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Angelfish sinking like a stone

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Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 16:05

Hi

I have an angelfish who is not doing very well. Here's the aquarium set up:

180L tank
Fluval 306 filter
2 x Angelfish
6 x Balloon platys
1 x Bristlenose ancistrus
A number of live plants and snails
2 x air jets
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 2.5
PH level - 8
Temp - usually 26C but have increased to 28C

I do weekly 20% water changes and make sure I remove any uneaten food. I have been doing water tests weekly for a while and the above parameters are pretty much constant. Never any ammonia or nitrites. All other fish in the tank are acting normal with no signs of any problems.

So to the poorly angelfish. We bought this tank as complete beginners back in June this year. The tank was second hand and came with the 2 angelfish (Feng and Shui, Feng is the sick one). Feng has always been more lethargic than Shui but I just put that down to personality (which could likely be wrong!). He (I'm guessing the sex) is larger than Shui, but might have been bullied by him a bit. I'm not sure though as it wasn't constant, just at feeding times but weirdly it seemed more like Shui was nudging him to eat rather than to bully him (again this could be very wrong!). Feng has never eaten enthusiastically, I've always had to drop the flakes right past his face for him to eat. Over time, Feng has got slower and eaten less and less. He also spent a large amount of time in the top corner of the tank. In the last month he has been swimming at slightly odd angles and often nose right up to the top of the water, as though he needs more oxygen. 3 days ago we found him at the bottom of the tank. Occasionally he would try and swim up to the top of the tank, again as though to get air, but then would drop like a stone back to the bottom. He can't keep himself upright and would often tip onto his side. He does cleverly try and land next to an object to he can lean against it, but sometimes misses and ends up lying on his side on the gravel.

One more thing, I'm not sure if it's a symptom or not though. In the last month, his black markings have become darker and "messier". His face has also developed a darker blackish tone to it where before it was more silvery.

Here's what I have tried so far:

Feeding peas - no success as he doesn't eat. I even put a bit on the end of a cocktail stick and put the pea right to his face, but he didn't eat it.

NT Labs Swim Bladder treatment: Added this 2 days ago but seen no improvement. He obviously has an issue with his swim bladder, but it's the cause I don't know.

Increased temp to 28C: still no change in Feng since doing this

Aquarium salt: yesterday I added some aquarium salt

Change of food: yesterday I also put in some frozen blood worm just on the off chance that he simply didn't like the previous food and he might eat this. He didn't.

I've read a lot on forums and everyone jumps straight to water quality issues but I have tested my water many times with a proper liquid drop type testing kit (not the strips). The water quality always comes out as very good from what I can see.

I've run out of things to try, can anyone help?

Here's a video of him:
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  bridgegirl99 on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 16:39

Welcome to the Forum Pete, I'm afraid I can't help, but our resident expert Rob I'm sure will be along soon and will be able to offer some advice. Smile Good luck

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 17:23

Thank you! hopefully someone can help. Really don't want to lose him but I fear the worse. He's just managed a quick swim round the tank and landed at the front which gave me a chance to get a closer look at him (normally he's right at the back of the tank which is up against a wall!). Apart from what I've already posted, his skin/scales look fine, however I've just noticed he has some white fuzz around one of his ventral fins, and in general his fins are looking very tatty. However as he keeps dropping like a stone onto the gravel, that could be the reason! I've attached a pic of it.

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Akasha on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 19:00

Hi Pete, I've currently got a poorly angel myself so I feel your pain. Mine has suspected Hexamita which seems to be a thing with angelfish. It's caused by excess bacteria in their guts and from what your describing it does sound like your angel may have the same thing.

I'm treating with Waterlife's Octozin in the hope of saving my boy - it's looking promising but he's not out the woods yet. See what Rob thinks but I'd be trying the Octozin

A note on the aquarium salt - ancistrus cats can struggle to tolerate any kind of salt so I'd be looking to do a large water change to remove this asap.

I'd also be concerned that the reason the angel is struggling has something to do with your high pH. Generally a pH of 8 points to hard water and angels are a soft water fish. They are not designed to thrive in water that hard. If it were me I'd be looking to soften the water - RO water may be your friend there. Again, Rob is the expert so see what he thinks Smile
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 19:31

Hi Akasha

Thanks for the reply, is Octozin generally available at fish shops? I would like to get some tomorrow rather than order online and have to wait an extra day for it to arrive. Really don't know how long he has left in his current state.

I've already done a 25% water change after adding the salt and will do another one tomorrow. I've done a quick search and a lot of people seem to say salt is ok with bristlenose but they may lose their colour until the salt is removed. So far he looks the same colour as always and just as active.

I just hope I can get the right treatment to him in time!
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Pterophyllum on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 19:48

Hi Pete,
Sadly nothing lives for ever, and looking at the video I think it unlikely that Feng it going to survive much longer, to be frank, if it was my fish I'd probably be put it down. Sorry, I'm sure that's not the news you wanted to hear.

As Akasha has said, it does look like the fish is suffering from bloat, usually caused by Hexamita a protozoan rather than bacterial infection of the gut. It seems that angels often carry this protozoan in their gut, and at low levels it's not too much of an issue, but if the fish becomes weakened or stressed, or sometimes just because the protozoan gets out of hand, numbers multiply to a point where the gut is blocked. If the fish continues to feed, either the swelling food or multiplying microorganisms feeding on it, cause the gut to swell & rupture, once that happens death usually follows swiftly after.
From your description of the fish's behaviour over the last few weeks I'm inclined to suspect that it has been sick for a while, and the bloating is a secondary symptom rather than primary cause.
If you do want to try to treat it, then I'd recommend octozin, (it's manufactured by waterlife and should be reasonably widely available) but most importantly STOP ALL FEEDING! Feeding simply increases the risk of the gut rupturing.

Good luck with him/her.

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Akasha on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 20:09

apologies ... I'd always understood Hexamita was caused by excess bacteria ... apologies if I've confused.

Octozin is widely available. I got mine at the local fish store. It will say "hole-in-the-head and bloat" on the bottle. It comes as a tablet that you dissolve in some tank water. Looks messy but works well.

Good luck with him and I hope you can save him
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 20:20

It's OK, after seeing his behaviour these last couple of days, I've come to terms that the most likely result is that we will lose him. However I'm definitely a wuss when it comes to things like putting down a fish. I don't have any clove oil either so I can't humanely euthanize him right now. I think tomorrow I will try and track down some octozin and clove oil. If he's still alive and kind of active, I'll try the octozin. If he's worse then it I might just go straight to the clove oil.

If I have to take the horrible route of euthanizing him, has anyone got a guide on how best to do this with clove oil? I've never done anything like that so don't know what type of container I need to put him in or how much to use etc. I've found a few guidelines online but they all say things like "25 drops per litre of water", but they don't say how many litres you need to use? should I use a bucket or is a smaller bowl OK? sorry for my extreme naivety on this, but if I have to do this, I want to make sure I do it right to minimise any further suffering.
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Pterophyllum on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 21:01

A small bucket, partially filled with sufficient water to cover the fish, I find the best way is to add the clove oil, then syphon the water into the bucket directly from the tank. Catch the fish and place in the bucket, then cover the bucket, if you have a lid, great, otherwise use a towel or large plate. Leave the fish in peace for 1/2 an hour and the deed will be done. In practice they actually drift into unconsciousness within a few seconds, or minutes at the most, and show no more distress than you'd expect from catching them & putting them in the same bucket without clove oil. The half hour wait is to ensure that they don't revive.

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Akasha on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 22:17

agreeing with Rob. I use a cut down 2 litre bottle myself - purely because clove oil stinks and I also don't want to allow a bucket or similar to get mixed up with other buckets I use for water changing. I also have a half litre bottle that I fill with water and add the clove oil to that, put the lid on and shake the bottle well. That way I find the clove oil mixes with the water better and doesn't just sit on the surface.

That all said the largest fish I've euthanised so far is a bronze cory with a tumor. For a fish as large as an angel you would need a larger vessel. I use closer to 30 drops of clove oil - just to be sure really. Just remember to keep what ever vessel you use away from anything else you use for the tank ... even if that means writing on it 'death jug' (it's what I call my cut down 2 litre bottle) Laughing

It is a very quick and peaceful death. They just drift off to sleep, stop breathing and that's it. Far better than the alternatives that tend to be quite violent deaths.

There is a fairly new product on the market - I think it's called Aquased - this is a similar idea and puts them to sleep peacefully but it's far more expensive than a bottle of clove oil.

Hope that helps Smile
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Mon 10 Oct 2016, 21:27

So I added the first dose of Octazin today with little improvement so far. His "messy" dark skin spots did seem to appear to be clearing up a bit but he's still stuck on the floor of the tank. I think I will have to put him down. However, one last question. I noticed today that there is a white ring on one side, only just noticed it today. Does this change the diagnosis at all? I guess it's all academic as he's almost certainly too far gone now, but it would be interesting to know for future reference. I'm wondering if this white ring plus the white fuzz on his ventral fins means something else is wrong?

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Mon 10 Oct 2016, 21:56

Scrap that, on closer inspection I think it's simply residue from the Octazin I put in earlier. Add he hasn't moved much, I guess this just stuck to his body!
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Akasha on Tue 11 Oct 2016, 10:38

if you havn't already I would put him to sleep now. I doubt very much that he's coming back from this. It's just gone too far Sad
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Tue 11 Oct 2016, 11:09

Unfortunately he passed away overnight, I had already planned to put him down today regardless as he showed no real signs of improvement with the first dose of Octavin. I know in reality I should have put him down a few days ago but I wanted to try something to save him. I now know the signs to look out for and will get treatment to any sick fish much quicker next time. I also have 192 Octavin tablets left so I'm not likely to run out soon!

That leaves poor Shui on his/her own (well except for the 6 balloon platys and the bristlenose). What would your suggestions be now? should we get more angel fish to keep Shui company? or will he/she be fine as a lone angelfish?

Also, can any of you tell me what sex Shui is. Here's a pic:

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Akasha on Tue 11 Oct 2016, 12:49

the problem you may have is getting the now lone angel to accept a new friend. Angels are incredibly territorial and any new angels added are seen as a threat to their territory and they can respond incredibly viciously. I've seen this with my own eyes and it's really upsetting. I ended up having to re-home two lovely female angels after one decided she was the boss and was going to kill any other angels entering her territory.

There are some tricks you could try. You could try adding a baby angel, he/she may accept a baby, but I would do it when early in the day when you are going to be around to act should the adult turn nasty. Another trick would be to completely re-scape your tank and then add a new angel - by re-arranging things you break up the existing territory and he/she may be more inclined to accept another angel after the territory has been broken up.

What I would say is ... if the first angel did die of Hexamita it's possible that the remaining angel is harbouring it too. I would complete the course of Octozin to be on the safe side. That's just my opinion, Rob may disagree and he is more experienced with angels than me. I just prefer to air on the side of caution with such a horrible thing such as Hexamita

In regard to sex, angels are very difficult to sex but we do have our resident expert, Phil (wildreddeer) who can sex them. The photo you've shared is from a good angel and so hopefully Phil will see it at some point and be able to tell you the sex

Good luck with the remaining angel. Lovely looking fish Smile
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  bridgegirl99 on Tue 11 Oct 2016, 19:52

I'd suggest Female

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Pterophyllum on Tue 11 Oct 2016, 22:41

Sorry to hear that he didn't make it, but do complete the octozin course, that way there's less risk of a recurrence, and less chance of the disease building immunity to the treatment.
I agree with Bridgegirl, Shui definitely looks female to me.

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Wed 12 Oct 2016, 09:46

Hi all

Thanks for the feedback. I had guessed she was female as I assumed they were a bonded pair when we got them. I think we will leave Shui as a lone angel for now. I don't want to stress her out any more than necessary.

As Feng died in the tank over night, I did a 50% water change in case there was any ammonia spike. Having retested the water a few hours after the water change, all parameters are normal (ammonia and nitrites at 0, nitrates almost 0). I also didn't put the second day of Octozin in because I didn't pick up these replies in time. I have put the second batch in today. Should I do 3 days from today or should this still count as day 2? (therefore put the last dose in tomorrow?)

Also, Shui looks pretty healthy to me at the moment, no signs of bloating and is swimming around pretty well. Am I OK to feed her during the course? or should I wait until the course of Octozin is complete? I did put food in yesterday and she ate a bit. She is also not the most enthusiastic of eaters but will eat a bit when food is added.
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Wed 12 Oct 2016, 11:18

Just because I'm now a little paranoid, can you have a look at this video of Shui and see if she seems healthy to you? She tends to swim at all kinds of angles, but I get the feeling it's just her playing about and swimming round plants and features. However sometimes she just swims the length of the tank at a 45 degree angle, is this normal? Feng did this too but I think with him it was more his health issues.

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Pterophyllum on Wed 12 Oct 2016, 16:26

She looks fine.
Is your tank light off whilst filming?

Because angels have neutral buoyancy they don't experience gravity in the same way we do, instead they orientate to the direction that light's coming from, which in ponds, rivers, etc. is from above. In a fish tank with a dark hood, but light coming in through the glass it disorientates them, so they tend to swim with their dorsal fin tilted towards the glass.

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  bridgegirl99 on Wed 12 Oct 2016, 18:53

Wow Rob how interesting! Explains a lot Very Happy

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Wed 12 Oct 2016, 19:33

You know what, the lights were off! Now I have the lights on, she's swimming straight! You really do know your stuff! Thanks :-)
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Pterophyllum on Wed 12 Oct 2016, 23:04

You really do know your stuff!

Thanks, I've been keeping fish for nearly 50 years, so it's not surprising I know a lot, but it is surprising how much more there is to learn! I reckon I need at least 3 lifetimes to get truly proficient!

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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  petes80 on Thu 13 Oct 2016, 10:51

So I've put another dose of octavin in today but I've just realised something. Last week, my fluval 306 filter started leaking...again! It's been a constant battle with that thing and I've tried vaseline on the o-ring and an entirely new o-ring and nothing stops it leaking. So I gave in and bought an Eheim Pro 3 250 filter which is awesome in comparison! However I took the opportunity to properly familiarise myself with the different media in the filter and have realised that the "carbon" that I removed when putting in the initial doses of octavin was actually just a black sponge, presumably there simply as mechanical media. The tray above it had 2 bags which I now know to be the carbon media. These were not removed. With this in mind, should I do another dose of octavin tomorrow? that will be the 4th dose in total but the first 2 were obviously compromised by the carbon.

The new eheim filter doesn't seem to have any carbon media included so todays dose shouldn't be affected. I did put some of the media from the old fluval into the eheim to transfer the good bacteria (not the carbon), but I will be monitoring the water quality closely for a while!
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Re: Angelfish sinking like a stone

Post  Akasha on Thu 13 Oct 2016, 15:36

bridgegirl99 wrote:Wow Rob how interesting! Explains a lot Very Happy

Agreed! I didn't know that either! I also agree that there's always something new to learn and that's why I love this hobby and that's why forum's such and this are worth their weight in gold.


Pete ... in reply to your carbon question. I think carbon loses it's affectiveness after a month or so so if those carbon bags have been in your filter a while they probably wern't effective. If this were me I'd complete the course anyway to be on the safe side. Now you know what to watch for in your other angel you hopefully notice straight away that something is going wrong and be able to act quicker.
I'm kicking myself at the moment because the alarm bells were ringing with my angel and I'm now worried I didn't act fast enough. He's still alive but still have the massively swollen stomach and is now refusing food entirely :/

In terms of sex of your remaining angel my first thought was female too but I usually get it wrong! Laughing
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