View Full Version : Help! My angelfish has red/swollen base of the fin!

12-10-2015, 01:32 AM

I noticed today that my angelfish has red and swollen base of his left pectoral fin. It looks more like a small red lump with some peach-colored swelling around it. I have him (or her) for one year now in 36G planted tank with one Bolivian ram, one swordtail and 5 Julii cories. I have not made any additions to the tank recently. Normally the water parameters are pH 6.5-7, Nitrates around 40, nitrites 0, ammonia 0. However, I noticed today that the nitrite reading is 1, nitrate 80 and ammonia 0.25 ppm. The last water change was 3 days ago. I am not sure if this mini-cycle caused his fin problem or this is a result of some injury or disease, but I am starting daily water changes until the conditions stabilise. The angelfish is behaving as usual - waiting for food and chasing the Bolivian ram, so far I did not notice any decrease in his activity or appetite. Does anyone have an idea what this could be and how I could help him? 4428444283

12-10-2015, 01:36 AM
anything sharp in the tank decor maybe? Could of been flashing because of high levels..

12-10-2015, 01:59 AM
I'll be of no help with the affliction, others will help with that, but your "normal" reading of 40 for trAtes is too high for any freshwater fish on a constant basis.

What's your WC schedule?...how much water do you change?

What water source....tap, well water, etc

12-10-2015, 03:09 PM
Hi Slaphppy7,

thank you for the reply!

Usually I do water changes about once weekly 30%. This time it has been two weeks since I was away but I changed 50% this time (on Sunday). Yesterday I changed 30% again. I agree with you that the nitrates seem to be a bit high especially since I have A LOT of plants. I am using API test strips to test the nitrates and nitrites - I also might have been reading it wrong - it is definitely not 0 for the nitrates, but faint pink somewhere around 20 or 40.

I use tap water treated with stress coat.

I just realised this morning that my filter is clogged (it started leaking) so the filtration was probably not too good in the past days - this probably led to the spike...

12-10-2015, 03:18 PM
You're welcome....TBH, the test strips are not very accurate, especially if they are not new

I highly recommend that you invest in one of these, many of us here use it with great success: http://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwater-Master-Test-Kit/dp/B000255NCI

The Stresscoat is OK for now, but buy this next time, it's the best water conditioner available, IMO: http://www.amazon.com/Seachem-67104330-Prime-500ml/dp/B00025694O

WC schedule sounds good, once a week of 50% is even better.

What kind of filter?...how often do you clean it?....dirty filters can harbor high levels of trAtes, also

How is the angel doing today?...if it is indeed just a wound, fresh clean water is best to help heal it...maybe increase your WC's to twice a week for the time being?

12-11-2015, 03:46 AM
Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely get those things. I am at the end with the Stress coat so I was planning on getting new water conditioner soon anyway.

I have Fluval aqua clear 50. I got it about a month ago and I haven't cleaned it since then. Usually I clean filter about once per month. I cleaned it today - the carbon pad and the upper part with the ceramic bits were relatively OK, but the sponge was full of some brown stuff.

The angel seems to be ok, he is swimming around as usual, doesn't seem lethargic. His fin is unchanged - at least it doesn't seem to be getting worse.

I am getting a bit worried because he did not want to eat yesterday evening and today. I removed the carbon from the filter and added Melafix to the water. I'll keep an eye on him - if he doesn't start to get better in the next few days I might need to try with some antibiotics.

12-11-2015, 02:16 PM
You don't need the carbon at all, really, except to remove meds after treatments...I use the space carbon takes up to add more ceramic media.

Be sure to clean your media and sponges in old tank water, to preserve your beneficial bacteria.

The rest of the filter can be cleaned in hot tap water, an old toothbrush is handy to use, or any clean nylon brush.

Keep up with the larger water changes...I've never used Melafix, so no help there, sorry

12-15-2015, 07:15 PM
Hi Chillifish, I'm sorry you are having issues with your tank. Don't give up! The parameters you gave were really out of whack for a planted tank-yes, but your main goal right now should be getting those Trates down to under 20ppm, with 0pmm ammonia and nitrite AND keep it there with regular water changes going forward. I was really surprised to read those params!

I have cycled a tank in a day with "Colony" by API (I think) anyway nitrifying bacteria-in-a-bottle. Or better yet, if you know someone with a healthy established tank, you could ask them for some seasoned filter media to get those parameters back on track--quicker.

As for water conditioners, I like Prime as well for my planted tanks. Although, stress coat has added ingedients to help with damaged fish tissue, like aloe vera and helps regenerate the slime coat on fish. So it claims anyway. I keep some on hand myself, when there is an injury, nothing wrong with using it in this sitch, imo.

Now...the pic of your angel. He/she is a beautiful Philippine Blue, but the fact that it's black bars are so faded, means the angel isn't feeling spectacular. It would be good to see it show it's gorgeous colours. I see a cut. Maybe like a pimple, but from the pic, I think Amazon Joe was onto something asking about anything sharp. Since he/she is the only angelfish in the tank, we know it wasn't another fish bumping at him/her.

In your pic, I see an open wound. That is all. The angel is at risk of bacterial infection until you get those conditions back where you want them. That's why it's your first priority to get under control--prevention. As already mentioned, lots of WCs, keep the water clean (meaning keep conditions at an acceptable level).

If you beleive your angel might be contracting something bacterial, the melafix won't hurt, your plants or inverts either, but it IS a very mild antibacterial product. I've used it recently to help with an injury, and along with WCs, the fish was able to heal.

12-15-2015, 07:23 PM
Also, someone else suggested (for me) swabbing the infected area with peroxide on a Q-tip. Choose peroxide with no stabilizers and/or added ingedients. They told me I'd only have to do it once. I think that's better than adding antibiotics at this point. Most antibiotics (but not all) can destroy your cycle and you'd be starting out all over again. Not good for your angel's recovery. Or do you have an updated pic?

12-15-2015, 08:01 PM
hope your angel is eating. Do you have another tank that's cycled? I would put the Angel in a quaintine tank just to keep a closer eye on him/her. Have you ever feed it blood worms? Sometimes a treat can atleast get them to eat something. Keep up on your water changes to takes a lot of effort (water changes) to get a tank back under control.

12-16-2015, 06:04 AM
That's a great idea of its possible for you, try to get a nice bare bottom tank, a seeded (beneficial bacteria filled) sponge filter would be great in it and force you to keep the bottom clean.

Then you could add some aquarium salt (sodium chloride). It improves gill function and promotes disease recovery. 1 tsp per 5 gallons. It did wonders for my ram who had rin rot (the tail was gone) and she's made a full recovery in two and a half weeks. I even kept salt tolerant plants in the tank (because I love my plants and feel they are very healthy for fish), like java fern, anacharis, the list goes on, just Google brackish plants if you are like me.

But if you are not seeing any sign of bacterial infection, I'm not sure all that is necessary. You mentioned your angel's condition is not worse, you might see it healing by now.

12-17-2015, 05:19 AM
Hi angelcraze2,

thanks for the suggestions! I have been doing 75% water change every second day. Nitrites and nitrates look ok now, 0 and about 20, respectively. I kept adding the melafix for three days, but angel's condition did not seem to improve. In addition he stopped eating. He was still interested in the food, but he would just come close to the pellet and looked at it or he would look at the other fish eating it but he would do nothing (usually he eats almost everything by himself), so I started dosing the tank with the kanaplex (I know that this will mess up my cycle, but unfortunately I don't have a quarantine tank big enough for him!).
On the next day his fin looked better and red areas (wounds) were smaller. He even started eating - not as much as usual, just one or two pellets.
I added another dose of kanaplex yesterday and changed the water, but today his fin seemed worse to me again and I did not see him eat today.
It is possible that he got injured somewhere, because lately he started doing this weird thing when he looks like he is searching for food at the bottom of the tank and he hangs upside down and tries to dig in between the plants and ornaments (well, the log-like things that I have).

12-17-2015, 05:29 AM
About the angel's colour - he usually looks like this. He has been like that since I got him. His stripes get darker only when he is agitated - when he chases another fish or when gets scared!

12-17-2015, 03:05 PM
Oops, that was 25% WC not 75%!

12-17-2015, 03:40 PM
Have you tried feeding him bloodworms? Have you tried turning up the temp at all? I know it helps with a lot of the fish I have taken in with damaged fins or missing tails.

12-17-2015, 04:29 PM
From what I've read about kanaplex its for eternal fungal infections its possible now it has a secondary infection sure..so it might be a good idea. But IMO I like the natural alternatives ever consider salt and temp?

A little late though now just FYI. you don't want to mix high temp salt and meds together..

12-17-2015, 09:50 PM
Hi Gar,
I tried to give him some of those freeze dried bloodworms but he just ignored them. I did not try increasing the temperature now. A few months ago one of the rams that I had in this tank had ich and I treated this with increased temperature and aquarium salt. It worked great fir the fish, but my most of my plants were ruined and I started to have algae problems after that. I had to tear everything down and restart the tank. That is why I was reluctant to try this without knowing if it would help.

01-01-2016, 01:38 AM
Kanaplex is a liquid form of kanamycin, which is an antibiotic, and will prevent any bacterial infections. I say 'prevent' because I don't personally see an infection in the pic. Depending on the condition of his fin joint now, if it's not worse than the pic, my best advice is to keep the water as clean as possible with water changes.

And you'll have to try coaxing the fish to eat with a different food, most fish go crazy over bloodworms (as already mentioned) and is often used for this purpose; to encourage fish to eat again. But avoid overfeeding! You can't force a fish to eat, just help them 'feel' like eating. I know garlic can be used to entice fish as well. There is a product called "Garlic Guard" available. What you described as far as it's eating behaviour is normal for angelfish who aren't feeling well. I used to think they were pretending to feel ok, so that they did not put themselves out as easy prey (like in the wild).

Btw, you can use kanamycin as directed without destroying your cycle. Just remember and I emphasize, how important a cycled tank is for your fish's recovery and in preventing other infections.

01-13-2016, 07:38 PM
How are things with your fish going now?

I know it's been a while, but I just found some new info. An angelfish can be turned off of a particular food (I read-forever) if the fish ate the food after it decayed a bit. I noticed one of my angels suddenly wouldn't eat her staple NLS 'discus formula' pellets. She would spit them out like you described your fish was doing. I fed her a different pellet, she ate it no problem. Went back to the NLS, and she refused to eat it. Once, I got her to take a few pellets in her mouth, one was NLS, and she ate it! But not alone. I guess chewing it up in the mix is ok.

Btw, nothing against New Life Spectrum foods, I think they are wonderful staple foods, I use it for all my other fish and sneak some in for Mrs. Picky.