FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Parasitic Disease
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:
Nutritional (e.g. HLLE),
Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal),
Dwarf South American Cichlids,
Cichlid Fishes in General,
Angelfish Reproduction, & FAQs on:
Wild Angels (P. altum),
Cichlids of the
World, Cichlid Systems,
Dying FW Angel
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.
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.>
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
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
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
<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
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,
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
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
<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
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
<Not sure why you're using Tetracycline at all. Unlikely to help
As for the Metronidazole, simply follow the instructions on the
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
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
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>"
Angelfish parasite? HITH?
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
Sounds some at night.
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,
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
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.
Hi, Neale! Furst off, thanks for the response.
Unfortunately my angel with the stringy poo and no appetite passed this
<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
<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
<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.
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
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
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
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
Angelfish with white spots that don't appear to be Ick
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.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
|Re: Angelfish with white
spots that don't appear to be Ick
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>
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
<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>
Re: Angelfish with white spots that don't appear to be Ick
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?
<See WWM re Pterophyllum disease/health. Id est, peruse the FW Angel
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.
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
<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.>
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
<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
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
<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.
Aquarium is about 8 months old. The temperature is kept around 84
<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
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
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.
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
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
<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
<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
The water has the surface area of the tank 2'x4' and the sump tank to
But I do have the glass panels on top of the tank to slow down
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
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
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
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!
<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
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
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
<Maybe costiasis. Quarantine this fish if you can for treatment. It is
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!
Hi I need help with angel fish! And Discus... mis-treated,
no reading 11/28/11
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.
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.
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
That is, moved the discus fish into a bath tub and started the
where they died the very next morning.
<Most such Symphysodon treatments are administered via
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
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
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.
<... 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...
Re: Hi I need help with angel fish! & Discus, hlth.
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
<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
<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
So do you want me to currently put the medicine in all the tanks or
only infected tank?
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
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.
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
I have had this setup for about a year and a half without many
problems, outside of two pairing up and constantly spawning in
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
I treated them with Tetra Lifeguard. Says, eliminates guesswork,
for all types of sicknesses, and its a 5 day treatment, slow
<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
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
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
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill
Thanks for the speedy response.
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
81-82Â°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,
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill
I've tried my best with the camera I got. Sorry the pics a
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
<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
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:
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill (Bob, another case of
That's what's missing; a kitchen scale. Likely a good
Everything else can be calced and converted. Alright, thank you
very much for your time spent. I appreciate it.
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
<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
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
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
<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
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
Re: Tiny worm-like parasite, FW Angels
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
<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
Should I try adding a bit of salt to the tank or dip?
<Salt pointless here. You do need a suitable anti-Finrot
Any treatment suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
again for your time.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Tiny worm-like parasite --
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...
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'
However, there is no longer caudal fin to treat on the
<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
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
<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
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
Lastly, does the bloat indicate that there is already
irreversible kidney damage?
Thank you again for your time and expertise.
<Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tiny worm-like parasite
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
However, this morning I found him upside-down with his
mouth in the gravel, but sill has visible gill
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
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
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
Re: Tiny worm-like parasite 1/27/10
I am sorry to say that the adult angelfish did not pull
<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
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
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
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
<Well, cycling takes about 6 weeks from scratch, and
rather less if the tank is at least partially
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?
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...
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
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
<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
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?:
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
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
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,
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,
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,
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.
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
(scan archives for black spot FAQs). best regards,
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
. 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