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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Disease/Health 1

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

Related FAQs: Freshwater Angel Disease 2, FW Angel Disease 3, FW Angel Health 4, FW Angel Health 5, FW Angel Health 6, FW Angel Health 7, FW Angel Health 8, FW Angel Health 9, & Angels 1, Angels 2, Angelfish Identification, Angelfish Behavior, Angelfish Compatibility, Angelfish Selection, Angelfish Systems, Angelfish Feeding, Angelfish Reproduction, & FAQs on: Wild Angels (P. altum), Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

New angelfish sudden sickness... systems... nutrition...  2/8/06 My 8 year old brother recently received a second-hand 25 gallon tank from a family friend a few weeks ago. It came with 3 red tetras, 2 Corys, 1 blue Gourami, and 1 Plecostomus. Four days ago, he bought two angelfish from the pet store. They are all fed flakes. <Need more than this> The tank is vertical, so most of fish stay close to the bottom during the day and swim up at night, but the angel fish are mostly seen at the top of the tank all the time. One of them liked to stay close to the heater, the other swam around. Today, one of the angelfish (I'm not sure if it is the heater one) started to lay on his side and is just breathing and moving his fins around a bit. <... likely water quality related> My mom called her friend who has fish and was advised to put the sick fish in a separate tank with some sea salt, which is what she did. So, it is now in a large jar with the water from the old tank and added salt.( I was confused by this because these are freshwater fish ) It has no water pump or heater, and it is laying on its side the same way. <Will die there> The other angelfish is in the original tank and is doing fine. I haven't seen any bullying, but there is a curious cat in the house which likes to watch them closely, but it doesn't seem likely he would only stress one fish. I want to research more, so I could know what else to tell you (I don't know anything about fish) but it looks like the little one doesn't have much time. Could you please give me some idea of what happened, and what we can do? Thank you for your help. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelfishes.htm and the related/linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish won't heal   2/6/06 Hello all! My three year old marble angelfish all of a sudden developed a white round translucent bubble on one of his eyes, my guess after reading up on your site was it was from an overnight injury. <Likely so> I treated for a week with Epsom salt at about a tablespoon every ten gallons which did nothing. Then I tried a treatment of (sorry to admit this, but I was desperate) Melafix, again to no avail... It's going on a month now, he's still eating, bubble has not spread or increased in size (about one quarter the diameter of the eye itself), and it hasn't shown up on any other angels in the tank. Also the eye itself is not swollen. My nitrite and ammonia levels are zero, and I feed flake food and bloodworms, changing about a quarter of the water every 10 to 14 days through gravel siphoning. In a separate case, my female blue ram just died after a month of not being able to eat! It wasn't for lack of trying, she would "hit" the food, but was unable to "suck it in" or "catch" it... Now, she was small, and I did break the flakes up into small bits for her, but prior to this she had no problems with even the blood worms everyone else was eating. So, she just wasted away, over about a month long period. I did have a brief problem with water quality, as I live in Florida and hurricane Wilma knocked out power for 2 weeks. I did my best to maintain the tank, but lost her mate to hole-in-the-head, most likely from the storm related diminished-water-quality thing that went on. Any guesses as to what happened to her, and what can I do to save my angelfish's eye? Thanks a million! <Often these eye problems prove to be persistent... lasting for many months to forever. Maintaining good water quality, nutrition is about all one can do. No "treatments" have proven efficacious. Bob Fenner> Help -- Sick Angel   1/13/06 You guys are really helpful and I would appreciate any advice you might offer.  My son (he's 5) and I are running a 29 gallon freshwater tank with 2 parrots, 2 angels <Mmm, a bit crowded... or soon will be... and the parrots and angels are a potentially bad/incompatible mix> and 2 catfish.  We've been feeding flake food, <Need more than this...> ammonia levels have been down (nearly nil) and stable for many weeks. pH runs at about 6.8.  The tank is about 3 months old.  We've noticed that one of the angels (the somewhat smaller one) has been eating much less (if at all) and has been more lethargic than the other angel. <Good observation... typical result from crowding... One larger than other/s...> More recently over the last several days, the angel has been "panting" -- breathing much faster than the other angel and hovering near the top and in the corner of the tank.  I've been keeping my eye out and doing research, and just yesterday I thought I noticed some mucous (sp?) near the gills, but I'm not positive.   <This is very likely "secondary"... the root problem/cause is a lack of nutrition... can't live on flake food...> I'm thinking "gill disease" maybe but, again, I'm just not sure.  I cleaned the tank and did a 25% to 30% water change over the weekend. <Good to do weekly, small water changes... covered on WWM> I also raised the temp a bit (its now at about 81).  I've looked at "CopperSafe" and various antibiotics and/or "QuickCure."  But I really want to make sure I give him the right stuff.  Should I move him to a QT (I've got a 10 gal. that is probably just about cycled) or can/should I treat the whole tank? <I would not treat this tank period. And would avoid copper, formalin...> Any advice on what to use??      Many, many thanks. Eric M. Kogan <Mmm, a mix of some meaty foods... limit the flakes to about half the total... once a day let's say, with frozen/defrosted, freeze-dried... alternating. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help -- Sick Angel   1/18/06 Sorry to report that the sick angel died.  I think your advice was right on.  We had started him on brine shrimp and he had started to eat and perk up.  I also removed some of the "toys" we had in the tank to give the fish more room.  Then, our electricity went out for several hours while we were away from the house, the heater was off, the temperature dropped. <Ohhh> By the time we got home and realized the electricity was out, it was too late.  The other fish survived as we were able to heat water with a gas stove and keep the temp at 75 in the tank until the electricity kicked on. Thanks for your help anyway. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Urgent!!! Help PLEASE!!!!! Angelfish fry deaths 9/26/05 We have been breeding Angel Fish for approx. 6 yrs now.  We have come across a problem we can't seem to find a remedy for.  All our fry are dying within 3 days of hatching and never seem to come up to swim.  We have quite an elaborate system set up in our basement.  Each tank having its own filtering system (to avoid cross contamination from other tanks) and a large holding tank where the water is filtered, heated and tested before use in changing water in the fish tanks themselves.   Currently we have 1-150gl tank, 9-70gl tanks, 1-35gl tank, 3-30gl tanks and 4-10gl tanks.  Our 10gl tanks are the ones we use for fry hatching away from the parents.  We are on a well water system.  3 months ago we had a lab come out and test the water in the well.  All came back within normal limits with Iron (Hard water) being just a tad on the high side of the normal, but still within the normal limits.   Our batch that hatched 2 days ago were all found dead this morning.  Out of no where it almost looks like white dust floating all in the tank.  What ever it is, they appear to be floating/swimming on their own.  Not so much as ONE fry is left anywhere to be found.  Only these white specks.  Is it possible, that when the well water is brought up to temp in a tank, it wakes up some kind of "bug" (for lack of a better word) that is killing our fish??  Have you ever heard of anything like this before or are aware of anything to correct this problem.  We are quickly running out of Angels here and it is becoming very frustrating.  We have checked and double checked all levels in tanks, holding tank and well system and can't seem to come up with any reason our fry keep dying off. >> I would have to guess, but it is likely that you have a parasite on the loose in your tanks that is not affecting the adults. Best guess would be Cryptosporidium which is famous for killing fry. You can treat the water with general antiparasitic medications and see if this resolves the problem, after that you should check to see if there is maybe some heavy metals in your source water that are affecting the fry. Good Luck, Oliver

Eye Fungus Angels 10/15/05 Hello,  <Hi, Catherine here> I have a quick question.  <1 period is sufficient.>  I have a 10 gallon tank with two adult Angelfish in it.  <What! Depending on the species adult angels need 30-50 gallons.>  A few weeks ago I thought I had an ick problem or possibly an external parasite problem.  <What were the symptoms? Could you not tell the difference?>  So I  <it's I>  bought some CopperSafe and began to treat the tank. They seemed to get better but tonight I noticed that the white spot on one of the fish's eye came back and he is beginning to swim sideways again. I did a water change, added some more CopperSafe and cleaned out the filter. I don't know what is causing this white spot to appear on their eyes. Any ideas?  <Yes. Eye fungus (white stuff over the eyes) is typically caused by poor water quality. Please check your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The readings should be 0,0, and less than 20.  Ten gallons is far too small for that much fish. On top of that, the medication probably killed the good bacteria in the tank and now you are recycling and getting ammonia and nitrite spikes. Extremely short term solution: 50% water changes daily. A new tank is necessary -- I'd also buy some BioSpira from Marineland to seed the tank and make it cycle faster.  Please look around WWM for information on angels, freshwater disease, and cycling.> Thanks, Marikate  <Anytime, Catherine. Also, in the future, please use correct capitalization and punctuation, so I don't have to fix it.> 

Mysterious Death In A Long-Established System - 11/05/2005 Hello to all - I have a question about my freshwater aquarium, but before that, I would like to thank all of you for sharing your knowledge and advice.  <Your kind words are so very appreciated.... Thank you.> I have WWM dailies as my homepage and every morning, before I do anything else (except turn on my aquarium lights and say hello to my buddies, of course) I read through your questions. I have used your search tool many times, rather than asking directly, and I find all the answers I need, and more!  <Ahh, delightful! Would love to know how to make this easier/more obvious to other folks....> I can't seem to find the answer to this mystery though, so please forgive me if I have overlooked.  <No worries.> I am not new to fishkeeping, but everyday there is something more to learn, I know.  <As with everything in life. May I always be ignorant, that I have something to look forward to learning!> I also know, learned from my 30+ years of aquarium keeping experience and confirmed through your advice on WWM, that regular water changes, patience and quarantine will practically guarantee success. I haven't lost a fish in 8 1/2 years until today and I am devastated because I loved my baby. <Oh dear. So sorry to hear this....> Here goes: 125 fully planted tank, magnum canister filter w/ carbon changes every 2 wks, output powering 2 BioWheels, set up for 4 years. 10 gallon water change on Mondays, 5 gallon on Thursdays, just a siphon water change-not a gravel vacuum because the tank is so heavily planted.  <All sounds great so far.> This tank has been running for 5 yrs, set up because my angelfish in the 55 gallon was really tall and I wanted him to have more room. His tankmates were 3 lemon tetras and 1 upside down catfish in the 55g. I regularly change light bulbs for the plants, prune them weekly, feed very sparingly, if at all. I have the 55 still set up with spare plants, thinned from the big tank, and I sell them to pets shops and give them to others. <Excellent!> Only fish in the 55 until recently was small school of zebra Danios to keep it interesting. For some reason, I thought my 5 fish in the 125 g needed friends after 5 years <I admit, your stocking scheme is actually more conservative than my own. Surprising.> and so went to the LFS and bought 6 neon tetras, 5 Cory cats, 3 guppies and 4 Otocinclus cats. These new fish were placed in quarantine in the 55 for almost 7 weeks (patience).  <Patience, indeed!> After the quarantine, and everybody still was in great shape, I transferred the newbies in with the old timers. The big community was all happy for 2 wks, then, horror, my 8 1/2 year old Andy angelfish died. <Devastating.... I am so sorry....> He had just been hovering in the corner for the last 2 days and hadn't been coming up and eating the little pinch of frozen bloodworms from my fingers like he did every morning for the last 8 yrs. Andy was very big-much bigger than the palm of my husband's hand and kind of old, I guess, for a fish.  <Yes.> I don't know what the lifespan of an angelfish is.  <'Bout Andy's age. They can live for a long time, but Andy was a ripe oldster.> I took him out, did an emergency 25% water change, started my search on WWM, and looked over to see my 3 lemon tetras (5 yrs old) hovering in the same corner.  <Hmm.... perhaps coincidence.... and, on the other hand, perhaps not.> They didn't come up to eat even, and they are piglets.  <Disconcerting, to be sure.> Everyone else is having a ball-even the upside down catfish (also 8 1/2 yrs). So, my questions: Was Andy just so stressed out because his world had changed?  <Mm, I do suspect disease.... perhaps viral.... or pathogenic.... My thoughts here: Your five fish had not had anything "new" in some years. No introduction of "normal" pathogens that are ever-present on nearly all fish to some minor degree. This long-established, healthy system may have just been too "healthy".... perhaps the new livestock had something that they brought with them, not in virulent amounts, that transferred to your angel, who was perhaps free of whatever it was for several years. As old as the fellow was, it took him out. This is all just speculation.... but is my first best guess.> Could I have done anything differently?  <No, hon. You could not have foreseen something like this. You did everything perfectly.> Are my lemon tetras traumatized too? What is their lifespan?  <Mm, tetras for the most part are MUCH shorter-lived than fish like angels.... if these guys are 8.5 years old, not only will I be surprised, but I'll be moving into your fish tank in short order, in the hopes of extending my own lifespan.> Should I try to remove them or will that just cause everybody to go nuts?  <If they are exhibiting obvious signs of illness, I would strongly consider removing them to a quarantine system to observe them apart from the other, healthy livestock.> Sorry for the novel, but I am just stumped (and very upset).  <Completely understandable.> Thanks so much. You guys are great.  <As are you.> I need a poster of Bob and Anthony and the whole crew to put up in my fish room. <Hey, now that's not a bad idea! Maybe we should have a "centerfold" Crewmember in the CA online mag, eh? (grin)> Patty <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Mysterious Death In A Long-Established System - II - 11/07/2005 Sabrina- thanks so much for your insight about my fish traumas. Sadly to say, my lemon tetras have passed on. Andy and Flipper (the upside down catfish were and are 8 1/2 years old. The lemon tetras were barely 5 yrs old, their records going back to October, 2000. (I consider the day I bought my fish as their birthday!) <Wow. Some geriatric characins, I think. I'm not so knowledgeable about characins, but I do think that's pretty aged for most smaller tetras....> I had not really considered that these old timers had lived in a "bubble" and thus were not able to fight off normal fish pathogens.  <Again, just a theory.> As I said, I will always be learning.  <As will I/we.> You all have convinced me that saltwater isn't as hard as I had always heard it to be, and I have had a healthy tank going now for over a year. Water changes and even more patience required than freshwater, huh?  <Mm, yeah, pretty much.> I also have a very low stocking scheme in the saltwater half of my fish room, as you advise, and I have never had a problem.  <Ahh, very good!> I don't believe I will be adding any new fish though. I'll just set up another tank! (good excuse) Thanks again for your time and generosity in sharing your knowledge, Patty <And thank you again for your kind words.... All the best, -Sabrina>  

Angelfish, Bacterial Infection, Great Images - 11/05/2005 Hi, I really need some help regarding my freshwater angelfish. I have already posted my problem on a number of different forums and it seems no one knows what I'm dealing with. My angelfish has developed black wormy things underneath his skin.  <A picture is worth a thousand words.... your images are excellent.> It first started out as a white lip fungus but then I noticed black things burrowing underneath in his head area. These worms (or bacteria) started pushing through his skin and leaving black protruding bumps. Then, the next day, almost as quickly as they came, they disappeared back into the skin and left a small hole. I first tried 50 percent water changes every day and since that didn't seem to help, I put him on MelaFix and PimaFix.  <These are worthless in my opinion. Really of no quantifiable value.> Again, this worked very little so I switched to Jungle Fungus Eliminator. This cleared up the holes very well until I noticed three more near his anal fin. I can also still see the worms inside him.  <I do not believe these are worms. Your images appear to me to suggest a bacterial infection quite clearly.> Someone else told me that probably the only solution is to humanly destroy the fish, sterilize the tank, and then start over.  <I very much disagree.> I would really like more options than this.  <There are.> I have also attached pictures. Thanks for any help you can offer. <I would treat with a broad-spectrum antibiotic (Kanamycin sulfate is one good option, or perhaps Oxytetracycline in food, if you can find). At Anthony's suggestion, I treated an Altum angel with extremely similar symptoms successfully with salt - bringing the specific gravity to 1.003 for a couple of weeks. You could try this instead. This animal is not a "lost cause".... likely can be medicated with success.> <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

F/W Angelfish, Hole-in-the-Head - 10/28/2005 I have a black angelfish that has a white lesion above one eye. It started out as a simple spot a week or two ago, but now it looks as if it's grown and is protruding out from under the skin. Meanwhile, it also has some pinholes appearing in the area behind his eye and gills.  <A very classic description of "hole-in-the-head" disease, or "head and lateral line erosion" (HLLE).> His fins (and the rest of his body) are fine. None of the other fish have been affected. The attached photo isn't great (the tank background is black) but you can see the brightness of the spot (part of it is glare; the spot itself is probably about 2mm in diameter) and maybe the pinholes if you look closely.  <Your description is actually a little clearer than the pic - thank you for sending the image as well.> <<Photo...??>> <<<Photo was lost in the recent webmail weirdness we've experienced.  -SCF>> The system: 50 gallon tank with two angels, two balsa, 2 rainbows, 1 zebra loach, 5 T-Bone Rasboras, some live plants. The tank has been established for 2 1/2 years, with the most recent livestock (Rasboras) being added about six months ago. I have a Penguin 170 hang on/BioWheel filter and a Magnum 350 canister filter. I vary their food: flakes, granules, freeze-dried brine and frozen bloodworms and vegetable matter. Any idea what it is and/or what I can do for it? <First, I note that you make no mention of your water quality. Test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes. Next, take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwhllefaqs.htm  and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm  for further information and ideas. Make sure to take the opportunity to check out the links in blue at the tops of those pages, as well.> Thanks, -Melissa <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Angelfish With Internal Bacterial Infection 10/27/05 HELP!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!! <We will try.> I have three angelfish who are swimming on their sides. They started out in a 55 gallon tank with 3 other angels,3 snails and a black moor. < Goldfish and tropical fish together are not really s good idea. Eventually one or the other will get sick from being either too warm (goldfish) or too cold (angelfish).> One by one they seem to start floating on their side. They are trying to eat and swim on their sides. I did a water change and bumped their temp to 82.  I am treating them with PimaFix and MelaFix. Also their blushing angels and the red spot seems to spread from their cheek outward.  A larger circle. I noticed my other angels seem to be redder too in that area. One angelfish's lips look swollen. I have the three that are swimming on their side in a sick tank. Please any advice. I called my LFS where I bought them and they just said to flush them. I can't do that. They are trying so hard to live. Any response is appreciated.-Brandy and Melody < Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone with some rock salt added to the water. Do a 50% water change every other day and remedicate on the days you don't change water. This should take care of the organisms causing the problems but it may take a while for your fish to completely heal if they survive the treatment.-Chuck> 

Angel fish I am in a bind. I have lost 20 angel fish in the past 72 hours. The first symptoms I see are a slight fungus around the eye. Within 12 hours the fish are dead. No other open wounds are seen except for one. All of the fish look like they have lost their eyes. The sockets are wide open and sunken. There is no fighting in the tank. Angelfish are the only breed in the tank. The tank was started 2 years ago with 2 fish that soon after had a lot of babies. Unfortunately for me and the fish, only a few of the fish died. Because there were so many of them I changed the water on a weekly basis to avoid ammonia buildup. Several months ago, I finally got a local store to take about 30 of them, a friend to take another 20. So I was down to about 30 fish. I continued to change the water weekly and the fish looked fine. Then I went on vacation and the water was not changed for 3 weeks. I now come home to this. pH was off the lower end of the scale. <Yikes... I'll bet> I put salt in the water I added ick and tried some fungus eliminator. With each treatment I have done a complete water change. Now i have Melaleuca CAS#8008-98-8 where do I go from here???? <Add aeration, and drip, change out the water continuously dripping new, dechloraminated water in to replace the removed water. Monitor pH, and don't feed the system anything till the pH is back in the 6-7 range. Bob Fenner>

Re: angel fish Thank you for answering back so quickly. Should I continue with the Melaleuca CAS#8008-98-8 product (which is the only Rx I have in the tank now) along with the aeration and drip?  <Yes... with adequate aeration it should help to some degree> At present, the ph is 6.8. At least I have not had any fish die since I first wrote you. I appreciate your help. There are no fish doctors in this town only the fish supply person (who at times I think is out for a sale). Again thank you, thank you, thank you. Jan <You're welcome my friend. Steady on. Bob Fenner>

Bullied Freshwater Angelfish I have a sunset blusher angelfish that I introduced into a large aquarium. I first put a divider between her & the old angels so they could get used to each other. After a couple weeks I took out the divider and everything seemed fine. Well after just a couple days, I noticed that she was acting different. After close observation, I noticed that she had this white stuff covering one of her eyes. She also had frayed fins. She was looking very rough! <She had probably taken quite a beating.> I immediately removed her from the tank & put her in the hospital. I put some Melafix in the tank. <Ah! The wonder of all wonder drugs. This is one instance where it maybe of some benefit, but I prefer more traditional means.> Yesterday she was swimming on her side. Today she seems a little better, she ate a little. I am wondering if I should medicate her with something? <Medicated foods are a good option.> All her fins are in terrible shape. Please help. I do not want to lose this fish. Thanks you very much, Danielle <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Fish Illness I breed angelfish and recently a couple of juvies developed redness around the mouth between the eyes. They were in a cichlid tank (they were fish I was culling) with two cichlids and a handful of feeder fish, Rosies. I removed the juvies because of the redness thinking the angels were too big for the cichlids to consume. I put them in with approx. 50 other juvies who are now getting the same symptoms redness, not active, sometimes staying at the top and within two days are dying. At a closer look at the Rosies, a few were "bent" looking. Not having straight bodies. The only thing I've found online that maybe wrong is fish tank granuloma. <careful here... the possibility of mycobacterium too. Contagious to you (bent spine symptoms... Fish TB)> Is it possible this is what's wrong? <does not seem likely to be granuloma at all> Thank you for your time, Stacey <alas... still too difficult to diagnose here without seeing the fish/symptoms. Let me suggest for a good general reference, Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases" or for something much more involved, the new work by Noga. Plenty of pictures therein both to help with the diagnosis. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick Angels Hello all, I had a breeding pair of freshwater angelfish, they had been in a 80 gal community tank, but the bickering with other angels was becoming a problem for the fins, so I moved them to their own 29 gal (temp 84, ph 8.2ish, no ammonia, cycled sponges for bio-filters, 80% water changes every other day) <Temp should really be no higher than 80, pH is a bit high too, it should be under 8.0 although if the old tank was also kept at 8.2 this shouldnt be a problem. The water changes may also be a bit on the drastic side, even for a new tank. Really, no more than 50% every other day or 25% daily until the tank is fully cycled would be the best. And be sure to make sure the new water is properly conditioned before adding it to the tank. You say no ammonia but what about nitrites?> Very shortly after that, the female developed long, grey strings of slime hanging off of her and her fins got very ragged, 2 days or so after that, her eyes got cloudy and she would not eat. She just drifted around the tank at the top, breathing hard, but not gasping. Then the male started to show the same signs. Day before yesterday (about 1 1/2 weeks from onset of symptoms) the female died. <Possibly a bacterial infection of some sort. Take a look at http://www/wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm > Treatments I tried are - Salt bath, 1 tbsp per gal for 20 min -  then simultaneously -parasite clear - super sulfa for 5 days, the 90% water change and then Clout by itself, now I am using only Maracyn, 1 tab per 10 gal every other day, I am on day three, and the male is not getting any worse, but not better either, and has not eaten for over a week now, I am also using a fair amount of slime coat stuff to help him retain at least some slime (water conditioner by Proquatics) but his eyes are not showing any sign of clearing.... Help!!!    <Check the above link and try treating with a medication for bacterial diseases.> Thank you in advance, Aimee <You're welcome! Ronni>

Re: Sick Angels Ronni - re the sick angels.... <Good morning> If you assume the grey slime is a normal stress/parasite/adverse conditions reaction, it is no wonder they stayed with a combination of high pH, mega water changes with water of undetermined quality and a battery of salt and treatments.  Add to this slime coat - well this doesn't 'retain' slime, it merely 'encourages' its production - these fish must be sweating slime! Your comments - am I talking 'jibe'? Wayne Oxborough <I really do think the slime is being produced in such great quantities because of all of the treatments and such. Recommended course of action for now is to run carbon for a day and then treat only with a single medication as suggested at http://www/wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm . This should help slow down the production of slime and hopefully also treat what is ailing them. Ronni>

Success in treating freshwater parasite problem >Hi Marina: >>Good morning, Bill. Your treatment seems to have worked! The white angel is free of all outward signs of ick and the other fish are all fine. >>Excellent!  Very glad to hear it. >I bought a device that allows me to read salinity and it is at 3 ppt, and I am going to leave it there for a couple of more weeks just to be certain. >>A refractometer, perchance? >Can loaches and Bala cats tolerate the salinity treatment? Would a seawater dip work with an Oscar?  (My Oscars are fine, but just wondering for future possibilities.) >>Yes, they can tolerate this better than they can certain medications. >Boy, I love keeping fish! (Although I do feel a little odd when I eat sushi now - and should I catch me any salmon, trout, halibut or grayling, it's going to feel a little different than it used to, now that I have fish buddies.) >>Yes, some folks do find themselves in a similar quandary.  As of yet, I have no problem eating what I keep (raising animals for food does help in that area).  Very glad I could help!  Marina

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

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

Sick FW Angel - 8/23/03 I have a female angel fish that has some kind of illness that I am unable to determine.  This has been going on over a month now.   <hmmm... that long, less likely to be a contagious pathogen. Too slow. good news> It started out like she was full of eggs, she has had numerous batches of eggs in the past, successful and a few unsuccessful. So I just thought she was pregnant again, I didn't think a lot about it until she just kept getting bigger and bigger.  This went on for a couple weeks.   <there are some afflictions of discus and angels that are expressed this way. Have you added new fish in the last month without quarantine? perhaps a disease was carried in> I called the local fish store and they advised I change her diet and feed her seaweed or smashed English peas.  (Thinking constipation.) I did that for 1 week, she was still getting bigger even after eating the above.   <It was good advice... you can/could add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per five gallons too> She then developed bubbles in her scales where her stomach was stretching.  This whole time she has had a normal appetite. Two weeks ago, she was nose down stationary barely breathing.  I thought she was going to die.  The next morning I was expecting her to be dead and she was swimming around like nothing was wrong.  She was acting normal for a week or so, and did the same thing I just described.   <hmmm.... really does not sound pathogenic... more likely a physical or congenital anomaly. Do try the Epsom salt and repeat it full strength 3 days later in this case> I have just started putting parasite medicine in the water to see if that would help.   <not likely parasites at all... no indication here> The only other fish in the tank with her is the male that is her breeding pair.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know.  The fish store here is puzzled as well.  Thanks- MC <go to our index page at wetwebmedia.com and do a Google search at the bottom for "Epsom salt" and read the FAQs on it. Best regards, Anthony>

Angel Losses For years, I had beautiful angelfish in Indiana. But here in Sun City, Az. they have been dying. INFO- 20 gal. tank. Bio filter for up to 30 gals plus air stone. Tank has been up for two and a half months and cycled. Some plastic plants but live plants are doing great. Temp-82.  Test as of tonight: Nitrate-40 Nitrite-0 Hardness-150 Alkalinity-120 PH-7.6 Ammonia-0.  Added fish tank salt as directed. <Okay, so far, so good, but a 20 gallon tank is far too small for angels, unless you're doing a bare-bottom breeding setup for one mated pair of angels, and no other fish.> Have had 6 little angels and 2 Cory cats in the tank for the last month but--I would lose one or two angels one week, replace, etc. <It's not a good idea to replace fish that have died until you know what it was that killed them, or you'll run the risk of the new fish getting sick with the same thing.> For the last week or 10 days, all has been great, then 4 angels dead one morning. I only feed them as much as their "eye", change 15% of the water once every week. Have had the water tested at different pets stores. They say every thing is good but the angels still die. <It's really hard to say what's going on without knowing any symptoms.  Please do let us know what you're seeing happen with them; look for frayed fins, grayish or filmy skin, labored breathing, disorientation, or just absolutely anything amiss, and hopefully we can help you diagnose what's going on.> This is getting very depressing. Hope you can help me as you have others.  Thanks, Lorraine <Will certainly try to!!  -Sabrina>

Super Thanks for Answering - Freshwater Angelfish plague <Sure thing, Lorraine.  I do apologize that I'm late in this reply, though; I've been frustrated researching an angelfish/discus "plague" that took out my little altum angels quite recently, and unfortunately, this and your other recent email are definitely leading me to believe that you're dealing with this bizarre illness, as well.> Am using the 20 gal. as a starter tank. Will be setting up a 55 or larger later. As for symptoms, the first ones would stay at the top in a corner and breathe hard. (Added air stone) as dying, they were disoriented. <Although these symptoms are consistent with what I know as this 'plague', there are other possibilities - flukes, other gill parasites possibly> Was also told that the stock was not really first class.  First class or not, I want them to live. <I completely understand.  I've never accepted that line, "It's just a fish" myself, either.> Not into breeding, just love to watch them. The deaths were cutting down as I did different things. Letting the faucet water set with Wardley's CHLOR- OUT, etc. Thought I was winning with the last fish. There were NO signs. They were all swimming, eating, chasing my finger when I ran it across the glass. The next morning, 4 dead.   <Same symptoms?  Or any symptoms at all?> The 2 other angels are fine and so are the Corys. (As of now.) <If it is this 'plague', it should not affect the Corys at all.  Please do a Google search on "discus plague" and see if that's what you're experiencing.  Please do understand that for every dozen accounts you read, you'll find a dozen different opinions on what might work and what won't.  My recent experience with my altums showed Nitrofurazone, Kanamycin sulfate, Metronidazole, and Melafix all to be completely ineffective.  I truly wish you more luck than I had, and hopefully you can find something that works for you.  Please do keep us updated, Lorraine.  -Sabrina>

Angel plague? - continuation of a sad story Sabrina, (& crew) This is to be added to my last message.  Before I got your reply, I did get another angel. (That I won't do again.)  Any way, I was home from work today because of "our fuel problem", here in  Arizona.  I had a Silver and a Veiltail left. The new one was a silver and it sort of  paired off with the other silver but the 3 would stay together. Last night the Veiltail didn't want to eat and was in the corner and she did look thinner with every thing close to her body.  This morning she wouldn't eat and stayed up in the corner. I decided to put her in a small tank because she started swimming curved. Does that make sense? <Yes, I think so - some of my altums exhibited this as well, and I recall it from dealing with this 'plague' 6 or 7 years ago in Kansas.> I noticed her eyes looked "out" but she is thin. I gave her a bit of frozen shrimp and she did eat a bite. Since, she looks up with her tail down, like this / . Some of the others didn't even seem as bad as her and they died. <This all does sound hauntingly like what I've experienced.> I did a 25% water change last night. Right now, Nitrate-30,  Nitrite-0, Hardness-150, Alkalinity-120, pH- 7.6.  Have read that Angels like soft water with the pH 6.5 to 6.9. <Tank raised scalares will tolerate a very large range of pH.  Instead of fighting with bringing it down, it's safer to just keep 'em at what your tap is so you can keep it steady.  Wild scalares or altums do require much lower pH, but the tank raised angels are extremely tolerant.> Have even tried distilled water and do use Cycle. <Definitely skip on the distilled water - it's actually too 'pure' - lacks things our fish need.  Tap water and a good conditioner are a much better route.  I would also like to mention that Jack Wattley wrote an article about his experiences with the discus plague in a recent issue of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine.  A trip to surrounding area fish stores proved awful - every single store had angels and discus the same symptoms.  I'm going to endeavor to set up a few tanks and get scalares that I know to be infected so I can try to find for myself a medication that may help before I attempt to keep altums again.> So give me your verdict.  Sincerely, Lorraine <Not much to give, I'm afraid; but I do wish you and your angels well.  Do please keep us updated.  -Sabrina>

Angel plague - continued again So sorry about your loss. Just wanted to tell you that my angels are doing great. <Oh, wonderful!  I'm so glad to hear that!> I did remember that I had put some ICK medicine in the tank. <Do you perhaps remember the name of the particular med you used?  Active ingredient(s)?> I thought that maybe they had it and I wasn't seeing it. I don't know if this is what saved the last 2 angels or not. <Who knows....  I have read about so many 'cures' for the so-called plague, from voodoo to constant water changes to no water changes to prayer....  And perhaps what you were dealing with wasn't this 'plague' at all.> I also have been using the cycle and like it. Let me know if you have any luck with your experiments. <Sure.  I do hope everything goes well with your tank and fish!  -Sabrina> Lorraine

Constipated angelfish? Hi, <Hello, Mark!  Sabrina with you today> I have a large angel fish that has developed a larger than normal stomach over the last week or so. It is lethargic, is not eating or producing waste. It also seems to be gulping. Otherwise it looks OK - no external signs of infection, parasites, injury. Is this likely to be constipation? <Sounds like it to me, or possibly the beginnings of dropsy - are the scales sticking out, pinecone fashion?> If so, I have been advised to try syringe feeding a little natural yogurt as this could be more effective than Epsom salts. Is this a good idea? <Personally, I've never heard of using yogurt for constipation in fish....  I'd be especially skeptical about it, to tell the truth.  If nothing more, handling out of water and then force-feeding would be far more stressful to the fish than trying Epsom salts.  Epsom salts are effective, though, and can be dosed at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons, or even up to 2 Tbs per 10g, if the lower dose doesn't do it.  If the fish looks to be tempted to eat, try feeding a thawed frozen pea; squeeze the soft inside part out of the shell before offering it.> Thanks,  Mark. <Any time.  Good luck with your angel.  -Sabrina>

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

Stressed-Out Angel 11/04/03  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  I have a 46 gal tank,pH-6.6-6.8, 0 Nitrites, 0 Ammonia, H2O temp is running @ 76 deg., etc. Her name is Lace and I would be devastated is something happens to her, if I can help. he is approx. 5-6" in size and I have had her for quite some time. All variables have been constant. Two days ago, my husband & I introduced a marble kissing Gourami to the tank ( I have had a Gold Gourami in with Lace; NEVER had any problems ). It was within minutes, the INDY 500 between the Gourami "vehicles." I put the gold Gourami in a breeders net for a 12 hr." time out, " which seemed to help. The next am, we the intro. again....after 10 min, the race resumed.. gold Gourami assured 1st place. This fish has now found a new home, & all is quiet . HOWEVER, this seems to be the time I began to notice changes in my Goldveil...she interacts with me constantly...coming up to the frt of the tank, eating out of my hand, etc. Since this occurrence, she appears to want nothing to do with myself or my husband, "hangs" in the back corner of the aquarium and appears very interested in the food ( she's a top feeder ) but only eats very little if anything...no visible signs of anything wrong, no gill redness, but she just acts " out of sorts" She's not "gasping for air" but it looks like her mouth is going constantly, though I'm not sure if this is new or not. Can you help? Could she just be stressed? She just appears timid of everything, us & food included...esp. with the "food part" she looks at it, appears to want to go to the surface to eat, but she just " looks scared " to me. This has only been going on for less than 48hrs. Between the race, adding the breeders net, netting the culprit, confining him, taking him out again, confining him again, (this took 15 min to coax him out of hiding), then completely removing him from the tank...I stressed just telling you my story...Could you help diagnose her condition and/or what we can do to help? Please respond to my HOME e-mail address. The e-mail address is:  <If the only change was adding the aggressive Gourami to the tank, even though you have removed it, the angel could be stressed-out from the whole ordeal. I'd do a water change & add StressCoat. Get her some of her favorite live foods; brine shrimp, or even better yet, some bloodworms.>  <Pufferpunk>

Angel Fin Rot Hey, Rachel here, again. My two young angels have fin and tail rot. Nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia are all O.k. PH is 7.3. One of the angels has stopped eating. I need to treat them for fin and tail rot, but there is a baby fry in the tank. The brand of the medication is ALL NATURAL MELA FIX. Will this hurt the fry, or is there anything that treats the fins, without hurting the baby?? >>Hello again Rachel; do you know which species the fry are? Melafix shouldn't hurt any fish, but it might affect your biological filtration. Please make sure to keep testing your water! The fins should start to heal, but may take a week or so, assuming your water quality is good. If your fish are not eating, this isn't a good sign. Keep an eye on them for the next couple of days, and let us know if the fins are indeed healing. Also if they don't start eating, maybe the Melafix will need to be changed for another medication. It's also possible that another fish is bullying your angel to get its food. -Gwen<<  

Angel Without Wings I have an angel fish that had its fins eaten by other fish. I was wondering if the fish could ever grow back the fins lost? He has lived for 2 months in my father-in-law's tank with the other fish and we just recently took him and put him in his own tank. I was wondering if you had any suggestions because he seems to be healthy except he has no fins. Thanks! < The fins probably will grow back if they have not become fungused or diseased. Make sure the water is clean and I would add a couple of teaspoons of rock salt per gallon it keep the slime up.-Chuck>

Some fat lips on angelfish <HI, MikeD here>         I have looked in a lot of places but haven't seen anything on fat lips on angels. This poor fish looks like he's been overdosed with collagen injections!  He seems to be healthy, otherwise.  No trouble eating and no trouble being bossy at times.  There are 3 other angels in the 55 gal tank and they, too, are healthy. We bought the 4 fish as babies and have had them for about 8 months.  Any ideas as to the cause and treatment of fat lips?<Without seeing the fish in person or at least a good photograph, all I can do is ask a couple of questions in return and give you an option.  In your narrative you don't mention whether this is a sudden development or a characteristic of the fish that has been there as it grew, and from the tone in general I'm inclined to suspect that the latter is the case, which would indicate that you may have an aberrant gene that's shown up, resulting in a fish that's otherwise normal....this is how most of the "strains" of decorative aquarium fish originated, veil tails, blushing angels, marbles, etc., and if you so desire here's your chance to add another. Breed this fish with two or three members of the opposite sex and watch the fry to see how many show the trait, then breed these together until you end up with parents that now produce all progeny with the same characteristic and go from there..."Kissing angels", "Jagger angels" (or any other name that suitably describes their appearance, and voila!  While an infection could result in enlarged lips due to swelling, there are usually other signs that accompany it, such as difficulty eating, cottony growth on the lips, etc., which is why I suspect that you simply have a deviant gene, also sometimes referred to as "evolution in progress" and unless you see a definite sign for alarm I'd simply sit back, watch and enjoy your fish....different is not always bad>   My angels and I thank you for your help! Angel fish with white eye growth My Angel Fish's eye clouded over and the whiteness continued to grow until it was about 4x the size of his eye and was loosely flapping as he swam--it literally looked like he had a small wet cotton ball attached to his eye.  I finally got the net out and scraped it off as he swam by.  It took half his eye with it.  I've searched on the web but can't find anything even remotely related to this.  I'm assuming he's blind in that eye now, so what I'd like to know is whether or not it can spread to the other fish or is going to kill him. < Unfortunately fish cannot close their eyes to protect them from injury. Sometimes their eyes become damaged by rough handling in coarse nets and that leaves them susceptible to infection. Next time gently wipe the eye with a wet cotton ball to remove the majority of the fungus and treat the tank with Maracyn or erythromycin. Do a 30% water change, make sure the filter is clean. Follow the directions on the package. It may spread but if the water is clean and warm and the rest of the fish are in general good health then it should not spread.-Chuck> Thanks, Amy Woods

Today's dying FW angel question.... In attempting to discover why my angels are dying and no other fish are, I wondered if maybe they are a little more sensitive to nitrites than the other fish, as the nitrites were activated a little around that time when I did a gravel cleaning and water change.  I had to stop once 50% of the water was gone, but there was still detritus left in the tank-although I don't think there was a lot.  Must have been enough to cause some trouble, though, as when I took a nitrite reading shortly after the cleaning) they were about .40. < That might be enough to do it.> I assumed from the fact that there was still detritus that I must be overfeeding-although it's hard to imagine since I feed twice a day with one pinch during each feeding.  I am trying to clean a little per day, so as not to cause too much distress to my fish, and this morning I rinsed the bio-filters and pressed water out of the carbon filters themselves. The carbon filters were about 3/4 greenish and 1/4 blue.  What determines when I should change them?  Should I change one at the time? (There are two-my filter is a 330 Marineland) There was quite a bit of detritus on the filters as well, but I rinsed them pretty thoroughly and put them back.  To my horror, I noticed some detritus (sorry to keep using that word so much) came through the filters-although not much.  Is this normal?  I filtered what I could see through a net, and the water is clear once more.  I should mention that my water has bounced back to crystal clear during both water changes and filter cleanings and the fish seem to be thriving and there haven't been any more deaths.  Your thoughts on all of this? < The Marineland 330 is a great filter. I would rinse out both filter pads under a high pressure water hose until the pads are back to being blue. The bacteria live on the wheels so you can thoroughly clean the pads each time. Only feed you fish enough food so all of it is gone in a couple of minutes once each day. The uneaten food is a major source of nitrogen waste in a tank.-Chuck> Cyndy Monarez/Thomas Nelson

Angels can't swim! Hey there my angel fish have stopped swimming. Their tails have folded up and there long fins have gone thin and superficial. They just lie on the bottom, not eating. What is wrong and how can I fix it? < You have a bacterial infection. Do a 30% water change and clean the filter. I would treat with a medication called Furanace. If that is not available then try Maracyn. These medications also affect the good bacteria that break down fish waste. Watch for ammonia spikes. -Chuck>

Angelfish treatment Hello I want to thank you for the knowledge I acquired on your wonderful website, however I couldn't find an answer for my specific question. Please help me save my angels. I have 6 angelfish the size of a quarter I would say and they are exhibiting these symptoms. Its like there color is disintegrating and leaving a transparent outline of fins and tails. First I noticed it on just 1 angel, in the lower fins, one was shorter than the other, then all the others started getting kinda scraggly looking, like someone rubbed them the wrong way. Kinda hard to give exact description and I couldn't take a better picture than this, sorry. I figured its fin rot so I isolated them in a new set up quarantine tank ( not cycled) and started treating them with Quick Cure 10 drops per 10 gallon daily. Says cures ick not fin rot, this is what Petco gave me, said should help. I don't think they have ick but Petco should know more than me I guess. Now I understand that salt helps so been adding aquarium salt as directed along with meds. Now the Quick Cure direction state to only treat for 2 days and to perform a 25% water change should you need to repeat treatment. Well that was no problem I change 25% every other day just because tank isn't cycled with a no carbon filter (did put an old sponge filter that was in a cycled tank awhile to help the process).  But does not state how many treatments can be repeated and I don't know what I need to look for to know its cured. Just slowed the progression I guess then I should transfer to original tank and fins heal in awhile? < No. Keep them in the quarantine tank and treat them with Nitrofuranaces.> The angels are eating and swimming kinda lopsided sometimes, don't know if that's normal, however I have no idea if I should raise the heat or when the meds are working and should stop? < Stop treating with QuickCure, use the Nitrofuranaces medication as per the directions on the package.> It looks like the symptoms have not progressed any further but has not disappeared, but I understand this will take some time to grow back. If I transfer back to original tank I have Cory's bottom feeders and they don't like salt too much. So when to transfer them back to original big tank? < When they are eating and acting normally for two weeks.> I know it must be stressful being in uncycled tank. I just don't know what to do, please point me to the right direction, thank you so much beforehand for your response. Another thing one angel has real red gills was always like that and since he's an albino I thought maybe its normal, but a friend of mine said it must fluke or something. I understand ammonia makes the gills red, couldn't find nothing on fluke so ?? < Some breeds or angels are referred to as blushing angels. This is just a trait from the breed.> Also she suggested treating fin rot by putting a penny in the tank, so don't know if I should do this in addition to Quick cure or what. If I do put a penny will it affect the nitrifying bacteria as the meds would hence transfer in hospital tank. I had a hard getting the tank cycled and would not want to go thru the process again if possible < Don't put a penny in the tank and stop listening to the guys/gals at Petco. Their advice may have cost you the lives of your angelfish.-Chuck> Teresa Azzopardi

Camallanus Worms - 01/19/2005 I have a large planted freshwater community tank which includes a number of Angelfish (9).  The majority of the Angelfish (but not all) appear to have short red sticks (approximately 1/4 in - 3/8 in) protruding from or near their genitals.  No other symptoms on any other part of the angelfish's bodies or on any other of the fish (German Rams, Bala shark, Corys, etc.).  From looking at books, it appears that the "red sticks" could be the ends of anchor worms but I am puzzled that they do not appear anywhere else on the fish.  What do you think they could be?   <Likely Camallanus worms.  Also, it is likely that all the angels (and quite possibly any other fish in the tank) are affected.> I regularly change the water (every week or two) from 10-33%.   <Have you fed them any unquarantined live fish as food?  This is a common parasite in livebearing fishes.  Either way, it is communicable - could be that one of the fish you purchased spread it to the rest.> If anchor worms, what should I use for treatment (formalin??) and should I treat the whole tank or only those fish which display the "red sticks"?   <I would treat all the affected fish with Levamisole, Piperazine, or Praziquantel IN FOOD.  Some products containing these medications are "Discomed" and "Pipzine", which have instructions for mixing them with food.  Also, the following link offers foods already prepared with medications: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/26/cat26.htm?519 .  I understand the folks there are greatly customer-service oriented, as well.> Thank you for the help. <Any time.> Diane Thompson <Wishing you and your angels well,  -Sabrina>

Camallanus Worms - II - 01/20/2005 There did used to be guppies in the tank. I had this parasite 2 years ago and perhaps I never got rid of it as I thought.  <I doubt that you wouldn't have seen anything in two years - but I suppose the parasites may have been too numerous to detect.> What is the treatment for Camallanus worms? <Verbatim from the previous response: "I would treat all the affected fish with Levamisole, Piperazine, or Praziquantel IN FOOD. Some products containing these medications are "Discomed" and "Pipzine", which have instructions for mixing them with food. Also, the following link offers foods already prepared with medications: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/26/cat26.htm?519 .  In fact, they offer a de-worming flake that would probably be effective. You might call them to discuss this product and its ability to combat Camallanus.> One more question on the Camallanus worms. Since you say they are highly communicable, it would seem one should treat the whole tank?? <Yes.... Especially since you may not be able to see symptoms in seemingly healthy fish without a high-powered microscope.> Diane Thompson <Good luck fightin' the good fight, Diane! Let us know if we can be of further service. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> 

Curve on dorsal of freshwater angelfish I have some dark black juvenile approx 7-8wks old angelfish. There are a combination veil and standard fin. Some of the dorsals on the veils are starting to have a curve .the standard fins are fine. Is this a genetic trait (the parents do not show it) or overcrowding, water condition or lack of some nutrient? < Black angelfish have traditionally been one of the weaker strains of angelfish. They are very inbred. If the adults don't show it then it probably a number of factors. My guess is it is a combination of genetics with poor water quality during their early stages in development.> They were raised on brine shrimp and have been eating TetraMin flake and Spirulina the last 10 days. Also there is this reddish brown slime algae looking substance on the glass and sponge filters, What is it and could this possibly cause the problem?  Help < Algae is a sign of too much light and excessive nutrients in the water. It could be nitrates or some other mineral. My guess is when the water quality is good enough not to encourage algae then the fish will have better finnage  on your fish as they develop. Try  checking the ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero. The nitrates should be as low as possible for you developing fish. You remove these factors when you do regular water changes and service the filter often.-Chuck> Thanks Heidi

FW Angelfish Lip Tumor? Writing from Jamaica. I've got a 95 or so gallon home-made tank on my balcony housing some little Oscars, a clown loach, Plecostomus and a collection of native river gobies and Gambusia (sp?) that I'm collection for a guy at UWI. I've inherited a lovely, though heavily inbred, large angelfish from a neighbor's tank that it had outgrown. It's lips, both top and bottom are covered in a fleshy, pinky-gray tissue (tumor), which seems to make its feeding difficult but otherwise seems all right, though ugly. It sounds like Phillo. (I've forgotten) according to the internet literature, though it did come from a tank that was too small. With the illness, I'd love to have not accepted the fish, but the neighbors kids wouldn't have taken it so well. They're new to ecology and survival of the fittest. This tumour situation seems very common among angels sold in Jamaica. I think there are only a few breeders, or less. Every shop seems to sell very similar angels. Could you give a better description of what this tumor Phillo. looks like, how it might compare to a tank-side chronic bruise or, as suggested on this forum a bacterial infection, is it infectious (if Phillo., no) and will it go away or can I surgically excise it/them, and if I do will they grow back? I reckon that these tumors will eventually hinder the animal's feeding enough that it will fade and float. < I have seen this before in heavily inbred angelfish and it was assumed to be caused by a virus since no parasites could be found. If this is the case then it cannot be cured. I recommend destroying the fish and trying to get some new bloodlines.-Chuck>

Angelfish in general Hello, My name is Michael Hoefnagel and my family recently bought me an angelfish for my aquarium as a gift. However I know very little about angle fish thus and your website was very helpful in answering most of my questions. I do however seem to have a problem I have a single angle and it seems to just float at the top of my tank and kind of moves with the current. He has not at this point eaten anything... Is there something wrong with my fish and if so is there anything I can do? < You tank should be at about 80 F. Check for white spots or any other signs of disease. Try offering some brine shrimp to get him to eat. It doesn't sound like normal angelfish behavior. Watch the other fish too. This angelfish could be a carrier of disease to the other fish.-Chuck> Thanks for your help Michael Hoefnagel

Angelfish Problems I've been having trouble keeping Freshwater Angelfish. When I am at my LFS they look healthy, but within a matter of a day or two they die. Why is this? I thought these are hardy fish. pH is acidic (slightly) and no trace of ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate. The temp is 76-78 and it is a 29-gallon tank. The fish are usually 1/2"-2" long. Can you help me? Jahner < Young angelfish are actually pretty delicate. Especially some color forms like black angels. I would recommend that the next time you get silver or marble colored angels. Place them in a small tank like a quarantine or hospital tank and feed them well. I like to use live California black worms or baby brine shrimp to get a good solid protein meal inside them. This goes a long way to your fish building up their immune system. In a 29 gallon they may have trouble finding food or competing with smaller but much faster fish.-Chuck> 

Angelfish Trouble.. F/W? S/W? Hi.  <Hello, MikeB here.>  I bought an Angelfish almost a week ago and I have kept the conditions excellent in my tank. I have a 50 gallon tank and not too many other fish. I feed my Angelfish as directed from the pet store but suddenly it is having a buoyancy problem and wedging himself behind my filter and I'm not sure how to help it or if I can. I would really like to know if there is anything I can do to help him other then possibly wait a couple days to feed him to see if maybe it was a problem with overfeeding. Thanks, Krissie. <Krissie, it sounds like a swim bladder problem. I would try using one tablespoon of Epsom salt per ten gallons of water and not feed your angelfish for a couple of days. Good Luck. MikeB.> 

Angelfish with Acne There are three pinhead size bumps about 2 MM apart just below the left eye of my fish, He's almost 10 inches from top of fin to bottom (Angel Fish) he doesn't seem to be acting weird but I'm sure they are not supposed to be there. They don't look like Ich more like tiny white teeth coming from the inside of his head if that give you a better image. Please Help John < Your angelfish has probably scraped himself on a rock, piece of wood or a plant stem. This could even be caused by you fish attempting to get some food out of the gravel. It is probably a bacterial infection followed up by a fungal infection. I would isolate the fish in a hospital tank and treat with Nitrofurazone. It will take care of both problems.-Chuck> 

FW, Angelfish woes/Less than pristine water conditions  9/23/05 My angelfish has been hiding in a log lying down.  Sometimes she is up in the corner above bubble bar. <Is she gasping, this is often a sign of poor oxygen concentration in the tank, you may need to increase aeration and water changes.> She got stuck in the lava rock last night due to her being to larger for such a small hole. <Ouch, I would remove the rock to avoid this in the future, the stress alone can lead to demise no to mention the physical damage.> I am not sure how long she was stuck because she was like that when I came home after 8 hours. I managed to get her out but now she is lying down and another fish was nibbling on her fins. <Has this aggression been persistent or is the first time you have observed it?.> She is a year old.  I have put her in a tank alone now but she still lies down but will swim around when you pick up the bowl she is in.  We tested the water the ammonia level is more than 1.0  but less than 2.5 <Sounds like the tank she is in/has not gone through the nitrogen cycle, that ammonia reading is enough to kill any fish, I would start performing LARGE water changes to compensate. And see here for more detail about the nitrogen cycle. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm . Also if your LFS has a product called Bio-Spira I would purchase some. This product contains live bacteria to help out in your cycling process.> The pH is less than 6.2 the water was yellow. <The color is likely form dissolved organic compounds in the water.>  The Nitrite is 0.05. What do I Need to do to my water and what will help my angelfish? <Change a large amount of the tank volume, I would do 50% daily or twice a day for the next week or so, make sure to use a dechlorinator such as Amquel to treat tap water. Running Carbon is not a bad idea either.>   Please help I do not want to lose her or any of my other fish. <Understandable, Adam J.>

In Response to Angelfish Woes Thanks for replying so quick. <No problem, I know how it is to see one of your specimens suffering. Its not a good feeling.>   We are going to do the water changes. <Awesome!>   We had a Couple months ago did a good cleaning on the tank and had some distress and we did several water changes and seemed fine after that.  The water test was good. <For best results/stability try doing a water change once every 2 weeks, every week if you can, 10-20% of your tanks water volume would be a great start.> As far as the aggression with the fish that was the first time for that.  I think it was just because she is ill. <Im inclined to agree.> I have read your site about the Bio-Spira and I will get some.  I have an hour drive to the nearest store but I will be doing whatever I need to save my fish.   <I admire your dedication.> I have 17 fish.  Again thank you so much for helping me.  You are a great site for help and do not keep people waiting. <We try our best.>   I will recommend you to others I know when they need help or just want to read up on things. <Thank you very much, responses like this one make it all worth it, wishing you and your critters well, Adam J.> Bloated Angelfish  8/30/05 HELP!!!! My angel fish is so filled with gas, he looks like he's   swallowed a ping-pong ball....what should I do? More antibiotics? < The Metronidazole should have done the trick , but it appears that either the conditions that caused the bloat are still in place or the Metronidazole was ineffective. At this point I would switch to a double dose of a Nitrofurazone medication in a hospital tank or to Clout as a last shot.-Chuck.>

Bloated Angelfish  8/31/05 Thanks for quick response - he's sooooo sick. By the way, another web site suggests: if one is either trained to handle fish or is a veterinarian, one could try putting a small pin hole into the bladder to allow the gas to escape.... as a last-ditch effort - he's probably about to die should I try this? Anne < I guess it is worth a try if you have nothing to lose. Most of the time the trauma kills the fish. Try it if you think all hope is lost and write back if it works.-Chuck>

Angelfish Going to Heaven  8/16/05 I love this web site! you guys are so helpful! I'm so confused right now. I've been doing freshwater aquariums now for about 5 yrs and have never come across what is happening with my fish tank now. I have a 125 gallon aquarium, right now i only have 2 blood parrots, 2 angel fish, 1 rainbow shark, and 1 Kribensis. My problem is with the angel fish. I use to have 4 angel fish. 2 were about silver dollar size, and I had them a while longer, and the other 2 were about quarter size and newer. One of the bigger ones became ill and was floating at the top, not eating. He died. Then the other big one also came down with the same symptoms, except we actually saw her cough up blood and have blood come out of her gills. We knew which were male and female because they had bred shortly before. I had my water tested and everything, and everything was perfect. We did a water change, added copper safe, and treated with an antibiotic. None of my other fish were acting strange. Now about a month later, my smaller angel fish are about silver dollar size, and one has started doing the exact same thing as the other two did before they died. And I'm sure my last one will do it too. They also bred shortly before becoming ill. The only thing I can see causing this is that they were a bad batch from the store. All my other fish were bought from different stores except for my angel fish, they were all bought from one store, and they are the only ones with these symptoms. I'm not sure what I should do. There is no aggression going on in the tank. I have had blood parrots and angel fish together for years and they get along great. It has been about a month or so since my first angel fish died. Do you guys have any ideas? or any suggestions for what i should do? like I said, my water is good, we did a water change just a few days ago, and added the dechlorinator, and we have copper safe in there, and treated it just a few weeks ago with antibiotics. Thank You So Much!! < If the fish died shortly after they bred then they must have been in pretty good shape to breed. The stress of breeding may have lead to an internal bacterial infection. Domestic angelfish don't have too much resistance to disease. I would treat them for internal anaerobic bacterial infection with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

FW Angelfish with Swimming Problems 7/19/05 Hi: I hope I didn't miss the answer on your website, but if I did, apologies ahead of time. I have an angel fish - silver striped, freshwater - who has air bladder disease. At least I think that's what it is. He's lying on his side, trying so hard to swim. He eats when he can upright himself. I have put him in a hospital tank, away from his obnoxious co-specimens - two other angel fish, same species, who were picking on him. (If he lives, I will not return him to the big tank.   He can have the hospital tank and I'll find him new friends.) Anyway, the main tank is 75 gallons with two filters (the 500 size.)   I have about 15 fish in there, mostly small tropicals, half dozen neon tetras, some penguin tetras, and five plain vanilla tetras -  pale in color. I also have a so-called Tri-Color shark and one Pleco.   I had a terrible case of free-floating algae - months and months of green water and finally got rid of it about two weeks ago. A day or two later, just when I thought things were finally OK, my poor angel fish was bobbing around on his side. I am treating him with antibiotics (gram-positive Maracyn) and just began treating him with a gram-negative medication (Maracyn II.) Is there anything else you can suggest I do? This fish is the only one I've ever owned that actually had a personality - he's trying really hard to survive - and I'd like to help him if I can. Anne S. < Keep in the isolation tank and treat with Metronidazole. The key to a successful recovery is quick treatment. Once the fish is eating you should be home free.-Chuck>  

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