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Old 02-13-2004, 03:28 AM   #1
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Filters and Angelfish

I'm a newbie--got a 25 gal Eclipse show combo for Christmas. I've also been strongly influenced by The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums by David Boruchowitz, which was given to me along with the aquarium. I've also been reading about everything else I can, and I've discovered that there is a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to aquariums.

Anyway, when one of Boruchowitz's beginning stocking schemes included angelfish (for a 29 gal, but I thought I'd scale it down a little and get away with it), I was excited. I didn't think angelfish were for beginners. And indeed, other sources say they're not, while others, notably the Aquarium USA annual mag, say they're great for beginners.

So I cycled with a couple of marigold swag swordtails (who I thought were going to kill each other at one point--the female after being harassed a bit too much bit the male's tail off and had him cowering in my plastic plants for a week; I realized I would have to add a second female, which I did when I gave up on ever seeing the nitrites go down and sprung for some Bio-Spira from the Fish Store online), added three panda cories (the smallest cories I could find, and I had no idea how seemingly rare they are when I found them at my lfs, Triangle Tropical Fish), and I thought I was ready for angelfish!

I never saw any angelfish that interested me, and in some cases I didn't see any at all, at the lfs's, so I picked out a couple of marbled ones that were hanging out together at PetsMart. The salesdroid acted like she didn't want to sell them to me, warning me that they didn't go with swordtails (there goes conflicting advice again), that keeping them in a 25 gal tank would shorten their lives, and that they required careful acclimation--I would need to punch holes in the bag to let the bag water mix with my tank water. Another salesdroid overheard this and told me that punching holes in the bag really didn't help mix the water--just do the normal acclimation, but slowly.

I had read a lot about angelfish, so I thought I was ready.

And then two days later they were both dead.

They seemed to be doing okay, but then the second morning they were both becoming listless. One had been eating, but I never saw the other one eat. My water was fine, as far as I knew: 0's on ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and 7.0 pH. Maybe there was something else I was missing, maybe there was something wrong with them before I got them, but I think what killed them was my Eclipse hood.

The swordtails and cories loved my tank, and I never noticed how fast the water was flowing until the angelfish showed that they were suffering that second morning. I realized then that the turbulence from having the outflow go out diagonally across the water surface (my attempt at maximum oxygenation for my deep tank) might be too much for the angels. I changed the outflow direction to go parallel to the short side of the tank, and I did an online search--yeah, angelfish don't like turbulence.

Duh.

I started considering what to do--ditch my Eclipse hood for now and get an HOB filter? Try leaving my filter with the more gentle outflow position and add an airline somehow to aid oxygenation? But before I could do anything the angelfish had expired.

It really upset me that I thought I had done the research, and then the salesdroid had warned me about other issues, but nowhere had I found mention of the sensitivity to turbulent filtration that angelfish have--until after I had discovered it myself.

So, should I just give up on angelfish with this tank? I know it was probably marginal putting them in a 25 gal anyway, but, but.... When you've got a tall tank you kinda want some tall fish.

Any comments on Eclipse hoods and angelfish?
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Old 02-13-2004, 07:53 AM   #2
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Hiya jaydro:

I'll just about guarantee it wasn't the turbulence that did your guys in. They were likely unhealthy to begin with; even if the current was very strong, they wouldn't have keeled in 2 days.

I also have an eclipse 25g show tank. With 2 angels and 4 rams. My angels have bred in the tank and currently have fry (I do have a sponge over the filter intake, but that didn't go on until the eggs hatched). The rams lay eggs every coupla weeks as well. I've had upwards of 4 angels in that tank (initially had 1 for a few months, then 3, then for a month with the 4 while I was getting a 55g and setting it up LOL twas a bit crowded. Once these 2 paired off they were moved back in for "privacy") and none had any probs. IMHO angels need around 10g each; you could easily have 2 angels in there with a number of other fish (such as you had). You'll find the front right corner usually has little current because of the set up of the tank; if they had a prob with turbulence they could have easily hung out there.

Your parameters look fine for angels as well. I am surprised you have 0 nitrates tho; how often do you water change? Oh, and how exactly did you acclimate them?

I strongly suggest grabbing a cheap 10g, filter and heater, and setting up a QT tank. This way you can keep new fish separate and observe them before putting them into the main tank. If they wind up carrying something, you haven't infected the main tank, and you don't have to treat the main tank either (which can easily mess up the nitrifying bacterial colonies).

I wrote an article about angels; you can find it in the FW fish profile forum. That may also answer some questions Angels are hardy buggers; when I first started with em, I knew nothing about fish care or water husbandry; I had 2 in an 8g hex and cycled the tank with em. One finally killed the other 8 months later, the bully is still here 2 yrs later and is my breeding male. So keep the faith and let me know if you want to look into purchasing fish online from some reputable breeders; this way you can be pretty darn sure you are getting healthy fish There is also an article on QT tanks; take a peek at that too.
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Old 02-13-2004, 08:31 AM   #3
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Agree with Alli here.

You said you didn't see any angels that you liked in the lfs? What was the general condition of their angel tanks? Those fish were probably doomed before you bought them.

Note: If every fish in the lfs tank does not look healthy, avoid purchasing any fish from that tank.
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Old 02-13-2004, 11:09 AM   #4
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If you still really feel that turbulence was a problem for the angels, eclipse filters have adjustable jets that swivel almost 180 degrees. You can direct at least one of them at the side pane of glass, and cut down a lot on the flow.
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Old 02-13-2004, 11:30 AM   #5
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Thanks Allivymar. I've been kicking myself for being so careless and stupid--I was so happy to get through tank cycling with no fish deaths and then this.

Nitrates: it *looks* like 0 ppm on the test strip. It may be a bit higher, but it's definitely closer to 0 than the next step up, 20. I don't have any plants, but I have some algae growth. Lately I've been doing 30% water changes more than once a week (coming off the Melafix/Pimafix treatment for the swordtail, trying out two different gravel vacuums, then after the angelfish were removed); my original goal was 10% once a week.

Acclimation: I floated the bag in the tank and added tank water to it very very gradually. I took about twice as long as I did with the other fish--about 40-45 minutes instead of 20-25 minutes.

LFS: A few LFS's don't seem to keep angelfish in stock. At one I've seen some plain ones, but I was more interested in marbled or striped (which could be considered plain since it's more natural). The ones in the tank at PetsMart all looked pretty healthy, but they may have just gotten there. (I wasn't including PetsMart or PetSupermarket or Wal-Mart in "LFS," but maybe that's not correct?)

And, yes, Alivymar, I read your angelfish article, thanks.

I keep thinking about a QT tank now, but I thought I could get my first tank stocked without one....

I'm going to have to think about this. I was becoming resigned to no angelfish (the more I think about it, the more I'm not sure I like the idea of them nipping each other's fins, etc.) and thinking about gouramis....

Just saw stoneydee's post: yeah, I had swiveled the jet when I realized they were having problems with the turbulence (which may have been because they were having their own problems unrelated initially to the turbulence). I wasn't sure if I could stick with that as a permanent setup because when I kept it that way back when I was cycling the tank my two swordtails would gasp at the surface more. That problem didn't come back when I tried it with the angelfish in the tank. Maybe the swordtails were just trying to eat some of the surface scum, anyway.... (I didn't find out that possibility until later.)
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Old 02-13-2004, 01:35 PM   #6
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Jaydro--
I have an alternative for you! I have recently fallen in love with Badis badis (google them to see what they look like, I don't have any pics ) The reason I am recommending them is they like the mid to upper levels of the tank. Mine are in a 10 gal hex tank. Your tank would be perfect—a herd of cories on the bottom and the Badis everywhere else. Since you are willing to do the research, I think any fish that goes home with you will be a happy one!
HTH
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Old 02-13-2004, 02:14 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback, Menagerie. I had never heard of badis badis--they look really nice, though I'm not sure I'm up to dealing with the live food requirement.
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Old 02-13-2004, 07:55 PM   #8
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Mine are happy with frozen blood worms (YUMMY!!)
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Old 02-16-2004, 02:28 AM   #9
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Hey, Allivymar, so you've got angelfish in the 25 gal Eclipse show combo--do you have the outflow jet aimed diagonally across the tank surface toward the opposite front corner? And what are your recommendations on acclimation procedures for angelfish?

I think I'm going to get a QT tank....
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