Sick Angelfish

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jkrale

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I've posted a bit about this in the general Cichlids forum.

Background - 140 gallon tank with 2 lemon tetras, 2 mollies, 1 red tail shark, 1 sword tail and two medium sized plecos. Tank Chemistry is pretty good and has been consistent - pH is at 7.4, Amonia: Oppm and Nitrites at .25. I inherited the care of this tank (and another with Cichlids) about 4 weeks ago and the aquariums were pretty dirty.

When I took over, the first sick angel was spending it's time on the bottom of the aquarium either flat on it's side or leaning against the glass or rocks. It got worse and I noticed it's fins were damaged so I isolated it and have been treating it with Melafix as per LFS suggestion. It has been in a quarantine tank for about 10 days now and I've been medicating every other day and doing 10% water changes with no improvement (or deterioration). This morning (based on new information) I did a 50% water change and increased the temperature a bit.

I have also now noticed (as of yesterday) that the second angel is begining to show the same symptoms. It still swims in spurts and for now does so normally, but spends a lot of time "resting" on the bottom. I've really cleaned up this tank - vacuumed the gravel a couple of times, have done a few 15 - 20% water changes, scrubbed the sides (minor algae - the plecos are doing a decent job).

I will move the second angel to the quarantine tank this evening.

First of all - any thoughts on what is the root of these symptoms? Secondly, if they can be cured, how do I remove the cause from the community tank? Will drastic water changes and a cleaning of filter pumps and spouts etc. do it or do I need to be drastic and empty the tank and clean it well and start over?

Any thoughts or guidance would be appreciated?
 

Butterfly

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If they have been in this environment for any length of time the damage may have been done.
With a nitrite reading I would say with all the scrubbing it may be going through a small cycle. Yes the tank needs to be cleaned up but gradually so the beneficial bacteria can keep up. There is very little bacteria in the water it's self so the water changes need to continue and angels like their water a little high 78-80F.
When you gravel vacuum just vac half the tank.when you clean the filters rinse them in used tank water, this will preserve the bacteria and rinse the gunk out. If you want to replace the filter media wait a bit until all has stablized. When you wipe the inside glasses don't wipe them all at one time, there is beneficial bactria on them also. cleaning everything at one time and changing all the water can change the ph drastically, if the tank had sat nasty for a long period of time the ph would have dropped over time. Fish do not like a fluctuating ph
Bless you for taking them on but steady does it
Since the meds don't seem to be helping- Might I suggest daily 50% water changes on the quarentine tank and raise the temp to 80F see how they react to this. Try it for a week(I know thats a lot of work )
Fast them for a day and then see if you can get them to eat some veggies, the inside of a cooked pea works great or maybe veggie flakes
Keep us posted.
Carol
 
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jkrale

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Thanks for your response Carol - I will take it easy with the house cleaning..

The rest of the fish are doing well. The tank seems under stocked so I don't know if the angels are just following the lead of former tank-mates by getting sick and dieing - I haven't had the chance to ask the previous care-giver.

I haven't gotten to the filters yet - I won't replace the filter material but the housing and intake spout etc need a good cleaning. I am also going to look at some smaller algae eaters of some sort - the plecos keep the thick stuff in check but there was a thin film of algae on everything when I took over.

I would like to add to this tank - as I mentioned it's understocked and looks so. However, I'd like to ensure that the tank is in good shape and disease free first.

I haven't done this for a long time. About 12 years ago, while in university I had a 65 gallon tank with an Oscar and a 30 with some community fish but I was very carefree in their maintenance. These two 150's that I'm looking after are at my daughters' school and are a huge hit with the kids - which wants me all the more to keep the fish healthy.
 

Isabella

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There is not much I can add to Carol's advice because - as always - it is excellent. Carol knows everything about Angels here All I can say is that if the angels have been exposed to ANY nitrite (or ammonia) this is why they're sick now. They may and they may not get out of it. However, if you have ANY nitrite or ammonia in your quarantine tank, 50% water changes in the Q tank should greatly improve their chances of survival. I wish you BEST of luck with your Angelfish. It's very nice of you to have taken the tanks into your own care.
 
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Well, the first of the angels to show symptoms has died.
I can't make it to the school everyday so I'm not sure when it died this past weekend.

The other seemed to be a bit better this morning.

The Hospital tank is now quite dirty - the dead fish was there for at least 24 hours I think. There was some white fussy growth on the dead fish (bacteria or algae I'm guessing) and some has spread to the rest of the tank on some uneaten floating food for example.
So I have a question - what do I do with the other sick angel fish? I'm assuming I need to clean the hospital tank - and I would like to empty it completely and disinfect it etc. I don't have another hospital tank available so how do I do this. Should I return the sick fish temporarily to the larger community tank? The few other fish there are not showing any signs of sickness, but I'm not sure about reintroducing the sick angel fish.

Thoughts anyone?
 

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Perhaps you could clean the tank and put the sick fish back in. It definately doesn't need to go in the big tank.
Carol
 

Isabella

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If this Q tank has only this one Angel in it, why not just let it be the way it is for now, until you cure (hopefully) the Angel. If the tank is dirty, scrub its walls with an algae cleaner and siphon out all the dirt from the gravel with a siphon tube during your regular water changes. This can help you clean the tank. Remember not to rinse your filter media in tap water, only in tank water.

If you empty and clean the whole tank and filter now, you'll have to cycle the tank again. This means your Angel will get worse than it already is. You can't really put it back into the main tank if it's sick. You can't simply empty the whole Q tank right now either, because the sick Angel is in it. If I were you, I'd do what I suggested above. You may also need to treat this Angel with some medication, for all we know (depending on the type of disease it has). Just keep this tank clean by taking the above steps. If you have any ammonia and nitrite, as well as high nitrate, perform 50% water changes daily. Keep the temperature at least at 80F if the Angel is sick (80 - 82F would be good).
 
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jkrale

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Thanks Carol and Isabella.

I guess I knew that keeping the Angel separated was the way to go but it's good to get confirmation and support for your ideas. 

As I've mentioned, it's been a while since I've done this and when I did do it before - I was a carefree university student - my fish always did well, but they were sometimes lucky to get fed once a week let alone get there water changed.

Now that I'm older and wiser  : I want to do whats right for all of the creatures whose care I've been blessed with.  Not to mention the fact that I know the children and teachers and staff get much enjoyment from these two aquariums and I want to make their experiences as pleasent as possible.

Thanks again for your words of wisdom and for your support.

Jim
 
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