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Angelfish Swimming Vertically


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#1 jenrn

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:58 PM

Request Help

Tank size:50 gallons

tank temp:86 F

Fish Symptoms My two year old Angel is swimming with his head down in the corner of the tank and twithches off and on. But straightens up and eats and swims fine. The temperature has been pretty warm in my house but there is no direct sun anywhere near the tank. I keep the light off and will keep a fan blowing cool air over the surface of the water during these warmer temperatures. The other fish are acting normal.

Volume and Frequency of water changes: I changed approx. 20 gallons two weeks ago. Added a new charcoal cartridge to the filter and vacuumed the gravel. I usually do this extreme cleaning once a month with 10 gallon water change about two weeks in. I use a product called PRIME to remove chlorine from the water being added to the tank.

Chemical Additives or Media in your tank:

Tank inhabitants: I have two Angelfish about 4 inches long and one black ghost fish about 6 in. long all have been in the tank for over a year and a half

Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): nothing

Exposure to chemicals:

Digital photo (include if possible):

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#2 VictorMeldrew

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 08:11 PM

Could that be a swim bladder problem?

#3 jenrn

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 08:16 PM

Could that be a swim bladder problem?

I was thinking maybe...I won't feed him today and try some pees tomorrow? I don't know what else to do. The what perameters are normal. I just checked.

#4 scooterchick

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 09:11 PM

First thing. The temp is too high. Is there a heater in the tank or is that purely the warm weather heating the tank?

Second. Is his eye swollen? From the looks of him it's certainly looking like a bacterial problem but from what? Your tank is barely stocked, perhaps you need more fish in there to challenge the biosystem and really get it up and running, you'll never get good bacteria if there's not a lot polluting the tank. I don't think I've ever said this before but you're changing too much water, a 50 gallon tank with only 3 fish in does not need that much water changed, is it really 50 gallon? Sorry for asking but people often get their capacity wrong. When you say the paramenters are normal what do you mean and what have you tested?

Oh one other thing, when you clean the filter you rinse it in old tank water, not under the tap yes?

#5 jenrn

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 11:52 PM

First thing. The temp is too high. Is there a heater in the tank or is that purely the warm weather heating the tank?

Second. Is his eye swollen? From the looks of him it's certainly looking like a bacterial problem but from what? Your tank is barely stocked, perhaps you need more fish in there to challenge the biosystem and really get it up and running, you'll never get good bacteria if there's not a lot polluting the tank. I don't think I've ever said this before but you're changing too much water, a 50 gallon tank with only 3 fish in does not need that much water changed, is it really 50 gallon? Sorry for asking but people often get their capacity wrong. When you say the paramenters are normal what do you mean and what have you tested?

Oh one other thing, when you clean the filter you rinse it in old tank water, not under the tap yes?


Ok..Lets start with the temp. ..I turned the heater down a few days ago to 72, but its been around 85 in my house for the last week, and the temp has stayed a contant 86. I dont think his eye is swollen but in one spot it looks a little red...but it might just be his pigment and my healthie one has one similiar that I know has been there for. I totally understand the whole bacteria thing...and I would maybe believe that BUT I have had these fish, doing the same routine for over a year and a half and they seem to be doing extremely well. I got both of the Angel's when they were dime sized. I had Gourami's in there over a year and a half ago but they had some mouth fungus and died. The fish that are in there have been the same ones since day one minus the gouramis I got at the same time but only lasted a month. To be totally honest, I don't change the water THAT often all the time, but since the weather is warm it evaporates quite fast. The tank is exactly 49 gallons. The ph is 7.2 , 0.0 Amonia or Nitrates. I did not rince the filter in tank water but what I did was I reinced it then sqeezed it dry then filled up the filter with new treated water to be circulated through the tank. Plus I figured for how little tap in comparison to the 49 gallons ...it would be ok. I have done this forever. There isnt anything I have done differently or recently that would be a red flag ...I appreciate all your help! Hope this might cleatr things up.

Oh...and his fins have always been a little chewed up, but I think its because the other Angel nips a little. But it seems like a harmless pecking order.

#6 scooterchick

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 08:28 AM

First thing. The temp is too high. Is there a heater in the tank or is that purely the warm weather heating the tank?

Second. Is his eye swollen? From the looks of him it's certainly looking like a bacterial problem but from what? Your tank is barely stocked, perhaps you need more fish in there to challenge the biosystem and really get it up and running, you'll never get good bacteria if there's not a lot polluting the tank. I don't think I've ever said this before but you're changing too much water, a 50 gallon tank with only 3 fish in does not need that much water changed, is it really 50 gallon? Sorry for asking but people often get their capacity wrong. When you say the paramenters are normal what do you mean and what have you tested?

Oh one other thing, when you clean the filter you rinse it in old tank water, not under the tap yes?


I did not rince the filter in tank water but what I did was I reinced it then sqeezed it dry then filled up the filter with new treated water to be circulated through the tank. Plus I figured for how little tap in comparison to the 49 gallons ...it would be ok. I have done this forever.


And that I'm afraid is your problem. All your good bacteria live in your filter and they are very easily disturbed and killed. So everytime you clean your filter you're causing your tank to start cycling again, stressing your fish out with amonia and nitrite. That's probably what caused the fungal problem in the gourami's too.

Best thing to do now is daily water changes for the next week, don't touch the filter!! And start thinking about slowly introducing some new fish. Good luck!

#7 Tolak

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 12:07 PM

86F is at the upper range or over for many fish, not angels. Most all of my angel tanks are in the mid 80's. The problem with the higher temperature in your case is that bacteria grow faster in warmer temps, your angel more than likely has a bacterial infection. I'm guessing you are from the US or Canada, pick up some Maracyn & Maracyn II, these are a good start for gram positive & gram negative bacterial problems.

Your tank is cycled fine at a lower stocking level, with a smaller colony of nitrifying bacteria to reflect the smaller bio load. With that stocking your water changes are fine. Stress will lower a fish's immune response, if the other angel is being aggressive to the sick one this could be the problem. There are many different pathogens that fish exist with that pose no problem when they have a strong immune response, but will take advantage of a lowered immune response. This is no different than humans who skimp on sleep, don't eat right, and push themselves, eventually ending up with a cold or some other ailment.

If the tank is mature you can be pretty rough on the sponges, as long as you don't let them dry out or rinse them with water that has not been dechlorinated. The nitrifying bacteria adhere much better than you think, if not the flow of water from the filter would rinse them off of the media.

So, antibiotics, a med tank, and drop the them to about 78F. the Mardell products will tell you different, I suggest you do a daily 50% water change, and remed daily, for 10 days. This is another advantage to having a smaller tank for treatment, water changes take less time, and you will use less meds.

#8 jenrn

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 04:39 AM

86F is at the upper range or over for many fish, not angels. Most all of my angel tanks are in the mid 80's. The problem with the higher temperature in your case is that bacteria grow faster in warmer temps, your angel more than likely has a bacterial infection. I'm guessing you are from the US or Canada, pick up some Maracyn & Maracyn II, these are a good start for gram positive & gram negative bacterial problems.

Your tank is cycled fine at a lower stocking level, with a smaller colony of nitrifying bacteria to reflect the smaller bio load. With that stocking your water changes are fine. Stress will lower a fish's immune response, if the other angel is being aggressive to the sick one this could be the problem. There are many different pathogens that fish exist with that pose no problem when they have a strong immune response, but will take advantage of a lowered immune response. This is no different than humans who skimp on sleep, don't eat right, and push themselves, eventually ending up with a cold or some other ailment.

If the tank is mature you can be pretty rough on the sponges, as long as you don't let them dry out or rinse them with water that has not been dechlorinated. The nitrifying bacteria adhere much better than you think, if not the flow of water from the filter would rinse them off of the media.

So, antibiotics, a med tank, and drop the them to about 78F. the Mardell products will tell you different, I suggest you do a daily 50% water change, and remed daily, for 10 days. This is another advantage to having a smaller tank for treatment, water changes take less time, and you will use less meds.


THANK YOU soo much! Today I woke up and he was totally normal!! I held the food for 24 hours and I am cooking up some peas...Do you think it could have just been swim bladder, or should I start with the treatment you recommended? I also added about 10 gallons last night (the water is evaporating quickly with the warm temp) . I tested the water and actually brought the water sample to petco to check the water quality in comparison to my strips..and their results showed trace ammounts of nitrate/nitrites. I quickly went home changed the water and added some stuff to remove nitrate/nitrites. The weather has finally cooled down and the tank temp is 78 degrees now. Whats your opinion with these changes of events? Thank you again for all your advice. =)

#9 Tolak

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 05:36 AM

Could have been a bit of constipation affecting the swim bladder. If you are going to keep the tank at 78F go easy on any high protein foods such as bloodworms, these tend to constipate angels at cooler temperatures. I usually fast angels for a day after feeding bloodworms, and feed some frozen brine shrimp after that.

The peas are a good idea, angels do need some vegetable matter in their diet.

#10 TarkMalbot

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:01 PM

I have the same issue with my Bala so I hope it is the same thing.


Edited by TarkMalbot, 09 March 2013 - 09:03 PM.





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