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Injured Angelfish Advice


SeverumKeeper
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So the Terror of my Tank, my female koi angelfish, is injured. She's ruled the tank for a long time but I recently replaced the severum I'd lost about a year and a half ago. So far they were getting along well enough- she'd chase the severum like she would the other angels, but he'd turn around and scare her off.

Well, today I looked at my tank and found the koi angel swimming upside down at the bottom. She must have injured her swim bladder, either the severum fought back or she spooked from him turning at her and hurt herself. 

I've got her in a net box at the top of the tank, separated from other fish. She's still actively swimming but can't flip herself over. What should I do to maximize her chances of healing from this?

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35 minutes ago, Colu said:

What are your water parameters

Nitrite around .5

Nitrate around 65

Ammonia 0

Ph 7

Hardness is very high, higher than my crappy test tests for, but it's always been like that- city water

I imagine nitrates are high because I've been fertilizing a lot lately. It was supposed to be water change day today but I'm not sure if I should put that on hold or not

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I've never dealt with something like this, where the fish is swimming upside down.

But I find that leaving him/ her alone, and turning off the lights may help. As far as medications, It seems that its probably too late for any to have any effect. Maybe @Colu can perscribe you something.

Best of luck, and keep us updated!

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1 hour ago, SeverumKeeper said:

Nitrite around .5

Nitrate around 65

Ammonia 0

Ph 7

Hardness is very high, higher than my crappy test tests for, but it's always been like that- city water

I imagine nitrates are high because I've been fertilizing a lot lately. It was supposed to be water change day today but I'm not sure if I should put that on hold or not

I would do water change to get your nitrites down if it has injured it's swin bladder I Qarantine and low the water level to make it easy to keep up right and add aquarium salt 1 table spoon for 2 gallons and don't feed for a couple of days and then offer peas

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Update: did a water change last night. I don't have a quarantine system available right now, but the injured fish is in a mesh net attached to the side of the tank, so she's isolated. She's still alive and tries to swim when I come by the tank, but she's stuck floating at the very top 😞 not sure how much I can really do for her other than wait, at this point...

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2 hours ago, SeverumKeeper said:

Update: did a water change last night. I don't have a quarantine system available right now, but the injured fish is in a mesh net attached to the side of the tank, so she's isolated. She's still alive and tries to swim when I come by the tank, but she's stuck floating at the very top 😞 not sure how much I can really do for her other than wait, at this point...

The only other thing I could suggest is doing a course of maracyn as some swim bladder problems can be caused by a bacterial

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Fish still floating at the top corner of the mesh divider, on her side now. She still flaps her fins when I go by but she isn't managing to get herself underwater anymore - just floating at the top. Until now she was holding herself flat with the surface, but now her top half is drooping down - worried she is getting weaker 😞

 

I am almost certain this was due to an injury she sustained after picking on the severum. I watched her do it dozens of times over the last week. Quite a bummer 😞

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Update: I'm glad I didn't decide to euthanize the angelfish. She still can't swim right, and spends much of her time at the surface on her side. However, she actively swims now, and can get herself underwater. She either swims on her side or upside down - she doesn't seem to be able to right herself yet - but she's swimming around, and the other day when I fed the rest of the tank I saw that she kept picking at the detritus stuck on the outside of her mesh cage, so I gave her some flakes and she happily ate them.

I've never seen a fish recover from this sort of swim bladder injury, but I also haven't seen one make it this far after suffering one. So I'm not gonna give up on her just yet.

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Had a big moment yesterday: for a brief few seconds, the angel was swimming right way up while eating.

She's still in that mesh net, for nine days now. I drop a few flakes into the net at the same time that I feed the rest of the tank, and the sides of the net have grown some algae and filtered some detritus out of the water, which the angel will pick at between meals.

She's swimming underwater almost all the time now, no more floating at the top. She spends most of her time upside down or sideways, but she's moving and interacting with the environment. To me this implies she isn't in great pain or much danger of dying, but still doesn't have full control over her air bladder.

Today she seems to be doing even better. She is still upside down but with her head pointing mostly down rather than ahead now. She is constantly trying to turn over by bending sideways but it seems like that's tougher for her to do. Every so often she'll try to turn over by rolling forward instead of to the side, and then she will actually manage to hold that position for a few seconds. But then she'll flip over her side as she loses control.

She's improving, very very slowly, but still improving. If she ever stops improving I will have to consider her quality of life in this state and whether there's anything I can do for her, but as long as she keeps improving I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to release her from the mesh cage eventually.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

Any update on progress?
I have a beautiful female angel on her side at the bottom. I have had her in QT for 2 weeks with little improvement. She has had a course of kanaplex and i have added salt. She will get upright but it takes a lot if effort, she then bobs for a minute or two before sinking back onto her side, it is heartbreaking to watch. Not sure what else to do for her.

Water parameters are all good & i change 5L every 3 days in a 20L QT i leave the light on very low daytime & off at night.

At what point do i give up & help her off to the big fish tank in the sky?

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On 6/4/2021 at 8:51 AM, Aquanut said:

Hi,

Any update on progress?
I have a beautiful female angel on her side at the bottom. I have had her in QT for 2 weeks with little improvement. She has had a course of kanaplex and i have added salt. She will get upright but it takes a lot if effort, she then bobs for a minute or two before sinking back onto her side, it is heartbreaking to watch. Not sure what else to do for her.

Water parameters are all good & i change 5L every 3 days in a 20L QT i leave the light on very low daytime & off at night.

At what point do i give up & help her off to the big fish tank in the sky?

Thank you for asking. Early on I made the decision not to give up as long as she kept trying to right herself. If she ever stopped and started spending all her time floating, I'd give up.

It has been heartbreaking, as you said, but as of yesterday - around a month since the incident - she has made a huge breakthrough. She still is unstable and had to spend a lot of effort to do it, but she spends much of her time upright now.

20210607_091242.jpg.e29f8deedf75a8acc7d922f622879630.jpg

She is an aggressive fish and there are a lot of other angels plus the severum in the tank, so I'm not letting her out yet. But I think she will eventually make a full recovery.

Edited by SeverumKeeper
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
On 6/30/2021 at 2:52 AM, Aquanut said:

She is back in the main tank in a breeding net box as she is still not swimming properly. She has improved & her mate sits with her. She is eating. Still sits on her side a fair bit though. I wonder about quality of life but at the same time she hasn’t given up so I won’t either. Thanks for your encouragement.

Hope things have improved for your fish! Mine is still doing well thankfully. 

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Thank you so much for asking. Sad news i am afraid, she passed away. After weeks in the little breeder net where she was just propped against the side, she started looking curved due to the position so I decided to just put her back in the tank & let mother nature run it’s course. Seemed so unfair to keep her couped up so long. I got three little angels to put in with her mate so he is ok, he is the boss 😄 it is such a fine line with sick fish, such hard choices, toughest part of the hobby for us all.

BBE6F035-3C73-404F-9977-DA5943EED61E.jpeg

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