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Old 12-18-2009, 03:35 AM   #1
Par
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Angelfish not eating

1~What type of fish is afflicted? In addition, please describe what is wrong with the fish to the best of your ability (i.e. cotton like growth, bloated, etc.). My daughter's 5" angelfish stopped eating 2 weeks ago.

She saw him glancing off a plant, but I haven't. From time to time he seems to slightly shudder or shimmy ever so briefly when swimming. I'm not sure that this is a new behavior. We're very concerned.

The fish looks otherwise great, except for a hollow belly. Normal skin, eyes, scales, fins, and swimming. He normally begs and feeds aggressively. Now he approaches and examines food, but doesn't take it. He'll even position himself to "strike" but doesn't follow through. Then he slowly turns away. He was hiding for a couple weeks, but after recent pwc (see below) his curiosity and fish chasing has returned . . half-way.

In a prior incident the heater went out, temperature dropped, and the angelfish retired to a corner and stopped eating--much like we've been seeing this time. However, in the prior event he immediately returned to normal once the tank reached 80F.

An aquarist friend recommended increasing temperature to 86F, which I have very slowly started to do.

2~What are your tank parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, temp, pH)? Please give exact values.
temperature 83F
ammonia 0 (Nutrafin drop test)
nitrite 0 (Lifegard test strip)
nitrate ~30 mg/L (Lifegard test strip)
salt 0.7 ppt
pH 7.6 (same as degassed tap water; unchanged by PWCs)
hardness - 48 mg/L as CaCo3

3~ How large is the tank? How long has the tank been set up?
The tank is 46 gal set up 3 years ago. The is an inch or so of coarse plasticized gravel, plastic plants, and one large unidentified live plant.

4~What type of filtration are you using? Please give the name and number (i.e. Fluval 304) and amount of gph if known. Marineland H.O.T Magnum 250gph, plus two airstones. No under gravel filter.

5~How many fish are in the tank? What kinds of fish are they and what are their current sizes?
Three fish: 5" tall angelfish, 6" pleco, and 5" red finned shark.

We also tried to introduce a pair of pearl gouramis, which died after surviving 2 week quarantine and 2-3 weeks in the tank. The last one died 4 days ago (see 12/13/09 post "Gourami crisis").

The Pleco has been very shy for a long time. After the PWCs I find him out and grazing in full light for the first time in a year.

6~When is the last time you did a water change and vacuum the gravel? How often do you do this? How much water do you remove at a time?
A bit of history: The nitrate level was up around 200 mg/L and TDS (salt) at 1.2 ppt 5 days ago, due to lack of attention. I did twice daily 30% PWC for 4 days ending yesterday. Water was vaccumed through the gravel each time, so all the gravel is now pretty well clean. Replacement water was supplemented with rock salt .5 g/L, heated to aquarium temperature, and aerated until no chlorine could be measured.

7~How long have you had the fish? If the fish is new, how did you acclimate it/them? 3+ years

8~Have you added anything new to the tank--decor, new dechlorinator, new substrate, etc.? About 6 weeks ago we added an unidentified live plant (large Anubias?). About 5 weeks ago we added 4" pieces of boiled willow and red oak for the Pleco. These were removed 1 week ago as a general precaution.

9~What kind of food have you been feeding your fish, have you changed their diet recently?
TetraMin tropical flakes. After a long hiatus we started frozen brine shrimp 1-2 times/week beginning 1 month ago. I tried a new can of the same brand in case the old had gone bad, to no effect. A year ago we had blackworms and he ate them with gusto. Yesterday I tried blackworms; the angelfish struck at (ate?) two before losing interest. He barely looked at them today.

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Old 12-18-2009, 04:05 PM   #2
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It is possible that he is simply stressed and has stopped eating when things got out of whack in your tank. I would recommend a few more water changes and to get on a weekly water change schedule for a little while. If that doesn't help... It is also possible that you picked up a parasite or a bacteria from the gourami's you recenty introduced. If that is the case it could be tuberculosis. Here is a link for more info to read up on as well as some recommended treatments. Fish Disease and Treatment

I would like to add to be extra cautious and practice good handwashing after maintenace on your tank as it can be passed to humans though it is rare it is possible.

On a side note it sounds like you care for your fish very well for him to have reached that size and since you ahve had him for 3+ yrs you are definitely doing something right.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:40 PM   #3
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Thanks, Happygirl65

I'm hoping its just stress, of course. It seems like the lethargy is passing, and I wouldn't call him emaciated, yet. The fish remains alert and curious, swims toward me when I enter the room (but away from food), and always holds "his" fins flared and fully extended when not in motion.

The link you shared mentions "Kanamycin and Vitamin B-6 for 30 days." I'm thinking putting this guy in a quarantine tank would stress him further. Would prophylactic treatment in the main tank stress the fish (especially the other fish) and put them at risk? I might want to sit tight for awhile, yet.

I'm giving the tank (and fish) a few days off, but plan to continue 33% changes every week.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:51 PM   #4
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Sounds like your fish is getting attacked by ICH or some other external parasites.(flashing against plants). When the heater went out and the temp. dropped, this probably stressed the fish out to the point where it got weak enough for ich or other parasites to attack. Take a real close look at the fish and watch out for ICH...sometimes you can't really see them on the skin, but you can definitely see ICH on the fins and tail of the fish.
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:07 PM   #5
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Thanks i3k
You might have something there. I think I find 3 minute spots on the tail rays--none on the skin in between.. If there are more this size on the body, well, I'll never see them.

Can anyone advise how much heat and salt an angelfish can take? We're at 85F and 0.7 grams per liter right now. Would you recommend pure sodium chloride (rock salt), or a product made to simulate seawater?
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Old 12-19-2009, 12:24 AM   #6
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New info - stringy white poop.
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Old 12-19-2009, 04:42 AM   #7
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Could be from not eating or an internal parasite.
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:05 AM   #8
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Another update. The angelfish started accepting a few live blackworms two days ago, and today ate more than 20 with his old enthusiasm. Tank is up to 88F, salinity 1 ppt (mostly rock salt).

Ironically, in view of the behavioral improvement, he seems to have developed new symptoms. One eye seems slightly popeyed, and he also seems to have developed 10 or so very tiny white spots overnight (ich?). Not seeing shivering or flashing. We're doing a 10% pwc every other day, mostly to vacuum trophonts. If the number of spots goes up, we'll use medication.

I'm concerned about stress to the red-fin shark (salt, heat, meds) and pleco (meds). The shark was flashing yesterday, but no visible signs of infection on the body.
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:50 AM   #9
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Sometimes the ich can hide in the gills and you can't see it.
Clean water will help heal the pop-eye also, and the salt.
Good luck!
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