FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Disease/Health
FAQs on Angelfish Disease:
Angelfish Disease 1,
Freshwater Angel Disease 2,
FW Angel Disease 3,
FW Angel Health 4,
FW Angel Health 5,
FW Angel Health 6,
FW Angel Health 7,
FW Angel Health 8,
FW Angel Health 9,
FW Angel Health 10,
FW Angel Health 12,
FAQs on Angelfish Disease by Category:
Nutritional (e.g. HLLE),
Infectious (Virus, Bacterial,
Fungal), Parasitic (Ich, Velvet...),
Dwarf South American Cichlids,
Cichlid Fishes in General,
Angelfish Reproduction, & FAQs on:
Wild Angels (P. altum),
Cichlids of the World,
Advice on gill infection
I rescued a 20g aquarium of fish from a man who was relocating and
intended to flush them. Three quarter size Angelfish and a dwarf
Gourami. I will include photos. The white Angel would not eat
and never left the bubbles under the filter. He had significant red
throughout the gills, under them and to the front of the gills. Also
behind the eye. This all looked like blood to me, his respiration was
frantic and he could not close his operculum. Both sides.
<Understood. Could be Gill Flukes, as you suggest below, but might just
as easily be genetic (bear in mind these fish are small enough you can
see the blood flow to the gills, and the gill filaments should be deep
red anyway) or else some sort of bacterial infection (Angels are
somewhat prone to septicaemia, for example). Velvet is another
possibility, being very much associated with the gills, even if the rest
of the fish seems unaffected, at least early on in the infection.>
My best guess was gill flukes and I treated 6 days with Prazi Pro. We
were 2 days into the treatment with some improvement before I thought to
take photos of him. The first photo was taken at this time, the red had
lessened and the area was a bit smaller. I finished 6 days of Prazi and
took the second picture.
Day 2 of Prazi Pro
Now on day 7, having just finished Prazi treatment, he is significantly
better on inspection.
<Would seem to be, yes.>
The gills close now, he finally started coming out to eat on day 5 and
his appetite is better yet today. Not normal, just slight improvement
each day. My concern is that his behavior is still not yet normal. He is
out and about the tank maybe 50% of the time but returns frequently to
the filter bubbles, nose up to the surface. He eats, but is slow and not
enthusiastic yet as he should be. Respiration does seem more normal now.
<Angels are often (usually?) not sociable when kept in twos and threes.
They can be extremely aggressive towards each other, in fact. So I you
have 2-3 Angels, and one of them is acting shy and withdrawn, he could
very easily be the weakest male in the group, and consequently at the
bottom of the pecking order.>
My question is if I should just give him clean water and time to see if
he continues to improve or should I assume that if he had flukes, he may
also have lingering infection in the gills. Should I dose the tank with
<Dosing cichlids with Metronidazole and a Furan antibiotic is a common
approach with cichlids that rarely causes problems. It treats a good
range of possible pathogens, including Hexamita. Indeed, the combo is
close to being 'standard operating procedure' for many cichlid-keepers,
especially those handling wild-caught or expensive specimens.>
I have Furan 2, Kanaplex, Triple Sulfa. Is one of these antibiotics
better than another for gill infection?
Thank you for your help! I sure want this beautiful little guy to make
Sincerely, Amy Larson
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: advice on gill infection
Thank you Neale, I hope you never tire of helping us!
<You are most welcome.>
Just one question, do I give the full recommended dose of both Furan 2 and
Metronidazole at the same time? Amy
<I would; neither should be particularly risky for the fish, but do increase
aeration if possible, and do also use a nitrite or ammonia test kit during
usage to ensure the filter is happy. If in doubt, add some zeolite to the
filter to remove ammonia directly, as you'd do with a hospital tank. Cheers,
Re: advice on gill infection 3/2/20
Neale, Thank you for the help with the gill problem with my recently rescued
Angel fish. He is now doing great, eating well, happy gills. But I now have
another problem in this rescued tank. I think these are Camallanus worms? (A
different Angel in the same tank.)
<Video won't play for me <<Nor I>>, for some reason. But if red, thread-like
fibres emerging from the vent, then yep, Camallanus.>
The tank had a full treatment of Praziquantel followed by Metronidazole and
Furan for the gill infection. Today I noticed these worms in a different
fish, same tank (see photo) he is not eating. If these are Camallanus,
should I treat again with Prazi today or wait until the Fenbendazole arrives
<Prazi Pro isn't especially effective, so running a second course on the
same fish isn't unexpected. If the fish is otherwise healthy, and you think
holding out for the Fenbendazole is a safe choice, then sure, hold fire.>
Thank you once again for the time you gift to us. Amy
<Thanks for these kind words. Neale.>
Would Epsom baths help him?
<Marginally. Epsom Salt helps with constipation, but won't really have much
impact on worms. Cheers, Neale.>
Sick angelfish. Old age? 1/30/20
Back again seeking advice for the first time in many years. This
afternoon my freshwater angel has started looking real bad. I’m not sure
if there’s anything I can do but wanted to reach out.
He’s a zebra angel, I think at least 9 years old.
<That is a very fair age of Angels. For sure the odd specimens makes it
to maybe 10 or even 12 years, but the vast majority do not, even under
good circumstances. Bear in mind that specimens on sale in pet shops
will be a good six months old, so add that to however many years you've
kept your fish.>
He lived through a lot of my beginner mistakes (which you guys helped me
through!) so internally I’m sure not the healthiest fish. But for the
last 6 or so years has lived happily in a stable, healthy tank. A few
hours ago he started gulping at the top of the tank and seems to be
going downhill. He’s swimming very slowly, seems to be struggling.
Normally when I go to the tank he swims over for food, always the first
one over, but he’s not even acknowledging my presence. I did feed them
already today, but a full tummy has never stopped him from begging for
The tank background: 200L tank cycled many many years ago. I did a water
change yesterday but tested the water just now anyway: ammonia 0,
nitrites 0, nitrates <5.0ppm, pH 6.4 (unchanged). Temp 29C. It’s a
medium density planted tank with CO2 injection and ferts.
<All sounds fine. Is this what he's usually been kept in? Temperature is
towards the higher end of the range for farmed Angelfish, but nothing
outside their tolerance. Water changes to freshen things up are always
worth doing, sometimes with slightly cooler water, to see what happens.>
The only major changes to the tank recently were the addition of
4 juvenile discus 3-4 months ago, and 2 months ago I started
injecting CO2. Tank was transitioned to planted 1-2 years ago and I was
doing liquid carbon until now. Before CO2 injection the tank pH was
around 6.7, its gradually shifted to 6.4 over the two months as I
increased the CO2 from 1 bubble every 2 seconds to 2 bubbles a second
<A low pH should not, in itself, cause problems for Angels, which are
well adapted to soft, slightly acidic water conditions. Provided the
change has been gradual, I can't see this being a problem to your fish.>
Other tankmates are 4 Kuhli loaches, 9 rummynose tetras and 1
Bristlenose Pleco. I’ve not seen any signs of stress or sickness in the
angel before today.
So my question is am I missing something? And if it’s old age, how do
<I do think old age. There are some pathogens that Discus and Angels can
share, but usually it's the Discus that suffer, not the Angels, which
seem to be the carriers. This is one reason why mixing Discus and farmed
Angels is widely frowned upon. Again, while Angels will often bully
Discus, that's not what we're seeing here.>
My reason for extra concern (aside from my emotional attachment) is that
over the last 6 or so months I’ve lost 5 rummys. I had 5 rummys who were
about 5 years old, and around a year ago I bought 9 more to give them a
bigger school again. Over that time the school has slowly shrunk to 9.
It seems to be mostly the larger ones who have died so I think it’s the
older ones, but it’s hard to tell.
<When you say 'lost' did they sicken and die, or just vanish? Angels can
and will consume bite-size tetras. Adults are perfectly capable of
eating things up to the size of adult Neons. On the other hand, if
you're losing the odd fish every couple of weeks, then a deeper problem
may be involved. Dosing with CO2 should be safe, but there are a couple
of risks. One is displacing oxygen from the water, which is a pernicious
problem because we often tone down water movement to stop the CO2 from
escaping. In an overstocked tank, or one with too little water/air
mixing, the CO2 can displace so much oxygen that the fish suffer.
Cichlids are unable to breathe air, for the most part, so are often the
first fish to show signs of distress compared with those fish that can
use their swim bladders or whatever to breathe air when they must (such
So perhaps I’m losing fish to the march of time, but I’m worried now
that it’s something I’m missing.
Thank you for your time.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Sick angelfish. Old age? (RMF -- any other ideas?)<<Nada mas>>
Thank you kindly for your response. As perhaps expected he deteriorated
quickly and passed away overnight.
Very sad about it. Though your response about it being pretty old for an
angel gives me comfort.
<Glad to hear that.>
As to the temperature of the tank, I used to have it at 26C, but brought
it up slowly over time in preparation for adding the discus. There’s
been no aggression from the angel towards the discus, which was a
relief. This is my first time keeping discus and I was worried the angel
might bring an end to that. Instead he seemed to enjoy their company,
would often hang out wherever the discus were, almost seemed to be
schooling with them.
<Indeed, theoretically they're pretty similar (and closely related) fish
with many of the same preferences. In practice though it is
hit-and-miss, and most Discus experts recommend against mixing them. To
some extent it likely depends on the size of the group.>
There was, however, a lot of conspecific aggression amongst the discus
at first. Not what I expected after hearing how shy and peaceful they
<Only up to a point. Both Angels and Discus are pair-forming fish that
become territorial when spawning, which under aquarium conditions tends
to be 'all the time'. On top of that, juveniles and non-breeding adults
form loose groups with a distinct hierarchy, and you really do need at
least 6 specimens to avoid bullying.>
But it calmed down after the first few weeks as they sorted out who was
boss and all has been calm since then. I should mention that when I
first got the discus I did lose one. I bought 3 and then 2 more 2 weeks
later cause I was worried about an ammonia spike from adding too many
too quickly. But in that first 3, one of them got bullied by another and
was quite stressed. Often hiding and not eating. When I added the next
two and the aggression was dispersed he started to come good.
But a week or so later after a water change I forgot to plug the heater
back in, and overnight the temp dropped to 24C. The other discus were
fine, but he looked bad. I did water changes throughout the day to bring
the temp back up, but he soon died. I figured that was because he wasn’t
a healthy enough fish to survive the drop in temp, but it’s worth
mentioning now as part of the bigger picture in case I’m wrong.
<I would agree; Discus aren't going to be killed by a few hours at 24C,
but if a given specimen is weakened already, sure, it could well have
made things a lot worse.>
This was before I started injecting CO2, for context.
I was worried about the oxygen content of the water when the angel was
gulping, because of the reasons you mentioned. I’ve attached a pic from
just now to give you an idea of the amount of plants in the tank.
<The plants look nice, but not enough to be producing useful amounts of
oxygen for the fish. After a few more months I bet this tank would look
great, mind you! Very stylish use of wood and moss.>
When the angel got sick I turned off the CO2 and moved the spray bar up
to create surface agitation in case that made a difference. The tank has
been running at this amount of CO2 for about 3 -4 weeks, so I figured I
would have seen signs of stress before now if it were a problem?
<Possibly, but bear in mind that the 'crunch point' will be at night
when the plants are net oxygen absorbers (during the day they'll be
releasing more O2 than they use up for respiration). So unless you're
watching the tank at midnight, you could easily miss out on the
The lights and CO2 are on a timer, CO2 goes off an hour before the
lights do. The drop checker is usually that mid-green colour, which the
table suggests for soft water is normal-insufficient. I’ve seen
aquascapers say they push the CO2 till the drop checker is in the yellow
and back it off when they see signs of stress in the fish. I’m not at
all interested in pushing limits like that, keeping my fish healthy is
more important to me than the state of the plants.
<A lot of hardcore aquarium plant growers tend to choose small fish like
tetras and barbs with very small oxygen demands. Cichlids are
substantially more sensitive, so this 'push things to the limit'
approach doesn't appeal to me. I'd tend to go with using CO2 at the
lowest setting at first, leave for a few weeks, and if all is going
well, nudge it up a bit. Light intensity is usually the main factor in
plant growth rate, with CO2 being an extra bonus. If your plants are
looking 'leggy' or whatever, it's more likely lighting is what's holding
But that said is the drop checker enough of a guide to know there’s also
enough oxygen in the tank? Can I be confident that that amount of plants
(which I intend to keep adding to) is producing enough oxygen for my
fish? I feel like I’m doing the right things, but would love to know if
I’m missing something in ignorance.
As to the rummys, the first one that died I did see. The Kuhli loaches
were making a quick snack of it in the bottom of the tank. The others I
haven’t seen. I don’t think they’re being eaten only because they’ve
lived with that angel the whole time and it never tried to eat them that
I saw, and if it was that I figured I would expect the smaller new ones
to go first?
<I suppose, or else the stupidest?>
Because of all the stem plants on the left near the filter intake it
would be easy to miss it if one died and was being eaten but the Kuhlis.
But it’s also enough stock losses over the months to have me nervous
that there’s something bigger here. I don’t see signs of disease but
I’ve also never really dealt with disease in my tanks so I’d be pretty
ignorant about the signs.
<Oftentimes we can't be 100% sure about fish deaths. For sure Whitespot
is obvious, or Finrot on a fish that's been fighting. But more often
we're trying to puzzle out what's happened, which means ruling out
complicating factors, such as CO2, wherever possible.>
As an aside, I doubt you’d remember (and I don’t remember if it was you
or Bob who responded at the time), but some 7ish years ago I wrote to
you guys about this angel. He jumped out of my tank and I found him in
the mouth of my dog, alive and hurt. You guys talked me through treating
his wounds. He not only survived being bitten by my dog, but lived this
long. We always thought of him as our little miracle fish, and I often
thought of the help I received here. Thanks for doing what you do. Your
advice is forever invaluable.
<Thanks for the kind words! Quite the story...>
<Best wishes, Neale.>
Re: Sick angelfish. Old age? (RMF -- any other
Hi Neale. New problem here but figured it would be worth adding to the
old thread since all my tank history is here.
I took your advice on board and lowered the CO2 in the tank as a
precaution. It’s been on a little less than 1 bubble per second since
then. All has seemed well until today. My smallest discus is having
buoyancy issues, floating towards the surface and is expending a lot of
energy trying to swim downwards.
<Seems unlikely that this would have anything to do with the CO2.
Buoyancy issues in cichlids can have multiple causes, but usually either
constipation (best bet if the fish is otherwise normal and hungry);
exposure to sudden temperature changes, especially temperature drops
(usually easy enough to determine); or bacterial infections of various
sorts (for which Dropsy, bleeding sores, loss of appetite, changes in
colouration, etc., would all likely follow on).>
It’s a pale yellow colour usually but seems lighter in colour, its
freckles on its face are definitely very pale. It was fine yesterday. My
first thought was a swim bladder issue.
<See above; there really isn't any such thing as "Swim Bladder Disease"
any more than "nausea" in humans -- it's more a symptom of some other
situation or disease.>
Wanted to get your thoughts here, especially given past losses. I did a
water change yesterday.
<Always wise, provided the fish aren't exposed to sudden changes in pH,
hardness or temperature.>
Aside from that the only difference is that I have been trying a new
pellet food my LFS recommended. But that said as far as I know I have
had no success getting the discus to eat them (the Kuhli loaches have
been gobbling it up as the discus just let it sink). The other discus in
the tank all seem fine.
<Which is promising.>
If it is swim bladder, what’s my best course of action?
<See above re: diagnosis. If bacterial, then the usual antibiotics would
be the best bet. Oftentimes, people go with a combination of
Metronidazole alongside an antibiotic, typically a Nitrofuran, as a
useful combo with cichlids that rarely causes stress.>
I’m not going to feed them today. I don’t know that I’ll have any luck
with shelled peas as they wont eat anything that isn’t meat, but I will
try. They’ll gobble up blood worms, beef heart and all but 1 will eat
brine shrimp, but they won’t eat anything else. Have been browsing
discus forums and so far the feedback is that people have had no luck
treating swim bladder in discus. I’m reading through the discus WWW FAQ
meantime but wanted to reach out in case I’m totally wrong here.
<Discus are funny fish. Hexamita parasites are probably ubiquitous among
farmed Discus, and while they're undeniably more adaptable than wild
Discus, farmed Discus are still sensitive beasts. They require more heat
than most other fish, any below 28 C (82 F) their immune system
eventually becomes compromised. Hence parasites like Hexamita, not to
mention the usual Aeromonas and Pseudomonas, can all become problems.>
Thanks for your time,
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick angelfish. Old age?
Thank you again for your time and wealth of info.
A few hours after writing to you, the discus came good. Was hiding, but
no longer fighting buoyancy and it was pooping.
<So, constipation it is!>
This morning it is swimming eagerly with all the other discus looking
like nothing was ever wrong. I’m inclined to think that a bacterial
infection couldn’t have cleared up on its own so quickly and that it was
just a case of constipation?
<Yes. Very common. Probably more common than we think. Green foods are
the ideal, such as cooked peas, but Discus might turn their snouts up at
that. So offer things like live or frozen brine shrimp and/or daphnia,
which seem to have a pretty decent laxative effect.>
Please correct me if I’m wrong. Keeping a close eye on everyone but all
seems back to normal.
I also wanted to visit what you said about immune system compromise
under 28°C. I have my tank at 29°C, my LFS suggested to drop it to 28
because the plants don’t cope as well above 28.
<Correct. Or rather, most aquarium plants are swamp plants that spend
some time out of the water, often dying back then. At high temperatures
and submerged all year long, they do become 'exhausted'. There likely
are workarounds, and some plants are less fussed than others. It's one
of those situations where some time researching plants known to be good
with Discus might be worthwhile. I've seen things like Giant Vallis and
some Amazon Swords used with great success.>
I’m interested in your thoughts regarding toeing that line. Is 28 too
close for comfort regarding long-term health?
<28 C/82 F should be fine, but I'd not risk lower temperatures with
Would you typically try to keep the tank warmer for discus, or is all
fine as long as it’s within their range?
I’m more interested in healthy discus than maximising plant growth and
<Most welcome, Neale.>
A woman in my angelfish group has a sick angelfish.
He's not bloated but he swims with his nose pointing up. Thanks
<Please do have them write us; with particulars re the system, water
quality measures, diet, and imagery if they think this will help.
Dying FW Angel 6/29/19
Hello, I am Yazu Nakarmi a fish keeper from Nepal.
<Good evening from Neale in England!>
I've been on your website and I've found it extremely helpful. Being a fish
keeper, I'm facing a disastrous problem right now. My angel fish are dying
one by one.
I've lost over six of them now. I just can't figure out the problem. Many
white worm like dots appear on the head of the angelfish and the condition
worsens everyday. I just don't know what to do.
<To be honest, nor do I. The photo doesn't really help. If this is something
developing over several weeks, I'd be looking at either a simple Hexamita
infection or something known as Hole-in-the-Head disease, which is connected
with Hexamita but possibly not identical. Either way, you'd treat this with
Metronidazole together with an antibiotic. Metronidazole is about the only
thing that works against Hexamita parasites. The antibiotic helps clean up
wounds and prevent secondary infections. Hexamita and Hole-in-the-Head
infections have complicated causes, and some argue that the pathogens
involved are latent in most farmed cichlids. So what triggers these
diseases? Seems to be environment: overstocking, leading to low oxygen and
high nitrate is probably the biggest issue. Frequent water changes and lower
density stocking will help. There may be a dietary factor involved as well;
in particular, the lack of fresh greens in those cichlids that need them.
Cooked peas will be eaten by hungry Angels, but failing that, frozen
Spirulina-enriched brine shrimp if you can get them.>
Your kind response and help would be much appreciated. Thank you!
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Thank you Neale. What's the dosage for the metronidazole?
<Will direct you to some relevant reading:
Quote: "Metronidazole can be administered orally at a dosage of 50 mg/kg
body weight (or 10 mg/gm. food) for 5 consecutive days.">
Also I've found thick white poop in the aquarium and all the dead angelfish
have red coloured heads.
<White, stringy faeces is a CLASSIC symptom of Hexamita infection.>
I think it is internal bleeding.
<I don't. Cheers, Neale.>
Angelfish with white bumpy fins - not ich! 6/4/19
I've been searching for three weeks, consulted my forum, spent lots of time
Googling, and cannot figure out what is going on with the fins on these
<I see these.>
The story: I bought a pair of Koi angels at my local fish store. I should have
taken them back but here we are - I put them in my tank anyway. It's a cycled 75
gallon tank with just these two angels, 7 diamond tetras, and one tiny
Bristlenose Pleco. The tank ran for four months with a 6" Oscar, who I traded in
for these fish, which were all added together. The angelfish have these
white...bumps... on their fins. They haven't changed or moved, none have fallen
off and no new ones have appeared. There are no bumps on their bodies or on any
of the other fish. They do not exhibit any symptoms - no flashing, no clamped
fins, everyone eats GREAT and begs for food. They are all active and swim all
over the tank. Just these bumps... on the fins...
I, of course, thought it was ich at first, and treated with Seachem Paraguard
for ten days. When nothing changed, and at the behest of a couple of experienced
breeders, I stopped treating since it didn't appear to be ich and I didn't want
to medicate unnecessarily. I am doing daily 30% water changes. The only change I
have noticed is the bumps appear to be yellowing slightly, but nothing else has
changed. Calcium deposits and scar tissue have both been suggested. I just want
to find out what it is and what to
do, if anything, about it. I've been reading your site for years and learned so
much. I'm excited to see if you can help clear up this mystery!
<My gut feeling is Lymphocystis or some other viral infection. These are
moderately common on advanced Perciform fish such as cichlids. There's some
debate about whether they're "just one of those things" or (more likely) caused
by some environmental stress factor such as heavy metals. Either
way, Lymphocystis is rarely fatal if it doesn't impact an essential part of the
body (such as the mouth) but it isn't easily cured either. The usual story is
that fish recover to varying degrees under their own steam, all else being
favourable, but that recovery may take years. Lymphocystis classically has
irregular, off-white lumps, sometimes with a cauliflower-like texture. Other
viral infections, such as Fish Pox, are similar, and actually identifying the
virus is well beyond the abilities of the average aquarist. What is interesting
about Lymphocystis is that it evidently isn't particularly contagious, so
there's no real need to isolate infected fish. Longer shot possibilities would
include Finrot (if associated with raggedy fins especially) and Anchor Worms
(these are distinctive little animals easily visible with a hand lens). Hope
this helps, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with white bumpy fins - not ich!
Thank you very much. I was afraid that would be the answer. I guess I will
just have to keep up with my water changes and hope for the best!
<Pretty much all you can do, unfortunately. It can clear up, but does take
a while. It's all about the fish's own immune system responding. So just as
with humans, optimising diet and reducing stress will both help. Perhaps
even adding vitamins to its diet, via products such as Selcon. Certainly a
balanced diet and frequent water changes. Cheers, Neale.>
Hemorrhagic septicemia and ulcer issues
Dear WWM team,
I have had an established freshwater, 45 gallon tank for 4 months now. When I
upsized from my 30gal, I poured about 15 gallons of established water from the
smaller tank into the larger one and added another seven fish.
<Ah, do remember the nitrifying bacteria are not in the water, but attached to
solid surfaces in well oxygenated areas. Transplanting filter media is the
ideal, but floating plants with established root systems, or plants with
feathery leaves, are almost as good. Even moving the topmost layer of
sand and gravel will help. But alas, 'old' water contains few bacteria, and
while it'll surely contain some, the number will be so few that the cycling
process will barely be abbreviated at all.>
In all, I have 2 dwarf gouramis, 2 cardinal tetras, 4 skirttail tetras (2 white
and 2 black),
<If these are Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, they can be nippy. I mention this because
aggression and physical damage can, will lead to Finrot and other opportunistic
2 mollies, a Redtail shark,
<Another potentially aggressive species.>
a common Pleco ( 4 inches) and 2 angelfish.
<Should also remind you that while sociable enough when young, adults are
territorial. Mated pairs can work, but in groups fewer than 6, you can end up
I had another angelfish, though it died a couple of days ago from what appeared
to be hemorrhagic septicemia.
<Angels are prone to this, or so it sometimes seems. In truth they are probably
no more sensitive than any other cichlid, but unlike most other cichlids,
they're popular choices among beginners and those stocking smaller community
tanks, so commonly exposed to what are, to cichlids, stressful levels of
ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.>
After closer analysis of the other two angelfish, I think there may be the very
beginning of the red discolorations to their fins as well.
<I would treat as per Finrot to start with.>
The 30gal tank now has my older 'establisher' goldfish, one molly and a common
Pleco and that tank has been established for almost 9 months. The only new
additions to the tanks were the angelfish and 4 new tetras, as well as some more
Nerite snails, and that was several months ago. The tanks are planted, again
with no recent additions, and the temperatures sit at a steady 78-80 degrees F.
Mechanically, I upgraded the bigger tank to a canister filter with a UV light
several weeks ago. The old filter for that tank then shifted down to the smaller
tank which needed an oversized filter with the mess that 3 medium goldfish make.
I also got the 30 gallon an independent UV light to help with some of the recent
algae outbreaks from too much sunlight this time of year.
These are only 2 of my 6 tanks and they usually have the most cross
contamination out of all of them due to location and the amount of work they
need done to maintain them.
Admittedly, a decent amount of material from the bigger tank makes its way into
the goldfish tank since the goldies like chowing down on some of the more
delicate leaves I keep in the other tank until they no longer look nice. So, it
comes to no surprise to me that the goldfish seem to have a slight discoloration
(a pink hue) in their tails and pectoral fin articulations. I am currently
treating both tanks with Furan 2.
<Don't believe the Angels are 'catching' something from the Goldfish, but if all
else fails, isolate the two tanks as perfectly as possible. This would include
separate nets, buckets, etc., or at least, the use of
sterilising agents in between uses, as done in tropical fish shops.>
The goldies had some flashing/ flitting fin and scraping issues a few months ago
with no visible issues and so they have been through the gauntlet of parasitic
treatments- Artemis, ParaGaurd, Anchorworm/Lice, salt baths. None seemed to work
individually until I tried a concentrated salt bath for 45 min.s and then a week
of ParaGaurd. They have been fine for several weeks until this new issue.
At least 30% of the water is changed either weekly, or biweekly depending on the
water parameters and how clear the water is. I like my tanks to be crystal
clear. The gravel is vacuumed thoroughly.
Nitrates are usually 0-10ppm (for sure less than 25 for the goldies even on a
Total Alk 80ppm
The biggest angelfish has what seems to be an ulcer on the top of his head right
on a dark part of his marbling. I found it one day after changing the tank water
and rearranging the plants and decorations and I assumed that I must have
dropped something and it hit him. But, he has had it for several weeks now and
it seems to be growing as he grows. There is no inflammation or 'cotton' like
fluff coming out of it, but there is a slight depression like something just
took off a layer of skin. The subdermal area is dark in color like the black
dermal area that used to cover that area. There appears to be a whitish
periphery along the edge of the ulcer and it looks slightly lose and water
logged compared to the taunt skin surrounding the area (a low-profile fungus?).
Both angelfish appear to have slight pink markings that I don't remember being
present even last week. On the stripped angelfish, it is easier to see a narrow,
red vein that spans the distance on his dorsal region. Due to the demise of the
other angel and the red hues he had all over, I assumed that all of my fish in
the two tanks have been exposed and have hemorrhagic septicemia. All fish are
acting healthy and happy with normal poop, appetites, fins, and begging
What is the 'ulcer' on the marbled angel's head and how should I proceed given
that it has been allowed to advance for a few weeks?
Should I be assuming that every pink/ red mark on any of my fish is hemorrhagic
<Red patches on the skin indicate inflammation and/or congestion of the
underlying blood vessels, and just as with humans, such symptoms don't
necessarily imply just one disease. Finrot is far more likely in the situation,
and use of a reliable antibacterial or antibiotic would be my first move here.
Septicaemia simply means a bacterial infection of the blood, but tends to be
systemic (i.e., across the whole body) rather than small, discrete patches
(which tends to imply local infection of skin tissue).>
Thank you so much for your time! I am a fish person and I have a decent amount
of experience dealing with the common fungus/ fin/ ich/ parasite issues. But,
this one is a bit above me and I want to make sure that I'm handling it
correctly since septicemia is nothing to fool around with and I love my fishies!
Plus, the marbled angel ulcer has really stumped me and I'm wondering if it
could at all be related to anything.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated! Please don't hesitate to
contact me if I can answer any more questions for you!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Hemorrhagic septicemia and ulcer issues
Thank you, Neale!
I will treat the tanks for fin rot! Do you have any ideas as to what might
be the cause of the ulcer at the base of the marbled angel's dorsal fin or
are you thinking that this is fin rot as well?
<Could easily be. Finrot is a generic term of Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp.
infections, and doesn't specifically mean infections are centred on the
fins. You can have Finrot anywhere the skin is damaged sufficiently to allow
these opportunistic bacteria to get in.>
The ulcer is at the base of the fin, but it doesn't appear to touch any part
of the fin/ all the fin tissue looks healthy. When I first saw it, I did
treat the tank with Microbe-Lift Artemis for a few days, but stopped due to
no improvements. Should I just continue the treatment for longer this time
or try giving him a salt bath?
<Salt baths do little/nothing against bacterial infections.>
The potential fin nippers don't bother the angelfish at all as they keep to
different layers of the water column for the most part.
<I'd still watch them, carefully.>
All the fish have their own preferred spots in the tank (there's lots of
vegetation to hide in throughout the water column since I have shelves and
cups for plants/ décor on the tank walls) and they only get aggressive when
someone invades their favorite spot 'without permission'. It is strange to
me that the ulcer is in the place it is, especially since all fins are in
perfect condition with no nips or tears. Besides stress, which he doesn't
appear to be under, what could it be from?
<Hard to say. Different varieties of Angelfish are somewhat more prone to
disease than others, so there may be a genetic predisposition (e.g., a
weakened immune system due to inbreeding) in some cases. Ninety-nine times
out of a hundred these bacterial infections are caused by the environment.
The tricky bit is determining what the underlying issue was. Optimising
diet, water chemistry, water quality, oxygenation, and tankmates will tick
off the most likely factors. You might also try to the old
Metronidazole/Nitrofuran combo as a useful treatment against indistinct
Re: Hemorrhagic septicemia and ulcer issues
Thank you for your insights! Fingers crossed that everything works out well. Due
to your help, I’m much more confident in handling the situation.
<And here's hoping your fish gets better! Good luck, Neale.>