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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Disease/Health 6

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 7, FW Angel Health 8, FW Angel Health 9,

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

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

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

Angelfish with cloudy eyes 4/8/11
I bought an Angelfish a week or two ago. It seemed fine when I bought it.
The last few days I have noticed it's eyes both look cloudy. They are not bulging or anything. I had my water tested at my local fish shop and they said everything looked good. I am treating my tank with Melafix as I have a Lyretail Swordtail with tail rot. It got it after a bout with Ich.
All of my other fish look fine. The Angelfish does not swim around much and doesn't really seem to be eating much either. The past couple of days he seems to hide more than anything. I have searched the net and not really found any helpful results. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Ray
<Hello Ray. Cloudy eyes that appear overnight usually imply physical damage (especially if just one eye is cloudy) or poor environmental conditions (the usual explanation if both eyes are cloudy). It's absolutely crucial you review the situation here. While it's possible the fish was damaged in transit, be open minded to the idea your tank isn't perfect. Just to recap, a single Angelfish needs at least 75 litres/20 gallons of water, excellent water quality (0 ammonia and 0 nitrite), middling to high water temperature (24-28 C/75-82 C), and very peaceful tankmates. Things like loaches, Otocinclus catfish, and some of the barbs like Tiger Barbs will frighten and/or damage Angelfish and thus make poor tankmates. Because you've got Swordtails, which need cool, hard water (22-24 C/72-75 F; hardness 10+ degrees dH; pH 7.5) it's unlikely you have good conditions for both Swordtails and Angels, so one or other species will likely be stressed.
Review, and act accordingly. Cloudy eyes in cichlids very quickly turns into Pop-eye, and that's difficult to treat. Melafix is a poor medication
for situations like this, and I doubt it'll help with Finrot anyway, so not sure I'd bother. Instead, find an antibacterial or antibiotic medication that's safe and reliable. Here in the UK, I usually recommend eSHa 2000, but in other countries you'll have other options. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes 4/8/11
Hey Neale,
Thanks for the quick response. I wish I had found this site and talked to you all before I bought this some what expensive medication.
<Glad to help.>
The gentlemen at my LFS sold this as some sort of miracle drug that will cure about anything from fin rot to tooth decay.
<Uh'¦ no.>
I spoke with him just this morning about the cloudy eyes and he informed me to keep treating with the Melafix.
<I bet.>
He said it would treat the cloudy eyes and prevent Pop-eye.
<Pop-eye is treatable, but accordingly to Bob just requires simply good conditions'¦ see here:
Must admit, that's never been my experience, and you may prefer to get out the Roto-Rooter grade antibiotics.>
Seems I need to find a more reputable fish shop which is kind of hard to do in the area in which I live.
<May well be the case.>
Aside from a couple of small pet shops, about all we have is Wal-Mart and Meijer. I am new to keeping an aquarium so I am still in my learning curve.
I have a 29 gallon tank. In this tank I have Mollies, Platys, Swordtails, Angelfish, a Gold Mystery Snail, an upside down cat and a Striped Raphael in which my LFS said would all do fine in this tank together. So are these not good tank mates for each other?
<Well, kinda-sort. Apple Snails rarely last long in tropical fish tanks period, so accept that chap's disposable and remove at the first sign of death. Both catfish are social species that would be happier in groups, and I'd be very surprised if you see either of them swimming about during the day. But yeah, they're both pretty good species, even if the Raphael gets pretty big and potentially predatory on Neon-sized fish. Synodontis are not beyond nibbling on Angelfish fins. The three livebearers need hard water, which the Angel and the two catfish don't particularly enjoy, and of these fish, the Platies and Swords do prefer cooler water, 22-24 C/72-75 F. So no, they're not an ideal mix, but in moderately hard, slightly basic (10-15 degrees dH, pH 7.5) water kept at, say, 25 C/77 F, I'd expect them to get along okay.>
They all seem to be doing pretty good aside from the cloudy eyes in my Angelfish that I just noticed over the last couple of days. I bought some of those test strips (which I was recently informed were un-reliable)
<Perhaps, but better than nothing. They're the ones I use, for what it's worth.>
and according to the strips the nitrates and nitrites are 0, the hardness (GH) is around 150 ppm,
<Medium general hardness.>
the alkalinity (KH) is 180 ppm
<Medium carbonate hardness.>
and the ph is about 7.8.
<Moderately basic.>
I keep the water temp around 79 F.
<Bit warm for the Platies and Swords.>
Any suggestions you could offer as to What fish would do good with these water parameters would be greatly appreciated.
<You're pretty well stocked already, my friend! If this were me, I'd prefer to keep 2-3 species really well (in terms of population size and water chemistry/temperature) rather than a mish-mash of six, seven or more species.>
It is nice to know that there are people out there who care enough to take the time to put up a site that is filled with so much valuable information. Thanks for all the help and keep up the good work.
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes 4/8/11

Thanks for the advise.
<Glad to help.>
I will look into getting some of those books. I wasn't planning on adding anymore fish but rather returning some of the ones that were not suitable for my tank.
<I see.>
I hate that I have to do that because I really like all my fish.
<Well, if their fate is likely to be sold to a poor fishkeeper, then by all means hang onto them. Angels and the Cats should be fine in your water.
It's just not perfect for them.>
Especially my two Marble Veiled Angelfish. I have to do what's best for the fish though. It's a lot like raising kids. LOL! You are right about the two Catfish. I don't see them much during the day. I rarely see my Raphael even at night. He stays hidden inside a log. He found him a hole in there so I can't see him at all.
<Typical of the species, genus, family.>
I have had him for a couple of weeks and I have only seen him once at night. I check on him once in a while to make sure he is still alive. I have done a lot of reading online and it seems a lot of people experience the same with this Catfish.
<Yes, but they're often keeping them singly. But even in groups, virtually all of the Doradidae are very nocturnal. The Synodontis species are rather better aquarium fish. I have three Synodontis nigriventris, the Dwarf Upside-Down Catfish, and they swim about during the day quite a bit. Kept singly, you almost never see this species during the day.>
Really nice looking fish though. Thanks again for the advise.
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes (RMF, can Melafix cause cloudy eyes?)<<In a word, yes. RMF>> 4/8/11
Just one more question. Since I have already started the treatment with the Melafix, should I continue the treatment for the duration it recommended or should I stop it now and return my carbon filter to the tank.
<A good rule for most situations is to finish the course of medications as instructed on the packaging. Bob may have an alternative opinion though.>
I started the treatment two days ago and the water seems to be getting cloudy. It says to treat for seven days. I don't know if it has anything to do with it or not but I just noticed that when I started the Melafix treatment is about the same time I noticed the cloudy eyes in the one Angelfish. I read the cap wrong on the first dose and put more than I was supposed to.
<Ah, I see.>
Could this have anything to do with the cloudy eyes?
<I'd imagine *any* irritant in the water could cause damage to the outside of the eyes.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes (RMF, can Melafix cause cloudy eyes?) 4/8/11
Thanks again for the advise. You been a great help. Take care and thanks again for the site.
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Cichlids slowly dying 3/27/11
Dear WWM crew,
First off, thanks for such an excellent site.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
It has been a useful reference point for many of my fish questions. However, I am now stumped by my cichlids' deaths. My tank is 150 liters or 39gallons (50x50x60cm or 19x19x23in) planted, running with an Eheim professional 2224 (700l/h or 55gal/h) and was set up 3 months ago. The spray bar is set in a way that makes a lot of bubbles but the fishes can swim easily. Temperature is 26'C / 78'F. I feed TetraMin crisps (gone through 40mL so far, expires 09/11) and occasionally thawed frozen daphnia or boiled vegetables. The tank is stocked with juvenile fishes (3-4cm): 9 Rummynose tetras,
<Can be a good, reliable species.>
5 livebearers,
<What sort'¦?>
and 3 peppered Corys.
<An excellent species.>
Also, I tried stocking it with a few German rams, but they died off one by one over 2 months.
<Ah, yes, a fairly delicate species to begin with, and inbreeding plus antibiotics on farms has only made things worse.>
I got 3 batches trying to replace them, alternating stores. However I went through 10, but each time they didn't make it.
<Unfortunately a VERY common experience.>
The symptoms weren't really noticeable at the time, they would just sulk in a corner and gasp, not eating, so I separated them (one at a time as they fell ill) in a home-made breeding box made of netting so they could stay near the surface to get more oxygen. I turned the lights off so they wouldn't be so stressed or have problems from being too warm. It went like this for every fish, with about a week between deaths. The first couple I didn't really notice that much and just netted them out and got new ones. I assumed the batch was bad (hence went to a different store for the replacements). But they kept dying so I would separate them as above, but they never made it. None of the other fishes in my tank ever had any problems, it was only ever the cichlids. I gave up on Rams and decided to get angels instead (2-2.5cm diameter)
<Although Angels are fairly hardy, at this size they are delicate. I would recommend the ones at 5 cm/2 inches body length.>

Originally 6, the angels did fine for the first weeks and had no problems just like with the rams. But then two weeks in one of them started having the same problems (lying in the corner, if swimming then always sideways, obviously trying to get to the top, not eating).
I separated him the same way as with the rams, but unlike them the angel made it through the night. He looked worse so I got desperate and set up another tank to put him in, with a kind of hammock for the fish so he could lie gasping near the surface and otherwise strong aeration. It was a 30L tank (8gallons). I just siphoned water out of my main tank to fill it and put in the fish (so he wouldn't have to adjust to new parameters), then medicated with TetraMedica+ Gold Oomed (out of desperation, it was all I had and is supposed to medicate against everything). I used the prescribed 'high' dose according to instructions. The fish didn't survive another 6 hours.
<Indeed. In general, medicating "randomly" rarely does good.>
I wanted to separate the angels to observe them individually, so I immediately set up a 70L / 20 gall tank, and put all the angels in there separated into 15cmx15cmx35cm compartments by netting. Two weeks later the same symptoms started showing up in another angel just before I went to school, and when I got home he was dead. Out of curiosity, I took him to school and dissected him at 10x magnification, he was tiny (Bio student...what can I say) but everything seemed pretty normal.
<Likely so at this magnification.>
The only slightly off thing might be that there were two darker patches in the intestines, but it didn't look clogged up or anything. I don't know about the swim bladder, though, because I've never dissected an angel before and don't know what's normal. If you want I have pictures but they're kind of gory and you may not want them on your site... Now, one week later another angel is showing the symptoms again: lying on the bottom of his compartment, not eating, if I try to net him he struggles a lot even though he was usually very peaceful when netted before, when I let him out to 'exercise' which I do twice daily for 10min or so (I'm using these fish for a science experiment involving 'shaping' their behavior with food to swim through a simple up-down maze). Anyway a few days ago he stopped being so enthusiastic over food, but when I reduced feeding to once a day he really went for it and started eating again. Today he isn't doing so well though and refused eating completely, was lethargic, exact same symptoms. I'm really worried now because this keeps happening to my cichlids, and is somehow not contagious but keeps affecting them.
<Hmm'¦ rather than being contagious I would instead think about what it is cichlids are sensitive to. Cichlids are very sensitive to non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels. I would never keep them in an aquarium less than 3 months old, and ideally one that was more than 6 months old. Cichlid aquaria should be under-stocked and over-filtered. Water changes should be substantial and regular. Cichlids are also more sensitive to water temperature changes than most fish I've kept, so check your heater is working properly.>
I did two 20% water changes today because I just don't know what else to do. This disease thing has me stumped. I tend to feed 3-4 flakes, soaked a bit prior to feeding; could it be a digestion problem?
<Unlikely if the flake food is good.>
How can I save my poor angel? Should I feed something else? And why are none of my longer-bodied fishes affected while the deep bodied fishes/cichlids are? Also I live in the Ukraine right now and it's really hard to come by some supplies. All my test-kits have expired by now and readings are all over the place, but I can't get new test kits.
<Do check nitrite and nitrate levels if at all possible. If not, then assume they're not zero and act accordingly: feed as little as possible, skip every 2nd or 3rd day, and perform regular water changes: 20% daily if you can. Check the filter is up to the job, and put as much biological media in the filter as possible. Don't use carbon or Zeolite. Don't medicate. Don't add salt. Clean filter media every 6-10 weeks, but very gently, in a bucket of aquarium water.>
Please help. I'm really desperate here!
Thanks so much,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Cichlids slowly dying 3/27/11

Thanks for your fast reply. Although that Angel didn't make it, I've changed my maintenance routine to include the daily water changes and hopefully that'll do the trick and the rest of them live long, happy lives.
<Certainly for the first 2-3 weeks, doing small water changes every day will help offset any water quality problems. Afterwards, 20% water changes
once a week should do fine.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better explanations?)<<>> 2/11/11
Hi Crew, Our 37 gal tall tank was set up in July 2007. The original 5 Corys and 1 cherry barb are still alive and well. Water parameters are:
Ammonia 0 mg/L, Nitrite 0 mg/L, Nitrate 5- 10 mg/L, KH 53.7 ppm, GH 143.2 ppm, pH 7.0, Temperature 80 F, partial water change of 10 gal/week. In March 2008, introduced three small angelfish. After a few months, two of them died within a week of each other with no apparent signs of illness.
The remaining one died one year later from a large lip fibroma. In August 2009, introduced three medium-sized angelfish. They were thriving until August 2010, when one developed a few small white bumps on the rays of its tailfin only. The bumps didn't resolve, but didn't spread either. About two months later it started to mouth and spit out all foods (their diet was flakes, frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp and live fruitflies). It was eager to eat, but didn't seem able to swallow the food. It had no bloating or other signs of illness. It died one month later, thin, but no lesions, redness, patches, or fin damage. Also, inside the mouth and gills looked fine. Then, one of the other two angelfish started to lay on its side at the surface. If touched, it would right itself and could swim, with difficulty and still attempted to eat. After two weeks, it could only float, and died, with no other signs of illness. The remaining angelfish then started to mouth and spit out food. After three weeks, it was found dead with all of its fins missing but no signs of fungus or infection. My husband's theory is the angelfish were bullied by the barb and the resulting stress caused the illness, but there were never nipped or damaged fins. I'm reluctant to introduce new fish if the tank could be harboring an infectious agent. Both sets of angelfish were purchased from a store whose owner raises them himself and quarantines before selling. The fish were healthy for a year, nothing else was introduced to the tank, and only one fish developed white spots which didn't look like Ich. The only changes were 1) replaced BioWheel (due to splashing noise) with Fluval U4 during summer 2010, but ran them concurrently for 3 months and never had detectable ammonia or nitrite. 2) just before the fish started to spit out food, ran out of flakes from AngelsPlus and fed with O.S.I flakes.
Thank you for your consideration, Patricia
<Hello Patricia. If all the other fish are healthy, then I'd be tempted to put this down to the (very) poor quality of Angelfish in the stores these days.
Yes, nippy and/or boisterous Barbs and Angelfish shouldn't be kept together. Tiger Barbs (including Moss and Albino Barbs), Rosy Barbs, and Ruby Barbs would top the list here, though the shy, docile species like Five-Banded Barbs and Dwarf Gelius Barbs can make excellent companions for Angels. But even if the Barbs were being nippy or aggressive, you'd expect to see signs of fin-nipping, including fin damage, Finrot, and fungal infections. Unfortunately the general quality of Angels in the trade is incredibly low, made worse because the majority of casual aquarists seem to go for the inbred varieties like Koi Angels and Veiltail Angels rather than the usually quite robust standard Silver Angel (3-4 black bars plus red eyes) and, on the whole, pretty good Marble Angel. Furthermore, many stores sell Angels at the coin-sized size perhaps 3-4 cm/1.5-inches across. These tiny Angels simply do not travel well, and because they're shipped out in vast numbers from bulk producers, there is a high risk of cross-contamination of diseases. I'd strongly encourage people not to buy Angels with bodies smaller than 5 cm/2 inches across, and if at all possible, buy them from a local breeder. Trust me, Angels are among the easiest fish to procure from members of city fish clubs, often at better quality and lower costs than your retailer. Failing that, have your retailer get you some good quality stock at a larger size, and be prepared to pay a premium. Good quality Angels are plump, sturdy, with fins that don't have kinks or curls, and well-bred, wild-type Silver Angels especially have red eyes that positively shine with vigour (for some reason the red-eye gene is lost in most man-made varieties). Sure, a pair of prime Angels might cost $50 or more, but they'll live for 12 years, and they'll give your lots of pleasure in that time! Cheers, Neale.><<Along w/ your guess, I'd postulate that there is "something" in this set up... a geode, seashell... that is "more poisonous" to angels than the Corys or barb... Please tell us what sort of gravel, decor... you employ here. RMF>>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better explanations?) 2/12/11

Thank you both for getting back to me. The substrate is a small-sized gravel designated for freshwater aquariums, not colored or cultured, and not supposed to affect the pH. The decorations are a large piece of African Mopani driftwood and SeaGarden "silk" plants on weighted resin bases. Patricia
<Mmm... IF you have interest, I'd place a pad of the product "PolyFilter" in this system, best in the filter flow path... to detect colour... indicative of a few types of (metal) poisoning... To see if there's an easily detected source/type here. BobF>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better explanations?) -- 3/8/11

Hi, Bob,
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I was finally able to locate the poly-filter. After 2 days in the tank, it's turned the color of very dark tannin-stained water. There is a large piece of driftwood in there,
but the water itself doesn't look tannin-stained. Thank you for your suggestion, I didn't know about this product. Patricia M
<Mmm, do look about for a local fish shop that does water testing... ask them to check for free Iron in your water. BobF>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better explanations?) 5/2/11

Hi, Bob
I found a fish store that tests for free iron. He was out of the reagent, but told me the test is usually performed just for nutrient level for planted tanks. He said it really wasn't necessary in my case because unexplained angelfish death is always due to parasitic infection.
<Mmm, not in my experience, no. Most I've encountered have been largely due to water quality issues; secondarily psycho-social>
He then suggested I try dwarf gouramis
<!? Colisa lalia have dismal survival histories these last decades.>
and I bought 3 after being assured that they have never had a problem with Iridovirus.
<...? How could such an assertion be made?>
That was 4 weeks ago and one of the fish already has signs of the disease (hanging at the top, not eating, slight bulges on both sides of body). I should have known better because I was aware of this problem. Thanks for all of your help, Patricia
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm
and the three other Dwarf Gourami Disease FAQs files linked above. See any pattern here? Bob Fenner>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better explanations?) 5/2/2011

<<As Bob suggests, Angelfish mortality is primarily driven by poor environmental conditions and the wrong tankmates. They aren't especially prone to disease, though Finrot, Fungus and Hexamita do all occur if the environment is inadequate. Very small Angels (with bodies about US quarter size) ship poorly, and it's best to pass them over in favour of fairly well grown specimens around the 2-3 inch mark. Some varieties of Angelfish are more delicate than others. If you can, stick with wild-type Angels, Marble
Angels, or Golden Angels; avoid Koi Angels, Albino and Black Angels in particular. As for Dwarf Gouramis, I wouldn't bother with 'em unless locally bred (i.e., you know the breeder, e.g., through a fish club).
Colisa fasciata and Colisa labiosa are widely traded and infinitely more robust. They're a trifle bigger and more pushy, and their colours aren't quite so sharply defined, but at least they're decent, reliable fish.
Cheers, Neale.>><Thank you Neale. B>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better explanations?) 5/6/11

I had read that article on dwarf Gourami disease, but let my desire to stock this "problem tank" get in the way of better judgment. If the two remaining gouramis don't make it, I'm not sure what to do with this tank.
<Many possibilities...>
The water quality is good, the Corys are happy as clams, but the tank looks empty, has limited surface area and lacks horizontal swimming space for even small schooling fish.
<A 37 gal. tall? There's still a bunch of choices! Look at the larger sized Gouramis, the small to mid-sized barbs, Rasboras, Danios... smaller Rainbows... BobF>

Angelfish with fungus? 2/8/11
Hi there. I purchased a freshwater Angelfish from Petco yesterday and noticed he had a light grayish film on it, and a small white fuzzy looking bump on his side. His fins aren't very long, which I understand is kind of common for pet store fish, and they don't look very damaged to me. He does appear distressed. I'm thinking the grey stuff is a fungus, but from my internet research, I haven't found anything exactly like what I'm seeing. The other angels in the tank had similar bumps, but no more than 2 on each fish. He's absolutely beautiful and I felt sorry for him...I bought him because I didn't want him to just sit around and die at Petco... : / What should I be treating him with? I've been using Melafix just in case the bump was an infection of some sort.
Any ideas on what this is or what to treat it with? Like I said, I'm using Melafix, and he's in a 5 gallon by himself
<Much too small for the long term; you do need 20 gallons or more for Angelfish.>

with a tablespoon of aquarium salt added, and a heater that's set to about 78 degrees F, just in case it's a parasite issue'¦
<Melafix is somewhat mild and an unreliable treatment. It's best used as a preventative, when you have healthy fish but notice they've been damaged and don't want fungus or Finrot to become problems. So, use something like Seachem Paraguard or eSHa 2000 that will treat both fungus and Finrot at the same time. Remember not to use carbon, because carbon removes medications (there's no reason to use carbon in most freshwater tanks anyway). Ensure water quality is good: zero ammonia and zero nitrite are crucial. Don't add salt -- Angelfish don't come from brackish waters and are stressed by routine use of salt. Salt is strictly for short-term treatment of Whitespot and/or Velvet. Cheers, Neale.>

angelfish torture or not 1/24/11
I am sorry Neale I have one more question on a completely different subject. I have one small angelfish (along with other angelfish and tetras) in a 20 gallon aquarium and I was wondering if it would be cruel to trim his side fins. They have been getting long and droopy and slowly been effecting his swimming. I have no reason at all to hurt my fish but I just don't want him to have a struggle moving around my tank. Would clove oil hurt him because I heard that it can be used to sedate fish. By the way, I really appreciate the helpful answers you have given me !
thank you once more,
<Yes, this would be extremely cruel Tavian. Not only cruel, but very likely to result in a secondary infection such as Finrot. Don't do it! Angelfish should be kept in tanks with at least 25 cm/10 inches of water simply because of their shape. A "long" 20 gallon tank may not be deep enough, but a "deep" 20 gallon should be fine. Long-fin Angelfish invariably have problems swimming and I do not recommend them. The standard Angelfish with normal length fins usually manage to swim about very well, provided the
water current is not too strong. Cheers, Neale.>

protect... FW Angelfish injury 11/28/10
Hello, I looked to see if this was already covered, but I couldn't find it.
I did however, learn a lot of preventive steps for my aquarium. I have a 55 gallon, with 2 beautiful angel fish, 3 Bala sharks, 1 zebra,
<... a Zebra, what?>
a sucker fish
<What species?>
and yes a goldfish.
<Not really compatible...>
I was trimming up the plants today and doing a quarter change when I accidently scratched Sunny, an Angelfish. Sunny is swimming fine, but I can see the shape of my nail that scratched his scales :( I know scales are the first form of defense and I just want to know what to do in order to protect him until the scales grow back. Mela fix, Pimafix, Maracyn, Maracyn
2, Gel Tek? Help! Thank you in advance
Cynthia Cazares
<Mmm, just good water quality, nutrition and time going by. Bob Fenner>

Angel fish problem - 10/21/10
I have a large solid black angel fish that I have raised for years. About 6 months ago he got a small cloudy translucent whitish patch on his side that you could only see at certain angles. The edges of it would get a little stringy and shed, and it would look somewhat better, until it enlarged and happened again. There are no bloody edges or eroded blood streaked areas like I have read about with cotton wool disease or fungus. I tried an antibiotic, and an antifungal that managed to ruin the levels in my tank and kill several other fish. It was so long ago I don't remember what I tried, but I got my tank straightened out and vowed not to medicate again. This skin problem does not appear in any way to bother him, which is why I have been trying to ignore it. No scratching or flashing, no hiding, he is eating very well and acting very normal. No other fish in the tank have become infected either, but the patch keeps getting larger, and is now on both sides. His fins are fine and not frayed, gills are fine, mouth is fine and no cotton tufts anywhere. All the tank levels are great, and the tank is really clean. This is a 75 gallon tank with another large angel, 8 mixed tetras, 2 large clown loaches, a few cats, and 2 gouramis. I have a Fluval 404 filter.
Please help if you can. I have spent hours and hours on the web and still can't figure it out, but he's lived with this for at least 6 months now.
Thanks so much
<Hello Anne. There are two possible things going on here, maybe three. The first is simple genetic variation. All-black Angelfish have historically been among the most difficult to produce and the most difficult to breed consistently. It's very likely yours simply has variation in the amount of melanin deposited in those scales on its flanks, and consequently you're seeing a lighter patch. The second possibility is physical damage.
Sometimes physical damage can cause replacement skin or scales to look different to how they looked before, in just the same way as scar tissue on humans isn't always the same colour or texture as the rest of our skin.
Sometimes nerve damage can cause a similar phenomenon, since fish "think" themselves certain colours and so things like mini-strokes or simple trauma can cause odd patches of lightness or darkness. In either case there's nothing to worry about and nothing you can do. If the fish has remained in good health for months, and the discoloured patch is neither expanding nor infected, I wouldn't be too concerned. The third, outside possibility is mucus-grazing by one of the fish. Angelfish and indeed other slow-moving, flat-sided fish are sometimes attacked by Suckermouth catfish, most commonly Otocinclus, but occasionally common Plecs (Pterygoplichthys spp.).
They latch onto the fish, eat some mucous, and then swim away. The resulting damage ranges from mere irritation through to open wounds, and there certainly is a very real risk of infection should the scales
themselves get damaged. I've never heard of Ancistrus or Panaque species doing this, which is why I prefer these species in community tanks. You don't say what catfish you've got, but if you have a common Plec or some Otocinclus, they're definitely not fish I'd keep with Angels. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

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

FW Angelfish With Extended Gills 10/10/10
Hello, I came across your website and found it most informative so am hoping you can help me with my angel problem.
I bought many years ago two baby angels that have grown up to be quite extraordinarily beautiful. Now about 5 years old. Believe it or not they have co-existed with a school of 12 cardinal tetras, two clown loaches and a Pleco with no issues. The cardinals are slowly dying off ( I think old age as are about 9 years old now)so now only have 7. But could be possible my angels are uhm... not hungry anymore, although I have never seen them do more then a half hearted dash at them. Both angels are semi aggressive to each other but so far have never done any serious damage.
I have however sadly placed them in a tank that perhaps did not give their long long fins enough room to fully extend as the matured so both of them have kind of lopsided dorsal fins. :-( Anyway to my problem....
One of my Angels has developed a gill problem. He/she (don't know the difference) eats fine and colour is beautiful. The water tests fine for nitrates etc, if I can trust my local pet store. His gills appear swollen. They do not look terribly inflamed but I changed partial water to be safe. He one day really looked troubled so I added a bit of salt to rule out parasites. Seemed to get a bit better but not perfect.
Unfortunately I live in a town with not a lot of pet store knowledge.
(mostly kids with summer jobs kind of thing). My tank is 150 liters ( I think 40 gallons?) Some days he really does look short on breath with his mouth open wider than normal. I am rather concerned as he is so beautiful and eagerly awaits me every evening to come home from work so I can talk to him and feed him. I have attached some pictures so you can help me sort out what is the best to do that will be safe for all fish in my tank.knd rgds, MJ
< Check the water quality for all parameters, including temperature and pH.
If everything looks normal then reduce the feeding portions and see if they are acting hungry and actively searching for food. Angelfish are cichlids. Cichlids have a second set of jaws called the pharyngeal bones. These jaws may have been damaged while trying to chew up a recently deceased cardinal tetra. High ammonia or high protein diets may effect the gill structures Fish excrete excess ammonia through their gills while processing high protein diets. If you have not added any new fish recently then I would rule out parasites like gill flukes. Cut down on the diet and see if they come around and start to act normal.-Chuck.>

my angel fish is not swimming properly, please help - 10/09/10
Hi there I have got 2 angel fish and have had them for couple of days now.
They were both happy and now one of them is not swimming right its like it has no balance and is sitting at the bottom of my tank the only thing that I can see that may be wrong is the tail fins have been nipped at, it is still moving its side fins but not moving around the tank, as I said its just at the bottom. Is there anything I can do to save it I don't want it to die and my 2 guppies have taken an interest in it.
Please reply soon as I don't know what to do.
many thanks
<Hello Naomi. I need a good deal more information than this to explain what might be going wrong! So let's review. Angels are sensitive fish, and if given the wrong conditions will quickly become sick. Angelfish need at least 20 gallons of aquarium space. Angels tend to be social when young, but aggressive when older. Remember, pairs defend territories, and two males in a small tank will fight, and the bigger one will bully the weaker.
I wouldn't keep two males in anything less than 40 gallons. Unfortunately, sexing Angels is virtually impossible, so luck comes into it. Water quality must be excellent: 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, and that means the tank must have a good filter and that filter has to be mature, at least 6 weeks old.
Nitrate levels should be low, under 50 mg/l, and preferably below 20 mg/l.
Now, while Angels prefer acidic conditions, that isn't crucial with farmed Angels. But what does matter is that pH is stable. Water hardness should be soft to moderate, 5-20 degrees dH is fine for farmed Angels. Don't be adding random pH potions though! Just test the pH of your tap water, and make sure the pH doesn't change too much between water changes. Most problems with Angels either come down to unstable/wrong environmental conditions or aggression. Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Angel Fish 10/6/10
I looked around your website for information on angel fish diseases and such, but nothing I found seemed exactly what I was looking for. My brother has an angel fish that he had staying at our tank at home. It
started swimming sideways and developed a white fuzz over his eye.
<Probably Finrot or Fungus, possibly a result of physical damage to the eye, either through fighting or clumsy handling when the fish was netted out.>
My brother thinks the eye was eaten by another fish (it used to mingle with other angel fish), and that it's just a fuzz growing over the wound.
<"Just" fuzz isn't the way I'd put; damage to the eye is serious, and you can easily end up with a one-eyed fish.>
He tried medicating it with something (I know, you probably need more info than that), and the fuzz went down for a little while, but it still swam sideways.
<Indeed. Fish use the direction of light to determine up and down. Normally both eyes receive equal amounts of light from above. But if one eye is damaged or blocked with "fuzz", the fish might get the wrong signals, and compensate by swimming off to one side.>
Now my brother is on vacation and I am house sitting. His angel fish was moved back to his apartment into a tank by itself. When I went to feed his fish this evening, the fuzz had developed into a full on bubble of fuzz covering his eye.
<This is much, much more serious.>
I tried texting my brother to see if he knew of this change, but he didn't respond. I don't want to kill his fish, but I feel bad for the thing, it has to be suffering, right?
<"Suffering" is a difficult word to use here. There's a tendency among some people to use "suffering" as an excuse to kill a fish that's sick so they can simply go buy another one. Such people have no particular interest in the welfare of the fish and won't spend money on medications; if a fish gets sick, it's like a scratched CD or a leaky teapot -- you throw it out and buy another one. Other people will medicate fish, but understand that at some point euthanasia becomes the more humane option because the fish can no longer be treated or even if it is treated, it's quality of life will be very low. I can't make this decision for you, but I will state this. Your fish could probably be treated with an antibiotic; a good combination is using Maracyn and Maracyn 2 at the same time, the two different drugs generally treating a wide range of diseases. Epsom salt helps to reduce swelling when used at a dose of 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons, but it is NOT a cure by itself, and shouldn't be used as such. All it does is help the antibiotics work faster. Since this infection is clearly a bacterial one, and the swelling followed on from the initial fuzzy infection, the use of antibiotics is doubly important here.>
Any ideas? I could send pictures if that would help.
<Yes. But do note we ask for pictures up to about 500 KB in size, so don't send multi-megabyte files fresh from your camera!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Angel Fish 10/8/10
Thank you so much for your timely reply, I can't reach my brother about his fish at all and I'm getting prettied worried.
<As you should be. This fish is suffering from a fungal infection. Treat as per fungus. Be sure to remove carbon from the filter if you use it. Carbon removes medication.>
I checked on them after work again tonight and I noticed white "fuzz" (as I've been calling it), starting to grow on the rocks and such inside the tank.
<Fungus consumes organic matter. It doesn't matter if that is damaged muscle and skin, uneaten fish food, or faeces. If you're seeing fungus in the aquarium, it's very badly looked after. I mean, filthy. Too many fish, or too much food, or not properly cleaned. My guess is the tank is poorly filtered and your brother doesn't make an effort to keep the tank clean.>
I'm going to go back over and take some pictures to send to you, then go and see if there is any place open selling the medication you suggested.
Here are some photos of the eye that I took. I noted that the temperature of the tank was about 78 degrees Fahrenheit, if that matters.
<That's fine for Angelfish.>
I saw a bottle of QuickCure for Ick/Parasites near the old tank that the fish was being treated in. I think my brother may have been using that. My mom thinks that my brother was using Fungus Guard, which claims to clear fungus and bacteria.
<Should certainly treat against Fungus, preferably with an antibiotic as well.>
Whatever he used, it worked a little bit and I remember the white "fuzz" on the eye went down, but now it's far worse than before. I'm going to go out to look for the medication you suggested, hopefully it will be a solution.
Thank you so much for all your help!
<I fear the eye is lost, but there's no reason the fish should die.>
Thanks again!
<Treat quickly, clean the tank, improve living conditions, and you should be home free. Oh, and whack your brother with a rolled-up copy of Tropical Fish Hobbyist when he gets back. He's a very bad boy. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: angel fish w/possible dropsy symptoms 5/12/10
What exactly does high alkalinity cause?
<... Please see WWM re>
The strips I have don't give me a number, just colors. My water is reading at the farthest/darkest one on the strip.
I need to do a water change, but I'm afraid that will stress her out. What do you think?
Thank you so much for your quick replies...
<Your message does not make sense to me... sorry. B>
Re angel fish w/possible dropsy symptoms 5/13/10

My water testing strips read "very alkaline"...literally. You asked me in my first email "how alkaline?"
<Please see WWM re test strips... neither accurate nor precise... "Very" is not "very" useful>
Will a water change not be good for my sick angel fish at this time (it's been 3 weeks)?
<... and see WWM re water changes... likely IS a good idea... IF this system is cycled, stable>
I am not a pro at this. I just was wondering if changing the water/vacuuming the rocks will stress her? I don't know how else to ask this...
<You need to read, to have a fuller understanding... your consciousness is not full enough to ask such hit/miss questions. B>
Re: angel fish w/possible dropsy symptoms 5/11/10

Thanks...so you think I should probably put her to rest? Or get the medicine?
<I don't like to "give up" easily... I would try the possibilities gone over on WWM. BobF>
Re: angel fish w/possible dropsy symptoms 5/13/10

I apologize for not having the knowledge you hold. I have been reading, but unfortunately I do not have the time to devote my life to my aquarium.
<You don't have to devote anything like as much time. You're missing the point Bob was making. The important thing is to buy one good book up front, read it, understand it, and apply what you've learned. Basic freshwater fishkeeping is actually very easy if you "go by the numbers" and do things step by step.>
Too many different opinions about everything in the aq. world.
<Really, there isn't. Again, the problem is reliance on the Internet rather than books. The Internet is filled with good information, but hidden under mountains of garbage. A good book will be written and edited by experts who've kept fish for decades. Maintenance of Angelfish is really very straightforward. A 30 gallon tank; 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite; temperature around 25-28 C; moderate water current; soft to slightly hard, acidic to slightly basic water, i.e., 5-15 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5. If you don't understand these things, then learn; if you don't have the tools to measure them, buy them. Problems come when people keep them with nippy fish, in tanks that are too small, and in new tanks that haven't been properly cycled. Like all cichlids, they're sensitive to nitrate and oxygen-poor water; keep nitrate levels below 20 mg/l and ensure water circulation is around 4-6 times the volume of the tank per hour, and that the tank isn't overstocked.>
Thanks for your "help"...I will not bother you again...
<Dropsy is almost always inflicted on fish by careless fishkeeping. End of discussion. Every time I've seen a fish with dropsy, it's been maintained in a tank that was overstocked, or water changes weren't frequent, or nitrate levels were high, or diet was monotonous. Bob and I have different opinions on treating dropsy, my experience being that it's almost impossible to cure once small fish like Angels exhibit the problem. So I tend to recommend painless destruction of the afflicted fish.
It's important not to "write off" the experience though, and make sure you have identified why the fish got sick. Be under no illusions here: you did, somehow, cause the dropsy. We all do, whenever we have a fish with this syndrome. It isn't a "disease" but a symptom, and doesn't sneak in at night to get your fish! It's a sign of organ failure caused by some chronic stress on the fish, perhaps mediated through a bacterial infection of some sort. So something YOU did caused this. Before you buy another fish, try to figure out why. From there, you'll learn, grow, and become a better fishkeeper. Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish with gill issue in QT (Bob, any other ideas?)<Zip> 5/8/10
I have an angelfish that's been in quarantine for some weeks now.
When I picked him out at the store, I thought I was very thorough in inspection until a day or so after I got him home. But, he has one gill that sticks out way farther than the other. Not sure how I missed that, but you really see it when looking at him dead on to compare his two sides.
Closer look, a thin white translucent membrane over the opening.
<Have seen this with cichlids from time to time. Have assumed its usually necrotic tissue following Ick, Velvet or similar infection -- these parasites to serious damage to gill lamellae. But may also be Dactylogyrus or some other macro gill parasite.>My thoughts were, he has a gill issue, the white membrane is mucus. I had half the mind to take him back, but the receipt is MIA. And well, I do like him, as I had picked him in the first place.
I thought, this could be
-Gill parasites (flukes, mites)
<Not sure fish get "mites", but various worm-type things, yes.>
-Gill infection (bacterial)
<Following some type of tissue damage, e.g., from Velvet, always a risk.>
-Gill disease (I'm unsure about fungus and gill ailments).
<As with bacteria, secondary to physical damage, then yes, possible.>
This poor guy, has been treated with salt dips to no end, jungle parasite guard couple times, Maracyn 2 powder, salt bath, antibiotic flakes (Which he wont really eat anyway unless he's desperate) with absolutely NO change whatsoever.
<I see.>
I chose the jungle PG for its reviews on various forums and posts of positive experiences from others, and Maracyn (fungus/bacteria) for its reputation and previous experiences of my own. Salt dips/bath to combat parasites.
<Broadly, I'd treat as per Dactylogyrus/Gyrodactylus initially, since that's the most infectious. After that, the other problems are more likely secondary to something else, and not contagious as such. So if you can eliminate the possibility of Dactylogyrus, Gyrodactylus "gill flukes" and similar, you will be freer to return this fish to a community setting.>
Oddly, he doesn't seem to care much about his gill condition. Outside of spitting all his food of various kinds except bloodworms, he generally acts... normal.
<Bloodworms aren't especially nutritious, so I would try to broaden this.
Angels are carnivores, and enjoy small pieces of white fish fillet and seafood, and a good quality cichlid pellet like Hikari Micro pellets should be taken readily.
Yes contradictory statement, but he sure doesn't seem a 'sickly' fish.
Quarantine tank is also a 10g (he is not an adult angel, call it medium, few inches) so treatments are pretty potent. TBH he seems more miserable about what I'm doing than the darn ailment itself.
<Likely so, but (domesticated) Angels are very resilient, so I wouldn't worry overly much.>
At this point I'm starting to feel like I'm just torturing this fish. Not just because of all I put him through, but he's in a 10g for weeks which is really unfair all around. But I don't want to release him from quarantine if he's unsafe for the others.
<As I say, gill flukes are the most contagious parasites, and the ones to eliminate. Bacterial/fungal infections will be secondary, and no more contagious than Finrot, i.e., not at all if the other fish are healthy.>
I also wonder if there's even something wrong or if his gill is just 'that way'. Would seem unlikely to me, but could it be the case?
<I'm sure it can happen.>
I've read about gill parasites being unusually difficult to get rid of, because they are somewhat protected within the gill and shielded by mucus, but even knowing that its starting to seem like 'unreasonable levels' of difficulty.
<There are particular medications for these gill flukes, which in some cases will need to be accessed via a vet.>
I'm going to speculate, that either
1. There's nothing wrong with him (unlikely)
2. My diagnosis is wrong (damn it Jim, I'm a scientist not a doctor!)
3. My choice of medicine sucks
<Do check it's appropriate, and being used correctly, e.g., with regard to water temperature, carbon.>
4. He's had it long enough, at this point its really badly established For his sake and mine I'm a little desperate for resolve. Any advice or comments?
<Under good conditions gill flukes are more an irritant than a source of mortality, though they can carry viruses between fish, and in poor conditions blood loss may be a significant stress, cause of mortality. So while Gyrodactylus and Dactylogyrus are alarming and need to be dealt with, there's no need to panic. Commercial and veterinarian treatments exist.>
Thanks again, you are great peoples.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with gill issue in QT 5/23/10

Good morning Neale.
<Hello again,>
Another update.
The angel in QT is doing better. Raised the salinity for the past two weeks, raised the temperature a little and added.... copper. Big improvements.
He's eating like a champ and he's very active now. Gets very excited when I come into the kitchen. The way he reacts to feeding time, you would think I never feed him at all. This last week, he ate any type of food I gave
him. This is a good thing.
Now I observe something very strange.
Most all my angels, and many other of my fish, burp up an air bubble after gulping food off the surface. However, THIS fish blows the air bubbles out his puffed up protruding gill. The side that has the issue we previously discussed. If this is 'natural' I've never seen it. But he does it every time he eats, he'll blow a few bubbles through it after each gulp.
<Might just be a result of physical damage from the infection. I wouldn't be too concerned.>
I'm not really alarmed about it, though this is very odd. And perhaps an indication of just what's wrong with that gill.
<Indeed. So long as he's eating, fattening up and growing, I wouldn't worry. Cheers, Neale.>

Mystery Angelfish death 4/21/10
My one blushing angelfish's forehead tuned the color of an off avocado a while back but he never seemed sick, no clamped fin or discoloration of the gills, he had a very good appetite, even last night. When I fed them this morning, I realized that he wasn't there. I found him at the back of the plants, hiding with almost no life in him and his forehead was almost black. He wasn't stuck in the plants. What caused this?
<My best guess, given no other information (water quality, system, tankmates...) is mechanical injury>
I've been doing regular water changes and giving them a healthy, varied diet. The other fish are fine, including another angel, neon tetras, swordtails, sunset platys, corries and a Pleco. Water temp is at 27C
Kind Regards
Ruan Smit
<When in doubt, refer... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick angelfish, FW... -- 4/12/10
I have read and read and Google searched and I simply can not do it anymore,
I have a 40 gallon Freshwater tank with 3 Koi angelfish, whip tail Pleco, and 2 pictus cats. My biggest angelfish has recently developed small blood-like spots a few place, what appears to be, inside its body nearing the fin areas. The fins themselves are fine.
<If these are small pinkish blobs that look like blood clots, then this is likely the early stage of Finrot. Angelfish are particularly prone to this problem, perhaps because they have such big fins. In any case, the clots are where the opportunistic bacteria are multiplying, causing congestion of the blood vessels. Eventually the blood flow stops, the fin tissue dies, and you get full-blown Finrot. At this early stage any reliable anti-Finrot medication should work, but it's also important to identify the causes of the problem. Mostly, Finrot is causes by exposure to poor water conditions, but rough handling, aggression and fin-nipping can also trigger Finrot.>
The angel also seems to have one sore on the outside of its body near the tail fin, on top of it all it seems bloated. Its scales do not appear to be distended. My water parameters are; Ph 7, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate all 0ppm. I have given sick angelfish Epsom salt baths for 4 days now
<Won't make any difference.>
and it doesn't appear to have gone to the bathroom.
<You mean it hasn't defecated? I'd be very worried if my fish got out the tank, went up the stairs, and sat on the loo!>
All other fish in the tank are perfectly fine. I am running a Fluval 304, and a fountain filter for a 40 gal tank along with an a Rio air pump. I do weekly water changes of 40%. I have looked everywhere for the answer, and I am worried I may have to start from scratch as I have put a lot of money into this tank. Do you have any ideas what may be wrong with this angel?
I have some meds at home will any of these work? : quick cure Ick cure,
Kordon Acriflavine,
Aquarium salt, Epsom salt, API Stress coat.
<No, no and no.>
Please help me.
<Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

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

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

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

Angelfish's first time sick 2/10/10
I noticed 2 pimple like bumps on the side of her head above eye. I thought it was Ick so I treated the tank. A couple days later the spots looked like they had popped and almost like a scab. Like dried blood color and yellow.
Then a couple days later I see that she has 2 more on the other side. I treat the tank again. A couple days later the first ones that I thought had healed are back. So there are 4 spots. Her butt looks swollen and red. She looks like she is rubbing. But the worst part is now she is getting very angry with me. Whenever I come close to the tank she shoots at me and almost hits the glass and looks mean. Also most of the day she is sitting in the back comer of the tank. I have look ed at books and the internet. I just don't know what it is. The picture either don't match or she has some of what they are saying or she has more then what they are saying. I confused. I have also cleaned the tank and filters. Please help! Thank you Amanda
<Start by checking the water quality. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. The nitrates should be under 20 ppm. Now that you have cleaned the tank, you may have disturbed the good bacteria needed to break down the
wastes to nitrates. The holes/scabs could be the start of Hole-In-The-Head.
Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone. maybe change the diet to a high quality flake or pellet food.-Chuck>

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