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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Parasitic Disease
 (Ich, Velvet...)

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

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

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

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

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.>

freshwater angel     3/18/18
I've looked pretty thoroughly through your site and others and haven't found exactly the right combo of symptoms. I've had this fish for 5yrs+ and has always lived in this 55g with 4 rummy nose and a Cory for the last
several-where others over time. I have a BioWheel, sponge filter and an undergravel at the opposite side.
<Okay... no further data, pix? Bob Fenner>
Re: freshwater angel     3/18/18

Sorry but my earlier message was in process when it got accidently sent. I also want to thank you so much in advance, I've learned so much from you experts that are so willing with your time. this is the first time I haven't been able find a problem just like mine.
To continue-the BioWheel is a Penguin 350 . This angel loves to hang at the quiet end of the tank which is towards the kitchen and almost all activity, watching and of course waiting for food.
Due to life and a loosing some enthusiasm (there at one time was also 9 15-30gs, 1 15g, a 10, several 3's and up to 8+ beta bowls) I let this tank get into poor condition with surface algae that covered the glass and objects and I rarely changed water. I know, what can I expect.
<Indeed! But some fish do thrive on benign neglect, notably many of the hardier catfish and characins. They have quite a high tolerance for nitrate. Angels, like most cichlids, are sensitive to high nitrate to varying degrees, and are less good choices for tanks that need to be ultra low maintenance.>
I'd never kept fish before this earlier onslaught, I was doing it reluctantly for the man I took care of who decided he wanted to raise guppies. The story is too long but needless to say the plan changed, I got into it, had variety of fish and learned all I could. I'm one of those that needs to get all the facts especially when things go wrong.
Now back to angel. About a week and a half ago he started to not eat as aggressively and then having opaque stringy elimination.
<Oh darn! This sounds a good deal like Hexamita. Stringy clear or off-white faeces are a good sign that the gut is evacuating extra mucous compared to normal, which usually implies something is irritating the gut. It might be
a worm infection, but much more likely to be Hexamita, which is almost ubiquitous among farmed cichlids.>
He still acted normal-no outward symptoms of anything wrong. In past searches for issues concerning previous fish, I came across an explanation for the opaque discharge that made more sense than most others that I'd
read or heard. It's merely the mucous that is used to accompany elimination but either there's no waste or an over production due to an internal issue.
<Do see above.>
Since he wasn't eating I figured it was the former. He then started to breathe heavily, but didn't hang around the surface like he was gasping for air, was swimming and positioning himself normally. I cleaned the algae, did some water change and tested the water parameters. To my surprise they were all perfect except the hardness and as I understand if they are used to it that's ok. I then noticed the base of his left pec fin has a red line and a very thin one along the dorsal and pectoral. It hasn't gotten any worse-maybe a little better. I got bloodworms to see if they made any difference in his appetite before starting medication. He ate several the first time. he later had some poop in his string, tried some more and but at this time will only scoop them up and spit them out.
I have tetracycline on hand, enough to do a course of 4 day with one dose per day plus one. Should I use something else?
<Yes! Hexamita is protozoan, and antibiotics will have no effect at all.>
I also have some Duramycin-10 on hand but I don't know how to mix it properly. It says there is 25g of tetracycline per pound. I measured the contents of a packet and there's .066 oz. would that be the same
measurement for the Duramycin?
<Again, this is an antibiotic, and of no use here.>
Oh how do I find my answer?
Thanks again, Merri
<What you need is Metronidazole, about the only thing that works reliably against Hexamita. In some places you may need to get this from a vet, but in the US at least you can buy it from aquarium shops, Seachem's Metroplex
product for example. Use as instructed, remembering to remove carbon from the filter (if you use carbon) as all that will do is remove the medicine!
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: freshwater angel     3/19/18

Thanks so much, I don't bother with charcoal, again earlier read that it only lasts a short time and by now I've even forgotten what purpose it serves.
<Primarily, removes the yellowing chemicals that you see in the water if you don't do many water changes. Was useful when people changed very little water in their tanks for months on end, but since the 1980s, the value of
weekly water changes has been better understood, and most people change at least some water once or twice a month. End result, water doesn't go yellow, so carbon not really needed.>
I did isolate him last night and started the tetracycline while waiting. I see API has a packet form that only calls for a course of once every 48 hrs with only 2 treatments and Seachem same but for up to 3 weeks or until see improvement. Also mixing with frozen food. If he starts to eat, is what's mixed with the food be the only dose or also treat the water.
<Not sure why you're using Tetracycline at all. Unlikely to help Hexamita.
As for the Metronidazole, simply follow the instructions on the packaging.
Mardel Clout and Seachem Metroplex are the two most popular versions, I think. Clout is especially useful and works well with cichlids. You add it to the water.>
I would guess longer than 2 doses is necessary. What might be the prognosis as this may have been going on for some weeks as the stringy poop was actually the first symptom but at that time didn't notice any other issues. I hoped cleaning the tank would have been the answer but also kept looking around the internet-even took pictures/video into a pet store, was
maybe going to get furan 2 from research but wasn't sure. When Melafix was recommended I moved on.
<Indeed, Melafix would certainly be useless here. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: freshwater angel     3/19/18

My last reply was confusing-made it more clear. I did pick up and start the Metronidazole.
Only the API brand is available around here. Looked up Mardel Clout and I see it's exactly for his symptoms. Thanks again.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Angelfish with white spots that don't appear to be Ick     3/1/17
I searched your site for a problem that I am having with my angelfish that has a few white spots on it's head that are not Ick.
<Agreed, not Ich; but mucus... perhaps Hexamita/Octomita involvement>
On your site I found this thread... Angelfish with white spots that don't appear to be Ick 2/6/14 http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWAngParasitDisF.htm I believe my fish may be having the same problem. After reading the tread and replies, I could not find any evidence of what
the final outcome was? I have a 120 gallon, planted community tank, that is well established (over 1 year) and is stocked, with tetras, barbs, loaches, Cory cats and 2 angelfish. I use Flora Max for my substrate and have crypts, Anubias , Amazon swords, and java fern for my live plants. I have a couple of photos that I will include and hopefully you can help me out with a diagnosis and some treatment options. Thank you, Robert
<I do concur and re-suggest what I'd stated per the citation above: "Could it be hole-in-the-head?
<Doubtful, but may be some sort of external protozoan. I would try a one shot lacing of their foods w/ Metronidazole; and as this may be a Fluke/Trematode, with Praziquantel as well>"
Bob Fenner>

Angelfish parasite? HITH?         5/1/16
Hello! I have two questions please:
1. My established veil koi angel stopped eating about a week ago. No outward symptoms of illness (clamped fins, labored breathing, twitching)....just won't eat. She stays at the top of the tank at night in the front right corner and sits near the bottom by the heater during the day.
Sounds some at night.
<Not understood!>
Today she had a 1/4" string of white poo....after reading your site for a long time seems it may be a parasite?
<Does sound consistent with irritation of the gut, which causes extra mucous in the faeces. While worms can do this, Hexamita is a more likely bet with cichlids also showing symptoms such as lethargy and poor colour, and doubly so if there are also signs of lateral line erosion ("pits") on the head or flanks
which seem to be related to Hexamita in a way not clearly understood (by me, at least). Treat as per Hexamita or HITH; in other words: Metronidazole alongside an antibiotic (Nitrofuran recommended); optimise water quality especially nitrate level, temperature, and oxygenation. Remember to remove carbon during medication, if you use carbon, and really, there are better ways to waste your money!>
She looks perfectly normal otherwise. 2. New larger veil koi angelfish added to tank today. Purchased at LFS. Watched the fish for quite awhile at store before making my selection.....checking skin/scale condition, fins in good shape, activity, etc. Once acclimated and added to tank, she is pretty constantly moving her head from side to side/twitching? Just her head. Also tapping/hitting glass with her mouth. She looks pristine. I see no issues with outward condition at all. Could this be situational or stress related?
<Twitching in Angels can be aggression, as they do grate their jaws and flex their pelvic fins when agitated. But irritation of the gills is another reason, Velvet and Whitespot being the two commonest explanations here. The old salt/heat method works extremely well with Angels, 2 gram salt per litre of water doing the trick nicely, and tolerated across a couple weeks without any problems by Neons, Corydoras, etc.>
I have a 55-gallon tank stocked as follows: the 2 angels mentioned, 4 small marbled angels (about quarter sized), 6 neon tetras,
<Be aware that these can be Angelfish food!>
6 peppered cories, and 3 Longfin albino Bristlenose Plecos. No issued with Amy of my other fish in 2 years. Parameters all normal....pH 7.5, no ammonia spikes, worst reading is hard water at 180, but always that way.
Recently had 3 angels with fin rot from LFS moved to hospital tank all died. The two angels I ask about now have no symptoms of that. I have a natural 24-hour cycle LED light system so lights are not harsh. I feed a combo of flake discs, freeze-dried bloodworms, algae/shrimp wafers (for Plecos and cories but angels like them too) and fresh cucumber every two days. I SO enjoy the angels (and all my fish)....any suggestions for diagnosis/treatment? There are absolutely no other symptoms I can see.
THANKS in advance! Kristi
<Hope this helps, Neale.> 

re: Angelfish parasite? And Loricariid dis.         5/2/16
Hi, Neale! Furst off, thanks for the response.
Unfortunately my angel with the stringy poo and no appetite passed this morning.
<Sorry to hear that.>
She was at the bottom of the tank barely breathing. All gentle attempts to rouse were unsuccessful. I euthanized with clove oil. She was very special to me.
<Understood. And thank you for euthanising humanely. You'd be surprised how many fish are still flushed, half-dead, or worse.>
The new koi has settled somewhat though still about 50% of original head twitching action....NO evidence of holes or indentions in head or body.
It's almost as though I could compare him to a "hyper" person who just cannot sit still. I will try the salt treatment if you feel warranted at this point.
<It will do no harm, at least. Just keep at the low concentration described, and be sure to use some type of non-iodised salt; kosher salt, aquarium tonic salt and pure (cooking) sea salt are all fine. Don't use marine aquarium salt unless you have to; it contains other chemicals to raise pH and hardness that aren't especially useful in this context.>
Yes, aware the neons can be "angel appetizers"...I must be lucky. ...same 6 neons and many angels over past two years and they're all still kicking.
<To be fair, most farmed hybrid Angels rarely exceed a body length of 10 cm/4 inches, and these aren't as dangerous as full-sized wild-type Angels that can be 15 cm/6 inches across.>
So, I can treat entire tank without worry for the HITH and not affect the Plecos, cories or neons? Is HITH contagious?
<Hexamita has been reported from a very wide range of fish. However, it seems to be latent in many fish rather than contagious. It's something that happens to the fish that makes it become a problem. To be clear: with cichlids such as Angels, some combination of poor diet, high nitrate, and bad luck (perhaps genetics) seems to be involved. The diet aspect seems to be vitamin deficiency; the nitrate link seems to be with infrequent water changes. As for luck and genetics, hard to pin these down. Some Angelfish breeds to seem to be more delicate that others; all-black and koi Angels at the more delicate end, standard wild-type, marbled, and golden Angelfish at the hardier end. As with dogs, a crossbreed is usually a sounder animal compared with a pedigree, so for example a nice-looking marble Angel with patches of gold is probably a good choice for the average community tank.>
One other unrelated question if I can....my big male BN Pleco has a red mark on his fin "rib" and recently lost a piece of the opposite "rib".
"Jet" is a robust active tough Pleco who has gathered two beautiful batches of babes. He's acting normally -seems like another injury. .....any advice?
<It does look inflamed. I'd review the substrate for a start. Is it sharp enough to scratch him? Has it been cleaned recently? I'd medicate as per Finrot, but otherwise I'd expect this catfish to make a quick recover.>
See attached pics of new angel and Pleco.
<Welcome. Neale.>

Re: Angelfish parasite?     5/3/16
Thanks so much for the additional info, Neale! I do appreciate it so much.
The angel with the "twitching" issue seems to be continuing to improve slowly. I'll keep an eye on him and add the recommended salt to the tank.
<2 gram per litre. No more! You can of course use standard Whitespot medications, but these can be toxic to some fish (loaches, catfish especially) and obviously cost a lot more. Raising the temperature to 28 C/82 F alongside the salt helps greatly.>
I feel confident on cleanliness of tank and my water changes are done religiously. As for the Plecos, they do seem to be VERY hearty little fish. I'll treat as Finrot per your suggestion. Substrate is very fine sand.
The only thing in my tank with "sharp" edges might be the cut end of his favorite piece of driftwood, where he and the two females constantly fight over the prime spot (a very small crevice they squeeze into headfirst. I have a huge piece of driftwood on the other side of the tank, but "Jet" prefers the little one.
<While it's possible a splinter is at fault, I'd wager not. Perhaps simple bad luck... "one of those things"... and if the fish recovers, nothing to worry about overmuch.>
Thanks again, your advice has been invaluable. :) I hope to be able to update you with good news on both fish as they progress.
<I shall look forward to it! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Angelfish parasite?      5/5/16
Neale, the angelfish is holding his/her own. I treated with non-iodized salt as instructed and things are looking good. The Pleco's injured fin "rib" did, indeed, fall off. He's fine! Bullying the other Plecos and back on his throne as KING of the tank. I will let you know if there are any changes and THANKS very much for your help! It is so nice to have a trustworthy and knowledgeable contact in these cases.
<Glad things appear to be going in the right direction, and thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish parasite?      5/7/16  (RMF couldn't open the video)

Neale, I managed to get a couple of videos of my angel. He/she still seems to be hanging in; still treating with salt, but I have not been able to get the fish to eat anything. Tubifex worms - no go, bloodworms - no go, flake crisps - no go, algae and shrimp wafers - no go, and fresh cucumber (which my other angels do pick at) - no go.
<He is breathing very heavily... I would decrease the temperature as/when you can (treatments allowing) and certainly optimise oxygenation... lower water level so there's some splashing to drive off CO2, add an airstone, that sort of thing.>
The baby angels go for all of it, but this one won't. Makes me think something is still wrong....he/she just seems to be breathing more quickly than the others but, of course, she's a larger fish.
<With proportionally larger oxygen demands... oxygen requirements increase as a cube of increases in length... so an Angel twice the length requires eight times the oxygen. But ignoring that for a moment, could be stress as much as it could be parasitism. The Angel actually looks in reasonable shape, though her jaws look oddly extended even by Angel standards. Do wonder if this is a slight deformity that might be causing a problem.>
Was sitting at the bottom most of the day near the heater with her nose slightly more towards the top than the others, but has now started hanging with the other three baby angels part of the time.
<Juveniles Angels are indeed social; adults much less so, territorial even.
Adults best kept singly, in mated pairs, or groups of six or more. Groups of 2-5 random adults often exhibit signs of bullying.>
At the store, the tank I bought from had about 5-6 other large angels about the same size. I have heard they can pull a "hunger strike" if lonely.
Any suggestions? Not sure you can tell a lot from my videos but I tried to get the best resolution I could within the limits of an attachment.
<Understood. This Angel looks more stressed than sick. Would review the environment, behaviour of/towards tankmates, and other factors that might be causing problems such as loud noises around the aquarium.>
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish parasite?     5/8/16

Neale, she unfortunately passed this morning. Took some photos but not sure anything obvious indicated. You have given me some very valuable info for any future angels. THANK YOU!
<Sorry about the bad ending to this story... but good luck with the new Angels. Regards, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish parasite?        5/9/16

Neale, thank you. I decided to stick with the 2 remaining juveniles add they seem to have paired up.
<Would assume nothing at this point... Angel juveniles *are* sociable and *will* school. It's once they become sexually mature things become tricky.
Adults upwards of, say, 8 cm/3 inches are probably sexually mature.
Aggression begins with head bobbing, pelvic fin flicking, and even audible clicks and grunts. As a teen, I had an Angel that lost one eye through this sort of aggression, and while two females will probably coexist, and a male and female duo will likely pair off, two males often won't tolerate each other in small tanks. Sexing Angels is, unfortunately, impossible without examining the genital papillae.>
I visited the LFS yesterday and talked at length with a guy I know well. He suggested some tiger and green tiger barbs.
<With Angels??? Courageous, to say the least...>
I bought a total of 6...3 of each. Active and ready to maintain, BUT, this morning I saw them all nipping at my big bn Pleco's fins (the one that had the recent injury before I bought the tetras)...
<Tiger Barbs are much more peaceful in big groups, ten or more. But in small groups they are nippy. Even in a big group I wouldn't trust them with slow-moving or long-finned fish. Great choices for use alongside other barbs, loaches, and other semi-boisterous species.>
I chased them away with a net but now I'm concerned about further aggression. I know citrus are tough and Pleco too but with Jet's long flowering fins I might have a concern. ..??? THANKS!!!! Kristi
<Welcome, Neale.>

Angelfish with white spots that don't appear to be Ick      2/6/14
I am having a problem with two of my angelfish in a 100 gal tank that I have.  I have a total of six angelfish, only two are experiencing the problem.  Originally I thought they were starting to have Ick, but the spots stayed around the eyes only, were only a handful of spots, and which evolved to look more like pimples or white worms working their way out of the fish's heads.  I had raised the temp to 84 degrees, but they kept having recurring events.  All water parameters are fine, all other fish are unaffected. 
Tank is two years old and no new introduction of fish or plants in over a year and a half.  Could it be hole-in-the-head?
<Doubtful, but may be some sort of external protozoan. I would try a one shot lacing of their foods w/ Metronidazole; and as this may be a Fluke/Trematode, with Praziquantel as well>
 It does not look like the pictures of other fish I have seen, no craters on their heads.  I am including a picture of one of the angelfish.  Mouth is due to this male fighting with a mated pair I have in the tank and is unrelated to the spots issue.  I just don't know what to treat them with when I am not sure what they have.  I have never had any fish with this type of issue and I have had tanks for sometime.  I would appreciate any opinion you have on what you think they have.  None of my other fish are coming down with this either.
Cindy Cotton
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Angelfish with white spots that don't appear to be Ick      2/6/14
Hello Bob.  Thanks for the response.  I will get Metronidazole, I have PraziPro and have done one dose of it in the food - I will try that again as well.  
<Real good. Please do report back your further observations. BobF>
Cindy Cotton

Re: Angelfish with white spots that don't appear to be Ick       2/7/14
Hello again.  One other observation I did forget to mention is that when one of the white pimples/worms (whatever) seems to come out or detach, another one forms in the exact location of the previous one after a day or two.
<Yes; have encountered "this sort of thing before"... Perhaps as we've speculated it is a type of Neuromast Destruction/HLLE... borne of Octomita/Hexamita exposure, some aspect of water quality? See WWM re. B>
Cindy Cotton
Re: Angelfish with white spots that don't appear to be Ick       2/7/14

Thanks again. I will let you know how things turn out.
<Real good. B>

Velvet maybe     3/16/13
I have a question about a black angelfish. I bought two juveniles. One has a white/grey dusting on it as fine as talc powder.
<Mmm... could be...>
 The fish are being treated with heat/salt. 85F and about 18 tablespoons of salt for a 46 gallon. The fish does not have this covering on it's head, but it starts behind the eyes and there is no problem with the gills. There are also two patches on the body that are free of this covering
<Unusual... not likely Oodinium>
and there is no fin damage. One eye is cloudy. The fish is active and eating like the other two, but does not seem to be growing. The other black fish is a little less black and doing great, also a gold angelfish is in there and seems not be be infected. The only meds I have now is Maracyn I but I do not know what the disease is.
<Really have to have a microscope (simple enough), and a body/slime sample... Not hard to do. See WWM re>
If this is velvet, I think the fish would be dead. There is no fuzzy stuff on it. Would a general antibacterial work??
<... for what? Not a good idea to "just treat", no>
and would I have to move the fish to a smaller tank alone to treat?  Thank you
<See WWM re Pterophyllum disease/health. Id est, peruse the FW Angel FAQs.
Bob Fenner>

E-mail for Neale
Salt use for FW Ich     2/7/13
I was wondering how much salt to treat the Ich in the 46 gallon with angelfish? Angelfishusa.com said 8 tablespoons and 88-90 degrees for two days. I did 2 tablespoons and 85F for four days and the black angelfish is more active,  but still has the Ich or velvet spots. I have the other smaller angelfish in with him, but I think the smaller guy is taking his food. Thank you
<46 US gallons is 175 litres, but you can knock 10% off for rocks and such, so that's 158 litres. So at 2 gram/litre, that's 316 grams. Take out a litre or two of water out of the aquarium into a bucket, dissolve in the salt, then pour back in, preferably in stages across 20 minutes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: E-mail for Neale    2/7/13

So I will leave that much salt in for two days and then do a huge water change??
<Will take more than 2 days… would leave a week, or two. No risk to the fish. 2 g/l is a trivially low salinity -- not brackish water!>
I think I will put the other smaller angelfish back in the 10 gallon.
<Why? They're infected. All fish in a tank where one has Whitespot will very likely be infected, regardless of the lack of symptoms. Treat all at the same time. As Bob would say, do buy, read a good quality fish health book. All this has been covered in depth.>
Thank you
<Welcome. Neale.>

spots on my new angelfish    10/3/12
Hi, I love the site, very informative. I haven't been able to find an answer to my question yet though, So here it is.  I purchased an angelfish from a lfs which I have always heard of as having a pretty good reputation with hobbyists so I didn't think too much about it in the store, but now that's it is home I am thinking about it constantly. The problem is the fish I bought has brown/black spots along its sides and some spots that look almost like holes on its face.
<I see these both>
 Otherwise the fish is pretty normal. It's kind of shy but doesn't hide all the time, it has been eating, and it's colour looks good. I don't think it's a colour locus (if that is the word) that comes naturally with the fish because when he gets startled or whatever and he loses his stripes the dots remain. According to the fish store the father was wild, and the mother was tank raised and the fish is supposed to be a altum/scalare cross, which is another reason I was willing to take the risk. To make matters worse I don't have a quarantine tank at the moment, so I've exposed him to the other fish in my 70g. the dots are just that, dots. It doesn't look like they are breaking the skin and not protruding or anything. I also read in another article on your site that there are wild parasites that can exist in the fishes skin but don't harm it or leave the fish without being eaten by another animal etc so I wonder if they could be something like that. The marks on the nose are a bit different, they aren't really protruding but they look a little different almost like the go further in or something. To me they look more like holes but it's hard to tell. I have included some pictures to help, although the quality isn't the best.  In your experience what do you think it could be and what steps should I take now that I have stupidly exposed my tank? Thanks!
<Mmm, well, the black raised "dots" are likely a Sporozoan or Microsporidean involvement, for which there is no cure as far as I'm aware (though I might try adding Chloroquine Phosphate to foods in an attempt at curing)... the holes in the face are symptomatic of the condition termed Head and Lateral Line Disease/Erosion... might be related to the stress of the "dots"... but often a nutritional issue. Read here re:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

After the Angelfish Plague - restocking Tank 10/2/12
Last fall I had three large Angelfish in my 75g tank. Two of them had paired off and had started breeding, albeit unsuccessfully. Lots of eggs, never any swimmers. Studied and figured they were just young and inexperienced, things would get better. Caught them in the act once and feel confident it wasn't a compassionate female trying to fertilize the eggs. That's neither here nor there, just background on how incredibly healthy they had been! I fell in love with my two huge marbled Angels (the third was platinum. *yawn* I like the marbled). I later bought a few more marbled angels and added them to another tank, where they got picked on so I put them in with the big ones.
I had never, ever had a problem with a single fish bought at that store before, though I'd never bought angels there, either, so I sadly skipped quarantine.
<Lesson learned, I hope. Even the best LFS has to get their fish from somewhere else and can't control what happens to the livestock before its in their store.>
Over the next 9 days, I lost 9 angels. Thanks to  your amazing site I figured out I had dealt with the plague, the symptoms matched perfectly. Thank you for solving my mystery.
<Not sure who helped you last time, but you are very welcome. It's the reason we do this.>
What I have never been able to find is how to go about making sure my tanks are angelfish friendly again. I've searched several times over the last year and all I ever saw or was told by local fishkeepers was to wait at least 3 months before adding angels again. I waited 4 and bought two established pair. Within 3 days all 4 were dead. Same thing all over again. Four months is not enough.
<Are you sure it was the same thing that killed these four?>
I desperately want more angels. How do I clean my tanks to prepare them to successfully house angels again? I do have a 55g Cichlid tank that's been set up since that I've tried not to cross contaminate, and being that I am so incredibly OVER cichlids I'm thinking I want to make that an angel tank.
Cichlids are pretty, but BORING.
<I'm sure you are aware that angelfish are cichlids.>
No plants? No way! Due to my love for planted tanks I know I'm prone to wanting to move plants between tanks
<I wouldn't do that until you know all the tanks are healthy.>
I'd like to get the other 3 tanks cleaned out to make sure no more plague gets to any future angels. Is time enough?  How much time? Do I need to break them down and bleach everything?
<Since you already tried adding livestock after 4 months and they died, I'd say your best bet is to tear down the tanks and sanitize everything.>
I know it's impossible to say for sure since we don't even yet know what causes it, but I don't want to buy an angel and throw it in just to see if it will die. That would be cruel and it would put me back at square one on the time factor. *sigh* Is there any way to sanitize the existing tank inhabitants so they won't carry whatever it is right back into the cleaned tank?
<Probably not. From what I've read, even fish that survive a bout with this disease are still contagious (Typhoid Mary) to imports.  If that tank was still populated, the plague might live on, or might have been brought back with the imports. Can also be spread by very small (mist) drops of water.
As you mentioned that you already tried bringing more fish into the environment and they immediately died, in your position I'd probably go with the "nuclear" option of tearing down and sanitizing.  Sometimes pushing the reboot button is the best way to healthy tanks. When it is time to restock, I'd look for a local breeder you can trust instead of a store so you have some history of the animals.>
Thanks in advance! You guys rock!
<We do our best to help.>
Amanda in Mississippi

All my Angelfish die the same way    9/30/12
Hello. I'm writing to you because I have read just about every forum on the internet and can not pin down a good answer.
I have a 140 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump underneath.
<Sounds good.>
Aquarium is about 8 months old. The temperature is kept around 84 degrees.
<Much too warm for farmed Angels; try 25-28 C/77-82 F.>

PH is 7. (Achieved through Seachem Neutral Regulator added to the sump during my once to twice a week 30% water changes. Natural PH would be 7.6 w/o buffer.) Ammonia = 0. Nitrites = 0. Nitrates = 5-10.
<Would not control water chemistry by changing pH directly. If you must change water chemistry, change the hardness, then steady pH as appropriate.
In any event, no real need to lower the pH for farmed Angels -- anything between 2-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8 is fine.>
Large assortment of plants but no CO2 injections. Sand base. Tankmates : 2 red dwarf gouramis, 5 glass catfish, Male and female paradise gourami, 2 small discus,
<Discus and Angels aren't the best companions, but usually it's the Angels that cause problems!>

10 zebra danios, 6" Pleco, 8" fire eel. OK. On to my story... About 2.5 months ago I started buying and selling various sized Discus (2" - 4") and Large Angelfish (2 - 2.5" bodies) from a direct importer. I'm making a little extra money, having fun, learning, and toying with the idea of opening a real business eventually. Out of 10 discus I haven't had a single one die.
<Real good.>
But all the Angelfish seem to die eventually.
<Ah, now, what varieties are you keeping? Some varieties aren't that robust, particularly if you buy very small, coin-sized specimens. Standard silvers, marbled and golden varieties seem pretty tough, but the seriously inbred varieties like Koi and all-whites can be rather delicate.>
Except for one blushing blue that I bought from the same place. In total I've had probably 14 angelfish die over the lifespan of my tank.(I forgot to mention I had 4 angels that I bought from regular pet stores that eventually died also.)
<Do you quarantine, de-worm, dose with Metronidazole prior to introduction to the display tank. If not, do so.>
It might be worth mentioning that Regular Gouramis don't seem to make it in my tank either. I do not want to give up on these angels because they are beautiful. They are tank raised( in roughly 7.4 pH water I'm told), various colors, many with tinges of blue, and veiltailed. I usually buy about 8 at a time. I drip acclimate them in a 5 gallon bucket for a little over an hour until the pH matches before I scoop them into a cup and let them swim out of the cup into the tank with the lights off. They all last for at least a couple days. Most seem happy, eating well, and active at first.
Then they start dying off one by one.
<What's the water chemistry at the retailer? If your retailer has hard water, and you have water which is has been made acidic, and perhaps softer (it isn't clear to me if that's the case) then exposure to dramatic water chemistry changes can stress, kill fish.>
Maybe 2 after the first couple of days. Then another one another day. Then some might last a week then another dies. Until one at a time they pretty much all seem to go. I feel like I'm writing a horror story here! They all have the same symptoms before they die. They grow listless. No visible parasites. Hide towards the back of the tank. Stop accepting food. I feed them Spirulina flakes, small sinking cichlid pellets, and sometimes frozen beef heart or frozen bloodworms. Open and close their mouth and breath relatively fast. Then die within a day or two of showing these symptoms.
I've tried treating some with PraziPro and some with Metronidazole separately. It hasn't helped. Is it the small change in ph that is killing them? Please help.
Thank you in advance,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: All my Angelfish die the same way    9/30/12

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to help me. I will try to address any questions you had and ask any questions that your advice has prompted. Is there a happy medium in regards to temperature and ph I can achieve for angels and discus?
<They're not normally kept together. As you may realise, Symphysodon spp (the ancestors of farmed Discus) and Pterophyllum scalare (the ancestors of farmed Angels) come from somewhat different habitats. Discus inhabit sluggish, warm, very acidic blackwater habitats in the flooded forest, whereas the Angels come from more traditional rivers and streams where the water chemistry is not so extreme. Altum Angels are more similar to Discus in requirements, but plain vanilla farmed Angels less so. This isn't to say they can't be kept together -- they can -- but farmed Angels might be heat-stressed if taken from the standard 25 C/77 F and put in a tank at 30 C/86 F.>
I had discus in pH 7.6 water before (The natural pH of my water and only .2 pH higher than the distributor's water)
<The pH scale is logarithmic, so increments can be misleading if not viewed that way; pH 5 for example has ten times the acidity of pH 6.>
and they did great. I use the pH regulator for the Discus but if its not necessary and possibly killing the Angels I can stop using it.
<I would stick with what you're doing for now, but do review the water chemistry literature, and reflect on the significance of hardness as opposed to pH before getting too bogged down in changing conditions in the tank. Unless your water is more than slightly hard, say, 10-12 degrees dH, then there's almost never a need to soften the water for farmed Angels and Discus.>
The angels are all considered "large". Bodies 2 - 2.5". Veil tailed.
Usually black marbled with tinges of blue. Some have yellow spots and every once in a while I get a white. The whites are usually the first to go.
<A somewhat delicate variety.>
The conditions they're kept in at the wholesaler are less than ideal.
<I see. I'd pass over this wholesaler in favour of another.>
I am about to pick up a quarantine tank for the new angels. Should I automatically hit them with Metronidazole or some other meds when I receive them?
<Yes, and de-worm them. But to be honest, if the wholesaler has grubby tanks and sickly fish -- find another!>
Knowing they are not coming from the best conditions. To the best of my knowledge they are imported from Florida to New Jersey where I pick them up. The location in Jersey is only 30 minutes away from my house. I will test the hardness of the water the next time I go. Also, is it possible they are being suffocated for air because the water is so warm?
<Can be, but if the other fish are okay, perhaps not. But yes, the warmer the water, the less oxygen, and at high temperatures "inch per gallon" type rules can and will be misleading, so be careful when stocking.>
The water has the surface area of the tank 2'x4' and the sump tank to absorb oxygen.
But I do have the glass panels on top of the tank to slow down evaporation.
Maybe that is somehow slowing down the oxygen exchange in the tank?
<Unlikely, so long as there's a good-sized gap between the glass and water.>
PS. I apologize for the disjointed thoughts in the paragraph. I am packing for a trip to Florida, but I wanted to get this email back to you before I left.
Thank you again,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Baby angelfish sick?   /RMF     9/26/12
Hello crew! I've been looking around on your website for a few hours now but I can't seem to pin point what is wrong with some baby angelfish I recently got.
I got three baby angelfish (maybe around 3 months old) 5 and a half days ago. One of them would not eat, i tried flake, blood worms, frozen brine shrimp, freshly hatched brine shrimp, and daphnia, but she just refused to eat. She started to get swim bladder issues so i tried some aquarium salt to see if that would help, but she later passed. Now with only two of the babies, I've noticed that my veil tail one is started to get some clamped fins, at the top of the tank a lot, breathing hard. Also I've noticed when feeding them today, he has this kind of filmy look on his sides. He swims just fine and has a great appetite. Should I try some Melafix or maybe some fungus clear?
<I wouldn't use either. The new angels may have a pathogenic issue... that would be treated in a commercial setting w/ a combo. of Metronidazole and an anthelminthic, perhaps Praziquantel>

The second little angel is perfectly fine, swims around a lot, eats great. No signs of anything wrong with him.
Ammonia is 0, nitrates and nitrates are also 0,
<How is NO3 rendered thus?>
 pH is at a 6.8. Tank has been running for 1 year and half, with two full grown angelfish.
<Mmm, there may be an issue of bullying by the larger specimens>
Simple HOB AquaTech 30-60 with just carbon filter. I do plan to get a new canister filter to help keep the tank clear. Temp runs about 76-80. Sand substrate, mixed with weekly 50% water changes.
If I somehow missed what this could be some where on your website, then sorry for the trouble!
Ciao, Bailey
<Mmm, tough to suggest the expense and stress of treating here... I would just watch, wait. Small angels have genetic/developmental troubles that do show up at times months after birth. Bob Fenner>
Baby angelfish sick?   /Rick      9/26/12
Hello crew!
I've been looking around on your website for a few hours now but I can't seem to pin point what is wrong with some baby angelfish I recently got.
I got three baby angelfish (maybe around 3 months old) 5 and a half days ago. One of them would not eat, i tried flake, blood worms, frozen brine shrimp, freshly hatched brine shrimp, and daphnia, but she just refused to eat.
<Bad sign>
She started to get swim bladder issues so i tried some aquarium salt to see if that would help, but she later passed. Now with only two of the babies, I've noticed that my veil tail one is started to get some clamped fins, at the top of the tank a lot, breathing hard. Also I've noticed when feeding them today, he has this kind of filmy look on his sides.
<Maybe costiasis. Quarantine this fish if you can for treatment. It is contagious.
See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/CostiaF.htm
Yes, that's Bob F and I going back and forth a few years ago.>
He swims just fine and has a
great appetite. Should I try some Melafix or maybe some fungus clear?
<Parasitic, so rid-ich maybe.>
The second little angel is perfectly fine, swims around a lot, eats great. No signs of anything wrong with him.
Ammonia is 0, nitrates and nitrates are also 0, pH is at a 6.8. Tank has been running for 1 year and half, with two full grown angelfish.
Simple HOB AquaTech 30-60 with just carbon filter. I do plan to get a new canister filter to help keep the tank clear. Temp runs about 76-80. Sand substrate, mixed with weekly 50% water changes.
If I somehow missed what this could be some where on your website, then sorry for the trouble!
<Good luck>
Ciao, Bailey

Hi I need help with angel fish! And Discus... mis-treated, no reading 11/28/11
Hi there!
I don't know if you guys can help me, but this is weird. I have there huge tanks/Aquarium in my house. 85 gallon (4 months old), 155 gallon (7 months old) & 200 + gallon (1 year old). I have angel fish in all the 3 tanks.
I have a single pair in 85 gallon and 155 gallon tank. Which is healthy and fish are happy in those 2 tanks. My other 200 + gallon tank had 9 angel fish (same age and size) and 4 discus (different age, size and new to the tan).
<Three and tank; with you so far>
The tank which is 200 + gallon, had no problems, It was going fine. One day I added 4 discus to the tank.
<Sans quarantine>
When I had purchased the 4 discus fish, I put both thin discus in my 85 gallon and the both shy discus fish in 200 gallon (they were in there for more than a month). Later on I did moved the both shy discus to 155 gallon tank, where they were in there for more than 15 days. When I added them and uploaded pictures of them on a forum. People over the forum informed me, that all the 4 discus has internal parasite.
<Quite common...>
So I needed to cure them. I asked for a suggestion to a LFS here (same place where I purchased the discus) and followed his medication procedure (confirmed it on a forum as well).
<... not so fast pardner... What med./s? and the SOP employed please>
That is, moved the discus fish into a bath tub and started the treatment,

where they died the very next morning.
<Most such Symphysodon treatments are administered via foods...>
However, I don't think so the discus were sick. 1 of them stayed in the corner, the 2 of them were extremely thin, the 4th red discus (my love) was okay, but he was shy once in a blue moon. The discus which stayed in the corner all the time, use to come out only, when I use to exit the room.
When I use to get back in the room, again he use to hide behind the trees.
The previous owner said of this 4 discus said, his 4 blue diamond discus died in the same tank where these discus were there. So he don't want to go into loss and he does not has time to take care, so he is selling his fish.
But still as per forum users and shop keepers, I followed their advice.
Now the problem started after discus's death. The tank which is 200 gallon + had around 9 angel fish along with the 2 discus (which were moved to a different tank later and into a bath tub). In those 9 angel fish 2 were males, 6 were females & 1 undetected (however suspected male). The very next day after the discus died, 1 of my female angel fish had a big tummy (I knew the trouble has started, thinking internal parasite has spread),
<Your changes in time are maddening>
but she was not on any of her side or upside down. She was swimming perfectly. She was constantly on top of water. I moved her to a tub for cure & she died. Then same thing started to happen with 4 female angel fish and the undetected angelfish (one at a time). However the 2 males are healthy and perfect till date. Now I am left with a female and 2 male angel fish. Where as the other 2 tanks fish are happy and healthy, without any problem. I have done more than four times 80% water change even past 2 weeks. Currently the last female angel fish in the tank shows no signs like that, since I have done water change yesterday. Still wondering this thing, the discus were there in all the 3 tanks, 2 tanks are healthy from past 2 months without a problem. The biggest tank of mine had problems with only female angel fish. The shy discus were big and dead, where and the thin ones are improving and currently in 200+ gallon tank with angel fish. Any idea about what's going on? I hope I haven't confused you guys. LOL. :P
<... Well, could be your choice or means of administering "med./s" are the problem here (can't tell as you haven't related what was used and how), and/or that there is some biological agent involved here (Protozoan, Worm...), or...?
DO read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/discusdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above, and here for Angels:
and on WWM re the use of whatever it is you've been pouring in... Oh, and Metronidazole and Anthelminthics...
Bob Fenner>
Re: Hi I need help with angel fish! & Discus, hlth. 11/29/11

Thank you for you reply's!
Didn't expect is so quick.
<Glad to help.>
So here are the answers to the questions.
Regarding the discus cure, the LFS told me to move them in the bath tub as all the 3 tanks had angel which were healthy and discus may spread the disease.
<Would treat ALL fish in ALL tanks if there's any risk of cross-contamination, e.g., through moving fish between tanks, shared buckets and nets.>
The LFS store keeper requested me to use Metrogil or Flagyl to cure the discus fish. He came and check the size of my bath tub. I checked the medicine shop here and Metrogil was available at the moment, so e told me to add 4 bottles of Metrogil and fill the entire tub. As soon as I added discus to the tub, they were happy. However next morning they died.
<Used correctly, ideally with veterinarian help, Metronidazole (Flagyl) should be completely safe.>
So I believe I will have to make 1 more tank for my remaining 4 discus fish. XD kewl. I will do that by today itself. & Also once the tank is ready and cycled. Shall I keep it bare bottom tank for discus? As I have heard that bare bottom tanks are best for discus fish.
<There is an argument for bare-bottom tanks when keeping Discus. They're easy to clean, and with less "dirt" in the tank, there's less risk from bacterial infections. On the other hand, avoid bright light bouncing off the glass at the bottom -- Discus hate this! There is an ample literature available on the care of Discus, here at WWM and elsewhere. Modern forms are fairly hardy, and can be kept in traditional tanks with plants and gravel. But avoid mixing with known carriers of diseases, such as Angels, and keep stocking levels LOW.>
So do you want me to currently put the medicine in all the tanks or only infected tank?
<See above.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Fish with large white spots 10/13/10
I noticed one of my angelfish had a white spot near its dorsal fin almost two weeks ago. I have only had fish for 6 months and did not worry about it until I noticed some of the other fish were starting to get the spots as well. Spots have varied from on the nose and fins of Neons to near the dorsal fins on angelfish. One rainbow fish died without showing any issues how ever I had noticed it had been rubbing itself on the gravel. I have treated them for white spot disease however once looking at pictures on Google I no longer believe that is what they have. The spots look large and puss like. The treatment for white spot disease it has slowly reduced some of the spots and the angelfish has now got a whole near its dorsal fin. I started using the treatment on Friday and have lost three fish since then.
I have turned the filter off and changed 50% of the water as instructed. In the past two days the remaining fish have been at the top of the tank and the angle with the issues is breathing hard.
Any ideas on what needs to be done would be appreciated!
<Does indeed sound like Whitespot/Ick, Jess. Whitespot causes salt grain-sized cysts on fins, skin and gills. If the cysts are larger than salt grains, then Whitespot isn't the problem. Anyway, there are a few
things about Whitespot disease you should know. The first is that you don't treat the spots, just the free-living stages they produce, which is why it takes a couple of weeks to wipe out the infection. Usually aquarists raise the temperature up to about 28 C/82 F to speed up the life-cycle of the Whitespot parasite. Secondly, the medications used can be toxic in themselves, which is why the salt/heat method is often recommended in preference.
Thirdly, carbon removes medications from the aquarium. So if you use carbon in your aquarium filter -- and you really don't need to -- any medications you add won't work much, if at all. Again, aquarists often recommend the salt/heat method because carbon doesn't affect the salt either way, so in that sense it's more reliable. Fourthly, Whitespot does indeed attack the gills, often before anything else, so laboured breathing is a classic symptom. Finally, Whitespot may or may not remain latent in aquaria for long periods of time -- there's some debate about this -- but certainly it can affect fish at an undetectable level for months and only suddenly cause problems when something stresses the fish. Essentially their immune system is laid low for some reason, and the Whitespot takes advantage. So whenever you see Whitespot, ask yourself two things: Did you add any fish recently?
Is water quality still good? If you didn't add any fish in the last couple of weeks, then the Whitespot was already in the tank, and something is stressing your fish. Check the pH and nitrite, just to make sure water
chemistry and water quality are where they should be. Also check the heater is working too.
Cheers, Neale.>

Angel fish tank going downhill 4/6/10
I has been sent here from forum!
I have a 45g tank with angel fish. Two veiled angels and two Koi angels.
I have had this setup for about a year and a half without many problems, outside of two pairing up and constantly spawning in the tank
<Very good.>
About a month ago, my striped veil was looking very sick. Clamped fins, red streaks throughout his fins, and red swollen areas where his fins meet his body. He was slumped; his fins looked like wet hair getting out of the shower.
<Right. This is most likely a bacterial infection; Finrot transitioning into what is commonly called haemorrhagic septicaemia. Needs to be treated properly, or tends to become systemic, and produces symptoms similar to viral haemorrhagic septicaemia. Terramycin (Oxytetracycline) is the recommended medication for treating this type of haemorrhagic septicaemia in fish.>
I treated them with Tetra Lifeguard. Says, eliminates guesswork, for all types of sicknesses, and its a 5 day treatment, slow release tablets
<The broader the medication, the less likely it is to treat unusual things like this. So in this situation, it's fairly useless. In fact anything that sounds like it removes the need to diagnose a disease is likely worthless.>
During treatment, my fish were inactive, doing a whole lot of nothing, not eating as much as usual, which I figured were side effects of the medicine.
The veil was looking much better and he had unclamped his fins, so I followed the course of medication.
During all this, something else happened to the angels. I will describe this as best as possible. They look like the have "Dry skin". For example, my marble veil looks like he's flat black, instead of shiny black.
They all show this oddity. Its like those skin care commercials - I could "carve the word dry" into their skin. Almost looks like sunburn. It does have a tint of white to it maybe, like dry skin does. I tried internet research to see if Tetra Lifeguard had any potential side effects with no real input.
After treatment, I did a large water change, and refreshed the activated carbon in my canister filter.
<Do understand that carbon removes medications; do not have carbon in the filter while medicating. I tend to argue against using carbon at all in most freshwater tanks. Few people understand what it's actually for, and fewer still use it properly.>
My veil angel looks worlds better now, except all the other fish are still very lazy and spend most of their time in the top corner of the tank, hovering motionless. They eat, but not consistently. One day they'll get excited the minute I come home, all waiting for food like normal. But then they'll eat a few bites and their done. Other days, I can't even get their attention... their too busy staring at the corner of the tank doing nothing
Their "dry" look has not improved. I've looked through many many pictures of fish ailments. Its not spots. Its not fine spots. Not very fungal looking. One picture of velvet was kind of close, but it was more intense than my situation and again it isn't spotty.
<Without a photo, can't be sure. But white patches may be dead skin.>
Side note, I have a rainbow shark in that tank, who was absolutely fine throughout this whole ordeal, is the greediest eater in the tank, and as of now with these changes, thee most active fish in the tank. The angels are so lazy, when my RBS gets curious and gives them a nudge and runs away, the angels don't even move or they'll just turn a little or
<Cheers Neale.>
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill -4/7/10

Thanks for the speedy response.
<My pleasure.>
I refreshed the carbon anew, to remove the medication after the 5 days of dosage were complete. The stuff that was in there, was a couple months old so I didn't worry about it removing the medication during treatment.
<A dangerous assumption on your part.>
My biggest concern here, is that they have not returned to their normal, active selves after the medication. Even with their favorite frozen food, I can only get the attention of 1 or 2, who won't eat much anyhow.
<Review environmental conditions, social behaviour.>
If food "drifts by" the others they might sample it, might not. This is very worrying behavior compared to the normal - having four angels at the top of the tank begging and excited when I approach the tank.
All the 'common' water tests are okay - Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates were <20 when I tested Friday, and PH around 6.8-7.0 (Color of that particular test tube is bit difficult to tell) Temp of their tank is around 81-82°F. I'm not sure what else I can do for them at this point; overall I'm stumped
<Treat the fish as indicated, and with carbon removed. After treatment perform a 50% water change. Check the hardness of the water, since Angels prefer soft to moderately hard water and may not do well in very hard water. Make sure the pH is stable between water changes. Ensure chlorine, chloramine and copper are removed by the water conditioner. Ensure water circulation is adequate and the fish are receiving enough oxygen. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill
Hello Again.
I've tried my best with the camera I got. Sorry the pics a little "tall".
Is very had to take pics of it, because you only see it in certain lighting angles. Its not like a fungus or specs that are totally obvious
<Indeed not. The images aren't quite in focus, but I suspect this is Costia, what is sometimes called Slime Disease. A tiny parasite irritates the skin, causing excess mucous production. Costia can be lethal if left untreated, though likely because it allows secondary infections more than anything else. It's reasonably easy to treat, either with specific medications or using salt.
Cichlids like angelfish tolerate salt quite well, so don't be shy about adding salt to the water and doing the dips, even though angels are nominally soft water fish. Across the short term, salt does them little harm.>
Please see attached.
One died today. The runt of the group, always been difficult getting him to eat. Have had him since initial setup. Thoroughly inspected - no real markings, no white haze (He's white...you'd never see) No obvious parasites, worms, swelling, or red areas. Just ka-put. =(
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Angel fish tank going downhill (Bob, another case of Costia?)... More likely Hexamita/Octomita -4/8/10
The Marble Veil died this morning. Two down, two remain. If were counting the red Koi that died suddenly a week prior, three down.
I will go with the salt dip, and bath as recommended in the links. I'm trying not to do anything knee-jerk, like take them to another tank.
Whatever this is, may infect others?
I have a mid-size rainbow shark in that tank. He's happy, active, healthy through all of this. And fat from eating all the food the angels won't eat. Is he in danger of contracting whatever is happening here?
<Is a possibility>
He does not show the traits of the others. Will he be OK with higher salinity in the aquarium?
Should I get him the hell outta there? o.o
Thanks again. -Dan
<Up to you. Please read on WWM re the above causative organism/Protozoan, its history of mortality w/ Pterophyllum, treatment w/ Metronidazole/Flagyl. Bob Fenner>

Re: Angel fish tank going downhill (Bob, another case of Costia?) 4/9/10
Could you give me the salt dip recipe in tablespoons per gallon; I Googled and found many different opinions. I would convert it over from the table linked, but found many different density values depending on the type of
salt >.< This is using 'aquarium salt' which is rather large chunks too, which affects the actual amount per tablespoon and throws off the equation
<All the information you need is here:
Don't rely on teaspoon or tablespoon doses. Salt absorbs moisture, so volumes of salt can be misleading because they're partly moisture and entirely dependent on grain size and how compacted the salt has become. One level teaspoon is roughly 6 grammes, but use kitchen scales to weigh out the amount you need. If you need to convert from metric to US units, use the Brack Calc application on my web site, here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill (Bob, another case of Costia?) 4/9/10
That's what's missing; a kitchen scale. Likely a good investment.
Everything else can be calced and converted. Alright, thank you very much for your time spent. I appreciate it.
<No problem.>
Will keep you updated.
<Good luck! Neale.>

Re: Angel fish tank going downhill (Bob, another case of Costia?) -- 4/12/10
An update, Neale.
The remaining two got their salt dip. They did not like this at all.
<No, they don't.>
Currently a salt bath in their main tank. I've also been feeding them medicated flakes, for any secondary or current bacterial based infections.
I don't want to speak too soon, but they look worlds better. Their skin is clearing up. They are more active, and more aggressively eating. Nobody has died since Wednesday.
The remaining two have also become BFF, spending most of their time side by side.
I think a big difference between who survived, and who didn't falls on who was willing to eat. Not only is nutrition absolutely imperative to recovery, but those two (and the unfazed rainbow shark) were also eating medicated flakes.
<An astute observation. If fish are feeding, they're less likely to be seriously damaged by the infection, and more importantly, it's easier to get useful amounts of antibiotics into their bodies. Adding medication to the water works fine for external infections, but less well for systemic ones.>
I stopped by the LFS where I bought the newest addition, marble Koi ~3 weeks ago. That entire tank is empty. I think something 'fishy' is going on here. At this point I believe I paid 3 angels for one.
<Ah, this is often the case. There's good value in spending a little more at retailers you can trust, or with useful money-back guarantees.>
And I paid a very dear price for not having a separate QT tank. =/ Since I was medicating one for a Bac infection a week after the new arrival, I was convinced that their odd chalky condition was a side effect of being medicated
<Possible, but at this point who knows?>
Since I was medicating them for a bacterial infection with success, I'm lead to believe the problem I'm battling isn't bacterial. There's always a chance though.
<Agreed, and bacterial secondary infections following on from Ick, Velvet or whatever aren't uncommon. Anything that damages the skin of a fish makes it more likely to become infected.>
My big question now is, how will I know when its over?
<Difficult to say, but after the fish are visibly cured, and you've stopped medicating, leave the water salted for maybe 2 weeks thereafter. Do a series of small, weekly water changes -- maybe 15-20% -- to gradually lower the salinity. If everyone is swimming about happily after two months, it's fair to say you've beaten the problem. Wait at least another month before adding more fish.>
When the tank is safe? Even if the fish are better, are the problems still living in the ecosystem? I was going to do one more salt dip (I really, really don't want to do this. They hated it),
<Yes, like children and injections. But while they hate it at the time, the long term effects are minimal.>
return to their normal food, then let the salinity of their tank drop slowly through the regular water changes. After a couple weeks if the coast looks clear, start rebuilding their community. Is this a good course of action?
<Yes, but leave a month between finishing with the salinity changes and then adding more fish. Or at least, quarantine any new fish for 6 weeks before adding them to the tank.>
Alternatively, I could get a medication for Slime Disease, treat the entire tank, and skip the salt
<By all means do so. But do be aware that not all fish handle all medications equally well. Catfish and loaches are sensitive to copper and formalin especially, as are a few other fish.>
Thanks for all your time spent on this one. I believe I'm going to make it out of this with two angels alive, which is still a heavy tragedy but a lot more positive than none.
<For what it's worth, three Angelfish doesn't usually work out well. If you have a pair, you're lucky, and they'll stay friends for life. But in threes, it's not uncommon for one to be bullied by the pair, and eventually that bullied fish weakens and gets sick. Do remember Angels are schooling fish when young, but territorial pairs when adult.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tiny worm-like parasite, FW Angels 1/21/10
Dear Neale,
I began treatment for parasite infestation Jan. 18 evening. I used a medication containing Praziquantel, diflubenzuron, Metronidazole, and acriflavine according to the instructions on the packaging. It was the only medication at any nearby fish stores that advertized to get rid of anchor worms and copepods. The parasite has cleared out (at least visibly), but there has been drastic deterioration of the angel's fins. It looks like he may have a secondary fin rot infection.
<Very probable. The anchor worms break the epidermis, and this is how secondary infections get started.>
The dorsal and pectoral fins seem to have stabilized. However, there is still some loss occurring on the anal fin and the caudal fin is completely gone. Of the latter, all that remains are a few rays and a very red and inflamed base.
<Yes, likely bacterial; treat promptly.>
Shortly after removing the carbon from my canister filter, the ammonia and nitrate levels showed traces, but returned to normal by morning.
<If the carbon was more than a couple of weeks old, it'd be working as biological filter media (and the covering of bacteria is precisely why carbon needs to be replaced with fresh carbon every couple of weeks, at least, if you want it to work as carbon). Removing biological media can knock back filter efficiency if you don't leave enough live biological media behind. Moreover, some medications can and do harm biological filters, sometimes slightly, sometimes severely.>
All my other fish seem to be unaffected. Is it safe to do a partial water change and start treating for fin rot (if that is the problem)?
<Likely is.>
Should I try adding a bit of salt to the tank or dip?
<Salt pointless here. You do need a suitable anti-Finrot medication.>
Any treatment suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again for your time.
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Tiny worm-like parasite -- 1/22/10
Dear Neale,
I would like to thank you again for all the time you have invested in answering my questions. If I may be so bold, there are a few more I would like to ask...
<Fire away.>
The instructions on the anti-parasite medications advise a 48 hour wait before medicating again. I looked up the active ingredients and it appears that at least one causes kidney damage with prolonged exposure.
<Not a problem in this case. For one thing, freshwater fish's kidneys work rather differently to our own, so problems detected when medications are used in humans may not occur with fish. Moreover, most medications sold for use in aquaria have a very short lifespan in the aquarium, typically becoming metabolised within a day. So while all medications are poisons at some level -- including those doctors prescribe for humans -- if used as described by the manufacturer, there's little risk of causing harm to your fish. Indeed, not using the right medication can end up doing far more harm by allowing the pathogen free rein to harm your livestock. So, in short, use a medication for the full duration as described by the manufacturer.
Don't do half doses and don't skip days of treatment on a whim.>
So, I plan on treating for fin rot (with Maracyn unless there is something else you recommend)
<A useful medication, but strictly for bacterial infections rather than worms. Do also note that most medications are formulated to be used ALONE.
Mixing multiple medications in one aquarium is unwise. Standard operating practise is to complete one course of medication, do a 50% water change, and then start another course of medication the following day. Some aquarists like to run carbon in the filter overnight between the two courses. Carbon removes organic chemicals, including medications, which is why you always remove carbon (if you use it) while medicating. In practise the carbon step isn't essential because the bacteria in the filter will metabolise unused medications quite quickly.>
tomorrow afternoon in hopes to save the healthy fishes' nephrons.
However, there is no longer caudal fin to treat on the adult angelfish.
<Can grow back.>
In addition, The base of the caudal fin is sloughing scales and the remaining scales are protruding. To top it all off, the bloat around his belly has worsened, there is red speckling below his right pectoral fin, and fine scales are protruding along the ventral side (the attached photo shows his current condition). Again, water conditions are good and none of the other fish show any signs of illness.
<Unfortunately, septicaemia is quite common once Finrot has progressed down to the base of fins. Since this is an internal bacterial infection, this is best treated with antibiotics, preferably via food rather than added to the water.>
Is it in the angelfish's best interest to continue medicating, or am I prolonging the inevitable?
<By no means; given treatment, there is a chance the fish will recover.
Very small fish rarely do, but Angelfish are just large enough they might pull through.>
If the infection has gone septic, will a fin rot treatment be effective?
<Finrot medication that acts externally will not have much impact on septicaemia. Maracyn by itself isn't particularly useful, but Kanamycin Sulfate and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Triple Sulfa have both been used successfully. Follow the instructions on these carefully.>
If he does pull through, is there a reasonable chance that he will see any regrowth?
<Fins can regrow provided at least some of the bony rays remain.>
Lastly, does the bloat indicate that there is already irreversible kidney damage?
<Not necessarily.>
Thank you again for your time and expertise.
<Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tiny worm-like parasite 1/26/10
Dear Neale,
<Hello Amy,>
I completed the full treatment for parasites on Jan. 22. Afterward, I performed a 50% water change, ran 12 hours with fresh activated carbon, removed carbon and began treatment for the secondary bacterial infection using medicated foods. January 24th and today, I performed 25% water changes because the nitrogenous waste levels showed traces ( far from "dangerous").
<Anything non-zero is stressful, and the degree to which it is "dangerous" depends on the health and type of fish.>
Last night, the adult angelfish regained his color and there was about 2mm of visible fin ray growth.
The bloat has been steadily declined over the past three days.
However, this morning I found him upside-down with his mouth in the gravel, but sill has visible gill movements.
This is where he has been all day.
<Do check water quality, and take a look to make sure things like the heater and filter are working. It's obvious I know, but you'd kick yourself if they were the thing.>
I noticed strange coloration along the base of the caudal fin and just ventral from the pectoral. Is this something new, or is it related to one of the other ailments?
<Impossible to say.>
Thank you again for your time and advice.
<I suspect this is the make or break point. If the infection is systemic, honestly, there's little you can do, and painless destruction may well be appropriate. But if he starts to show signs of recovery, then you may be
okay. I have seen fish come back from the brink, and doing things like increasing oxygenation and keeping the water spotlessly clean are major factors. Nothing much else I can add. Good luck, Neale.>Re: Tiny worm-like parasite
Re: Tiny worm-like parasite 1/27/10
Dear Neale,
I am sorry to say that the adult angelfish did not pull through.
<Sorry to hear that.>
When I removed him from the tank, some of the pigmented skin sloughed off and it was apparent that there was internal bleeding underneath. Also, there was a pool of blood behind one of his nostrils. All of my black neon
tetras and the juvenile angel show no signs of illness and have been leaving the adult angel alone.
<Good. Does sound like a systemic bacterial infection.>
The pH has been between 7.8 and 8 (characteristic of the water table), ammonia has not been over .25,
<Still potentially dangerous.>
nitrites have not reached .1,
<When nitrites are substantially less than ammonia, that tends to imply an aquarium isn't properly cycled, and that can easily cause problems.>
and nitrates between 5 and 15. Could the antibiotic food (Jungle brand)
leach into the water and effect my nitrogen cycle?
<Potentially, but unlikely.>
How long should it take to give my fish the "all clear" if no symptoms develop and my ammonia and nitrites are back to 0 (should I wait longer than an average quarantine)?
<Well, cycling takes about 6 weeks from scratch, and rather less if the tank is at least partially cycled.>
Thank you for all your help through this. I have been bewildered as to the cause of most if it.
<All I'd do was assume a problem with water quality, allow the filter to re-cycle before adding any more fish, and to be careful with food, so there's no risk of uneaten food causing problems. Review stocking density, and make sure the filter is appropriate to the task in hand. Check there's enough circulation and you have a sensible balance of biological media to the other types. Cheers, Neale.>

thin stool, FW Angels... lumenal Protozoan parasites? 9/21/08
Okay I have angels and have been battling the thin white stool issue. Now some have nice stools some have normal colored stools but they are thin and some have the thin white stools.
<Mmm, too likely Protozoan lumenal parasites... Hexamita/Octomita...>
I do daily or bi daily water changes, I have r/o water that is set at 6.5ph ammonia and all parameters are great.
I have treated multiple times with metro
<Oh! But... this is a clue>
both in food and in the water with the temp raised, used Prazi, parasite clear and have recently given dewormer flake. I stopped treating the tanks a while back and just focused on medicated feed. Either metro laced color bits or the dewormer flake. It is frustrating. I also have breeders that have their eggs falling off the pvc pipes.
I tried to find this in the search but kept coming up with can worms or other breed problems not related so I am sorry if this was posted somewhere and I just did not find it.
I have no deaths and everyone seems to be eating just fine. I have high protein vitamin ladened flake food and feed bloodworms and frozen brine a few times a week. Live brine on occasion and baby brine on occasion.
<Mmm... time to have someone take a closer look... at this fecal material, under a microscope, your operations, sterile procedure. Something is definitely amiss here... Re the Metronidazole, you didn't get a "full dose" into these animals... or they would be dead... from too much exposure. I would re-read on WWM re methodologies for administration. It is very likely you've cross-contaminated your systems with this single-celled bedevilment... very easily done... and now it may take the patience of Job to systematically treat all. Do you have a LFS with a microscope, folks who know how to use it? Or a learning institution/college with a life science department nearby? Bob Fenner>
Re: thin stool, FW angel dis. et al. reading 9/21/08

I am having a hard time navigating your site could you please give me a link to this
<This? Metronidazole/Flagyl? Microscope use? Angelfish disease? Have you tried the cached search tool here?: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm >
I am not sure what you mean by they would be dead with a full dose.
<This protozoacide would have damaged your fish/es through killing their kidneys had it been administered at physiological dose "multiple times"... See WWM re. RMF>
Re: thin stool... 9/21/08

and I am sorry I used the link and punched in using metro and it takes me to gold fish links which are nothing about metro, same when I punch in thin white stool.
<... Please, don't write... instead read where you were referred to. There are clear instructions on how to use the search tool, indices... With terms used highlighted in the cached view. B>
Re: thin stool 9/21/08

recommended treatment for metro is daily in the water and or in the feed both for a coarse of 10 days for resistant strains. I had done it in the water for the 5 day treatments gave them a rest for a couple weeks and dosed again. These treatments were done over the coarse of time like months not every week.
<... drug concentration...>
When this did not work I did the 10 day treatment, which again didn't work.
Rest high quality feed, lots of clean pure water and they all look great eat well and most breed well.
<Good... Then I would not be overly concerned... this "thin stool" issue may be nothing deleterious... hence the suggestion to use a scope...>
Still have the thin stools on a lot of them and thin white stools on others.
I have to wonder if this is not something else.
I will look at what you sent me to see if I can find the article.
<Not an article... but various inputs from disparate FAQs. B>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Info Not on WWM... Or is it? Like Ragu... - 8/13/03 Hi, this isn't really a question but I didn't know how to contact you guys any other way. My angel fish recently had a parasite and not finding it on your site I went to all the fish stores I could find.  They too didn't know what it was and said they had never seen it before and I have been to these stores numerous times.  Knowing that these people knew what they were doing, some with over 25 years worth of experience I went to one last store.  I brought my fish with me and showed the people there.  They too were stumped because the fish had no eating problems behavior problems and in all respects was perfectly healthy except for small black dots that looked as if someone has poked the fish all over with a pencil.  The fresh water fish expert there said to give it Jungle Parasite Guard.  This cleared the fish of all dots within 4 hours.  I would just like u to post this somewhere for people with angel fish, discus, and cichlids as they expert there said this parasite can probably get in these fish as well.  Melafix will not work as I tried the 7 days and then 3 extra days of medication.  However to achieve the 4 hour fix add the recommended amount of aquarium salt for your aquarium and repeat medication in 6 days with a 25% water change before adding. Hopes this helps you guys and the people who have fish with pencil like black dots. <FWIW.. Melafix I swear is a marketing joke. But regarding your black spots, are you sure that you are not dealing with Paravortex (AKA Black spot disease) Turbellarian worms. Usually seen on tangs, they can afflict other fishes [see more here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm (scan archives for black spot FAQs).  best regards, Anthony>

Microscope and Altum Angels In light of my new employment, I intend to treat myself to a microscope. You told me of one marketed as a kids' toy, available at Fry's - do you remember the manufacturer? <Mmm, it's the fabulous Intel/Mattel QX3! Put these descriptors in the WWM Google search tool and you'll find I'm a big fan (have one at two arms length right here!> Also, at some point or another, I want very much to take another stab at Altums, but I've gotten myself paranoid with this angel 'plague'. Apparently, some views are that it's not Hexamita or Chilodonella/Costia/Ichthyobodo type illness, but I'm not at all certain of anything, except that it's very frustrating. I've spoken with angel breeders, discus breeders, other hobbyists, and for every one person I speak to, I get a completely different answer. <Look for "very fresh" stock... and treat them (orally, with Metronidazole... with or w/o food) yourself... is what I would do> General consensus is that it kills all your angelfish, and roughly 80% of your discus, and is incurable. But I'm not willing to accept that. If it'd be okay with you, I'd like to discuss what my experience was, what I did, etc. Might you be willing to criticize, let me know what I could have done differently? <Mmm, don't know you, the situation well-enough... but suspect this plague is the same pandemic the trade saw and spread fifteen years back or so> See? You spoke of gurus and got yourself condemned to answering angelfish questions.... <No worries. Bob>

Angel Losses <Octomita poss. RMF> For years, I had beautiful angelfish in Indiana. But here in Sun City, Az. they have been dying. INFO- 20 gal. tank. Bio filter for up to 30 gals plus air stone. Tank has been up for two and a half months and cycled. Some plastic plants but live plants are doing great. Temp-82.  Test as of tonight: Nitrate-40 Nitrite-0 Hardness-150 Alkalinity-120 PH-7.6 Ammonia-0.  Added fish tank salt as directed. <Okay, so far, so good, but a 20 gallon tank is far too small for angels, unless you're doing a bare-bottom breeding setup for one mated pair of angels, and no other fish.> Have had 6 little angels and 2 Cory cats in the tank for the last month but--I would lose one or two angels one week, replace, etc. <It's not a good idea to replace fish that have died until you know what it was that killed them, or you'll run the risk of the new fish getting sick with the same thing.> For the last week or 10 days, all has been great, then 4 angels dead one morning. I only feed them as much as their "eye", change 15% of the water once every week. Have had the water tested at different pets stores. They say every thing is good but the angels still die. <It's really hard to say what's going on without knowing any symptoms.  Please do let us know what you're seeing happen with them; look for frayed fins, grayish or filmy skin, labored breathing, disorientation, or just absolutely anything amiss, and hopefully we can help you diagnose what's going on.> This is getting very depressing. Hope you can help me as you have others.  Thanks, Lorraine <Will certainly try to!!  -Sabrina>
Super Thanks for Answering - Freshwater Angelfish plague
<Sure thing, Lorraine.  I do apologize that I'm late in this reply, though; I've been frustrated researching an angelfish/discus "plague" that took out my little altum angels quite recently, and unfortunately, this and your other recent email are definitely leading me to believe that you're dealing with this bizarre illness, as well.> Am using the 20 gal. as a starter tank. Will be setting up a 55 or larger later. As for symptoms, the first ones would stay at the top in a corner and breathe hard. (Added air stone) as dying, they were disoriented. <Although these symptoms are consistent with what I know as this 'plague', there are other possibilities - flukes, other gill parasites possibly> Was also told that the stock was not really first class.  First class or not, I want them to live. <I completely understand.  I've never accepted that line, "It's just a fish" myself, either.> Not into breeding, just love to watch them. The deaths were cutting down as I did different things.

Letting the faucet water set with Wardley's CHLOR- OUT, etc. Thought I was winning with the last fish. There were NO signs. They were all swimming, eating, chasing my finger when I ran it across the glass. The next morning, 4 dead.   <Same symptoms?  Or any symptoms at all?> The 2 other angels are fine and so are the Corys. (As of now.) <If it is this 'plague', it should not affect the Corys at all.  Please do a Google search on "discus plague" and see if that's what you're experiencing.  Please do understand that for every dozen accounts you read, you'll find a dozen different opinions on what might work and what won't.  My recent experience with my Altums showed Nitrofurazone, Kanamycin sulfate, Metronidazole, and Melafix all to be completely ineffective.  I truly wish you more luck than I had, and hopefully you can find something that works for you.  Please do keep us updated, Lorraine.  -Sabrina>

Angel plague? - continuation of a sad story Sabrina, (& crew) This is to be added to my last message.  Before I got your reply, I did get another angel. (That I won't do again.)  Any way, I was home from work today because of "our fuel problem", here in  Arizona.  I had a Silver and a Veiltail left. The new one was a silver and it sort of  paired off with the other silver but the 3 would stay together. Last night the Veiltail didn't want to eat and was in the corner and she did look thinner with every thing close to her body.  This morning she wouldn't eat and stayed up in the corner. I decided to put her in a small tank because she started swimming curved. Does that make sense? <Yes, I think so - some of my Altums exhibited this as well, and I recall it from dealing with this 'plague' 6 or 7 years ago in Kansas.> I noticed her eyes looked "out" but she is thin. I gave her a bit of frozen shrimp and she did eat a bite. Since, she looks up with her tail down, like this / . Some of the others didn't even seem as bad as her and they died. <This all does sound hauntingly like what I've experienced.> I did a 25% water change last night. Right now, Nitrate-30,  Nitrite-0, Hardness-150, Alkalinity-120, pH- 7.6.  Have read that Angels like soft water with the pH 6.5 to 6.9. <Tank raised scalares will tolerate a very large range of pH.  Instead of fighting with bringing it down, it's safer to just keep 'em at what your tap is so you can keep it steady.  Wild scalares or Altums do require much lower pH, but the tank raised angels are extremely tolerant.> Have even tried distilled water and do use Cycle. <Definitely skip on the distilled water - it's actually too 'pure' - lacks things our fish need.  Tap water and a good conditioner are a much better route.  I would also like to mention that Jack Wattley wrote an article about his experiences with the discus plague in a recent issue of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine.  A trip to surrounding area fish stores proved awful - every single store had angels and discus the same symptoms.  I'm going to endeavor to set up a few tanks and get scalares that I know to be infected so I can try to find for myself a medication that may help before I attempt to keep Altums again.> So give me your verdict.  Sincerely, Lorraine <Not much to give, I'm afraid; but I do wish you and your angels well.  Do please keep us updated.  -Sabrina>
Angel plague - continued again
So sorry about your loss. Just wanted to tell you that my angels are doing great. <Oh, wonderful!  I'm so glad to hear that!> I did remember that I had put some ICK medicine in the tank. <Do you perhaps remember the name of the particular med you used?  Active ingredient(s)?> I thought that maybe they had it and I wasn't seeing it. I don't know if this is what saved the last 2 angels or not. <Who knows....  I have read about so many 'cures' for the so-called plague, from voodoo to constant water changes to no water changes to prayer....  And perhaps what you were dealing with wasn't this 'plague' at all.> I also have been using the cycle and like it. Let me know if you have any luck with your experiments. <Sure.  I do hope everything goes well with your tank and fish!  -Sabrina> Lorraine

Angelfish "plague"? Hexamita?  Hi,  <Hi Johanne, Sabrina here today>  Im so impressed with your site thank you.  <And thank you for the kind words.>  I recently bought a group of 4 young (silver-dollar sized) angels and 2 platys that I plan on adding to my 75-gallon planted community tank. Before doing so, I am quarantining them in a 20-gallon tank.  <Ah, WONDERFUL! Congratulations and then some for quarantining....>  I did break from protocol in so-doing, because I didn't have a cycled filter to add the tank has a hang-on-back Whisper filter that had not been running for some time, so I was putting the fish into a basically brand-new setup. Though I knew I should, I didn't add old filter media to the filter  <That's all okay, as long as you monitor water parameters and do plenty of water changes to keep 'em right.>  Everything was fine, and the water quality looked good in tests, until one of the platys decided to do a Nemo into the filter goodness knows how.  <They never cease to amaze us, do they?>  I found her some time later wedged between the plastic and the filter media, alive but a little bruised, and with a bit of white fuzzy fungus-looking stuff already starting to grow on the wound. I put her back in the tank, and added Mardel MarOxy (the fungicide) and Maracyn 2.  <Hope she had a great recovery :) >  I did the treatments, but then exams hit and I came to big mistake number 2 I didn't clean the water again for a little over a week, or add the carbon back in, so the fish were swimming in the medication-water.  <And ammonia, nitrite from the tank beginning to cycle, I'm sure>  Then I noticed that my angelfish looked a little funny. The dorsal fins on three of them looked like they had started to stick together, so they come together in a point, rather than being fanned out and rounded as they were when I bought the fish. Also, I noticed a whitish film covering much of the bodies of the fish, that you could only really see when the light hits it directly. Its pretty even, and doesn't appear to have pinpoints like you would see for Ick or parasites, but does appear to come in sort of swathes, slightly worse in some areas of the body than others.  <Oh, no.... These are classic symptoms of Hexamita or the angelfish/discus "plague", which may likely be one in the same, though some people say the "plague" is something else, and much worse.>  In addition, the white angelfish has a thin red line outlining the base of the dorsal and tail fins, and going out in what is otherwise an almost imperceptible straight crease in her body that goes perpendicular to the line at the base of her tail (a little hard to describe; the other angelfish are black so I wouldn't be able to tell),  <I think I know what you mean - and I'm betting this is just her lateral line. No worries on that.>  They still swim normally, eat eagerly, and don't look like they're clamping their fins.  <The fins coming to a point is them clamping their fins; angels usually won't hold them tight against their body, usually.>  The fourth angelfish, which is a different strain from the three that are affected (and looks to be more of a mongrel) and the platys, appear fine (the injured platy has healed perfectly).  <Likely only a matter of time before the final angel contracts it, but the platys are probably completely safe from it. All the same, keep 'em in QT with the angels; do not move them into the main tank - especially if you have other angels, discus, UARU, or Severums in there>  When I tested the water, it seemed fine, except that nitrate and nitrite levels were a little higher than their usual imperceptible levels, but still in the safe zone  <Anything above zero for nitrite is not safe; water changes will bring this back down to zero.>  (I had run out of ammonia test, so couldn't tell those levels).  <Definitely important>  Now, nitrate is at 20 ppm, nitrite is undetectable, hardness is 25-50, alkalinity is about 80, and pH is about 6.8. The temperature is about 80 degrees.  <All good - just find out your ammonia level.>  As soon as I noticed the change in the fish I snapped out of my self-absorption, replaced the carbon filter, and did a 25% water change using water from my cycled, planted tank (which tends to have lower nitrates/nitrites than the tap water around here).  <Yikes.... nitrite and nitrate in the tap? That must suck.>  I've been doing ~20% water changes each day since then, which has been about a week.  <Wonderful, keep this up, if at all possible.>  In the meantime, the fish continue to eat well, appear active, but their fin sticking, red lines, and slight milky filminess has not gone away, or even improved. Since I suspect that the long period of time in medicated water led to this problem in the first place,  <Unlikely - the meds probably decayed instead of just sitting in the water.>  and Im not certain what the problem is in the first place, I am reluctant to throw more medications at the fish as long as they don't take a turn for the worse. On the other hand, it doesn't appear to be clearing up on its own as I had hoped. After all that description, finally my question: Does my daily water change strategy make any sense, or am I overdoing it?  <Keep it up, if possible.>  Should I be adding medications to address the white film, red lines, and fin sticking? If so, which one should I try first?  <(insert long sigh here) Well, the best you can do for this is to hope it is Hexamita and treat *orally* with Metronidazole (offered by several manufacturers - most easily available is "Hex-A-Mit" by Aquatronics, in a green box). My recommendation would be to mix the medicine directly into some thawed frozen food, like bloodworms, Formula One, something like that, and refreeze it, then offer it to the angels. Adding Metronidazole to the water is virtually worthless, in this case - I've tried. I cannot guarantee that this method will work for you, but it is what's been suggested to me to try next time around, and is exactly what I will do if I deal with this illness again. Hopefully, this will work for you; I've never once had an angel live through this illness (be it Hexamita or something else).>  I am sorry this is such a long question; I appreciate any help you can give me. Johanne Auerback  <No apologies, Johanne, this is exactly why we're here. I'm sorry I don't have anything better to tell you. I do wish you the best, and hope your angels will recover from this. -Sabrina>

Camallanus Worms - 01/19/2005 I have a large planted freshwater community tank which includes a number of Angelfish (9).  The majority of the Angelfish (but not all) appear to have short red sticks (approximately 1/4 in - 3/8 in) protruding from or near their genitals.  No other symptoms on any other part of the angelfish's bodies or on any other of the fish (German Rams, Bala shark, Corys, etc.).  From looking at books, it appears that the "red sticks" could be the ends of anchor worms but I am puzzled that they do not appear anywhere else on the fish.  What do you think they could be?   <Likely Camallanus worms.  Also, it is likely that all the angels (and quite possibly any other fish in the tank) are affected.> I regularly change the water (every week or two) from 10-33%.   <Have you fed them any unquarantined live fish as food?  This is a common parasite in livebearing fishes.  Either way, it is communicable - could be that one of the fish you purchased spread it to the rest.> If anchor worms, what should I use for treatment (formalin??) and should I treat the whole tank or only those fish which display the "red sticks"?   <I would treat all the affected fish with Levamisole, Piperazine, or Praziquantel IN FOOD.  Some products containing these medications are "Discomed" and "Pipzine", which have instructions for mixing them with food.  Also, the following link offers foods already prepared with medications: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/26/cat26.htm?519 .  I understand the folks there are greatly customer-service oriented, as well.> Thank you for the help. <Any time.> Diane Thompson <Wishing you and your angels well,  -Sabrina>
Camallanus Worms - II - 01/20/2005
There did used to be guppies in the tank. I had this parasite 2 years ago and perhaps I never got rid of it as I thought.  <I doubt that you wouldn't have seen anything in two years - but I suppose the parasites may have been too numerous to detect.> What is the treatment for Camallanus worms? <Verbatim from the previous response: "I would treat all the affected fish with Levamisole, Piperazine, or Praziquantel IN FOOD. Some products containing these medications are "Discomed" and "Pipzine", which have instructions for mixing them with food. Also, the following link offers foods already prepared with medications: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/26/cat26.htm?519 .  In fact, they offer a de-worming flake that would probably be effective. You might call them to discuss this product and its ability to combat Camallanus.> One more question on the Camallanus worms. Since you say they are highly communicable, it would seem one should treat the whole tank?? <Yes.... Especially since you may not be able to see symptoms in seemingly healthy fish without a high-powered microscope.> Diane Thompson <Good luck fightin' the good fight, Diane! Let us know if we can be of further service. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> 

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