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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys! I'm just getting my feet wet with angelfish, so what's going on in my tank may just be a simple fix. Just a little background on the tank:

65 Gallon tank
81 F temp
7.0-7.4 ph (it fluctuates :confused:)
0 on both nitrite and ammonia
~20 on Nitrate
The current substrate is what looks to be crushed shell. I've had it since I started the aquarium 3 yrs ago. I plan to swap it out next month with Turface MVP and Black Sand mix.

Current inhabitants:
1 angelfish
6 tetras
3 platys
1 pleco
1 rainbow shark
1 gourami

OK now heres whats going on. I have currently "killed" 8 angelfish over the course of 2 months. I have no clue what's going on with them. The first 6 that died showed no signs of distress before death. All were eating well and swimming around fine. The back fin the evening before did appear to be mildly clamped. The next morning I would go to check on everyone and there were dead. The last 2 to pass were my mating pair. They had recently paired up before I had an ick outbreak 2 wks ago and layed eggs. The eggs were eaten. It was about time for a second set of eggs and my female looked a touch swollen in her lower abdomen. I figured it was just her getting a little bigger due to timing with eggs. The next morning she was dead. The day after that my male was dead. Again the only sign was mild clamping the night before. All signs of ick have been out of the tank for a week. The only fish that are dying are my angels and I would love to keep angels, but its getting very expensive replacing them. I would like to know if its something I'm doing/not doing or if it could be a disease of some sort. If you need any more info please let me know.
Thanks,
Ashley
 

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Jedi
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676 Posts
Hi,

I have a few questions for you. Are you feeding them worms or dry flake food? Do you use co2? You had ich, are you introducing new fish to the tank without quarantine? Do you know why you had ich? Are you changing water or performing routine maintenance? Do you know the KH and GH of the aquarium? Crushed shell does not sound like good substrate for angelfish because of bad parameters it will cause. Are the plants growing well?

I would try to focus on angelfish only providing them a tank by themselves...without shark or gourami. Check on the GH/KH parameters. Swapping out substrate (if it is crushed shells) will help.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The diet is primarily flake food. Occasionally I will give just a pinch of dried blood worms. Currently I am not using CO2 in the tank. My plants are small and theres only a few of them. I figure we got ich from the group of tetras that were put in the tank. They were the hardest hit with it and the only unquarantined fish that got put in (talk about learning from mistakes). I am performing routine water changes and water testing, but I do not know what the kh and gh are in my water. I have not picked up a test kit for that yet. We are planning to swap out the substrate as soon as pay day gets here. I've had the current substrate for 3 years, but all I mainly had in the tank at the time were yellow cichlids. So far the few plants I have are looking well, but I know the different substrate will definately help out. Hope that helps answer your questions.
Thanks,
Ashley
 

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Jedi
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Try soaking dry flakes in tank water. Feeding dry food can cause problems with fish. Be very sure they are eating all the food. Ich will come form bad parameter when food is leftover sitting around. Maybe its finicky wilds but I found using irresistible foods (frozen\live) means much less lying around...which makes life easier for everyone :)

Angelfish are South American cichlids; the yellow cichlid is probably African. South American cichlids typically desire softer water likewise African cichlids typically desire harder water. Changing the substate is good step in creating new environment for the South American cichlids you wish to keep.

Feeding worms to South American cichlids is controversial. Some will say they feed worms for years some say worms killed fish. I would only feed worms I cultured. Maybe some chopped earth worm from the woods. I would never feed a dry worm! That’s like double jeopardy. ;)

It sounds like your fish are happy but something kills them right away, like poor food or bad spike from foul food. Check on tap water for chlorine/ammonia, which could cause your problem too.

When the plants are doing well the fish will also do better. Do your best to make the plants grow. I have a 65g tank with wild angelfish. I add co2, little bit of fertilizer and everything is doing great. A great tank with very little maintenance.
 

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i am thinking over feeding or not the right type of food.. i fid yhe same thing so then i switched to bloodworm and i was jist using tetramin flakes
 

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Are you buying your angels from the same store? When I had angels I had a similar problem, then I bought some from a different dealer and had no problems. I do think you'll have compatability problems with the rainbow shark in the long term, so you may need to trade that fish in if you want to be successful with the angels.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I did the substrate change out tonight...we'll see how that goes over the next few days. Honestly, I hate to get rid of my shark...I've had him for 3 years now. He never messes with anyone tho. All he seems to do is hide in his stump or clean in the tank. I'll update ya'll later on how everyone is doing since the change out....
oh and I have noticed a difference with who I bought the angels from. There is one dealer I will NEVER purchase from again. That may have been part of the problem.
Thanks!
 

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There have been a number of angelfish-specific diseases that have done serious damage to the whole breeder population over the past few years. That is one possibility.

Your fluctuating pH is another concern- you need to get to the bottom of that, b/c that is usually a symptom of some other issue in your tank.

I'd double-check your test kits to make sure they haven't expired, and also start taking water with you when you go to the LFS to double-check your results.

How often are you doing water changes, and how much at a time? It is possible that your shells keep raising the hardness and pH, and then every time you do a water change, this lowers those parameters back down. This type of fluctuation can be very dangerous for fish.

If your goal is to breed the angels and raise fry, then I'd encourage you to get a separate breeding tank. Angels aren't usually good parents, and fry are almost always eaten in a community tank setting. If this isn't one of your goals, however, then IMO your angels are fine with your RTS. I kept angels, tiger barbs, and RTS together in my 46gal for years, and IMO their aggression levels were well matched.

Your yellow cichlid might also be a Bolivian or Golden ram... you might want to get a positive ID on this fish- if it's an African cichlid most of those are not appropriate for community tanks, and many aren't appropriate for planted tanks, either (aggression, plant-eaters or diggers, different water chemistry needs, etc).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The yellow cichlid found a new home before I started buying angels...and thanks for the thought on taking a sample up to the LFS. I hadnt even thought about doing that just to double check things. I've been doing 25% changes weekly, and last night when we swapped out the substrate it was a complete change. So far everyone is alive and well. Gonna double check the pH this morning, but so far no spike like I had with the shells. I think the shells were a big part of that problem. Also, I dont plan on raising angels...I just happened to have a pair that spawned. No eggs survived tho.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just an update....I've changed out the substrate and started planting the tank. We eventually were down to only 1 angelfish before the substrate change so after the change we purchased 3 more (from the same place the one remaining came from) It has been a week now and everyone seems healthy and happy!!! I also went to a different flake food (back to one I had never had issues with). Maybe it was the food...maybe it was the substrate...maybe it was the fish...I may never know. But everyone seems happy now :)

Thanks for your input on this guys!
 
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