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FAQs about Marine Angelfish Disease/Health 2

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

Related Articles: Marine Angels The Ultimate Angelfish Aquarium; An amazing and challenging collection of marine angelfishes by Peter Giwojna, The Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease, A Livestock Treatment System

Related Marine Angel FAQs: Marine Angelfishes In General, Angelfish ID, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Health,

A Potter's Angel... easily lost to stress/environmental disease.

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

Perilous Pomacanthus Angel - 8/17/03 Good afternoon, Mr. Fenner, hope all is well with you. <Anthony Calfo in his stead, with regards in kind> I have a bit of an issue with a 7 1/2" Emperor angel. He/she has been doing very well in an established seven foot 200g predator tank for some time. <grumble> A bit frisky, as the fish immediately dominated the tank upon arrival. Tank mates are a 12" Panther grouper, and a 10" gold stripe puffer. <grumble grumble> Yes sir, I do realize that I am pushing tank capacity. <that's one way to put it... 2.5 feet of fishes in a 2' wide aquarium. Doh! The reduced activity of the grouper and puffer (perhaps) works in your favor. Still... it would be nice to see more tank or less fish> However, I  noticed today that the right gill plate has ceased to move. <a conspicuous sign of gill parasites, indeed> Subsequently, the left gill plate is functioning at twice the normal rate. There have been no new arrivals, and no previous disease issues. <understood... but the fishes did not arrive sterile (as in pathogen free). They, like us, carry potentially pathogenic organisms that are suppressed for life, only to be expressed under weakened immunity or duress (like giving up hope for a larger aquarium <G>. Sorry... couldn't resist)> Water quality is spot-on, appetite is voracious, and color is vivid. I am inclined to think the fish is very healthy, no HLLE and nice streamers for the species. <all very good to hear> No one else displaying any erratic behavior, other than darting for cover when the angel cruises the length of the aquarium!  The only change made  was a large water change four days ago with aged water from the same source, of the same salinity, pH, and temp. Water change was approximately 40g, as I needed aged water for a 37g quarantine tank that I just set up. <No worries... and not a large water change either. Good heavens, for a tank of predatory fishes of this size, I should hope that you have been doing 20% water changes like this twice monthly. If not, the accumulated untestables over time are surely a burden on water quality and a stress to the fish. The angel (unsurprisingly) may just be the first one to express suffrage> I first  suspected gill flukes, but is that possible since there are no new arrivals, and the  water change was with r/o home-brew?   <correct my friend... simply carried in small numbers and never expressed. Good immunity> I have seen unexplainable phenomena occur while employed at John Tullock's now defunct Aquatic Specialists, but this is a new one for me. I must say that I feel as though I can trust your opinion, as I have learned more from reading three pages of your writing than I could have learned in three years of actual study. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated, not only by myself, but the specimen in question, too. Devoted, yet stumped, Samantha Madison <no worries, my dear. But do be prepared with a bare-bottomed QT tank and some formalin. Easy on the copper and/or malachite (any metals or organic dyes) in fact as you likely know - angels can be sensitive. FW dips and formalin are your likely cure in QT. Go for the full 4 weeks isolation. Bare minimum would be two weeks after the last expression of a symptom. Medication in the display is not recommended or likely to be successful. Best of luck. Anthony>
Perilous Pomacanthus II - 8/17/03
Good evening Mr. Calfo, and many thanks for your timely response. <cheers, my friend> I am sorry if I mislead you, my normal routine is  20g water change each week, every week. <no worries... sounds good :)> My worry was that the 40g change may have caused undue stress thus leading to a lowered immunity. <no worries here either. Its really not that big of a water change. Only a problem is conducted improperly (errant temp, salinity, etc)> The Emperor now reigns supreme inside the confines of a bare bottom 55g (biggest I have, sadly) QT, vacuum at the ready. QT preceded by formalin dip, and six hours later, both gills functioning properly, though at a higher rate than I would prefer (about 75 times per minute, as best I can tell). <fantastic to here... very good protocol and response not unusual> I believe that may be the result of the stress of the dip and the move. I agree that copper is NOT for angels, (or anything else except maybe for middle-aged golfers' bracelets!) and I shall continue formalin dips. <ha... very good, and agreed> I am, however, puzzled by the occurrence. Is it possible to "carry" gill flukes, without showing any signs? <yes, indeed... and else wise (for many pathogens) to lie in dormancy/encysted (some for years actually!)> Could the gills be burned by anything other than ammonia? <true... many possibilities, although mostly foreign chemicals and unlikely> I realize the difficulty of diagnosing an unseen animal, with unknown variables, and the high degree of possibility that some people may not be completely honest about the conditions a fish may be facing. I also realize that this species has a range the size of a couple of football fields in the wild, and as an aquarium species is a poor choice. While this IS unfair, I cannot resist the utter beauty of the Emperor, and only hope to provide the best possible accommodations in this environment. <very much understood. I have faith in your passion and competency from the thoroughness of your query, response and replies. And do believe that this is a very simple case of gill flukes... oh, so common.> As for the grouper and the puffer, who needs to go? <tough call... but my vote would go to the messier feeder (greater burden on the bio-load). This would insure you more years in that tank with that magnificent angel for certain> I offer the deepest appreciation for your concern, and your honest wit concerning the inadvertent overcrowding. <heehee... thanks for being a great sport <G> and empathetic keeper> There is a reasonable explanation, but I won't waste your time with the details. Thanks again, Samantha Madison   <no worries... do enjoy and provide the best you can. With kind regards, Anthony>

No more tears... <Hello again Neil, PF here this AM> Oh ye knowers of  fishy things, Forgot to save the original reply from you, <No problem> so here goes. I have a 3" Lemonpeel angel in a 20 gallon quarantine tank.  Have had "her" for about 2 weeks.  I originally wrote about what looked like a "tear" under one of the eye lenses, but that has cleared up nicely with a bit of Epsom salts in the water. <Good.>  Thank you.  This morning, I notice that the fish has started to do the gill flashing dance. No visible white spots anywhere, but I know that the flashing isn't a good thing.  Since the Centropyge angels are known to be sensitive to things like copper & Methylene blue, what are my best treatment options? <Try a freshwater dip, www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm  > There currently is a small black percula clown in there also, and a couple of pieces of live rock that is "extra, which I will pull from the tank before treatment, and put in a bucket with a heater for a minimum of 30 days, (I know no rock in the QT) and will not put it back in.  Can I transfer the fish to a 10 gallon tank for the duration of treatment, instead of the 20, or will that "crowd" the fish too much? <You can use pieces of PVC pipe (elbows, bends, T's etc) to make an artificial reef for them to hide in. Run all the pieces though a string, and tie it in the knot: makes it easier to take out and catch the fish when it's time to move them. A tip 'o the hat to Martin Moe, and Breeding the Orchid Dottyback for that particular tip/trick.). As for treatments, it may not have Ich. Try the dip first, then move the fish to the hospital tank and if necessary treat them there. Here's the FAQ on diseases and angel fish (the first one should look real familiar) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/disease.htm . >  Thanks, Neil <Your welcome Neil, have a good day, PF>

- Quarantine for a Majestic Angel - HI Guys <Good morning, JasonC here...> I have been QT'ing a new Majestic for 6 days and noticed that his mouth (lips) looked swollen, puffy but still pinkish almost raw. I hadn't noticed it before. Could this be the beginning of a fungus infection? <Or just physical damage from something else.> I only have a large PVC pipe in the tank so he couldn't have cut himself on coral or anything like that. I began treatment with Melafix.  Is this the proper treatment? <Probably not directly - Melafix fits into the category of homeopathic remedies and has not been used/documented by the sciences as being useful. I'd make sure, above all, that this fish is eating and that the water quality in the quarantine system is excellent. In fact, this is the type of fish that usually won't do well in an extended quarantine, so if it is otherwise doing well [no parasitic problems] AND eating, put the fish through a pH-adjusted freshwater dip, and put it in the main display. In any case, the damage will heal over time, but these fish are not easy in the early stages.> Thanks as always <Cheers, J -- >

Angel Tear? Oh ye fish guru's, <Well, I reserve that title for others. I'm more of a gurgling currently. Hi Neil, PF here this PM> I have a 3" Lemonpeel angel in my 20 gallon QT that I obtained this past weekend.  Tonight, it has what looks like a "tear" under one eye.  I presume that it's from an injury, possibly from the live rock in the tank. <A QT really shouldn't have LR in it. Some plastic pipe pieces to hide in, sure, but LR isn't a good idea. Medications will kill it off, and you'll pollute the tank.> I also have a black percula clown in the tank, just because "he" won't get along with the 2 tank raised ocellaris clowns already in the show tank. <Not surprising really, best kept as pairs/singly> Since the angel is already in quarantine, should I wait & watch for improvement or worsening, or begin the Epsom salts treatment? <Well, from what I understand, the Epsom salts don't hurt anything, so I'd say go ahead.> Other than slightly high nitrates, water quality is good. Amm.0, nitrites 0, S.G. 1.025, pH 8.2, temp 82. The fish eats fairly well for a newly QT'd fish, and is active, although a bit shy.  I have read through the Popeye faq's, and found opposing opinions on the Epsom salts treatment. Thanks, Neil <Your welcome, hopefully that clarifies things. Have a good evening, PF>

Bi color beauty mark? <Hi Mike, PF here this PM> I just ran across your site and could not find specific info on my dilemma with a newly acquired bi-color angelfish.. this beautiful fish was introduced to my 60 gallon tank last Thursday and was healthy looking to my untrained eyes.. I covered the tank with the lights off for the first 24 hours. <Good procedure> I did not attempt to feed this fish until the next day... it has been one week now and this fish still hides in the live rock and only eats algae, or so it appears... my most urgent problem is a pink wart like growth by one of its gills, size looks to be about 4mm in size. I have since noticing this growth added MelaFix, a Melaleuca tea tree oil as this has always helped the fish's skin to retain bacteria resistant "oils"?. do you have a name for this growth and possibly a solution for this most elegant fish?? in advance, thank you for your help... mike <Well Mike, digging through the FAQs this is what I found: (here's the FAQ btw www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/disease. tm  ) From Bob on a wart like growth on an angel: (Sound familiar?) <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) 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 > <Hopefully this helps. You may want to feed it Mysis, or perhaps live brine (this is basically water flavored shrimp, but they love it, it's ok as an occasional treat - think of it as fish junk food) to get it feeding. You can gut load the brine with vitamins such as Selco, that wouldn't hurt to add it to it's diet. Have a good evening, and good luck. PF>

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>

Angel one sided breathing >Thank you in advance, I received a five inch Blue Line angel on Wed, I dripped acclimated it for three hours then put him in my Q-tank. >>You're welcome in advance, I sure do hope I can help you here.  You've been very prudent in your acclimation procedure, I couldn't have done any better.  When you say "received" I'm assuming this fish was shipped to you.  How long was it in transit?  Did you get it from a wholesaler, retailer, or direct from collector? >There is only two pieces of pvc, a filter sans media and a heater. I didn't attempt to feed him on day one >>That's my own practice as well. >but tried frozen Mysis, different flakes and a variety of frozen formulas without success. Today, I noticed he's only (very rapidly) breathing on one side and I've not noticed any visible signs of trauma. >>Since you seem to know your stuff about acclimation, I'm also going to assume that your q/t water is NSW.  Now, here's the hard part, I'm not sure what fish is a "blue line" angel, but if he's from the South Pacific, it's possible he could have been exposed to cyanide.  If so, it's simply irreversible. >I have gone through the forum and files and couldn't find any suggestions. I have thought about a fresh water dip with Methylene Blue but am not sure if its the correct path, I am starting to get very concerned as this is the holy grail of fish for me. >>Ok, let's assume that he's stressed, but that you've got perfect water quality.  If you can see no external parasites, then let's not stress him more by f/w dipping at this point.  If you think he's been stressed to the point of allowing any Ich tomonts to gain a foothold, or you think there could be any other parasites lodged in his gills, then a f/w dip is the place to start.  Have on hand some Spectrogram/Melafix (I like to have both on hand, myself).  Also, I'm going to link you to a site that lists some common medications and what they're indicated for.  IIRC, if O2 might be an issue, I've heard of folks using small amounts (maybe an ounce at a time) of H2O2--Hydrogen peroxide--to help boost O2 saturation.  It's also a mild antiseptic, again, IIRC.  Here's the link--> http://www.petswarehouse.com/Fishmed2.htm >>And another, hopefully helpful--> http://www.biofilter.com/diseases.htm  Good luck, I hope he pulls through!  Marina <Shipping burn, stress... SEE WWM re acclimating RMF>
Re: one sided breathing
>Marina, thank you for the advice. >>You're quite welcome, I hope that it's been of some help. >Its taken years to accept but I finally realize we all need help from time to time. >>I learned a while ago to just give up the idea that I don't need help.  LOL! >Also, on a positive note my Blue Line (Chaetodontoplus septentrionalis) angel began breathing from both sides yesterday and respiration slowed to a more normal rate. >>Excellent. >He had not eaten since receiving him which has been five days so I tried minced clam on the half shell which was received well. >>Great, getting him started is half the battle.   >Thinking he cannot sustain on clams alone I mixed in frozen Mysis with the minced clam. How and what other foods do you suggest I introduce, I've refrained from live brine so far and would like to stay away if possible. >>I would, too.  If you're more concerned with getting him fattened up, keep giving him the clam (soaked in a good supplement like Selcon), and you might try instead of the live brine more Mysis.  Also offer a bit of squid, krill, maybe even bits of other fish.  Soak everything in Selcon at this point, once he's on his way then you can reduce it to a few times a week. >I've gone through the related files and the forum sections without success. Of course given the size of your site I probably flew over them, Ha! I floated a piece of washed spinach but it didn't get touched, I didn't mention that I set some live rock in for him to graze on, though it hasn't been successful. >>Don't give up yet.  Do you happen to have on hand one of the frozen angel formulas?  IIRC they also have bits of sponge and whatnot that the larger angels seem to really like. >I'm thrilled that he's begun to nibble, its a starting point. >>Absolutely! >I've done my research but can't seem to find a whole lot. Any thoughts? >>I'll link you to the FAQ, but I'm guessing you already have it.  I'm going to do a quick Google, as well as searching reefs.org.  Be back in a minute! http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/chaetodonoplus/faqs.htm http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?siteid=21&pCatId=1140 http://ichtyonb1.mnhn.fr/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=11124 >>This one searching via Advanced Aquarist online zine http://www.advancedaquarist.com/cgi-bin/websearch.pl >>I know this isn't much, but it's a start.  I do hope it helps, especially the one link that speaks more specifically to feeding.  I don't think this angel will be very interested in vegetable matter outside of the algae it might choose to nibble at.  Good luck!  Marina

Angel In Distress Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Hoping you guys can help me out once again! <Let's give it a shot!> I bought a 3" French angel on Mar 4th.  On arriving he looked to be in fantastic shape.  I put him in my 40 gallon quarantine tank (has a small amount of lava rock, and cc). <Awesome!> The water parameters have been kept basically perfect.  He soon was eating from my hand a good variety of foods including marine angel mix.  On the 22nd day of quarantine he wasn't eating with quite the same gusto as usual, then that evening he looked like he had a bit of fading on his black and what I would call possibly Amy/velvet??? very tiny whitish spots...not Ich.  What I wasn't sure about was the correct diagnosis.  He seemed a bit lethargic and went off his food.  I immediately started copper treatment. <Well, could be Amyloodinium, so rapid intervention is not a bad idea. The fact that this illness manifested itself in day 22 of quarantine just reinforces the value of the quarantine process with new fishes. You simply can't take it for granted that a fish is healthy...good job!> On the 24th day he ate again, but now one eye has popeyed.  I so very badly do not want to lose this fish.  Can you tell me if I should also be adding penicillin or maracyn2?? along with the copper??  I started the copper 24 hours ago. <Well, if the Popeye is just in one eye, I would not utilize any additional medications...It might simply be due to some injury, and could decrease in a few days with continued high water quality and the possible use of Epsom salt in the water to draw out the swelling. Continue monitoring the fish carefully, and do check copper levels regularly to assure that they remain at proper therapeutic levels> Thank you so much, I really really appreciate it. Thanks again. Lynn <I'm sure that your fish will be okay if you follow through with the treatment protocol. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
Angel fish on the mend
>Hi again, >>Hello the first time from me, Marina here this morning, Lynn. >Really hate to bother you guys again, but your the only ones that I can count on.  I wrote to you a few weeks ago and told you about my French angel. ( I'll just refresh your mind about it.  I bought a 3" juv French and kept it in a 40 gallon quarantine tank. Water parameters where kept perfect...literally. PH 8.3, temp 82, A=0, Ni=0 Nitrate 0   On the 23rd day of quarantine he quit eating, but not chasing the food, looked a bit off and had some what I would almost call a fading or spots around the face and front of him. (not crypto, but possibly velvet)  I immediately started copper with him and did this for 6 days  ( 20 ppm)  He didn't seem to pick up a whole lot but didn't get worse either.  I also lowered the salinity to 1.015 and added Maracyn 2.  On the sixth day I decided that I must have diagnosed his disease incorrectly as I believe I should have seen more of an improvement within that time.   >>Wow, smart!  I'm impressed with your whole method, very good. >I then did a 35% water change and added carbon etc.  The next day I added quick cure (1 drop per gallon)  within 48 hours he was eating again and looking definitely livelier.  I was greatly relieved. This was on April 4th  that I started the quick cure treatment for 7 days. (removing the filters) but keeping the water pristine.  I then quit with it and added malachite green for a few days.  The angel is acting normal and eating but I can still see " marks" on him...around his face and front end?? 
<Chem./treatment burn. RMF>
  >>This will take some time to heal (whatever they are--assuming it's not the beginning of HLLE, but that is SO unlikely I can't even suggest you consider it).  Good feed with good supplements will help this.   >I decided to do a freshwater dip as well, but only left him in for 6 minutes.  He kept laying on his side, and I couldn't take it anymore! >>LOL!  They always lay on their sides, it's when the fins become erect and their breathing clearly becomes stressed that you need to remove them.  No worries though. >Am I worried for nothing here? >>Naw, not for nothing.  I think you're doing everything right, my only other suggestion is to also get some Spectrogram (a gram positive/negative broad spectrum antibiotic) because I think you're a judicious, prudent person and keep your first aid box well stocked.  It's good stuff. >or should I be doing something else. What else can I do?  What if I have diagnosed this wrong again? Help me.   >>I think your observations are your very BEST tool.  Just keep watching the fish, be sure you feed one or two of those very good angelfish specific foods, as well as supplementing (if he'll take it) with something like Selcon-soaked Nori or frozen Mysis/krill/squid/shrimp.  Variety in foods in one of the best ways to ensure good nutrition, for every living thing I can think of except flamingos! >I really appreciate your books and sites and must have read that book a hundred times over!  In fact I feel that I could be giving other people advice! LOL ...but when it concerns my fish  I feel  useless.  That's when it's time to turn to you!!  Anyways, I really appreciate the job you guys are doing!! and pretty much read your F&Q's everyday.  Thank you so much.  Lynn McKinney >>You're quite welcome, and we appreciate the props.  Good luck!  Marina

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>

Save The Queen! (Sick Queen Angel) Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I just moved my two fish to a hospital tank for treatment of Ich.  The queen angel is looking the worst, rapid gilling and signs of excessive mucus. <Hmm...could be a sign of Amyloodinium, which is a very aggressive parasitic disease, or possibly, a response to an environmental trauma of some sort...> I have a good level of copper in the tank, but I'm wondering if I should give a freshwater dip or if it would be too stressful on him.  If I leave him in the tank and just wait for the copper to show its effects on the disease, I'm worried he may not last that long.  What do you think?  As you can imagine, this is kind of an emergency, so thanks for your reply. Tim   <Well, if you also see a very fine "haze" of spots on the fish, it may very well be Amyloodinium, which can kill with horrifying rapidity if left unchecked. Do a quick scan for information about this illness on the WWM site, just to make sure. I would, however, check all "basic" water parameters ( pH, ammonia, nitrite) to verify if there is no environmental cause for the reaction that you are witnessing. I'd also check your copper level in the (treatment?) tank, to make sure that you did not overdose...Very important to measure when utilizing copper for a disease treatment. If dosed improperly, you could do more harm than good! Finally, I think that freshwater dips, properly executed, can certainly help with parasitic diseases. They should be used as a supplemental therapy, IMO, in conjunction with a course of copper sulphate at proper therapeutic levels. Decisive action is important with this illness, so if it's Amyloodinium, you did the right thing...Just keep a close eye on things, and be prepared to take further corrective actions as they become necessary. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

SICK FLAME ANGEL I just purchased a flame angel from the most reputable fish dealer on the net. Fish looked great in the bag, very bright red. Unfortunately, I had to move the aquascape after I released him into the tank. I did not quarantine the fish because it is the only fish in the 75 gallon tank and based on where the fish is from I've never needed to<You always need quarantine even if it is the only fish in the tank. > I now see where I was wrong. After 24 hours, the fish is pale white on the sides and scratching against rocks like a madman. It has no apparent Ich spots on fins. Do I need to set up a quick quarantine tank, stress him out further, or is there a chance that him being the only fish in a tank that big he can kick it on his own with time?< Leave him where he is for now but if he does start to show spots he will need to be treated in a separate tank and your main tank will need to go fishless for at least four weeks, a cleaner shrimp would be beneficial > All levels are zero, and he has absolutely no competition. He picks at the liverock, but won't even chase Mysis shrimp. I'm really in a bind because this fish is so beautiful. It's a tiger striped variation of the flame. HELP! <Try feeding him an angel preparation such as the one made by Ocean Nutrition.  Please read through the pages highlighted in blue below for more info on quarantine and the flame angel. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htmad http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/centropyge/loricula.htm Hope this helps, Cody>

Fish Disease Hello, I have an Pomacanthus imperator.  I purchased him two days ago, and added him to my 75 gallon tank.  I also have a coral beauty who has been in the tank for 3 months.  I recently lost a juvenile Emperor and a Powder blue tang to some type of infection/disease.  My new Emperor has some type of infection/disease.  There are white blotches all over his body.  He has cloudy speckles on his eyes.  He is also breathing heavy, but he hasn't gone to the top of the water, or near the filtration.  He was previously in a Dr.'s tank for three years, in which he was traded to the place in which I bought him from.  He is 5 inches and almost reached complete adult coloration.  He was eating fine the first two days, and now he is not really eating.  I added MelaFix today to the water.  I am not sure what he has.   What do you think the next step should be?  My coral beauty has been in there since the beginning and hasn't been sick once or shown any signs of illness.  He was my first fish, I have lost the Powder Blue, the juvenile Emperor, and now my adult Emperor is sick.  What should I do or what could the problem stem from.  I need to alleviate this problem.  Any help would be greatly appreciated! Respectfully, Michael P. Parks   <Hey Michael, could be some parasites lingering in the tank and only the stressed weakened fish are showing signs of infection.  The best thing would be to move the Emperor to a separate quarantine tank and get an exact ID of the disease, treatment with formalin should help.  The "Handbook of Fish diseases" by Untergasser is a good reference.  Best of luck, Gage>

Re: bubble eye my flame angel has developed a large clear bubble over one eye.  It still swims and eats well.  What is this and will it resolve or kill the fish. Thanks, Mark <Due to it being "one-sided" this is likely a result of a mechanical injury ("bump in the night") and not some overt environmental or pathogenic result. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Koran Angel question Hi, we have a Koran angel fish that is about 2 years old and is trying to reach its intermediate color phase of life, However, he's not doing so well, his face has turned a whitish color, he has a slightly high breathing rate (approx 108/min), and some whitish stripes are near his tail fin and streak inwards on his body. These whitish streaks on his body and face are not bumps or leaches. Also, he's not eating and tends to just stay in his rocky cove where he sleeps. Any ideas what might be the problem and/or cure? <Mmm, sounds much like the beginnings of HLLE, likely triggered by poor water quality and/or nutrition.> Thanks, we have really grown fond of our Koran Angel and want to see him obtain his adult colors someday. <Please read through the HLLE FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and re the species on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/koran.htm and the related FAQs (in blue, at top) and check your water quality for nutrient accumulation aspects, spiff up your skimmer, consider augmenting your fish's diet with vitamins, iodide. Bob Fenner>

HLLE Hey, My flame angel has a bad case of HLLE and I was wondering the best way to treat it Right now I am using the Zoe formula in the fakes and adding green marine algae every other day. Nothing seems to be helping although the erosion hasn't gotten any worse. I beginning to do water changes (5%) or 2 gall every week from 47 gall  and am hopping this will work, only time will tell Thanks for your help and excuse the grammar :) <Hi, Don today. My friend, I am going to make the assumption that you are referring to HLLE (Head and Lateral Line Erosion) if I am wrong then please advise. Increasing vitamins and veggie intake is recommended. You might try and see if the fish will take Nori or soak food in Selcon before feeding. See here for more info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hlle.htm. Good luck with your angel, Don>

Re: Rapid breathing Hi Bob how are you? Thank you for your quick responses to all the questions I have had lately. Once again I have yet another question for you. I have removed the rock and substrate from my quarantine tank and I have done a 25 % water change. My Question is my Lemonpeel Angel has started to breathe rapidly since this morning all the other fish including the Lemonpeel had been re infested by morning with white dots I have also re dosed with copper. Do you think that the parasites have possibly become immune to the copper? <No... but the copper may well be causing the fish to produce more mucus, coating its gills... I do hope you're using a copper test kit> and is there any other medication I can add with the copper to help the gill infestation. I have done one fresh water dip with the lemon peel Do you think more of them will help. <There are... if indeed there is such an infestation. If not, or you don't know, I would not add to the stress of this fish> I guess my one question has turned into several so much to ask and learn about.  I have also read all the site links you have suggested if you have any more please let me know. Thank you   Stan N. <Yes. Please go to www.WetWebMedia.com and the Marine Index in turn, then Maintenance, on down to Disease... 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>

When Life Gives You Lemonpeels.. Hello, I recently purchased a 2 inch lemon peel angel, a medium size powder blue tang & an arch eye Hawkfish. I put them all in my 20 gallon long QT. <Great procedure!> All three fish began eating well after about 2 days, especially the tang. I noticed the lemon peel rubbing itself on the bottom of the tank, but I didn't see any signs of spots on any of the fish, so I disregarded it until it continued for a couple of days. There were still no spots, but fearing Ich (at the encouragement of my local supplier) I treated the tank with copper, SeaCure to be specific. <Well, if it is Ich, it was not a bad move...but may have been premature> Almost immediately the lemon peel stopped eating. The very next night I read an article about lemon peel angels being hyper sensitive to copper. <Centropyge angels do tend to be sensitive to copper treatment. You should monitor copper levels very carefully when using this treatment with any fish, of course> I didn't do anything initially thinking it might be ok, but the angels eyes became hazed over. I immediately did approximately 35% water change and put in a poly filter to try and draw out the copper. I added the copper on Saturday, did the water change on Monday & by Tuesday his eyes were back to normal, but today is Wednesday and I haven't seen him eat since Saturday and he seems to stay in the top corner of the tank near the heater all the time. He looks fine and is not even rubbing any longer, but I wonder how long he can last without eating. I've tried Spirulina pellets, marine supreme, flakes for angels, even brine shrimp. The other 2 fish are eating fine, however I did notice the tang rubbing on the bottom today. I guess what I'm asking is what would you do concerning the angel not eating and treating for Ich and for how long. They've been in QT for 10 days and no visible spots. I was thinking of using formalin, but how long should I wait because of the copper. I also now know I should have never tried to introduce 3 fish  at one time !!!! Thank You, Gary <Well- Gary- you're sure learning a lot from this! At this point, I'd continue to execute regular (2 or 3 times a week) small water changes in the QT tank. Keep trying to get this guy to eat. It may take a while. You also might want to introduce a vitamin supplement, such as Vita Chem, into the QT tank. Since marine fishes do drink, this may provide some nutritional "encouragement" for the angel, until he comes around and start seating. I'd hold off on any further medication unless the need arises. Keep a very close eye on things, and I'm sure that the fish can recover. Best 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>

Large Angel health issue Bob, Anthony, please I need help and your expert guidance! I have a 160 FOWL (you guys I am sure remember it), I have a show Queen that has been in perfect health for quite some time, but the other day it started acting disinterested in food (I was feeding raw oysters and have for quite some time with the addition of romaine and some marine dried veggies), it actually started hiding and acted as if it was stunned, when it would come out it would swim in to rocks etc., I changed 60 gal worth of water over several days, none of the other fish have a problem, there are no external signs of disease on the queen, I hit the tank with Maracyn 2 yesterday at the recommended dose, I am seeing more movement and you can tell the fish must be feeling somewhat better, but it still acts as if it cant see at least very well (its eyes are not cloudy), I am wondering if it would benefit from the addition of any type of supplement which contains vitamin A since vitamin is so crucial to a mammals capacity to see, I will continue with the recommended cycle of Maracyn treatment, but wanted to know your thoughts on the vitamin A or anything else you might propose, as always thanks <I would definitely soak this fish's foods in a vitamin, iodide and HUFA supplement. Hopefully this is "nothing" or a passing nutritional deficiency syndrome. Bob Fenner>

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>

Treating a Flame Angel for Ich Hello.  I have a flame angel in quarantine that I just got two days ago.  The fish looked and acted fine at the LFS,  with no signs of illness.  But yesterday he developed Ich and wouldn't eat any flakes or frozen brine shrimp.  Your site seems to recommend the use of copper as a treatment, but I have heard that flame angels do not do well with copper because it eats away at their internal organs.  I can't seem to find any information on the procedure for using hyposalinity effectively.  Since the flame angel isn't eating, I don't think that garlic would work.  Should I go ahead and treat with copper?  I'm at a loss... any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Lisa    <Hey Lisa, good call using the QT tank.  You are correct, copper is not good for dwarf angels.  Try treating with a formalin based medication and freshwater dips.  -Gage>

Sick Queen Angel? Hello how are you today ? <Fine, thank you! Scott F. here today> Sorry to bother you again! <Never a bother, my friend!> But my queen Angel as stopped eating two days ago! (can he stay a lot of time without eating??) and  seems to have cloudy eye and also the eye membrane seems to be damage going out a little bit still but less than before ,also a notice that his eyes are a little bit red ,and he also had like blood behind the lateral fins, but it seems that it is healing now (white covering it) also have white spots on the fins!!! but doesn't look like Ich, he always hiding, but he is breathing normal !!! My nitrate was a little bit high, but I did a water change of about 30% of the tank (125 gallons)  and it is now ok. <Good decisive move!> All the other fish are fine. I wouldn't want this to spread to the other fish. Maybe  environmental disease? <Hard to say from here, but it may be a (secondary) bacterial infection of some sort. It may have been brought on by lapses in water quality, an injury, or some other trauma.> Should I move him out of the tank and use medication? If yes what should I use that is easy to get in almost all fish stores? I don't want to loose it. Thank you in advance and also HAPPY NEW YEAR! And again, thank you for your help! Your web site is  helping me a lot and I am sure a lot of aquarists, also! Continue the great work!!!! <I think it is time to move the fish to another tank for observation and treatment. I'd probably try a broad spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn Two in the treatment tank. Please note that antibiotics can interrupt nitrification in aquariums, so be sure to supply mechanical and chemical filtration in the treatment tank. Do keep reading on the wetwebmedia.com site to see if you find descriptions of any disorders that are similar to the one that your fish is experiencing. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Treating Cryptocaryon - Happy Holidays crew !!! <Greetings, Happy Holidays to you as well.> My juvie Queen Angel recently acquired what appears to be Ich on her lateral and pectoral fins. Looks like salt blotches on fins. Only other tankmate that appears to have similar symptoms is Porc puffer. (He has one little blotch on top of head but not on fins)  Queen is showing signs of discomfort by skimming against various rocks in tank. All water test normal. Shed some light PLEASE... <Point your browser at the following URLs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm > Peace, Lenny <Cheers, J -- >

Imperator Guys I bought a 5" Imperator from my LFS last week who had him for only a few days.  When you try to catch this guy he sinks to the bottom of the tank and curls up into what can only be described as a fetal position. After playing dead, all of his color drains.  If that's not enough, he has Ich so I am treating him with copper.  The problem lies in his coloration.  Even 24 hours after catching him and acclimating him to the QT, his color is blanched in various spots.  Craziest thing is that the places seem to change from time to time.  I have yet to see him without some parts of his body washed out.  Do you believe that this is a reaction to stress (new surroundings, movement, copper) or some type of bacterial infection?  Thanks as always. Joe <Definitely stress.  Provide some plastic hiding places and reduce the lighting to relieve stress. Move slowly and give him some time, stress can kill, be careful!  Test copper twice a day and make sure you stay on top of water quality in the QT.  Craig>

Off-color Imperator Greetings all. How is the weather in your area? Good I hope. All is well here in Florida. <dude... its December and I'm in Pittsburgh> On to my woes . . . I have been quarantining a gorgeous Emperor Angelfish for about 5 weeks now. Initially I gave him Ich by doing a water change with Ich-infested main tank water (my two tangs got Ich due to a temperature fluctuation with has been corrected). I coppered him for one week with little to no improvement. <for future reference please know that angels are extremely sensitive to copper. Very fine line between cure and kill. I recommend formalin and FW dips instead here> BTW,  am doing 2-3 gallon water changes every other day with freshly mixed (and aerated x 24 hours) saltwater SPS 1.019 - 1.021. I am doing freshly mixed changes due to not be able to use the Ich-infested water in main tank. The symptoms are gone now, but still doing fresh changes waiting to break Ich life cycle. <excellent> After Copper Safe x 1 week, I replaced the carbon for two days and did 50% water change.  Next I tried Murex. That did absolutely NO GOOD, in fact he got worse. Now with splotches of white one his body. Carbon and 50% water change. Next I tried Greenex. <Aiiiieeeee!> He improved slightly. After three every other day treatments I started fresh water dips x 3 days. <FW dips better... easy on the drugs there dealer-man> The freshwater dips have worked wonders. <Oh, ya... as they should> He looked great three days ago. Therefore I stopped the fresh water dips. Tonight he has more Ich on his pectoral fins and white splotches on his body . . . AGAIN!! What can I possibly do next? <no more drugs please. Without ever having touching a med, Ich can be cured in a bare bottomed QT tank with a single FW dip and floor siphon every day for 8 consecutive days (breaks life cycle of parasite). Tried and true.> I have treated this poor fish with just about everything I can think of.  <over treated my friend... the meds might kill him in the 2 months picture as some stored in fat cells get used up. Delayed overdose> I am afraid I am going to kill him with kindness. <I admire your hard work here greatly. Simply maintain good water quality, a quiet stable QT tank, and do the 8 day FW dip and floor siphon (5-10%) each day. All will be fine likely> He still eats very well, and behaves normally. Help. John Michael PS. The main tank has been symptom-free for three weeks. I was planning on putting him in the main tank this weekend, but I don't want to now that he his "sick" again., <there is no possible way that fish can go in now. They need to be 2 weeks disease free before entry. That means he is at least 3 weeks away. Best regards, Anthony>

Faded Imperator Hi Guys <Hello!> Quick question this time.  I just bought a 5" adult Imperator who is currently in my QT.  I noticed that some of his color blanched in various parts of his body.   <Possibly fright patterns> Now it appears that he has Ich (there were 2 spots on him  so I caught it early) and I am treating with copper.  The faded spots do not appear to be as abundant after a dip and 24 hours of copper.  Is this a reaction to stress or do these light spots represent some other form of disease? <I doubt the faded spots are disease. Personally, I wouldn't have freaked about two small white spots. I have a tendency to take a "watch and see" approach with my own tanks. I suspect it's just fright colors. Please read more about treating fish disease at WetWebMedia.Com  I'm sure you want to get the procedure right...No?> Thanks as always <You're welcome! David Dowless> Joe

Emperor angelfish breathing problems Hi, I have a 10 in. xmas island emperor angel. <please don't tell me this fish is in anything less than an eight foot tank. A magnificent fish and still has growing to do!> I've had him for 2 or 3 mos. now and he is doing great and everything. <hmm... was this animal quarantined for the first 4 weeks? Else, you need to get a large QT tank ready. Many parasites with the big fishes for stressful shipping> But the right gill seems to be not working. The gill opening is not opening and closing. It is just closed. <yep... this is a telltale sign of gill flukes. Tough to cure but possible. Needs meds in a bare bottomed QT tank though. Formalin is needed. Take aged water and a mature filter (with seeded media) to the QT tank. Be prepared to do daily water changes for the first eight days minimum to control parasites (larval cysts on bottom of tank) and for water quality (test daily at first). The display needs to run fallow for 4 weeks. 4 weeks minimum for angel in QT. No treatment in display... meds get absorbed and parasites flourish in sand/gravel> When I feed him he eats it then for the next 5 minutes or so his gill is working a bit but then it quits after those 5 minutes. The left gill is working good maybe breathing a little faster. What do you thin is wrong? Is it ick? <some sort of parasite that has begun in the gills... as most do> Please reply as quick as possible I fear he may not have much more time. Please help me and my fish. Thank you. <best regards, Anthony>

My angel fish is looking dull! Dear Bob <David Dowless standing in this afternoon> I have an Imperator angel I have had for about 5 years.   He is housed in a 100gal. aquarium. Filtered by 3 Eheim canister filters a 15 watt UV.  He has a few other tank mates such as a twin spot  wrasse, <Do you mean the Coris wrasse? This baby gets to be more than 21" long!> 6 fire fish, long nose hawk, Flame angel, Flag fin, 3 butterflies.  In, addition I also have a protein skimmer. <Is it producing a full cup of skimmate daily?> Water parameters are close to 0 ammonia <.1ppm NO2, N03 between20 to 60. <Ammonia and nitrite need to be zero all of the time.> Salinity 1.020, temp 77. This was not always the case, however , I thinned out the population some time ago.  I did this because I had difficulty keeping the water parameters within the range I proffered.  I had blue tangs and a Koran angel that both had bad HLLE.  The Imperator I believe was also developing HLLE so I became extra faithful doing water changes and adding broccoli and spinach to the diet.  This seemed to arrest any HLLE in the Imperator however his color has dulled.  I should mention that in every other way he is fine. <Poor water quality, poor diet, and overcrowding will do this..> I occasionally put carbon in my canister filter some say this contributes to HLLE also, I do not do anything to guard against stray voltage. <HLLE is an environmental disease: inappropriate diet and poor water quality due to overcrowding. Your tank needs to be thinned out even more. I don't know which ones to get rid of because I don't know their sizes or the specific species. Consider getting a copy of Scott Michael's Marine Fishes. It is an excellent pocket guide that would have helped you avoid overcrowding. You can get it online for less than $25>   My fishes diet is extremely varied including frozen as well as dry foods and fresh veggies. <Marine algae growing in the tank would also help> I would welcome any advice you may have. Thank you, Charles Rayburn <You're welcome, Charles. You can research even more on this and many other topics at Wetwebmedia.com...David Dowless>

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!

Koran Angel Change of Life Hey again guys. I wonder if you've been asked this before...I couldn't find an answer here. How can I tell if my Koran Angel is in the changing process or if he's sick? The coloration is still bright, but he's starting to look "smudgy." I don't know if this is cause for concern or if it's time for him to go toward his adult coloration. All other fish seem fine. Thanks as always for the input. Matt <Hmm, they do look "smudgy" (muted, lighter toward mid-flanks) as they are changing... If all the other livestock are okay... I'd assume the fish was just undergoing the transformation. Bob Fenner>

Acclimating Coral Beauty Hello Bob, I have on four occasions now tried to stock coral beauty's in my store but have always had very limited success getting them to feed. I have tried pretty much all of the prepared foods we stock. Do you have any recommendations on getting these guys started? <Yes... in well-established systems with plenty of healthy live rock... and a live sump/refugium in addition if possible. They nibble on algae, sponges, sea squirts in the wild...> All of the ones we received have been from QM and looked great on arrival. I have had great success with other supposedly less hardy dwarf species and am close to putting coral beauties on my "Do Not Order". <It may be that you're spot on here... the source your supplier is using may be "bunk" for this species. If you can, avoid ones from Indonesia and the Philippines... pay more for better specimens from elsewhere in the West-, South-Pacific. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Richard

Adult Emperor Angel with hole(s) in the head - getting worse Hello, I have a 6 " adult Emperor who has been in a QT for 10 weeks. First he came down with Ich, then gill flukes (fresh water dips took care of those problems). For the past 6 weeks he has been suffering from HLLE. He has deep holes just around his head and especially around the mouth (nothing along the lateral line, though) and he is getting worse. QT is a 40 gallon with a Remora skimmer, Penguin 300 filtration, 20% water changes weekly, no meds, his diet comprises of mostly Formula II soaked in Zoe, Mysid shrimp w/Zoe once or twice a week, Nori once daily, occasional shaved prawns. I tried Hexamita and it helped him a little bit for a while, but he is worse now. What is wrong? <It sounds like simple HLLE. I would add sponge matter to this diet and perhaps switch your food additives to Boyd's Vita-Chem and American Marine Selcon.> Thank you. <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Angels and UV sterilizers and Monkey crap After I added live rock to my tank, I have unable to keep any type of angel fish longer than two months. My LFS made the following comments to me today: "If you have live rock, angel fish will get coral reef disease and not last more than two months. The only way to keep them alive is to use a UV sterilizer." <that explanation from your LFS is not only the biggest pile of steaming monkey crap that I have heard in weeks, but also the most shameless yet creative sales strategy for selling UV sterilizers that I have ever heard of. Did they explain what it is in live rock that specifically kills angels after the magic 8-week time-elapse (they need to come up with a much better explanation than a mythical "coral Reef Disease" to temper their "Pinocchio Disorder") or how it is that angels in the wild survive while living on and in live rock?!?! Furthermore, what is it that the UV does to correct this?> I was able to keep a bi color angel alive for several years when I had only lace rock in the tank. So maybe he is right? <he couldn't be any more wrong with an honorable mention for being patently ignorant or patently fraudulent. Did it cross your mind that maybe the problem with your angels is the source (ahem...)> Also, won't the UV sterilizer kill some of the good micro whatever stuff in the tank? <not really... and it also does a rather poor job of killing parasites in display tanks too as evidenced by the sick angels purchased from this LFS...heehee.> Thanks for your time. <May I suggest that you be certain to QT all new fishes from a full 4 weeks and also consider that bicolor angles are rather difficult to keep to begin with and that most seen in the trade are stressed and or drug caught Philippine specimens. They only cost about $6 wholesale which is why some retailers like to keep selling this challenging species... tempting profits. I'd reconsider the species overall despite your previous success and I will say that live rock will be necessary to keep this fish more than 2 years in captivity with less fear/concern of death by dietary deficiency. Best regards, Anthony> 

Queen angel not eating Thought I would let you know what was causing the lack of appetite behavior, apparently my AC was slowly on the outs, when it quit working, I checked the water temp, 87F!  <Doh!> Needless to say after adding ice to bring the tank back below 80, these fish started pigging out again! Thanks for your help <Yowsa.... hopefully the drop in temperature was gradual (2-3 days?). A sudden drop in temp can be worse than the drop of the high temps. Please be very alert for an Ich outbreak in the next week and be prepared with a QT tank if necessary (do not medicate in the main display). Best regards, Anthony>

Treating Marine Angels Thanks for all your advise. I really like the pygmy angels and would like to buy another. Two questions: first, I don't know much about freshwater dipping <do browse the parasitic disease FAQ's for insight, but the crash course is using buffered, dechlorinated and temp/pH adjusted freshwater (match sat tank readings on these parameters to minimize stress)... it is critical that you measure FW bath temp to be same or slightly warmer, NEVER cooler, fish must be caught quickly and gently (two nets and morning/sleepy time best), dip is to last 3 to 5 minutes minimum. In dip sluggish swimming and laying on bottom with labored breath is normal... but trying to jump out or spitting water at surface is hyper stress...remove fish back top seawater> and two, what other options are there other than copper?  <yep... formalin> By the way, the tang is starting to get better. He lost most of his color but he had very few white spots left and is starting to eat again. <very good to hear! Best regards, Anthony>

Angel injury (reddish opercular spine, bacterial involvement?) I have a 7" angel (Goldflake) that appears to have injured itself. I gently caught it and placed it in a 55 gallon for now and am watching it. It looks like on one side, it has injured the 'spine' on the lower side of the cheek. you know, the one that only angels have, but butterflies don't. <Yes, almost all> It appears to have a shade of pink on that side in there. Not that large an area though, so I'm not sure if its from the injury itself, or if there is an infection of some sort. <Very common... likely due to a physical trauma... running/swimming into something in the tank, net damage, collateral shipping if the animal is newer.> I only noticed it when it was no longer eating after two days. Anyhow, after putting it in the 55, its just swimming back and forth (not too fast, not too slow) and that's when I noticed the spine injury. Anyhow, should I just watch it or should I put an anti-biotic in there. Or perhaps a light anti-biotic like Melafix ?  <Not an antibiotic product... I would try to boost the animal's health nutritionally, add a cleaner organism... at this point.> I know that these bacterial infections can work quickly, but not sure if it'll recover without anti-biotics or not. Also, how apparent is a bacterial infection ? is it just a vague light pink redness or is it pretty obvious and just red underneath the skin ? I see only a light pink in the area and not sure if its just from the injury or what. Thanks for any help. Jim <Only way to judge is through culture and staining, microscopic observation... Outside the realm of pet-fishing by and large in terms of use/applicability... Sometimes, while already manipulating such animals (not worth re-netting damage, stress), a topical anti-microbial can be applied (like with a Q-tip (tm)) onto the affected area... Bob Fenner>

Help!!! Sick Bicolor Angel I came home today, to find my Bicolor Angle lying on its side at the bottom of my QT tank... It looked like he had some black spots around the gills. He had been swimming and feeding yesterday. There were no signs of infection or parasites. He was not eating much, but he was eating. The damsel that lives in this tank is healthy. <hmmm... not symptomatic of anything specifically pathogenic but this species is notoriously still drug caught. If you bought it for under $30 in most big cities in the US then it is a strong candidate for drug poisoning. Quality hand-caught Bicolors from Fiji and elsewhere are significantly more expensive than the cheap Jakarta and Philippine specimens. > I did a water test last night. Ammonia and Nitrite 0.. PH 8.3... Nitrate 60 - 80 ppm. I changed 2 gallons out of this 10 gallon tank while he was getting the FW dip. I scooped him out and gave him a 6 - 7 minute FW dip. I returned him to the QT.. He not lying on his side yet. What should I do? Continue FW Dips?  <hold off on the dips unless you see a specific indication of parasites (scratching, spots, sloughing possibly)> I looked closer, and his pectoral fins have a slight dusting of white spots.. Great!!! Ich!! I guess, I need to use Formalin II, along with the FW Dips. <Ok...fair enough... I agree <smile>. That will be $50 for the service call...hehe> Please let me know if there is anything else I should be doing... <singing in the rain is always delightful if it is warm enough outside> Thanks, Glenn <kindly, Anthony>
Re: Help!!! Sick Bicolor Angel
Hi Anthony, Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, my Bicolor Angel did not improve. He became more lethargic. His respiration was very high. I was sure he would not survive the night, so I decided euthanasia was the only humane thing to do.. I froze him.. <alas... I am sorry to hear about it> He had been in my tank for almost two weeks.. He appeared healthy. Unfortunately, he only cost me $25, so I guess he suffered cyanide poisoning..  <it is certainly a strong possibility. Take a look at the gill color as well... should be richly red/pink. If pale pink in color... another indication of an unsound collecting technique> That will be the last Bicolor I buy.  <or let it serve as a reminder that many such "difficult" fish are difficult because of prevalent collecting or shipping practices. You may just need to research and buy from a different source. Case in point... common Regal Angels are all but "impossible" to keep alive. But aquarists have found that the race called "orange throat" Regals from the Maldives and Red Sea are quite able to live in captivity. Unfortunately, they are much more expensive and generally need to be special ordered. Many other such examples (Moorish Idols from Hawaii, Coral Beauties from Fiji (mostly purple body... not orange dominant)). Indeed, many subtleties to research or look out for>  Not to mention from now on, I'll research ya'lls site before buying any new fish.. Thanks Again, Glenn <excellent... information is power as they say. Anthony>

Blue Angel Fungal Infection? Hello there. <Buona sera. Dr. Anthony in your service> My wife and I just (6 days ago) obtained a 5" adult-colored Holacanthus bermudensis. It had been at our LFS for about a week and a half. It was sold to us as a Holacanthus ciliaris, but we have come to the conclusion that it is a true blue angelfish and not a hybrid between the two (based on rigorous research due to the price difference between the queen and the blue, which we are still debating with our LFS, but a completely different story). Anyway, within the last 2 days, it has developed white patches on its left fin and, today, the left flank. They look like baking soda or flour when it is wet and clumpy, ranging in size from salt granule to dime sized. They aren't in any particular shape, rather just blotches. This fish shares a 75 gallon tank with one 3" Odonus niger, one 3.5" Rhinecanthus aculeatus, and one 4" Coris gaimard. It is a fish only tank with 20 lbs. Live rock, a SeaClone skimmer, and 2 large Penguin 400 filters. We have had no problems (that we have witnessed) between the triggers and the angel. In fact, we have seen the Huma trigger roll on its side so the angel could clean it. We have tested everything religiously and the results are consistently just right. Is this a fungus or bacteria, or something else?  <Lymphocystis is quite common with these angels. It is viral, non-contagious, non-fatal and non-curable by most measures. It may grow large enough to break off on its own and scarcely bother your Angelfish... or, it may become so irritating that you will need to do minor surgery (take fish out of tank into a clean towel wet with aquarium water (cover eyes to keep still. the fish... not you) and trim the infected fin tissue and scrape the body with a scalpel or razor (then swab with iodine) and return to tank) Not as bad as it sounds> We are in the process of moving the angel to our 20 gal quarantine (the only thing in it is enough crushed coral to barely cover the bottom). Is there any effective treatment of this disease?  <above... and don't bother with the move to quarantine if it is Lymphocystis... more stress> We had added Mela-Fix (basically tea tree oil) to the 75 gal. to see if that would help without disrupting the ecosystem. It did nothing.  <not for this, my friend> We are very worried about our little angel and hope anyone there might be able to help. <I seriously doubt it will be fatal. Do try referencing the disease with a good fish disease book like Handbook of Fish Diseases by Dieter Untergasser (TFH)> Thanks for your time, Chris & Rachel Koenke <my pleasure, Anthony Calfo>

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

I have an angel fish in my tank that has developed what seams a fungal infection much like patches of eczema in humans. I have treated the tank with antibiotics and followed the directions to the letter. The fish still has patches around the head area. Any suggestions? >> >> Most likely this is not a fungal infection... but might be a viral (Lymphocystis) or expression to some form of "bad water"... What else do you have in the way of livestock in this system? How long has this problem been developing? Any other fishes affected? I would be inclined to try a biological cleaner species or two at this point. Either Lysmata shrimp and/or Gobiosoma gobies are my favorites... Bob Fenner

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 

We recently lost one fish to pop eye We have a 150 gal aquarium and that has been set up for at least 10 years. We recently lost one fish to pop eye (Rock Beauty) and now another new addition (Blue Face Angel) has it. In both cases they were new additions to the tank and severely harassed by a couple triggers, an imperator, and Bicolored angel. It seemed to us that possible stress caused their conditions. Eventually both learned to fend for themselves and for the most were left alone by the others. Unfortunately in both cases their infected eye popped out! The Rock Beauty's eye got extremely puffy, we medicated with "Cure All Remedy", the swelling seemed to be going down, then his eye fell out. The Rock Beauty died even though it seemed to be doing well and eating. Now the Blue Face's eye has popped out, even though the swelling was never as severe as that of the Rock Beauty's. He is eating and seems to be doing OK. Have you ever heard of this? Can you tell us how we can prevent it from happening? I don't suppose their eye ever grows back - does it? >> Not just stress caused these losses. These two Angelfishes are towards the end of the scale in terms of suitability for aquarium use. There are a few general causes of exophthalmia (pop-eye), and a few routes of trying to "cure" their symptoms/causes. Please see the article on the topic at wetwebmedia.com that you can search for using the term. It's best to treat a fish/fishes for this complaint in a separate quarantine/hospital tank. For bacterial causes via ingestible (if the animals eating) or injectable broad-spectrum, gram negative antibiotics...     No, the eyes of fishes do not grow back. Bob Fenner

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
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