Mud", algal culture... these will importantly impart desirous chemicals, physical properties to the water that can reverse the damage here> I just thought it would not be as crucial for the fish. I was not sure if it could hurt the hermit crab. I will try to let you know if the condition of the angel improves by this summer. <Thank you> I do have one other question: my blue cheek trigger looks and acts great, and eats well. He is fat, but he is almost one year old and just doesn't seem to be growing at the rate of the other fish. Is that normal for that species? <Mmm, no... could be other factors at play. Please see my resp. in the Daily FAQs today re someone with a stunted Porcupine Puffer. BobF> Steve Bob, <Steve> Sorry, but I forgot 2 other questions regarding this emperor with neuromast destruction: 1. Should I keep trying the metro+ addition to the food in 3 day cycles, or is this condition completely different from what that medication is designed for? <None... see WWM re the use of Metronidazole/Flagyl... is very dangerous to continually, repetitively administer...> 2. Could lighting in the tank have any play in this? <Mmm, none as far as I'm aware... unless you give more credence to the possibility of stray voltage being an a priori cause of HLLE... but, the other fish livestock don't show symptoms as you note. Ohhh! I see the "angle" below...> I ask because I started to reduce the amount of time that the lights were on to reduce some alga growth on the live rock and glass. The fish would graze on the alga, but they could not keep up and every month I would scrape quite a bit off the rock when cleaning. I decided to manually turn on the lights only during feedings for about an hour each time and whenever people were over and wanted to see the tank. This resulted in the lights being on for 2-4 hours per day rather than the previous 8 or more hours per day (on a timer). This condition started to occur somewhere around the time I started to reduce the time the lights are turned on, so I just didn't know if that could be a factor. I know fish will do better with actual sunlight, but this is VHO and actinic bulbs. I just thought that with no coral in there it would be ok to reduce the lighting to feed time only, etc. The alga has diminished a lot and the rock looks more natural, but there is still plenty of surface alga on the rocks and the angels and tangs do graze on it. Thank you again, Steve <Good point... and... see WWM re lighting periodicity... better to have on... a timer... regular... and to have the algae to graze on as you state. B>

HLLE, Pomacanthus, reading   10/22/08 Hi Folks, <Matt> I will try to make this short and sweet. You guys are terrific. <Danke> I have a 225 gallon FOWLER. The tank is about 5 years old and the tank has no traces of Nitrate (5ppm or lower) and all other levels are good. I have raised a Queen Angel, Imperator, and Navarchus since they were babies. They get along well and are healthy. I had to move the tank and since it has stressed out my Imperator. He seems to have started to develop "hole in head". <Not uncommon> It is not bad yet and he is active and feeding well. Not sure how this happened. <?> I am wondering if I should start to look at new filtration. The tank has excellent water flow, an excellent skimmer, bio balls in the sump (I know you guys don't like this) and a U/V. Is it time after 5 years to get rid of the bio balls? <I would> Could I use my current sump to maybe do a eco system mud filter? <A possibility> I would really appreciate some feedback. Thanks a ton, Matt <Sure... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCure.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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