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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Disease/Health 8

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 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,

Possible sick angels     10/18/13
I had a 20 gallon tank that I had a electric yellow Lab and a Pleco in and I decided to upgrade to a 29 gallon. I moved all the water from my old tank along with all the gravel and decor as well as my filter. I have a Penguin Bio wheel 150. I did not clean or change anything, then I added a bit of extra gravel along with about 11 gallons of water. I let the tank sit for 2 days,  then traded my yellow lab in and got 4 nickel sized angel fish.

Its been 6 days since I got them, they seem to be happy except for one that occasional picks on the others, but they are eating well. On the 6th day 2 of my angels, the ones that are the same color as each other appeared to have some red marks just at the base of their dorsal and a little bit on the dorsal.
<The Yellow Labidochromis are attacking the Angelfish. DO NOT keep them in the same aquarium.>
One is worse than the other. I took water to the pet store I got them from and they tested my water and the only thing they could find was my nitrates were a little bit elevated but not hugely so. They advised me to do a 10 gallon water change, in hopes it would fix whatever is ailing them. I did the water change, but I am still concerned at what this might be and whether I should do any kind of treatment. I am also worried if I do treat the whole tank that it will kill all my biology, I also still have a Pleco in there as well.
<Assuming a generic "Pleco" of the sort sold in most aquarium stores, this species will get huge (30-45 cm/12-18 inches) and is totally inappropriate to this sized aquarium. Barely suitable for 55 gallons; better in 75+ gallons. The Bristlenose Plec, Ancistrus sp., works much better. It looks different to the Common Plec in many ways, so telling them apart is easy.
Needless to say, a big, filthy Plec makes it extremely difficult to maintain good water quality, esp. with regard to nitrate.>
He recommended Melafix so that won't happen, but I know you are not fond of that treatment.
<Quite so.>
Would you happen to know what this might be on my angels and what can I use, if I need to use something, that is gentle? Water PH is at about 7.4 and I have the temp at around 80. I have attached some pics, sorry they aren't very good, it was hard to get some that actually caught the redness by the dorsal. All fish are still eager to eat at this point
<Nice and easy, this one! Keep the Angels away from the Labidochromis; medicate as per Finrot (e.g., SeaChem Kanaplex or the popular combination of Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2). Don't forget to remove carbon (if used) from the filter while medicating. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Possible sick angels     10/18/13
Thanks for your reply. I think you may have been confused, I said I traded in my Yellow Lab THEN got 4 angelfish. I do not have anymore labs in my tank. Just the 4 angels and the Pleco. So would the treatment you prescribed still apply?
<For sure. This looks a lot like Finrot; is very common in Angelfish, usually following physical damage, though sometimes environmental or social stress. Do bear in mind Angels are best kept single, in mated pairs, or groups of 6+ specimens... in smaller groups bullying is common once sexual maturity occurs. Do watch for bullying, biting, chasing, etc.>
As far as the Pleco goes I bought him when he was 2 inches and he is now 3 and I have had him for about 3 years. He is a common Pleco.
<Not if he's grown 1 inch per year he's not! Do use Google or similar to find pictures of the Common Plec, Pterygoplichthys sp., then compare with the Bristlenose (Ancistrus sp.) and perhaps one of the "Clown" Plec species such as Peckoltia.>
I have had in the past a high fin Pleco and he too grew slow.
<How big was the aquarium you kept him in? Seriously, these catfish normally grow very big, very fast -- the usual is 8-12 inches within the first year.>
So no problems there Pleco wise. I only feed him one algae wafer every 4 days or so.
<Ah, well, lack of food will have an effect to be sure!>
The rest he gets from whatever was in the tank.
<Contrary to what retailers may state, Plecs don't eat fish faeces and certainly shouldn't be expected to eat "leftovers". They should receive a varied diet in quantity proportional to their size. Certainly green foods (cucumber, courgette, lettuce, etc.) can be offered more or less every day. An adult Plec would also need 2-3 algae wafers every couple days.
Occasional meatier treats might be offered less frequently. Do you know the PlanetCatfish website? Do avail yourself of its excellent content re: catfish care, diet, etc.>
Can you explain what was a "mistake", was it the way I upgraded my tank or getting angels?
<In this case the mistake may well have been my mis-reading of your missive; the "mistake" would be keeping Angels with Yellow Labs, a very bad idea.>
<Welcome, Neale.>

Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish; Epsom conc., w/ plt.s      10/6/13
<I see Neale is busy; I will resp. here and place your msg. in his in-folder as well>
Hi there, a while back you guys helped save one of our angelfish from dropsy by recommending dosing with Epsom salt. At the time we used 2 tsp per 4 gallon, so at the high end of the range. Since then we've gradually reduced the salt dose, and finally moved our fish (5 angels, 3 well-behaved
yoyo loaches, one pictus catfish) to a planted tank that hasn't ever been dosed with Epsom salt. All fish in this tank look happy and all levels look
OK (note: have not tested GH and KH). Unfortunately it looks like we need continued dosing Epsom salt, because the same angel has started swelling again.
<Mmm, perhaps soaking this one fish, adding antibiotics of use to its food... even injection w/ soluble... Likely bacterial involvement here>
 He/she still looks lively and eats well, but we're approaching the original shape that got us worried in the first place. My question, how much Epsom salt can freshwater plants handle?
<Depends on the species of plants; but most only about as much as you've been using>
Would the original
recommended dose of 1-3 tsp/5gal kill any plants?
<On the high end it may; you could try and just be observant; change water out if you see the plants suffering>
Thanks for maintaining the site, and the always insightful answers! -Joe
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish  10-6-2013

<<Yes, I do agree with Bob that the Epsom salt should be safe for most plants save those that need truly soft water (which is very, very few). All it really does is raise the general (not carbonate) hardness without affecting the pH, and to some degree acts as a muscle relaxant which in turn makes it easier for fish to undo some types of problem (constipation,
bloating, and sometimes dropsy). I will observe that in my experience Dropsy often comes back, so it's as well to identify what might be stressing the fish. Some varieties/species are particularly prone, too, and there may be little you can do to prevent reoccurrence even if you treat the fish successfully. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish  10-6-2013

Thanks, glad to hear that it at least won't instantly kill all plants!
I'll start on the low end and keep an eye on the plants.
<Real good. BobF>
Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish  10-6-2013

Thanks for the second opinion. I’m happy to ‘dose for life’ if that keeps him/her healthy and doesn’t bother the other fish, so here goes.
<<Shouldn't come to that. But if Dropsy keeps reoccurring, you might want to take a more holistic approach. Perhaps an antibiotic / Metronidazole combination, as this seems to fix a variety of systemic problems with Cichlidae generally. Cheers, Neale.>>

Ram pair/ Angelfish with issues.       8/11/13
I have good news and bad news, The good news is I traded the old pair of Bolivian rams, the female was thin and the male kept on beating her and vise versa. the new pair I got for free because I had paid for the old pair and they were in better shape ( the female) then when I got her.. The new pair/ is much healthier / swims side by side and seems to be hitting it off much better then the last pair did.. A employee at my fish store told me they will pay me in cash for any babies if I get any. How many babies can Bolivians make per spawn?.
<As with other South American dwarf cichlids, around 100 eggs are laid, though unless you pull the eggs and rear them yourself, you won't end up with anything like that number of juveniles. Left to themselves, Rams will likely rear around 20-40 offspring. A lot depends on water quality in the tank (nitrates need to be near zero for highest numbers) and the amount of suitable food offered (4 meals minimum, 6 ideal, of small live foods like brine shrimp nauplii).>
Sadly Marbelloh seems to be getting pop eye. I think he may have came like this or gotten it from the stress of shipping to the new tank from the dealers/ect. Sense I have the pair of rams in the tank- I only have 1 tank set up now I was wondering if medicated flakes from Aqua land will help the condition.. What should I do. He seems to be actively swimming around the tank with fins flared- interested in his surroundings but has one eye that is swollen..
Should I test the water? I did a water change earlier this morning.
<As Bob would say, read/search WWM before writing; all this has been covered before. Start here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Angelfish with issues/ how to treat with salt.     8/13/13

today I'm going over to my fish shop and getting some stuff to treat Marbelloh the angel with PopEye. I'll get some salt
<Epsom Salt (magnesium sulphate) not regular salt (sodium chloride). Much different thing! Salt will only stress the fish.>
and maybe some medication.
<An antibacterial or antibiotic will be useful, yes.>
sense i don't want to expose my biological filter/rams to the med/salt I have a 5 gallon bucket i was thinking of transferring the angel over to for treatment, putting in an air stone and leaving him overnight in the bucket.. my question is how much should i put in. salt/med wise.
<All this is elsewhere on WWM: *read, don't write* as Bob is wont to say.
Start here:
Do please understand that Epsom salt is a very specific thing, and you can't substitute regular salt.>
Also could you post a picture of Bolivian ram eggs. I think the female may have laid in a corner. I was called to lunch at the time so I didn't see it happening.
<Google "cichlid eggs" and you'll be rewarded with many thousand images. Do also read elsewhere on WWM re: cichlid breeding; in the case of dwarf cichlids, it's all much of a muchness, and what holds for Pelvicachromis holds for Mikrogeophagus:
Don't worry too much if you fail to rear a batch from the first brood --
keep looking after the fish well, and there'll be many further broods.>
after camp 26-30 of Aug. I plan on moving the fish filter and substrate to a 50 gallon.
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with issues/ how to treat with salt.     8/13/13

I went and got some T.C Tetracycline to use to try and cure the angelfishes pop eye. my concern is, will a sponge filter remove it from the water- I do not have activated carbon in it but no place to really store the filter and keep it alive. I worry the filter will suck all the med from the water before it does its job. Other than that concern I added the dose to the manufacturers instructions/ the angel seems better but only time will tell.
<Follow the instructions on the packaging. Only activated carbon removes medications; plain biological filtration is harmless. Use a nitrite or ammonia test kit every day or two though, because some antibiotics will kill some of the filter bacteria, which is obviously bad, and it's a good idea to be very cautious about feeding during treatment so you don't overload the filter. Cheers, Neale.>
touch and go. ? More chatting, FW Angel dis.        8/16/13

Well I completed the treatment for PopEye as far as tetracycline goes. plan
on trying to get him to eat something by Saturday . on Saturday i plan on
getting some medication to put into food. I added the doses changed 25% of
the water and waited a good 24 hours then changed a big amount of water
(80%) to try and get as much medication out as posible. The eye swelling is
better and it looks like I'l be able to save the eye. However marbelloh
still doesnt eat/show an intrest in food and hangs near the bottom.
occaionally swimming around., the rams didn't eat either but that was
before the big water change when i offered food./ i did a water change to
vac up the uneaten food and i saw them pecking at the gravel beforehand so
maybe they ate it. Will keep you updated on how the fish are.
I told my mom no more new fish until the angel is back to normal. also
should i wait to put him into the bigger tank- i don't want a shaky filter
to recycle and lose the fish if i am facing a recycle i want to be
<Hope things work out. Yes, not adding new fish is important when
medicating your aquarium, or even if you've been having problems. There's a
temptation to add new fish when one's just died, but the wise thing is to
add nothing for a week or two, so you can see if there's a bigger problem
with the aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: touch and go.       8/16/13
I checked the angelfish this morning. he is doing better still not eating
but swimming all over with fins erect. Any way to get him eating?
<Not really. Cichlids will eat when they're healthy; if they're not eating,
it's because they don't want to. Leave it be, keep medicating as directed
on the packaging, and keep an eye on water quality.>
Does  he need medicated food.
<Medicated food, if used as directed, is indeed better/safer than adding
medicine to the water. If the fish isn't feeding, then you have to medicate
the water. You don't normally do both though, so choose one or the other.>
the rams were eating.  I will try doing another water change this saterday
and test the water this Friday. the water still looks sort of funny with
traces of the med but that should go away soon with the water changes..
<Cheers, Neale.>
FW ang. dis chatathon    8/17/13

the angel ate some food yesterday. i was very pleased. the rams also ate
and i did another big water change to remove the last of the meds. and i
think things are back to normal for the most part , the eye still looks
different but at least the angelfish is eating now. what I'll do is feed
smaller portions until we go on vacation/ test the water before we go. I'll
put a no feeding fish sign on my tank, feed when i get back. then move the
fish on to the bigger tank.
<Sounds like a good plan.>
Looks like with my rent rebate I'll get those warm water Corys after getting
other things.. ( because I have a disability my rent rebates are larger
then for others- because I make less at least that's what i was told)
<Well, good luck with the Angelfish! Cheers, Neale.>

ANGELFISH EMERGENCY...was told bob might be able to help????     6/7/13
I have a 29 gallon Marineland night/day aquarium with a penguin bio-wheel filter, a bubble curtain, and fake plants/decorations. I have 4 baby angelfish that I LOVE in this tank. (Am upgrading to 55 gallon in a month. 
I used stability and prime to successfully cycle the tank 3 months ago. My tap water ph is 8,
<High for Angels>
 and so was my tank. i started using RO water (mixed 50/50 with tap water) and lowered it to 7.9. My current readings are: ammonia (under .25....but there),

 nitrites (0), nitrates (5). the ammonia is due to a mini-cycle caused by medicating. Unfortunately, one angel either got Columnaris or Hexamita. He jerked, shimmied, clamped dorsal and tail fins,  and looked like someone drew a red line outlining his body underneath the dorsal fin. He hung at the top for 2 days (while i tried heat and salt, because i hate throwing more chemicals in the tank). I didn't know what was wrong, he was getting worse, so i mistakenly used Maracyn and Maracyn 2 to try to heal him, which messed up my cycle. My bf (trying to help) decided the whole problem stemmed from me messing with the ph, and did a 50% water change with tap water and prime only...which threw the ph up to 8.4.
<Yikes... very toxic w/ any ammonia present>
We keep trying to be good "parents", but seem to keep making things worse!
the fish then developed a white patch on his head, in the middle of his yellow stripe (which is what made me think Columnaris. but i later read that it may have been caused by Hexamita...hole-in-the-head...and actually be lack of slime). so, i next treated the fish with parasite guard and triple sulpha.
<... please; no more medications. They're doing more harm than good>

 I've also put stability in the BioWheel every other day to try to keep ammonia and nitrites out. He seems almost cured (except the red line remains). Unfortunately, I leave for a 7 day vacation tomorrow, and the tank is showing .25 ammonia.
<Hide all food and med.s and enjoy your trip. Yes; don't feed, nor treat this system further>

A second angel is slightly clamping his dorsal fin, which i think is irritated by ammonia (using prime....they've never been exposed to any). i won't be there to change the water if it spikes, and prime only protects for 48 hours. I am desperate to find a product to keep my babies safe for the week. I bought an aqua clear ammonia remover filter insert, and also AmQuel plus and NovAqua plus because i was told it would keep them safe for 7 days. i put fungus guard

 in the tank yesterday (per the instructions the tetra rep i called today gave me), to hopefully clear the red line and white spot (or lack of yellow spot) on his head, which she claimed was a secondary fungal or bacterial problem. i am putting the carbon back in tomorrow, but am scared about the mini-cycle while I'm gone! Could someone PLEASE advise me how to proceed?
<See the above>
 I leave tomorrow. I am a new forum member under kelly5978. I created an album with pictures, to help show you what's going on. I know it's short notice, but I'm begging for help! Also, if the pictures help you know what's really wrong with him, please tell. I plan to work on the ph with regulator or peat when I return!
Thank you, Kelly
<Bon voyage. Bob Fenner>
Re: ANGELFISH EMERGENCY...was told bob might be able to help????     6/10/13

Thanks for responding! I knew all the meds were bad!
<Mmm, they do have their place... but are way too often mis-used>
They've had nothing for 3 days, and everyone seems okay.
<Ah good>

Sparkle has nothing besides a little cloudiness on his tail where he was nipped while sick. I took everything out (meds i mean) with a water change, prime, carbon filter and leaving them alone.
<Very good>

The ph is 7.9. I SLOWLY (.1 every 24 hours) brought it back down with 25% RO AND 75% tap and prime. Has been for 5 days every time I check. Since I put the carbon in, ammonia and nitrites are zero. Nitrates 5. I understand they may still go through mini-cycle. My 3 questions:
1. I set up an automatic feeder (set to lowest setting). Did you say DON'T feed them?
<Yes; or just barely>

I will take it down if that's what's best. I know I'm doing too much and harming them with good Intentions.
2. Do I stop using the RO WATER? I've got such mixed feelings. 8.4 is just sooo high for angels, but I've heard horror stories about RO water crashes.
<I would do as you've been; mixing the RO w/ just "some" tapwater; the latter for a bit of mineral content (necessary)>
I promise of they're alive when I return...no more medicine. I really was trying to help. Just listened to too many people!
<Ah, my friend. In the final synthesis, each of us must decide for ourselves. Listen to others for input; but do require that they have the ability, present the rationale, science backing their opinions>
I do have an er tank now that I will use in the future if needed.
3. Do you advocate aquarium salt on a regular basis in an angelfish tank, or only when sick, or not at all?
<Not at all in the majority of systems, circumstances. Do search, read Neale's article on WWM re>
Thanks so much!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Bob f....what to do now?    6/15/13

Bob responded to my desperate plea about how to handle my sick angelfish on vacation. I cannot find the email, and really need follow up help. My profile is under kelly5978. Bob advised me (very wisely) to put my medications and food away and go on vacation! I did as advised, and all my fish are alive and well...except sparkle. If you read my previous questions, my angelfish was clamping and twisting his fins, shimmying, had a red line under his dorsal fin, etc. Parasite guard and triple sulpha seemed to cure him. Upon my return from vacation, however, he was hiding in the tree stump. I finally coaxed him out and he ate. He has a definite indent or hole on his head (in-between and above his eyes) that is a darker yellow than the rest of his head. I hate to medicate them again, but I can't just watch him die! His tail is also jagged and he stayed the same size, while the others grew while i was gone. The rest of the fish have NO symptoms. I can only think Hexamita (was incorrectly treating for Columnaris). My Lfs does not carry metro or hex. If bob (or anyone on staff) could please advise me one more time, I would be so grateful! Do I just hope water changes help?
<Yes; this is all I'd do>
 Or start parasite guard (which has Prazi and metro as ingredients) again?
<Not a good idea to expose fishes more than once to Metronidazole. Hard on their kidneys>
Or order metro online? I just want to do whatever I can to help him, but know that I go overboard when left to my own devices. I'm sorry to bother you again, but truly hope for help!
Ammonia -.25 before water change. 0 now
<I would lower this over time to the "mid 7's"... with mixing in more RO, perhaps using a commercial (Phosphoric acid-based) pH adjuster... ahead of using change out water. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Re Water change confusion, angelfish troubles.    6/21/13

Hello, and thank you in advance for helping me again. I wrote a few weeks ago, asking what to do about a sick angelfish while I was on vacation. The advise I received was good, so I'm hoping for a little more advise. I have a 30 gallon Marineland tank with a bio-wheel 150 filter, 5 juvenile angelfish, a Pleco baby, fake plants, a little driftwood (recently added to hopefully lower ph), a sponge filter, and bubble curtain. I cycled the tank months ago, but recently used Maracyn (above mentioned sick fish), and other meds, and now get ammonia readings. I have been told Water changes are the answer, but the angels act funny every time i do so! They clamp fins (especially tail fins), don't swim around as much, and seem more than just a little stressed.
<Are you saving the change (new) water up between use? I'd store it/this for a week...>
 I make sure the temp is the same, and use prime. However, i am worried maybe I'm trying too hard to create a perfect tank, and ending up hurting the fish I'm trying to make happy! I'm hoping if you hear my story, you might be able to point out where I am going wrong....and help me get my tank back on track. I love these fish, and feel like all my problems stem from some little thing Im overlooking, or doing incorrectly! Here are the things I am currently doing, that may be to my own detriment.....
1. My ph out of tap is 8-8.2 (way higher than the 7.0 /straight RO water at the lfs). I began mixing 75% tap/25% drinking water (store bought, label states RO, ozonation). It brought my ph to approx 7.8 and I use neutral regulator to keep it there. I recently added driftwood also. I understand a stable ph is more important than a low one, but everything I read about angels indicates they are more affected by ph than other breeds.
<Not so much the cultured (vs. wild-collected ones). You have the former>
 I also bought peat moss, but haven't used it because it doesn't say "aquarium" on the bag, so I am afraid it's not the correct kind, and I don't know if my messing around with the ph isn't worse than just leaving them at a high one! My kH/gH are very high, so i have to use RO water to make any changes. My questions: what is the safest way to lower (and maintain) ph?
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/pHAlkAdjF.htm
Also, is it really that important to angels, or should I just leave it high?
<... I'd keep under 8.0>

 Final ph question: if you advise me to just leave it alone, how do I stop doing the RO water mix without creating a swing?
<... measure the new water to make sure it's about the right pH>
2. As stated above, I treated a sick fish with many different medicines (so stupid!!!!) and Am now going through a mini-cycle, which is even more dangerous because of my high ph. I tested the water just now: ammonia-.25, nitrites-0, nitrates-5, ph-7.8. My questions are: should I keep changing the water daily to get rid of the ammonia, or is it just going to keep coming back until I let it work itself through?
<Stop feeding or feed very sparingly... and hold off on the water changes unless the free ammonia exceeds 0.5 ppm>
I'm just confused as to how "spikes work" (i was once told I leave the ammonia until it reaches 2 ppm, then change water, but got conflicting advise from someone else). My bf gets really upset that I spend so much time changing out water, and believes that if I just leave it alone, the fish will be better off. I just need a professional opinion, which I will follow. I have tried to figure this out through research, but everyone seems to disagree on what works! So, do I keep changing water? Or leave them alone? Again, they seem more stressed by the water changes, and/or the new water, then the ammonia!
3. I believe my sick fish had Hexamita or hole-in-the head. I tried many different medicines (which I know know was very bad), and parasite clear/triple sulpha seemed to finally work. However, a couple of the angelfish still have white poop. Should I worry?
<Not at this point no... the feces could be due to the ammonia presence... THIS needs to be addressed first and foremost. All else is secondary>

4. Final question, specific to angelfish....is there any point to a bubble curtain?
<Not really, no. Mostly for looks>

 I always though it was making the water better (aeration), but I forgot to turn it back on a few days ago, and noticed the angelfish seem much calmer!
I've never seen them so still, just kind of floating around (....and now I will worry that they're too calm...geez I'm a worry wart)! I have battled tank problems and diseases since I started this tank, so I guess I'm not sure what happy fish look like! If they're not gasping, the temp is the same, they are all upright, and they all eat....I'm going to assume they are happy without the bubbles. Please correct me if I'm wrong!
<I'd leave out/off>
Sorry for the long email. I didn't want to bother you folks with 5 different emails about specific subjects, and hope it was ok to just ask them all here. Thank you for your help! I just want the best for my fish!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Water change confusion, angelfish troubles.    6/21/13

You are so wonderful for responding so quickly. The link was invaluable information, but I want to ensure I have this right. First, the white poop could be ammonia related, and i shouldn't worry.
 as for the ammonia, the fish are ok in it under .5ppm, so don't change water until then.
<Not "Ok", but better than suffering the stress of too much, too often water changes>

 Do i need to redose prime every 48 hours?
<No; not a solution and can/does forestall establishment of nitrification>
Or is that low level not lethal?
<... please search, read on WWM rather than writing what is gone over and over... ANY NH3, NH4OH present is debilitating>
 I'd never heard of holding the new replacement water a week before using.
<.... read on WWM>

I'd be afraid of bacteria, but will choose your knowledge over my intuition any day! When do I add the prime? Right before adding to tank? Here's my understanding and questions based on what I read about ph... the RO water is only lowering the  kH/gH, NOT the ph? And the lower ph is actually just unstable ph, that fluctuates, unless I add the buffer? If I am correct on that point, then am I using the correct product -neutral regulator- in my effort to lower ph and soften water?  One of your comments on a different post made me think the "buffer" is to keep a ph from falling, which is the opposite of my problem.  I know the cichlid salts raise ph, and discus buffer lowers. All i want is neutral and stable. So, should i stop using the neutral regulator until i lower the kH and ph to the correct level, and then add it to keep it steady? And, what's the best way to accomplish lowering kH?
<See WWM...>

I know the ph up and down products are no good, but isn't there just an easy way? All these calculations leave way too much room for an error on my part! Are pillows any good? I use an API master kit for the reg readings (Ammon, nitrites, ph), but I use the strips for kH/gH. My results are darker than the darkest level. I probably have no hope at lowering this ph (or kH) but  My fish ARE nervous and shimmy sometimes as if uncomfortable.
And after reading your links regarding how ph works in the wild, and how hard it is to try to manipulate a little aquarium, I'm just wondering if I'm fighting a losing battle.
 I love angelfish, and don't want a different type of fish, but I sure don't want to keep my fish in water they hate! The link helped me, but led to more questions. I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm truly trying to understand and do this right. Im sure my confusion is apparent and irritating. sorry. Are there any links that walk you through safely lowering stable ph? With which products to use? Also, would live plants help lower kH/ ph, or give me even more problems?
<Will definitely help>
After reading more, I see that I could possibly just use ALL RO water, and a buffer to create a neutral kH/gH (and ph won't matter). How slowly would I have to do this? And if I achieved it, would it remain stable? If so, would I add buffer only for the amount of replacement water? Or the equivalent of the entire tank again?
I think I understand now that kH is what really matters, and softens the water. Then, a buffer is added to keep ph stable. Is this right? What's the best way to accomplish this?
Again, sorry if I made your head spin with all my questions. My angels are gorgeous, and I truly appreciate your help!
<Take your time... read. B>
Re: Water change confusion, angelfish troubles.    6/21/13

Sorry, forgot a question....does the API master drop kit measure free ammonia? Or all ammonia? How do you know the difference?
<... use your search tool w/ the string: "API ammonia test kits, total ammonia?"... Read re Salicylate tests... IF you're using Prime, you'll want to get/use SeaChem's test for both free and total... >

Sickly Angels; FW stocking; mysterious damage to plants      6/4/13
Hi Crew.
First off, let me thank you for all the information on your site, which has been an extremely useful base in order to set up my new aquarium.
<Glad it's been useful to you.>
Here are my aquarium specs: 420L (96 gallons or thereabout), freshwater, with a large filter and a long airstone (about 30 cm). The aquarium is quite densely planted, was well cycled before introducing any fish and has been populated over the last three months with quite a bit of small fish. As it stands now, I have:
- 11 small guppies, who were born in a smaller aquarium and brought into the large one about a month and a half ago.
- 6 golden barbs
- 4 swordtails
- 12 zebra danios
- 16 neon tetras
<Potentially Angelfish food…>
- 2 small Plecos
- 1 smallish angelfish
<Mostly sounds good, though I'd swap the Plecs for Bristlenose Plecs (Ancistrus spp.) because common Plecs will [a] get territorial towards one another and [b] as adults will simply ruin this tank, pulling up plants and making the water go cloudy with their waste.>
My idea is to keep the population more or less as it is, letting whatever fry survive (one of the baby guppies is already pregnant) find its place without adding any more. I haven't witnessed any particular problems between species (although yes, I am aware that when the angelfish grows big I am likely to see some of my smaller fish disappear),
<Quite so.>
at most a couple of my zebra danios chasing after each other.
<May be females… it's the males that tend to be semi-aggressive in small groups.>
No sign of fin-nipping on the angelfish, as far as I can tell.
All of that said, here's my question. The angelfish used to be two, but one used to spend most of its time right below the filter, without eating much or moving around a whole lot. About a week ago I found him (or her) swimming very weakly and having trouble staying vertical, in addition to drifting away in the filter's current when he/she came close to it.
<How small is a "small" Angelfish? A lot of the very small specimens sold in pet shops -- the ones with coin-sized bodies -- react badly to transportation, and in my experience have quite a high probability of dying for some undeterminable reason. Do also bear in mind that Angels come from still to sluggish flowing water habitats, rather than the faster flowing streams favoured by Danios and even more so Swordtails (just look at how streamlined Swordtails are, and you get a sense of how much they want moving water and swimming space). Anyway, if the water current is more than gentle, Angels won't be happy, especially baby Angels.>
I immediately removed the fish from the aquarium and tried to quarantine it but it died during the night. Since then, my remaining angelfish, who used to be more lively, is spending most of his time hanging out by the filter, without moving that much. He still eats fine, but his change of behavior and the fact that he is starting to do what the other one used to do worries me. At this point, I'd love some advice about what to do. I've read that groups of six or more are best for angelfish, but I'm not sure whether my aquarium is overcrowded already.
<Remove the Plecs, and there'll be ample space for more Angels.>
I change about 15% of the water every weekend, but will be away for four weeks in about two months, during which the fish will be fed but the water won't be changed.
<Not a problem, so long as the tank isn't densely stocked, the fish are fed sparingly, and you don't add any new fish in the two or three weeks before you go away.>
Any thoughts ? Am I doing something wrong, or do I simply need to get my angelfish some company ?
<Unless you want a large group of Angels, I would not. Two or three Angels doesn't always work, and sometimes bullying happens. You find they're best kept singly, in mated pairs, or groups of 6+ specimens.>
The other fish I have in the aquarium are also quite active, so maybe that's disturbing the angelfish ?
<Likely so.>
Thanks for any help, and here are the water details to clear any doubts: nitrites at 0, nitrates perhaps just above 0 (unfortunately I am using the strip tests which aren't all that precise), pH around 6.8 (that's the pH of the water here and I've read it's better to stick with what I  have rather than try to tamper with pH up or similar, KH around 15-20, GH I'd say between 0 and 10.
<Sounds fine for the majority, but the pH is a little low for livebearers, even though the hardness seems quite high. Keep an eye on them.>
Also, while I'm at it - some of my plants tend to get eaten at night.
<Plecs. Even if they don't eat them, they damage them while rasping off the algae, or else snap off/uproot plants while digging.>
Still manageable, and I've been putting some small pieces of papaya in the aquarium in the evening, which seems to have worked, as they are nowhere to be seen in the morning (except an occasional chunk which I remove in the morning) and the plants seem less affected by the fish. Is this something I can keep doing or could that cause some problems ? Any other suggestions on alternatives ?
Thanks !
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Angel fish     5/25/13
Hi Crew,
It has been a while since I have written because everything has been going well. I have attached a picture of my angel fish. These growths appeared on it yesterday. I think it looks like cotton.
<... need to sample, look under a 'scope to be sure, but true fungal issues are rare... This is likely bacterial following a trauma...>
 It appears to be painful for the fish as the area around the growth is very red. I tested my water and there is no ammonia and all other components are within range. The angel fish is in with 3 hatchet fish, 6 bamboo shrimp, 3 peppered catfish, and 3 snails. The tank is 75 gallons.
The only thing that has been added recently is one bamboo shrimp. Any advice provided will be greatly appreciated.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_2/mycobactera.htm
and the linked infectious disease FAQs at the bottom. Bob Fenner>

Sick angels, one with lumps and one with missing scales & rotting fins... Too large pix files, no reading on WWM   5/3/13
I have a 75 gallon currently stocked with the following: 2 medium-sized angels, 1 gold dojo loach, 1 2.5" clown Pleco, 1 4" leopard Ctenopoma,
<Mmm; can be aggressive>
1 albino Cory & 7 rainbows (2-3").
<What/which species?>
 The problems began a week and a half ago when I found my third angel viciously attacking the black one (out of no where). I removed him from the tank. At the time the black angel was missing some scales and had tail & fin damage. Soon after I noticed bumps on my gold pearl angel. One bump (on its right side) has a dark center that has been growing. Otherwise these bumps have remained mostly the same. Neither angel healed as quickly as I'd thought; while the black one's fins & tail healed very quickly, its scaleless areas seemed to be growing. I checked the parameters, and all was zero, except there was a small amount of nitrates. I forgot to check for pH, I'm now realizing.
Anyway, fearing bacterial infections, I moved both to the hospital tank & treated with Maracyn & Maracyn 2.
There were no changes other than that the largest lump on the gold pearl grew a bit, and the dark center grew a bit too. My LFS recommended treating them with Melafix,
<Of no use; may even be detrimental... interrupting nitrification>

 so I put them back in the 75 gallon & began treatment--all following a 35-40% water change. (The black angel was attacking the gold pearl in the small hospital tank.) They also said that if I was worried I could treat for parasites, so I treated fully with Tetra Parasite Guard because I had it on hand. This produced no changes.
<... these fish (same species, actually cross) don't have pathogenic disease... these are wounds born of being attacked, bitten by some other fish>

Now, today (day 3 of Melafix), the black one has white areas on its tail fins and some missing pieces of its tail.
<It's the API tea extract... see WWM re... worse than a sham... It's poisoning your angels>
There was no fraying at the ends, but rather the fraying started closer to the base & caused breakage. There are also a few more small regions where scales are missing. The worst area (on the black angel's left side) seems to be more if a hole now, although there is no redness; it just looks deeper. The attached pics were taken a few days ago before this worsened.
Please help! Both fish are acting & eating fine, and all other fish in the tank appear fine. The tank is filtered with a 75-gal Aqueon & a 90-gal Marineland BioWheel. We feed the fish flake, cichlid pellets & occasionally frozen bloodworms. We perform weekly water changes of 20-25%.
<All these fish need is enough space, clean water, and a dearth of getting beaten (by each other?). Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick angels, one with lumps and one with missing scales & rotting fins     5/3/13
Thank you very much for the quick response, Bob! In my opinion this site is the best for researching and resolving fish issues, but I didn't realize I'd get such a fast response.
<Heeee! Depends "who's on"... Do ding dang hot here in San Diego (nineties F) that can't work on garden, barely stand to cook>
The leopard Ctenopoma is a gentle giant and sticks to herself unless her curiosity gets the better of her, in which case she just approaches a fish and gives it a once-over (unless it's small enough to be consumed). The attacks were definitely caused by the marble angel. He has been a problem off and on for some time, but never to this degree.
<I see>
My primary concern was and is that some of the regions/bumps are growing.
If you think that all they need are space and pristine conditions, then we will do a large water change tonight and reinsert the carbon into the filters, as well as stop the Melafix. I will continue with daily changes until they are healed, hopefully,
<Yes; this is all I would do... not likely this is anything parasitic; that needs treating>
I would really like to make sure you are of the same mind after viewing the pics. Or did you see them, and they were just not able to be posted to the WWM site? Thanks again!
<We're just limited on space period. Hence ask folks to limit file sizes.

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

Angels mouth disintegrating?    3/4/13
Hello crew!
Hope you are all doing well.
I'm sadly, not so great and neither is my angelfish, King, about 10 days ago i noticed my angelfish's mouth developed two holes on its upper lip, same size, directing across from one another, they didn't seem to get bigger for a while till about 2 days ago when i noticed they had not only progressed downward but what was left of his upper lip was detached. Someone on angelfish.net suggested that i wash his mouth with q-tip dipped in hydrogen peroxide to make sure no bacteria was on his lip eating away at the tissue
<Not a worthwhile procedure; too traumatic, damaging; not effective. Instead: Checking water quality, improving, perhaps some antibiotic in the food, water... a concentrated bath immersion>
 but of course because of his struggling i ending up hurting him more, which i feel very terrible doing so. He now can no longer eat because of how bad his mouth is, and I'm not very convinced if it ever heal with how bad it is, here is a video of it (i tired to get pictures but its a lot easier to see in a video):
<Does appear to be some sort of secondary infection eating away at the upper mouth... from/following a physical trauma... maybe mouth - "wrestling" w/ another angel>
Do you think there is any hope for him?
<There is always hope>
People have suggested that it is from fighting
 but I'm not convinced at all because i don't think fighting will cause two holes on the roof of the mouth, and i have never once seen him fight let alone pick at another fish/angel. But anyway here are my tanks current conditions:
tank size: 55 gallon
filter is AquaClear 70, sponge and BioMax
ammonia 0ppm
nitrate and nitrites were also 0,
<... 0 Nitrate? How is this achieved?>
my tank cycle recently crashed
<Also a clue and probable cause>
but i have been keeping an eye on it and nothing has gotten worse sense then.
Tank inhabitants are 4 angels (including king), 12 Rummynose tetra's, 1 golden gourami, 1 red tailed shark, an Oto and a brown Kuhli loach (given by a friend who didn't want fish anymore) and a peppered Cory cat.
I do water changes weekly, 25%-50% thanks for reading! I look forward to your answers.
Bailey Palmer
<I'd have you review what we have archived on Pterophyllum. Start here:
and read over the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


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

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

Angelfish may be dying    /Neale    2/3/13
I have a black angelfish in a 46 bowfront. I have another in there, but he is in the ten gallon for now. I can't tell if the black one has Ich or not. There are white spots, that do look like salt crystals. Other times when I look the spots look flat. There are about four or five spots spread across the body and on the fins, but some more spots are concentrated near the gills and the fish has small white ribbon like stuff protruding from the anus. Could this be a fungus?? The fish will come up for food, but usually won't take it. I am putting the heat up to the late eighties, which may kill the Nerite snails. I do have Maracyn, but that is just for fungus. I once read that it was ok to put a fish in a smaller tank like the 10 gallon and saturate with marine salt for 3-5 minutes then place back in large tank, but I will not do this without talking to you guys. Thank you for any info
<Whitespot and Velvet can seem similar, but Velvet often gets inside the gill cavities before the rest of the body, and in that way causes serious stress to the fish. Treatment is similar to Whitespot, but Velvet can be more stubborn, and may need a second round of medication. In either case, both diseases can allow fungus and Finrot-type infections to set in.
However, pale (often transparent) stringy faeces are normally a sign of gut parasites, particularly Hexamita. The best approach here would be to trade the Whitespot or Velvet using the combination heat and salt treatment, whilst also medicating as per Hexamita, using Flagyl (Metronidazole). Do remember to remove carbon whilst medicating, if carbon is used. Cheers, Neale.>
Angelfish may be dying     /RMF   2/3/13

I have a black angelfish in a 46 bowfront. I have another in there, but he is in the ten gallon for now. I can't tell if the black one has Ich or not. There are white spots, that do look like salt crystals. Other times when I look the spots look flat. There are about four or five spots spread across the body and on the fins, but some more spots are concentrated near the gills and the fish has small white ribbon like stuff protruding from the anus. Could this be a fungus??
<Doubtful, but possibly>
 The fish will come up for food, but usually won't take it. I am putting the heat up to the late eighties,
<Good, this is what I would do.>
 which may kill the Nerite snails.
<Just to 85, 86 F. then will do>
I do have Maracyn, but that is just for fungus.
<Mmm, no; for more than this>
 I once read that it was ok to put a fish in a smaller tank like the 10 gallon and saturate with marine salt for 3-5 minutes then place back in large tank, but I will not do this without talking to you guys. Thank you for any info
<I would not use a salt bath here... Please review the FW Angelfish Disease FAQs... Starting here:
and the rest (linked above). Bob Fenner>

Freshwater angelfish and possible Ich    1/30/13
I have a 46 gallon bow front with two angelfish and eight Nerite snails.
The fish were acclimatized to a ph of 7.8. The gH and kH are high enough for livebearers, but people say that is fine if they are acclimatized slowly which they were.
<Mmm, if tank bred (very likely), probably so>

The larger black angelfish
<Oh... darker angels are inherently less hardy than other varieties
 has a few salt crystal like spots on him/her. The other nearly white angelfish may but I can't tell due to the light color. Neither of them has eaten for the past two days.
<Always a bad sign>

The white angelfish is active, the black one is hiding a lot. I turned the heat up to 84F and turned the lights down. I have read that marine salt would not be a good idea for these fish.
 I have an empty 10 gallon I could treat the black fish in with some meds but I do not know which one. Any ideas?  Thank you
<Not a good idea to move or treat. What other fish are present here (if any)? Is there measurable ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? Bob Fenner>

Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish    1/13/13
Dear WWM crew,
I've been reading the great advice on this site throughout the past few years while we learned how to maintain a freshwater aquarium. Thanks for all the effort you guys put in!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I’m hoping you can help us with a persistent bloating problem that we’re having with one of our freshwater angels. First about the aquarium: we have a 55gal freshwater tank, with about half an inch of coarse gravel (small stones), plastic plants, a piece of driftwood, a rock and a ‘fake plastic rock’,  an Eheim 2217 filter ‘in good health’ (occasional coarse filter rinse, occasional fine filter swap, rarely a carbon pad, rarely a gentle rinse of the bio media to prevent clogging), UV sterilizer before the filter, air bubbler, filtered tap water with AquaSafe conditioner, recommended dose of CopperSafe (can you tell we’re afraid of diseases?), temperature 78F. The water here is outlandishly hard, pH something like 8.5 if I recall correctly. We do about 20 percent water change per week as we vacuum the gravel. We don’t add salt. The aquarium never gets direct sunlight, but it’s in a room that gets kind of warm during the day, room temperature may vary between 65F-85F throughout the day. The aquarium has been running for a few years without major problems.
<All sounds good, save for the rather high pH. While farmed Angels aren't delicate at all, they do best in soft to moderately hard water between 2-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8.>
We have four medium sized freshwater angels, one tiny angel, one pictus catfish, one blue gourami, one pearl gourami, and three yoyo loaches. Everybody seems to get along fine these days. We feed tropical flakes, frozen shrimp, bloodworms, and two more from the ‘freshwater pack’ from ‘San Francisco Bay Brand’. All have good appetite.
And now for the problem, one of our angel fish started getting bloated about seven weeks ago. After initially hoping that it was pregnant, it’s now clear it has a problem. It used to be one of our strongest fish, getting to all the food first, so we also considered that it was just getting fat, but the bloat seems localized, like something is pressing outward. Over these 7 weeks we've tried several things, including putting it on a diet behind a divider for two weeks (no clear change), feeding it peas for a few days (no effect – didn't eat much either though), giving it medicated food (Jungle Anti-bacterial), and treating with Maracyn II and Tetra Parasite Guard simultaneously. Throughout all of this it has basically looked the same, see the attached pictures. We do have the feeling that it gets noticeably worse if we feed it even tiny amounts of food.
<To recap the basics: Dropsy occurs when fluid accumulates within the body cavity. Though often considered terminal, it can be cured if caught early, which may be the case here if the Angel is still active and feeding. Start by raising the water temperature to 28-30 degrees C/82-86 degrees F, then add 1-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt (not tonic salt) per 20 litres/5 gallons of water. Ideally, add an antibiotic medication like Maracyn (a good antibacterial like eSHa 2000 can be an adequate substitute that might be used in lieu of antibiotics). After about a week, the swelling should subside. Since dropsy is usually a sign the fish was stressed by its environment, this would be a good time to review things like filtration and water changes. Because Dropsy is almost always caused by some sort of environmental stress, review the aquarium conditions.
Stocking, water changes, water quality, filtration, etc.>
Given everything we’ve done we’re at a bit of a loss. Can you think of anything else we can try? Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
<Deworming is something you might want to do, though serious worm infections usually cause the fish to waste away at the same time its abdomen swells up. The Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace combination also works well with mystery cichlid problems >
Best regards,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish    1/13/13
Wow, thanks for the amazingly fast response. So based on the pictures you think it's most likely dropsy, not constipation?
<Assume both. Treatment for one will work fine with the other.>
Can we do the salt
<...Epsom, not regular salt...>
treatment in the main tank or will it stress out the other fish?
<Is safe with other fish.>
If it's dropsy, should we continue to feed normally, or feed the sick angel only minimally or even not at all?
<As normal, but given constipation may be a factor, leave out flake and other dried foods, and instead focus on brine shrimp, daphnia, cooked peas, and perhaps spinach if your Angel eats the stuff.>
Thanks again for the advice. -Joe
<Welcome, Neale.>

Re: Persistent problem with a bloated freshwater angel fish   4/8/13
Hi there, just a quick follow-up on our bloated angle fish problem. In the end were afraid to move him to a hospital tank for fear of added stress, and we didn't want to medicate the entire tank again with antibiotics. We kept the divider in the tank with the sick angel in a small section (like 1/4 of the tank) with some plants to hide behind, adding the recommended dose of Epsom salt, and feeding very sparingly. I'm happy to report that after one month or so he got back to normal size. By now the divider has been out for about six weeks, and he's feeding as greedily as ever before without any sign of bloating. Hurray! Thanks for the advice. The healing was so gradual that for weeks we convinced that things were not improving, until one day we realized that he was back to normal. A true fishmas miracle!
<So great to hear a happy ending to this WWM story! Thanks for writing in. Yes, I agree, the Epsom salt treatment is slow but does sometimes work miracles. Wouldn't have believed it myself without having had to try it out. One of the best tricks I've personally learned from Bob Fenner. Take care, Neale.>

angel fish pregnant or not? FW Dropsy f'    1/9/13
I have a 36 gallon tank with a variety of small fish including 3 medium/large size angel fish.  One of the fish looks very pregnant or bloated, he/she is about twice the normal width. I thought she was pregnant and I prepared the tank for her laying eggs.  However, it's been close to 2 months now and nothing has happened.  The fish appears to be healthy in
other ways but the only observable difference has been this fish somewhat secluding from the others and one angel fish keeping the third one away from this pregnant or bloated fish.  I also just observed this fish swimming vertically with the mouth up for just a brief moment.  Do you have any guidance for me?  Thank you,
Greg R.
<This fish has Dropsy. Dropsy occurs when fluid accumulates within the body cavity. Though often considered terminal, it can be cured if caught early. Start by raising the water temperature to 28-30 degrees C/82-86 degrees F, then add 1-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt (not tonic salt) per 20 litres/5 gallons of water. Ideally, add an antibacterial medication. After about a week, the swelling should subside. Since dropsy is usually a sign the fish was stressed by its environment, this would be a good time to review things like filtration and water changes. Because Dropsy is almost always caused by some sort of environmental stress, review the aquarium conditions.
Stocking, water changes, water quality, filtration, etc. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angel fish pregnant or not?    1/9/13

Thank you so kindly, that is very helpful!
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angel fish pregnant or not?    1/9/13

Thank you again, I had one more question, would you consider dropsy to be contagious? 
<It is not. Dropsy is a symptom that the organs inside a fish aren't working properly. Specifically, those organs concerned with osmoregulation such as the kidneys. So it's more like a organ failure than a disease, though opportunistic bacteria may be involved. Fix the environment, use the heat/Epsom salt treatment, and medicate against internal bacterial infections (something like KanaPlex in the US), and you can save a fish with Dropsy, especially if it is still feeding and swimming about. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angel fish pregnant or not? Dosing MgSO4     1/16/13

Hello, how often would you say that I need to treat the water with Epsom salt?  Is it a one time thing or should I repeat the dosage daily/weekly? 
Thank you again,
Greg R.
<Dose the tank once to start up with, sufficient for the entire volume of water. So if your tank holds 36 gallons of water, at 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons, that's about 7 x 3 = 21 teaspoons altogether. Mix in a jug of warm water, then add slowly to the tank across half an hour or so. Doing this avoids shocking the aquarium fish in any way. Now, each time you do a water change, replace only as much Epsom salt as the water change took out. So if you take out 10 gallons of water, then you need to add10 gallons of new water, so you add 2 x 3 = 6 teaspoons of Epsom salt. Keep doing this for as long as necessary for the Dropsy to go away. Epsom salt is not toxic or even stressful to the fish (it's a laxative of sorts, and helps to "reset" the osmotic balance inside the fish, or so we think) so you can use it for many weeks, even months if needs be. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angel fish pregnant or not?
Wonderful!  Thank you again!
<Welcome, Neale.>

Dead angelfish and marine salt?  11/22/12
I had two freshwater black angelfish in a 46 gallon for the past few months. I found one dead this morning. The water quality was fine. The API kH tester stated the kH was correct for angelfish between 3-6, weekly 25% water changes, the temp is always about 82 degree, ammonia levels are perfect, ph is 7.5 The one that is left has a little white on the mouth. This may be a fungus infection and maybe what killed the other one. I did a big water change and turned the heat up to the mid eighties. My question is: Is it ok to add any marine salt to the tank, like a tablespoon for infection? I spoke to someone at the LFS and they said that was the worst thing I could do. Thank you
<Hello Judy. Do start by reading here:
Salt is not a fungus cure and certainly doesn't magically make sick fish healthy again. It can cure one or two things, particularly Whitespot, but other than that, it's best to go with a commercial medication. In any case, marine aquarium salt might be used, but because it contains less sodium chloride than tonic salt it's harder to dose accurately, and the portion that isn't sodium chloride includes a lot of minerals than raise the pH and hardness of the water, and those are things you don't normally want in freshwater community tanks. So while it might work, at a pinch, it certainly isn't the salt you want to buy or even use if you have a choice. For fungal infections, Methylene blue is quite reliable and essentially safe even with eggs and newly hatched fry, so if you're dealing with a slight fungal infection, it's a good way to go. Melafix (and other tea-tree oil medications) may be recommended, but I'm not a huge fan, and wouldn't use them except as a preventative when I've seen a fish has just been injured (e.g., by fin nipping or fighting) but isn't yet showing signs of fungus. Bob Fenner is even less of a fan… <<Indeed. B>>
Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish with weird green stringy poo? Mild Constipation? - 10/25/12
Hey crew!
<Hi Bailey>
I've gotten help with my angelfish once before from you guys and while i did take your advice on a problem i had with some baby angelfish a few months ago, they sadly all died.
My fish are all well, except my oldest angelfish, a 3 year old marble has some really weird poo. Its stringy and green, which I'm unsure what this could be, i tried researching it but nothing really came up.
Have any of you guys heard of this? I'm very confused.
The water temperature is 82 F, the pH is 7.0, and the nitrite level is 0. 50% weekly water changes or more because my old filter broke and having to use a smaller 160 penguin filter on my 55. Getting a new Aquaclear this week. Tank has been running for a year and a half. Sand substrate, mixed with water changes. A few silk plants here and there..two air stones run on 40 gallon air pumps.
I tried to get good pictures as best i could, but she is very camera shy and never seems to sit still..
<From what I can see in the photo, it appears to be a minor case of constipation.  The green color will often come from flake food when dyes are used for coloration, or just from a diet heavy on the vegetable side. 
If the fish is behaving normally and otherwise shows no symptoms, I don't think it's much to worry about.  Just cut back on feeding a little bit, and perhaps be diligent about that recommended one day of fasting per week. You might also try to feed a little frozen brine or Mysis shrimp for some roughage.  The exoskeletons can help in this matter.  However, do keep a close eye on the stomach area of this fish. Angelfish can be prone to bloating and blockages. Catching that early is helpful.  Hope that helps. -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ragged Angelfish Fins, beaten       8/18/12
Hello all!  I am a novice fish enthusiast and am having trouble. I have searched the website and it has terrific information, but I am really wanting to have confirmation on what is going on with my tank.  I started out at my locally owned fish store and bought a 20 gallon tall tank, had many difficulties with cycling and losing fish, and also with the types of fish I was keeping together.  I was ready to throw the towel in when I found an out of town pet store, family owned, not the big box store, that helped me greatly!
Sorry for the tout but I feel its very important for people to realize the difference in a place looking to earn a buck and a place that is concerned with educating its customers.  Anyhow, after the cycling problems, I emptied the tank completely, left the rocks unwashed, and refilled and since my water quality has been greatly improved.  That was two months ago.  I am using a Aqueon on the tank filter with a carbon insert,
<Carbon is largely useless in your sort of aquarium; instead, concentrate on biological media. Remove the carbon and replace with filter floss or sponge or ceramic noodles.>
and a Terra Easy Strip tester kit.  According to the tester strips my Nitrate is just below 20, I assume this because the color it turns is slightly less pink than the color it should be if it is 20ppm, Nitrite is 0, Hardness is 150 GH ppm, Alkalinity is 80 KH ppm, and pH is 6.8.
<All sounds fine for Angelfish.>
I am thinking I need to invest in a good quality vial test kit, and wonder which one is worth my investment.
<Possibly; I use the strips and they're quick and easy. But as/when they run out, and you really want the accuracy liquid test kits provide, be sure to get a nitrite test kit and a pH test kit, as these give you the best "quick look" tests for water quality and water chemistry.>
Onto my fish problem.  Once I felt my tank had stabilized I ended up with 4 small juvenile Angelfish, 2 Pictus Cats,
<These are restless, predatory fish that do better in schools and need much more space than 20 gallons (and to make matters worse, a "tall" 20 gallon tank provides even less swimming space than a plain vanilla 20 gallon tank!)>
2 White Tip Sharks,
<Do you mean the catfish? What used to be called "Arius jordani" but is properly called Ariopsis seemanni? You do understand this isn't a freshwater fish? It needs brackish
conditions when young, and preferably marine conditions as an adult. Even in a 20-gallon marine aquarium you wouldn't keep these catfish -- they get HUGE, easily 20-30 cm/8-12 inches, and sometimes a bit more than that.>
and one algae eater.
<What sort of "algae eater"? A common Plec, i.e., a Pterygoplichthys species of some sort? Again, a huge fish -- 30 cm/12 inches within the first year, and 45 cm/18 inches within two; barely viable in a 55 gallon aquarium, and really needs 75-100 gallons unless you happen to like murky, faeces-ridden aquaria. Trust me, if defecating were an Olympic sport, Plecs would win the gold!>
Everyone seemed very happy and I was doing 20% water changes every week to week and a half.  After about a month I noticed one morning that one of my Angelfish was barely swimming on its side near the bottom of the tank, it died later that day.  Within 48 hours I lost a total of 3 angels to this problem.  They still looked healthy except for some ragged fins.  The one pictured attached had ragged fins but persevered and other than the fins was acting normally.  I did a 50% water change and tested the water before and after and the water did have a low level (.5) of Nitrate, after the water change, none.  Since then the survivor seemed to be doing well, eating vigorously, but his rear fin hasn't grown back, and his top fin is ragged this morning.  I checked the water quality and those are the stats I gave you above.
<I don't trust those values. It's not necessarily the test kit is inaccurate (though dip strips are, at best, approximations) but you can easily detect no nitrite or ammonia when you test the water at a certain time of the day, but at another time of the day the nitrite and ammonia are well above zero. Try testing every half-hour for 2-3 hours after giving the fish a good feed and see what happens. But I do believe this fish is suffering from some sort of bacteria-mediated Finrot, perhaps caused by stress, including water quality problems. If one fish has ragged fins, then aggression of nipping may be an issue. But if multiple fish have ragged fins, then you have to suspect the environment as well.>
I also turned the heat up a bit this morning because I keep reading that 80 degrees is best, and on my stick on thermometer (which I will be replacing because it doesn't give me a specific reading) was hovering between 76-79 degrees. So what now?  I'm wondering if I should treat him for fin rot.
<Yes, but do bear in mind some medications (copper, formalin especially) can be toxic to catfish. Antibiotics should be safe though.>
I am terribly upset that I took 4 healthy Angelfish from the store where they breed them, and have caused 3 of their early demise!  Am I on the right track?
<No. You're doing a great deal wrong. Neither catfish species belongs here, and it's not entirely out of the question they're attacking the Angelfish at night -- after all, both species are predators, and while the Pimelodus pictus can be combined with Angels of similar size, they may go for small/weak specimens. The Ariid catfish simply don't belong at all, and though they are total pussycats when kept with brackish/marine fish of appropriate size (Monos, Scats or large Damselfish for example) large specimens view much smaller fish as food.>
Also the sharks and cats are aggressive eaters but the Angelfish holds his own.
<For now. Angelfish aren't adapted to fight for food.>
I am feeding a combination of dried ocean plankton and flake food, is this sufficient?
<Let's assume you're getting rid of the two catfish species -- neither species has any long-term future in this tank, so this isn't even something to delay or argue about. It's a done deal. You made a CAT-a-strophic mistake if you'll pardon the pun. A "tall" 20 gallon tank is adequate for a mated pair of Angels. Since you can't sex Angels, you can't buy a pair, so you need to buy six, rear them together, then remove the surplus fish. Realistically, you need 40-55 gallons for a group of six Angels up to the size when they'll pair off (around 8 cm/3 inches). So, what we're talking about is a single Angelfish here, perhaps with a 5-6 Corydoras sterbai (a good warm water-tolerant Corydoras) at the bottom and 6-8 medium-sized tetras (such as X-Ray Tetras, a very reliable, easy species) in the middle. All these would thrive on a mix of good quality flake and small sinking pellets (mostly at night, for the catfish). Augment with freeze-dried food if you want, but occasional live daphnia and/or brine shrimp are really useful for avoiding constipation.>
Once this problem is solved I would like to get another Angelfish so I at least have a pair, is it wise to do so?
<Keeping a pair is fine. Getting a pair is hard work. Two random Angels will likely fight, the weaker one being bullied. Has been tried many, many times. Unless you happen to get two females or a male/female duo that happen to pair off, this isn't a reliable approach. If it's any consolation, Angels can't always sex themselves either, and "homosexual" pairs are quite commonly reported, usually two females, each laying eggs on a leaf assuming the other was a male!>
Thank you for your input!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone
<Oh gosh, another of these ridiculous "from my phone" messages… when will they stop? Who cares? Who's bright idea was this nonsense?>

Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)     8/19/12
I confirmed that the suggested fish were in fact what I have in my tank.
<I see.>
They will be going back tomorrow.
I'm hoping the out of town store will take them in since the local store didn't care enough about them to give me complete and accurate information.
<"Caveat emptor" I'm afraid. Welcome to capitalism. It's up to the buyer to make sure the thing on sale is what he/she needs -- the seller is under no obligation to sell you what you need!>
I will then treat the Angelfish for fin rot and follow through with the other things you mentioned.
I have read I need to remove the carbon filter before I treat with medication, is it okay to replace it with  the filter floss during or before treatment or should I just remove the carbon filter insert and leave it empty until I am done medicating the tank?
<I would remove the carbon and replace with filter floss.>
How often and how much of a water change is needed during treatment?
<Usually, none during treatment, but a good-sized (25-50%) water change a day after the last dosage is a good idea. Check with the instruction leaflet that comes with the medication you use.>
How long after treatment should I consider purchasing the other fish?
<As a rule of thumb, wait at least a month after any sickness before buying any new fish. That gives you chance to [a] make sure the sick fish is better and not contagious; and [b] to make sure the filter has recovered from any troubles that might have caused the fish sickness in the first place.>
Thank you for your time and expertise!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)(Bob, does Melafix actually harm filters?)<<can>>     8/21/12

Good morning from Michigan!
All the catfish have been rehomed.

I picked up a bottle of Melafix to use for treatment.
<Hmm… have you kept the receipt? This isn't a very reliable medication. At best (and I'm being generous) it has a mild antiseptic quality, so it's rather like dabbing a cut with antiseptic lotion. But it isn't an antibiotic, and once the bacterial infection is established (i.e., your fish are showing symptoms of Finrot) it isn't terribly effective.>
I'm curious though about the carbon filter insert.
<Junk it. Provides little value in freshwater systems.>
Carbon is supposed to be changed every few weeks from what I read, so I wondered if its even active now.
<Good analysis. The reality is that carbon works for around 2-4 weeks from new, and after that point it becomes so clogged with bacteria and detritus it's basically a biological medium. While it might be useful in that capacity, there are better media, such as high-quality ceramic noodles. There's some debate about whether "old" carbon can release toxins, but it can certainly mess up dosing medications, removing at least some of each dosage, so overall effect of the medicine isn't as expected.>
I haven't changed it out for 3 months. I am curious though, if I remove the foam insert that has the carbon inside it, won't I also be removing the good bacteria that is keeping my tank chemistry stable?
<Bacteria don't really affect water chemistry; their job is water quality, which is a much different thing. Anyway, you can remove up to 50% of the live media in a mature filter and have no impact on its working efficiency. Add some new media, and within days that new media will be fully matured. It's remarkable really, and an example of why bacteria are so useful in those applications where we've learned to "tame" them.>
Since the tank stabilized I haven't changed this insert out of this fear.  Will the Melafix harm my biological system?
<Doesn't normally, but it's a scattergun antiseptic, so there's always the potential.><<Can indeed destroy biological filtration. RMF>>

Also I've considered adding live plants to the tank to enhance the biological filtration, what plants would you suggest?
<The easiest plants are floating plants, especially Floating Indian Fern (sometimes called Water Sprite, Ceratopteris thalictroides). This plant grows in most situations, doesn't mind being under an aquarium hood (some other floating plants do), and its long roots bring plenty of helpful bacteria! It also happens to be hands-down the plant most loved by aquarium fish. You only need a bit -- it grows fast!>
Thank you again for taking the time to indulge all of us novice fish keepers!
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)     8/21/12

I think I may have just had an epiphany, should I cut the bottom of the insert and just remove the carbon and leave the insert in place????
<If that works, sure! Cheers, Neale.>
Update on Fin Rot Angelfish - 8/24/12

Hello Neal,
Just wanted to give you an update.  I started treatment with Maracyn.  The Angelfish had already started to regrow his rear fin, not such dramatic regrowth on the top fin but no more loss either.
I'm hoping that will rejuvenate with time.
<Yes. There's definitely a point with Finrot where things stop getting bad before they clearly start getting better.>
I did notice the new growth on his tail seems a little bent, but have read on your website that's not something to be hugely concerned with.
<Yes. In fact if you look at most pet Angelfish, "odd" fins are very common. Once the fin rays (the finer bones) get damaged, they often split or fork or grow back crooked. Sometimes the fins eventually grow back how they're meant to be, but often not. This is something you see in the wild too, but farmed Angels are that bit more genetically messed around with, so you also get genetic abnormalities thrown in as well.>
Can't wait to start shopping for the Tetras you suggested, but I know I have to be patient!  Is there another colorful species of Tetra you would recommend?
<The top 5 tetras in terms of adaptability and good value are (from the best) the X-Ray Tetra (Pristella maxillaris); the Black Widow or Black Skirt Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, occasionally nippy if not kept in a decent group); the Silvertip Tetra (Hasemania nana, again can be nippy in a small group); the False Penguin Tetra (Thayeria boehlkei, actually the standard hobby species compared with the rare "true" Penguin); and the Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri). None of these is fussy about water chemistry and all of them are omnivorous and easily maintained. Of these, the False Penguin and the Emperor Tetra would both make outstanding companions to Angels, being distinctly different in shape and colour. If you want some red, take a look at Cherry Barbs rather than tetras; again, they're unfussy, and the males are cherry-red, the females peach-pink, so you get two colours for the price of one! Don't imagine all barbs are fin-nippers -- some are, but these aren't, and their behaviour is fun too, the females schooling together while the males are vaguely territorial, holding their own "displaying areas" around favourite plants.>
I've read about Cardinals, but also saw that they may be more difficult to keep.
<Sort of. They're actually hardy in soft, acidic water, but do poorly in hard, basic water conditions.>
An article on your website about them was very informative.  Mostly wanted to say thanks for all the great information and give you the good news about my recovering Angelfish!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Question about ph and angelfish      8/14/12
I have a tank with two light colored angelfish, 46 gallon. The ph in the tank reads 7.8. In the past I tried to keep black angelfish.
<Darkish angels are notoriously delicate;
something about the inbreeding required to "fix" the black colour. Oddly enough, they also have a reputation for being overly aggressive! At least, they did back in the 70s/80s when they were at the height of their popularity.>
I had six, but not all at once, and everyone of them died within a few days.
<A lesson there… First question though: How big were they? Angelfish with body lengths less than, say, 5 cm/2 inches are markedly more delicate than bigger specimens. The coin-sized specimens widely sold can be worth buying, but are often much more difficult to acclimatise to your aquarium than expected. So, with delicate strains, there's much to be said for buying half-grown specimens.>
Any other type of fish I had lived and thrived even a black lace which is not completely black. The LFS guy that ordered in these black fish tested our water and said that our ph was too high for any angelfish.
<Some truth to this, but not much. Wild Angelfish certainly come from somewhat soft, acidic waters, though not necessarily the same very soft, mineral-free, blackwater favoured by Discus (at least, this is true for Pterophyllum scalare, the majority ancestor of the Pterophyllum hybrid sold in pet stores). Anyway, the hybrid sort we see in pet stores doesn't come from anywhere because it's a man-made fish, and like many hybrids, it's much hardier than any of its ancestors. Provided the water isn't crazy-hard, it can do well; here in England, Angels are often kept successfully in "liquid rock" around the 20 degrees dH mark, pH 8-8.2.>
I did read that the people at angelfish plus in Florida who have a huge hatchery breed angelfish at a ph of 8.5.
<Quite possibly. It is important to realise (and many people don't) that pH isn't the critical issue; hardness is. Fish don't like sudden changes in pH to be sure, but most of the Amazonian fish we keep in community tanks are just fine between pH 6 and pH 8. For the most part, if you moderate the hardness you can ignore the pH -- I have rock-hard water in my tanks, so mix it 50/50 with rainwater, and don't really worry what the pH is.>
They said that it is all about what the fish has evolved in. I do know that the wild caught live in 6.8-7ph.
<And the rest… for some of the species like Pt. altum, we're talking pH 5-6!>
My thoughts are that the black angelfish are just too delicate and need the low ph to survive.
<Unlikely the pH is an issue, but do check your hardness and act accordingly. If you do something like change the pH directly (with commercial pH-down products) you will make things even worse because an unstable pH is even worse than the wrong pH.>
Is this true?? Thank you
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Question about ph and angelfish (RMF, anything to add?)<<Nope>>     8/14/12

The black angelfish were almost adults and I need to check water hardness.
Thank you!!
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question about ph and angelfish (Bob, would you check my theory here re: alkalinity?)<<Yes, comments added>> - 8/17/12

<Hello again Judy,>
I am the one with the two angelfish in the 46 gallon with the high ph. I can't find a kH/gH kit around here, so I took a water sample to the guy that sold me the black angelfish that died. He tested the water hardness with a test strip, one of those 6 in 1 deals.
<Okay. These are trustworthy enough for "ball-park" figures like whether there's detectable nitrite or if the pH is above or below 7, but you should be aware they're somewhat difficult to read accurately and consequently not good tools for accurate measurements.>
He said that our water is very soft, (we do have a water softener),
<You are using water from a domestic water softener in an aquarium?! You really shouldn't be, for the same reason you shouldn't drink that softened water either -- domestic water softeners don't really soften water, they replace temporary hardness (= carbonate hardness in aquarium terms) with sodium salts. That's fine for washing, but not good for fish. Use the non-softened tap, usually the one over the kitchen sink, that your installation engineer probably set aside specifically for drinking water.>
alkalinity is high and ph is 8.4.
<Well, this doesn't make sense at all. Alkalinity is temporary hardness (I believe) and precisely what your water softener is meant to be removing!><<Unless the alkalinity is coming from elsewhere? Very soluble natural gravel? Shells, coral skeletons as decor in this tank?>>
He told me that my only choice was to lower ph with ph Down or ph correct,
<You shouldn't actually change pH directly, EVER, but instead ensure you have the right hardness for your fish, and only if the carbonate hardness is low, then use an acidic pH buffer to steady the water chemistry at 6.5 or 7. Normally hard water (at least, water with high carbonate hardness) maintains its own pH at around 8 without much effort from the aquarist, assuming regular water changes. Let's remind ourselves that (freshwater) fish aren't overly fussed about the precise pH, but they do need a steady pH; your Angels are fine between pH 6 and 8, so long as its steady. That your pH is 8.4 suggests a very high level of carbonate hardness, so my guess is you ARE using the "un-softened" tap/faucet without realising it.
Mail order a (liquid/drops) carbonate hardness test kit -- it's probably the most useful single water chemistry test kit for the freshwater aquarist. What you're after for Angels is a carbonate hardness between 2-10 degrees KH. As I've stated already, the precise value doesn't matter much.
Now, once you have a carbonate hardness reading, you can decide what to do.
If it's high, say, 12 degrees KH, then a 50/50 mix with rainwater or RO (not domestic water softener) water will give you a carbonate hardness of 6, and likely a pH around 7.5. That's PERFECT for farmed Angels, and will be nice a steady between water changes, so there's no need to add any potions. Easy! Collecting rainwater obviously costs nothing once you have the water butt and have cleaned up your guttering (this is how I get zero hardness water, England being a great place for rain if nothing else!) but RO water doesn't cost much if you buy it from a good aquarium shop in bulk.
Under-stocking tanks and avoiding overfeeding ensures best value from each water change (i.e., you keep nitrate below ~20 mg/l and pH doesn't drop too much). Unless I was keeping a lot of tanks or doing a lot of water changes, I wouldn't buy my own RO filter -- they're expensive to buy and expensive to run.><<Not compared w/ other technologies here in the U.S.>>
but that is not a great idea due to the fact that you have to do water changes. I have Malaysian wood in the tank and it turns out that the tannins make little dent in ph. I think that the only thing to do is accept the high ph. My question is are those test strips any good?? Is high alkalinity bad for angelfish or is it like the ph issue??
<<Both can be an issue; particularly w/ black angels, small, challenged specimens. As Neale states, best to have neutral to slightly acidic pH, moderate GH/KH>>
Thank you
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Possible Mouth Rot Photo Attached      7/26/12
I need guidance for my angelfish. They have been lip locking and fighting and now his mouth looks like possible mouth rot,
<At least damaged>
 but I'm not sure if he's injured or if it's more then that. In the photo, you can see where his mouth looks like its separating and is almost see through as you can see some red like its the inside of his mouth. I do water changes every 4 to 5 days about 50%   With his mouth I've moved to 3 days.
Temp is 78-80, he still eats
<Even better>
 and they have a varied diet.  Almost all silk plants in aquarium (20 gal tall)  No ammonia or nitrites and nitrates never register to 20ppm, tank established for a year and my injured fish is almost a year old (he's huge which I think gives testament to how well i take care of them).  They are the only two fish in the tank.  The other angel doesn't look like his mouth is bad, but I'll put a photo of him too as it seems like his lips are puffy.
I'm not sure if he's just hurt or if it's something more then that. What do you recommend I do?
<Mmm, likely nothing more than you already are doing>
  I have been reading up on E.M. Erythromycin
<This or Sulfa... but again, I'd leave all as is for now>
 and if this is something I should get and treat with as I've read Melafix and Pimafix are worthless.
<They are worse than worthless>
What do you think I should do?
Thank you,
<Keep up the good water quality maintenance and mixed diet. Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible Mouth Rot Photo Attached – 07/26/12
Thank you for your response. However I don't think the right photo was attached. The silver marble has a "puffy" mouth, but it's my black marble that I'm questioning with the injury/possible mouth rot. Photo below & thanks again so much.
<Ahh, thank you for this correction... where did I/we get the other pic...?
Would still not medicate.>
<Cheers, BobF> 

Re: Possible Mouth Rot Photo Attached – 07/26/12
I had attached both of them in the original email but I guess my system (or I) did not attach properly.
 I wanted to show the black marble as he was the one with the injury and show my silver marble as his lips seemed swollen. Since I will keep doing what I'm doing with water changes, feeding varied foods etc, and not medicate, what should I watch for in case I have to medicate? 
<Signs of decomposition... Hyphae...>
I know a symptom is "cotton" like stuff by the mouth. I noticed he had a string of one which is what made me think he had a bacteria infection.
<May be>
I just wanted to say thank you and I am very grateful for your website and assistance. I have become somewhat of a geek with my fish as its my #1 hobby
Thanks again
<Glad to share. B> 

Angelfish death.... FW       7/5/12
I have a 90 gallon community planted tank with a wide variety of bogwood, wood, plant features and these fish:
9 rummy nosed tetras
1 roseline shark (3.5")
2 Apricot gouramis (3.5")
2 Black angelfish (3.5")

1 leopard catfish  (5-6")
1 Siamese algae eater (3.5")
These guys have coexisted for a year or more, I've experienced 5+ cycles of eggs (2 types, but can't tell who the parents are) that the black angelfish have preferred to freeze-dried/frozen food.
I have become accustomed to this vigorous gustation of eggs by the black angelfish pair. Surprised, even, that I'm ATTACKED if I try to rescue the eggs (but they are eating them...so they're protecting a food source)
<Mmm, cichlids can be very attentive parents>
Sad, because I feed them bloodworms daily (they dance so cute).
<... do see the Net, WWM re these sewer worm larvae. Trouble>
Yesterday, I bought/added 2 sherpa <Serpae?> tetras to the mix and a plant (from Thailand, packed in gel, and I rinsed under running water as I subdivided and picked away the dead matter.
Today I  came home to find one of my black angelfish dead. On the bottom, sideways, A bulge with refuse in the anal area. It was the smaller of the 2 angelfish, the gourami are not as aggressive, no eggs have been laid (that drama was last week).
And the sherpa tetra and Rummynose are miniscule, non threatening.
I did a 30% water change on Sunday (3 or 4 days ago) So what caused the sudden death?
<Perhaps the minnow shark, or gouramis... Maybe some sort of "internal difficulty", even genetic predisposition>

 I'm so sad, this angelfish was but a teenager (full sized but less than 2 years old). The angelfish have been the most aggressive aficionados of the eggs in the tank (2 cycles of small orange/brown, covering an entire leaf, 2 translucent egg drops that covered probably  a 2"x2" area of bog wood or drift wood (I have plant, wood, rock features in addition to a 2 inch polished gravel substrate).
I change 30-50% of the water weekly. Nobody else is sick. I introduced 1 new plant, extremely well rinsed/trimmed.
Why did a young black angelfish die? The new sherpa tetras brought a disease? They look fine. The plants brought a disease?
<Not likely pathogenic... elsewise others would be malaffected>
I'm so sad, I love the "lab retriever" wagging that the angelfish do when I come into the room. Their water was changed/cleaned on the weekend...
<I would keep up the water changes. Perhaps a read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Angelfish death....     7/6/12

Thanks Bob Fenner!
<Welcome Li'l Jen>

Dead Angelfish    6/23/12
Hello WWM Crew,
When I came home from work tonight I found that my black angelfish had died. The only indication something was wrong was last night while I was feeding them frozen bloodworms
<Mmm, I really don't like these sewer fly larvae... please search WWM, the Net re their use>

he stayed up in the upper corner and showed no interest in eating. Before that he was eating and behaving normally and had about doubled in size since I bought him. I know he was still alive when I first woke up but I couldn't locate him before I left for work. I have a 46 gallon bowfront tank  using a Rena Xp2 canister filter and a large air stone, Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-0, Temperature- 78F, Ph-6.4 , 20 to 30% water change done weekly. In the tank there are 3 other angels (all still juveniles (including the one that died) added about 2 months ago), 5 Otocinclus (added 4 days ago), 16 albino Cory cats (4 adults that have lived in the tank for several years and 12 juveniles ranging between 4 and 5 months old), an infestation of Malaysian Trumpet Snails  and several live plants.
I've been adjusting the water flow for a few days so that it breaks the surface while the lights are off and  back down during the day to keep the surface relatively smooth. I've also been adding 7ml of Kent Freshwater Plant 3 times a week for about a month (last dose was this morning). I was only feeding them flakes once a day until 4 days ago when I started alternating with the frozen bloodworms (which I've done twice) and last night I clipped a slice of cucumber to the glass to see if the Otos would eat it (they didn't and I now know blanched zucchini would be a better choice). Also of note is that I've noticed a couple of the small Corys staying at the surface at different times during the day and night, and I've lost 3 of the juveniles in the past several weeks.
<Mmm, very small ones? The smaller they are, the more easily lost to anomalous causes>
The Cory's behavior lead me to think that there is not enough oxygen in the water
<Mmm, Callichthyids (and many other S. American/Amazonian basin fishes) are facultative aerial respirators... they can/will gulp air at the surface if there are low DO issues>
 but with the filter turning over the water more than 6 times an hour and the air stone I find that hard to believe. If any of you have any insight as to why the angel may have died and if it's linked to the death of the juvenile Corys I'd greatly appreciate it. 
<Well... black/ish angels (Pterophyllum) are historically more subject to such sudden, inexplicable losses... I would cut down on the Kent product>

Also is keeping just 3 angels a good idea or should I add another once I know the water is safe?
<Mmm, actually... in this size/volume/shape system, I'd stick w/ the three>
 Finally I know that when they mature there may be an aggression issue if two angels pair off and  need to be separated from the others. I'm wondering if they could be housed in a 37 tall with a Senegal Bichir if the need arises?
<The bichir may well prove to be too aggressive, consume the angels>
 If not I have a 20 tall that I can use.
<This will do handily>
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide and thanks for the help you've already provided. I've learned a great deal from this site and it has saved me from making several mistakes.
<Ah good. Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Help with Popeye in freshwater angelfish - 5/9/2012
Hi, WWM: Andrew In December I had two angelfish with PopEye symptoms (in both eyes), brought on by water quality issues which occurred while I was out of town. After a few days both fish quit eating, and I moved them into a quarantine tank and gave them an antibacterial treatment, which seemed to work since a few days later their energy levels and appetites improved significantly. After a couple of weeks their eyes were still enlarged but I assumed this was permanent damage and the infection had gone away since the fish were now behaving normally, so I released them back into the main tank. Unfortunately, their condition rapidly deteriorated and they both died within days. A few weeks later, I lost another angelfish who had not exhibited any symptoms whatsoever. Then, a few weeks later, another angelfish died in similarly mysterious fashion. Then, one of my clown loaches got PopEye (in both eyes). I decided not to quarantine him out of a worry that he would get more stressed by being isolated from the other loaches and was still behaving normally, eating well, etc. A week later his energy level dropped precipitously and I also lost him. WWM: Mmm, a good accounting of observations Then, three weeks ago another angelfish started displaying mild PopEye symptoms, and I immediately quarantined him and started treating him with the same antibacterial medication as the first two fishes. He's in stable condition but isn't showing any signs that his condition is getting any better or worse. He's eating well and not showing any signs of stress. The remaining fish in my main tank also seem to all be doing fine. Not sure what to do at this point. I read in your FAQ that Epsom salt could help, but given that this really seems to be caused by an infection WWM: Agreed; and difficult to treat in most cases... as you state, typically these exophthalmias are long term, perhaps permanent and not by trauma I'm wondering if there are some other measures I should take. Also, how would I know when it is safe to move the quarantined fish back to the main tank? I don't want to risk spreading whatever is causing this to more fish in the main tank. WWM: There are other antibiotics, antimicrobials that folks (anecdotally) report as efficacious... Chloramphenicol is a fave if you can acquire it... added to foods... One complicating factor is that I live in China, and fish medicine isn't very advanced beyond offering various "cure-all" potions that I'd never risk giving to my fish. I've found a way to buy tetracycline and erythromycin locally but I don't know how to properly dose this for fish to consume. WWM: TC HCl is relatively safe... best to mix dried foods (pellets, flakes...) in with any given measure (a 250 mg. capsule contents); shake in a bag, serve, store in a fridge twixt uses. Bob Fenner

Re: Fish death   3/30/12
Well, it's very sad, but I had to euthanize the fish.
<Too bad.>
I ordered the medicine (can't remember the name off the top of my head..) 
It ended up coming a day late, and my fish was completely degraded,  wouldn't even swim up for food.  But she's been put out of her suffering, and since the suspected fish TB is still in my aquarium, I'll be able to use the medicine for any future confrontations with the disease.
<I see.>
I had a little mix up with the angel and the younger platy, though.  I had come home from my classes and all of the fish seemed okay, I fed them, and left. But I came up about an hour later and I found (for the platy's size) a rather large lesion a few centimeters behind the right eye.  I'm surprised it didn't go for the guppy or any of the neon tetra first, though.  The wound looked just about the same size as the angel's mouth, so I guess we have a culprit here.
<Can be. Angels eat small fish, including Neons. They don't, however, normally take pot-shots at fish they can't swallow whole. So keep an open mind here, and don't place blame on the Angel without considering alternative issues.>
Now I'm going to need a tank divider....  I'm looking online for a couple of different antibiotics for the platy, but I saw one called "Bio-bandage,"  using a gel-based formula to heal open wounds and abrasions. (too bad it's ten dollars for a little 6 oz. bottle..)
<Pretty pointless, but if you want to spend the money go ahead. Otherwise, if water quality is excellent (zero ammonia and nitrite) and you do 10-20% water changes every day or two, fish with open wounds will heal quickly, within a week or so.>
There's no sign of stress or any fungus growing on the wound, but I don't really want to waste any time that I could be using to heal the wound. 
I'll look into this "bio-bandage" stuff, but I'll need some more options.
Thanks for all of your help, though.  I'm sure that the platy will be fine, but I'll just have to wait and see.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fish death   3/31/12

Well, there could have been some alternative causes, but it looked like the angel had gotten a bit agitated lately, probably because I stopped feeding her as much food as I used to. I added some Melafix,
<Not a medication I recommend once a fish is actually infected with something; better used as a preventative when healthy fish are physically damaged, e.g., by fighting.>
hoping it could help keep any rotting or fungus away, and whether it was the Melafix or not, the fish seems to be getting better already! :)
I'm thinking it was partially the neon tetras, too, because they were lightly picking at her before I separated the injured fish from the rest. I guess they kind of "cleaned" her of the dead/dying tissue, so that could have helped prevent any rotting on the wound. (hoping that it wasn't painful for the poor fish..) I've bought a tank divider to separate them while the fish heals, fits snugly so none of the other fish, especially the angelfish, can get to her.
Thanks for the reply, hope you have a nice day :)
<Glad to help, and have a nice day yourself! Cheers, Neale.>

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