Angel Journey *long Read

H2oAngels

This is more of a spew intended to help anybody starting an angel tank of their own. Of course I would appreciate any and all input as I am a rookie myself.

I bought 3 beautiful blue Pinoy pearlscale zebra (veil?) angelfish. I think that’s their entire name. And a single flying fox 23 days ago that I homed in a 20 gallon high tank. I had done preliminary research, I knew my tank was undersized and they would pretty quickly need new home. I was also aware that a trio of angelfish was less than ideal however I figured being juvenile and siblings the could potentially grow together. We will come back to this shortly.

I have been conducting a fish-in cycle throughout this entire process. Specific numbers will pop up occasionally. With that being said my original set up was a 20 gallon high hex tank (photos attached). I over filtered it to compensate for overstock as my fish grew. I ran a fluval aqua clear 50. I also wanted a larger heater for higher efficiency so I got a 150 watt heater.

My 4 fish seemed to do great for 8 or so days. I am a water test/water change lunatic so my ammonia levels stay very low sub .50 90 percent of the time. The tank also stays appropriately dosed with prime. My slow cycle hasn’t seemed to have any detrimental affect on my fish. However I did notice that one of my 3 angels had become somewhat of a depressed outcast. My iPhone informed me that my screen time has been down nearly 60 percent, I spend my time in front of my tank. I say this because I never once saw any aggression in my tank. All three fish seemed like a happy bunch for the entire time.

Fish 3 only showed signs of stress for about 30 hours. Refusal of food, isolation. Again I never saw any aggression at all so o figured I had some time but I left for work and came home to a dead fish after hardly a day of symptoms. I assume my remaining two angels terrorized the poor when the lights went out. I am now a few weeks removed from the death and I can confirm the remaining two angels are a mating pair. They have grown enough that I can identify sex with confidence and they follow every characteristic of a hardly sexually mature pair. DO NOT BUY 3 angels. Unless you are 100 percent certain of sex. Even then there is a chance one will be rejected. Start with 1 or a group of the same sex. More on angelfish aggression to come.

14 days after my 4 fish (3 now 2 angels and 1 flying fox) were put in there home I purchased their upgrade. I originally planned to complete my cycle in the 20 gallon then use that to cycle their future home. However I was still early in my cycle (never tested positive for nitrites) and got a really good deal on their new tank. I figured I would just take the media from my existing fluval HOB and put it in the new filter. That way what little BB had colonized would transfer right over.

I bought a 65 gallon with the intention of adding more fish post cycle. Along with the tank I picked up a fluval 406 canister filter to provide over filtration. I upgraded my heater as well to a 200 watt aqueon pro. I set everything up and let it run for about a day. I then slowly did about 45 gallons worth of water changes over a 6 hour period. I was taking dirty water from my 20 gallon and putting it into my new 65. I wanted some sort of ammonia to be in the water to avoid bacteria starvation. (Not entirely sure this was worth the effort). 8 days ago I introduced my now 2 angels and single flying fox to their new mansion.

My angels have loved the change, my flying fox relentlessly glass surfed for a few days but had maintained a strong appetite throughout. He eventually really calmed down around day 6. Day 7 I took an ammonia test which like the 7 days prior didn’t register any ammonia. I grew very impatient since my 20 gallon had significant ammonia readings after 48 hours. I figured my 3 fish just weren’t producing enough waste for this big tank. I decided more fish were needed!

I didn’t go into this blind and new very well adding angels into the tank with my (presumably at the time pair). I had my entire 20 gallon set up in case I needed to separate the fish. I went out and got 10 (now 9 one just died while typing this) neon tetra and two beautiful gold veil angels. I acclimated the angels and introduced them first. When I tell you all **** broke lose I mean it. It full blown confirmed that I have an existing pair. My male went absolutely nuts and relentlessly attacked not only his mate but the two additions as well. The two new angels were out of the tank within thirty minutes ( they are in darkness recovering, still hearty appetites but definitely bummed, they have a home to go to in a few weeks).
I introduced the tetras once I removed the angels. I am aware they will become food if they stay in the tank. I will be removing them in a few weeks. For now they are safe and seem to really like the tank.

After my failed angel introduction I realized I’m pretty much stuck with two angels and my flying fox in my 65. I figured there was enough space that the fish would kind of separate but they didn’t. I wanted more breaks in lines of sight so today I went out and bought a large centerpiece for the tank it’s plastic but I’ll eventually plant around it.
My plan moving forward is to breed my pair. From their I will raise a community of 6-10 angels that I can sex myself. Those fish will eventually call my 65 home and I’ll get 39 or something my pair.

I’m probably leaving out a ton of things I wanted to mention. I just like to post, I learn a lot from reading peoples past posts so hopefully this gives back a bit.

PATIENCE is everything in this hobby. Today I promised my fish I am not touching their tank other than tests and water changes until my cycle is completed.

Below are photos of my 23 day journey. These fish are absolute SOLDIERS.


Last two photos are my fish day 1 and then today day 23.
 

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Frankieflowaz

Wow they grew color fast they look great!
 

mattgirl

Whew!!!!! What a journey. I do want to say something that might have saved you and hopefully will save someone else the heartbreak of this scenario. Just because the test isn't picking up an ammonia reading doesn't mean there isn't sufficient ammonia in there to complete the cycle.

When I did my last fish in cycle in a tank that was fully stocked I never got an ammonia reading. That was because I was doing enough water changes to keep the ammonia down to negligible levels. I know the ammonia was there because the tank did in fact go from a dry tank to fully cycled in 6 weeks.

The only thing I added to this tank was a water conditioner. I started with Tetra AquaSafe but soon switched to Prime. The cycling process just took time and lots and lots of water changes.
 

H2oAngels

Whew!!!!! What a journey. I do want to say something that might have saved you and hopefully will save someone else the heartbreak of this scenario. Just because the test isn't picking up an ammonia reading doesn't mean there isn't sufficient ammonia in there to complete the cycle.

When I did my last fish in cycle in a tank that was fully stocked I never got an ammonia reading. That was because I was doing enough water changes to keep the ammonia down to negligible levels. I know the ammonia was there because the tank did in fact go from a dry tank to fully cycled in 6 weeks.

The only thing I added to this tank was a water conditioner. I started with Tetra AquaSafe but soon switched to Prime. The cycling process just took time and lots and lots of water changes.

Impatience is my biggest rival with this cycle. I was only dosing prime for a couple weeks. The only change I made was the addition of stability once I moved them into the big tank. Once I finish the bottle of stability it’ll be right back to just prime. Patience is the only thing I’m really lacking here. Luckily my little terrorist fish seem very happy!
 

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