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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Disease/Health 11

FAQs on Angelfish Disease: Angelfish Disease 1, Freshwater Angel Disease 2, FW Angel Disease 3, FW Angel Health 4, FW Angel Health 5, FW Angel Health 6, FW Angel Health 7, FW Angel Health 8,  FW Angel Health 9, FW Angel Health 10, FW Angel Health 12,

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

Related Articles: Freshwater Angels, Discus, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General,

Related FAQs: Angels 1, Angels 2, Angelfish Identification, Angelfish Behavior, Angelfish Compatibility, Angelfish Selection, Angelfish Systems, Angelfish Feeding, Angelfish Reproduction, & FAQs on: Wild Angels (P. altum), Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease, Cichlid Reproduction,


Advice on gill infection       2/19/20
Hello WWM,
<Hello Amy,>
I rescued a 20g aquarium of fish from a man who was relocating and intended to flush them. Three quarter size Angelfish and a dwarf Gourami. I will include photos. The white Angel would not eat and never left the bubbles under the filter. He had significant red throughout the gills, under them and to the front of the gills. Also behind the eye. This all looked like blood to me, his respiration was frantic and he could not close his operculum. Both sides.
<Understood. Could be Gill Flukes, as you suggest below, but might just as easily be genetic (bear in mind these fish are small enough you can see the blood flow to the gills, and the gill filaments should be deep red anyway) or else some sort of bacterial infection (Angels are somewhat prone to septicaemia, for example). Velvet is another possibility, being very much associated with the gills, even if the rest of the fish seems unaffected, at least early on in the infection.>
My best guess was gill flukes and I treated 6 days with Prazi Pro. We were 2 days into the treatment with some improvement before I thought to take photos of him. The first photo was taken at this time, the red had lessened and the area was a bit smaller. I finished 6 days of Prazi and took the second picture.
Day 2 of Prazi Pro
Now on day 7, having just finished Prazi treatment, he is significantly better on inspection.
<Would seem to be, yes.>
The gills close now, he finally started coming out to eat on day 5 and his appetite is better yet today. Not normal, just slight improvement each day. My concern is that his behavior is still not yet normal. He is out and about the tank maybe 50% of the time but returns frequently to the filter bubbles, nose up to the surface. He eats, but is slow and not enthusiastic yet as he should be. Respiration does seem more normal now.
<Angels are often (usually?) not sociable when kept in twos and threes.
They can be extremely aggressive towards each other, in fact. So I you have 2-3 Angels, and one of them is acting shy and withdrawn, he could very easily be the weakest male in the group, and consequently at the bottom of the pecking order.>
My question is if I should just give him clean water and time to see if he continues to improve or should I assume that if he had flukes, he may also have lingering infection in the gills. Should I dose the tank with
<Dosing cichlids with Metronidazole and a Furan antibiotic is a common approach with cichlids that rarely causes problems. It treats a good range of possible pathogens, including Hexamita. Indeed, the combo is close to being 'standard operating procedure' for many cichlid-keepers, especially those handling wild-caught or expensive specimens.>
I have Furan 2, Kanaplex, Triple Sulfa. Is one of these antibiotics better than another for gill infection?
Thank you for your help! I sure want this beautiful little guy to make it.
Sincerely, Amy Larson
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: advice on gill infection       2/19/20
Thank you Neale, I hope you never tire of helping us!
<You are most welcome.>
Just one question, do I give the full recommended dose of both Furan 2 and Metronidazole at the same time? Amy
<I would; neither should be particularly risky for the fish, but do increase aeration if possible, and do also use a nitrite or ammonia test kit during usage to ensure the filter is happy. If in doubt, add some zeolite to the filter to remove ammonia directly, as you'd do with a hospital tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: advice on gill infection      3/2/20
Neale, Thank you for the help with the gill problem with my recently rescued Angel fish. He is now doing great, eating well, happy gills. But I now have another problem in this rescued tank. I think these are Camallanus worms? (A different Angel in the same tank.)
<Video won't play for me <<Nor I>>, for some reason. But if red, thread-like fibres emerging from the vent, then yep, Camallanus.>
The tank had a full treatment of Praziquantel followed by Metronidazole and Furan for the gill infection. Today I noticed these worms in a different fish, same tank (see photo) he is not eating. If these are Camallanus, should I treat again with Prazi today or wait until the Fenbendazole arrives on Tuesday?
<Prazi Pro isn't especially effective, so running a second course on the same fish isn't unexpected. If the fish is otherwise healthy, and you think holding out for the Fenbendazole is a safe choice, then sure, hold fire.>
Thank you once again for the time you gift to us. Amy
<Thanks for these kind words. Neale.>
Would Epsom baths help him?
<Marginally. Epsom Salt helps with constipation, but won't really have much impact on worms. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick angelfish. Old age?     1/30/20
Hi Crew.
<Hello Rhiannon,>
Back again seeking advice for the first time in many years. This afternoon my freshwater angel has started looking real bad. I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do but wanted to reach out.
He’s a zebra angel, I think at least 9 years old.
<That is a very fair age of Angels. For sure the odd specimens makes it to maybe 10 or even 12 years, but the vast majority do not, even under good circumstances. Bear in mind that specimens on sale in pet shops will be a good six months old, so add that to however many years you've kept your fish.>
He lived through a lot of my beginner mistakes (which you guys helped me through!) so internally I’m sure not the healthiest fish. But for the last 6 or so years has lived happily in a stable, healthy tank. A few hours ago he started gulping at the top of the tank and seems to be going downhill. He’s swimming very slowly, seems to be struggling. Normally when I go to the tank he swims over for food, always the first one over, but he’s not even acknowledging my presence. I did feed them already today, but a full tummy has never stopped him from begging for more before.
The tank background: 200L tank cycled many many years ago. I did a water change yesterday but tested the water just now anyway: ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates <5.0ppm, pH 6.4 (unchanged). Temp 29C. It’s a medium density planted tank with CO2 injection and ferts.
<All sounds fine. Is this what he's usually been kept in? Temperature is towards the higher end of the range for farmed Angelfish, but nothing outside their tolerance. Water changes to freshen things up are always worth doing, sometimes with slightly cooler water, to see what happens.>
The only major changes to the tank recently were the addition of 4 juvenile discus 3-4 months ago, and 2 months ago I started injecting CO2. Tank was transitioned to planted 1-2 years ago and I was doing liquid carbon until now. Before CO2 injection the tank pH was around 6.7, its gradually shifted to 6.4 over the two months as I increased the CO2 from 1 bubble every 2 seconds to 2 bubbles a second now.
<A low pH should not, in itself, cause problems for Angels, which are well adapted to soft, slightly acidic water conditions. Provided the change has been gradual, I can't see this being a problem to your fish.>
Other tankmates are 4 Kuhli loaches, 9 rummynose tetras and 1 Bristlenose Pleco. I’ve not seen any signs of stress or sickness in the angel before today.
So my question is am I missing something? And if it’s old age, how do you know?
<I do think old age. There are some pathogens that Discus and Angels can share, but usually it's the Discus that suffer, not the Angels, which seem to be the carriers. This is one reason why mixing Discus and farmed Angels is widely frowned upon. Again, while Angels will often bully Discus, that's not what we're seeing here.>
My reason for extra concern (aside from my emotional attachment) is that over the last 6 or so months I’ve lost 5 rummys. I had 5 rummys who were about 5 years old, and around a year ago I bought 9 more to give them a bigger school again. Over that time the school has slowly shrunk to 9. It seems to be mostly the larger ones who have died so I think it’s the older ones, but it’s hard to tell.
<When you say 'lost' did they sicken and die, or just vanish? Angels can and will consume bite-size tetras. Adults are perfectly capable of eating things up to the size of adult Neons. On the other hand, if you're losing the odd fish every couple of weeks, then a deeper problem may be involved. Dosing with CO2 should be safe, but there are a couple of risks. One is displacing oxygen from the water, which is a pernicious problem because we often tone down water movement to stop the CO2 from escaping. In an overstocked tank, or one with too little water/air mixing, the CO2 can displace so much oxygen that the fish suffer. Cichlids are unable to breathe air, for the most part, so are often the first fish to show signs of distress compared with those fish that can use their swim bladders or whatever to breathe air when they must (such as catfish).>
So perhaps I’m losing fish to the march of time, but I’m worried now that it’s something I’m missing.
Thank you for your time.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Sick angelfish. Old age? (RMF -- any other ideas?)<<Nada mas>>     1/30/20

Hi Neale.
Thank you kindly for your response. As perhaps expected he deteriorated quickly and passed away overnight.
<Oh dear.>
Very sad about it. Though your response about it being pretty old for an angel gives me comfort.
<Glad to hear that.>
As to the temperature of the tank, I used to have it at 26C, but brought it up slowly over time in preparation for adding the discus. There’s been no aggression from the angel towards the discus, which was a relief. This is my first time keeping discus and I was worried the angel might bring an end to that. Instead he seemed to enjoy their company, would often hang out wherever the discus were, almost seemed to be schooling with them.
<Indeed, theoretically they're pretty similar (and closely related) fish with many of the same preferences. In practice though it is hit-and-miss, and most Discus experts recommend against mixing them. To some extent it likely depends on the size of the group.>
There was, however, a lot of conspecific aggression amongst the discus at first. Not what I expected after hearing how shy and peaceful they are!
<Only up to a point. Both Angels and Discus are pair-forming fish that become territorial when spawning, which under aquarium conditions tends to be 'all the time'. On top of that, juveniles and non-breeding adults form loose groups with a distinct hierarchy, and you really do need at least 6 specimens to avoid bullying.>
But it calmed down after the first few weeks as they sorted out who was boss and all has been calm since then. I should mention that when I first got the discus I did lose one. I bought 3 and then 2 more 2 weeks later cause I was worried about an ammonia spike from adding too many too quickly. But in that first 3, one of them got bullied by another and was quite stressed. Often hiding and not eating. When I added the next two and the aggression was dispersed he started to come good.
<Precisely so.>
But a week or so later after a water change I forgot to plug the heater back in, and overnight the temp dropped to 24C. The other discus were fine, but he looked bad. I did water changes throughout the day to bring the temp back up, but he soon died. I figured that was because he wasn’t a healthy enough fish to survive the drop in temp, but it’s worth mentioning now as part of the bigger picture in case I’m wrong.
<I would agree; Discus aren't going to be killed by a few hours at 24C, but if a given specimen is weakened already, sure, it could well have made things a lot worse.>
This was before I started injecting CO2, for context.
I was worried about the oxygen content of the water when the angel was gulping, because of the reasons you mentioned. I’ve attached a pic from just now to give you an idea of the amount of plants in the tank.
<The plants look nice, but not enough to be producing useful amounts of oxygen for the fish. After a few more months I bet this tank would look great, mind you! Very stylish use of wood and moss.>
When the angel got sick I turned off the CO2 and moved the spray bar up to create surface agitation in case that made a difference. The tank has been running at this amount of CO2 for about 3 -4 weeks, so I figured I would have seen signs of stress before now if it were a problem?
<Possibly, but bear in mind that the 'crunch point' will be at night when the plants are net oxygen absorbers (during the day they'll be releasing more O2 than they use up for respiration). So unless you're watching the tank at midnight, you could easily miss out on the problem.>
The lights and CO2 are on a timer, CO2 goes off an hour before the lights do. The drop checker is usually that mid-green colour, which the table suggests for soft water is normal-insufficient. I’ve seen aquascapers say they push the CO2 till the drop checker is in the yellow and back it off when they see signs of stress in the fish. I’m not at all interested in pushing limits like that, keeping my fish healthy is more important to me than the state of the plants.
<A lot of hardcore aquarium plant growers tend to choose small fish like tetras and barbs with very small oxygen demands. Cichlids are substantially more sensitive, so this 'push things to the limit' approach doesn't appeal to me. I'd tend to go with using CO2 at the lowest setting at first, leave for a few weeks, and if all is going well, nudge it up a bit. Light intensity is usually the main factor in plant growth rate, with CO2 being an extra bonus. If your plants are looking 'leggy' or whatever, it's more likely lighting is what's holding them back.>
But that said is the drop checker enough of a guide to know there’s also enough oxygen in the tank? Can I be confident that that amount of plants (which I intend to keep adding to) is producing enough oxygen for my fish? I feel like I’m doing the right things, but would love to know if I’m missing something in ignorance.
<See above.>
As to the rummys, the first one that died I did see. The Kuhli loaches were making a quick snack of it in the bottom of the tank. The others I haven’t seen. I don’t think they’re being eaten only because they’ve lived with that angel the whole time and it never tried to eat them that I saw, and if it was that I figured I would expect the smaller new ones to go first?
<I suppose, or else the stupidest?>
Because of all the stem plants on the left near the filter intake it would be easy to miss it if one died and was being eaten but the Kuhlis. But it’s also enough stock losses over the months to have me nervous that there’s something bigger here. I don’t see signs of disease but I’ve also never really dealt with disease in my tanks so I’d be pretty ignorant about the signs.
<Oftentimes we can't be 100% sure about fish deaths. For sure Whitespot is obvious, or Finrot on a fish that's been fighting. But more often we're trying to puzzle out what's happened, which means ruling out complicating factors, such as CO2, wherever possible.>
As an aside, I doubt you’d remember (and I don’t remember if it was you or Bob who responded at the time), but some 7ish years ago I wrote to you guys about this angel. He jumped out of my tank and I found him in the mouth of my dog, alive and hurt. You guys talked me through treating his wounds. He not only survived being bitten by my dog, but lived this long. We always thought of him as our little miracle fish, and I often thought of the help I received here. Thanks for doing what you do. Your advice is forever invaluable.
<Thanks for the kind words! Quite the story...>
- Rhiannon
<Best wishes, Neale.>

Re: Sick angelfish. Old age? (RMF -- any other ideas?)<<None>>    2/12/20
Hi Neale. New problem here but figured it would be worth adding to the old thread since all my tank history is here.
<Sure thing.>
I took your advice on board and lowered the CO2 in the tank as a precaution. It’s been on a little less than 1 bubble per second since then. All has seemed well until today. My smallest discus is having buoyancy issues, floating towards the surface and is expending a lot of energy trying to swim downwards.
<Seems unlikely that this would have anything to do with the CO2. Buoyancy issues in cichlids can have multiple causes, but usually either constipation (best bet if the fish is otherwise normal and hungry); exposure to sudden temperature changes, especially temperature drops (usually easy enough to determine); or bacterial infections of various sorts (for which Dropsy, bleeding sores, loss of appetite, changes in colouration, etc., would all likely follow on).>
It’s a pale yellow colour usually but seems lighter in colour, its freckles on its face are definitely very pale. It was fine yesterday. My first thought was a swim bladder issue.
<See above; there really isn't any such thing as "Swim Bladder Disease" any more than "nausea" in humans -- it's more a symptom of some other situation or disease.>
Wanted to get your thoughts here, especially given past losses. I did a water change yesterday.
<Always wise, provided the fish aren't exposed to sudden changes in pH, hardness or temperature.>
Aside from that the only difference is that I have been trying a new pellet food my LFS recommended. But that said as far as I know I have had no success getting the discus to eat them (the Kuhli loaches have been gobbling it up as the discus just let it sink). The other discus in the tank all seem fine.
<Which is promising.>
If it is swim bladder, what’s my best course of action?
<See above re: diagnosis. If bacterial, then the usual antibiotics would be the best bet. Oftentimes, people go with a combination of Metronidazole alongside an antibiotic, typically a Nitrofuran, as a useful combo with cichlids that rarely causes stress.>
I’m not going to feed them today. I don’t know that I’ll have any luck with shelled peas as they wont eat anything that isn’t meat, but I will try. They’ll gobble up blood worms, beef heart and all but 1 will eat brine shrimp, but they won’t eat anything else. Have been browsing discus forums and so far the feedback is that people have had no luck treating swim bladder in discus. I’m reading through the discus WWW FAQ meantime but wanted to reach out in case I’m totally wrong here.
<Discus are funny fish. Hexamita parasites are probably ubiquitous among farmed Discus, and while they're undeniably more adaptable than wild Discus, farmed Discus are still sensitive beasts. They require more heat than most other fish, any below 28 C (82 F) their immune system eventually becomes compromised. Hence parasites like Hexamita, not to mention the usual Aeromonas and Pseudomonas, can all become problems.>
Thanks for your time,
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick angelfish. Old age?      2/13/20
Hi Neale,
<Hello Rhiannon,.
Thank you again for your time and wealth of info.
A few hours after writing to you, the discus came good. Was hiding, but no longer fighting buoyancy and it was pooping.
<So, constipation it is!>
This morning it is swimming eagerly with all the other discus looking like nothing was ever wrong. I’m inclined to think that a bacterial infection couldn’t have cleared up on its own so quickly and that it was just a case of constipation?
<Yes. Very common. Probably more common than we think. Green foods are the ideal, such as cooked peas, but Discus might turn their snouts up at that. So offer things like live or frozen brine shrimp and/or daphnia, which seem to have a pretty decent laxative effect.>
Please correct me if I’m wrong. Keeping a close eye on everyone but all seems back to normal.
I also wanted to visit what you said about immune system compromise under 28°C. I have my tank at 29°C, my LFS suggested to drop it to 28 because the plants don’t cope as well above 28.
<Correct. Or rather, most aquarium plants are swamp plants that spend some time out of the water, often dying back then. At high temperatures and submerged all year long, they do become 'exhausted'. There likely are workarounds, and some plants are less fussed than others. It's one of those situations where some time researching plants known to be good with Discus might be worthwhile. I've seen things like Giant Vallis and some Amazon Swords used with great success.>
I’m interested in your thoughts regarding toeing that line. Is 28 too close for comfort regarding long-term health?
<28 C/82 F should be fine, but I'd not risk lower temperatures with Discus.>
Would you typically try to keep the tank warmer for discus, or is all fine as long as it’s within their range?
<See above.>
I’m more interested in healthy discus than maximising plant growth and colour.
Many thanks,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

A woman in my angelfish group has a sick angelfish.     1/12/20
He's not bloated but he swims with his nose pointing up. Thanks
<Please do have them write us; with particulars re the system, water quality measures, diet, and imagery if they think this will help. Bob Fenner>

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

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

Angelfish with white bumpy fins - not ich!   6/4/19
Hi Crew,
I've been searching for three weeks, consulted my forum, spent lots of time Googling, and cannot figure out what is going on with the fins on these angelfish.
<I see these.>
The story: I bought a pair of Koi angels at my local fish store. I should have taken them back but here we are - I put them in my tank anyway. It's a cycled 75 gallon tank with just these two angels, 7 diamond tetras, and one tiny Bristlenose Pleco. The tank ran for four months with a 6" Oscar, who I traded in for these fish, which were all added together. The angelfish have these white...bumps... on their fins. They haven't changed or moved, none have fallen off and no new ones have appeared. There are no bumps on their bodies or on any of the other fish. They do not exhibit any symptoms - no flashing, no clamped fins, everyone eats GREAT and begs for food. They are all active and swim all over the tank. Just these bumps... on the fins...
I, of course, thought it was ich at first, and treated with Seachem Paraguard for ten days. When nothing changed, and at the behest of a couple of experienced breeders, I stopped treating since it didn't appear to be ich and I didn't want to medicate unnecessarily. I am doing daily 30% water changes. The only change I have noticed is the bumps appear to be yellowing slightly, but nothing else has changed. Calcium deposits and scar tissue have both been suggested. I just want to find out what it is and what to
do, if anything, about it. I've been reading your site for years and learned so much. I'm excited to see if you can help clear up this mystery!
<My gut feeling is Lymphocystis or some other viral infection. These are moderately common on advanced Perciform fish such as cichlids. There's some debate about whether they're "just one of those things" or (more likely) caused by some environmental stress factor such as heavy metals. Either
way, Lymphocystis is rarely fatal if it doesn't impact an essential part of the body (such as the mouth) but it isn't easily cured either. The usual story is that fish recover to varying degrees under their own steam, all else being favourable, but that recovery may take years. Lymphocystis classically has irregular, off-white lumps, sometimes with a cauliflower-like texture. Other viral infections, such as Fish Pox, are similar, and actually identifying the virus is well beyond the abilities of the average aquarist. What is interesting about Lymphocystis is that it evidently isn't particularly contagious, so there's no real need to isolate infected fish. Longer shot possibilities would include Finrot (if associated with raggedy fins especially) and Anchor Worms (these are distinctive little animals easily visible with a hand lens). Hope this helps, Neale.>


Re: Angelfish with white bumpy fins - not ich!      6/5/19
Thank you very much. I was afraid that would be the answer. I guess I will just have to keep up with my water changes and hope for the best!
<Pretty much all you can do, unfortunately. It can clear up, but does take a while. It's all about the fish's own immune system responding. So just as with humans, optimising diet and reducing stress will both help. Perhaps even adding vitamins to its diet, via products such as Selcon. Certainly a balanced diet and frequent water changes. Cheers, Neale.>

Hemorrhagic septicemia and ulcer issues      5/6/19
Dear WWM team,
Some history-
I have had an established freshwater, 45 gallon tank for 4 months now. When I upsized from my 30gal, I poured about 15 gallons of established water from the smaller tank into the larger one and added another seven fish.
<Ah, do remember the nitrifying bacteria are not in the water, but attached to solid surfaces in well oxygenated areas. Transplanting filter media is the ideal, but floating plants with established root systems, or plants with feathery leaves, are almost as good. Even moving the topmost layer of
sand and gravel will help. But alas, 'old' water contains few bacteria, and while it'll surely contain some, the number will be so few that the cycling process will barely be abbreviated at all.>
In all, I have 2 dwarf gouramis, 2 cardinal tetras, 4 skirttail tetras (2 white and 2 black),
<If these are Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, they can be nippy. I mention this because aggression and physical damage can, will lead to Finrot and other opportunistic bacterial infections.>
2 mollies, a Redtail shark,
<Another potentially aggressive species.>
a common Pleco ( 4 inches) and 2 angelfish.
<Should also remind you that while sociable enough when young, adults are territorial. Mated pairs can work, but in groups fewer than 6, you can end up with bullying.>
I had another angelfish, though it died a couple of days ago from what appeared to be hemorrhagic septicemia.
<Angels are prone to this, or so it sometimes seems. In truth they are probably no more sensitive than any other cichlid, but unlike most other cichlids, they're popular choices among beginners and those stocking smaller community tanks, so commonly exposed to what are, to cichlids, stressful levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.>
After closer analysis of the other two angelfish, I think there may be the very beginning of the red discolorations to their fins as well.
<I would treat as per Finrot to start with.>
The 30gal tank now has my older 'establisher' goldfish, one molly and a common Pleco and that tank has been established for almost 9 months. The only new additions to the tanks were the angelfish and 4 new tetras, as well as some more Nerite snails, and that was several months ago. The tanks are planted, again with no recent additions, and the temperatures sit at a steady 78-80 degrees F. Mechanically, I upgraded the bigger tank to a canister filter with a UV light several weeks ago. The old filter for that tank then shifted down to the smaller tank which needed an oversized filter with the mess that 3 medium goldfish make. I also got the 30 gallon an independent UV light to help with some of the recent algae outbreaks from too much sunlight this time of year.
These are only 2 of my 6 tanks and they usually have the most cross contamination out of all of them due to location and the amount of work they need done to maintain them.
Admittedly, a decent amount of material from the bigger tank makes its way into the goldfish tank since the goldies like chowing down on some of the more delicate leaves I keep in the other tank until they no longer look nice. So, it comes to no surprise to me that the goldfish seem to have a slight discoloration (a pink hue) in their tails and pectoral fin articulations. I am currently treating both tanks with Furan 2.
<Don't believe the Angels are 'catching' something from the Goldfish, but if all else fails, isolate the two tanks as perfectly as possible. This would include separate nets, buckets, etc., or at least, the use of
sterilising agents in between uses, as done in tropical fish shops.>
The goldies had some flashing/ flitting fin and scraping issues a few months ago with no visible issues and so they have been through the gauntlet of parasitic treatments- Artemis, ParaGaurd, Anchorworm/Lice, salt baths. None seemed to work individually until I tried a concentrated salt bath for 45 min.s and then a week of ParaGaurd. They have been fine for several weeks until this new issue.
At least 30% of the water is changed either weekly, or biweekly depending on the water parameters and how clear the water is. I like my tanks to be crystal clear. The gravel is vacuumed thoroughly.
Nitrates are usually 0-10ppm (for sure less than 25 for the goldies even on a 3wk wait)
Nitrite 0
Carbonate 40-80ppm
Total Alk 80ppm
pH 6.5-7.5
CaCO3 50-120ppm
Ammonia 0
The issues-
The biggest angelfish has what seems to be an ulcer on the top of his head right on a dark part of his marbling. I found it one day after changing the tank water and rearranging the plants and decorations and I assumed that I must have dropped something and it hit him. But, he has had it for several weeks now and it seems to be growing as he grows. There is no inflammation or 'cotton' like fluff coming out of it, but there is a slight depression like something just took off a layer of skin. The subdermal area is dark in color like the black dermal area that used to cover that area. There appears to be a whitish periphery along the edge of the ulcer and it looks slightly lose and water logged compared to the taunt skin surrounding the area (a low-profile fungus?). Both angelfish appear to have slight pink markings that I don't remember being present even last week. On the stripped angelfish, it is easier to see a narrow, red vein that spans the distance on his dorsal region. Due to the demise of the other angel and the red hues he had all over, I assumed that all of my fish in the two tanks have been exposed and have hemorrhagic septicemia. All fish are acting healthy and happy with normal poop, appetites, fins, and begging behaviors.
My questions-
What is the 'ulcer' on the marbled angel's head and how should I proceed given that it has been allowed to advance for a few weeks?
Should I be assuming that every pink/ red mark on any of my fish is hemorrhagic septicemia?
<Red patches on the skin indicate inflammation and/or congestion of the underlying blood vessels, and just as with humans, such symptoms don't necessarily imply just one disease. Finrot is far more likely in the situation, and use of a reliable antibacterial or antibiotic would be my first move here. Septicaemia simply means a bacterial infection of the blood, but tends to be systemic (i.e., across the whole body) rather than small, discrete patches (which tends to imply local infection of skin tissue).>
Thank you so much for your time! I am a fish person and I have a decent amount of experience dealing with the common fungus/ fin/ ich/ parasite issues. But, this one is a bit above me and I want to make sure that I'm handling it correctly since septicemia is nothing to fool around with and I love my fishies! Plus, the marbled angel ulcer has really stumped me and I'm wondering if it could at all be related to anything.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated! Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can answer any more questions for you!
Most Sincerely,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

full-size pix

Re: Hemorrhagic septicemia and ulcer issues       5/7/19
Thank you, Neale!
<Mot welcome.>
I will treat the tanks for fin rot! Do you have any ideas as to what might be the cause of the ulcer at the base of the marbled angel's dorsal fin or are you thinking that this is fin rot as well?
<Could easily be. Finrot is a generic term of Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp. infections, and doesn't specifically mean infections are centred on the fins. You can have Finrot anywhere the skin is damaged sufficiently to allow these opportunistic bacteria to get in.>
The ulcer is at the base of the fin, but it doesn't appear to touch any part of the fin/ all the fin tissue looks healthy. When I first saw it, I did treat the tank with Microbe-Lift Artemis for a few days, but stopped due to no improvements. Should I just continue the treatment for longer this time or try giving him a salt bath?
<Salt baths do little/nothing against bacterial infections.>
The potential fin nippers don't bother the angelfish at all as they keep to different layers of the water column for the most part.
<I'd still watch them, carefully.>
All the fish have their own preferred spots in the tank (there's lots of vegetation to hide in throughout the water column since I have shelves and cups for plants/ décor on the tank walls) and they only get aggressive when someone invades their favorite spot 'without permission'. It is strange to me that the ulcer is in the place it is, especially since all fins are in perfect condition with no nips or tears. Besides stress, which he doesn't appear to be under, what could it be from?
<Hard to say. Different varieties of Angelfish are somewhat more prone to disease than others, so there may be a genetic predisposition (e.g., a weakened immune system due to inbreeding) in some cases. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred these bacterial infections are caused by the environment. The tricky bit is determining what the underlying issue was. Optimising diet, water chemistry, water quality, oxygenation, and tankmates will tick off the most likely factors. You might also try to the old Metronidazole/Nitrofuran combo as a useful treatment against indistinct cichlid maladies.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hemorrhagic septicemia and ulcer issues      5/9/19
Thank you for your insights! Fingers crossed that everything works out well. Due to your help, I’m much more confident in handling the situation.
Thanks again,
<And here's hoping your fish gets better! Good luck, Neale.>

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