Angelfish Hiding All The Time Now.

Gray Farms

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My angelfish are hiding all the time now. Not sure why.... PH is good, Ammonia is good, I check both twice a week. I change 15% of the water once a week. They come out to feed, and feed well and act normal when they are feeding. But rest of the time they just hide at the bottom around the décor. They've just started doing this in the last month or so. They've been in the tank for nearly a year and I've not added any new fish and none have died. Totally puzzled.....
 

Aquaphobia

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How many angels in the tank and what size is the tank? Any other fish? Any decor? What are all of your parameters exactly?
 

Discusluv

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Aquaphobia said:
How many angels in the tank and what size is the tank? Any other fish? Any decor? What are all of your parameters exactly?
I just don't see how, in at least 75% of cases, a 15% water change is enough for Angels in a week. I read over and over, in various sites, that Angelfish should not have nitrates over 20ppm. That over time, they will succumb to parasites and bacteria, if kept under these conditions. I don't see how one can keep their nitrates under 20pm (in a tank that is not heavily planted with plants), with a 15% weekly water change.
What is your nitrate level right before you do your water change?
 
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Gray Farms

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10 angels, 6 medium and 4 large "not breeder size yet though". Also one small pleco and one small cory cat. No other fish. Tank is a 55 gal. 1/2 natural gravel substrate "river rock or pebbles". Décor is 2 pieces of Malaysian driftwood and several assorted plastic plants. Temp is 76 degree. PH 6.6, Ammonia nearly 0%.

Nitrate level is unknown.
 

Discusluv

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Gray Farms said:
10 angels, 6 medium and 4 large "not breeder size yet though". Also one small pleco and one small cory cat. No other fish. Tank is a 55 gal. 1/2 natural gravel substrate "river rock or pebbles". Décor is 2 pieces of Malaysian driftwood and several assorted plastic plants. Temp is 76 degree. PH 6.6, Ammonia nearly 0%.
That is a lot of fish- undoubtedly your nitrates are high. Pick up a nitrate test- it really helps to check periodically how healthy your water is ( and your fish.)
Here is the fix, unless, of course, they are already sick: Start changing out 75% of your water weekly to lower nitrates. That's all. You will be amazed at the difference in the vitality and growth of your fish.
Try to get the water you replace as close in temperature as the water you took out- within 2-3 degrees. Make sure you don't have a big ph swing from tap to tank. You do this by testing ph out of your tap. Let it sit out for twenty four hours and then test the ph... if it is within .4 degrees you can change water as often and as much as you like.
 
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Gray Farms

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I miss spoke. I change 15 gallons weekly. So like 25% or so.

I let my water set at least 24 hours to come up to room temp so not so much of a temp drop. I do test the tap water PH "after it's come up to temp" and it always runs high, to I always ad PH down before I put it in. Also add conditioner of course and some bacterial supplement.
 
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Gray Farms

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Over 8.0, darker than the chart goes really. But the tank stays around 6.4-6.6
 

Discusluv

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I have heard that using these ph adjusters can become problematic, I don't have enough knowledge of them to comment, but will call to other experienced members who can help you. TexasDomer, Sarcasm Included, OnTheFly
 
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Gray Farms

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Is there any other ways to drop the PH? Besides the chemicals?
 

Aquaphobia

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Don't mess with the pH. The fact that it drops so low in the tank could either be due to CO2 offgassing or the nitrifying bacteria working overtime to use all the fish waste and using up the carbonates in the process.

What is the pH of your tap water after it's sat out but just before you add it to the tank?

You definitely want to change more water than you are currently. Especially with that many fish. What about aggression among your angels? They are very territorial fish and having so many in only a 55 gallon could cause issues.
 
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Gray Farms

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Would it be better to change like 35 % twice a week or 75% once a week?
 

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Depend on what your parameters are. I would also fix the stocking issues though.
 
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Gray Farms

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Ok, so I checked the nitrate level yesterday before the water change. It was at 60, haven't checked the new nitrate level yet. I changed 65% of the water yesterday. And I reduced the number of fish to 4 large and 3 mediums. So far no improvement. But its not quite been 24 hours yet either.

Also wanted to thank everyone for their help, tips, information, and guidance so far.
 

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I would not keep more than 2 angels in that size tank. Especially if they're a mated pair.
 

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Correct me if I am wrong but don't angle fish normally do better in a higher PH. Mine are kept in 7.5 ph. Have been for years...
I have stopped trying to adjust my ph with chemicals and just let the ph go with what I get out of the tap, which is 7.5. If I need it higher I add crushed coral...
 

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No, more acidic conditions are found in their native habitat. Unlike African cichlids which tend to come from higher pH mineralized waters, American cichlids tend to come from waters made acidic by tannins from rotting plant matter.

However, unless it's at an extreme I do agree with you about not messing with you pH
 
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Gray Farms

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My tap water PH is off the little chart right out of the tap. I've always dropped it down some before adding to tanks.

They did seem to be a little more active today. But sit at the bottom most of the time still. And the usually stay relatively close together as well. They don't fight at all.
 

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This is a strange situation. If your ph is 8-ish coming out of the tap, I would just work with that. Rather than trying to adjust it to optimum acidity. Using a ph lowering product can be dicey if you do not monitor things closely. Ph swings can be very stressful for fish, and if ph down is having such a dramatic effect, I'm wondering if the water is buffered enough to keep it stable? Just not sure. If you are certain the ph is stable at 6.4-6.6, then it will be fine.

But I totally agree, as angelfish mature, they get increasingly territorial. They need their own spaces to feel secure. Crowding a bunch of adults into a tank that size will likely cause some stress. And drama. They'll want to hide more and more the bigger they get. A lot of sources say 30 gallons for the first angelfish and 10 gallons for each additional. But I've raised enough angels and heard enough stories that I now believe it's 38 gallons for one angel, and 15 gallons for each additional. Minimum. I think that is the main issue with hiding here.

The nitrates are also a big issue, as DiscusLuv predicted. I'd do 50% water changes once weekly in the future to try to keep nitrates under 20ppm. Angelfish are pretty hardy, and will not die at 60ppm or anything, but they will certainly appreciate the clean water and have a much better chance to thrive.

Finally, IME, I have found that angelfish will typically hide excessively when they are under stress. Could be they are crowded. Could be they are not appreciating the nitrates. Could be they are a little chilly at 76, (the lowest I would go with angelfish is 77). Could even be too much water current. But, they also go into hiding when they are starting to get sick.

If you are going to keep half a dozen adult angels in that size tank, make sure you have plenty of plants, cover, and hardscape to break up sight lines and provide territories. I think there will likely be some drama when they reach breeding age. Good luck!
 

Aquaphobia

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Is that the high range pH test? Try to get a GH/KH test kit, it may be helpful in this case. I agree with bopsalot.
 

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Could this be the sign of them getting ready to mate?
 

Aquaphobia

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In my experience angels preparing to mate become more aggressive and do not hide. They choose a spot to lay eggs and defend it.
 

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