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FAQs about Marine Angelfish Disease Diagnosis

FAQs on Angel Disease: Angel Disease 1, Angel Disease 2, Angel Disease 3, Angel Disease 4, Angels and Butterflyfishes & Crypt,
FAQs on Angel Disease by Category: Environment, Nutrition, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic, Genetic, Treatments 

Related Articles: Marine Angels

Related Marine Angel FAQs: Marine Angelfishes In General, Angelfish ID, SelectionBehavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding,

Flukes? Nutrition? Ongoing stress effects?


Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Angelfish Disease.... more HLLE        9/6/15
We have some sick angelfish and would like your advise on what you think it could be.
I have attached a picture of another angelfish that shows the disease.
<Mmm; looks to be "classic" HLLE.... due to? Most likely nutritional and water quality issues, and able to be corrected to degrees by improving same... via water... as marine fishes drink their environment. A few folks speculate that carbon (filtration) is a contributor, still others, stray electrical current. All this is gone over on WWW. Start reading here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Angelfish ; stkg. mortalities      4/17/14
Hey Bob,
Emailed you before about various topics. This next question is more of your opinion than an black or white matter.
In my FO system of 155 gallons, I successfully keep an Achilles tang,
Powder Blue tang, Aussie Tusk, Sailfin Tang, Green Bird wrasse and a Maculiceps. My parameters are good (1.022 sg, 79 degrees F, Nitrite 0, Amm. 0, and Nitrates 40. I have in my opinion plenty of flow (2 return pumps @ 600 gph after head pressure, and an MP40 wavemaker) I use a UV light and oversized Protein skimmer. I also use only RO water.
For some reason, I can not keep angelfish alive. In the past month, I have tried a Queen Angel, Koran Angel, French Angel, and a Scribbled angel (albeit at different times) and have lost them all within a week. The seem to follow the same fate, they eat really good, and slowly develop cloudy eyes, random body spots (not Ich) and surely after die.

My only guesses as to why are 1. overcrowding, 2. Source of these angel fish. However, they all come in looking fine and eating.
<Mmm; and the other fishes listed... would not likely harass these Pomacanthids>
In your opinion, are angel fish just so hit or miss, that anything happens, or is there something I am missing? I feed Nori, 2 full sheets daily,
<Not much food value; good for filler for tangs>
Spectrum Thera Pellets, and frozen once a day. This consist of PE Mysis, squid, krill, clams and frozen angel and butterfly formula (san fran brand). I also soak frozen in Selcon twice a week. I do 15 percent water changes weekly, and have about 70 lbs of live rock.
Any suggestions or thoughts would be invaluable.
<I'd try a better source... maybe even mail-order (Dr.s F & S)... and quarantine the new Angel for a week or two. BobF>
Re: Angelfish     4/17/14

Thank you, Bob.
One minor detail I did leave out, is upon death of the Angel fish, I removed them at once, and placed in fresh RO water, (more so to preserve fish until I find suitable grave, as opposed to letting them rot in the open) and have discovered some fluke like objects popping off.
<Likely are/were Trematodes... easily defeated/removed via pH adjusted FW (plus formalin if I were doing it) dips...>
Not many, I have seen much heavier infestations in fish that are alive.
However they are there, and I do not see them on my other fish, even while FW dipping. Are flukes always present in the fish, and that is normal, or could this have been the silent killer.
<... there are some flukes that are more family, genus, even species specific. I'd be reading on WWM re... perhaps the use of cleaner organisms.
follow up, bob
. SW Angel losses     4/18/14
Hey there Bob,
I spoke to you yesterday about my inability to keep angelfish. My lfs, had gotten a few in this week, he claims from a different source (QM this time).
<Likely the best source in the USA>
I wanted to really see if I could keep one, and decided before hand to do one last check.
I bought new test strips,
<... not a fan: Neither accurate nor precise>
and threw out my old, and to my delight, my nitrates were @ 80, my alk is a 6 dGH(sp?) and my ph appeared to be a 7!
So I bit the bullet, and went out and bought a pinpoint ph monitor, calibrated it, and my PH ran a 7.9 around ten pm (lights are off at 11) and also a 7.91 at around 3 am. Prior to the lights coming on, (1030 am) it was a 7.95. Even now, it read a 7.90.
I just did a water change two days ago of nearly 33 percent. My lfs test strips showed low alk and ph as well, but said 7.9 was ok, not great, and alkalinity in a fish only system is ok, and the result of a high bio load.
My question is, should I buff the alkalinity,
<I would... see WWM re. B>

and chase it, or leave it where it is, especially since the fish seem fine.
To mix it up, I ran an airline tube out of my skimmer intake, to an outside window, and it did not change anything. Then again, the airline tube doesn't quite make a complete seal, and the tubing was 25 feet in length in order to make it outside from my basement.
Last thing I meant to add in. FWIW, he has brought in a 4-5 inch Majestic, 5 inch French, and a 4 inch blue face. If they are eating, are any of these good guinea pigs to see if my tank can handle angels?
<See WWM... the P. paru is the toughest; best choice>

Angelfish Juvenile Changing Color Or Disease/HLLE 4/11/10
<Hi Bobby>
I have a juvenile angelfish that has been going through some changes in the last week. The tank parameters are all good except the calcium is a little low. The tank is well established. Recently my urchin's spines are turning white and my angelfish's head and tail look to be changing color or losing color. Upon closer inspection it looks like
little tiny circles on his/her head I attached photos as an reference. The fish is eating well and swimming normal as if nothing is wrong. This is my first angel so I'm not familiar with their diseases or color changing. Please let me know if this looks like a disease, etc. Any help or feedback is greatly appreciated.
<Appears that your angelfish is developing HLLE (head and lateral line erosion), and is general*ly caused by poor environment, nutrition, water quality, combination of all, etc. Please look through our many FAQ's on this subject regarding methods to reverse this syndrome.
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Chrysurus "patch"... Neuromast destruction, tied to... 01/21/2008 hi I've tried to look for an answer to this weird patches on my Chrysurus Angel but I cant find anything about it. <Is a "form" of HLLE...> I don't know what it is I think it might be going threw <through> a change in face pattern or growth in coloration maybe? <Is being "consumed" by some factor/s... avitaminoses, "poor" water quality, perhaps stray voltage...> But it has looked like this for over 4 months now. The face gets better and then worse and it repeats this. I'm dosing the tank with all the vitamins <Ahh!> I can find, but it doesn't seem to do any good. I'm sending 2 pictures with this any help is greatly appreciated! Morgan <I would consider a carte-blanche approach to improving water chemistry (mud-filtration, a refugium with live macro-algae and DSB, the use of chemical filtrants), improved nutrition (another BIG plug for Spectrum pelleted foods here), and even a read and a check for possible electrical current, installation of at least GFCIs for all elements of 110 volt powered mechanicals here. Do read on WWM re HLLE. Bob Fenner>

Sick Angel Fish, reading WWM... SW, FW? 11/3/07 <Hi Cindy! GrahamT here.> My angel fish <Species?> has suddenly started mouthing his food (taking it in and then spitting it out). <How long has this gone on?> He is occasionally clamping one fin to his side, and intermittently suddenly darting around the tank like a crazy person for no apparent reason. What could be wrong? <Environmental...?> He doesn't look sick <He does *act* sick, though...> and I can't find that combination of symptoms on any website. <Try searching for them individually. You'll find that both are often associated with environmental deficiencies. Probably removing to a QT would be a start. Consider our posting guidelines to allow us to assist you better. Post your question with test results, system specifics as far as you know them, and especially the affected species, along with tankmates.> Thank you for your prompt response - I am so worried! <Let that worry motivate you into becoming an expert on every subject you wonder about. Here is the place to find every answer you need!> Sincerely, Cinlala <Good luck! -GrahamT>

Please help my angelfish :) 1/15/07 Hi crew, <Rich> I recently found your site and must say it is the most complete source of information on marine fishkeeping I have come across to date. I sure wish I found it sooner. I may just have avoided some headaches. <Ah, put us right up there with your analgesics... or rather their avoidance> I have a problem with the most recent addition to my FOWLR tank, a wild caught juvenile maculosus angelfish (tank raised = too small = lionfish food). After many months of waiting, one finally arrived at the LFS. He had some small signs of lymph but was otherwise behaving and eating normally. I picked him up despite my misgivings about his less than perfect appearance. After all, I've had fish with lymph before that cleared up on its own and this species sounds near bullet proof after reading much of the information available. <Yes> Well, sometimes you have to touch the stove to learn that it is hot. I should have waited for another specimen. <Mmm> A few days after adding him to my tank his lymph began to spread. No alarms yet; he was just yanked out of the ocean and was understandably stressed. He was still eating great. A couple weeks later he develops one cloudy eye. My water parameters are all good except nitrate. <How much?> The first day I noticed the eye he refused to eat. This alarmed me so I checked with my LFS. They advised me to try a freshwater dip to see if it improves and to increase my water change schedule to weekly (to address the nitrate). If the dip helps, this would indicate a parasite. <Mmm... not necessarily> If not, then I should QT him and treat for bacteria with antibiotics. I was reluctant to do the dip because of the added stress so I decided to give it another day. I also don't have a lot of confidence in antibiotics since I have QT'd and treated two fish in the past with a medley of them and it didn't help a bit. The next day he resumed to eat greedily. In fact, he comes out and begs when he sees me. This is not how I would expect a stressed/diseased fish to act. <Adaptability is a hall-mark of a successful species, and individuals> The reason I am contacting you for help directly is despite his good behavior, the eye continues to look worse and the lymph is not improving. <Both... take time... often months... Cleaners...> Now the eye looks as if there is additional tissue layered over it and I swear I thought I saw a tiny piece of it flap. <One-sided? Likely a mechanical injury... a net scrape or such...> I have spent several nights reading the FAQ's on your site and have found all sorts of recommendations from treating for velvet and letting my tank go fallow to doing nothing at all. <My choice here? The latter> Could all of this be caused simply by high nitrate? <Mmm, could be a contributing cause... but not the eye by itself, no> I don't want to just start taking shots in the dark (which is sort of how I feel I am about to do) so I am seeking a second opinion. I am preparing a fresh water dip now, but I would love to hear from you first if possible. Thanks in advance and keep up the good work! Rich Amos. <I would not net, dip this specimen... Reduce your nitrate below 20 ppm... See WWM re approaches, add a cleaner organism or two... and "punt"... all should be fine> P.S. Your articles have also sold me on the idea of NNR through a DSB refuge. <Oh! Good... a fine approach> How do I replace the wet/dry without cycling my tank? <Will not likely cycle... enough nitrification elsewhere in the system to carry on...> There isn't enough room to run them both together. <No worries. See WWM re such conversions. Bob Fenner> ....I forgot to mention just in case... I am feeding him: Prime Reef Formula One and Two Angel Formula (which has some sponge I believe) Chopped krill Mysis Squid Chopped silver sides <I'm moving to your house> Usually what I do on a feeding (once daily) is crumble one of the frozen "cubes" and pair it with one of the chopped "animals" (that sounds morbid..). I alternate the offerings each night. Thanks again, Rich. <Is fine... I would add a vitamin, HUFAs et al. soaking here occasionally... esp. now. Bob Fenner>
Re: please help my angelfish :) 1/16/07
Wow, thanks for the fast response! <Welcome> Yes, that was sort of my gut feeling on the matter. It is always nice to hear from a pro though. The nitrates are around 200 ppm. <Yeeowah... Oh my!!! About an order of magnitude too much... Definitely a factor here> Part of my problem also is lack of aggressive skimming. I currently own a Kent marine Nautilus TE (one of my aforementioned "avoidable headaches"). <Oh yes> I am looking at an AquaC EV180 using your refuge design as well as weekly water changes to address this. <All good moves> I will investigate some vitamins. Do you have any favorites for angelfish? <Selcon...> Also, what is a HUFA (sorry, not up on all the lingo)? <Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids... take a look/see on the Net... impt. for aquatic animal life and your health...> Lastly, regarding cleaner organisms: what, if any, would be compatible with my mix (Tuskfish, Volitans lion, yellow tang, Cuban hogfish, maculosus)? Thanks again, Rich Amos. <Read on my friend... BobF>
Re: please help my <Mac> angelfish :) & now Crypt 1/23/07
Hello again, <Hi there> Thank you for the information. I have picked up some Selcon along with some freeze dried plankton. My efforts to reduce nitrates continue through weekly water changes. I am finalizing measurements for the refuge and have had the EV180 quoted. <Ah, good> The good news: The amount of lymph on my Maculosus has dramatically reduced. I think he is actually shaking it off. I have observed him shaking his rear fins while staying in place a few times now. Additionally, the amount of tissue on his cloudy eye seems reduced or "deflated". I can actually see some blue behind it now. <Good... such viral complaints/expressions can indeed come and go... not unlike "Warts"> The bad news: I fear I am finally about to ride the Ich roller coaster. I came home last night (8 hours after a 20% water change) to observe white spots the size of small salt grains on all but my Lionfish. The Maculosus, Tuskfish, and Cuban Hogfish all are scratching on the rock. Additionally, the Tuskfish and Hogfish occasionally stop swimming and lay around (this particular scratching/laying behavior in these two actually started a week ago). The Tuskfish also appears to breathe heavily when lying around. The Yellow Tang and Auriga Butterfly have spots, but otherwise act normally. The Lionfish shows no signs. Everybody is still eating. I just unplugged my skimmer to rule out the bubble theory (admittedly a long shot here but one can hope). <Mmm... not a likely possibility...> Assuming my diagnosis is correct, how many fish can I treat in a QT (Tang = 5", Hog = 5", Angel = 4", Tusk = 6.5", Lion = 8", Butterfly = 4")? My current QT is a 30 gal. long. Obviously this will not support all of my fish. <Mmm, no... and all need to be removed, treated... some species more carefully than others... See WWM re Crypt...> I am thinking about also setting up a 20 gal. Rubbermaid. I would then split my population between the two. Is this still overpopulating the QT setups? <Bigger would be better...> Will a Rubbermaid suffice for a 30 day MT fallow period? How would you split the population given this scenario? Do you have any other recommendations? <All sorts, and all archived on the site... need daily testing for nitrogenous materials, copper...> I also have a concern regarding letting the MT go fallow: since there is no waste being produced by my fish won't this cause my nitrifying bacteria to die off? <Mmm, not entirely... you can always "add a pinch" of proteinaceous food if you have a concern.> Thanks again, Rich. <Do read re Crypt, treatments... of the species you list. Bob Fenner>

grey angel with weird growth. Poor English, Lymphocystis 1/3/07 could <Could> you please help me identify and treat my grey angel, <.> I got him from marine depot <Marine Depot> live and have had him in my fish only 75 for 2 months he had no signs of this growth when I got him. the growth seems to be on his fin and lip. thanks <Looks like Lymphocystis to me... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs file in the series linked above. Bob Fenner>

Lost my Conspic :( 7/16/06 Hello WWM Crew. <Jeff> I had a tragic loss of my Conspicillatus Angel after two and a half years of healthy living he is gone. I had noticed over the last 6 months his breathing had increased and he loved the bubbles. His appetite up until the last day was voracious as usual. I always looked in the gill plates for any sign of problems but did not see anything (still bright red and full). When I came home the other night I noticed his breathing was beyond rapid. I called my fish guy at 11:00 pm to come over and help. <... some service!> After looking at the gills again we noticed a huge (about the size of a nickel) white bulbous growth tucked deep inside the gill plates (because now his gills were flared wide open to get o2). We agreed that in the morning we would "cut " whatever it was out <!> to save the fish because it wouldn't make it if he continued like this. Unfortunately by 7:00 AM he past away. The fish guy did a post op on him and said he found a "goiter" in his gill plates, <Not uncommon> one large one and a smaller one on the other side. I unfortunately do not have a pic of it but is it common, rare or even possible for angels to get them (I only saw references on rays and sharks)? <All vertebrates and some invertebrate groups are subject to these tumorous growths... Generally associated with endocrine malfunction, in turn related to a nutritional, chemical deficiency> or could there have been a copepod or some type of parasite that fits the bill? <Mmm, this is also a possibility. Would need to examine the growth> It did look more like a "tumorous" growth than parasitic but I would hate to search for another beautiful fish like that and not know what I would be dealing with. Best Regards, Jeffrey G. Schoor <Sorry to realize your loss... Might I ask, were/are you of the habit of using vitamin/supplements and/or iodine/ide/ate on a regular basis? Bob Fenner>
Re: Lost my Conspic :( 7/16/06
Hi Bob, <Jeff> I do use vitamins and supplements for my fish that contain iodine but I did not use additional iodine. I guess I should start. My tank is 400 gallon fish only what types of supplements would you recommend? Thanks for the quick response Jeffrey <Mmm, well, it takes actually very little iodine to prevent Chromaffin Tissue (homologous to Thyroid, Parathyroid in "higher vert.s) deficiency syndromes... If you are adding such weekly (a good practice to time with water changes, general maintenance, this should "do it". Our collective input on this issue here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/vitaminmarfaqs.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/iodfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Emperor Angel With HLLE - 06/01/2006 Hey guys! What are the common causes of Head and Lateral Line Disease for Marine Angels? <Primarily dietary deficiency.... Start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and note that though freshwater HLLE is often caused by Hexamita, in marine fishes, it's almost always nutritional.> I have a 4" Emperor with it and I am just racking my brains trying to find the cause. Good thing is that he is healthy as a horse and has quite the appetite. <Ah, good.> I have read that if I can find the cause and fix it that I can reverse its effect on the fish. Is this true? <To an extent, yes.> I have been feeding my Angel "Sally's San Francisco Bay Brand" frozen food for angel and butterfly. He also gets Formula two, and on occasion brine shrimp plus and Mysis shrimp. I feed very generous amounts of red and green algae. I have just today switched his Angel food with Hikari Mega Marine Angel frozen food. It seemed to have more sponge in it. <Try Ocean Nutrition's foods, too.> I also just today began soaking all the food in Zoe. <I would switch this to Selco/Selcon and/or Vita-Chem.> It is not the water conditions. I have awesome water quality. Never any algae blooms, the tank is very mature. The ph though is a little on the low side, 8.1... <.... not awesome.> it has always been this way no matter what I do or what I try (my husbands tank has the very same issue). <Please try to get to the bottom of this issue, raise to 8.3.> I have had my fish for a very long time and the Angel is the only one showing ill health. That's why I suspected it may be a dietary issue? <Almost definitely.> Don't know if this has anything to do with it, but my stocking list is 1- 6" Naso, a Sailfin Tang, 6 blue-green Chromis, an algae blenny, a flame angel, a pair of Sebae clowns and a black and silver cardinal. They are in a 6' long 150 gallon tank. They seem pretty tolerant of one another. <I see no real problems with this mix; good choices.> Any help would be appreciated. <If you don't already, consider having live rock in the aquarium, or if your rock is more than a few years old, consider switching some/much of it out for new. This new rock would first need to be cured, of course, before adding to the established tank.> Thanks, The Melendez Family P.S. How do I check for a reply? I am not sure what this would be posted under or how to get there from the home page. (Yes...I have to be spoon-fed lol). <Will be posted.... under HLLE FAQs of all places! Also on the dailies for a day, also replied to your email address. We try to cover our bases (grin)> Thanks again. <Glad to be of service. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Angel with cloudy eye 5/23/06 Dear WWM crew: I have recently introduced a moderate sized Emperor Angel into my 150 gallon fish-only system that contains only three other inhabitants: Achilles Tang, Maroon clown, and Spiny Boxfish. Although the angel appeared to acclimate well and is an assertive feeder, it has developed persistent "abrasions" on the pectoral fins and slight clouding of one eye. The clouding is not diffuse (appears almost like excess mucous) and not accompanied by Exophthalmus. The fish will occasionally "rest" between rocks, but otherwise is active and approaches anyone who goes near the aquarium. My presumption is that the fin abrasions and eye abnormality are bacterial in origin, <Mmm, most likely> likely secondary to minor trauma or stress (water parameters are stable). If I'm correct that the problem is not fungal/parasitic, would you recommend a Nitrofurantoin-based treatment (in quarantine) such as Jungle "fungus eliminator?" <... possibly... How long has this been going on?> Is there any role for a freshwater bath given that bacteria are unicellular and should not be able to osmoregulate (like parasites)? Thanks for your advice, Dana <As stated in articles, FAQs posted on WWM... five, ten minutes. Did you freshwater dip this animal as part of the original acclimation procedure? This could be something else... my next best guess is Trematodes/flukes... Need for microscopic examination... Bob Fenner>
Re: Angel with cloudy eye - 05/23/2006
Thank you for your reply. The duration of symptoms is now approximately 10 days and began around 1 week post transfer from quarantine. <I see> The other fish in the aquarium have not shown visible signs of infection, though the Achilles Tang was darting around for a few days (now back to normal color, swimming behavior). <Not atypical for Acanthurus species... when new livestock, changes occur...> I did not freshwater dip the fish before or after quarantine. As far as microscopic examination, I do have the equipment to perform this analysis--the issue is how to procure a specimen without further stressing/damaging the fish. <Mmm, I see you have a medical doctor affiliation... For what you have invested here, and into the future, I encourage you to seek out and borrow or buy a copy of Edward Noga "Fish Disease. Diagnosis & Treatment"... This single reference will grant you insights as to body slime slide prep., the current rudiments of pathology of ornamental fishes> Therefore, since my original message, I made the decision to treat the fish in quarantine with Jungle's Nitrofurantoin-based treatment, again without a freshwater dip. If I understand you correctly, do you believe that there is a role for a freshwater bath even if the assumption of bacterial infection is correct? <Mmm... well, if I/you were going to the "trouble" to remove, isolate this fish already, I would elect to process it through a pH-adjusted freshwater bath enroute> Thank you again, Dana <I do hope this is clearer. Bob Fenner> P.S. I can try to obtain a digital image if things do not improve <Appreciate this>

White blotches on mid size Blue Face Angel 3/23/06 Love the site, and looked over it many times before submitting this inquiry. <Good> I have a 210 gallon with the double sump wet dry, protein skimmer, grounding probe, and UV going. The water quality is as such as I just measured it today: salinity is 1.019, <Too low...> ammonia is 0.0, nitrate is 10, nitrite is 0, and ph is 8.2 according to the 'Aquarium Pharmaceutical' kit I use. Fish roster includes: Australian Harlequin Tusk, green bird wrasse, 2 lookdowns (small), crosshatch trigger, blue face angel, zebra moray, squirrelfish, and powder blue tang. <Yikes... you need a much larger system...> They all eat a daily mixed diet of Mysis, green and red lifeline, krill, angel formula, lancefish, mussel, romaine, <I'd skip the terrestrial greens... almost no food value, and trouble with pollution> cockle, and formula one. all soaked in Selcon daily except for the romaine. Attached are 2 pics of our 3.5-4 in Blue Face Angel which we've had for 3.5 months. As I read over your site, it looks like this could be HLLE (of just the head for right now) or a metamorphosis to becoming an adult. The LFS says it's most likely the latter b/c the fish is eating like a pig. It seems to be getting worse too and his skin on his face looks to be deteriorating. <Does look like HLLE... water quality issue here mainly... Though what you can/do read/seem okay...> Prior to this he was having those random white patches that would come and go on his body (literally within hours - it was a different picture. <Agreed... likely behavioral reaction... more neuronal, less hormonal... now switched> think it was that spook factor mentioned in your other write ups). What do you think this really is? <Is an erosive condition. I would raise your spg, do what you can with modifying the wet-dries (switching to refugium/s... or adding, tying a live sump in somewhere... Consider "live mud", macroalgal culture... and purposely add the Selcon to whatever foods this fish is taking> Thanks in advance for your time. Sincerely, Jason Chamberlain <Thank you for writing so thoroughly, clearly, with clear graphics, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Emperor Angel mouth problem 1/25/06 Dear Crew, <Dana> I have a 5 1/2" Emperor Angel whom I have had for just under 2 years. He has always been healthy, eats everything, and has almost completely changed over to his adult form. He is perfect in every way but one. Over the last six months, I noticed that his mouth looked different than it should (I had one many years ago, plus see them in LFS and photos). I have had no luck taking photos that clearly show what I am talking about, so I shall attempt to describe his mouth. Quite simply, it looks as if someone grabbed it with a pair of pliers and pulled it forward. There does not appear to be any growths on it, more like it has cracks in it. His mouth does protrude out, the bottom more so than the top. I can see what appear to be blood vessels under the skin in this area, and he is no longer able to close his mouth completely. It does not appear to bother him, as he is still eating quite well. But I am concerned that what originally looked like a "not so perfect specimen" now looks like something is obviously wrong. I did search your FAQs, and did find a couple of posts about tumors of the mouth, but neither of the posts offered a description for comparison. If this is a tumor, do you have any advice for a remedy? <Maybe a tumor, perhaps a genetic anomaly... could be resultant from a "bump" long ago... No remedy though...> Are my other fish in any danger? <Highly unlikely, no> I am not certain if this is related, but I have twice seen him breathing rapidly out of a single gill only (found several posts on this as well, but no clear answers), <Probably not a problem or related. Just something they do at times> but minutes later was breathing normally. Oh yes - water quality is excellent, with near zero nitrates and phosphates, pH is 8.2, temp 77. The tank is a 240 with 200 lbs. of live rock, though this was only added a few months ago. All other fish in the tank have perfect health. His diet includes virtually every frozen marine fish food on the market (I believe in variety!) fed twice a day, with dried seaweed fed twice a week. Your help and advice is greatly appreciated. Dana <I would soak the foods, algae in a vitamin/HUFA supplement (like Selcon, Microvit...), but otherwise do nothing else here. If this is a developmental disorder, or tumor as you speculate, hopefully it will spontaneously remit. Bob Fenner>

Apolemichthys trimaculatus (three spot angel) odd behavior and possible fin rot 12/04/05 Hello, <Hi Katja.> I have a problem with a three spot angel. <I'm sorry to hear that.> I've had it for about two years. Over the last week it started swimming oddly, on the side, making loops. <Yes this is troublesome behavior. Is it limited to this specimen (how is the behavior of the tank mates)? Any sudden changes in environment, how is the diet?> Before he was swimming around the whole day, while now it makes a short round and retreats to the cave, where it is dark. He hovers a little above the sand turned on his side. He breaths quite quickly <Possibly a sign of trauma or even gill flukes? Have there been nay new additions to the tank and could they be subjecting the angel to aggression or perhaps an illness even?> and the other thing I noticed is that it seems as if its tail is getting smaller (as being eaten away) and slightly coloured red. The other day I noticed something like a very tiny white thread (about 1 cm long) hanging from his tail. It later disappeared. The fish still eats. I suspect fin rot, but I would like your opinion on this, before I start medicating it. <Was the deterioration rapid, as in overnight or did it happen slowly? Hard to say without seeing, even so go ahead and search WWM re: marine angel disease and fin rot.> The water parameters are fine, with the exception of some nitrates. Other fish are also ok. <How much nitrates? Please be specific this is important.> Thanks in advance for your help! Katja <Adam J.>

Angel Fish Deaths 9/21/05 Over the past year, we have had multiple angel fish deaths. They have all occurred suddenly without any apparent injury to the other fish in the tank. The saltwater tank has been set up for two years, and we do regular water changes, and have no abnormalities in the water. Currently, we have a damsel fish, two clown fish, and a yellow tang, in addition to shrimp, crabs, and snails with live rock. Each new addition to the 70 gallon tank (all have been angel fish. a blue angel, six bar angel, coral beauty, and Flagfin angel) have lived for a couple months, and then died suddenly. Prior to their death, they appear well integrated into the tank, have no outward abnormalities, no signs of trauma, and are eating well. We can't seem to figure out what the cause of death could be. Please provide any suggestions to help. Could there be any other hard metal abnormalities even though that we use a RO/DI filter? Copper, lead, and iron testing have all been negative. Thanks for the help, Dale <First impression is you are not meeting their requirements/diet, etc. Read some of the articles here, Dale. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/ James (Salty Dog)> <<Also, most of the angels mentioned are not hardy for aquarium use... RMF>>

Dying dwarf angelfish Hello, <Hi there> Yesterday I bought two fish, a long-nosed butterfly and a dwarf angel called a blue angelfish. <Mmm, the only Blue Angel I know is not a dwarf... is this from the Atlantic? Species name?> I have a newly setup 55 gallon saltwater tank (a second tank the other is a 46 g. bowfront) which has a snail, hermit crab and a keyhole angel. <A 46 gallon tank is too small for two species of Angels> This morning I found my new angel on top of the water. When I disturbed it, it started swimming in circles and loops - no control at all. I tried putting it in the older tank but it didn't help. <No quarantine? Not smart... but from the description, very likely this fish was damaged in collection and/or handling from the wild to your dealers. I would contact them, ask re possible credit from them and their getting credit from their supplier in turn. Bob Fenner> The tank is newly set up, by that I mean it has had no livestock in it. I set it up and have let it run for quite some time. The water tested perfect, 0 nitrites and barely any nitrates (less than 20). None of the other fish are affected, just this one. It hasn't died yet but gets stuck on the filter siphon screens, or "blown" around by the bubble screen, seems like the slightest current just carries it anywhere. No damage shows on the body, the eyes are clear, color seems good, not breathing overly hard or fast. ??? Agnes
Re: Dying dwarf angelfish
Thanks for your quick response. As usual for me, I was confusing in my message. In my 46 bowfront I have a Lunare Wrasse, Domino Damsel, Clarkii, cleaner Wrasse, Firefish, Blue-Green Chromis (male and female), Tomato Clown, 2 Yellow-Tail Blue Damsels, 2 Scooter Blennies and a Goby. Also, feather dusters, anemones, snails and hermit crabs and one good size decorator crab. The Lunare Wrasse is the biggest thing in the tank; all of the others are 2 inches or less. <Okay... crowded in a few senses.> I had the Blue Angel (2 1/2 to 3 inches) in the 55 gallon tank with the long-nose butterfly (3 to 4 inches), a keyhole angel (2 1/2 to 3 inches) a big hermit crab and 2 snails. The Blue Angel was at the store for about 3 weeks before I gave in and bought it. It seemed to be okay, no odd swimming behavior at all. I am thinking that it suffered shock from the new environment. <Often the signs, actual collecting damage don't show for a few weeks...> I had no idea how big it was going to get until I started asking questions. <Something doesn't seem to add up here... you said the fish was "at the store" for three weeks, yet you "had no idea" how big it would get? You might have "looked up" this information... on the Net, books...> I wanted to stay with small fish for my tanks for the variety I could have without overcrowding. I also have the young man from PETCO come and help with my tanks at home. He does this as a second job, in home maintenance. He is very knowledgeable and caring about all of the animals. I've talked to him for a couple of months at the store and am very impressed with the change he has made to the stores tanks in the short time he has been there. <A few of us here also had/ran such service companies> All of this is just to say I am trying very hard to take care of my pets while I learn to take care of them. <Mmm, perhaps being part of a local marine aquarium club will facilitate your learning?> Thank you so much for your advice. Agnes <Glad to proffer it. Bob Fenner>

ASFUR ANGEL Hi Chap's <Hi David, MacL here with you tonight.> I hope you can help me. I have a 3-4 inch Asfur that is doing really well in the tank. Over the last 3-4 months he has slowly been losing colour. It looks like the colour pigments in he's skin has gone. At this point it just looks blotchy, but its all over him. <You didn't mention your water parameters, and that's important to know, especially the pH. That can cause a fish to lose color. You really need to check for that. Also, if he is a juvenile and turning to his adult coloration that could possible be the cause of any color change.> He has a great diet of mixed food, but still the situation is getting worse. <Which kind of mixed food. Adult angels need some food with sponge in it.> Please help.
Dave Cornish.

- White Blotches on Emperor Angel - Hello. <Hi.> I am desperately trying to sift through all the info. on the web about angels. I have a 3.5 inch juvenile imperator angel who has white blotches to his pattern. Does not look like anything attached as it would with an Ich type disease. He is eating and swimming about. My nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and salinity are all good. His eyes are clear. Is this just the beginning of his metamorphosis or is it a disease. <Sounds to me like an exhibition of the night/fright pattern on this fish. Typically shown when in an overall bad mood or nighttime. Not sure what your fish might be responding to, but have seen these blotchy patterns often enough on newly arrived or stressed fish. Do look for sources of stress in your tank, perhaps do a couple of large water changes to try and improve its mood.> Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Heather <Cheers, J -- >

Angel In Peril? Hi I was wondering if you could help me. I have had my tank raised half moon angel for about 6 months now he has be doing great until a few days ago he doesn't eat that much eats a bit a day, but he is usually a little pig. Besides that, his color and personality is the same. I saw him go up to my cleaner shrimp once since then I have gave him 2 fresh water dips. Should I treat with copper or continue with the dips. This has been going on for about 5 days. Thanks, love your site!!! best on to net! Morgan <Well, Morgan- I'd hold off on further, possibly stress-inducing treatments of any kind, until you get a handle on what this is. Usually, fishes go off feed for a variety of reasons, such as environmental lapses or illness. In the absence of other obvious disease symptoms, I'd look to environmental conditions as a possible cause. Do a full range of basic water tests to see if things are up to par. Otherwise, continue excellent husbandry practices, and stay the course with this fish. Hopefully, with your good care and the passage of time, He'll get back his appetite and things should work out. Hang in there. Regards, Scott F.>

Angel In Distress? Thanks for the help in advance, <Glad to be of service! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 220 gallon FOWLR system running for 2 years with good water parameters, all the fish have been healthy.  I recently put in a 3-4 inch majestic angel after two weeks in quarantine, this shortened period I'm guessing may have been my downfall. <Well, better two weeks than nothing- but still too short, as you surmise> After introducing it to the main tank, it's pectoral fins in particular became very ragged and its one eye cloudy. I've been doing some water changes and bringing down the specific gravity in the system as this has helped with situations in the past. The fins seem to have stopped deteriorating and the eye is not getting any worse (this is over one week).  It is more or less impossible to catch the fish in my tank and I am wondering if the fact that the majestic is no longer hiding and now eating much better may allow it to heal without moving it to a separate tank for treatment. <Well, if capture is simply not possible, I'd keep trying to maintain stable conditions with excellent water quality, and feed the fish as much good-quality food as possible> Also how low would you recommend taking the specific gravity and for what duration (water temperature is 80). <Well, hyposalinity is a potentially effective treatment for some parasitic illnesses, but it may be ineffective for bacterial maladies. If you elect to go the hyposalinity route, make sure that you remove all inverts from the system, lower it slowly, and use a specific gravity of around 1.015. Depending on the malady that you are attempting to treat, I'd leave the specific gravity at this level for about 2 weeks or so, unless the fishes show additional distress. At that point, removal of all afflicted fishes to a separate tank for medical treatment may be required> I did notice on a few of the other fish tiny patches of cloudiness on their tails, not Ich like, any suggestions?? Thanks Joe <Well, Joe- hard to say. It could be the beginnings of a virulent parasitic disease, such as Amyloodinium, or a more treatable bacterial infection. If it is bacterial, it may also be important to focus on the root cause, which is usually due to some environmental lapses. Do review all basic water quality, in addition to any other treatment course that you may embark upon. Try to get a positive ID on the illness before getting too involved with a potentially hazardous treatment. Make use of the WWM FAQs for possible ID's. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Emperor with HLLD >Good afternoon folks at WWM, >>Greetings. >After exhausting all resources I am finally breaking down to ask you a question.  First, let me start by giving you a brief description of my problem.  I have an emperor angel that has developed a serious condition of HLLD.  It is to the point that his entire face is almost completely pitted as well as his lateral line.  I have followed all suggestions found in all your related articles but nothing seems to be working.   >>It would be helpful to have an outline of what suggestions have been tried, to what extent, as well as timeline.  In any event... >My tank is a 90 gal. FO, up and running for about 3 years, with some ornamental corals, one small piece of LR and about 2-3" of LS.  Filtration is through a wet dry filter and protein skimmer of unknown type (a gift from a friend) which does produce cups of dark green product on a regular basis.  I took your advice and bought a large Rubbermaid trash can and powerhead to mix my own water.  Using Instant Ocean salt and Seachem's Prime for chlorine and chloramine removal and tapwater, I am able to do 10- 15 gal water changes each week  (the LFS said no other chemicals were needed due to our water quality).  When tested, all water qualities appear within normal limits.   >>We prefer to know actual readings, test kit brand is helpful as well.  As I'm sure you can understand, there are many varying definitions of "within normal limits" or "acceptable parameters". >Livestock includes: 1-emperor angel 4" beginning to change colors 1-hippo tang 5" 1-powder brown tang 4" 1-sailfin tang 4" in the recovering stages of HLLD >>This system is already overstocked, especially with consideration to adult sizes of these first four residents. >1-yellow tang 4" 2- small damsels (blue with yellow tails) 1-sebae clown with anemone 1-CB shrimp 2-sandsifter stars 2-useless brittle stars >>Believe me, they're not useless. >1-small queen conch multiple Astrea snails In the morning they are fed one cube each of Angel Formula and Formula Two by Ocean Nutrition soaked in Kent's Marine C, and in the evening one sheet of Nori and some silversides both soaked in Boyd's Vita-Chem.   >>ALL these fish are fed only two cubes of frozen food?  In my opinion they are underfed.  Also, I MUCH prefer Selcon, and it can be ordered online. >On the recommendation of my LFS, I have installed a grounding probe.  The only thing that I have not done is to add American Marine Selcon and this is due to not being able to find it locally.  The LFS also suggested that if what I am doing does not work, that I could inject the vitamins directly into the base of the tail with a small syringe.  Ever heard of that?   >>Oh my goodness, an extreme measure, I think it would be more stressful than helpful.   >The Sailfin tang also had a bout of HLLD but seems to be in the recovering stages.  All fish have a healthy appetite and otherwise appear  in great condition, everyone seems to be happy and getting along.  What am I missing (besides a larger tank, which is hopefully in the future if my wife lets me)? I would really like to see my angel clear up and complete his color change.  Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  Steve >>Personally, I would try using Selcon instead of the other vitamins, and I would definitely feed more.  Also, if you can't get a larger tank VERY soon then I strongly suggest thinning the herd.  Marina      

- Ich or Something Else - I have a adult emperor angel.  This fish had Ich when I received it.  I used a quarantine tank and sea cure copper treatment to get rid of the Ich. ( I have since been told that the copper was a bad idea, but it worked).  Had problems, an ammonia spike in the quarantine so he was moved to my main tank after only two weeks of quarantine. Used copper in the main tank. <Doh!> It has been a month and a half since I have seen any signs of the parasite.  But I just removed my copper via carbon and a copper removing filter material.  This I started a week ago. I haven't seen any Ich parasites (resembling a little piece of salt on the angel) but I have just started seeing white spots that resemble blemishes.  These are more noticeable in the morning before I turn on the lights. <This could just be night/fright patterns as many fish change coloration when it's dark and they typically rest.> But just recently I changed from an ordinary fluorescent bulb to a Marine Glo fluorescent bulb.  I also started leaving a house light on at night so the tank wasn't a complete black out at night.  And to top it off I was 5 days late on my water change which had been a strict regiment for awhile now 3 months.  Before hit and miss. Are these form stress or parasite. <Probably a little stress due to recent changes. Do keep a sharp eye on your water quality. Other than that, as I mentioned before the coloration is probably just the night time pattern.> Could you speculate. <All day long... ;-) > Thanks for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Fallen Angel? I have a Venustus angel that is hanging out near the top of the tank in a corner.  She does not appear to be in any particular distress but has ceased eating and has 3 or 4 small black spots on her fins. <Not a good sign> I have not read anywhere where black spot disease causes loss of appetite or vitality.  Is this just black spot or something else?   <Well, without seeing the fish, I can only guess. However, fishes that don't eat and hang around in a listless manner are usually suffering from some kind of malady, or perhaps a lapse in water quality has taken place to put the fish in distress. Rather than just start treating the fish with any old medicine, I'd start by running a basic "suite" of water tests: pH, alkalinity, ammonia, nitrite. If all of the water parameters appear within acceptable limits, I'd begin looking at disease as a certain cause of the symptoms. Diseases like Amyloodinium (which can kill with horrifying rapidity) often leave fishes gasping for breath listlessly in the corners of the tank. "Black Spot" and other parasitic conditions can usually be treated successfully (in a separate tank) with a commercial copper sulphate product. Do make a positive ID using the many resources available on the WWM site, and take decisive action. Good luck in your efforts to save this rare and beautiful fish. Regards, Scott F>

Potter's Angel Problems... Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. <My pleasure! Scott F. here again today!> I have a couple more questions, so I'll cut down your reply: I'm using an aquarium pharmacy tap water filter (you know, the big tube thing with carbon, and green stuff that turns to blue) as my source.  I assume this is a DI unit. <Yep> BTW, do I need to always use this to make new water, or will tap water in a bucket suffice?  I've been erring on the side of caution  and always using the filter for source water. <I'd continue with that practice...Quality source water is a key to long-term success> I checked the water coming out of the filter, and, the output of the alkalinity/hardness test (good thing I was in PetSmart and bought one of these yesterday, purely by accident :) was: hardness 25 ppm Alk 20 ppm So I assume I need to add buffering. <Deionized water does need some buffering, due to it's inherent instability (lack of carbonate hardness)> <Ok, how do I do that?  Arm and Hammer, Seachem 8.3? I'd tend to use the commercial product for this. Seachem and some other companies make "reconstitution" products to stabilize purified water.> B) Given that both eyes are cloudy, although not at the same time, how long do I wait before I have to assume it's disease, and what else should I look for? <I would not give it more than a week. Keep on the lookout for other potential problems/symptoms, like "scratching" behaviors, excessive amounts of body slime or mucus, "shimmying", clamped fins, or any other signs that something is not right> <I wouldn't wait too much longer, frankly. I'd keep up the water quality and monitor for a few more days, before beginning treatment> <That sounds fine to me> Ok, should I remove the live rock in the QT to the display tank before treatment, or just assume I'm gonna lose it from the medication (the display tank is fallow). <Well- a minor correction here...Do not put live rock, sand, or other natural materials in a quarantine or hospital tank. They can "absorb" (for want of a better word) medications, making it difficult to maintain proper therapeutic levels. Also, these items have no place in a quarantine tank, for many of the same reasons. A quarantine or hospital tank is not a permanent feature, and should be broken down after each use. I wrote a piece on the quarantine process that's on the WWM site and which was in the March issue of FAMA, which may answer some of your questions on this> c) Are Epsom salts warranted yet? <Sounds like you're dealing with a disease, rather than injury, so I don't think that Epsom salts are the best course of action here> Ironically, the buffering in the tank is 300 ppm.  Maybe I shouldn't have changed the filter so soon. <Keep monitoring the water chemistry, and adjust as you need it> Thanks for all of your help and encouragement. I'll let you know how it comes out. Rob <Please do, Rob- I'm sure that things are going to go just fine! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>
Potter's In Peril?
Hi again, crew <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> thanks for your response. The Potter's seems to be eating its angel food and grazing off the live rock. <Good to hear that> In response to your reply: A) I put the live rock in based upon the QT setup in Michael Paletta's book. I even let the QT cycle (stupid newbie, I know :) b) Fishbase didn't help me with determining the sex of the potter. Since there were pictures of just brown potters, and ornate potters, I'm gonna assume that since my Potter's is ornate, it's a male. <Well, according to several texts I've read, the most reliable external indicator is that males seem to have more blue> But, I have a more important matter. Last Thursday (3/27), I noticed that the left eye was getting white and puffy. After reading through your excellent website about Popeye/cloudy eye, that it could be caused by a) running into things (sort of like a black eye in humans) b) poor water conditions c) disease. Please correct me if I'm wrong! <Nope- you got it right...!> The next day, the other eye started to puff (although not as bad). <Hmm...sounds like Popeye, perhaps?> I had been removing salt and adding fresh in an effort to turn the QT into a low salinity quarantine, especially after reading about how susceptible these fish are to Ich, velvet, etc. (BTW, what are your thoughts on that?) <I think that hyposalinity is a potentially effective preventative/treatment for parasitic diseases (Paletta also touches on this in his book, BTW). I'm not convinced of it's effectiveness on bacterial or fungal diseases. Just my opinion, of course, but I'd prefer more "traditional" methods. Potters, like many Centropyge species, are susceptible to the gamut of parasitic and fungal diseases. They require highly stable water conditions, and a varied, healthy diet. Stability is very important> From my notes: 3/20 added Potter's Angel, performed H20 change every 3 days of approx 1 gallon (QT is 15 gallons) to reduce salinity) <Good procedure, if you're using this technique. Changes should always be made gradually> 3/27 (after I noticed the puffiness): Replaced Biomatrix filter (polyester/carbon) 3/28:temp 79 ph 8.0 (yikes!) ammonia > 0.8 mg/l (yikes!) nitrite > 1.0 mg/l (yikes!) nitrate ~ 20 mg/l SG 1.018 3/30: temp 80 ph 8.1 SG 1.015 ammonia 0.4 mg/l nitrite 0.8 mg/l nitrate 20 mg/l 3/31 (6 hrs after 5.5 gallon H20 change, 50% salt, 50% fresh): temp 77 SG 1.015 PH 8.0 (yikes!) Didn't do all the tests this morning because I was in a rush to get to work. I added a little less than a teaspoon of Seachem 8.3 marine buffer. Haven't done any tests tonight. <It's good that you're testing regularly...> So, my questions are: a) I assume this is a combination eye contusion/water quality issue. What do I do to fix it? Will adding the SeaChem/doing partial water changes every day or so will help. <Well, as mentioned previously, stability of water parameters, including pH, is of great importance with these fish. I'd take whatever measures are necessary to assure stability. Is your source water buffered to an acceptable pH? Just a thought...> b) Given that both eyes are cloudy, although not at the same time, how long do I wait before I have to assume it's disease, and what else should I look for? <I wouldn't wait too much longer, frankly. I'd keep up the water quality and monitor for a few more days, before beginning treatment> c) Are Epsom salts warranted yet? <Epsom salts are effective if you're dealing with an injury (usually in one eye). If it's in both eyes, it's likely Popeye, and requires medication to treat, IMO> And, finally, what happened to cause the tank chemistry to get so out of whack (so I can avoid this happening again if it's the root cause). <I'm going to hazard a guess...Perhaps the biofilter was not fully established yet (hence the measurable ammonia and nitrite levels)...Really hard to say...The other thought is that the source water is not buffered sufficiently (RO/DI?)...> Again, I'm a newbie, so be gentle in your answers :) I'm just trying to learn/fix my mistakes. Rob <Rob, you're doing fine, questioning and learning...I'm pretty certain that you'll keep doing the right thing with this fish...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Disease Strikes! Hello to all of you. <Hi there! Scott F. with you!> I've got a three inch asfur with no external symptoms other than a very small increase in breathing and the two side fins a getting ragged on the trailing edges. He's been eating less than normal for the past two to three days, and has been hanging in one spot throughout the day. I gave him a Methylene blue bath yesterday and today I gave him an eight minute freshwater bath. A new symptom today, swimming at times at a 45degree angle, gilling isn't labored more than normal. My Q-tank is in the middle of  being cycled so I can't put him in there. Am I doing the correct things, what else can I do, should or shouldn't be doing. Thank you in advance. <Well, this sounds like it could be a number of things, ranging from some type of stress reaction to metabolite poisoning to the possibility of Amyloodinium, which is very contagious, and fatal if left untreated. The increased respiration and hanging around in one space is of some concern; glad to see that it's getting better. However, I'd operate under the suspicion that you're dealing with a potentially serious condition. I'd get this guy into the hospital tank as soon as possible for more observation and/or treatment. Look for other symptoms, such as spots, excessive body slime, scratching, etc. Your idea of freshwater dips is a good one. At least until you can get him into a hospital tank, I'd keep up the dips on a regular basis. Read up on the wetwebmedia.com site about Amyloodinium and Cryptocaryon, just to see if this is what you are dealing with. You may need to utilize more effective medications if this is the case. Also, if this is a parasitic disease, you may need to remove all of the fishes in your tank for observation and treatment. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

The Emperor's New...Disease? Hello my name is Ryan. <Hey, Ryan! Scott F. with you!> This is my second time writing with a question and I would like to thank you for the quick response and great information on the first. My question this time deals with a sick fish. The fish is an Emperor angel and he has developed some white clumpy regions around his face and also going on down his back. I read about Lymphocystis on your website and that was my best diagnosis. The spots are larger than ick and they almost have a pattern to them as they are only on the face and a straight line down the back. I prepared to let it run its course but some of the spots have gotten to the point where blood is showing around them. He has also stopped eating and is hanging out around the return flow from the filter. This makes me think that he may be having some respiratory problems. <Lymphocystis generally clears up on it's own. On the other hand, the fact that your fish appears to be listless, hanging in front of the filter return seems to be indicative of something more serious, IMO. In fact, the difficulty in breathing suggests the possibility of Amyloodinium. The spots may be the damage caused to the fish's tissue by the parasite. The tissue is essentially being liquefied. I would take the risk and operate under the assumption that this is the illness which you are dealing with. You must take quick action to save the fish's life.> Should I quarantine and treat? If so, what should I use? I hate to stress him out any more. I really need some help. <The first thing that I would do is read up on Amyloodinium to verify if this is what you're dealing with. Once you're satisfied that this is the case, I'd opt to remove the affected fish to a separate aquarium, and commence treatment with a commercial copper sulphate preparation, following the instructions of the product exactly. You may want to incorporate a freshwater drip prior to commencing the copper treatment. If this is Amyloodinium, it may be necessary to remove all fishes from the aquarium, and let the tank run fallow for about a month. This disease is highly contagious, and often fatal if left untreated. Monitor copper levels and observe the fish continuously during this period of time, maintain high water quality, and good aeration. Hopefully, with quick, decisive action, you'll beat this disease!> Thank you so much for your help. Keep up the great website! I have learned some much from your wonderful work. Thanks again! ~ Ryan <We're always glad to help, Ryan. I hope that, if we're right about this diagnosis, your fish makes a full recovery. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>
The Emperor's New...Disease (Pt2)
Ryan again. Thanks again for the quick response. I did what you suggested and did a little research on Amyloodinium. I sure hope that is not what I am dealing with! <Me, too!> As of now I am a little unsure. Everything that I read said that Amyloodinium looks like a rusty like powder covering the fish's body and infected regions. <That's usually correct...I'm a bit curious, though, about the apparent skin damage to the fish. I'm convinced that we may be dealing with some type of parasite here. maybe monogenetic Trematodes, or, perhaps, even Microsporidean (a protozoan infection). > This is not the case with my Emperor. He doesn't display any rusty discolorations, only the white raised regions that are about twice the size of ick spots. They do appear to be deep into the skin and he does have some cloudiness in his eyes. I am not sure where to go from here. Can Amyloodinium present itself in this way? <Amyloodinium does cause cloudy eyes and labored breathing.> Also it doesn't seem to be spreading to any of the other fish and from what I have read Amyloodinium is highly contagious. <Correct!> I did a water change and it seemed to help but my water quality has never been a problem (pH: 8, NH3: 0, NO2: 0, NO3: 10). I attached a couple of pictures. <Sorry, Ryan, I couldn't get them to open...> I don't know if they are detailed enough or not but I need all the help I can get. Thanks a lot for the expert advice. It is very much appreciated ~ Ryan <Well, Ryan, since we still don't have 100% ID on the illness here, we may have to attempt some "broad and simple" treatments, at least to get the fish on the road to recovery, without further stressing it. I'd start with freshwater dips, removal to a separate tank, and use of Methylene Blue, which is a very gentle (albeit not super effective) treatment. Perhaps these methods will turn the tide for this fish. If, however, more symptoms appear, or the symptoms are getting worse, I'd make my best guess as to the cause (assuming that it's a parasitic infection), and utilize copper sulphate, as per manufacturer's instructions. With labored breathing, and other symptoms present, this fish needs some help soon. Keep in touch- Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Angel With A Tumor? Dear Bob & the guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight> Hamish here from across the pond in the UK. Set up my fish only 70UK gallon  system in May last year, and have had a good run for the money since, and in  no small way has this been due to your invaluable advice over the months. <We're certainly glad to hear that! Thanks for turning to the site as a resource!> I have 5 fish: a lipstick  tang & red-tooth trigger, both 6"+ now, and a  smaller maroon clown & bicolor blenny and, the fish with a problem, a 4" Rock Beauty Angel. Noticed recently that her(?) respiration seemed a bit  fast, but she looked healthy & was eating eagerly as always. Then decided to study her in a bit more detail & discovered that her left gill seemed "jarred" with what looks like an oval shaped, pink coloured object the size of a peanut (flatter!). I know that a good-looking group of fish doesn't  mean that all is well, but I have kept a very watchful eye on this system, level checks and water changes are regular & without problems. My local stockist has suggested parasites but also mentioned that it sounded like it  could be a tumor. <I think that this is a definite possibility; in fact, I agree that either a tumor or an entrenched parasite, such as an isopod or something> The breathing & gills of the other fish check out fine, even the rock beauty swims & eats as happily as ever. <Well, that would help eliminate Amyloodinium as a suspect, IMO> She was the last addition however, in October last year. The only "problem" I can't seem to solve in my system is quite a high KH, but I wrote to you before about this & you said that generally it's only a problem if the fish aren't doing so well. <Agreed, let the fish behaviour and tank be your guide here> Any ideas would be much appreciated, as always. Yours, Hamish, UK. <Well, Hamish-my thinking is that if you are dealing with a parasite, it could possibly be eliminated with as simple a procedure as freshwater dips. These can be a bit traumatic on the fish, so you may want to use these carefully, and mainly if the fish seems to be showing discomfort, or if his condition worsens. I am not a big fan of just dumping in medications, and subjecting the fish to the trauma of treatment unless absolutely necessary. If it is a tumor, short of surgically removing it from the fish (don't try this), the best bet is to keep the fish happy and eating, and to provide him and his tankmates the best water conditions possible. It may go into remission on it's own, it may simply stop developing, or it may gradually worsen...Regardless of what happens, keeping the fish otherwise healthy and happy is the best thing that you can do here. Try checking through a few photo guides on fish diseases to see if anything resembles what you are dealing with...maybe you'll find a clue or two. Otherwise, just hang in there, and keep doing what you're doing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

The Emperor's New...Respiration Rate? HI,   <Hello! Scott F. here!> I have spent the evening reading your faq and answers regarding angelfish, particularly ones regarding the Emperor.  I recently purchased--about 4 weeks ago -a juvenile Emperor (about  3.5").  He is very active in the tank, but I have noticed his breathing patterns vary.  When I first noticed, I checked all my tank parameters, and even took at sample to my LFS.  They said everything seemed normal, but the phosphate level was on the high side. I did a water change---about 15 gal in a 55 gal aquarium, and bought some phosphate absorbing material which I added to the carbon in my canister filter....He's had a few bouts with ick, I treated him with freshwater dips, and purchased a 15w UV sterilizer.  Since then the ick seems to be under control..  I am still concerned with his breathing...it just appears to be high...i read on the webpage that it is not recommended to purchase one if it's rate was greater than 80 breaths per min.  His fluctuates, and does sometimes go above 80.  Also, there have been a few times when I have noticed that he'll just use one gill, when this happens his breathing appears normal on the other side not rapid).  I have become quite attached to having this fish in my tank...and would hate for anything to happen to it.....is there reason for me to worry? <Very interesting observations. I have personally observed this phenomenon in a number of Emperors. For the most part, it has never been problematic, in the long term, for any of the specimens that I have witnessed this phenomenon on. Labored breathing and recent disease is cause for heightened alertness on your part. As you may know, one of the symptoms of Amyloodinium is rapid, labored breathing. Labored breathing on a newly acquired specimen could be as a result of collection trauma, or even poisoning... Probably not a concern with your fish, but do keep a close eye on this fish just to be safe.> I have a 55 gal tank, with live rock, a SeaClone protein skimmer, mag350 canister filter, a whisper 30-60 hang on filter, 2 powerheads, 15watt UV sterilizer, a maroon clown, 4 green Chromis, a few cleaner shrimp, and cleaner wrasse, along with a few corals and anemones.  I do bi weekly water changes with premixed ro/di saltwater from my LFS. <Good husbandry- you need excellent water quality to keep this fish healthy and happy in the long run! And, I hope that larger quarters are in the future for him? He'll definitely need a large tank to live a normal life span, okay?> I am trying to learn as much as i can about these fish.....how much should a fish like this grow in a years time?...When will it start going through it's  maturation process, and change color?.... <Usually happens at anywhere between 1 year and 18 months of age...and usually around 5 inches in size. This guy can get large in a couple of years...he needs larger quarters within the year, IMO> Your site has been the best I've been regarding information on angelfish...I would appreciate any help you can give me.... Thanks, Ronnie <Well, Ronnie, the Emperor is my all-time favorite fish, too! If you provide him with high water quality, a varied diet...and a large tank- you'll have a magnificent pet that can live for many, many years! Just keep reading all that you can about this fish on the wetwebmedia.com site! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Help! blotchy faced Koran Angelfish Hi, I am hoping you can give me some advice. I have a Koran Angelfish that looks like he is experiencing early male pattern baldness.  His color was solid all over when I bought him.  He picked up Ich about 2 weeks after I brought him home, but freshwater baths and the addition of a scarlet cleaner shrimp did the trick.  A few weeks later after he was all cleared up the color on his face area started to look blotchy and turned white in a very evenly matched pattern on his face.  He was about 3 1/2 inches when I first bought him and now he's almost double that so he's starting to go through the change of life to adulthood coloration.  I have had him for over 6 months now.  Water is great, he's happy and eats a balanced diet.  He's the master of his own tank (no one is terrorizing him and stressing him out).  Any advice as to what this is and what I can do to even out his skin color again? Thanks for your expertise. Jen <Very often, well often enough, the blotchiness you mention in this species is indication of the beginning of HLLE: Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm I would look into augmenting this fish's diet with iodide and vitamins A and D... there are products sold pre-made for this in the pet-fish interest. Bob Fenner>

Strange Angel Color Change Dear Bob and Crew: <Scott F. with you this evening> I am sad to report that my pygmy angel is losing his  dark blue coloration on his body and the yellow "under color" is showing through.  It's like he is shedding - that's what I'd call it if he were a dog or cat.  We have had him for nine months, got him full grown so I don't know how old he is.  He is eating and swimming as usual and this color thing just started this afternoon.  His tankmates appear to be fine. Water stats: Salinity:  28  (specific gravity 1.0215),Alkalinity 3.2, Ammonia 0,Nitrates 0, Calcium 450 ppm Please let me know if he is sick or what.  He has no spots on him, but as he is from the sea and not tank bred he could have parasites that I don't know about.   Connie Cavan PS =: As I finish this note, his color appears normal again.  What is going on.????  Hope Bob, you can help, he is named after you.!!! <Wow, Connie, any fish named after Bob deserves our best...! I'm a bit curious about this color change; there could be a number of reasons and causes. First, I am assuming that you are referring to Centropyge argi, the "Cherub Angelfish", or Centropyge acanthops, the "Flameback Angelfish" (Do check the wetwebmedia.com site for FAQ's and articles on the genus Centropyge for a firm ID on your fish)? The reason that I ask is that both of these fish are basically dark blue with yellowish "faces", and, in the case of C. acanthops, a yellow dorsal region. As such, these are normal color variations. However, a sudden color change could be anything from a stress reaction to the onset of "Head And Lateral Line Erosion" ("HLLE"), which is thought to be a "disease" brought on by dietary or environmental deficiencies. Without seeing this for myself, I'd have to go out on a limb and say that it's probably some kind of stress or fright reaction, especially when you consider that he was eating well and that the color returned quickly. In the absence of other obvious disease symptoms, I'm going to suggest that you continue to observe him, provide excellent water conditions, and a varied diet rich in vegetable matter. Monitor the environmental factors regularly, and be prepared to act should some more serious disease symptoms arise. Let us know if we can be of any further assistance! Good luck! Scott F>

Flagfin Angel Problem <Scott F. here tonight> Hello, my Flagfin angel has a red blotch around his butt. What is this?  <Hmm- really difficult to say...Could be anything from a scrape to an exit wound from a parasite, or even the result of needling for decompression...Please check the disease FAQs on wetwebmedia.com for information about various diseases and symptoms> I've had him for 4 or 5 days, eating and acting perfect. His tank mates are 1 in. percula clown, 1 in. domino damsel, 3 1 in. Chromis. What is this and how do I cure it? <Again, hard to say from here. I assume that the angel has been in your system 4 or 5 days after a quarantine period? Did the blotch appear during quarantine, or just when he was placed into the main tank? If you didn't quarantine (please do in the future), did you notice this blotch at the dealer, or did it just show up? Do any of the other fishes have any blotches like this? Are there any other symptoms or unusual discolorations on your fish? the fact that he's eating well is a good thing. Do keep an eye on him, read the FAQ's, and be prepared to take action if needed> Thanks!

Cloudy eyes on angel Great news! My BF has regained his appetite and lost his cloudy eyes. I'm not sure what did it, but he's back to eating frozen like a pig. Plus, I bought an Eheim 2217 for $50 yesterday! I will hook it up this weekend. Thanks for your help. Funny story: I read the passage from your book that says "Puffy is really hungry" to my girlfriend, who says that all the time and sneaks him extra food when I'm not looking. She now knows that he's played her for a fool. Steve p.s. I really respect your honesty regarding the purchase of fish from FFExpress that should not be sold in the trade. <The only policy... Glad to hear of your turnaround success. Bob Fenner> >> Ahh, well am I answered, and I understand... Yes to the added stress from crowding, lots of waste treatment, and too-busy Cirrhitid... And definitely yes to the bargain, earlier model Eheim... you can use or sell this canister filter for this sum many years hence...  Bob Fenner >> Did a 20 gallon water change, inserted new Chemipure, added biological filtration supplement "Cycle". I will add a PolyFilter tomorrow, just in case there are any contaminants. Next water change will involve lifting of the live-rock piles to get at the waste stored underneath.  He's eating flakes aggressively, when I have stepped away from the tank, but still no longer aggressive towards frozen. I will use live brine today.  Still wish I could get him some greens. Unfortunately, the Eheim was sold. I think that I will pick up a Fluval 303 on EBay for around the same price ($50). I am currently running the Startronics (horizontal) UV with a Hagen 402 powerhead on low flow. Can I  mount the Fluval so that this powerhead runs both? Is it powerful enough? Thanks again, Steve p.s. Jeff Macare says hi. (the closing fish store in question) P.P.S. Nice to see my question in your column. I'm famous!! >> Yes to the work so far... and your plans for moving the rock... and do go to  the oriental food store and buy Nori sheets and feed these... And nah (IMO of course) to the Fluval 303... I wouldn't buy one of these  new or old... keep saving for the new Eheim! Bob Fenner, who hopes to see Jeff and his dad in Germany in May... at the  InterZoo

A bit about angels Hi Bob, One last question before to go on your trip, if you have time. By the way, I just read your articles on Queen and Emperor angels ..... I really enjoyed them. It is nice and refreshing to read articles that don't make them out to be impossible to keep and feed. My question concerns my emperor angel. I have him now about a year. When I got him he was about 3", just arrived at my LFS from TMC (I live in Ireland), and is now about 4.5". In that time, I discovered he was diet was lacking, due to the development of HLLE, which has since cleared up (it was only in the very early stages), and his growth rate increased with it.  In this time he has changed colour. I am just a little worried that he may not have changed due to something being wrong in the tank. Do you think I am worrying without cause, is it normal for him to take this long to change ??? I am not being impatient, just concerned for his well being. I feel I should mention; tonight, the area around his face that turns gray once adult seemed a little paler ....... in the exact area that it should eventually be gray ..... and it was a pretty well defined area too....... a smooth curve from just above his lip, to where the 'gill spine' is. Also, along his flanks, in the center of his body, a few small white patches (about 2mm) have developed, about 5mm (1/5") apart ..... but all in a straight(ish) line. There are 5 patches one side, and 4 the other side. All in pretty much the same area. It has taken about 2 months for these to appear ......... which is roughly how long ago I changed his diet. I do not know if this is the early stages of 'the change' or what. In either case, can you shed any light on the situation. Should he have started by now, or can it take years before it happens ???? I know sometimes it doesn't happen at all ..... hopefully this is not such a case ........ but is it getting late ???? Thanks for reading this long message anyway. Regards, Matt >> Ah, thank you for writing... and I don't think anything is wrong with your Angel. It is in the early size/age/growth of the change to adult coloration... and do know of much longer periods of time, slower growth rates associated with the captive care of this species.... Very glad to hear of your success. This can be a fabulous species given clean water, a chance to be the "emperor" of its tank, careful feeding of some greens including iodine and vitamins... Be chatting, Bob Fenner

Angel wart Bob, I have a Maculosus angel, about 6 inches long, in my 125 gallon tank. About 2 weeks ago I noticed a small lump under his mouth near the gill cover that seems to be growing bigger by the day - right now it is about 1/8" diameter by 1/4" tall. It looks like a wart with a white tip. Could it be some kind of growth or tumor? What should I do for treatment? All my other fishes are doing fine and the water quality is within the acceptable parameters. Thanks for your time. Matt P.S. - I have read several books on marine fish care and yours is the most informative, colorful and entertaining so far! >> Well, thanks for the last comment... and thanks for causing me to get out all my older and latest "fish disease" reference works... To sum up: Idiopathic epidermal proliferation (i.e. the type of tumor you're describing) have no direct cause-effect relationship... many authors cite water "contaminants" as probable cause... and yes, there are incidents and suggestions that when such "neoplasm's" occur on the outer surface of a fish that some sort of surgery might/has proven worthwhile... If it were me though... I'd just attempt to improve and hold steady your water quality, and if (I know the species and it is a good feeder) the animal is still feeding, apply a vitamin, iodine mix (these are made for fish foods as well as humans) lest this be a thyroid issue; to its food immediately before offering it. I wouldn't "try" anti microbials, or anti-Protozoals... And I would try to be upbeat. Bob Fenner 

Fish health/disease Dear Mr. Fenner, Thanks in advance for your assistance! I have an adult Emperor Angelfish that has been in my Fish Only community tank for two years. Over the last month, he appears multi-symptomatic. 1) He is not eating and hides a lot. 2) He has a slight equilibrium problem (waddle side to side as he sits). 3) Breathing is regular yet his mouth seems almost a little more open then regular. 4) He flicks on occasion (every few minutes or during light feeding) but I never see him scratch against anything. 5) His pelvic fins are held close to the body and losing color. 6) He has white pits in the skin around the eyes. 7) He also has white patches in various spots on his body (scratch-like appearance and they disappear/reappear in different locations in a couple hours time). 8) His eyes are clear. 9) His tail and pectoral fins are cloudy white and receding from tip toward the body. In response, I've reduced the lighting and feeding in the tank to about 25%, increased aeration and have started lowering the salinity (1.019). Its been a few days since I did that and he's started moving around a little more. I still need to get a heater to raise the temp. Water conditions: 0 ammonia 0 nitrite 20 nitrate .2 phosphate 78-80degrees pH 8.0 Given past information you have made available, I don't think the condition is bacterial because of his eyes being clear. My local store says to dip him to help (maybe the flukes). Do you think this is a good idea? What is the likelihood that its fungal (the fin deterioration concerns me) and if so, how should I treat? <Hmm, I am inclined to not dip this specimen, and to think that this is either (most likely) a nutritional deficiency disorder (could be related to water quality) or a long-term internal parasite evidencing itself... Would do the following. Add the food supplement Selcon to this animals rations (soak it in a few drops for five, ten minutes) AND add some iodide to this (Lugol's solution is fine)... Do you have a way to culture some "live rock and macro-algae" in either this system or a related sump? I would... as an alternate food source and best way to improve water quality...> Thanks, Jason Lockhart <We will return this fish to health. Bob Fenner>
Re: fish health/disease
Mr. Fenner, Thanks for your quick response! I noted in #1 that the fish is not eating. He only flicks about when food is in the water or the tank is stirred up (cleaning). I do have a sump that is currently full with protein skimmer/return pup/carbon bag. I don't know if I'm ready to dump the plastic balls and do algae and mud. <Your livestock are ready> I have considered live rock but I'm afraid of the water being affected. <It will be... improved> I could still bring some home from the store as I intend to add a heater and purchase some Selcon (the other fish still eat). <Yes> Not to argue with your initial opinion, but I read a bit on the website about dipping. Won't it help to 'wash his slime coat' and nip the necrotic fin tissue temporarily? I know its stressful but I think it may slow down the rot. <Always trade-offs... and never be hesitant to challenge/query anything I (or anyone for the matter) might state... IMO/E your fish will/would suffer much more trauma from handling than any possible gain from washing... Perhaps a cleaner organism like a Lysmata Shrimp, Gobiosoma goby?> Thanks so much for your prompt response! You are very kind. <I am myself... and glad to offer help. Bob Fenner> Jason Lockhart
Re: fish health/disease
Mr. Fenner, Thanks again for your input. I will go ahead and add a couple pounds of rock and a heater to the aquarium. I do have a blue cleaner wrasse in the tank for parasites. I also have a dwarf potter, a yellow spot wrasse, percula clown and two damsels to top it off. I don't intend to add anymore fish esp. with my angel's condition and aquarium load. I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you and best wishes! Gratefully, Jason Lockhart <Ahh, life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
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