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Angelfish appetite - problem?
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Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Location: Nottingham, UK

PostPosted: 2007.01.04(Thu)8:35    Post subject: Angelfish appetite - problem? Reply with quote

I bought two tiny little Koi angels a few months ago and (a little shortsightedly I know) named them Tiny and Teeny. Their body size was about 3/4 of an inch and they are most likely siblings.

Tiny has a huge appetite - eats anything he's offered to the point where his stomach blows up like a little balloon - and he has increased in size appreciably. Teeny, on the other hand, is extremely picky - examines each piece of potential food for so long that the tetras nip in and pinch it - and he then spits most of it back out again. Only really likes live food.

As a result of this difference in appetite Tiny is now about four times the size of Teeny (who is now about an inch in diameter). This was taken a couple of weeks ago and the difference is now even more pronounced:

I've also recently noticed that both have damage to the top of their dorsal fins but haven't noticed any nipping or chasing going on. This is Tiny:

They are in a 45cm high, well planted, 19 US gal tank which has been set up for three years and they have assorted tetras and four sparkling gouramis as company - all of which seem very perky.

Should I be worrying? Are these signs of disease? Is there anything anyone can recommend to help Teeny's appetite?

I haven't got any test results because I suspect all my test kits are well out of date and I don't think it's likely to be a water quality problem. I can go and get some fresh tests though if you think it's necessary. I also know that if they thrive the angels will need a bigger tank shortly - this is in hand.

Any suggestions welcome.
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Joined: 15 May 2006
Location: Okotoks, AB

PostPosted: 2007.01.08(Mon)20:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although you aren't seeing it, bullying is probably the problem at hand. Angels, as cichlids, are very territorial towards their own species. They need to be kept as:
a. A single specimen
b. A mated pair (watch out for tankmates! Mating angels are moody fish that don't deserve their given name!),
c. A large group
When kept as unmated pairs, the bigger one keeps growing and the smaller one stays teeny and sad, eventually developing health problems that can prove fatal. If they're three or four months old, I would expect them to start sparring soon. It's unfortunate that stores (and many books, actually) fail to convey this information when they sell the fish. Why does keeping them in a large group help? It spreads out aggression, so that no single fish is forced to bear the brunt of all that bullying.
I'm glad you're planning to get a bigger tank for them. I would recommend 30 gallons for a single angel, and 55 for two or more. They will eventually grow to six inches in size (not counting the fins!) and require a lot of room, as they tend to become more aggressive with age. Watch out for your neons! They are the natural food of angelfish in the wild, and although some people have no problems with their angels snacking on small schooling fish, my personal experience has taught me otherwise.
Good luck!
Am I obsessed? Wait a minute... don't answer that!
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Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Location: Nottingham, UK

PostPosted: 2007.01.14(Sun)6:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Osprey for your reply - I've only just noticed it - been busy trying to earn a living this week (I find it does get in the way of my fishkeeping Laughing ).

You may be right about the aggression - I've seen Tiny go for Teeny a couple of times and I've recently noticed that the poor thing is even being bullied by one of the tiny sparkling gouramis - which are nowhere near as shy and retiring as the books suggest! However did all the books manage to get so many things wrong? It was only from internet advice that I realised my pearl gouramis would be much happier not kept in pairs. Now I need to do the same for my angelfish. Anyway - that's a separate rant.

I will aim to get at least a 55g tank and get a couple more angels. And yes, I'm aware that I need to keep an eye on my neons. Even Tiny isn't big enough to eat them yet, though - and I can move them to another tank if it becomes a problem.
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