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Son's Angels died the first day - help ID varieties?

1800 Views 21 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Bushkill
Hey, fishfolk! My son used his birthday money to get a couple of quarter-sized angelfish yesterday, and they both died overnight. :icon_cry:

Our closest LFS is over 100 miles away, so I can't take advantage of the fish guarantee (without dropping another $50 in gas). So I'm going to try to get some replacements online, but I don't know the variety to look for. Could y'all help out?

Both were pale, translucent. One had mottled black spots around his face, and the other was pale all over, with maybe a slight pinkish tinge to it. They were so young, I assume their colors would have matured with them. Any ideas what varieties they might have been?

BTW, the other fish in the tank, including some new otos, are fine. When I moved the Angels in last night, I noticed they were staying in the plants with their noses up toward the surface, but figured they were just a little stressed from being moved and would be fine in the morning.

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maybe koi, ghost or blusher really hard to guess blind.
they sound to me like Koi
Thanks. I'm still looking online at photos, but they are mostly of mature fish, so it's hard to tell what the quarter size would have looked like. Might be koi, but he didn't have any orange on him. Does the orange develop later? Maybe gold marble? His body was white/translucent, with the black spots only on his face.

The other one was SO pale, but not albino.

I'm going to try calling the fish store when they open, but they were not at all helpful yesterday, so I don't know if they even know the varieties...
I would check you water parameters first see if something is off. I know big box store fish tend to be not so healthy but over night death is quick
Sounds like a marble and a blusher to me from your description

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Angel PICS!

Here they are:

Looking at the pics, I see that my description was...wanting. I was doing it from memory, and since I didn't choose the fish, my memory was apparently unreliable (shocker).

I had checked the levels the day before the Journey to get Fish. I don't remember the numbers (I'm bad at that), but it looked like the tank was nearly over the cycling (I used water, gravel, driftwood, and the biofilter from my 5 y/o planted tank), all levels were "safe", tho not yet perfect. I have an ongoing battle with pH, so that was above 7, but nothing crazy.

I was apparently wrong, though, because testing today was terrible. Ammonia 1.5, and I always get nitrates and -trites mixed up, but one was 30, and the other was 4.0. :icon_eek: The remaining fish seem totally happy, even the otos, who have no algae yet. I did a 40% wc anyway. I'll keep testing daily.

I thought I had this all wired, since I made so many mistakes setting up my first tank 5 years ago. Apparently the errors go on.

What's so frustrating is that the closest fish source to us is 30 miles away, one WalMart, and one gardening store that has some fish. I've had best luck at nasty old WalMart. So we drove 100 miles to the nearest big city, Lincoln, for a "real" LFS. That is where we got the angels. I brought a bucket of tank water, floated their bags, acclimated, etc., so they would be sure to have enough oxygen on the trip home. Were they in distress when I saw them nosing up toward the surface?

My son is crushed, even though I warned him not to get too attached to the fish yet, and I can't justify that long trip again to replace the fish. I did get a nice PM from a site member who has some baby angels, so we might be in luck there... I'll just have to put them in my established tank 'til my son's is showing good solid parameters.

I'm still interested in knowing what varieties these were, if you can tell. And big thanks to those who took a shot at it without pics.
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Angels are very sensitive to water parameters. If the Ammonia is 1.5 and the nitrites are 4.0 then you need to move the other fish out of that tank asap. Everything will die. It doesn't matter if they look fine now. If you have Prime follow the directions to detoxify the nitrites. Don't add any new fish until the tank is established. From those numbers it looks like you have 2-4 weeks left until the bacteria build. Three five minute tests (nitrite, ammonia, and nitrate) could save you any amount of money you lose in dead livestock. When they're nosing up to the surface they have nitrite poisoning.
This link will help you out.
Also, the oto's will die without anything to eat. Blanched zucchini or fresh romaine lettuce will keep them happy
Thanks, bholmes.

I moved them out after getting the high levels. Such a bummer for my son, he says he understands the concept of needing the good germs for healthy fish, but I think his patience needs a little work. I really thought we were all good after a couple days in the "safe" reading zones.

Sigh. I really care about fish, and I hate to be putting them through this.
I think next time ask if they can give you a large bag and add more water to it. There's no reason to do bring your own water for a few hours.
This LFS seemed to have a great selection, but the people working there had no idea what they were doing. Example: instead of filling the bag with air from a pump, the gal blew into the bag to fill it with air. The staff was pretty condescending to us when we weren't buying the $100 ray, or looking at the oscars, just some cherry barbs for me, and the two angels for my son.

I knew the fishies would be in the bags for at least two hours, maybe more, so was trying to err on the safe side. Lot of good it did.
Another possible problem with transporting fish a long way is not the transport, but the water at each end may have different mineral levels.

If fish are moved from soft to hard water, or from hard to soft water they need more than an hour of drip acclimation.

I check the water in the bag the fish come in and set up my quarantine tank to match that, then the fish acclimate very easily. My match may not be perfect, but it is a lot closer than it might have been any other way.
Then, while the fish are in quarantine I make water changes that gradually alter the water to match the display tank.

How I would handle the tank at this point:
Do the fishless cycle.
Alternate: Get more nitrifying bacteria from another healthy tank. Best source of nitrifying bacteria is the filter media. Do not take so much that the other tank has a problem. I have taken about 25% of the filter media. The tanks were well established, so there was a good bacteria population on all the surfaces. This means that 25% of the filter media might have meant as little as 1/8 of the bacteria. This is low enough amount that the plants very easily kept the ammonia under control.
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The one on the left looks to be a koi angel and the right one is a gold angel. I'm pretty sure I know what store you went to considering there isn't too many LFS in the state and I have been to them all several times. If you are ever in the Omaha area I would suggest going to Nebraska Aquatic Supply. I was just there yesterday and they have really nice quality fish and plants. I have made several trips from Lincoln and Omaha with fish in bags and they have been just fine, as a matter of fact I have brought fish back from Colorado this summer and after a 5+ hour drive they were all fine. Most fish that you buy have made trips of longer than 3 hours just to get to the store. Where in Nebraska do you live? There is a guy that is local to me that raises koi angels and sells to my LFS once in a while.
Thanks, bholmes.
Anytime. When I had a couple different fish and rays that passed after I had them for some time I gave them a burial. Never fun to lose animals that you care for
Wow those definitely died of a very acute nitrogen poisoning. The gills are burnt off entirely. I assume your tank is larger than your sons. Maybe the portion of live media from yours would be enough to fill it up... how larger is your sons tank? P. scalare angels get fairly large although not as big as wild altums and do much better in taller tanks rather than longer, especially veils. The koi angel in your photo would have grown to a beautiful specimen. Angels are my favorite fish. I would give you some picture of kois of similar pattern if I could figure out how to get the attachment feature of the forum to work on an android device. (choose file button does nothing)

If you decide to buy angels online when your tank is ready may I suggest they have great stock both on quality and variety. The site also has a lot of fairly good angel specific tutorial type articles if you are new to angels.
OP, angel related posts catch my attention and with you asking here for help I returned to your thread to read the replies and followup with another post if I thought it might help. (imo) you've received some great replies helping not only to determine what type angel was lost but also why. The common name identification was made easier with the post #7 pics. Not only the red displayed in the gill area (expected with blushers and some other younger fish by the way) is the blood surfaced at the base of the ventral fins. Bet the other fins were frayed badly too, sad the way they went. Hopefully the loss gains you knowledge for a future where you can avoid this happening again.

Healthy fish properly purged and prepared for shipping are much more stress and 'bag' tolerant than those already weak or stressed by less than ideal conditions. Shipped fish and fish bought out of the tank at the LFS should be considered as completely different situations. Higher pH factors in with ammonia toxicity and any number of other things could have been going against the new fish before they hit your tank at home. You really have no clue what the exposures were before the fish were put in your hands. "the gal blew into the bag to fill it with air" isn't really a huge concern because we humans expel most of the oxygen we inhale with every breath, a condescending attitude is another story and bad practice. Most store owners or managers really appreciate a private word from customers who feel this way. You would do them a favor by telling them.

Road trip purchases even here in Florida (the land of tropical fish farms) isn't unheard of these days. Mom & Pop stores are sadly faded from view nationwide. Carry an empty cooler and some towels with you, tell the vendor you have miles to go and limit the number of fish bagged together. Get them to use larger bags. Placing the fish in a towel lined cooler eliminates temperature swings during travel. With the lid kept in place the blackout conditions of reduced noise and light keeps stress to a minimum.

There are a large number of vendors selling fish online.
Some very good, some not so great, some sadly lacking, mileage may vary so to speak.
From the Aquabid auction outlet down to the small hobby breeders like HobbyNutzHatchery so probably choices easily in the hundreds if not thousands. I've watched angelfishusa grow from a residential garage based operation into the storefront web based outlet it is today. Purchased from them once. PLZ always remember your mileage may and many times will vary. Because a named recommendation has been made I'll make another, AngelsPlus. Steve has the only truly closed breeding facility in the U.S. to date. A pathogen and parasite free zone that is unrivaled. Steve's company has a wealth of things going for it that makes it easy to refer folks to his site. Years in the trade, a vast knowledge of genetics and basically all things angel related. He is well respected in the extreme among breeders. Great angel specific articles and even more important some of the best customer service on the web.

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Thank you all for the very helpful replies.

ua hua: Thanks for the IDs. I am in the Grand Island area. Guess I'll plan for Omaha next time.

Bholmes; no Prime locally, after my next paycheck I'll order some for the future.

TheFoleys: their gills were bright red at purchase. the LFS gal snorted at me when I commented on it, saying "that is the color of gills, you can only see them because their skin is so thin". But from the tank levels, I shudder to think of the little guys' last hours.
My tank is only 15g, my son's is just 10. The plan is to get a large tank once his is established and healthy and he learns how to take care of it (and is a little stronger, to lug all that water around). His tank would have only a couple of 'centerpiece' fish and a cleanup crew.

wkndracer: really great info, thank you. I never thought of the cooler/towels idea, but will definitely use it! Unfortunately, the LFS manager was one of the people who was snotty to us, so I don't think he'd help.

Live and learn, I guess, but I'm just appalled at the number of stupid mistakes I made; this being my second go-around at this. I'm kind of research obsessed, and am just kicking myself for harming those sweet little fish.

Thank you all for your help and support, and for not yelling at me.
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Any one who claims that livestock in their tank has never died do to error is a liar...period
I wouldn't worry about it. Now if you had put a siphon hose down in your gavel then got distracted and went out to dinner and came home to a dozen parrot fish laying on rocks now that would be a stupid mistake.:(

A friend of mine who manages an lfs in nj gave me a tip. Never buy store stock that just came in... Make sure they have been there for a couple of days or a week. Let the problems be theirs!
Although the lfs obviously lacked costumer service skills the koi had a lovely pattern if you are headed back in that dirrection anyway soon might want to see if they have similar stock that's settled in. from the forum classifieds you will likely get a healthy fish if the pm pans out. I often complain about the crowded area I live in... But 50 bucks in gas to get to the pet store omg. There has got to be at least 8 lfs within 20min of here. I bet you make a good list when you go to stores so you don't forget anything.
I snapped a pick of my koi he's med sized. Shouldn't see any red by the fins or veils (if veiled). Although a hint of color by the gill is normal on white fish if they are very young.

It's cellphone pics but you able to see the fins and gills despite blur
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Thanks, Foleys. That helps.

Such beauties you have!
There's been lots of good sound advice given here that I'll just say is absolutely correct. The tank obviously isn't cycled and you understand that now. The tough part a parent has to deal with is getting your son to fully understand and buy into the need for patience. How old is he?

I would try to stick with the hardier color variants like marbles, golds, and silvers. Store-bought color variants like koi (definitely the one on the left), albino, and blacks are just more fragile by their nature. That fragile nature is further compounded by the fact that they were most likely purchased through the usual wholesale supply chain which in some cases brings fish from far-flung countries. Let's just say that the box store love selling $8 fish they paid 50 cents for. Take that a step further, the supply chain doesn't treat a 50 cent fish very well. So if you don't put bring those fish into the very best of water parameters, they just won't make it, even in marginal tanks.

I can fully sympathize with the issues of driving a crazy distance to a LFS. Actually I have it worse than you do. I usually piggyback those trips with other errands or trips to make it cost-effective. So I've come to see Aquabid as quite a resource, since most fish the size of what you lost have no problems with priority mail shipping and they come to you from breeders that really aren't all that far. Some may end up arriving overnight and the mailman brings them to your door. Be VERY, VERY mindful of the feedback aquabid vendors receive and you'll most likely save quite a bundle, get very healthy fish that are more suited to transitioning to home aquariums, and help out a fish nut with 1,000 gallons of water in their basement, lol!
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