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FAQs about the Yellow Band (and Asfur) Angels Disease/Health

Related Articles: Marine Angelfishes, Pomacanthus Angels, Maculosus Angel

Related FAQs: Asfur, Maculosus FAQs 1Asfur, Maculosus FAQs 2Arusetta Identification, Arusetta Behavior, Arusetta Compatibility, Arusetta Selection, Arusetta Systems, Arusetta Feeding, Arusetta Reproduction, Marine Angelfishes In General, Angelfish ID, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Health, Feeding, Disease,  

Look at the fins, eyes...

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

P. maculosus arriving, QT questions    8/10/12
Greetings Crew,
I have a Maculosus Angel scheduled to arrive Tuesday from Live Aquaria, he should be a "sub-adult" around 4 inches. He will go into a 55 gallon QT for 4 weeks. My first question is do you recommend a FW Dip for angels going to QT?
<Sometimes, yes... but knowing the co., the source, this fish/species... I would likely just do one or t'other... the quarantine (and likely just a week or two) OR the dip/bath>
Doing this is always a stressful thing for me in the past! I will certainly get him eating, then treat with PraziPro, do you recommend 2 PraziPro treatments?
<Not for this species, source, no>
Last question...I typically pull about 4 gallons of water from the display every other day and move it into the QT, I.E. hopefully the water in the 2 tanks are very similar (I also keep the temps as close as possible). Once the fish is ready for the DT, how do recommend doing the transfer? Into a bucket and couple hour drip? or other?
<Just a quick netting and placement... really>
Thanks as always,
Kirk R.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Asfur Question This question is for Bob Fenner if possible. Bob, one more question about my Asfur.  He is eating great and survived the room painting.   My 225 will be here in a few weeks. <Ahh, good> I have one problem that started a few days ago.   My Asfur has one cloudy eye.  Not really bulging, just cloudy.  I noted some small opaque spots on his side fins (causing some white patches on the side fins) and eyes.  Much larger spot than ick and again, kind of opaque.   I started putting some small amounts of Ampicillex on his food since this started (it does not seem to be helping much but I have used it over the years with great success this way for other infections).   This makes me think I may have some sort of parasite (perhaps flukes) that I have no experience with.   I was planning on doing a freshwater dip.  What should I do to help him out? Thanks for the help. Andrew <I would do nothing extraordinary. This opacity will fade with the move to your new system. Bob Fenner>

Angel In Distress Hi, <hey there! Scott F. with you!> Your site is wonderful!  I've gotten a lot of great information here.  I have a problem I'm hoping you can help me with.  It's an emergency. <Let's get to it!> I have an asfur angel, about 3" long, with adult coloration.  I bought her last summer from FFE.  She looked pretty good and I kept her quarantined for several months.  She was growing very slowly.  When I put her in the 120 tank with live rock this fall she quickly developed HLLE.   <Bummer...> I followed advice I read on WWM and greatly improved her diet (Angel Formula with sponge, Nori, Marine Cuisine, Prime Reef, Formula Two, supplementation with Selcon and Garlic Elixir).  Also grounded the tank.  The HLLE was clearing up nicely.   <Nice work!> Tank parameters, ammonia-0, nitrite-0, nitrates-10-20ppm, S.G. 1.024, pH 8.0, temperature 74-78 degrees F. About 70 lbs live rock (more coming), AquaC skimmer, a couple of powerheads for circulation, Aquafuge 18" refugium with Caulerpa and Miracle Mud.  The tank is the JetStream by Perfecto, with two Tidepool sumps (I removed the bio-wheels). <Sounds nice> Tank mates:  5-6" harlequin tusk fish, 2-3" flame hawk, 3-4" mimic tang, 2-3" tomato clown (added in the last two weeks, had been quarantined eight weeks, appears to be sick).  No apparent conflicts. Around the time I set up the refugium, I had skimmer failure, fixed that, then had main pump fail.  Added a hang-on tank skimmer (BakPak) and a few powerheads for greater in-tank circulation.  Fixed main pump within a week.  Parameters didn't seem too far off, other fish looked fine.  Noticed cloudy eye on the angel (about 3 weeks ago). Around the time all of the above described things were happening (added refugium with Miracle Mud, skimmer and pump failure, addition of sick clown) the angel developed cloudy eye in one eye.  This became Popeye, then cloudy eye/Popeye in the other eye.  She was still eating well, so I continued with the good diet, feeding 1-2x per day and also fed first thing in the morning with Tetra medicated flake. I did not remove her because I would have to remove all the live rock to get her out.  I didn't want to treat the tank and mess up my inverts (mostly snails) and live rock. <Well, that was a good decision- never treat in the main tank> I was hoping good water conditions, good diet and the medicated flake would solve the problem.  I'm not very confident using medication anyway.  It seems like it's too easy to kill with the cure. <well, most aquarium medications are very safe if used per manufacturer's instructions> I monitored nitrates, they have been below 10ppm. For the last two days, she has not eaten much if anything.  Seems to be blind, eyes are so clouded.  She has been shimmying in some rocks.  I thought she died tonight, she was still and jammed in some rocks.  Then she moved!  I scooped her out and placed her in the quarantine tank.  I added ParaGuard at the recommended dosage (basically a malachite green solution).  There's a good chance she won't make it through the night. If she does, can you suggest any treatment? <Well, this seems to me to be more of a bacterial infection, rather than a parasitic one...I'd use an antibiotic, like Maracyn> Also, my other fish are not looking as healthy as they used to.  The tusk fish is scratching his body against the rocks, the flame hawk has lost color and sits in strong current and the mimic tang spends a lot more time hiding.  So far, everyone is eating. <Hmm...the symptoms that you're mentioning could apply to a number of different diseases, such as Amyloodinium, Cryptocaryon, or possibly even others...Most of the descriptions of the conditions of the other fishes seem indicative of a parasitic infection...Lots of times, secondary infections follow, which may be what the Asfur is experiencing. I'd get everyone out of the main tank, and set up another QT for these fishes...I'd attempt to confirm which condition you are dealing with...review the WWM FAQs for information. Freshwater dips are a fine start, but the condition of the fishes may dictate a more aggressive treatment, such as Copper Sulphate (assuming a parasitic infection).> Do I need to catch the fish and dip them in fresh water or medication? <A good supplementary treatment> Should I treat the fish and tank with hyposalinity?  If so, what S.G. do you recommend? <I really think that you need to utilize medication...Not that hyposalinity doesn't work-but I think that medication is easier and more effective if administered properly> Any help would be greatly appreciated!  Please "reply to all" so I can check your answer at work and home. Lisa Darmo <Ok, Lisa- I hope that I've given you a starting point for attacking this disease effectively! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Learning From Tragedy Scott, <At your service> Thank-you for your quick reply.  The angel didn't make it. <Really sorry to hear that. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the fish has suffered damage beyond our ability to repair...At the very least, if this was a learning experience for you, the fish will have not died in vain> I will follow your advice to quarantine and treat the other fish.  It is still not clear what, if anything, they have. No visible spots on anyone, Tuskfish only rubbing a little.  Flame hawk still pale.  Clown seems to have Lymphocystis. Everyone eating well.  Since the angel was removed everyone looks better, don't know why.  Is it possible they knew she was very sick and got distressed?? <Hard to say, but a stressed out fish is certainly prone to many diseases. Quick action is required to keep a potential large-scale problem in this tank> I don't want to wait until things are so bad that I treat too late. <Agreed> Is there a course of treatment you would recommend that I do now?  I was thinking freshwater dip, then copper-formalin treatment.  Should I treat for the disease that could possibly kill them fastest (Amyloodinium?). <Well, I'm not one for just experimenting with medications. In this instance, however, we may be dealing with Amyloodinium or Cryptocaryon, so I think that the copper idea is worth a shot. Follow the manufacturer's directions exactly, and only administer copper in a separate treatment tank. Measure copper levels regularly, and observe the fishes carefully> Whatever they (may) have has me stumped. Thanks so much for your help.  Just a few other questions... 1)  What is the appropriate treatment for the quarantine tank I put the angel into before I add other fish?  It has a bare bottom some rock for cover and an internal filter (Duetto) for circulation.  Do I need to discard all water, do any bleaching, leave it fallow for 4-5 months? <A quarantine tank is not a permanent feature, so you need to break down and clean the tank and sterilize the filter media after each use. Since this aquarium has had a very sick fish in it, it's not a bad idea to do this before adding your other fishes. On the other hand, since you are in an emergency situation, I'd just change most of the water in the quarantine tank, add new water from the main tank, get the fishes in there, and medicate with copper. Also, remove the rocks, as they potentially bind with and absorb copper. Use inert materials, such as PVC pipe sections, for shelter for the fishes> 2)  How long after treating the other fish (but not the tank) should I wait before adding another angel fish to this tank?  I plan to quarantine any new fish for six weeks. <I'd let the main tank go fallow for at least six weeks. Most parasitic diseases require hosts, and the population of parasites will crash if deprived of hosts for an extended period> 3 Is there an angel fish you would recommend for this tank?  120H tank (5'long), AquaC skimmer in sump, live rock, plenty of circulation, decent lighting (PCs).  Tankmates: harlequin tusk, flame hawk, tomato clown, mimic tang, zebra moray (currently in another tank).  I loved the asfur, but am afraid to try one again.  Would you recommend the maculosus?  There have been tank raised maculosus available recently at a good price.  What kind of experience have people had with them?  How about a red sea emperor? <The tank-raised maculosus angels have proven to be very hardy and adaptable. Emperors can be somewhat difficult in many instances, if they are not collected properly. Smaller specimens adapt more readily to captive life. Honestly, I'd avoid a "full-sized" angel in anything less than a 300 gallon tank. People hate to hear me say that, but if you've ever seen a full-sized Emperor or other Pomacanthus species in the wild, you'll realize that these guys can reach almost 15 inches in length, and roam over a territory the size of a football field. It's just not right to confine them to a tank that's under 8 feet in length, IMO. I'd go for a Centropyge angelfish, like a C. eibli, which can reach a more modest 5 inches or so, or even a Lemonpeel (although these fish can be quite touchy if not properly collected and acclimated). Most Centropyge seem to adapt better to captive life, and, once settled in a system that is to their liking, can live long, happy lives, and reward you with many years of enjoyment> The whole reason I set up the 120 was because I wanted one spectacular large angel and the tusk fish to be the main occupants. <Well, spectacular doesn't always mean "big"! Think a bit different than everyone else, and you'll create a colorful, spectacular little world in their with modest sized fishes!> Thanks for any advice you can give me.  You guys are great! Lisa <Thanks for the kind words. Best of luck to you, Lisa! You'll be fine! Feel free to write back any time! Don't let the recent setbacks discourage you. Steady as she goes! 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>

Eek :o( Well, I put in a cleaner goby and some copper. I have Sea cure. The test kit says its at 0.5ppm. Would you suggest higher or lower? My maculosus and black durgeon look like goners. The passer might live. The other two don't move, breath heavy, won't eat, hide. I'd be surprised if they were alive tom. I prolly won't be able to restart the tank if all is lost. I'm going to be a senior next year so I'm going to leave for college in a year so it doesn't make sense to set the tank up again. This is really so sad. Thank-you for all your help and advice and I'll still read books about keeping fish (I've just ordered a few more from my book store). I was sort of counting on these fish to live. Thank-you again. For your book, website, and personal help. Hope all is well and stays well. Wish me luck in getting into Brown (they have marine bio!)- Yaron (Let's hope my fish do live). >> Ah my young friend. My heart sinks when I think of you and your situation. I would keep the copper at the present level... and I wish you good life. Bob Fenner
Oh yeah, I also raised temp and lowered salinity. >> >> Of course. BF

Feeding strike I am just wondering if it is normal for my maculosus angel to stop eating during the copper treatment.  <Yes> The rest of the fish are eating. The maculosus looks at the food and comes to the corner I feed my fish in but he doesn't even nip at the frozen food. Should I try live brine or algae?  <Yes> He hasn't been eating for a week. Oh, and one more thing: How can you tell the sex of a passer angel? Externally? Can't. I've heard that females have white pelvic fins and males have yellow but I've also heard the exact opposite. Thanks for your advice and help. - Yaron >> <No worries>

Some good news Well, the copper and the lower SG and the high temps and the cleaner goby seems to be working! All my fish are doing much better. The passer angel and black durgeon seem to be on the way to recovery with continued good appetite. I have been slowly lowering SG to 1.020. Is that safe?  <Yes, assuredly> The temp is 80 deg. The only problems are 1. the bacteria in the filter seem to have been hurt. I am making water changes to help them out. 2. The maculosus angel, while doing much better (it is now swimming and not hiding), does not eat. It comes up to the corner where I feed the fish during feeding times (9AM, 5PM, 9PM) but does not eat. It sort of looks at the food. The maculosus seems to have been hit the hardest and I would really like to build its strength up by getting it to eat. I am currently feeding angel formula and formula two. I usually feed trigger formula but I ran out. Do you have any suggestions? I was thinking about trying some dried seaweed. <Just stay with the program you are on> Do you have any other suggestions? As per water quality, etc? Copper is at 0.5. I am using sea cure. I have just three more questions: 1. Should have my dad continue to test for and administer copper when I'm gone?  <Yes, for two weeks, give him my e-mail addr.> sea cure says two weeks and I'm leaving Wednesday That will be only one week. I'm not 100% trusting of my dad being meticulous with the copper, he comes home late. Is the risk from over medication more or less important than the help the fish will receive from the right amount of copper? <Not to worry, this is about the best that can be done. Be satisfied> 2. Should I run my UV light while using copper? It is currently off. <Leave it off... will interfere with the copper> 3. I have no place large enough to put the three fish for six weeks as the tank "goes fallow" What do you suggest I do to get rid of the parasites in the tank?  <They will be gone after the two weeks... turn your UV on then... slowly raise the spg, lower the temp.> Thank-you for your help. I am both anxious and hopeful. Maybe, with some luck, my fish will live. - Yaron. >> <As it will be, Bob Fenner>

Great news and a question Well, frozen Mysis and dry algae worked! The maculosus is eating. I think it has a problem eating gel based foods like angel formula and formula two but I'm not sure why. I'm sticking to what works. All the fish seem much better. This is the first time a fish has every gotten better and not just died when it got sick. I'm so happy and thankful for your advice and my fish! <Ah, good news all the way around> One question- I'm leaving for Israel tom. Tom. will also be the 1st full week that copper has been in the tank. Should my dad run it for two weeks longer or just one week longer?  <Two weeks total> Oh, and one more thing- I've never had to add copper after the 1st dose. Is that normal? Is anything unusual and/or bad about that. Thanks for your help and have a good summer. - Yaron >> <Good formulations, in clean, properly set-up and maintained systems don't necessarily precipitate out copper... Test for concentration and adjust as necessary. Bob Fenner>

DISCOLORED ANGEL Dear Bob, Love your wet web media site. Your dedication to helping us neophytes is greatly appreciated. <Thank you> Question - I have a Pomacanthus maculosus (map angel), about 4" long (not including tail) and in adult coloration. I got the fish from one of your sponsors that has a very solid reputation for acclimating angels properly before they ship them out. I never-the-less put the fish through a quarantine period. <A good idea still.> I have the fish in a 20 quarantine gal tank ( I know, larger would be better, but you've got to draw the line somewhere). The tank has live rock, a reef sand bottom, lots of plant growth, fully cured live rock, and it's own Remora skimmer. After 2 weeks in quarantine, everything was looking good. The fish had some small bumps between it's eyes that to my eye looked like either Lymphocystis, or maybe just a few scrapes from rooting around the rock. <Typical... stress related to moving...> Unfortunately it was at this time that disaster struck in the 125gal tank that was to be the fish's new home. To make a long story short, the temperature in the tank fell precipitously while no one was home, and by the time we noticed, we had a tank full of sick fish. Getting those that would fit into hospital tanks, redistributing corals, etc. and eventually getting the tank back on an even keel was going to take time.  <Yikes, what a nightmare...> With space at a premium, the angel was going to have to stay in the quarantine tank a while longer. My quarantine tanks are plumbed so that I can connect them to the main system.  <Neat> My normal process is 2 weeks in isolation and if things look good, connect them to the main system for a week, then move the fish to the main system. The angel was eating great, looking good, and I hoped for the best. Yesterday (by this time she's been in that tank for about a month), she looked totally washed out. Other than the yellow stripe and some blue around the edges of her body she was a pinkish color all over. I checked the water, it was in excellent shape. She ate normally, no sign of parasites, just this lack of color. Today she is eating almost nothing and is "listless". Not gasping, not scratching, just not doing much of anything. <No problem... color, health will return when acclimated to the main system...> Question - the 125 gal is ready for fish (no fish in there now, just rock and inverts). Should I move the angel to the 125 in hopes that this is all symptomatic of being in a small tank for too long?  <Absolutely YES> I don't want to contaminate the 125 if this is some sort of disease as it is hooked to several other large tanks, but I don't want to lose the angel either. After looking through my library of books (which includes yours, by the way) I cannot find much in the way of diagnostics for a fish that has lost it's coloration, but seems to have no other symptoms. Other courses of action? Suggestions? <Really to just move this specimen, quickly, via two nets (one to guide, the other to lift, to the main tank... and let it hide for a day or two... It should rally, improve quickly on its own... Do add vitamin preparation to the foods daily, the water this week...> Thanks, Dick from Fredericksburg VA <Bob Fenner>
Thanks for the quick response and advice. Moved the angel to the larger tank this evening. She was back to a "near normal" color within an hour and is starting to make short "explorations" between periods of hiding. Will try her on some food soaked in Selcon tomorrow. <Ah, good to hear/read> Another question if I may. This one is not quite so urgent. In the June issue of AFM, Ron Shimek has an article that advocates that reef tanks in particular should be kept at a higher temperature than most others seem to recommend. What he says about mimicking the temperature of the organism's natural environment seems to make sense in a simplistic analysis, but his line of reasoning would lead to tank temperatures in the low 80s, vice the ideal 76 to 78 that the weight of the literature seems to advocate. <Do know of these opinions... and do feel strongly that the vast majority of people are better/best off with lower thermal regimes... Very rare that the areas where most marine livestock are collected are "in the low eighties F"... believe me, have dived these areas for decades... and many potential and real downsides on keeping systems warmer (lower gas solubility, elevated metabolic rates... things go awry much faster at higher temperatures...). No real upside to raised temperature IMO/E> In your opinion, does Mr.. Shimek's position represent an emerging shift in the consensus of how temperature should be managed, or is it a minority opinion that is not shared by many? <There are other such advocates... but many, many folks who "know" better... Ron ought to "get out more often", as in diving in the real world where marines are collected (He's an academic, not in the industry)... I assure you, in most all cases, the water is rarely in the eighties F..., and that there is little to no advantage/s to keeping yours there. Bob Fenner>  

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here

New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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