Monday, December 31, 2012

One Sick Angel

I've had a pretty great run with my angelfish but over the past few weeks, I've been noticing a problem with one of them.

It's a female and she's been getting larger and larger. If angelfish were live bearers, I would swear she was pregnant. But since they lay eggs, I know her big round belly is a sign of something else - dropsy.

I had some snails in the tank until recently to help keep the algae down. Someone advised me to feed the snails turtle food to keep their shells in good, strong condition because turtle food contains calcium. Well, the snails never ate it. But I suspect this black angel did. Why? Because the same thing happened to a friend and her betta.

In the photograph here, you'll see her next to a male angel. The male is vertically compressed - as all angels should be - but the female (on the left) is obviously very well rounded.

The food may have obstructed her intestines. The remedy is feeding the fish green peas (out of the shell) and other foods that should dislodge the obstruction. But she won't eat.

If she was a human, we'd do surgery on her - just open her up, cut out the obstruction, keep her in the hospital for a couple of days and then onto a soft diet until the intestines healed. If she was a dog or a cat, chances are we'd do the same thing.

But what can you do with a fish? Know any good fish surgeons? I rest my case.

I had another angel that this happened with: a beautiful golden angelfish, the original Stevie Fishnick. Her mate wouldn't leave her side so I put both of them into a hospital tank and gave her medicine. Unfortunately, the medicine didn't help and within a few days, the angel passed away. Her mate was Fleetfish Mac (she had separated from Lindsay Buckingfish) and I put the big fella back into the tank and he eventually found solace in Christy McFish's fins.

Sadly, I don't think this angel will last much longer. She has taken to hiding from the other fish, which is a sure sign that she feels vulnerable. Tomorrow I'll discuss what to do when an angel is terminally ill.