Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Mysterious Queen Angel Death (

whig 12-12-2007 11:27 AM

Mysterious Queen Angel Death
I have a 125 gal FOWLR marine aquarium that has been set up for abut 18 months. It has an attached 40 gal. refugium with 3" sandbed and calerpa. pH 8.1-8.2, S.G 1.021, zero nitrites and ammonia, 10 ppm nitrates, 30% water change per month (Instant Ocean), temp. 78-79F. 5 80 watt T-5 lights. 2 36 watt UV sterlizers. Water circulation about 14-15 gpm. One 5" queen angel (until recently), 5" blue face angel, 5" emperor angel, 5" purple tang, one 5" blue hippo tang, 3" keyhole angel, 3" yellow tail poma angel, pixie hawkfish, flame hawkfish, longnose hawkfish, 2/1/2" royal gramma.
The queen angel was added about 14 months ago. It did fine from the beginning. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that it's breathing rate was about twice normal and it stopped eating. It was always a very agressive eater. It also appeared to be trying to spit out something. No visual evidence of parasites, bacteria, or injury. Thinking the high breathing rate might be caused by gill parasites, I did a fresh water dip. It didn't help. It died within 3 days from the time I discovered these symptoms. It's possible it had the symptoms longer than that, but not much longer since I look at each fish twice a day during feeding. About 10-12 hours before it died, it developed some red "veins" in it's fins like it was hemoraging. Other than that, the fish looked "good", even after it was dead. Since I think it's extremely unlikely that a healthy fish will get a parasite or bacteria attack and die within a couple of days, particularly when there's no visual evidence of such, I'm puzzeled by what caused the death. All the other fish are doing fine. Any ideas?


verbosity 12-12-2007 12:27 PM

I'm not into Salt Water, but wow nice tank from the sounds of it!

Do you know how old the fish was? It might have just been it's time.
I know you said you had it for a little over a year.

whig 12-12-2007 03:38 PM

I doubt it died of old age. A queen angel can live for 15 yrs. and reach close to 20" in length (although not likely in an aquarium)

bettababy 12-13-2007 02:57 PM

Did you notice any stress issues? With that many angels in a tank of that size, as they mature you're going to run into territorial issues between them. A year is a long time to grow and now grow in space at the same time. Each growth spurt will crowd the tank more and more.
You obviously know enough about fish keeping to have given us all the basic info we'd ask for and to know how big the fish can potentially get. Did you also know that some parasites and forms of viral infections can remain dormant in a fish until something in the environment or growth stage of the fish triggers it? This is always a possibility with fish that are wild caught or housed with those who are wild caught. It would be impossible for anyone to say for sure what caused the death without being able to perform an autopsy. There are a lot of possibilities that fit the description you posted, and there was likely more going on that was openly visible.
Sorry for your loss! Keep in mind that with all those fish in that tank, water quality isn't your only concern in keeping them healthy. I have seen fish raised in crowded tanks and tanks that are just too small... water quality always perfect, but the fish end up fighting or deformed due to lack of space/territory. How long til you plan to upgrade to a bigger tank?

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