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Old 12-20-2017, 01:36 PM   #1
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Quarantining Angels

Hi,

This Friday I'll hopefully be picking up two angel fish for my FOWLR tank -- a flame angel and an emperor angel. I already have a quarantine tank set up for them, but I've never had angel fish before so I wanted to make sure there wasn't anything I was missing. I've quarantined tangs before and I've learned that I should just do preventative treatment for ich (hyposalinity), is there something of that nature I should know of about angel fish?

Are there any diseases or parasites that I should be looking out for, or just a standard 6-week quarantine where I keep a close eye on them? Also, I assume the standard marine pellets I'm feeding the main tank will suffice for them, or should I get some other type of food?

Here are the details of my setup, in case you're curious:

Display tank: 150G glass with about 30G worth of sump/refugium. 150-200 pounds of live rock and a 2-inch layer of live sand at the bottom, I use a bio-pellet reactor and a protein skimmer along with some mechanical filtration in my sump/refugium. The tank has been up for over 7 years, hasn't had any problems. The tank currently has 3 damsels who are older than the tank and a porcupine puffer I've had for 3-4 years or so. I'm planning to add some more fish after these two angels -- lawnmower blenny, probably a school of chromis, and some tangs, but the angels will come in first.

Quarantine tank: 20G tall tank, no substrate. I have a piece of live rock from the display tank and an HOB AquaClear 20 filter. There are some large PVC joints in there and I plan to put some egg-crate in there to separate the two angels while they're in quarantine. The quarantine was fishless-cycled over the past two months using pure ammonia (I've done this many times before) and I did a full water change a couple of days ago. I can put in 3-4ppm ammonia and it will be gone with no nitrites in 24 hours.

I'll answer any questions here as best I can, I'm just trying to be responsible and not miss anything. Thanks!
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Old 12-20-2017, 07:05 PM   #2
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Treat them just like the tangs and things will be just fine. Sounds like you are experienced with qt and there shouldnít be any issues.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:48 PM   #3
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I suggest you also put some smaller PVC pieces in there that the flame can get in but not the emperor. Use appropriate size pieces for the Emperor. Their purpose is for security so being large does not always help smaller fish.
A couple of things you should know, the emperor is going to be the king of the tank compared to the other fish you mentioned so I would consider putting him in last not first or when you add the Tangs ( depending on the types). The flame shouldn't be an issue.
Since Emperors eat sponges as well as other benthic invertebrates, they will most likely have parasites in their gut. I suggest feeding an antiparasitic food while in QT. In our wholesale house, all the fish were treated by our marine biologist with meds to make them "poop" out their insides. You'd be surprised how much stuff was still in there even after shipping. That's where a lot of issue will come from so you want to address that from the start.
Hope this helps.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses

So just to make sure, hyposalinity is OK to do with Angelfish? With tangs, I just start hyposalinity treatment as a preventative measure even if I don't see any signs of parasites (yet) -- I recall that hyposalinity doesn't really cause that much stress to tangs so would it be the same for angels?

I do have PVC joints of various sizes, I'll make sure there's a variety of them in there. When I say "large" I just mean big enough for a fish to swim inside but yeah my biggest ones are three inches in diameter.

I've seen some adult emperor angels before, yeah those guys get pretty big. The one I'll be picking up is currently much smaller than the other fish in the tank, I assume you would still recommend adding that one later?


EDIT: is there a brand of anti-parasitic food you would recommend?
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Old 12-21-2017, 01:31 PM   #5
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I`m one of those that think you should not treat for disease until you have one. My suggestion would be to observe first and then treat if you need to. I`ve never knew what Andy was talking about since I have never much dealt with angels that much. Sounds like a pretty good idea.
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Old 12-21-2017, 03:27 PM   #6
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I won't treat until you see it either. But that's me. And it's up to you! Anyways the biggest thing I look for in angels when buying is hole in the head diease. Sometimes small sometimes big. Don't matter either way, just don't get it. And alot of the angels like the high ph (just a note)
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Old 12-21-2017, 03:29 PM   #7
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So sorry, thought this was fresh water. Oops!
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHorton View Post
Thanks for the responses

So just to make sure, hyposalinity is OK to do with Angelfish? With tangs, I just start hyposalinity treatment as a preventative measure even if I don't see any signs of parasites (yet) -- I recall that hyposalinity doesn't really cause that much stress to tangs so would it be the same for angels?

I do have PVC joints of various sizes, I'll make sure there's a variety of them in there. When I say "large" I just mean big enough for a fish to swim inside but yeah my biggest ones are three inches in diameter.

I've seen some adult emperor angels before, yeah those guys get pretty big. The one I'll be picking up is currently much smaller than the other fish in the tank, I assume you would still recommend adding that one later?


EDIT: is there a brand of anti-parasitic food you would recommend?
Hyposalinity works more on external parasites than internal ones. What I am suggesting is that you can assume that the angels already have the parasites inside them ( which is most likely) so treat that with medicated food opposed to medications in the tank.
Angels can usually handle the lower salinity if they are acclimated to it slowly. Juvenile angels of some species are found in the mangroves so they are in a less salty environment then.
Emperors are one of my favorite Angels and I have had many ( I took small ones ( dime to quarter size) and raised them to a certain size then brought them back to the warehouse to sell.) I have had more than one act like a bossy adult when they were just little tiny fishes so adding them later is just a precaution. No harm comes from doing them later than sooner. ( Again. it depends on what tangs you plan on. Circular Tangs ie sailfins, Powder blues or browns, Scopus, etc. are more aggressive than ie Nasos, Hippos, etc. ) And just an FYI, when they get adult, you will hear grunts coming from your tank. It's from the Emperor. One of my customers had one that bellowed. If I wasn't in his house and heard it for myself, I would never believe how loud it was. LOL (But his fish was almost 12"-13" long so it was BIG!!!!! )

As for food brands, I don't have one to recommend. I know they exist but not all areas of the country have stores that sell them or carry all brands. If necessary, Hikari has instructions on their site on how to make your own. I know our MB used Isonizid but I don't now if you can still get it or if he combined it with something else. All I know is that 24 hours later, the bottom of the tanks were filled with white feces. ( Normal colored poo from freshly collected fish.)

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:37 AM   #9
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An update: I had the angels in QT for about 3 weeks. I didn't mediate or do hyposalinity. I originally had a barrier between the two of them, but the smaller one was squeezing through a pretty small hole, and it looked like he was just going to hang out with the bigger one -- they seemed to be getting along great.

Then suddenly one day I came home and they were both dead. I still don't really understand why -- they were both active, healthy-looking, eating well, and then suddenly they're both dead. I removed the fish and took ammonia readings every day for a while and it was nonzero, but I ended up cycling this tank for about 9 weeks and it was able to take 4ppm of ammonia and turn it into zero ammonia and zero nitrites in 24 hours, and it seemed to be totally fine for 3 weeks (though I didn't take measurements).

I'm assuming that the two angelfish died because of the ammonia -- are they very sensitive to this kind of thing? Normally I don't see fish go from completely healthy to just dead so quickly.

There was one thing that changed in this day -- I topped the tank off with some water that came from a new batch of freshwater that I made. My guess is that the dechlorinator probably failed and maybe killed off a lot of the bacteria in the tank, which caused an ammonia spike? Here are the ammonia readings I got:

Day of fish death: 1 ppm
1 day after: 0.25 ppm
2 days after: 0 ppm
I added in some pure ammonia, enough to make it 4 ppm
3 days after: 0.25 ppm
4 days after: 0 ppm
...and that takes us to today.

What I'm concerned with is two things:

1. I want to make sure this quarantine is safe to get more fish.
2. I want to make sure my top-off water is safe to put in my display tank. It's a much larger volume but I really don't want to mess that tank up.

To make the top-off water, I fill up a plastic bin with about 35-40 gallons of water, then I add in about 1.5 capfuls of Seachem Prime (the directions say one capful per 50 gallons). It sat for about 12 hours before I used it to top off the quarantine tank, I also put maybe a gallon in the display tank rather than put it back in the bin, but I haven't noticed any problems with the display tank (the QT is 20G and the display tank is 150G plus about 30G of sumpage).

Any thoughts or advice? Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:38 PM   #10
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Since you can't keep beneficial bacteria going in a QT tank, daily water changes are needed to manage ammonia levels. Things like prime aren't effective as they will only make the ammonia non-toxic...but if it then is turned into nitrite it is back to being toxic to fish again.
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