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Question from a Newbie re: Queen Angel Fish
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TRUEBLUE
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Joined: 01 Nov 2004

PostPosted: 2004.11.01(Mon)10:29    Post subject: Question from a Newbie re: Queen Angel Fish Reply with quote

Hello!

First, I apologize for the looong message.

My first time on this board, and of course, what led me here is a "problem" with my aquarium. I have a 40 gallon Marine set-up with external filter, protein skimmer, and 40 lbs. of live rock. I have numerous hermit crabs, a sea urchin, starfish, 3 anemones, cleaner shrimp, 2 damsels, 2 Ocellaris clowns, 1 maroon clown, 1 royal gramma, 1 heniochus, and 1 Queen Angel. I have had the set-up for just under 1 year, with no fish loss, and only 1 incident of disease that was quickly cured and did not return (the heniochus got pop-eye, was treated in a hospital tank, returned to the display tank, and has been fine ever since - this ocurred about 1 month ago).

My question relates to the Queen Angel, who is now a "teenager", in that her fins are starting to grow out into points, her crown is emerging, and her colours are changing. Over the past 3-4 months, her face has lost its colour and become "bleach" white, she is also showing patches of white along the lateral line. her face is also starting to deteriorate and show signs of small depressions right above her eyes. Other than this unfortunate appearance, she is, by all accounts, very healthy. Is always hungry and eats ravenously, fins are absolutely perfect, lots of energy, brilliant colors (except on her head). My question is obvious: What is wrong with her? I have talked to dozens of "experts" in my area and nobody seems to know. I thought it might be diet related, so I have been feeding a variety of foods over the past couple of months (human-sized bits of shrimp, brine shrimp, "angel fish" food from the store (has sponge and other bits in it), and I have been reinforcing all the food with extra vitamins. The water quality is very good (all the other fish are just fine)....

Help! What am I missing? Is this an internal disease? Can it be treated? Is it genetic? Someone has suggested stray electrical currents and that I should try grounding the tank - but if this were the problem, why are all the other fish (especially the heniochus, which tends to be more delicate) fine? Any advice would be greatly appreciated....she is an absolutely gorgeous and behaviourally awesome fish - I would hate to lose her....
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Mike612
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Joined: 20 Apr 2003

PostPosted: 2004.11.01(Mon)16:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your angel is in too small of a tank. Queen Angels need over 150 gallons to swim around in. They become very large fish and need much more that what a 40 gallon could provide. I don't know what exactly is wrong with your fish but the tank size is a problem.
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Taratron
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: AZ

PostPosted: 2004.11.01(Mon)23:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is your water change schedule like?

Sounds almost like HITH. Hole in the Head disease, also known as Lateral Line disease.

And yes, I do think tank size in this case could be a large factor.
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TRUEBLUE
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Joined: 01 Nov 2004

PostPosted: 2004.11.02(Tue)14:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that someday the angel fish will grow too large for the tank, at which point I will either exchange or sell her back to my local fish store so someone else with a larger tank can house her (or perhaps I will buy a larger tank by that time!). Right now, it isn't a problem, as she is only 3-4 inches in length (she was about 2 inches in length when I got her 7 months ago).

I do a 12.5% water change (5 gallons) every 2 weeks.

My girlfriend used to keep Oscars, and she suggested it was HIH, as Oscars commonly have this problem, so she is familiar with it. She wasn't sure about treatment options for marine fish though. If it is HIH (Lateral Line) disease - is there an effective treatment???

thanks again for the help!
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Taratron
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: AZ

PostPosted: 2004.11.02(Tue)14:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoa....that's a small amount of water to change every week. First, I'd bump up your changes to -at least- 35% a week. Twice a week would be good.

The problem with stunting is that it reaches our eyes long after the fish has been affected. You see the angel as "this big," but for the angel, the tank it is in is also only "this big." From the angel's body's POV, there is no more room in the tank to grow. Add that to the fact you don't change enough of the water, hence the nitrates build up much faster, so in essence, you have a fish striving to grow in what is basically a dirty toilet.

The problem with HITH is that there are no known 100% effective cures. I've read articles how the disease strikes fish who live in shoddy conditions, who have not had their dietary needs met, or that it is largely a genetic thing. I have also read articles where sunlight helped the fish get better. But again, no known 100% effective cure.

To save your angel, you can do a number of things. First and foremost, increase the water changes. We still need water parameters to help you more, but water changes are a good start. There is a reason one of your fish had pop-eye, and I would bet it lies in the problem of water quality issues.

If you will not be able to purchase a tank over 150 gallons in the next month, find a new home for the angelfish. It is what is best for her, and as long as you are honest with the pet store, they may take her back, HITH included.
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TRUEBLUE
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Joined: 01 Nov 2004

PostPosted: 2004.11.02(Tue)20:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you mean by "dirty water"? I have not been doing more frequent water changes because I test the water quality at the very least once / week. Generally speaking, salinity is always spot on, temp. is rock steady, pH rock steady at 8.2, hardness spot on, and nitrate non-existant. I did have a "bad spell" just recently with higher nitrate, right when the Heniochus got pop-eye, but the Angel was showing these symptoms long before that, and everything has stabilized once again.

I am fairly confident in the quality of the water - but perhaps there is something I am missing / not testing for?

It sounds like a growth stunt issue? I guess marine fish are much more susceptible to this then fresh water fish? I have an 8" Green Severum in my 70 Gallon tank with numerous other Cichlids and it is in perfect health.....

Why is it that I see very LARGE angels (and other marine fish) in 30-50 Gallon aquariums in the fish store for months on end and they seem to do just fine? (it often takes months to sell these fish as the store charges $300 - $500 for them).....

At the very least it sounds like there are no "simple" answers!
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SLACkra
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: 2004.11.02(Tue)20:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

what about your ammonia and nitrIte levels? anyway I agree that you need to get a bigger tank asap or take him/her back to the lfs in exchange for a smaller species of angel. could we get a pick of your angel so that taratron or some one can positivly id the problem.

cheers

andrew
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Taratron
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: AZ

PostPosted: 2004.11.02(Tue)20:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

TRUEBLUE wrote:


It sounds like a growth stunt issue? I guess marine fish are much more susceptible to this then fresh water fish? I have an 8" Green Severum in my 70 Gallon tank with numerous other Cichlids and it is in perfect health.....

Why is it that I see very LARGE angels (and other marine fish) in 30-50 Gallon aquariums in the fish store for months on end and they seem to do just fine? (it often takes months to sell these fish as the store charges $300 - $500 for them).....

At the very least it sounds like there are no "simple" answers!


At the lfs I frequent, they have a 100 gallon tank with 10 8 inch koi in there. The koi have been in said sale tank for a month now, and they are just as ravenous and healthy looking as if they were in a thousand gallon pond. The reason being that the store can overstock this tank, and so many others, is that their stock is not always the same---some days indeed they may sell no fish from the tank, or some days they can sell 10 or 20. Also, this store water changes nearly every day to keep stock healthy.

At any rate, I still lay bets to water quality. We have a 125 gallon reef tank at the zoo I work at, and that baby gets a 25% water change every week. It's stocked with 5 percula clowns, 1 hawkfish, 4 blue damsels, and some 20 pieces of coral and anemones, plus the usual crabs, shrimp, and snails. The tank is fed three times a week, algae is barely existent, and I would think that water changes, as well as only having stock that will fit more than easily in that size tank, play a huge part in it.

Either way, your angel will get too large for your tank. Chances are pretty good at this point that she/he already is.
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TRUEBLUE
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Joined: 01 Nov 2004

PostPosted: 2004.11.03(Wed)10:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

"what about your ammonia and nitrite levels? "

I don't bother testing ammonia and nitrite levels, because from what I understood, ammonia --> nitrite --> nitrate. So if nitrate is very low to non-existent in your system, there can logically be very little or no ammonia or nitrite...unless the bacteria crucial for altering ammonia and nitrite into nitrate are missing (I.e. the tank hasn't cycled). If that were the case, I think my fish would be dead long ago. Is this a safe assumption, or am I missing something?

How do I attach pictures to a message? I will take some pics of my Angel and attach them for a definate diagnosis.....
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tdfd
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Joined: 15 May 2004
Location: Seattle, Wa

PostPosted: 2004.11.03(Wed)11:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

The nitrate cycle can sometimes stall. it is always a good idea to check your ammonia levels because they don't always turn to nitrite. ammonia is way more toxic to saltwater fish than fresh. I have been running my 29 gal saltwater for about 6 months now. and have had a couple small ammonia spikes due to the small size of the tank. you have a lot of fish for a small tank. and saltwater is much harder to keep chemicaly stable at small tank sizes. so you should chek your ammonia and nitrites otherwise you are trying to make decisions with incomplete data. Good Luck.
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