FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Disease/Health 6
FAQs on Angelfish Disease:
Angelfish Disease 1,
Freshwater Angel Disease 2,
FW Angel Disease 3,
FW Angel Health 4, FW Angel Health 5, FW Angel Health 7,
FW Angel Health 8,
FW Angel Health 9,
FAQs on Angelfish Disease by Category:
Nutritional (e.g. HLLE),
Infectious (Virus, Bacterial,
Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...),
Related Articles: Freshwater Angels, Discus, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General,
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
Angelfish with cloudy eyes 4/8/11
I bought an Angelfish a week or two ago. It seemed fine when I bought
The last few days I have noticed it's eyes both look cloudy.
are not bulging or anything. I had my water tested at my local fish
shop and they said everything looked good. I am treating my tank with
Melafix as I have a Lyretail Swordtail with tail rot. It got it after a
bout with Ich.
All of my other fish look fine. The Angelfish does not swim around much
and doesn't really seem to be eating much either. The past couple
of days he seems to hide more than anything. I have searched the net
and not really found any helpful results. Any help you can provide
would be greatly appreciated.
<Hello Ray. Cloudy eyes that appear overnight usually imply physical
damage (especially if just one eye is cloudy) or poor environmental
conditions (the usual explanation if both eyes are cloudy). It's
absolutely crucial you review the situation here. While it's
possible the fish was damaged in transit, be open minded to the idea
your tank isn't perfect. Just to recap, a single Angelfish needs at
least 75 litres/20 gallons of water, excellent water quality (0 ammonia
and 0 nitrite), middling to high water temperature (24-28 C/75-82 C),
and very peaceful tankmates. Things like loaches, Otocinclus catfish,
and some of the barbs like Tiger Barbs will frighten and/or damage
Angelfish and thus make poor tankmates. Because you've got
Swordtails, which need cool, hard water (22-24 C/72-75 F; hardness 10+
degrees dH; pH 7.5) it's unlikely you have good conditions for both
Swordtails and Angels, so one or other species will likely be
Review, and act accordingly. Cloudy eyes in cichlids very quickly turns
into Pop-eye, and that's difficult to treat. Melafix is a poor
medication for situations like this, and I doubt it'll help with
Finrot anyway, so not sure I'd bother. Instead, find an
antibacterial or antibiotic medication that's safe and reliable.
Here in the UK, I usually recommend eSHa 2000, but in other countries
you'll have other options. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes 4/8/11
Thanks for the quick response. I wish I had found this site and talked
to you all before I bought this some what expensive medication.
<Glad to help.>
The gentlemen at my LFS sold this as some sort of miracle drug that
will cure about anything from fin rot to tooth decay.
I spoke with him just this morning about the cloudy eyes and he
informed me to keep treating with the Melafix.
He said it would treat the cloudy eyes and prevent Pop-eye.
<Pop-eye is treatable, but accordingly to Bob just requires simply
good conditions'¦ see here:
Must admit, that's never been my experience, and you may prefer to
get out the Roto-Rooter grade antibiotics.>
Seems I need to find a more reputable fish shop which is kind of hard
to do in the area in which I live.
<May well be the case.>
Aside from a couple of small pet shops, about all we have is Wal-Mart
and Meijer. I am new to keeping an aquarium so I am still in my
I have a 29 gallon tank. In this tank I have Mollies, Platys,
Swordtails, Angelfish, a Gold Mystery Snail, an upside down cat and a
Striped Raphael in which my LFS said would all do fine in this tank
together. So are these not good tank mates for each other?
<Well, kinda-sort. Apple Snails rarely last long in tropical fish
tanks period, so accept that chap's disposable and remove at the
first sign of death. Both catfish are social species that would be
happier in groups, and I'd be very surprised if you see either of
them swimming about during the day. But yeah, they're both pretty
good species, even if the Raphael gets pretty big and potentially
predatory on Neon-sized fish. Synodontis are not beyond nibbling on
Angelfish fins. The three livebearers need hard water, which the Angel
and the two catfish don't particularly enjoy, and of these fish,
the Platies and Swords do prefer cooler water, 22-24 C/72-75 F. So no,
they're not an ideal mix, but in moderately hard, slightly basic
(10-15 degrees dH, pH 7.5) water kept at, say, 25 C/77 F, I'd
expect them to get along okay.>
They all seem to be doing pretty good aside from the cloudy eyes in my
Angelfish that I just noticed over the last couple of days. I bought
some of those test strips (which I was recently informed were
<Perhaps, but better than nothing. They're the ones I use, for
what it's worth.>
and according to the strips the nitrates and nitrites are 0, the
hardness (GH) is around 150 ppm,
<Medium general hardness.>
the alkalinity (KH) is 180 ppm
<Medium carbonate hardness.>
and the ph is about 7.8.
I keep the water temp around 79 F.
<Bit warm for the Platies and Swords.>
Any suggestions you could offer as to What fish would do good with
these water parameters would be greatly appreciated.
<You're pretty well stocked already, my friend! If this were me,
I'd prefer to keep 2-3 species really well (in terms of population
size and water chemistry/temperature) rather than a mish-mash of six,
seven or more species.>
It is nice to know that there are people out there who care enough to
take the time to put up a site that is filled with so much valuable
information. Thanks for all the help and keep up the good work.
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes 4/8/11
Thanks for the advise.
<Glad to help.>
I will look into getting some of those books. I wasn't planning on
adding anymore fish but rather returning some of the ones that were not
suitable for my tank.
I hate that I have to do that because I really like all my fish.
<Well, if their fate is likely to be sold to a poor fishkeeper, then
by all means hang onto them. Angels and the Cats should be fine in your
It's just not perfect for them.>
Especially my two Marble Veiled Angelfish. I have to do what's best
for the fish though. It's a lot like raising kids. LOL! You are
right about the two Catfish. I don't see them much during the day.
I rarely see my Raphael even at night. He stays hidden inside a log. He
found him a hole in there so I can't see him at all.
<Typical of the species, genus, family.>
I have had him for a couple of weeks and I have only seen him once at
night. I check on him once in a while to make sure he is still alive. I
have done a lot of reading online and it seems a lot of people
experience the same with this Catfish.
<Yes, but they're often keeping them singly. But even in groups,
virtually all of the Doradidae are very nocturnal. The Synodontis
species are rather better aquarium fish. I have three Synodontis
nigriventris, the Dwarf Upside-Down Catfish, and they swim about during
the day quite a bit. Kept singly, you almost never see this species
during the day.>
Really nice looking fish though. Thanks again for the advise.
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes (RMF, can Melafix cause cloudy
eyes?)<<In a word, yes. RMF>> 4/8/11
Just one more question. Since I have already started the treatment with
the Melafix, should I continue the treatment for the duration it
recommended or should I stop it now and return my carbon filter to the
<A good rule for most situations is to finish the course of
medications as instructed on the packaging. Bob may have an alternative
I started the treatment two days ago and the water seems to be getting
cloudy. It says to treat for seven days. I don't know if it has
anything to do with it or not but I just noticed that when I started
the Melafix treatment is about the same time I noticed the cloudy eyes
in the one Angelfish. I read the cap wrong on the first dose and put
more than I was supposed to.
<Ah, I see.>
Could this have anything to do with the cloudy eyes?
<I'd imagine *any* irritant in the water could cause damage to
the outside of the eyes.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes (RMF, can Melafix cause cloudy
Thanks again for the advise. You been a great help. Take care and
thanks again for the site.
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Cichlids slowly dying 3/27/11
Dear WWM crew,
First off, thanks for such an excellent site.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
It has been a useful reference point for many of my fish questions.
However, I am now stumped by my cichlids' deaths. My tank is 150
liters or 39gallons (50x50x60cm or 19x19x23in) planted, running with an
Eheim professional 2224 (700l/h or 55gal/h) and was set up 3 months
ago. The spray bar is set in a way that makes a lot of bubbles but the
fishes can swim easily. Temperature is 26'C / 78'F. I feed
TetraMin crisps (gone through 40mL so far, expires 09/11) and
occasionally thawed frozen daphnia or boiled vegetables. The tank is
stocked with juvenile fishes (3-4cm): 9 Rummynose tetras,
<Can be a good, reliable species.>
and 3 peppered Corys.
<An excellent species.>
Also, I tried stocking it with a few German rams, but
they died off one by one over 2 months.
<Ah, yes, a fairly delicate species to begin with, and inbreeding
plus antibiotics on farms has only made things worse.>
I got 3 batches trying to replace them, alternating stores. However I
went through 10, but each time they didn't make it.
<Unfortunately a VERY common experience.>
The symptoms weren't really noticeable at the time, they would just
sulk in a corner and gasp, not eating, so I separated them (one at a
time as they fell ill) in a home-made breeding box made of netting so
they could stay near the surface to get more oxygen. I turned the
lights off so they wouldn't be so stressed or have problems from
being too warm. It went like this for every fish, with about a week
between deaths. The first couple I didn't really notice that much
and just netted them out and got new ones. I assumed the batch was bad
(hence went to a different store for the replacements). But they kept
dying so I would separate them as above, but they never made it. None
of the other fishes in my tank ever had any problems, it was only ever
the cichlids. I gave up on Rams and decided to get angels
instead (2-2.5cm diameter)
<Although Angels are fairly hardy, at this size they are delicate. I
would recommend the ones at 5 cm/2 inches body length.>
Originally 6, the angels did fine for the first weeks and had no
problems just like with the rams. But then two weeks in one of them
started having the same problems (lying in the corner, if swimming then
always sideways, obviously trying to get to the top, not eating).
I separated him the same way as with the rams, but unlike them the
angel made it through the night. He looked worse so I got desperate and
set up another tank to put him in, with a kind of hammock for the fish
so he could lie gasping near the surface and otherwise strong aeration.
It was a 30L tank (8gallons). I just siphoned water out of my main tank
to fill it and put in the fish (so he wouldn't have to adjust to
new parameters), then medicated with TetraMedica+ Gold Oomed (out of
desperation, it was all I had and is supposed to medicate against
everything). I used the prescribed 'high' dose according to
instructions. The fish didn't survive another 6 hours.
<Indeed. In general, medicating "randomly" rarely does
I wanted to separate the angels to observe them individually, so I
immediately set up a 70L / 20 gall tank, and put all the angels in
there separated into 15cmx15cmx35cm compartments by netting. Two weeks
later the same symptoms started showing up in another angel just before
I went to school, and when I got home he was dead. Out of curiosity, I
took him to school and dissected him at 10x magnification, he was tiny
(Bio student...what can I say) but everything seemed pretty normal.
<Likely so at this magnification.>
The only slightly off thing might be that there were two darker patches
in the intestines, but it didn't look clogged up or anything. I
don't know about the swim bladder, though, because I've never
dissected an angel before and don't know what's normal. If you
want I have pictures but they're kind of gory and you may not want
them on your site... Now, one week later another angel is showing the
symptoms again: lying on the bottom of his compartment, not eating, if
I try to net him he struggles a lot even though he was usually very
peaceful when netted before, when I let him out to 'exercise'
which I do twice daily for 10min or so (I'm using these fish for a
science experiment involving 'shaping' their behavior with food
to swim through a simple up-down maze). Anyway a few days ago he
stopped being so enthusiastic over food, but when I reduced feeding to
once a day he really went for it and started eating again. Today he
isn't doing so well though and refused eating completely, was
lethargic, exact same symptoms. I'm really worried now because this
keeps happening to my cichlids, and is somehow not contagious but keeps
<Hmm'¦ rather than being contagious I would instead think
about what it is cichlids are sensitive to. Cichlids are very sensitive
to non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels. I would never keep them in an
aquarium less than 3 months old, and ideally one that was more than 6
months old. Cichlid aquaria should be under-stocked and over-filtered.
Water changes should be substantial and regular. Cichlids are also more
sensitive to water temperature changes than most fish I've kept, so
check your heater is working properly.>
I did two 20% water changes today because I just don't know what
else to do. This disease thing has me stumped. I tend to feed 3-4
flakes, soaked a bit prior to feeding; could it be a digestion
<Unlikely if the flake food is good.>
How can I save my poor angel? Should I feed something else? And why are
none of my longer-bodied fishes affected while the deep bodied
fishes/cichlids are? Also I live in the Ukraine right now and it's
really hard to come by some supplies. All my test-kits have expired by
now and readings are all over the place, but I can't get new test
<Do check nitrite and nitrate levels if at all possible. If not,
then assume they're not zero and act accordingly: feed as little as
possible, skip every 2nd or 3rd day, and perform regular water changes:
20% daily if you can. Check the filter is up to the job, and put as
much biological media in the filter as possible. Don't use carbon
or Zeolite. Don't medicate. Don't add salt. Clean filter media
every 6-10 weeks, but very gently, in a bucket of aquarium
Please help. I'm really desperate here!
Thanks so much,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Cichlids slowly dying 3/27/11
Thanks for your fast reply. Although that Angel didn't make it,
I've changed my maintenance routine to include the daily water
changes and hopefully that'll do the trick and the rest of them
live long, happy lives.
<Certainly for the first 2-3 weeks, doing small water changes every
day will help offset any water quality problems. Afterwards, 20% water
once a week should do fine.>
Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better
Hi Crew, Our 37 gal tall tank was set up in July 2007. The original 5
Corys and 1 cherry barb are still alive and well. Water parameters
Ammonia 0 mg/L, Nitrite 0 mg/L, Nitrate 5- 10 mg/L, KH 53.7 ppm, GH
143.2 ppm, pH 7.0, Temperature 80 F, partial water change of 10
gal/week. In March 2008, introduced three small angelfish. After a few
months, two of them died within a week of each other with no apparent
signs of illness.
The remaining one died one year later from a large lip fibroma. In
August 2009, introduced three medium-sized angelfish. They were
thriving until August 2010, when one developed a few small white bumps
on the rays of its tailfin only. The bumps didn't resolve, but
didn't spread either. About two months later it started to mouth
and spit out all foods (their diet was flakes, frozen bloodworms,
frozen brine shrimp and live fruitflies). It was eager to eat, but
didn't seem able to swallow the food. It had no bloating or other
signs of illness. It died one month later, thin, but no lesions,
redness, patches, or fin damage. Also, inside the mouth and gills
looked fine. Then, one of the other two angelfish started to lay on its
side at the surface. If touched, it would right itself and could swim,
with difficulty and still attempted to eat. After two weeks, it could
only float, and died, with no other signs of illness. The remaining
angelfish then started to mouth and spit out food. After three weeks,
it was found dead with all of its fins missing but no signs of fungus
or infection. My husband's theory is the angelfish were bullied by
the barb and the resulting stress caused the illness, but there were
never nipped or damaged fins. I'm reluctant to introduce new fish
if the tank could be harboring an infectious agent. Both sets of
angelfish were purchased from a store whose owner raises them himself
and quarantines before selling. The fish were healthy for a year,
nothing else was introduced to the tank, and only one fish developed
white spots which didn't look like Ich. The only changes were 1)
replaced BioWheel (due to splashing noise) with Fluval U4 during summer
2010, but ran them concurrently for 3 months and never had detectable
ammonia or nitrite. 2) just before the fish started to spit out food,
ran out of flakes from AngelsPlus and fed with O.S.I flakes.
Thank you for your consideration, Patricia
<Hello Patricia. If all the other fish are healthy, then I'd be
tempted to put this down to the (very) poor quality of Angelfish in the
stores these days. Yes, nippy and/or boisterous Barbs and Angelfish
shouldn't be kept together. Tiger Barbs (including Moss and Albino
Barbs), Rosy Barbs, and Ruby Barbs would top the list here, though the
shy, docile species like Five-Banded Barbs and Dwarf Gelius Barbs can
make excellent companions for Angels. But even if the Barbs were being
nippy or aggressive, you'd expect to see signs of fin-nipping,
including fin damage, Finrot, and fungal infections. Unfortunately the
general quality of Angels in the trade is incredibly low, made worse
because the majority of casual aquarists seem to go for the inbred
varieties like Koi Angels and Veiltail Angels rather than the usually
quite robust standard Silver Angel (3-4 black bars plus red eyes) and,
on the whole, pretty good Marble Angel. Furthermore, many stores sell
Angels at the coin-sized size perhaps 3-4 cm/1.5-inches across. These
tiny Angels simply do not travel well, and because they're shipped
out in vast numbers from bulk producers, there is a high risk of
cross-contamination of diseases. I'd strongly encourage people not
to buy Angels with bodies smaller than 5 cm/2 inches across, and if at
all possible, buy them from a local breeder. Trust me, Angels are among
the easiest fish to procure from members of city fish clubs, often at
better quality and lower costs than your retailer. Failing that, have
your retailer get you some good quality stock at a larger size, and be
prepared to pay a premium. Good quality Angels are plump, sturdy, with
fins that don't have kinks or curls, and well-bred, wild-type
Silver Angels especially have red eyes that positively shine with
vigour (for some reason the red-eye gene is lost in most man-made
varieties). Sure, a pair of prime Angels might cost $50 or more, but
they'll live for 12 years, and they'll give your lots of
pleasure in that time! Cheers, Neale.><<Along w/ your guess,
I'd postulate that there is "something" in this set up...
a geode, seashell... that is "more poisonous" to angels than
the Corys or barb... Please tell us what sort of gravel, decor... you
employ here. RMF>>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better
Thank you both for getting back to me. The substrate is a small-sized
gravel designated for freshwater aquariums, not colored or cultured,
and not supposed to affect the pH. The decorations are a large piece of
African Mopani driftwood and SeaGarden "silk" plants on
weighted resin bases. Patricia
<Mmm... IF you have interest, I'd place a pad of the product
"PolyFilter" in this system, best in the filter flow path...
to detect colour... indicative of a few types of (metal) poisoning...
To see if there's an easily detected source/type here. BobF>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better
explanations?) -- 3/8/11
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I was finally able to
locate the poly-filter. After 2 days in the tank, it's turned the
color of very dark tannin-stained water. There is a large piece of
driftwood in there,
but the water itself doesn't look tannin-stained. Thank you for
your suggestion, I didn't know about this product. Patricia M
<Mmm, do look about for a local fish shop that does water testing...
ask them to check for free Iron in your water. BobF>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better
I found a fish store that tests for free iron. He was out of the
reagent, but told me the test is usually performed just for nutrient
level for planted tanks. He said it really wasn't necessary in my
case because unexplained angelfish death is always due to parasitic
<Mmm, not in my experience, no. Most I've encountered have been
largely due to water quality issues; secondarily psycho-social>
He then suggested I try dwarf gouramis
<!? Colisa lalia have dismal survival histories these last
and I bought 3 after being assured that they have never had a problem
<...? How could such an assertion be made?>
That was 4 weeks ago and one of the fish already has signs of the
disease (hanging at the top, not eating, slight bulges on both sides of
body). I should have known better because I was aware of this problem.
Thanks for all of your help, Patricia
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm
and the three other Dwarf Gourami Disease FAQs files linked above. See
any pattern here? Bob Fenner>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better
<<As Bob suggests, Angelfish mortality is primarily driven by
poor environmental conditions and the wrong tankmates. They aren't
especially prone to disease, though Finrot, Fungus and Hexamita do all
occur if the environment is inadequate. Very small Angels (with bodies
about US quarter size) ship poorly, and it's best to pass them over
in favour of fairly well grown specimens around the 2-3 inch mark. Some
varieties of Angelfish are more delicate than others. If you can, stick
with wild-type Angels, Marble
Angels, or Golden Angels; avoid Koi Angels, Albino and Black Angels in
particular. As for Dwarf Gouramis, I wouldn't bother with 'em
unless locally bred (i.e., you know the breeder, e.g., through a fish
Colisa fasciata and Colisa labiosa are widely traded and infinitely
more robust. They're a trifle bigger and more pushy, and their
colours aren't quite so sharply defined, but at least they're
decent, reliable fish.
Cheers, Neale.>><Thank you Neale. B>
Re: More re: Unexplained angelfish death (Bob, any better
I had read that article on dwarf Gourami disease, but let my desire to
stock this "problem tank" get in the way of better judgment.
If the two remaining gouramis don't make it, I'm not sure what
to do with this tank.
The water quality is good, the Corys are happy as clams, but the tank
looks empty, has limited surface area and lacks horizontal swimming
space for even small schooling fish.
<A 37 gal. tall? There's still a bunch of choices! Look at the
larger sized Gouramis, the small to mid-sized barbs, Rasboras,
Danios... smaller Rainbows... BobF>
Angelfish with fungus? 2/8/11
Hi there. I purchased a freshwater Angelfish from Petco yesterday and
noticed he had a light grayish film on it, and a small white fuzzy
looking bump on his side. His fins aren't very long, which I
understand is kind of common for pet store fish, and they don't
look very damaged to me. He does appear distressed. I'm thinking
the grey stuff is a fungus, but from my internet research, I
haven't found anything exactly like what I'm seeing. The other
angels in the tank had similar bumps, but no more than 2 on each fish.
He's absolutely beautiful and I felt sorry for him...I bought him
because I didn't want him to just sit around and die at Petco... :
/ What should I be treating him with? I've been using Melafix just
in case the bump was an infection of some sort.
Any ideas on what this is or what to treat it with? Like I said,
I'm using Melafix, and he's in a 5 gallon by himself
<Much too small for the long term; you do need 20 gallons or more
with a tablespoon of aquarium salt added, and a heater that's set
to about 78 degrees F, just in case it's a
<Melafix is somewhat mild and an unreliable treatment. It's best
used as a preventative, when you have healthy fish but notice
they've been damaged and don't want fungus or Finrot to become
problems. So, use something like Seachem Paraguard or eSHa 2000 that
will treat both fungus and Finrot at the same time. Remember not to use
carbon, because carbon removes medications (there's no reason to
use carbon in most freshwater tanks anyway). Ensure water quality is
good: zero ammonia and zero nitrite are crucial. Don't add salt --
Angelfish don't come from brackish waters and are stressed by
routine use of salt. Salt is strictly for short-term treatment of
Whitespot and/or Velvet. Cheers, Neale.>
angelfish torture or not 1/24/11
I am sorry Neale I have one more question on a completely different
subject. I have one small angelfish (along with other angelfish and
tetras) in a 20 gallon aquarium and I was wondering if it would
be cruel to trim his side fins. They have been getting long
and droopy and slowly been effecting his swimming. I have no reason at
all to hurt my fish but I just don't want him to have a struggle
moving around my tank. Would clove oil hurt him because I heard that it
can be used to sedate fish. By the way, I really appreciate the helpful
answers you have given me !
thank you once more,
<Yes, this would be extremely cruel Tavian. Not only cruel, but very
likely to result in a secondary infection such as Finrot. Don't do
it! Angelfish should be kept in tanks with at least 25 cm/10 inches of
water simply because of their shape. A "long" 20 gallon tank
may not be deep enough, but a "deep" 20 gallon should be
fine. Long-fin Angelfish invariably have problems swimming and I do not
recommend them. The standard Angelfish with normal length fins usually
manage to swim about very well, provided the
water current is not too strong. Cheers, Neale.>
protect... FW Angelfish injury 11/28/10
Hello, I looked to see if this was already covered, but I couldn't
I did however, learn a lot of preventive steps for my aquarium. I have
a 55 gallon, with 2 beautiful angel fish, 3 Bala sharks, 1 zebra,
<... a Zebra, what?>
a sucker fish
and yes a goldfish.
<Not really compatible...>
I was trimming up the plants today and doing a quarter change when I
accidently scratched Sunny, an Angelfish. Sunny is swimming fine, but I
can see the shape of my nail that scratched his scales :( I know scales
are the first form of defense and I just want to know what to do in
order to protect him until the scales grow back. Mela fix, Pimafix,
2, Gel Tek? Help! Thank you in advance
<Mmm, just good water quality, nutrition and time going by. Bob
Angel fish problem - 10/21/10
I have a large solid black angel fish that I have raised for years.
About 6 months ago he got a small cloudy translucent whitish patch on
his side that you could only see at certain angles. The edges of it
would get a
little stringy and shed, and it would look somewhat better, until it
enlarged and happened again. There are no bloody edges or eroded blood
streaked areas like I have read about with cotton wool disease or
fungus. I tried an antibiotic, and an antifungal that managed to ruin
the levels in my tank and kill several other fish. It was so long ago I
don't remember what I tried, but I got my tank straightened out and
vowed not to medicate again. This skin problem does not appear in any
way to bother him, which is why I have been trying to ignore it. No
scratching or flashing, no hiding, he is eating very well and acting
very normal. No other fish in the tank have become infected either, but
the patch keeps getting larger, and is now on both sides. His fins are
fine and not frayed, gills are fine, mouth is fine and no cotton tufts
anywhere. All the tank levels are great, and the tank is really clean.
This is a 75 gallon tank with another large angel, 8 mixed tetras, 2
large clown loaches, a few cats, and 2 gouramis. I have a Fluval 404
Please help if you can. I have spent hours and hours on the web and
still can't figure it out, but he's lived with this for at
least 6 months now.
Thanks so much
<Hello Anne. There are two possible things going on here, maybe
three. The first is simple genetic variation. All-black Angelfish have
historically been among the most difficult to produce and the most
difficult to breed consistently. It's very likely yours simply has
variation in the amount of melanin deposited in those scales on its
flanks, and consequently you're seeing a lighter patch. The second
possibility is physical damage.
Sometimes physical damage can cause replacement skin or scales to look
different to how they looked before, in just the same way as scar
tissue on humans isn't always the same colour or texture as the
rest of our skin.
Sometimes nerve damage can cause a similar phenomenon, since fish
"think" themselves certain colours and so things like
mini-strokes or simple trauma can cause odd patches of lightness or
darkness. In either case there's nothing to worry about and nothing
you can do. If the fish has remained in good health for months, and the
discoloured patch is neither expanding nor infected, I wouldn't be
too concerned. The third, outside possibility is mucus-grazing by one
of the fish. Angelfish and indeed other slow-moving,
flat-sided fish are sometimes attacked by Suckermouth catfish, most
commonly Otocinclus, but occasionally common Plecs (Pterygoplichthys
They latch onto the fish, eat some mucous, and then swim away. The
resulting damage ranges from mere irritation through to open wounds,
and there certainly is a very real risk of infection should the
themselves get damaged. I've never heard of Ancistrus or Panaque
species doing this, which is why I prefer these species in community
tanks. You don't say what catfish you've got, but if you have a
common Plec or some Otocinclus, they're definitely not fish I'd
keep with Angels. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Fish with large white spots 10/13/10
I noticed one of my angelfish had a white spot near its dorsal fin
almost two weeks ago. I have only had fish for 6 months and did not
worry about it until I noticed some of the other fish were starting to
get the spots as well. Spots have varied from on the nose and fins of
Neons to near the dorsal fins on angelfish. One rainbow fish died
without showing any issues how ever I had noticed it had been rubbing
itself on the gravel. I have treated them for white spot disease
however once looking at pictures on Google I no longer believe that is
what they have. The spots look large and puss like. The treatment for
white spot disease it has slowly reduced some of the spots and the
angelfish has now got a whole near its dorsal fin. I started using the
treatment on Friday and have lost three fish since then.
I have turned the filter off and changed 50% of the water as
instructed. In the past two days the remaining fish have been at the
top of the tank and the angle with the issues is breathing hard.
Any ideas on what needs to be done would be appreciated!
<Does indeed sound like Whitespot/Ick, Jess. Whitespot causes salt
grain-sized cysts on fins, skin and gills. If the cysts are larger than
salt grains, then Whitespot isn't the problem. Anyway, there are a
things about Whitespot disease you should know. The first is that you
don't treat the spots, just the free-living stages they produce,
which is why it takes a couple of weeks to wipe out the infection.
Usually aquarists raise the temperature up to about 28 C/82 F to speed
up the life-cycle of the Whitespot parasite. Secondly, the medications
used can be toxic in themselves, which is why the salt/heat method is
often recommended in preference.
Thirdly, carbon removes medications from the aquarium. So if you use
carbon in your aquarium filter -- and you really don't need to --
any medications you add won't work much, if at all. Again,
aquarists often recommend the salt/heat method because carbon
doesn't affect the salt either way, so in that sense it's more
reliable. Fourthly, Whitespot does indeed attack the gills, often
before anything else, so laboured breathing is a classic symptom.
Finally, Whitespot may or may not remain latent in aquaria for long
periods of time -- there's some debate about this -- but certainly
it can affect fish at an undetectable level for months and only
suddenly cause problems when something stresses the fish. Essentially
their immune system is laid low for some reason, and the Whitespot
takes advantage. So whenever you see Whitespot, ask yourself two
things: Did you add any fish recently?
Is water quality still good? If you didn't add any fish in the last
couple of weeks, then the Whitespot was already in the tank, and
something is stressing your fish. Check the pH and nitrite, just to
make sure water
chemistry and water quality are where they should be. Also check the
heater is working too.
FW Angelfish With Extended Gills 10/10/10
Hello, I came across your website and found it most informative
so am hoping you can help me with my angel problem.
I bought many years ago two baby angels that have grown up to be
quite extraordinarily beautiful. Now about 5 years old. Believe
it or not they have co-existed with a school of 12 cardinal
tetras, two clown loaches and a Pleco with no issues. The
cardinals are slowly dying off ( I think old age as are about 9
years old now)so now only have 7. But could be possible my angels
are uhm... not hungry anymore, although I have never seen them do
more then a half hearted dash at them. Both angels are semi
aggressive to each other but so far have never done any serious
I have however sadly placed them in a tank that perhaps did not
give their long long fins enough room to fully extend as the
matured so both of them have kind of lopsided dorsal fins. :-(
Anyway to my problem....
One of my Angels has developed a gill problem. He/she (don't
know the difference) eats fine and colour is beautiful. The water
tests fine for nitrates etc, if I can trust my local pet store.
His gills appear swollen. They do not look terribly inflamed but
I changed partial water to be safe. He one day really looked
troubled so I added a bit of salt to rule out parasites. Seemed
to get a bit better but not perfect.
Unfortunately I live in a town with not a lot of pet store
(mostly kids with summer jobs kind of thing). My tank is 150
liters ( I think 40 gallons?) Some days he really does look short
on breath with his mouth open wider than normal. I am rather
concerned as he is so beautiful and eagerly awaits me every
evening to come home from work so I can talk to him and feed him.
I have attached some pictures so you can help me sort out what is
the best to do that will be safe for all fish in my tank.knd
< Check the water quality for all parameters, including
temperature and pH.
If everything looks normal then reduce the feeding portions and
see if they are acting hungry and actively searching for food.
Angelfish are cichlids. Cichlids have a second set of jaws called
the pharyngeal bones. These jaws may have been damaged while
trying to chew up a recently deceased cardinal tetra. High
ammonia or high protein diets may effect the gill structures Fish
excrete excess ammonia through their gills while processing high
protein diets. If you have not added any new fish recently then I
would rule out parasites like gill flukes. Cut down on the diet
and see if they come around and start to act
my angel fish is not swimming properly, please help -
Hi there I have got 2 angel fish and have had them for couple of days
They were both happy and now one of them is not swimming right its like
it has no balance and is sitting at the bottom of my tank the only
thing that I can see that may be wrong is the tail fins have been
nipped at, it is still moving its side fins but not moving around the
tank, as I said its just at the bottom. Is there anything I can do to
save it I don't want it to die and my 2 guppies have taken an
interest in it.
Please reply soon as I don't know what to do.
<Hello Naomi. I need a good deal more information than this to
explain what might be going wrong! So let's review. Angels are
sensitive fish, and if given the wrong conditions will quickly become
sick. Angelfish need at least 20 gallons of aquarium space. Angels tend
to be social when young, but aggressive when older. Remember, pairs
defend territories, and two males in a small tank will fight, and the
bigger one will bully the weaker.
I wouldn't keep two males in anything less than 40 gallons.
Unfortunately, sexing Angels is virtually impossible, so luck comes
into it. Water quality must be excellent: 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, and
that means the tank must have a good filter and that filter has to be
mature, at least 6 weeks old.
Nitrate levels should be low, under 50 mg/l, and preferably below 20
Now, while Angels prefer acidic conditions, that isn't crucial with
farmed Angels. But what does matter is that pH is stable. Water
hardness should be soft to moderate, 5-20 degrees dH is fine for farmed
Angels. Don't be adding random pH potions though! Just test the pH
of your tap water, and make sure the pH doesn't change too much
between water changes. Most problems with Angels either come down to
unstable/wrong environmental conditions or aggression. Do read
Angel Fish 10/6/10
I looked around your website for information on angel fish
diseases and such, but nothing I found seemed exactly what I was
looking for. My brother has an angel fish that he had staying at
our tank at home. It
started swimming sideways and developed a white fuzz over
<Probably Finrot or Fungus, possibly a result of physical
damage to the eye, either through fighting or clumsy handling
when the fish was netted out.>
My brother thinks the eye was eaten by another fish (it used to
mingle with other angel fish), and that it's just a fuzz
growing over the wound.
<"Just" fuzz isn't the way I'd put; damage
to the eye is serious, and you can easily end up with a one-eyed
He tried medicating it with something (I know, you probably need
more info than that), and the fuzz went down for a little while,
but it still swam sideways.
<Indeed. Fish use the direction of light to determine up and
down. Normally both eyes receive equal amounts of light from
above. But if one eye is damaged or blocked with
"fuzz", the fish might get the wrong signals, and
compensate by swimming off to one side.>
Now my brother is on vacation and I am house sitting. His angel
fish was moved back to his apartment into a tank by itself. When
I went to feed his fish this evening, the fuzz had developed into
a full on bubble of fuzz covering his eye.
<This is much, much more serious.>
I tried texting my brother to see if he knew of this change, but
he didn't respond. I don't want to kill his fish, but I
feel bad for the thing, it has to be suffering, right?
<"Suffering" is a difficult word to use here.
There's a tendency among some people to use
"suffering" as an excuse to kill a fish that's sick
so they can simply go buy another one. Such people have no
particular interest in the welfare of the fish and won't
spend money on medications; if a fish gets sick, it's like a
scratched CD or a leaky teapot -- you throw it out and buy
another one. Other people will medicate fish, but understand that
at some point euthanasia becomes the more humane option because
the fish can no longer be treated or even if it is treated,
it's quality of life will be very low. I can't make this
decision for you, but I will state this. Your fish could probably
be treated with an antibiotic; a good combination is using
Maracyn and Maracyn 2 at the same time, the two different drugs
generally treating a wide range of diseases. Epsom salt helps to
reduce swelling when used at a dose of 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5
gallons, but it is NOT a cure by itself, and shouldn't be
used as such. All it does is help the antibiotics work faster.
Since this infection is clearly a bacterial one, and the swelling
followed on from the initial fuzzy infection, the use of
antibiotics is doubly important here.>
Any ideas? I could send pictures if that would help.
<Yes. But do note we ask for pictures up to about 500 KB in
size, so don't send multi-megabyte files fresh from your
Re: Angel Fish 10/8/10
Thank you so much for your timely reply, I can't reach my
brother about his fish at all and I'm getting prettied
<As you should be. This fish is suffering from a fungal
infection. Treat as per fungus. Be sure to remove carbon from the
filter if you use it. Carbon removes medication.>
I checked on them after work again tonight and I noticed white
"fuzz" (as I've been calling it), starting to grow
on the rocks and such inside the tank.
<Fungus consumes organic matter. It doesn't matter if that
is damaged muscle and skin, uneaten fish food, or faeces. If
you're seeing fungus in the aquarium, it's very badly
looked after. I mean, filthy. Too many fish, or too much food, or
not properly cleaned. My guess is the tank is poorly filtered and
your brother doesn't make an effort to keep the tank
I'm going to go back over and take some pictures to send to
you, then go and see if there is any place open selling the
medication you suggested.
Here are some photos of the eye that I took. I noted that the
temperature of the tank was about 78 degrees Fahrenheit, if that
<That's fine for Angelfish.>
I saw a bottle of QuickCure for Ick/Parasites near the old tank
that the fish was being treated in. I think my brother may have
been using that. My mom thinks that my brother was using Fungus
Guard, which claims to clear fungus and bacteria.
<Should certainly treat against Fungus, preferably with an
antibiotic as well.>
Whatever he used, it worked a little bit and I remember the white
"fuzz" on the eye went down, but now it's far worse
than before. I'm going to go out to look for the medication
you suggested, hopefully it will be a solution.
Thank you so much for all your help!
<I fear the eye is lost, but there's no reason the fish
<Treat quickly, clean the tank, improve living conditions, and
you should be home free. Oh, and whack your brother with a
rolled-up copy of Tropical Fish Hobbyist when he gets back.
He's a very bad boy. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angel fish w/possible dropsy symptoms
What exactly does high alkalinity cause?
<... Please see WWM re>
The strips I have don't give me a number, just colors. My water is
reading at the farthest/darkest one on the strip.
I need to do a water change, but I'm afraid that will stress her
out. What do you think?
Thank you so much for your quick replies...
<Your message does not make sense to me... sorry. B>
Re angel fish w/possible dropsy symptoms 5/13/10
My water testing strips read "very alkaline"...literally. You
asked me in my first email "how alkaline?"
<Please see WWM re test strips... neither accurate nor precise...
"Very" is not "very" useful>
Will a water change not be good for my sick angel fish at this time
(it's been 3 weeks)?
<... and see WWM re water changes... likely IS a good idea... IF
this system is cycled, stable>
I am not a pro at this. I just was wondering if changing the
water/vacuuming the rocks will stress her? I don't know how else to
<You need to read, to have a fuller understanding... your
consciousness is not full enough to ask such hit/miss questions.
Re: angel fish w/possible dropsy symptoms
Thanks...so you think I should probably put her to rest? Or get the
<I don't like to "give up" easily... I would try the
possibilities gone over on WWM. BobF>
Re: angel fish w/possible dropsy symptoms
I apologize for not having the knowledge you hold. I have been reading,
but unfortunately I do not have the time to devote my life to my
<You don't have to devote anything like as much time. You're
missing the point Bob was making. The important thing is to buy one
good book up front, read it, understand it, and apply what you've
learned. Basic freshwater fishkeeping is actually very easy if you
"go by the numbers" and do things step by step.>
Too many different opinions about everything in the aq. world.
<Really, there isn't. Again, the problem is reliance on the
Internet rather than books. The Internet is filled with good
information, but hidden under mountains of garbage. A good book will be
written and edited by experts who've kept fish for decades.
Maintenance of Angelfish is really very straightforward. A 30 gallon
tank; 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite; temperature around 25-28 C; moderate
water current; soft to slightly hard, acidic to slightly basic water,
i.e., 5-15 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5. If you don't understand these
things, then learn; if you don't have the tools to measure them,
buy them. Problems come when people keep them with nippy fish, in tanks
that are too small, and in new tanks that haven't been properly
cycled. Like all cichlids, they're sensitive to nitrate and
oxygen-poor water; keep nitrate levels below 20 mg/l and ensure water
circulation is around 4-6 times the volume of the tank per hour, and
that the tank isn't overstocked.>
Thanks for your "help"...I will not bother you again...
<Dropsy is almost always inflicted on fish by careless fishkeeping.
End of discussion. Every time I've seen a fish with dropsy,
it's been maintained in a tank that was overstocked, or water
changes weren't frequent, or nitrate levels were high, or diet was
monotonous. Bob and I have different opinions on treating dropsy, my
experience being that it's almost impossible to cure once small
fish like Angels exhibit the problem. So I tend to recommend painless
destruction of the afflicted fish.
It's important not to "write off" the experience though,
and make sure you have identified why the fish got sick. Be under no
illusions here: you did, somehow, cause the dropsy. We all do, whenever
we have a fish with this syndrome. It isn't a "disease"
but a symptom, and doesn't sneak in at night to get your fish!
It's a sign of organ failure caused by some chronic stress on the
fish, perhaps mediated through a bacterial infection of some sort. So
something YOU did caused this. Before you buy another fish, try to
figure out why. From there, you'll learn, grow, and become a better
fishkeeper. Cheers, Neale.>
Angelfish with gill issue in QT (Bob, any other
I have an angelfish that's been in quarantine for some weeks
When I picked him out at the store, I thought I was very thorough in
inspection until a day or so after I got him home. But, he has one gill
that sticks out way farther than the other. Not sure how I missed that,
but you really see it when looking at him dead on to compare his two
Closer look, a thin white translucent membrane over the opening.
<Have seen this with cichlids from time to time. Have assumed its
usually necrotic tissue following Ick, Velvet or similar infection --
these parasites to serious damage to gill lamellae. But may also be
Dactylogyrus or some other macro gill parasite.>My thoughts were, he
has a gill issue, the white membrane is mucus. I had half the mind to
take him back, but the receipt is MIA. And well, I do like him, as I
had picked him in the first place.
I thought, this could be
-Gill parasites (flukes, mites)
<Not sure fish get "mites", but various worm-type things,
-Gill infection (bacterial)
<Following some type of tissue damage, e.g., from Velvet, always a
-Gill disease (I'm unsure about fungus and gill ailments).
<As with bacteria, secondary to physical damage, then yes,
This poor guy, has been treated with salt dips to no end, jungle
parasite guard couple times, Maracyn 2 powder, salt bath, antibiotic
flakes (Which he wont really eat anyway unless he's desperate) with
absolutely NO change whatsoever.
I chose the jungle PG for its reviews on various forums and posts of
positive experiences from others, and Maracyn (fungus/bacteria) for its
reputation and previous experiences of my own. Salt dips/bath to combat
<Broadly, I'd treat as per Dactylogyrus/Gyrodactylus initially,
since that's the most infectious. After that, the other problems
are more likely secondary to something else, and not contagious as
such. So if you can eliminate the possibility of Dactylogyrus,
Gyrodactylus "gill flukes" and similar, you will be freer to
return this fish to a community setting.>
Oddly, he doesn't seem to care much about his gill condition.
Outside of spitting all his food of various kinds except bloodworms, he
generally acts... normal.
<Bloodworms aren't especially nutritious, so I would try to
Angels are carnivores, and enjoy small pieces of white fish fillet and
seafood, and a good quality cichlid pellet like Hikari Micro pellets
should be taken readily.
Yes contradictory statement, but he sure doesn't seem a
Quarantine tank is also a 10g (he is not an adult angel, call it
medium, few inches) so treatments are pretty potent. TBH he seems more
miserable about what I'm doing than the darn ailment itself.
<Likely so, but (domesticated) Angels are very resilient, so I
wouldn't worry overly much.>
At this point I'm starting to feel like I'm just torturing this
fish. Not just because of all I put him through, but he's in a 10g
for weeks which is really unfair all around. But I don't want to
release him from quarantine if he's unsafe for the others.
<As I say, gill flukes are the most contagious parasites, and the
ones to eliminate. Bacterial/fungal infections will be secondary, and
no more contagious than Finrot, i.e., not at all if the other fish are
I also wonder if there's even something wrong or if his gill is
just 'that way'. Would seem unlikely to me, but could it be the
<I'm sure it can happen.>
I've read about gill parasites being unusually difficult to get rid
of, because they are somewhat protected within the gill and shielded by
mucus, but even knowing that its starting to seem like
'unreasonable levels' of difficulty.
<There are particular medications for these gill flukes, which in
some cases will need to be accessed via a vet.>
I'm going to speculate, that either
1. There's nothing wrong with him (unlikely)
2. My diagnosis is wrong (damn it Jim, I'm a scientist not a
3. My choice of medicine sucks
<Do check it's appropriate, and being used correctly, e.g., with
regard to water temperature, carbon.>
4. He's had it long enough, at this point its really badly
established For his sake and mine I'm a little desperate for
resolve. Any advice or comments?
<Under good conditions gill flukes are more an irritant than a
source of mortality, though they can carry viruses between fish, and in
poor conditions blood loss may be a significant stress, cause of
mortality. So while Gyrodactylus and Dactylogyrus are alarming and need
to be dealt with, there's no need to panic. Commercial and
veterinarian treatments exist.>
Thanks again, you are great peoples.
Re: Angelfish with gill issue in QT 5/23/10
Good morning Neale.
The angel in QT is doing better. Raised the salinity for the past two
weeks, raised the temperature a little and added.... copper. Big
He's eating like a champ and he's very active now. Gets very
excited when I come into the kitchen. The way he reacts to feeding
time, you would think I never feed him at all. This last week, he ate
any type of food I gave
him. This is a good thing.
Now I observe something very strange.
Most all my angels, and many other of my fish, burp up an air bubble
after gulping food off the surface. However, THIS fish blows the air
bubbles out his puffed up protruding gill. The side that has the issue
discussed. If this is 'natural' I've never seen it. But he
does it every time he eats, he'll blow a few bubbles through it
after each gulp.
<Might just be a result of physical damage from the infection. I
wouldn't be too concerned.>
I'm not really alarmed about it, though this is very odd. And
perhaps an indication of just what's wrong with that gill.
<Indeed. So long as he's eating, fattening up and growing, I
wouldn't worry. Cheers, Neale.>
Mystery Angelfish death 4/21/10
My one blushing angelfish's forehead tuned the color of an off
avocado a while back but he never seemed sick, no clamped fin or
discoloration of the gills, he had a very good appetite, even last
night. When I fed them this morning, I realized that he wasn't
there. I found him at the back of the plants, hiding with almost no
life in him and his forehead was almost black. He wasn't stuck in
the plants. What caused this?
<My best guess, given no other information (water quality, system,
tankmates...) is mechanical injury>
I've been doing regular water changes and giving them a healthy,
varied diet. The other fish are fine, including another angel, neon
tetras, swordtails, sunset platys, corries and a Pleco. Water temp is
<When in doubt, refer... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Sick angelfish, FW... -- 4/12/10
I have read and read and Google searched and I simply can not do it
I have a 40 gallon Freshwater tank with 3 Koi angelfish, whip tail
Pleco, and 2 pictus cats. My biggest angelfish has recently developed
small blood-like spots a few place, what appears to be, inside its body
nearing the fin areas. The fins themselves are fine.
<If these are small pinkish blobs that look like blood clots, then
this is likely the early stage of Finrot. Angelfish are particularly
prone to this problem, perhaps because they have such big fins. In any
case, the clots are where the opportunistic bacteria are multiplying,
causing congestion of the blood vessels. Eventually the blood flow
stops, the fin tissue dies, and you get full-blown Finrot. At this
early stage any reliable anti-Finrot medication should work, but
it's also important to identify the causes of the problem. Mostly,
Finrot is causes by exposure to poor water conditions, but rough
handling, aggression and fin-nipping can also trigger Finrot.>
The angel also seems to have one sore on the outside of its body near
the tail fin, on top of it all it seems bloated. Its scales do not
appear to be distended. My water parameters are; Ph 7, Ammonia,
Nitrite, and Nitrate all 0ppm. I have given sick angelfish Epsom salt
baths for 4 days now
<Won't make any difference.>
and it doesn't appear to have gone to the bathroom.
<You mean it hasn't defecated? I'd be very worried if my
fish got out the tank, went up the stairs, and sat on the loo!>
All other fish in the tank are perfectly fine. I am running a Fluval
304, and a fountain filter for a 40 gal tank along with an a Rio air
pump. I do weekly water changes of 40%. I have looked everywhere for
the answer, and I am worried I may have to start from scratch as I have
put a lot of money into this tank. Do you have any ideas what may be
wrong with this angel?
I have some meds at home will any of these work? : quick cure Ick
Aquarium salt, Epsom salt, API Stress coat.
<No, no and no.>
Please help me.
Angel fish tank going downhill 4/6/10
I has been sent here from forum!
I have a 45g tank with angel fish. Two veiled angels and two Koi
I have had this setup for about a year and a half without many
problems, outside of two pairing up and constantly spawning in
About a month ago, my striped veil was looking very sick. Clamped
fins, red streaks throughout his fins, and red swollen areas
where his fins meet his body. He was slumped; his fins looked
like wet hair getting out of the shower.
<Right. This is most likely a bacterial infection; Finrot
transitioning into what is commonly called haemorrhagic
septicaemia. Needs to be treated properly, or tends to become
systemic, and produces symptoms similar to viral haemorrhagic
septicaemia. Terramycin (Oxytetracycline) is the recommended
medication for treating this type of haemorrhagic septicaemia in
I treated them with Tetra Lifeguard. Says, eliminates guesswork,
for all types of sicknesses, and its a 5 day treatment, slow
<The broader the medication, the less likely it is to treat
unusual things like this. So in this situation, it's fairly
useless. In fact anything that sounds like it removes the need to
diagnose a disease is likely worthless.>
During treatment, my fish were inactive, doing a whole lot of
nothing, not eating as much as usual, which I figured were side
effects of the medicine.
The veil was looking much better and he had unclamped his fins,
so I followed the course of medication.
During all this, something else happened to the angels. I will
describe this as best as possible. They look like the have
"Dry skin". For example, my marble veil looks like
he's flat black, instead of shiny black.
They all show this oddity. Its like those skin care commercials -
I could "carve the word dry" into their skin. Almost
looks like sunburn. It does have a tint of white to it maybe,
like dry skin does. I tried internet research to see if Tetra
Lifeguard had any potential side effects with no real input.
After treatment, I did a large water change, and refreshed the
activated carbon in my canister filter.
<Do understand that carbon removes medications; do not have
carbon in the filter while medicating. I tend to argue against
using carbon at all in most freshwater tanks. Few people
understand what it's actually for, and fewer still use it
My veil angel looks worlds better now, except all the other fish
are still very lazy and spend most of their time in the top
corner of the tank, hovering motionless. They eat, but not
consistently. One day they'll get excited the minute I come
home, all waiting for food like normal. But then they'll eat
a few bites and their done. Other days, I can't even get
their attention... their too busy staring at the corner of the
tank doing nothing
Their "dry" look has not improved. I've looked
through many many pictures of fish ailments. Its not spots. Its
not fine spots. Not very fungal looking. One picture of velvet
was kind of close, but it was more intense than my situation and
again it isn't spotty.
<Without a photo, can't be sure. But white patches may be
Side note, I have a rainbow shark in that tank, who was
absolutely fine throughout this whole ordeal, is the greediest
eater in the tank, and as of now with these changes, thee most
active fish in the tank. The angels are so lazy, when my RBS gets
curious and gives them a nudge and runs away, the angels
don't even move or they'll just turn a little or
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill
Thanks for the speedy response.
I refreshed the carbon anew, to remove the medication after the 5
days of dosage were complete. The stuff that was in there, was a
couple months old so I didn't worry about it removing the
medication during treatment.
<A dangerous assumption on your part.>
My biggest concern here, is that they have not returned to their
normal, active selves after the medication. Even with their
favorite frozen food, I can only get the attention of 1 or 2, who
won't eat much anyhow.
<Review environmental conditions, social behaviour.>
If food "drifts by" the others they might sample it,
might not. This is very worrying behavior compared to the normal
- having four angels at the top of the tank begging and excited
when I approach the tank.
All the 'common' water tests are okay - Ammonia 0,
Nitrites 0, Nitrates were <20 when I tested Friday, and PH
around 6.8-7.0 (Color of that particular test tube is bit
difficult to tell) Temp of their tank is around
81-82Â°F. I'm not sure what else I can do for them
at this point; overall I'm stumped
<Treat the fish as indicated, and with carbon removed. After
treatment perform a 50% water change. Check the hardness of the
water, since Angels prefer soft to moderately hard water and may
not do well in very hard water. Make sure the pH is stable
between water changes. Ensure chlorine, chloramine and copper are
removed by the water conditioner. Ensure water circulation is
adequate and the fish are receiving enough oxygen. Cheers,
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill
I've tried my best with the camera I got. Sorry the pics a
Is very had to take pics of it, because you only see it in
certain lighting angles. Its not like a fungus or specs that are
<Indeed not. The images aren't quite in focus, but I
suspect this is Costia, what is sometimes called Slime Disease. A
tiny parasite irritates the skin, causing excess mucous
production. Costia can be lethal if left untreated, though likely
because it allows secondary infections more than anything else.
It's reasonably easy to treat, either with specific
medications or using salt.
Cichlids like angelfish tolerate salt quite well, so don't be
shy about adding salt to the water and doing the dips, even
though angels are nominally soft water fish. Across the short
term, salt does them little harm.>
Please see attached.
One died today. The runt of the group, always been difficult
getting him to eat. Have had him since initial setup. Thoroughly
inspected - no real markings, no white haze (He's
white...you'd never see) No obvious parasites, worms,
swelling, or red areas. Just ka-put. =(
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill (Bob, another case of
Costia?)... More likely Hexamita/Octomita -4/8/10
The Marble Veil died this morning. Two down, two remain. If were
counting the red Koi that died suddenly a week prior, three
I will go with the salt dip, and bath as recommended in the
links. I'm trying not to do anything knee-jerk, like take
them to another tank.
Whatever this is, may infect others?
I have a mid-size rainbow shark in that tank. He's happy,
active, healthy through all of this. And fat from eating all the
food the angels won't eat. Is he in danger of contracting
whatever is happening here?
<Is a possibility>
He does not show the traits of the others. Will he be OK with
higher salinity in the aquarium?
Should I get him the hell outta there? o.o
Thanks again. -Dan
<Up to you. Please read on WWM re the above causative
organism/Protozoan, its history of mortality w/ Pterophyllum,
treatment w/ Metronidazole/Flagyl. Bob Fenner>
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill (Bob, another case
of Costia?) 4/9/10
Could you give me the salt dip recipe in tablespoons per gallon;
I Googled and found many different opinions. I would convert it
over from the table linked, but found many different density
values depending on the type of
salt >.< This is using 'aquarium salt' which is
rather large chunks too, which affects the actual amount per
tablespoon and throws off the equation
<All the information you need is here:
Don't rely on teaspoon or tablespoon doses. Salt absorbs
moisture, so volumes of salt can be misleading because
they're partly moisture and entirely dependent on grain size
and how compacted the salt has become. One level teaspoon is
roughly 6 grammes, but use kitchen scales to weigh out the amount
you need. If you need to convert from metric to US units, use the
Brack Calc application on my web site, here:
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill (Bob, another case of
That's what's missing; a kitchen scale. Likely a good
Everything else can be calced and converted. Alright, thank you
very much for your time spent. I appreciate it.
Will keep you updated.
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Angel fish tank going downhill (Bob, another case
of Costia?) -- 4/12/10
An update, Neale.
The remaining two got their salt dip. They did not like this at
<No, they don't.>
Currently a salt bath in their main tank. I've also been
feeding them medicated flakes, for any secondary or current
bacterial based infections.
I don't want to speak too soon, but they look worlds better.
Their skin is clearing up. They are more active, and more
aggressively eating. Nobody has died since Wednesday.
The remaining two have also become BFF, spending most of their
time side by side.
I think a big difference between who survived, and who didn't
falls on who was willing to eat. Not only is nutrition absolutely
imperative to recovery, but those two (and the unfazed rainbow
shark) were also eating medicated flakes.
<An astute observation. If fish are feeding, they're less
likely to be seriously damaged by the infection, and more
importantly, it's easier to get useful amounts of antibiotics
into their bodies. Adding medication to the water works fine for
external infections, but less well for systemic ones.>
I stopped by the LFS where I bought the newest addition, marble
Koi ~3 weeks ago. That entire tank is empty. I think something
'fishy' is going on here. At this point I believe I paid
3 angels for one.
<Ah, this is often the case. There's good value in
spending a little more at retailers you can trust, or with useful
And I paid a very dear price for not having a separate QT tank.
=/ Since I was medicating one for a Bac infection a week after
the new arrival, I was convinced that their odd chalky condition
was a side effect of being medicated
<Possible, but at this point who knows?>
Since I was medicating them for a bacterial infection with
success, I'm lead to believe the problem I'm battling
isn't bacterial. There's always a chance though.
<Agreed, and bacterial secondary infections following on from
Ick, Velvet or whatever aren't uncommon. Anything that
damages the skin of a fish makes it more likely to become
My big question now is, how will I know when its over?
<Difficult to say, but after the fish are visibly cured, and
you've stopped medicating, leave the water salted for maybe 2
weeks thereafter. Do a series of small, weekly water changes --
maybe 15-20% -- to gradually lower the salinity. If everyone is
swimming about happily after two months, it's fair to say
you've beaten the problem. Wait at least another month before
adding more fish.>
When the tank is safe? Even if the fish are better, are the
problems still living in the ecosystem? I was going to do one
more salt dip (I really, really don't want to do this. They
<Yes, like children and injections. But while they hate it at
the time, the long term effects are minimal.>
return to their normal food, then let the salinity of their tank
drop slowly through the regular water changes. After a couple
weeks if the coast looks clear, start rebuilding their community.
Is this a good course of action?
<Yes, but leave a month between finishing with the salinity
changes and then adding more fish. Or at least, quarantine any
new fish for 6 weeks before adding them to the tank.>
Alternatively, I could get a medication for Slime Disease, treat
the entire tank, and skip the salt
<By all means do so. But do be aware that not all fish handle
all medications equally well. Catfish and loaches are sensitive
to copper and formalin especially, as are a few other
Thanks for all your time spent on this one. I believe I'm
going to make it out of this with two angels alive, which is
still a heavy tragedy but a lot more positive than none.
<For what it's worth, three Angelfish doesn't usually
work out well. If you have a pair, you're lucky, and
they'll stay friends for life. But in threes, it's not
uncommon for one to be bullied by the pair, and eventually that
bullied fish weakens and gets sick. Do remember Angels are
schooling fish when young, but territorial pairs when
Angelfish's first time sick 2/10/10
I noticed 2 pimple like bumps on the side of her head above eye. I
thought it was Ick so I treated the tank. A couple days later the spots
looked like they had popped and almost like a scab. Like dried blood
color and yellow.
Then a couple days later I see that she has 2 more on the other side. I
treat the tank again. A couple days later the first ones that I thought
had healed are back. So there are 4 spots. Her butt looks swollen and
red. She looks like she is rubbing. But the worst part is now she is
getting very angry with me. Whenever I come close to the tank she
shoots at me and almost hits the glass and looks mean. Also most of the
day she is sitting in the back comer of the tank. I have look ed at
books and the internet. I just don't know what it is. The picture
either don't match or she has some of what they are saying or she
has more then what they are saying. I confused. I have also cleaned the
tank and filters. Please help! Thank you Amanda
<Start by checking the water quality. The ammonia and nitrites
should be zero. The nitrates should be under 20 ppm. Now that you have
cleaned the tank, you may have disturbed the good bacteria needed to
break down the
wastes to nitrates. The holes/scabs could be the start of
Treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone. maybe
change the diet to a high quality flake or pellet food.-Chuck>