losing Angels
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losing Angels

This is a discussion on losing Angels within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I have been losing Angels left and right in my 150 gallon and I have no clue why. PH 7.3 Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 ...

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Old 05-23-2012, 06:00 PM   #1
 
losing Angels

I have been losing Angels left and right in my 150 gallon and I have no clue why.

PH 7.3
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 0
Tank temp 79-80 F
dgh <20

I took a sample of my water to two LFS i trust and they couldn't figure it out either. Any ideas on what could be causing this?

I notice them there during feeding time and when i wake up in the morning they are dead. I am feeding them frozen blood worms and flakes on alternating days and only what can be consumed in less than a minute (usually 30-45 sec).

Any help would be appreciated as I don't want to continue killing any fish but need to replace them quickly before the other Angels get any bigger.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:23 PM   #2
 
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We will need more data to narrow this down, but a couple of things occur to me now. First is the food, I would not feed bloodworms more than twice a week. This food is high in protein and fat, and I have read it is not a good staple esp for cichlids. A variety of prepared foods (flake, pellet) would be better nutrition. Second thing is the warm temperature, assuming these are tank-raised fish and not wild caught. I would lower the temp to 77-78F, unless there is something else in the tank needing the warmth; may not seem like much, and I'm not at all suggesting this is the culprit, but long-term a degree or two can impact fish physiology.

Aside from the above:
What are the other fish in the tank?
Live plants?
Water changes--how much and how often?
Which water conditioner? Any other additives/substances going in the tank water?
How many angelfish initially?
Have you observed any pecking order, i.e., a dominant fish?
Any odd behaviours at all, out of the norm from how angelfish act?

Byron.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:44 PM   #3
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
We will need more data to narrow this down, but a couple of things occur to me now. First is the food, I would not feed bloodworms more than twice a week. This food is high in protein and fat, and I have read it is not a good staple esp for cichlids. A variety of prepared foods (flake, pellet) would be better nutrition. Second thing is the warm temperature, assuming these are tank-raised fish and not wild caught. I would lower the temp to 77-78F, unless there is something else in the tank needing the warmth; may not seem like much, and I'm not at all suggesting this is the culprit, but long-term a degree or two can impact fish physiology.

Aside from the above:
What are the other fish in the tank?
7Twig Catfish
6 Angelicus Loaches
5 German Blue Rams (2 male 3 female) do I need another female?
6 Burmese Loaches
6 Tetra's, can't remember what kind but they are supposed to get along with Angels.
3 ghost catfish, will be picking up 3 more as I believe they need to be in a group of 5 or more.


Live plants?
tons, please the pictures below.
Water changes--how much and how often?
Roughly 30% every 4-5 days
Which water conditioner? Any other additives/substances going in the tank water?
Flourish comprehensive 1X per week, Tetra water conditioner (can't remember the actual name but it is to remove chlorine ects) with every water change
How many angelfish initially?
12 went down to 6 but after checking with my LFS added 6 more and now down to 8
Have you observed any pecking order, i.e., a dominant fish?
No i haven't observed a dominant fish, the Angels pretty much rule the roost so to speak but haven't seen a dominant one yet.
Any odd behaviours at all, out of the norm from how angelfish act?
I will see some hangout near the substrate and corners but that is about it.

I haven't witnessed any nipping or fish really picking on eachother.

Byron.
Please see above
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:37 PM   #4
 
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One thing the photo tells me is the bright overhead light. Here again, this is not going to kill fish like this, but it is one more stress factor. Can you get some floating plants? They would lessen the light and help with water quality too.

Beyond that, I would suggest something internal, like a protozoan; being confined to the angels suggests it may have come with them. The fish hovering in a corner is a sign of severe stress. I can't diagnose fish ailments so I will leave this to those members with more experience. But please bear in mind the general issues I have mentioned, as these contribute to the overall stress that further weakens fish and leaves them less able to defend themselves from sickness.

I am going to PM Dawn, one of our members who will be able to diagnose this, though she will ask more questions.

Byron.
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Old 05-24-2012, 02:32 AM   #5
 
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Hi, Byron has asked me to weigh in on this situation. I will offer any help I can, but as he warned, I am full of questions that will need to be answered before I can attempt any kind of diagnosis, so please bear with me.

My first concern is your water test readings. I noticed 0 all the way across the board. So my first questions are:
1. How long has this tank been set up?
2. What kind of test kits were used to test the water?
3. Do you own your own liquid test kits? If not, are you able to get the basic 4 (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, & pH)?
4. How long is the water out of the tank before it is being tested? What kind of container is it put in to transport it to the pet store?

My concern with your test results is that a healthy, cycled tank with fish and food going in regularly should have some kind of nitrate reading. If the tank is uncycled then there may be an ammonia or nitrite problem to contend with. Pet stores are not always reliable for testing water as they don't always use accurate tests (some use the test strips) and they don't always perform the tests properly (which leads to inaccurate readings).

Next I would like to elaborate a bit on what Byron mentioned about the plants/lighting. While I am not seeing any initial issue with the lighting outside of stress, my biggest concern is territory. Except for the lower 1/3 of the tank it is all wide open, which makes 1 giant territory. Angels are, by nature, extremely territorial. This would help to explain why they hide at the bottom of the tank and appear to be showing signs of stress.

Floating plants can help, but more than that, something is needed to break up the territory in the upper 2/3 of that tank so the animals can develop a sense of territory and find some shelter. The first thing that went through my mind when I saw the photo was "stress, stress, and more stress."

Easy ways to break up the tank is to create rock structures by stacking rocks on top of each other and building upward (make sure they are sturdy and the fish can't easily topple them over onto themselves while foraging and chasing), add taller live plants or mix in some tall silk plants (this will keep the appearance of live while offering shelter and needed territory), and turn some of those pieces of drift wood up on end to make them "tall" instead of "long" and only sitting near the bottom.

The other thing I noticed immediately in your photo is that I see wood, I see plants... but I don't see any fish at all. Happy, healthy, well adjusted fish will be out moving around in a tank. Considering your stocking level, I would expect to see many fish in that photo, yet I don't see a single one. Again, stress is the first thing that comes to mind, and as Byron has mentioned, stress leads to illness and death. This is a problem I would correct asap before adding another single fish to the tank. If you are in need of some examples of a properly decorated tank please refer to my tank photos for some ideas.

Moving on... do you have/use a quarantine tank for all new fish? If so, how long do the fish remain there before going into the main tank, and is there a difference in their behavior from quarantine to main tank?

Quarantine is vital to a healthy tank beyond the very first fish. There are so many forms of disease/illness running rampant in pet stores, at wholesalers, and with breeders, and the stress of moving from one place to another in a short period of time can often mask symptoms of illness. ALL fish beyond the first addition to any new tank should spend at least 2 - 3 wks in quarantine and be watched carefully for any symptoms of illness before moving to the main tank. Quarantine is also important beyond new additions because it is a safe place to medicate fish that may get sick or injured later on, especially when your main tank is planted. Most medications are not safe for all species of fish and many will kill live plants. If you don't currently have a quarantine tank then I will suggest you get one asap. If you need help determining what is a proper size for the species of fish you are keeping and/or how to go about setting one up, please just ask. I urge you to do this before buying any more new fish.

Can you please describe your acclimation procedures when you bring the fish home? Is any of the fish store water getting into your tank? How long after bringing them home are you noticing a problem? Are you testing the pH of the bag water before you begin acclimation to help determine how long and how much water to gradually mix into the bag/bucket of new fish before adding them to your tank?

Lastly to get us started are some questions/suggestions in regards to illness. How long at a time have you observed the tank from a distance to just watch the fish and their behavior? Have you done this at various times of the day/night to get a feel for what is really going on between your fish? Fish act much differently in the dark vs in the light, so it will be important to sit back and observe after lights out. A nightlight of some sort can help with this.

How big/small are the angels you are working with? Are you noticing any other symptoms such as heavy breathing, odd swimming behaviors, change in color, change in behavior from time they go into the tank vs time of death? When you find the dead fish are they in relatively good shape/still in tact? Have you noticed if the mouth is opened or closed? Any discoloration in the abdomen or gill areas? Any inflammation? Anything you can think to tell us, however trivial it may seem, is important. How long after you get them home until you see deaths occur?

I apologize for the many questions but these are all needed to determine what the problem is. There may be more questions as we proceed, as fish illness is not often easy to diagnose and it's not safe to treat until we can identify the problem.

Lastly a few notes before I go tonight...
In regards to feeding, I agree with Byron about the blood worms. I realize this has gotten to be a very popular food source for most tropical aquarium fish, but not only is it high in protein and fat content, it is also messy and will quickly affect water quality. This is not a healthy food to use as part of the staple every day diet of most fish, but most especially not angels, tetras, and most catfish. Another thing about blood worms is the source of where they are obtained. Not all blood worms are safe, ie. disease free and clean. Freeze dried is often much safer than frozen in this respect, but that doesn't eliminate the potential for problems. I would urge you to confine blood worms to "treats" on an infrequent basis as Byron also suggested, though 2 - 3 times/wk is not what I would call infrequent... it would be better if kept down to once/wk or less. All of the fish you have mentioned are in your tank should do very well on a staple diet of a quality tropical flake food such as Tetra flakes, as well as a micro pellet, though pellets are best offered after they have been soaked in a cup of tank water for 5 - 10 minutes first to allow them to become water logged. This will help decrease the chances of problems due to them expanding in the fish's stomach once they become fully water logged, as most pellet foods do. If you soak them prior to feeding you should see a difference in their size, and even a small difference can affect the fish.

I am wondering at your "twig catfish". Can you offer me another name for them or a clear photo of at least one so I am sure of their species?

And, finally, can you get any clear close up photos of your angels and tetras? I need to identify the tetra species (this is extremely important if you should need to medicate the tank) and would like an opportunity to see the angels, which will help further with diagnosis. Often a trained eye can spot things that are abnormal that an untrained eye can easily miss. Please keep in mind that blurry pictures do me no good, so be patient when taking the photos. Fish can be hard to get clear photos of in a hurry.

This is about all I can do at present. I will check back tomorrow to watch for your reply.
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:54 AM   #6
 
bettababy, i am so sorry i was sick all day yesterday and I will respond to your questions very soon. Just need to get caught up on work e-mails before i can tend to my fish addiction :)
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
 
Byron/Bettababy,

I am sorry I didn't get back to you quicker got sick again and then by Internet was jacked up all weekend. Thanks to Cox's great customer service it is still not on but back at work so i am once again connected :)

One of the good things about being sick is I was able to spend some quality time watching the tank. I did find the dominant Angel and he was picking on some of the others, which has stopped.

Yesterday morning I went out and bought some more jungle veil and some floating plants in order to help lower the level of stress. Please see the pictures below. I still need to redo the driftwood set up to break up that mid level territory which i hope to do this weekend.

BettaBaby,

To answer some of your questions here we go.

1. How long has this tank been set up?
- roughly 2 months maybe
2. What kind of test kits were used to test the water?
- API test at home and at one of LFS, they used a liquid test at the other one but not sure what brand.
3. Do you own your own liquid test kits? If not, are you able to get the basic 4 (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, & pH)?
- API test kit
4. How long is the water out of the tank before it is being tested? What kind of container is it put in to transport it to the pet store?
- maybe 20 min

I do not have a quarantine tank. What exactly do I need to do in order to set one up?

The fish do swim around the whole tank a lot but when taking pictures of the whole tank I have to get a ways back and my iphone isn't the best digital camera in the world. They are swimming around now with more floating plants.

When adding new fish to the tank I float the bag for 20 min or so, then add some of the tank water to the bag (just a little), and then let sit for about 15 minutes before adding a little more. This process usually takes about and 1-1.25 hours.

I have changed my feeding schedule to what you and Byron suggested below. THANK YOU.

I have posted a picture of the floating plants and the twig catfish below.

I really appreciate the time both you took to help me out. I probably should have observed the tank longer first :( I observed them for about 2 hours before i saw what was happening.

I will be getting some more floating plants this weekend as well.



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Old 05-29-2012, 02:04 PM   #8
 
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I am a bit short on time at present but will try to get back within the next couple of hours to talk you through setting up a quarantine tank... unless Byron gets time to do it before I do.

Your catfish are farlowella catfish, which is what I had suspected. Thank you for the photos. Keep working on the decor in the tank, that will likely solve your problems of losses. Be sure to get the decor taken care of/where it needs to be before you add more angels to replace the ones lost, the more dense it is in the mid to upper ranges the better the chance new angels will thrive and be accepted rather than become targets of the original angels. Lastly, be sure to rearrange the decor before adding new angels so that they all must find territory in a "new" environment at the same time. This will also help to prevent aggression.

I'll be back in a little while.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:25 PM   #9
 
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I had to go into Van for my tri-monthly cancer checkup yesterday so just getting back online now, and will explain how I do a QT.

Some use a relatively bare tank, but I don't. I have a 20g that has a 1 inch sand substrate with spare plants, that is, runner sword plants, excess Water Sprite floating, some pennywort, etc. from my main tanks. Instead of tossing these out, I stick some of them into the QT. It runs permanently, gets a weekly partial water change, normal light, Flourish etc. In other words, a "normal" tank having identical water parameters to my display tanks.

The reason I do this is to save stress on the fish. Putting a fish into a bare tank is going to cause stress. After 3-4 weeks in tis tank, moving it into a display tank will cause more stress. I take the view that if I acclimate it to my setups as soon as I acquire it, it will settle in better (having a suitable environment) and this is more likely to help the fish adjust and make it easier to fight off any disease, since we know that stress weakens the immune system considerably and avoiding stress is key. If it should be necessary to medicate the fish/water, I don't worry about the plants being decimated (as some medicatinos can do) since they are just "extra" and I have plenty more.

Introduce the new fish much as you have described. Some people use a drip method, I just add some tank water to the bag as it floats, wait 20 minutes, add some more, etc. At the end of this mixing, I net the fish out. Never let the water fro the bag get into the QT. While it is true that the fish can carry issues, there is stuff in the water that you do not need or want in your QT. Ammonia obviously, pathogens from the store tanks, disease, whatever.

Monitor the fish in the QT for at least 3 weeks. This is where |I really notice the positive effect of having a planted QT with some decor (wood, rock). The fish will behave more normally. I recently acclimated four Botia striata this way, and I gave them a chunk of wood with tunnels the third day they were in the QT and the change in the fish was noticeable. They began to explore the wood, chase each other normally...simply put, they settled in faster. They were a bit skittish, being the only fish in the tank. But sitting back observing them, and at feeding time especially, they were acting normal. They quickly learned when food would appear. When it came time to transfer them into the display tank, I moved their "home" (the chunk of wood) over with them. Within a matter of a few minutes they were out exploring the new environment, interacting with each other as they had in the QT, and with the other fish.

Byron.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:56 PM   #10
 
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Have been following this thread and trust that Bettababy can help with nearly all fish related illness, and Byron as always,,offer's sound advice.
I would only offer a couple suggestion's for consideration.
I would make sure all foods are fresh as opposed to outdated .By this I mean I would toss food that was over eight month's old, and would buy smaller container's of food so that food does not go stale before it is used up.
I would also try and see that no one elses hand's are in the tank other than my own if possible.
It is easy to forget where our hands have been before placing them in the tank and if more than one person is caring for,or feeding the fishes then possible contamination is twice as likely. Keep all tools,bucket's,net's,glass scrubber's,in one location away from anywhere where they may inadvertantly be used for something other than in the aquarium.
Just some food for thought for OP, or other's.
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