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FAQs about the Imperator Angel Disease Diagnosis

FAQs on Emperor Angel Health: Emperor Disease 1, Emperor Disease 2, Emperor Health 3, Emperor Health 4, Emperor Health 5,
FAQs on Emperor Angel Health by Category: 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,  


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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Emperor Angel with swim bladder problem        6/13/19
Good Morning,
<Good morning Jimmy>
I have a 180g FOWLR , prob 150 – 200# LR , one Heniochus Butterfly adult 15 years old, Adult Emp Angel raised from youth now 6” adult 10 years old, 2 yellow tail damsels, one clown, 2 brittle starfish ( 15 years old ) , 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, 1 fire shrimp. The tank has been running for 20 years. For the last 2months there has been to water change, only minimal tank “maintenance .” Water top off, cleaning skimmers ( 2 EuroReef ) and feeding . When I finally returned from being away, I immediately noticed that the Emp Angel had a swim bladder problem. ( Tilting to one side , unusual swimming pattern ) All livestock was eating . Upon testing the water I noted that my nitrate levels were off the scale ( over 160 ppm) as were phosphate levels. <Yikes!>
Specific Gravity was 1.028.<Too high> Zero ammonia, zero nitrite . I was surprised that I had not lost any livestock! Through a series of daily water changes over a couple of weeks ( with the first being a40% water change ) I have managed to bring the nitrates down to 10-20ppm. SG 1.023. 2 weeks into the process the Emp Angel looks 50% better but not back to norm.
<Next time please take your time to fix your writing.>
Do you think that this fish is likely to recover swim bladder function ? Any suggestions ?
<This may be just “air gulping”... your angelfish could have been gasping at the surface because of the too high salinity and/or high nitrates, If you have restored water levels, just give a few days to see if it goes back to normal.>
Thanks Jimmy I apologize if this was sent twice
<You’re welcome. Wil.>
Re: Emperor Angel with swim bladder problem        6/13/19

Thank you so much .
<You're welcome>
My writing looks much different and better on my original message . Looks like it got chopped up and re formatted . I am very sorry .
<Ohh, I see... no worries>
Thanks for your response Jimmy
<Glad to help. Wil.>

Emperor Angel twitching head and scratching.     1/14/18
Thank you in advance.
<Welcome Vic>
I have an Emperor Angel and Powder Blue Tang in quarantine for 2 months now.
The powder Blue has been fine the whole time no signs at all but the Emperor has been scratching and shaking his head. Both fish showed no signs to begin with and both eat well, the angel was in hyposalinity (1.009 ) at the
LFS so I continued it with both fish for the first month.
<... this is a very low spg. This exposure alone might explain the Angel's behavior>
At the end of the month I started to notice the Angel flashing and twitching his head so I thought maybe velvet (thinking that the Hypo had kept it from getting bad) or Flukes. I read that fluke should also have died in Hypo so I treated with Quinine Sulfate for 2 week at 400 mg per 10 gallons.
<And the Quinine drug could be the cause here as well>
The first week was in Hypo at 1.012 and the second at 1.015. The fish eat well the whole time with no issue, the Angel seem to stop flashing (or it seemed) but at the end of the treatment I noticed it start up again. I now did a couple of water changes to bring get ride of the meds and bring the water to 1.020. AT this point the Angel was still scratching and shaking its head so I thought maybe flukes and treated with PraziPro for 20 days with water changes and new meds every 5 days. I has some rock in the tank which I removed half was through the PraziPro treatment since I was still noticing the Angel scratching and thought maybe the organics on the rock was keeping the PraziPro from working. All Treatment is over now for about 3 days and I have the tank at 1.025, I have not noticed the angel scratch but I still notice that it shakes his head and goes into the bubbles on the airstone. I am waiting to see if he scratches, but more difficult without the rock but I did add some PVC for them to hide in.
I am at a loss as to what could be causing this,
<Likely... nothing pathogenic here>

they both have been eating well the whole time and seem to get along. The power blue has not shown any
sign at all the whole time and the Angel has not had any spots or other symptoms other than the ones mentioned. The tank was already established (it had a pair of clown in it) so no cycle, I did notice a small ammonia spike in the first week from going to Hypo to quickly but it recovered quickly ( I managed that with Prime). The tank is only 33 gallons both fish are about 3.5 inches so I don't what to leave them in quarantine too long but can't add them to my reef if there is a problem since I will never get them out.
Any ideas could it be a little aggression from the angel maybe or is there something that I am missing I didn't treat for. T really don't want to add copper.
Thanks again
<Were these my fishes, I'd be moving them to the main/display system. With this amount of time in hypo, the medicine exposure, they are likely pathogen free externally. Bob Fenner>
Re: Emperor Angel twitching head and scratching.     1/14/18

Thank you for the quick response and the reassurance that I wasn't missing
something obvious.
<Cheers, BobF>

Emperor angel mouth reddish in colour; too long in QT, Cu exp.         3/22/17
Hello Bob or reef crew I have had a 4.5in juvenile in a 35 gallon long hospital tank for about 7 weeks. Ph about 8.1, salinity 1.022,
<Raise this>

temp 80 degrees. Used filter with filter floss seeded from refugium for about a week. Large pipe for hiding.
First four weeks were great as it looked perfect was eating everything with no meds. Then appeared to be showing ich so I dosed Cupramine slowly increasing the dose to 4-5 ppm.
No issues over the 14 days at full treatment level. I did a 50 per cent water change and used carbon for two days to remove copper. Then I thought I'd use PraziPro again using recommended dosage in case of internal issues. It's day 3 of 5- 7
recommended and I've noticed all day it hasn't eaten and a red colour in the mouth and around it externally.
I have also been doing 50 percent water changes every 3-5 days over the time it's been in the tank as its eating so much, and dosing appropriately when I replace water. I've been measuring copper concentration to ensure
its ok.
<Stop this>
The red colour looks like blood near the surface of the skin and is very concerning as it looks like a severe skin irritation of some kind.
<The copper, stress>
Looks like fish is labouring breathing but still around 60 breaths a minute. I read Bob said 80 was bad.
Hate to not treat with PraziPro for internal pests for full term of 5-7 days. Wondering if I should use carbon and water change to remove as much PraziPro as I can to get emperor back to health...
Do I risk the internal pests issue arising once it's in my 340 gallon display?
<Some, yes, but I'd be MOVING this fish; now>
Or try once again w PraziPro. I feel it really deserves to get into the display soon!
<I STRONGLY agree re moving it NOW>
Thanks so much!
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Emperor angel mouth reddish in colour    3/23/17
Bob thanks so much for your prompt response!
<Welcome Sandip>
Reason why I had emperor in QT so long was to see if I could get away without medicating beyond the freshwater dip before it went to QT.
<... I understand the theory; but would have all understand that beyond two weeks quarantine, there is more damage than good to be had likely>

I should give up in this concept and just medicate and have a maximum qt experience of 3-4 weeks.
<... Not recommended. I suspect that there is nothing pathogenic wrong with this fish; that its problems at this point are induced>
However week 5 issues (ich I think) arose which went away after using the recommended length of Cupramine treatment.
<Pomacanthids have low tolerance to copper. I DO NOT recommend that they be exposed to unnecessarily>
Also reason I was doing water changes so much was to keep water quality with the amount it was eating. 35 gallon for a 4.5in emperor but I was concerned about nitrates...
Emperor is looking a bit happier after the water change. The meds must be part of the issue. However I noticed some white patches raises from the skin -cotton like. You can see on the fishes left side at the bottom below
the fin around the breast. Photo doesn't show it very well but it is raised like cotton. I will send photo in a separate email now. Also the ends on the bottom fins look like they have lost skin.
I could put into my frag tank (attached to same system as Display) in a container so it can acclimate to display conditions with no one picking on it. I have a yellow tang and a Bellus angel in the 80 gallon frag tank. I could observe to see if it's getting better. The display is about 1.025 so I think I'm supposed to slowly raise from 1.021/1.022 to 1.025 over three days?
<If necessary>
Or should I just do over a day and get in frag tank?
<Yes I would>
I worry about spreading the cotton though...I can't imagine this is velvet as it didn't show in first 4 weeks, it's had 14 days of Cupramine too, and no new fish additions.
Thanks again for your advice!!
<Just stating what I would do given similar circumstances. Bob Fenner>
Fwd: Emperor Angel mouth red Photos of cotton on skin (I sent another email today referencing this photo)

> Photo not showing cotton very well but on the breast below fin. White patches and discolouration.
<Move this fish. B>
> Should this be medicated before putting in display system? Cupramine should have cured... not sure I have anything else to medicate other than Methylene Blue and Metroplex. I know you have expressed concern over
medication so far...
> Thanks
> Sandip

Aging Angel ( Emperor )     6/22/15
I have had an Emperor Angel in my 220 gal ( 96 x 24 x 24 ) FOWLR since 2005. 2 wet dry filters, 2 Euroreef skimmers ( rated for 180gal systems ) , 52 watt UV, 30 gal water changes every 2 weeks. Other inhabitants:
Adult Blue Girdle Angel, Adult Heniochus Butterfly ( aggressive fish ) Fiji Foxface, One percula clown , 2 yellow tail damsels, 2 spiny starfish. All in place and doing well since 2002-2005. There is a balanced aggression in the tank but every fish eats when fed and pushes for places in line when food introduced. The most visible aggression is when feeding but all fish seem to keep their own. The butterfly is the most aggressive but not really all that bad since the fish seem pretty evenly matched and no one inhabitant is clearly dominant.
The Emperor was about 5" adult when introduced 10 yrs ago and is now 9".
So I figure it must be at least 13-15 years old total. Over the past year HLLE has taken its toll and the Emperor has been eating less, and has become emaciated. For 2 weeks looks interested in food but does not eat.
<Am wondering if you've been able to control Nitrate (poisoning) over the years, using the two wet-dries... This could be a factor>
I think the animal is the equivalent of a 90 YO human, and in some ways acting that way.
<This and other large Pomacanthus Angels have been kept in public aquariums for 25 plus years>
The other fish are still respectful of the king/queen of the tank, but I fear its reign is coming to an end . Is there any advice for me here ?
<Mmm; not much... as you state. What do you feed? Have you read on WWM re?
I'd be using a good pellet as a staple, supplemented w/ frozen/defrosted foods, switching out, replacing some (a few tens of pounds) of new sponge-growing live rock every half year or so>
Not sure how long these animals live in the wild/ captivity. The other inhabitants have been in this tank the same number of years and they seem to be doing fine without any afflictions/ disease that I can tell. There have been no new additions for 10 years.
I just don't know what to do in such a situation
I am happy to be able to provide this post
I am not looking for miracles, just advice, opinion, experience
Many Thanks
<The reading on WWM re feeding, nitrate control. Bob Fenner>

Is this fungus on my Emperor angelfish?     10/21/14
Hi Crew. Thank you again for such a wonderful website.i have an emperor angel in Qt ( ph 8.1-8.2,nitrate 10-15, nitrite and ammonia 0,temp 79 F,salinity 1.025 I use ro water for water changes and top of)My emperor
angel had Ich and was scratching on the rocks,(was treated with Cupramine) to the point of getting 3 small cuts which now developed a weird growth. they look like raised cauliflower growth (and I thought about
<Is my guess... viral... a reaction from stress... From? Copper exposure among what?>
but its on the cuts so I was wondering if it was possible that it is fungus or infection. The growth are raised-about 3 mm and 3-4 mm wide. please let me know what do you think.i know the pictures are not very good-but he
won't stay still for a second. My qt is a 1" acrylic tank that is badly scratched so I put him in this container for pics (these are the best pics I got so far)
Thank you very much. And have a great day.
<I'd do what is listed on WWM to boost immunity, add a purposeful cleaner organism that will get along w/ whatever you have; and be patient. Bob Fenner>

Emperor with pin holes     3/7/13
<... seven meg.s?! Inconceivable!>
Bob, My Emperor has been developing little scars around head and face. He eats new life spectrum pellets  mostly. He is a very shy fish, and is afraid to really get his grub on when I feed Mysis or angel for formula.
Likes to stay near his cave. He is the King of the tank. There is a Queen and a Blueline Angel with him, but they shy away from him when he comes out. i have never seen a fish pick on him. . They eat everything and have no signs on them at all like the Emperor has. S.g. 1.025 ,ph 8.36, Nitrate 10, Nitrite 0, Amm 0.  I guessing it lack of nutrition, but I thought spectrum pellets was the holy grail of food? Hope you can help, Jim
<... see WWM re HLLE, and/or the disease/health FAQs re Pomacanthus imperator. Sheesh. B
Re: Emperor with pin holes     3/7/13

Seven Messages? What are you talking about?
<Megs mate... as in eight bits to a byte. B>

Emperor angel variety of symptoms, rdg...  02/13/13
Hi Crew,
I have had a juvenile emperor angel in a 120g tank for around 6 months ago.
Got Ich while in QT (cured with Hypo) and was introduced into the DT 3 months ago. A couple of weeks back I noticed colour fading slightly and 2/3 small holes in the head on one side. His energy seemed low and feeding reduced slightly. What was most worrying is the way he began wasting away so quickly despite seemingly eating 50-80% of what he ate before. In the last few days it really has become very noticeable and he looks very skinny all over. I also notice that the gill plates look reddish although this may just be because he is now so skinny and pale.
The fish still eats but far less vigorously and now has taken to resting on the bottom sometimes, especially in the mornings (energy and the amount he feeds seems 'up' in the evenings).
I usually feed a homemade diet of 50% Mysis, 15% brine, 20% mixed Nori, 5% bloodworm, 5% shelled peas, 5% chopped clam. This is soaked in Garlic Xtreme.
Temporarily (last 3-4 weeks) the food changed to 40% Mysis, 40% Brine, 10% Nori, 5% clam, 5% bloodworm and no Garlic Xtreme. I changed back to my old mix yesterday but could this be the reason?
<Not likely>
2 weeks ago when I noticed the problem I increased the amount of food going in and made sure the angel fed by picking from the feeding net. Despite eating less vigorously the fish still seems to get a fair amount down each time.
I worry that the fish has a parasite/worm or perhaps that it needs some kind of vitamin supplement or sponge to pick at. I fear that the fish is not going to last much longer in its current state as it is becoming so skinny and weak despite retaining interest in food. The holes don't seem to be worsening.
Tank parameters are all normal and well within limits so water quality shouldn't be an issue (I do 10-20% water changes each week too). No fish chase him and doesn't seem unduly stressed by anything in particular. All other fish (including a tang and a butterfly) are seemingly doing fine.
<The Tang, what species? May be harassing the angel>
What can I do to help him and what do you think the issue could be?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/EmpAHlthF5.htm
and the linked files above>
Any help would be much appreciated....Thank you so much in advance!
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Emperor angel variety of symptoms – 2/15/13

Thanks for the advice but unfortunately the angelfish died soon after I sent the email.
Kind Regards
Wayne Jackson
<Aye ya. Hopeful that you'll read where you were referred ahead of trying another Emperor, Pomacanthus. BobF>

White splotches/Pomacanthus Health 7/9/12
WWM Crew,
Over the past week my adult Emperor Angel has been showing white splotches.
It starts out really bad in the morning and fades over the day. It looks a little like Marine Velvet but no other symptoms are present, (fast breathing, loss of appetite, flashing).  As per the forum that I am part of it does seem like the splotches are part of the scales and not sitting on top of the scales.  Morning coloration is normal that the colors are subdued early then as the day progresses they become much more vivid. Also none of my other fish are showing any signs or issues. I have not witnessed any aggression other then the normal little spats, instigated by the Emperor.
The Emperor is also suffering from HLLE.  This happened as he was changing from juvenile to adult coloration.  I know that its pretty severe and I have not seen any recovery at all in the affected areas.  This was my fault for not knowing the best way to feed the proper nutrition.  Now that I know better I am doing my best to provide the best possible care for him.
<Yes, it appears this fish has been lacking a good diet for quite some time.>
I feed Spectrum pellets soaked in AngeLixer and vitamins every morning.
Everyday a new algae sheet is put in the tank,
<Will get more nutrition from Spectrum pellets than the algae sheet.>
 depending on if it is eaten or not I put a 2nd sheet in when I get home from work. Then in the evening I feed alternating, Mysis, Angel Formula, Emerald Entree and chopped clams. Then every once in a while I will throw in a piece of raw shrimp for my puffer.
<The main diet should be the Spectrum pellets, very nutritional and is the only food I feed my fish.  If not already, I would use Selcon as my vitamin source until this fish regains it's health.  After that, the pellets are all that is necessary for all but for the puffer.>
Since this issue started I have changed to feeding the Angel Formula every day. 
The tank has been running since March 2010.
I have a 265 gallon FOWLR display with about 47 gal. in the sump.  
Temp 79.2
Salinity 1.024
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate ~0 (slightly darker then 0)
Water changes of 15 gallons happen every week, water is mixed throughout the week prior to the change.  I am using RO water with Instant Ocean Crystal Reef salt.
<I'm not a fan of Instant Ocean, too many reports of inconsistency.>
Live stock includes, (In the order they were introduced into the aquarium)
1 - Fiji Blue Devil Damsel
1 - Vlamingi Tang
1 - Blue Angel 6"-7"
1 - Emperor angel 6"-7"
1 - Dogface Puffer
1 - Banded Hawkfish
1 - Sailfin Tang
4 - Blue/Green Chromis (down from the original 7, these were purchased about 5 weeks ago.  I don't know what is happening to them.  As far as I can tell all my other livestock is leaving them alone.)
<Hard to believe the Blue Devil is not harassing them.>
Please let me know If you need any more information. 
<What are the dimensions of your tank, and size of the tangs and puffer.>
Attached is a picture taken at 7am just after I turned on the lights for the morning feeding.
Thank you,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Kevin G

Re: White splotches <<>> **
White splotches/Pomacanthus Health 7/9/12

WWM Crew,
Over the past week my adult Emperor Angel has been showing white splotches.
It starts out really bad in the morning and fades over the day. It looks a little like Marine Velvet but no other symptoms are present, (fast breathing, loss of appetite, flashing).  As per the forum that I am part of it does seem like the splotches are part of the scales and not sitting on top of the scales.  Morning coloration is normal that the colors are subdued early then as the day progresses they become much more vivid. Also none of my other fish are showing any signs or issues. I have not witnessed any aggression other then the normal little spats, instigated by the Emperor.
The Emperor is also suffering from HLLE.  This happened as he was changing from juvenile to adult coloration.  I know that its pretty severe and I have not seen any recovery at all in the affected areas.  This was my fault for not knowing the best way to feed the proper nutrition.  Now that I know better I am doing my best to provide the best possible care for him.
<Yes, it appears this fish has been lacking a good diet for quite some time.>
*Actually my emperor has been like this for over a year now eating the spectrum pellets as the main
dietary staple.* 
<<Ah good>>
I feed Spectrum pellets soaked in AngeLixer and vitamins every morning.
Everyday a new algae sheet is put in the tank,
<Will get more nutrition from Spectrum pellets than the algae sheet.>
*I include the algae sheet to provide something for the fish to snack on throughout the day*
<<I see>>
depending on if it is eaten or not I put a 2nd sheet in when I get home from work. Then in the evening I feed alternating, Mysis, Angel Formula, Emerald Entree and chopped clams. Then every once in a while I will throw in a piece of raw shrimp for my puffer.
<The main diet should be the Spectrum pellets, very nutritional and is the only food I feed my fish.  If not already, I would use Selcon as my vitamin source until this fish regains it's health.  After that, the pellets are all that is necessary for all but for the puffer.>
*Main diet has been the Spectrum pellets for over a year after I had issues feeding just frozen foods.
The vitamins that I am soaking them in are Brightwell Aquatics Vitamarin-M.
 As well as Brightwell AngeLixer, a sponge supplement.
The puffer is being fed Mysis and chopped clams 4-5 times a week*
<<Very nice>>
Since this issue started I have changed to feeding the Angel Formula every day. 
The tank has been running since March 2010.
I have a 265 gallon FOWLR display with about 47 gal. in the sump. 
Temp 79.2
Salinity 1.024
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate ~0 (slightly darker then 0)
*Oops,   pH is 7.9 to 8.1 through the day*
Water changes of 15 gallons happen every week, water is mixed throughout the week prior to the change.  I am using RO water with Instant Ocean Crystal Reef salt.
<I'm not a fan of Instant Ocean, too many reports of inconsistency.>
*I figured that since I am only FOWLR the issues shouldn't be as bad.  What would you recommend?*
<<See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/synthsaltmixes.htm
and the linked files above>>
Live stock includes, (In the order they were introduced into the aquarium)
1 - Fiji Blue Devil Damsel *2.5"*
1 - Vlamingi Tang *8"-10"*
1 - Blue Angel 6"-7"
1 - Emperor angel 6"-7"
1 - Dogface Puffer  *6"*
1 - Banded Hawkfish  *5"*
1 - Sailfin Tang  *4.5"-5.5"*
4 - Blue/Green Chromis    *0.75"- 1"*   (down from the original 7, these were purchased about 5 weeks ago.  I don't know what is happening to them.  As far as I can tell all my other livestock is leaving them alone.)
<Hard to believe the Blue Devil is not harassing them.>
* I have not witnessed any aggression. But I know that there is a real possibility of aggression from the damsel.  The only aggression that I have ever witnessed was from the puffer when the Chromis were first introduced.  I have not witnessed anything since.*
Please let me know If you need any more information. 
<What are the dimensions of your tank, and size of the tangs and puffer.>
*See above I updated the sizes.*
*Tank dimensions 84"L x 24"W x 30"D*
<<All right>>
Attached is a picture taken at 7am just after I turned on the lights for the morning feeding.
*This morning I found that my emperor has Ich now so either the HLLE is compromising his immune system now or the new issue is creating more of an issue. When I get home tonight my QT tank should be ready to go.  Let me know what you think.*
<<Mmm, time to be very proactive. Are you familiar w/ the use of Quinine compounds in fish treatment for protozoan parasite matters?  Are you sure this is Crypt? Strange the Tangs aren't first affected. Please read here:
and the related FAQs above. Bob Fenner>>
Thank you,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
<<Oh! Thought I'd originally responded to this. Will forward to James for his input. B>>
*Thanks Again*
Kevin G
Re: White splotches     7/9/12

I have nothing to add.
<Thank you James. B>

Re: White splotches... Emperor Angel  7/9/12
**Why do you say that it is strange that the Tangs are not the first affected?
<? As the group, Acanthuroids are most susceptible>
I am not familiar with Quinine compounds.  I was reading through the FAQ's that you suggested, and I do see that it is recommended above using copper.  However I did not see anywhere as to why it is recommended and any products that may contain it.
<... see the linked files above>
 I will have to wait until I get home to do more research on Quinine, but if you have any more information or links to information I would greatly appreciate it.
I am fairly certain that it is Ich/Crypt?
<....... no way to really tell w/o sampling and microscopic examination>
  I have never had any issue with Ich in my SW tank.  While I was into FW I had a few bouts with it.  The white spots are covering the body of the fish, I do think that it is Ich.
Also I never QT any of my fish personally, they have all been "QT" (I use this term loosely in this instance) and the LFS that I buy from.  I have a spare 46 gallon tank that will be running and all should be good with it when I get home.  However I know that the only way to completely get this out of the tank is to remove all the live stock and leave the DT fallow for at least 8 weeks.  If I go this route I will need to pick up more tanks to run the medication in.
Thanks again for helping me resolve this issue.**
Kevin G
<Mmm, what we're here for. Cheers, BobF>

Poisoning. Cyanide... Emperor Angel poss.    3/15/12
Hi Crew,<Hi Adam, Jordan here.> I have in QT an Emperor Angel and two Ocellaris clownfish. The clownfish are fine but the Emperor has grey blotches all over his body and is in a bad way. I bought him very cheaply from a store and now I wonder if he was poisoned when caught.<It's possible but cyanide caught fish are usually immaculate looking because they are so easy to collect. The collector can simply grab them.> I purchased him in Singapore. What are the signs of poisoning?<Refusal to eat and knowing where the fish was collected can help. I believe cyanide is still used in parts of Indonesia and the Philippines.> Read more here:
 Regards, Adam.

Emperor Angel. Hlth., no useful data or rdg.      3/14/12
Hi, I have a 4inch changeling Emperor Angel in quarantine where he has been for about a week. I noticed several blotches about 3-4mm on his sides so I gave him a fresh water bath two days ago. This seemed to help and they were gone yesterday but today are more numerous. He is still eating and breathing rate is normal. I use sea water which I think is fresh as many coral fish live in it,
 however I purchased him in a shop so maybe he had an infection. The sea water had been left idle for a month which as you know should have killed any Ich, Velvet, Brooklynella etc. Any ideas what it could be please?
Regards, Adam.
<.... read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/EmpAHlthF5.htm
and all the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Please Help diagnose Rocky!    3/5/12
Rocky is an Emperor Angelfish from the Christmas Islands.  He is about 6 inches.  He eats like a pig, and doesn't really bother anyone.  His diet consists of Vitamin Enhanced Mysis Shrimp and Krill, and strips of seaweed.  This morning I noticed that one of his eyes was cloudy.  The entire eye was cloudy, and it looked like it was even cloudier in the center of his eye.  I also noticed on the other side of him that his one fin was frayed please look at the pictures.  On the side with a frayed fin I noticed a small white spike coming out on him (See attached pic).   He had no issues in quarantine. He is still eating today.  I am thinking that I should take him out of the tank.  Give him an hour long formalin bath,
<Not this long... at any real concentration... and if any, with mechanical aeration>
and place him into quarantine.  Thoughts?
<Quarantine is likely to be of more stress than not here. This fish appears to be overly so already... and the symptoms point to possible shipping  damage, Lymphocystis, fin breakage as expressions>
 Any ideas what this may be?  Is
it possible something just stressed him out overnight?
<What else is in this system stock-wise?>
  Last night when I came home he was no where to be seen.  Normally he lingers on the top of the tank, or by the hammer coral at night.
<Oh! This Euphyllia might well be mal-affecting the Pomacanthid>
  I guess yesterday he went into
the rock work, and maybe got scratched up?
<Another possibility>
 Tank is 125
<Too small>
 (Yes I know he will need a bigger tank.  He will be in a 300 gallon by the end of the year).
Parameters are all within acceptable ranges.  Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 ph 8.2 Alk 9 CA 425 MG 1350.
<... I'd be running a unit or two of Polyfilter in your water flow path... using Spectrum pelleted food... And reading here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Re: Please Help diagnose Rocky! Emperor A.      3/6/12
 Thanks for the response.  I ended up having a friend come over, and we talked it out, and concluded that Rocky needed a nice little cavern. 
So I rearranged the rock work in that section, and he has a pretty sizable area that he can sleep in, and hang out in.  I moved the Euphyllia much higher, and he is nowhere near this.    This morning his eye was not cloudy. 
<Good news>
There still seemed to be a white dot the size of a pin head in the center of his eye, but it was not cloudy.  He doesn't like spectrum food, but he does love his algae, and vitamin enriched frozen.  He has eaten spectrum in the past, but he is not overly crazy about it.  The only guy that is really a pain to Rocky is the rabbit fish.  Rocky chases him out of his corner, and the rabbit fish flares his dorsal fin. 
<Dangerous, venomous... I'd move the Siganid>
Sometimes they just hang out with each other.  My rabbit fish is weird as he has a tendency to chase my Grey Head Wrasse around.  At night the Rabbit fish sleeps in my devil hand, and it seems Rocky is in the cavern by himself.    A little more history on Rocky.  I had him quarantined, and fattened up before he went into the tank.  He did receive a formalin bath before being put back into the tank for about 50 minutes with aeration, and a heater.  His eye came about a week after he was put in the main tank.    I checked Ammonia, NO2 today and they were all zero.  I read through the link you gave me and saw nothing regarding the poly filter.  What is the rationale here?
<Lest there be some material that this could remove that is trouble here...>
  I found the link on Lymphocystis, and I am glad that this can go away.  Let me know if you recommend anything else.  As an FYI the tank is mixed reef dominated mainly
by sps corals.  I do have Purigen in the sump, and NO2 reactor
<This last might be a factor as well>
Would the Purigen remove any of the pollutants that you're concerned about?
<Yes; could>
Thanks in advance for all your help.  Many a fish have been saved by your website.
<And you, BobF>

Emperor Angel/s dead without apparent cause   7/11/11
Hello WWM crew.
I know that a specific answer for my question is difficult but at least I want to try.
In the last 2 years I have tried to introduce 2 different juvenile emperor angels in my tank, the first a year ago, and the other just recently.
Both have died without warning after a week in the tank. Both did not show any signal of disease and both showed a very good behavior. No disease signs (body in perfect shape), nobody harassing them and eating well, no hiding.
The parameters are good; the food has been very varied (frozen mysis, Cyclops, prepared food, pellets, tlf algae and many small critters in the live rock).
The tank is a FOWLR 135 gal and the other fishes are 2 Firefish, a royal gramma, a flame angel fish, a hippo tang, and a fire and cleaner shrimp.
Most fishes I have introduced had survived with the exception of a couple of cardinal fish (I also have had very bad luck with these guys and I don't plan to get more until captive breed are available in my country).
I am considering the same with the angel imperator, no to try more before I can gain considerable more experience and know more about the possible cause of their dead.
Thank you so much for your time and help.
Juan Carlos
<Mmm, the first explanation that comes to mind is either just "bad luck" w/ the two specimens, or trouble from their origination... bad handling, perhaps collection... I would try another supplier, and make sure of getting a specimen of optimum initial size (3-4" length). The fact that the other fishes you list have done well points to other factor/s than environment, and that the specimens fed well on a variety of foods... Have your supplier look to order your specimen from Quality Marine if you're in the US or TMC in the UK... Oh, eventually (a year or two) you'll need a larger system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Emperor Angel dead without apparent cause   7/11/11
Thank you so much for your answer.
<You're welcome>
I was feeling bad for failing to keep this beautiful fish again.
Now that you mention, all the fishes have been purchased from a Quality Marine supplier with the exception of the hippo tang, the cardinals and the emperor (the last two without any luck). The before mentioned makes me realize that getting the fishes from a reputable source is half of the recipe for success.
<Sometimes 100%>
Unfortunately the only store that imports fishes from Quality Marine to my country does it with very low frequency.
<... .sk, Slovakia? Have them try the London principal location of Tropical Marine Centre:
Comparative... very fine folks, livestock and drygoods>
Thanks Again Bob, your help and advice was very valuable to me.
<Nos vemos mi amigo. BobF>

Emperor Angelfish with bum pectoral fin   2/17/11
Hi all, you are my go-to people for aquarium info. Thanks for offering your expertise to those of us still fledging. I have searched for info on this problem but not found a situation exactly like this, and it seems to be worsening rather quickly so here I am - sorry if this is a repeat.
Our Emperor has been with us for about a year now, obtained as a juvenile about 3" or so and now transitioning and almost at full adult coloration, maybe 5" or so. He has been healthy, and was housed in a 50g tank
<Too small a volume>

with a Foxface and yellow tang (both with us also for over a year) until the first week of Jan this year, at which point we placed them into a 150g that had been circulating for at least a week with live rock, 3 emperor 400 filters (when the fish were placed into the new tank, the old filter pads from their 50g tank went with them), and a protein skimmer. The entire time they've been in the new tank, the water parameters have been good (ammonia 0, nitrite the same, nitrate never registered a change from baseline) except for possibly pH, which is registering as darker than 8.4, as it always had in the old tank as well. SG 1.024. These fish have been living for 1.5 months with additional livestock in the 150g: 3 pink-tipped mushroom anemones, a yellow-tailed blue damsel, 3 common snails and a small diadem Dottyback which had been quarantined in 20g tanks for at least a month prior to introducing them into the main tank. We home school, and my 10 yr old daughter has been feeding 2 different frozen sponge-containing angel foods, formula 2 (pellet and frozen), seaweed strips less often than she knows she should but still at least once a week, mysis shrimp, and recently began some gelled Cyclops. The tank does have some green and bright purplish-pink algal growth, and some teeny coiled white snail-like organisms and elongated teeny creeping pinkish organisms thriving on the wall.
<So far, so good>
All of the fish seemed to thrive in the new tank - their colors brightened and they were active and eating well and their personalities really shone.
Until the last few days, when we noticed the emperor scratching along rocks (he would typically brush up against some rocks slightly while zipping around the tank anyway; he's just doing it more, and more vigorously, and it is now definitely scratching of his face and anterior body) and hiding among them instead of swimming in the open and greeting us as he normally would. He has faded white spots mostly on his head, but these disappear at night and change during the day (sounds from other posts as if this is an angel stress response). His left pectoral fin is quite frayed, with whitish edges. The fleshy base of the fin itself appears swollen and pinkish to red (the normal color is quite dark blue/black) on the inside of the fold (between the fin and body). The opposite pectoral fin is also somewhat frayed but not as severely and the base looks pretty normal. Both fins have some loss of transparency and have a milky white stippling. I just looked again, and his eyes also have some cloudy spots on them (not the whole eye). I say that it is going rather quickly because that fin is being eaten rather fast, and he is obviously not comfortable, now spending some time hovering near the top of the tank particularly where the fine air bubbles are (though his position is upright and solid).
Our concern is bacterial and parasitic infection at this point,
<Not likely>
but how can we approach this without an active QT (I know, I feel the kick in the butt)? And, what did I miss in quarantining my others or in husbandry? For now, I have added Selcon and garlic guard and we are offering more seaweed and doing a partial water change, awaiting your response. Thank you.
Lisa K
<May be summat from the rocks, perhaps (though doubtful) the Dottyback causing stress, biting... I'd do what you can to bolster all the fishes immune systems through food supplementation: http://wetwebmedia.com/vitaminmarfaqs.htm
and possibly add to chemical filtration in your hang on the back power filters. I would not otherwise remove or "treat" the angel. Bob Fenner>
Re: Emperor Angelfish with bum pectoral fin  2/18/11

Hi Bob (and whoever is there today), just a quick note to thank you for your advice, but to sadly report that we returned home this evening after a few hours out to find the emperor dead on the bottom of the tank.
We didn't see
him eat today, but his behavior didn't differ that much from yesterday, so we were content to give it more time. Guess nothing we would have done would have changed the course today, or yesterday.
<Nothing. Agreed>
Any benefit to a necropsy at this point?
<Perhaps to satisfy your curiosity. Again, my best guess (though that's all it is) is that this fish either ate or less likely physically contacted "something" quite noxious... I'd expect to see that its gut is vacuous/empty and cells making up the lining syncytial>
I don't have ability to send in samples, but could do gross assessment. And, I'm not a fish vet...:(
<Mmm... there are a few reference books... Ed Noga, the second ed. if avail. rather than the first... the fish/specimen just refrigerated in the meanwhile... NOT frozen or otherwise preserved... BobF>
Re: Emperor Angelfish with bum pectoral fin
BobF, I had opened him up last night, and you were spot on - the stomach and cecae were empty and injected, and that was the only gross abnormality I could find without knowing more. There was pink, slightly frothy fluid in the cavity. He was in great body condition, and the gills, air bladder, etc
all appeared normal. I can't even imagine what he got into, or what we fed him, that was noxious, but will do some sleuthing. And I'd love to have a copy of the book, so thanks for the recommendation. Thanks for "being there" as we lost our beloved emperor, and helping me sort things out. Lisa
<Am glad to help... and Lisa, I have both ed.s of Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment, and though expensive, this is the single most complete, accurate work of its kind presently... I use mine at least weekly. Cheers, BobF, oh, who was Ed Noga's "dorm mate" at last year's Fish Disease Conference at UNE... and will be there again in Aug.>

Emperor Angel - Loosing Color 11/27/10
Hello Mate,
<Howdy Mike>
I read the section about Emperor Angels on the website and got a lot of information. Only thing that was missing were some pics to give more clarity to issues that people like me are facing.
I added some pics in the hope that it will help you understand my issue and also help others who may get the same issue.
<I see a blanching juvenile... "classical" stress markings>
I have a juvenile emperor angel for 3 months now in a 100 Gallon tank. It has been active, eating well for the past three month and had fantastic colors as shown in pic 1.
Recently I did a 25% water change and everything was fine for a week. All of a sudden, I noticed that off all the fish, the emperor was starting to loose color and appear pale in patches as shown in the rest of the pics. He was moving fine but was loosing color rapidly.
<... losing>
I immediately checked the parameters and saw that the nitrites had jumped to .25 .
The Clarkii Clowns, ocellaris clowns and yellow tail blue damsel were all fine. To be on the safe side, I moved all except the damsel thinking that he was hardy and as the QT is a little small and the damsel was going after the ocellaris clowns which he didn't ever do in the other tank. Now I feel that I acted stupidly.
<Mmm, no need to move these fishes, but a great need to determine what happened to your biofiltration and fix it stat>
By morning I came to check on the fish and noticed that the damsel was dead in the tank. The Nitrites had jumped to 1.0 and in around 3 hours, it was back to 0 ppm. I use the API saltwater testing kit.
I checked the parameters once again and saw that everything was fine and moved the fish back to the tank. Its been five days now and the emperor seems to have become inactive. He moves very slowly and also goes horizontal and vertical. Sometimes staying at the top of the tank like a dead leaf and sometimes at the bottom flat. I kept checking the parameters and they are fine but I have no idea why he is acting like this.
<In a word: Stress>
He has now stopped eating, he come close to the food, looks at it and goes back. Is this due to nitrite poisoning or stress. How much time does it normally take for things like this to heal?
<Usually a few days>
His breathing is sometimes very fast and sometimes slow, so I really don't know what is wrong I tried keeping count and it was less than 60 at a point and then it was so fast that I hardly could keep count. I have kept him separate right now, but I am really worried as he is my wife's favorite and she is out of town and if anything happens to him, I will have hell to pay :-). I have stayed awake for the past two nights and have not gone to work also in the fear that something will go wrong when I leave home.
Do tell me what the problem could be. Also does this API Ammo Lock and Stress Marine help in any way. I used only API Stress Marine when I did the water change.
<I'd be careful re these water conditioners... IF you remove all the ammonia, you might well kill off your nitrifiers>
My water parameters are as follows
Ammonia - 0 ppm
Nitrite - .25 to 1.0 ppm spike and now back to 0 ppm (all I did was a water changes and then I got a spike. I added API Stress Coat Marine since I did the water change.)
Nitrates - 20 ppm
Do you think I should have another Nano skimmer in the QT?
<Not necessarily>
Also does a Nitrate processor such as the one mentioned here (
do any good.
<Can, but these devices are "finicky" in actual operation. Not dependable>
Thanks for your help in Advance.
<Do be careful to not overfeed... Bob Fenner>

Emp with spots and dull covering over eyes. 10/17/10
Hi Crew,
Many thanks for a very great and useful service you provide for reefers all over the world, I am sure you have saved the lives of many fish around the world.
I bought an emperor angel about 3 months ago, I had it in QT for two weeks, it did have lymphocillia on the fins when I got it, and I treated it with a local treatment that is available, called "Parasite Clear" made by Jungle "Tank Buddies". The product is a tropical product
for the treatment of flukes as well as other parasites.
<Yes... has naught to do w/ viral matters directly>
Unfortunately Prazi is not available in South Africa, and hobbyist's here in SA have had success with the product. It is a week long treatment, and after two weeks of treating, I put the angel in the display tank. It did still have lymphocillia that was showing signs of improvement, and I knew the better conditions in the display tank would help the lymphocillia. The emperor eats very well, is extremely fat, and I feed lots of garlic in the foods. It has had very small bouts of white spot from time to time, but I was never worried about it as it eats so much (parameters are all in check). Today now I noticed that it did not want to eat, and was very restless under the one rock, it does dash/jerk erratically at times, and the one gill is very still compared to the other.
<Not necessarily indicative of any ill>
On close inspection I saw a light dull film over the eyes, as well as spots, could this be WS over the eyes, or could it be flukes that were missed in the QT?
(No other fish have been added)
I would really appreciate any advice or help.
Many thanks
<I would do a pH adjusted freshwater dip and move this fish to the main/display system. See WWM re dips/baths. Bob Fenner>

Emperor Angel success... hlth., sel. -- 02/02/10
Hi Crew!
<Hi Jeff>
Tanks <Is this a bad joke, or do you mean 'thanks'?>
in advance for what I know will be the best answer I can get on this issue.
<Let's hope so>
I got a gorgeous 6" Emperor 3 days ago as a birthday gift.
<Oooooh.. a front runner in the 'most beautiful fish' category for sure>
Adult colors directly from Vanuatu. No middle dealer. Very fat, eats good, eyes & fins clear. The local shop dipped him in FW mixed with Methane Blue upon arrival.
He stayed in that solution for 10 minutes. I'm a friend of the official "dipper" guy there. He told me that night what a great specimen that had just come in and that I should consider acquiring it for my 320 FOWLER tank.
<Yes, but I have the controversial viewpoint that these special fishes should be placed in a reef system of size, not fish only. 320 gallons is a nice size tank however>
I was hesitant to do so as I had heard over the years that Emperors from Indo aren't as hardy as the Red Sea or Australian ones.
<This is true for all fishes initially, but once settled in most rate 'about the same'>.
He talked me into coming down to see it, I did, loved it but still did not want such a touchy species.
<Hmm, this is THE fish in my opinion, and the one that I would have chosen over all others>
I was looking to get a Koran
<A great fish and easier than the Emperor>
or Passer.
<A very beautiful fish, but too aggressive in general for me. Neither of these are as beautiful as the Emperor>
The Emperor stayed in QT at the shop for 2 weeks. All QT tanks are supplied a constant low dose of Prazi-Pro.
<Hmm, ok>
My birthday was the next day, and my friend there bought it from the shop owner at a fantastic price as a gift for me.
He brought it over, we set up my 40 gallon tub QT tank I learned about from Bob's book, and he's now been in there with main tank water, 2 pieces of live rock, sponge filters from main sump.
<This will be fine for the short term>
Eats great, eyes, fins still clear. I thanked him but told him I was still unsure about adding the new fish to my tank due to its rating on your site. He said if it got sick, he'd help me with it. That just doesn't bring me comfort. I'm an intermediate fish keeper, <soon to be an expert now> and poured over your article on these fish, and my heart just sank. It was good to see they were hardier than some of the other Angel species, but these from Indo are not high on Bob's list.
<I would not worry too much here -- if he is eating and not hiding then the battle is nearly won. He should be 'interested' in everything including you, and react immediately to any sudden movements but not so much that he tries to hide away. He should move away, but come right back again afterwards. The danger is when they first come in they are spooked>.
My only other inhabitants are a Kole tang and a pair of Raccoon Butterflies.
<Yes, and these will be fine with your Emperor in this sized system. A beautiful group indeed>.
Again I was saving all of that room for a Koran or Passer.
<No, you have made the right choice here for sure>
I plan to add a harem of dithers later.
I read through your FAQ's on these fish. I see a lot of folks are dealing with HLLE, lesions, pimples, mouth tumors and ich.
<Yes, hence my earlier comment re: 'reef' systems for this fish. Emperor Angels WILL show signs with deteriorating water quality, first of all with lighter 'patches' and spots all over the fish, so you should endeavour to keep your FOWLR at so-called 'reef' parameters, particularly with regards to nitrates.>
I wrote down all of your suggestions to combat those issues and have no fear about providing sponge, vitamins and macro-algae
<Yes, he should have all of these. Feed him Nori as well, and not too much meaty fare, this is too fatty>
to the tank for him if he ever makes it over there.
<It sounds like he should make it ok. Watch the Ammonia in the QT>
Bob, if you are reading this one, I also see where you endorse the use of Tropic Marine Center's (in the UK) carbon product for general water quality lesions.
<<I definitely do. A very good product/quality. RMF>>
<Hmm, I know nothing about this particular product, except to say that I would be running carbon in this system -- will place in Bob's folder for his comment here if he has one>
I can give it back, so it's not like I'm stuck. The fish is a kind fella, and eats so well.
I already use those vitamins you suggested with my other fish, and plan to get iodine for him as well.
<No reason for him to 'need' this that I know of>
With so few tank mates, vitamins, iodine, TMC's carbon product, good live rock, sponge, macro-algae, hide spots and careful observation, please, honestly, do you think this beauty from Vanuatu can live well here?
<Yes I do>
You said they have a dismal survival rate from this part of the world. Does that mean they get ich/parasites more than the average fish (like the blue hippo tang I had years ago) and could die from it?
<No, this is more because of the collection techniques in that part of the world. It is the indo-pacific Pygoplites that have this bad rep w/ regard to diet etc.>
Or can they live good healthy lives in the right environment and with great care, but just a short life span of a handful of years?
<Should live 20 years+ in your system with good care>
I cannot handle seeing white spots on fish. Freaks me out. Sleepless nights, nosebleeds, just a general sense of dread and impending doom.
Your article also suggested they stay in QT a full 4 weeks. Your final warning of "trust me" scared me. That would mean another 2 weeks in my QT here, for a total of 4 weeks. Will this 40 gallon stress him out before the 2 weeks are up so much that he could be weakened by it?
<If you are happy that there are no parasites then I would move him after two weeks, as long as he is feeding well, and behaving as stated above>.
I was thinking I could use this time to boost his system up real good with Selcon, Boyd's Vita Chem, iodine and the other vitamins you suggested of C, E, D, and A.
<Yes -- the easiest food to add this to is Nori>
So if/when I add him to the main display he'll be able to fight off any illnesses that may present themselves. I used filtered tap water for 3 years, but have recently switched to RO water 2 months ago.
<Will be necessary here -- do make sure you have the added 'DI' element as well -- very cheap to add>
As such, my nitrates are fluctuating between 20-30 after weekly 60 gallon water changes.
<This is too high. Nitrates want to be below 10 consistently, preferably even lower. You should be able to achieve this with your system and stocking list no problem at all -- have you read here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm>.
All of the junk from the tap water is embedded into the live rocks, and my friend says it'll take another month or so of clean water changes to dilute the tap water present. 3 fish in a 320 should not produce that high of a reading, so it must be the old water still present.
<I would work on this with gusto -- have you considered that there might be another 'source' such as a filter clogged w/ debris somewhere?>
Well, that's my long winded dilemma. Can this Emperor from Vanuatu really stay colorful and healthy with me doing all I have learned from your site? I respect your opinions, look forward to your input/suggestions.
<Yes he (she?) can. I do think that this whole system should now be geared towards providing for this very special animal. If you do this then you WILL be rewarded in kind many times over>.
Take care, and thanks Jeff.
<No problem Jeff, and good luck to you with your Emperor. Simon>
Re: 01/02/2010 Emperor Angel success--reply to Simon 2/4/2010

Great answers Simon, thanks so much.
<No problem Jeff>
Yes, my earlier "tanks" was indeed a typo! ;o) I do love the Emperor now, and am not nearly as afraid to keep him
as I was a few days ago. I took your wise advice, and searched for a possible nitrate booster on the system, and I see my filter sock in the refugium was caked with waste.
<Yes -- a source, remove this, or clean it 2-3 times a week>
Probably a huge contributor to the steady 30-40 nitrate readings even after 60 gallon water changes to get it down. I tossed it out altogether, put filter floss under the drain hoses instead to make it easier to just toss it out and add new on a weekly basis.
<At least this, but I would simply be draining direct into a compartment that holds the skimmer if it were me>
Did the water change, nitrates went down to 20ppm. Another large one in a few days should get it down to 10, I'm sure.
<Aim for 1 - 5 if you can>
Great idea to look for clogs. I also saw one of 2 return pumps was no longer working.
I bought a new one, cleaned out the gunk in the plumbing, and had a nice clear flow again. It was lots of debris in there, as well. I am turning this into a tank with reef parameters for him. I already have 200 lbs. of live rock and a handful of mushroom rocks.
<Mmmm, Mushrooms are probably not going to last long here, whatever the type. Your Raccoons will probably eat Corallimorphs, and your Emperor will eat Zoanthids and Leathers most likely. These are NOT the cnidarians that I would choose to house here.
If I was you I would stick with the live rock for the minute, do some reading ref: calcium and alkalinity, and when you are 'ready' if you still want some coral try some Scleractinians instead, maybe some Montipora. You are much more likely to have success here, although this is not guaranteed as individual fishes will have different habits. A bit of trial and error may be required. The butterflies are the real worry, but a positive is that you will not be plagued with Aiptasia like many others at least!>.
I will add other things the butterflies won't eat, more reef-like.
<Mmmm, stay away from soft corals and Anemones. You could easily add some Lysmata shrimp>
This Emperor behaves exactly as you have described he should. He's alert, interested in me and my presence, gently scoots away when I feed him, then comes right back to eat.
<That's marvelous news -- this is a very graceful fish>
Not spooked at all, very friendly for sure. I was even able to feed him Nori pieces by hand today.
I'm working hard, and keeping the QT ammonia at zero and very close to it.
<0.25ppm TOTAL ammonia will be ok short term (a few days) if the pH is low>
Yes, that "DI" end result of RO water is indeed part of my new & top off water.
Thank you for the suggestion. With his blue bottom colors, I have named him LEVI, as in the jeans. Levi & I thank you for the honest, educated feedback in specifics.
<No problem Jeff, you will find that your Emperor comes to recognise 'you' personally -- another characteristic of a most wonderful fish>
I'm glad I chose to keep him. Nice to know you'd have gotten him too!
<Yes, I do indeed own one of these myself>
I feel validated.
Jeff J.
<Simon, who has one more point to make -- this fish will do better if it is the 'king'. That means no Sohal or similar large aggressive fishes>

Juvenile Emperor Angelfish Health: Little Information to Work With\Poss. Cyanide Poisoning. 8/31/2009
<Hello Teagan>
I have a juvi emperor angel, he is a newish addition to my tank (2 months)
<Angels do much better in older tanks - at least six months old or older.>
and lately he has been getting strange almost lazy like.
<Not a good sign.>
He will barley move from under a ledge in my live rock, and when he does get does this strange twitch thing (like its almost not done on purpose) he never did this before.
<How long have you had this fish and where was it caught?>
Also when he does actually move around after a very short period he will come to rest on his side flat at the bottom of the tank like he just hasn't got it in him to continue swimming.
<Also not a good sign. What are your tank's parameters\water test results.?>
This has been going on for about a day or so.
Should I be worried?
<yes. Either the fish was caught using cyanide, or your water is loaded with ammonia or nitrite. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm >
Also, I don't know if this means anything but he had a bad case of "cloudy eye" about a week ago but i seemed to fix it up with some fresh water bathing. I don't know if this is related but might be helpful info.
<Possibly related I really need more information than what you have provided. How big is this tank, what do your water tests show? What else is in the tank with it? How much rock do you have? How long was the fish quarantined? Where was the fish caught (your fish store should know.) >
Is there anything I can do?
<Do a large water change. If possible, get this fish into a quarantine tank quickly.>
Is my fish dying? or is this normal?
<Not normal at all.>
sorry just scared.
<Read here about the emperor angels.>
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/Pomacanthus.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/angelcompafaq.htm

emperor angel, hlth. NNS 7/26/09
hello, first of all let me tell you that I've read a lot of your answers and they've been very helpful to me. I bought a 9 inches emperor angel form the red sea ( I was told) three weeks ago, <Expensive to ship such large specimens>
he was doing fine for a week and then he got little bit of cloudy eye, which disappeared 3 days later, but some kind of white marks were left around his eye ( like if the color disappeared) , he doesn't look to have any problem
about them, but I don't really know what they are.
<Very likely "just" collecting, handling, and shipping damage>
he only eats dried sea weed, even thought I've tried shrimp, calamari, octopus and clams. also sometimes his color seems a little bit faded. the water parameters are fine but I was waiting until he was doing perfect to do another water change.
<I would commit to a regular period here>
what do you recommend? thank you for your time, I'm really concerned about him.
<Time going by, maintenance, good feeding... This is a tough species, particularly from the Red Sea... And though smaller specimens are more adaptable, yours should settle in and repair of its own accord. Bob Fenner>

HLLE/Emperor Angelfish 5/30/09
Recently I noticed a marking on my Emp Angel fish behind his eye. Any idea as to what it could be?
<Rob, the pics are not real detailed, but likely, you have the beginnings of HLLE which generally is caused by poor water quality/environmental conditions, and/or lack of proper nutrition. Look here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re" HLLE/Emperor Angelfish, referral? 6/1/09e a better idea of the environmental conditions present. I'm still going with the onset of HLLE.>
Here are some more i <I> just took 48 hours after the first ones. Also, the last 3-6 weeks he's been constantly harassed by my gold barred maroon clownfish. The angel just hangs out in one corner. Could they be stress markings?
<Directly the cause, no. The clownfish is just adding to the environmental stress conditions present in your tank. You didn't mention your tank size or other inhabitants along with water parameters which would give m
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Imperator pics / diagnosis  3/26/08 Hi Crew, <Steven> You all have to be commended on your research, knowledge, and tireless efforts in helping the hobbyists like myself care for our animals. <Welcome> I have an adult 10+" Emperor angel that is relatively new to my established aquarium. He has transitioned well considering his size and is eating rather well on New Life Spectrum pellet food. He has shown / developed what I think may be fungal, bacterial or viral white small blotches...mainly behind his side fin and gill flaps, but also a small notch on the bottom ring of his eye socket (see pics.). His breathing, swimming, eating seems normal and he isn't scratching against any surfaces. I thought maybe Lymphocystis, or fungus, but wanted your opinion. <Mmm, the best/most likely "explanation" or root cause here is cumulative stress...> He doesn't seem bothered by them so I haven't done anything to treat, <Good. I would not> and I won't unless good reason. I am running Chemi Pure, Poly Filter and changing water weekly in the 275 gallon tank to give him pristine water conditions, 0 ammonia / nitrites, and less than 10 PPM nitrates. Also running a refugium with Chaeto for nitrate control. <Ahh, all sounds/reads as very good> Your input is greatly appreciated. I am hoping with good nutrition and water quality this will go away. Question: if marine velvet, would this have progressed much quicker and would the signs be very obvious, he has had these for several days now with no mal behavior? Many thanks, Steven <I congratulate and further urge your patience here. Likely this large specimen is simply "adjusting" and will not have problems with these incidental markings in future. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Imperator Angelfish not eating, help please, thanks in advance, "Fix" f'   7/12/07 Good Day, First, thank you very much for your service that you provide. My question is my Imperator Angel is not eating. I received the fish about 5 days a go, and the size is about 6-7 inches. <Mmm, a bit larger than ideal... large/r specimens don't ship, adapt as well as ones a bit smaller (3-4" overall length or so) to captive conditions> He is nice and fat as well. I have him in a 150 gallon tank, with a Niger trigger, <This may be a factor> a snow flake eel (8 inches), a yellow belly damsel, and a coral beauty about 3 inches. I have the following tank setup: All water parameters test good, temperature is constantly around 78 -80 degrees. 150 lb.s of live rock, 150 gallon SeaClone skimmer, 1"-2" layer of crush coral for a bed, 10 gallon tank connected to the sump filled with Chaetomorpha, a 18 watt UV sterilizer, and a few pieces of live rock where the bio balls used to be. Salinity is 1.023. Also, have a bag of carbon setting in the sump. Also, have an air stone running on the left side of the tank to provide plenty of oxygenated water. I have tried feeding him frozen mysis shrimp, krill, Nori, flakes, pellets, and clam bits from the grocery store. <Good...> Tried a mix of the foods listed with garlic guard, and still no luck. I did place a strip of Nori on a clip on the glass, but all he did was go up to the Nori and investigate it.3 I did notice to day that he was breathing heavy on the right side gill and not using the left side. I did change out 60 gallons three days ago. Any suggestions would be great. I really want to stay away from medications and Pima and Mela fix. <Worthless> I have always lost fish when I used these products. Again, thanks in advance, Stuart <Five days is actually too short a time to really begin worrying... I would keep trying the assortment you list... perhaps adding a whole, opened small bivalve... and soaking in a vitamin prep.... these also double as appetite stimulants. Bob Fenner>
Re: Imperator Angelfish not eating, help please, thanks in advance... Laziness, apathy, poor directions on WWM or?   7/14/07
Good Day, <Stuart>  had a friend come over that used to work at the North Carolina Aquarium; he said that my Imperator Angel has marine velvet. He is using only one gill and his colors are starting to fade a little. I am still not having any luck in him eating. What do you suggest for treating? Thank you very much for your help. Stuart Neas <... again... all this is posted... Learn to/use the indices and search tool... You could have known what to do had you looked: http://wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Sick Imperator Angel - 3/23/07 Hey guys, <And some wonderful gals, too! JustinN with you today.> I need some help, quickly. <Ok, I'll see what I can offer..> My son has a 125 gallon reef tank that's about 2 months old.   <This is still a very new, very immature tank.> He bought a juvenile Imperator 2-3 weeks ago and he has been eating but has gotten really pale.   <How large of an Imperator are we talking here, and furthermore, what color pattern does it bear? If it still has its banded coloration of youth, then the fading is part of the natural transition. These fish go through an amazing appearance change as they mature, as do many other marine angelfishes. Part of this transformation includes an awkward fade to white.> His color seems to be draining out of him.  He is almost white.   <Sounds like maturity to me, though hard to tell without a picture for certain.> He is now down in a corner of the tank today and not looking great.  Breathing heavy and not moving much.   <Hmm, peculiar indeed. Let me ask, is there any live rock in this aquarium? All species contained within will benefit from some, but the angel and tang will be ill-served, at least in my opinion, without some provided live rock for grazing.> I checked his water and the levels look good- unless I am reading the stick wrong.   <Stick? As in dip stick? Toss these things, please. Worth slightly more than bupkiss. Do move to a reliable liquid test, such as Seachem, Salifert, or Aquarium Pharmaceuticals -- for your sanity and your fishes sake! The strips you currently use are incredibly inaccurate, and are greatly affected by many environmental factors, making the results even less reliable.> There are 2 gobies, a yellow Tang and 5 yellow tailed blue damsels in with him.  He seemed fine until today, just his color was fading. <Quite a bit of life already in this tank, considering its age. I realize this is a big aquarium, and the natural instinct is to fill it teeming with life, however, this is not what is beneficial for your aquatic charges. This tank should have live rock in it, allowed to mature for 4-6 months, before you had even considered adding the yellow tang and the Imperator angelfish. These are both quite sensitive, and somewhat difficult to maintain fish, especially for beginners, due to their advanced requirements of space and dietary requirements.> What do we need to do to save him, or make him happy again! help! <First, get some proper water testing equipment, or barring that, have a local fish store test the water quality, to get an accurate idea of what is going on in your tank. Second, if you're not already, you need to start providing some sea greens for your angel and tang, such as the many available preparations of Nori (the seaweed wraps typically used in the making of sushi). Beyond this, and the factors of the immature tank I spoke of previously, I don't see anything glaring that could be leading to a problem here. Hope this helps you! -JustinN> Leslie- Pete's mom

Emperor Angel mouth problem    1/25/06 Dear Crew, <Dana> I have a 5 1/2"  Emperor Angel whom I have had for just under 2 years. He has always been healthy, eats everything, and has almost completely changed over to his adult form. He is perfect in every way but one. Over the last six months, I noticed that his mouth looked different than it should (I had one many years ago, plus see them in LFS and photos). I have had no luck taking photos that clearly show what I am talking about, so I shall attempt to describe his mouth. Quite simply, it looks as if someone grabbed it with a pair of pliers and pulled it forward. There does not appear to be any growths on it, more like it has cracks in it. His mouth does protrude out, the bottom more so than the top. I can see what appear to be blood vessels under the skin in this area, and he is no longer able to close his mouth completely. It does not appear to bother him, as he is still eating quite well. But I am concerned that what originally looked like a "not so perfect specimen" now looks like something is obviously wrong. I did search your FAQs, and did find a couple of posts about tumors of the mouth, but neither of the posts offered a description for comparison. If this is a tumor, do you have any advice for a remedy? <Maybe a tumor, perhaps a genetic anomaly... could be resultant from a "bump" long ago... No remedy though...> Are my other fish in any danger? <Highly unlikely, no> I am not certain if this is related, but I have twice seen him breathing rapidly out of a single gill only (found several posts on this as well, but no clear answers), <Probably not a problem or related. Just something they do at times> but minutes later was breathing normally. Oh yes - water quality is excellent, with near zero   nitrates and phosphates, pH is 8.2, temp 77. The tank is a 240 with 200 lbs. of live rock, though this was only added a few months ago.   All other fish in the tank have perfect health. His diet includes virtually every frozen marine fish food on the market (I believe in   variety!) fed twice a day, with dried seaweed fed twice a week. Your help and advice is greatly appreciated. Dana <I would soak the foods, algae in a vitamin/HUFA supplement (like Selcon, Microvit...), but otherwise do nothing else here. If this is a developmental disorder, or tumor as you speculate, hopefully it will spontaneously remit. Bob Fenner>

Emperor Angel head, HLLE Hi, My friend has an Emperor angel with a blue tang, Columbian shark and a GSP. The angel has gotten some pink thing on his head that my friend and I can't identify. Is it fungus, HLLE, scratching on rocks? He also thinks that the blue tang might have the same thing. I don't know much about his tank except it has a little amount of live rock and it is a 30 gallon eclipse tank. I will ask him for his water <Is HLLE... please read on WWM re... improve nutrition, water quality... A thirty gallon system is too small for these species. Bob Fenner> 

This Emperor Has a "Royal" Problem! (Disease or Injury?) Good afternoon- <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> I have a sick Imperator angel, and after reading over the FAQ's, and not seeing anything closely related, decided to ask for help.  I've had the angel for about 5 years and watched it grow from a juvenile to a large adult.  For the last few years, it's been in a 180 FOWLR without problems.  Up until about 8-9 days ago, it ate everything in sight, typically Formula 1 & 2, Mysis or Caulerpa and every week or so, I'd toss in a clam or green lip mussel from the local fish market.  When the eating slowed down, I noticed what appeared to be a film over one eye, which also looked somewhat swollen or 'popped out'  For the last 4-5 days, I haven't seen it eat anything.  On occasion, it looks as if it will try, but quickly looses interest.  All of the other tankmates are still looking happy and healthy, and none have been harassing it.   The only 'harassment' has been when I come to the put food in, it usually runs off and hides, grunting along the way.  There doesn't appear to be any external parasites, diseases, etc.  The water checks out ok, temp. 78, 1.024, pH 8.2, and the nitrates at 25.  The nitrates have generally been around 10-15, but I think due to the uneaten food, it's climbed up a bit.  In the last week, I've done 2- 40 gallon water changes and I'm preparing the water for a 3rd.  I've run carbon for 5 days or so, as I watch his condition go down hill.  It now spends most of it's time hanging face down in a corner, or hidden back in the rocks. <Not good to see; this generally is indicative of a pretty sick fish. My initial thought was some sort of injury to the eye, which caused the bulging appearance. It may have become infected, too. The lack of appetite may be unrelated (the fish is simply uncomfortable and agitated due to the eye problem), or it could be indicative of some sort of bacterial or other infection. Rather than rush to medicate an undiagnosed illness with a potentially incorrect medication, you may want to try the old standby of Epsom salt in the tank water to help draw down the swelling. If the fish is continuing to display other disease signs, then you may want to isolate it and observe it more carefully, in the hope of diagnosing just what it is you're dealing with.> In one of the FAQ responses, you said to soak the food in Selcon.   If the fish isn't eating, will the Selcon entice it to eat, or is it not worth the effort. <Selcon will certainly make the food that the fish does eat more nutritious; I'm not really sure if it will entice the fish to eat. It does have a "fishy" smell, so maybe there is some attraction provided.> Moving it to a hospital tank is also out of the question, as the largest tank I have is a 35 gal, and I'd never be able to get it out from the rocks.  Thanks for your assistance. Andy <Well, Andy, lets hope that the passage of time, good water quality, Epsom salt and quality food will help this fish recover fully. Sometimes, that's all it takes! Hang in there, don't make any rash treatment decisions, and observe the fish carefully. Let us know if we may be of any further assistance. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- White Blotches on Emperor Angel - Hello. <Hi.> I am desperately trying to sift through all the info. on the web about angels. I have a 3.5 inch juvenile imperator angel who has white blotches to his pattern. Does not look like anything attached as it would with an ich type disease. He is eating and swimming about. My nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and salinity are all good. His eyes are clear. Is this just the beginning of his metamorphosis or is it a disease. <Sounds to me like an exhibition of the night/fright pattern on this fish. Typically shown when in an overall bad mood or nighttime. Not sure what your fish might be responding to, but have seen these blotchy patterns often enough on newly arrived or stressed fish. Do look for sources of stress in your tank, perhaps do a couple of large water changes to try and improve its mood.> Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Heather <Cheers, J -- >

The Emperor's New...Respiration Rate? HI,   <Hello! Scott F. here!> I have spent the evening reading your faq and answers regarding angelfish, particularly ones regarding the Emperor.  I recently purchased--about 4 weeks ago -a juvenile Emperor (about  3.5").  He is very active in the tank, but I have noticed his breathing patterns vary.  When I first noticed, I checked all my tank parameters, and even took at sample to my LFS.  They said everything seemed normal, but the phosphate level was on the high side. I did a water change---about 15 gal in a 55 gal aquarium, and bought some phosphate absorbing material which I added to the carbon in my canister filter....He's had a few bouts with ick, I treated him with freshwater dips, and purchased a 15w UV sterilizer.  Since then the ick seems to be under control..  I am still concerned with his breathing...it just appears to be high...i read on the webpage that it is not recommended to purchase one if it's rate was greater than 80 breaths per min.  His fluctuates, and does sometimes go above 80.  Also, there have been a few times when I have noticed that he'll just use one gill, when this happens his breathing appears normal on the other side not rapid).  I have become quite attached to having this fish in my tank...and would hate for anything to happen to it.....is there reason for me to worry? <Very interesting observations. I have personally observed this phenomenon in a number of Emperors. For the most part, it has never been problematic, in the long term, for any of the specimens that I have witnessed this phenomenon on. Labored breathing and recent disease is cause for heightened alertness on your part. As you may know, one of the symptoms of Amyloodinium is rapid, labored breathing. Labored breathing on a newly acquired specimen could be as a result of collection trauma, or even poisoning... Probably not a concern with your fish, but do keep a close eye on this fish just to be safe.> I have a 55 gal tank, with live rock, a SeaClone protein skimmer, mag350 canister filter, a whisper 30-60 hang on filter, 2 powerheads, 15watt UV sterilizer, a maroon clown, 4 green Chromis, a few cleaner shrimp, and cleaner wrasse, along with a few corals and anemones.  I do bi weekly water changes with premixed ro/di saltwater from my LFS. <Good husbandry- you need excellent water quality to keep this fish healthy and happy in the long run! And, I hope that larger quarters are in the future for him? He'll definitely need a large tank to live a normal life span, okay?> I am trying to learn as much as i can about these fish.....how much should a fish like this grow in a years time?...When will it start going through it's  maturation process, and change color?.... <Usually happens at anywhere between 1 year and 18 months of age...and usually around 5 inches in size. This guy can get large in a couple of years...he needs larger quarters within the year, IMO> Your site has been the best I've been regarding information on angelfish...I would appreciate any help you can give me.... Thanks, Ronnie <Well, Ronnie, the Emperor is my all-time favorite fish, too! If you provide him with high water quality, a varied diet...and a large tank- you'll have a magnificent pet that can live for many, many years! Just keep reading all that you can about this fish on the wetwebmedia.com site! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Large (abused) Angel type?  Substrate question?  9/26/06 Hello,   A few quick questions for you if you don't mind.     First,  I am looking to buy a susposive <?> "Imperator" angel from a local guy at a great price.  It's 5"-6" long.    There are two issues.  One is that it looks just like an Imperator but it is missing the black mask.  It's face is all white??? <... Likely the result of an HLLE syndrome... I'd pass>   Any ideas on what or why this is? <History of poor nutrition mostly> The owner has had it two years and said that it changed form it's juvineile <Spell-check, please> color over a year ago.  I don't think that the water quality is so good as he does the water changes every 6 weeks.  Second is that it's top dorsal fin is kinda jagged and torn. <More evidence of poor environment, nutrition>   Is this any think to be concerned about. <Mmm... yes> I am getting the Angel and it's 4 tank mates for $75.  Here are the tank mates: 4" maroon clown, 5" Picasso Trigger, a 4"-5" raccoon butterfly.  The trigger is hand fed I know, I a little concerned about that to) and comes to the top so you can pet him????  They have all been together for 2 years in a 120 gallon.  Do you see any compatibility issues here? <... see WWM re each species...> What is the best substrate for this crew? <Ditto...>   Do you think that I can put my 4"-5" Green wrasse (I think it's a Halichoeres melanurus) with these fish in my 120 gallon?   Can I add a Cole tank to this bunch?     And last,  I have a bunch of 1/4"-3/8" crushed coral.  Is there any way to get this finer?  Maybe down to 1/8"?      Thanks, as always for you contribution to our hobby!!   Randy <Read on my friend, read on. RMF>

Faded Imperator Hi Guys <Hello!> Quick question this time.  I just bought a 5" adult Imperator who is currently in my QT.  I noticed that some of his color blanched in various parts of his body.   <Possibly fright patterns> Now it appears that he has Ich (there were 2 spots on him  so I caught it early) and I am treating with copper.  The faded spots do not appear to be as abundant after a dip and 24 hours of copper.  Is this a reaction to stress or do these light spots represent some other form of disease? <I doubt the faded spots are disease. Personally, I wouldn't have freaked about two small white spots. I have a tendency to take a "watch and see" approach with my own tanks. I suspect it's just fright colors. Please read more about treating fish disease at WetWebMedia.Com I'm sure you want to get the procedure right...No?> Thanks as always <You're welcome! David Dowless> Joe
Re: Imperator Angel Faded Color
Thanks yet again lol:) <Yep- seems like it would work to me...Good luck with this project! Regards, Scott F.> First I have to say thanks for the great site and great book (The Conscientious Marine Aquarist). Without these, I would have given up the hobby a long time ago. <Thanks for the kind words, I agree, Bobs book is great, and this site is all kinds of fun.> I have the following setup: 200 gallon Oceanic (Reef Ready) Aquaclear SL300 Wet/Dry CA 4000 in sump pump (2) Medium Sized powerheads (2) 24" Marine-Glo Fluorescent Lamps (2) 36" Power-Glo Fluorescent Lamps 220 Lbs. live sand 100 Lbs live rock Ammonia:         0.0 Nitrites:             0.0 Nitrates:            0.0 Ph:                   8.2 Salinity             1.017 I have the following fish and inverts: (1)   3.5"            Niger Trigger (1)   6"              Red Volitans Lionfish (1)   5"               Emperor Angel (1)   4"               Purple Tang (1)   4"               Yellow Tang (1)   6"               Sailfin Tang (1)   3"               Sailfin Tang (1)   3"               Yellow Eye Tang (1)   3"               Lawnmower Blenny (1)   1.5"            Three Stripe Damsel (1)   6"               Panther Grouper (1)   12"             Snowflake Moray (3)                    Hermit Crabs I have been feeding the fish Mysis Shrimp soaked in Kent Marine Zoe.  I have been feeding the eel fresh shrimp from the local seafood market. Finally, the question I have is about my Emperor Angel.  It seems to have lost a good bit of color.  I bought it about six months ago and it was in the process of changing.  It has almost changed over to its adult colors, but it seems sort of washed out and faded.  Everything in the tank seems healthy including the angel.  No heavy breathing.  No diseases.  They all eat fine.  I was wondering if there is something that's missing from its diet.  Would you recommend changing anything? <I would agree that this is most likely diet related, these as with all other fish require a varied diet to live a happy healthy life.  Spirulina based foods and Nori should be included in their diet. These angels also need sponge, tunicates and other matter found on live rock.  Which brings us to another issue, the number of Tangs you have are surely consuming all the goodies from the live rock.  The mix of tangs is unnatural and will lead to a war when they all mature (the Zebrasoma species are going to trash each other in a year or two).> Is this normal for an Angel to loose some of its color? <This is not normal, but it does happen frequently.> Thanks for the feedback in advance.  Keep up the great work. Hal Brumfield <I would recommend shopping for a larger tank, maybe 500gal or so.  When you add the adult size of all of these fishes, you get over 8 feet of total length WITHOUT including the moray at 18-36". We are literally talking about over 10 feet of adult fish in a 200 gall tank.  They of course will not grow that big in a 200, they will stunt and die prematurely and/or begin killing each other first when elbows start to rub in the 3-5 year picture.  I would start by removing the Lion and the Grouper, both grow to nearly 24in as adults.  Hope this info helps, best regards, Gage>

The Emperor's New...Disease? Hello my name is Ryan. <Hey, Ryan! Scott F. with you!> This is my second time writing with a question and I would like to thank you for the quick response and great information on the first. My question this time deals with a sick fish. The fish is an Emperor angel and he has developed some white clumpy regions around his face and also going on down his back. I read about Lymphocystis on your website and that was my best diagnosis. The spots are larger than ick and they almost have a pattern to them as they are only on the face and a straight line down the back. I prepared to let it run its course but some of the spots have gotten to the point where blood is showing around them. He has also stopped eating and is hanging out around the return flow from the filter. This makes me think that he may be having some respiratory problems. <Lymphocystis generally clears up on it's own. On the other hand, the fact that your fish appears to be listless, hanging in front of the filter return seems to be indicative of something more serious, IMO. In fact, the difficulty in breathing suggests the possibility of Amyloodinium. The spots may be the damage caused to the fish's tissue by the parasite. The tissue is essentially being liquefied. I would take the risk and operate under the assumption that this is the illness which you are dealing with. You must take quick action to save the fish's life.> Should I quarantine and treat? If so, what should I use? I hate to stress him out any more. I really need some help. <The first thing that I would do is read up on Amyloodinium to verify if this is what you're dealing with. Once you're satisfied that this is the case, I'd opt to remove the affected fish to a separate aquarium, and commence treatment with a commercial copper sulphate preparation, following the instructions of the product exactly. You may want to incorporate a freshwater drip prior to commencing the copper treatment. If this is Amyloodinium, it may be necessary to remove all fishes from the aquarium, and let the tank run fallow for about a month. This disease is highly contagious, and often fatal if left untreated. Monitor copper levels and observe the fish continuously during this period of time, maintain high water quality, and good aeration. Hopefully, with quick, decisive action, you'll beat this disease!> Thank you so much for your help. Keep up the great website! I have learned some much from your wonderful work. Thanks again! ~ Ryan <We're always glad to help, Ryan. I hope that, if we're right about this diagnosis, your fish makes a full recovery. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>
The Emperor's New...Disease (Pt2)
Ryan again. Thanks again for the quick response. I did what you suggested and did a little research on Amyloodinium. I sure hope that is not what I am dealing with! <Me, too!> As of now I am a little unsure. Everything that I read said that Amyloodinium looks like a rusty like powder covering the fish's body and infected regions. <That's usually correct...I'm a bit curious, though, about the apparent skin damage to the fish. I'm convinced that we may be dealing with some type of parasite here. maybe monogenetic Trematodes, or, perhaps, even Microsporidean (a protozoan infection). > This is not the case with my Emperor. He doesn't display any rusty discolorations, only the white raised regions that are about twice the size of ick spots. They do appear to be deep into the skin and he does have some cloudiness in his eyes. I am not sure where to go from here. Can Amyloodinium present itself in this way? <Amyloodinium does cause cloudy eyes and labored breathing.> Also it doesn't seem to be spreading to any of the other fish and from what I have read Amyloodinium is highly contagious. <Correct!> I did a water change and it seemed to help but my water quality has never been a problem (pH: 8, NH3: 0, NO2: 0, NO3: 10). I attached a couple of pictures. <Sorry, Ryan, I couldn't get them to open...> I don't know if they are detailed enough or not but I need all the help I can get. Thanks a lot for the expert advice. It is very much appreciated ~ Ryan <Well, Ryan, since we still don't have 100% ID on the illness here, we may have to attempt some "broad and simple" treatments, at least to get the fish on the road to recovery, without further stressing it. I'd start with freshwater dips, removal to a separate tank, and use of Methylene Blue, which is a very gentle (albeit not super effective) treatment. Perhaps these methods will turn the tide for this fish. If, however, more symptoms appear, or the symptoms are getting worse, I'd make my best guess as to the cause (assuming that it's a parasitic infection), and utilize copper sulphate, as per manufacturer's instructions. With labored breathing, and other symptoms present, this fish needs some help soon. Keep in touch- Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Emperor Angel concerns, observations Hey Guys! I have a few quick questions.  I just added 2 new fish to my tank and I have a few concerns. Fist I purchased an Emperor Angel about 4 1/2 inches in length.  He is doing unbelievably well, alert, attentive, eating everything in site (even out of my hand).  I've had him for about 4 weeks now.  In that time I have noticed 2 things.  On two separate occasions he has had some slight discoloration on his fins. Two small while cloudy spot discolorations, once on his pectoral fin and once on his tail fin.  Very small, but nothing physical is attached to the fins.  They went away in a day or two and then appeared again about 2 weeks later in different areas and now are gone again.  Definitely not ich. He is behaving absolutely perfectly.   Also the very top portion of his body from his dorsal fin to just below it, is not as brilliantly colored as the rest of him.  I am feeding frozen sponge (angel formula), krill, brine shrimp, chopped scallops, little necks and plenty of red and purple seaweed salad and flake to keep the colors bright.  Is this a sign he changing to his adult coloration? <Possible - these fish can alter their coloration depending on mood... you might also want to investigate the water quality... make sure it is absolutely pristine.> Otherwise he is fat and happy and no other problems.  He is without question my most prized fish.  Am I just being over concerned? <Perhaps a little of that too, but it's always good to be on the watch.> Secondly, at the same time I purchased my Emperor,  I also got a small panther grouper about 2 1/2 inches in length.  He appeared fine and saw him eat brine shrimp at the store.  I did notice I could see the redness of his lungs through his scales.  I wrote this off to his smallness and that his scales were very translucent and would darken with age.   He was kept in one of those small specimen tanks where fifty 1ft by 1ft by 1ft cubes are linked and stacked together on the wall utilizing the same filtration system with another panther grouper of similar size.  I cant believe it,  but he is not eating. <Not typical for a grouper... but I will just remind you that if it does start eating, be prepared for this fish to grow and dominate your tank. It is a grouper after all and capable of reaching over 18" in captivity.> I didn't think this would ever happen with one these guys.  From what I have read, these guys are supposed to be pigs. <That is correct.> Any time I place any of the foods mentioned above in the tank he is all over it, but I just don't see him eating it.  He will swim beside the food put his nose right up to it and stares at it. He even muscles his way for position among the other inhabitants to get close but just wont inhale it.  I did catch him take a small bite of chopped scallop about 2 weeks after I purchased him, and thought his shyness was cured but still not having much if any luck.  He is starting to look thin and bony and his color is starting to fade slightly. Although he is swimming strong and doesn't appear to have lost any activity with lack of food.  Any suggestions?? <You might want to isolate this fish in a quarantine tank until it starts eating again... give it space to itself, and also the ability for you to treat it should that become necessary.> Lastly,  Powder Blue or Sohal Tang what's the call??  I currently have the emperor, purple tang, 5 green Chromis, 2 Firefish, the panther and a snowflake moray. <Well... how large is this tank? The Chromis and Firefish will be toast when that grouper grows up.> I cant decide. Thanks for all your help. John Cape Cod <Cheers, J -- >

Fish health/disease Dear Mr. Fenner, Thanks in advance for your assistance! I have an adult Emperor Angelfish that has been in my Fish Only community tank for two years. Over the last month, he appears multi-symptomatic. 1) He is not eating and hides a lot. 2) He has a slight equilibrium problem (waddle side to side as he sits). 3) Breathing is regular yet his mouth seems almost a little more open then regular. 4) He flicks on occasion (every few minutes or during light feeding) but I never see him scratch against anything. 5) His pelvic fins are held close to the body and losing color. 6) He has white pits in the skin around the eyes. 7) He also has white patches in various spots on his body (scratch-like appearance and they disappear/reappear in different locations in a couple hours time). 8) His eyes are clear. 9) His tail and pectoral fins are cloudy white and receding from tip toward the body. In response, I've reduced the lighting and feeding in the tank to about 25%, increased aeration and have started lowering the salinity (1.019). Its been a few days since I did that and he's started moving around a little more. I still need to get a heater to raise the temp. Water conditions: 0 ammonia 0 nitrite 20 nitrate .2 phosphate 78-80degrees pH 8.0 Given past information you have made available, I don't think the condition is bacterial because of his eyes being clear. My local store says to dip him to help (maybe the flukes). Do you think this is a good idea? What is the likelihood that its fungal (the fin deterioration concerns me) and if so, how should I treat? <Hmm, I am inclined to not dip this specimen, and to think that this is either (most likely) a nutritional deficiency disorder (could be related to water quality) or a long-term internal parasite evidencing itself... Would do the following. Add the food supplement Selcon to this animals rations (soak it in a few drops for five, ten minutes) AND add some iodide to this (Lugol's solution is fine)... Do you have a way to culture some "live rock and macro-algae" in either this system or a related sump? I would... as an alternate food source and best way to improve water quality...> Thanks, Jason Lockhart <We will return this fish to health. Bob Fenner>
Re: fish health/disease
Mr. Fenner, Thanks for your quick response! I noted in #1 that the fish is not eating. He only flicks about when food is in the water or the tank is stirred up (cleaning). I do have a sump that is currently full with protein skimmer/return pup/carbon bag. I don't know if I'm ready to dump the plastic balls and do algae and mud. <Your livestock are ready> I have considered live rock but I'm afraid of the water being affected. <It will be... improved> I could still bring some home from the store as I intend to add a heater and purchase some Selcon (the other fish still eat). <Yes> Not to argue with your initial opinion, but I read a bit on the website about dipping. Won't it help to 'wash his slime coat' and nip the necrotic fin tissue temporarily? I know its stressful but I think it may slow down the rot. <Always trade-offs... and never be hesitant to challenge/query anything I (or anyone for the matter) might state... IMO/E your fish will/would suffer much more trauma from handling than any possible gain from washing... Perhaps a cleaner organism like a Lysmata Shrimp, Gobiosoma goby?> Thanks so much for your prompt response! You are very kind. <I am myself... and glad to offer help. Bob Fenner> Jason Lockhart
Re: fish health/disease
Mr. Fenner, Thanks again for your input. I will go ahead and add a couple pounds of rock and a heater to the aquarium. I do have a blue cleaner wrasse in the tank for parasites. I also have a dwarf potter, a yellow spot wrasse, percula clown and two damsels to top it off. I don't intend to add anymore fish esp. with my angel's condition and aquarium load. I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you and best wishes! Gratefully, Jason Lockhart <Ahh, life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Emperor and crypt We have had our Imperator Angle for approx 2 years in a 150 gal aquarium. About 1 week ago we started noticing white spots on her body. The spots resemble when a fish becomes stressed or angry and their color changes temporarily, then returns to normal. The Imperator has never acted stressed and has basically always ruled the tank. The white spots are not raised. None of the other fish seem to be sick. She is eating normally but the spots seem to be getting worse. She has them all over her head and body. Do you know what these spots could be and what we can do about it? >> Are they very small, almost salt grain size? If bright white, this is likely the marine parasite call "ich" or Cryptocaryoniasis... if rusty colored, it may be the algae parasite called velvet, or Oodiniumiasis... If the markings are symmetrical and mainly around the head, this might be indicative of a poor water quality condition... are no other fish species affected? This would be unusual if any but the water quality are the cause... I would do some reading and add something in the way of biological cleaners at this point to help tilt conditions in your large angel's favor... Bob Fenner

Question: I sure hope you can give me some advice on this one. I have a (nearly) adult Pomacanthus Imperator, approximately 12-14 cm long. I acquired it from FFExpress last fall. Within a month or so of introduction to my tank, it began to developed a few small, 'pimple' like pumps, slightly discolored. They have continued to appear and spread in patches on the fish, and are getting worse. Most of the earliest patches have now gone away, and left only faint scars. What's more, they don't seem to bother the fish, with the exception of one time when a particularly bad patch developed a secondary infection. I treated that with SW Maracyn, and it quickly recovered. It seems to be a strong fish, and is an outstanding eater, although I have a tough time adequately varying its diet, as it will not take angel formula or any other gel-cube food. It does eat brine, bloodworms, lettuce, kelp, and hair or macro algae greedily. My attempts to treat (and prevent the spread of) this malady have consisted of lowering the salinity in my 150 gallon tank, where this fish is kept, to 1.011 SG (this is a fish only tank), and then treating with CopperSafe. Neither seems to have made any difference, and it has not apparently spread to any other fish. The fish is now in isolation, following the bacterial infection noted above. Is this, as I fear, some sort of parasitic worm? If so, why have lowered salinity and copper not killed it off? Is there some way to eliminate this? Some of the patches are getting pretty bad. One is so inflamed that my wife suggest I remove the 'bumps' with tweezers! I'm really at a loss, and I have never seen anything like this in 10 years of marine fishkeeping. Question: (follow-up to last month's question about discoloration on head of Juvenile Imperator Angel) Thanks for the information. I have moved forward improving nutrition and water quality. I wonder if you could explain what should happen given all conditions are optimum. I would like to hear what the normal changing process is for an imperator angel. It would give me some insight on what's suppose to happen. Thanks again, your knowledge is appreciated.
Bob's Answer:
The adult pattern really entirely supplants (replaces?) the juv. with its concentric blue, black and white flank circles. At first (usually 3-4" total length) the golden lines look wavy, but as the circles go, the line fill in and straighten out. I've seen all this happen in a few months and w/o much change in body length.

Development of my imperator Hi Bob, I wonder if you could please give me your views on my imperator angel, namely on his stage of development. I hope you can open the file above, most folks can open .tiff files, using the imaging software, if not using ms paint. If not I can forward a bit-map image. <Shows okay... a bit fuzzy for 30k> He is about 4.5" or so, not including tail fin. I have him now for about 18 months or so, in which time he has developed from a juv. of about 3" or so, to his present stage. Would this seem like an ok rate of development, or does it appear slow to you ? <Looks fine, and healthy... good semi-adult coloration... okay size... better to not push this species on either aspect of development... live happier, healthier lives going slow> If you feel he may be underdeveloped, then I would like to take steps to increase his development (general health and happiness) rate. I am told by some folk that the about 1" a year is the norm, and up to 2 years for a full colour change ............ on the other hand I know of a guy who grew a 2.5" specimen to 8", with full colour change in about a year !!! <Not a good idea in my estimation...> I know things vary etc, resulting in different rates, but I was wondering if my guy is on track, or if he is lagging behind.  The picture portraits him in slightly different colours. His yellow tail is not quite as bright a yellow as that, and his stripes have a yellow tinge to them, rather than the white that the pic shows. Thanks for taking the time to read. Regards Matt PS. I am looking into the diving cert, and hope to get on a course a.s.a.p. :-) Cheers. >> <Ah good, and no worries re your Imperator... it's doing fine and will continue to do so under your care. Bob Fenner>

Emperor/help Mr. Fenner, I just bought a juv emperor from ff 10 days ago. He is just about to change from juv to adult and is 4" big and thick. He has been in a qt tank for over 10 days and today I went ahead and added him to the main tank a 125g w/LR over 100lbs, water is 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, little to no nitrate, temp 78*, sg 1.024, ph 8.2). I used the main tank water to start the qt tank and then did water changes 3 times a week.  <All sounds good so far> He was very scared and stressed in the beginning, but after about an hour he was fine and swimming around. Ever since then, he has done fine. I have feed him every other day and he eats. So I am so happy so far, except what I am seeing now when I got home from a run. I acclimated him for about 1.5 hrs this morning and then put him in the tank with the lights off for about 2-3 hrs. He seemed fine after about 15-20 min.s. I even gave him some angel formula and he ate it. He was swimming around and interacting with the Naso and damsels. But now about 5 hrs later, I come home and find him breathing pretty heavily and faster than he should be breathing. I checked all parameters before I even put him in this morning and everything is great. And on top of the faster than normal breathing, he also just swims on the side of the tank nearest me and my CPU and just keeps circling back and fourth looking at me. I am very concerned but don't know if I should be or not. <Hmm, likely nothing... other than the cumulative stress of being more... and so much newness the last month...> It may just be he is spooked or stressed and just breathing harder but why wasn't he like that in the morning and afternoon)? Is there a tiny amount of ammonia that is not showing up on the water testers?  <Doubtful> I need help ASAP because it is really scaring me how heavily he is breathing. It's not like as fast as if the fish was dying, but pretty fast. Any help or answers as to what to do, would be appreciated. I am also going to do about a 20g water change of the total 125g tonight or tomorrow morning. Thanks, Ryan <Not much more to say here... other than that what you describe "does happen"... and generally solves itself in a matter of a few days on its own... please try to be patient here. Bob Fenner>

Emperor Angel Bob, I have a 120 gallon diamond shaped tank in which I house a number of species of Marine fish. My Emperor Angels behavior has puzzled me for some time now. He/she seems to stress very easily. He/she swims to the back of the tank and rests on its side, breathing quite frantically, whenever someone gets too close to the front of the tank. He/she sometimes can be seen only breathing out of one gill. He/she also turns blotchy. I have had this fish for about 9 months now and as I said before, I am quite puzzled, because it happens quite frequently. Is this normal behavior for this species or might their be another angle to this angel? Thank you for your time, Doug <Hmm, yes, normal for either a "chintzy" specimen or one that is "being stressed"... this is a small volume for this species... and it needs "psychological" distance (rock, other decor) to "get away" from you, others... Bob Fenner>

Listing Emperor angel Hi Bob, Hope things are well. Getting out of AOL then. Didn't realize, I mail directly to the hotmail in future;-) <Ah good, and yes, tiring of their thumb-numbing delete-exercise you-paid-for it advertising... and auto-formatting problems of moving Q/A mat's to the site.> I am writing in hope that you can advise me about my emperor angel. Up until recently he has been doing really well. However, lately he is behaving very strangely. In general he appears in good health, eats well, good colour etc, still the most dominant fish the tank. What worries me is this. He keeps going through periods of inactivity. He hovers close to the bottom, and then begins to list to one side. He keeps leaning over until finally he is almost horizontal ........ (about 10 degrees angle) And then he hovers there, in that position for ages, until something stimulates him to move, then he swims off quite normally. (i.e. to chase another fish, food, etc) Another thing I notice is that sometimes he is "flaring" his gills out for no apparent reason, usually while he is going through the "listing" thing. He opens them right out like as if he is posing for a cleaner shrimp. <All sounds "par for the course" with this species but the last... Do you have a cleaner of some sort in the system? I would add a species of Lysmata Shrimp myself... if it will go with your other livestock> When this behaviour began, he used to move close to the rocks, and tilt his body such that it was parallel to the face of the rock. At first I thought he was probably looking for the cleaner shrimps so he could get cleaned, because this was where the shrimps used to hang around. However, there are no shrimps in the tank anymore, I took them out ages ago, because I got a triggerfish. <Oh... well, I would look into some other facultative cleaner types then... maybe a small Bodianus wrasse species? Heniochus butterfly...> Now he typically illustrates this "listing" (tilting) and gill flaring exercise at the front corner on the tank, just over a small piece of LR, that is only a couple of inches or so ....... i.e. there is no way he could think there was a cleaner shrimp hiding near by. <I wouldn't go that far... this "behavior" is likely more than learned... the fish is "seeking" help... very likely> Can you help me ??? Have you heard of this type of behaviour before ??? Is it a serious thing, and can it be treated ??? Does it need to be treated ??? Do I need to do something ??? <Get another type of cleaner, move out the trigger, risk other shrimp...> As I said, he is others in good health, and all the other fish in the tank are doing fine, including the queen angel (which I assume has more or less the same needs as the emperor, thus I count out any environmental conditions). He is not off his food, or showing any signs of sickness, and is breathing normally also. The only thing is that one of his eyes was cloudy for a short time, but I think this was only because the tank needed a water change ........ I had missed out on the regular biweekly change due to sickness ....... but the emperors eye cleared up fine after the water change. <Cloudy eyes? Not a good sign... do watch your water quality, and numerous whips with a wet net for missing the water change, regular maintenance...> Thanks for reading, and for any help you can offer. I would really hate to loose this guy now, I have had him for ages, and he has grown so much, and otherwise seems to be doing so well. Regards Matt (Co. Cork, Ireland) <Maybe add a couple of teaspoons of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) per water change to increase/boost alkalinity... Otherwise... Bob Fenner>

Imperator Angel Hey Bob, love your answers I have learned a ton from them. I have an imperator Angel who is a juvenile, still blue with white stripes. A while ago his face started losing color turning white. After a while as it progressively got worse, I realized it wasn't a discoloration but his face was slowly being eaten away by something. Now it been months, and his face is still all white while the rest of his body is fine. He seems extremely healthy, eating, even sometimes pestering other fish. I don't know why this happened or what caused it but I wish for him to get his facial skin and coloration back. Like I said it's been months and it hasn't gotten any better just stayed the same. Is there anything I can do?? <Yes, much... what you describe is a type/degree of what is termed HLLE, Head and Lateral Line Erosion... this condition has several possible "causes"; stray electrical potential, aspects of "poor water quality", and nutritional deficiencies... the latter are the most common... with folks advocating various treatments, including the use of "miracle mud" or just good live rock and macro-algae culture, and the addition of vitamins and iodide (iodine) to the animal's foods. Do avail yourself of at least the last protocol. More on this scourge under HLLE on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner> With thanks in Advance, Tom D

Emperor angel Mr. Fenner, I have a quick question about my juv changing emperor angel. He is a beautiful, healthy, thick guy that eats like a pig and has been in my 125g tank for about 5 months and has done great, way better than I expected. My question deals with a kind of weird thing that happens to him every once and awhile this is the second time it has happened since I got him). He stops breathing out of his left gill and his right gill starts breathing harder. The first time it happened, I was very scared, but before I had time to email anyone or go to my LFS and ask what was going on, it was gone. He stopped using it in the evening, and by the next day, it was working again. Now tonight, I noticed it stopped working again, so what is the deal. I have a Naso tang, a few damsels and Chromis, and a red general starfish in there with him and they all are doing well as well as the angel. The water parameters have been steady for at least 6 months. Do you know why his gill stops working? <Hmm, no... but have seen this a few times in/with other specimens... and like you state... doesn't seem to be related to any "cause" and stops just as suddenly as it started...> Also, I notice every once and awhile a few times a week), he goes up to one of the powerheads (and only a certain one, not the other one or a rock or anything else) and brushes his left side up against it and then just swims off. I know fish can get things in their gills that itch and they are just scratching themselves, right? <Yes... some scratching is "normal"...> Just like a human or dog with an itch. But why would his gill stop? It is kind of scary seeing his gill breathing so fast, and it makes me think something might be wrong with him. But then I know that he is very healthy other than this gill thing, and shows no signs of discomfort. Thanks for the reply in advance, and as always I love getting answers or ideas from somebody that has so much experience. Ryan Fick <Perhaps too much to eat... maybe something going on inside the fish... Bob Fenner>

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
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