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Angelfish Fin Rot (5 Factors That Lead to It)

Angelfish Fin Rot (5 Factors That Lead to It)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You love your angelfish because of how pretty they are in your fish tank. They’re excellent additions to just about any aquarium because of how gracefully they move through the water and how colorful they are.

These fish are among the most popular pet fish for a reason. You want to do your best to take care of them so that they will remain in your aquarium for a long time to come.

That’s why it’s so disturbing when you notice signs of fin rot. You might see that the angelfish have issues with their fins, and this will make you wonder what went wrong.

What causes angelfish to experience fin rot? Can you treat this problem so that the fish can get better?

Read on to learn everything that you need to know about angelfish fin rot. This should help you to feel much more prepared to tackle this issue for the sake of your angelfish.

What Does Fin Rot Look Like?

Perhaps it’s a good idea to confirm that what you’re looking at is actually fin rot before you get too worked up. It might be easy to mistake a simple injury for fin rot if you’re a newcomer to the hobby.

When an angelfish is experiencing fin rot, it will develop a film that appears to be white and milky. It’ll also have fins that look very rough.

Examining the fins will show you that they have become ragged. Some people have described fin rot as making the fins look as if they’ve been chewed up in some way.

Usually, fin rot starts at the edges of the fins and then progresses toward the body of the fish. It’ll keep eating away at the fin if you don’t treat it, and it could easily kill your angelfish.

This is a serious condition, and it’s also considered to be highly contagious. For this reason, it isn’t something that you can ignore, or else all of your angelfish will soon be in danger.

What Causes Angelfish Fin Rot?

If you’re certain that your angelfish are experiencing fin rot, then you’re probably wondering how this happened in the first place. You do your best to care for your fish, and this makes you confused since something must have gone wrong somewhere.

Learning a bit about what causes angelfish fin rot should help you to get to the bottom of the situation. There are actually many things that can go wrong and cause this problem.

1 – Improper pH Balance

Keeping the angelfish in a tank with an improper pH balance will cause them significant harm. Specifically, if the water has a high pH balance, then the angelfish might be at an increased risk for getting fin rot issues.

Under normal circumstances, you want the pH balance of the water to remain between 6.8 and 7.8. You should be testing the pH balance regularly to ensure that things stay in the right range.

To do this, you’ll be able to use a simple pH balance testing kit. You’ll want to keep these handy because you’ll be checking the balance of the tank a lot if you plan to continue doing this hobby.

If you’re new to caring for fish tanks, then you might have forgotten to check the balance. This could mean that the pH balance got too high and caused the fish to experience fin rot.

Normally, you’ll be able to catch the numbers going up before things get too high. You’re able to raise or lower the pH balance of the water using chemicals.

2 – Cold Water

The temperature of the water is another thing that you need to monitor. It’s recommended to keep the water temperature between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

To do this, you’ll want to use a simple heater for the aquarium. This should allow you to keep the water at a steady temperature.

Technically, angelfish can tolerate temperatures that are slightly hotter or colder than the recommended range. However, when you dip too low, it’s going to increase the risk of fin rot issues.

Do your best to keep an eye on the temperature of the water in the tank. You should have some type of thermometer that constantly displays the temperature of the tank.

Many heaters can be purchased that will have thermometers built right in. This allows you to easily glance over and check that all is well.

3 – Bad Water Quality

Bad water quality makes it more likely that the fish will get fin rot. It makes your fish less healthy and more susceptible to these issues.

You’re supposed to keep the fish tank clean for your fish. There’s a chance that you haven’t been doing a good enough job of cleaning the tank.

Often, new fish tank owners will forget to change out the water often enough. You’re supposed to change out 15% of the water each week.

You can probably get away with changing out 25% of the water on a biweekly basis as well. However, it’d be much better to get into the habit of changing the water out weekly.

It’s also good to keep organic debris out of the fish tank. If you feed the fish too much food, then you need to remove the excess food using a net or scoop.

You should also know that having too many fish in the tank can ruin the water quality. More fish will mean more fish poop, and this can make the water quite dirty.

Don’t put more fish in the tank than you can reasonably fit. You should never overcrowd a fish tank since it will stress the fish, and this makes angelfish more susceptible to many types of diseases and problems.

4 – Injuries

Injuries can cause fish to experience fin rot as well. There might be times when angelfish will damage their fins due to ramming into a rock or getting into some type of fight with another fish.

If one of the angelfish gets nipped by a large fish, then it could cause an injury large enough that it would become a problem. Of course, you’re going to want to avoid keeping your angelfish in a tank with fish that will bully them.

Angelfish will fight each other sometimes. Issues like this will get worse if you’re keeping the angels in a tank that is too small.

The injuries to the fins can make it easier for the fin rot disease to set in. Try your best to mitigate these issues by keeping fighting in the fish tank to a minimum.

5 – General Stress

You should know that stress is something that has the potential to make your fish sick. Stressed fish are much more likely to have issues with conditions such as fin rot.

There are many different things that can cause angelfish to feel stressed. Water quality issues and not having enough space will make the fish feel very stressed.

It’s also possible that keeping the fish tank in an area that is too noisy will stress the fish. Is your aquarium placed next to your television or your stereo system?

This could easily be causing the fish to become stressed, and it could be making the fish susceptible to fin rot. You’ll want to move the fish tank to a part of your house that is calmer and quieter overall.

If you have kids who like to tap on the glass of the fish tank, then you’ll want to get them to stop doing that. It stresses the fish and scares them.

Do your best to give the angelfish an environment where they can feel comfortable. You’ll be much more likely to keep the fish healthy that way.

What Type of Infection Is Fin Rot?

Some get confused about fin rot and what type of infection it is. Is this going to be an infection that is caused by bacteria or is it fungal in nature?

The answer is that it can be both. Fin rot can be a fungal infection or it can be a bacterial infection.

It’s also possible for fish to experience fin rot that is a combination of the two. One fish could have both a bacterial and fungal infection at the same time.

Sometimes, a bacterial infection will wind up leading to a severe fungal infection. Whatever the case is, you’re going to want to treat the fish as soon as possible if you want it to survive.

How Can You Fix Angelfish Fin Rot?

Fin rot is something that can be treated, but it’s easier to help the angelfish get better if you catch things early. How exactly you’re going to want to treat the fish will depend on the situation.

If only one of your fish shows signs of fin rot, then it’s wise to move that fish to a quarantine tank. This will allow you to treat the fish without impacting the rest of the tank.

Of course, you should address any potential problems with the main tank that might be making it more likely for the fish to get fin rot. Check the pH balance of the tank, monitor the temperature of the water, ensure that the water quality is high, and check all fish for signs of injuries.

Doing a water change on your main tank is important. It’s very likely that there are water quality issues even if only one fish shows signs of fin rot.

You’ll typically be treating the fish with antibacterial or antifungal medications to try to clear up the fin rot issue. You might need to remove the charcoal filter from your tank to be able to give the fish this medication since the filter will often remove the medicine from the water.

Sadly, these medications can kill beneficial bacteria in the tank. That’s why you only want to use medications like this when it’s truly necessary to do so.

People also choose to use aquarium salt to try to help the fish get better sometimes. Freshwater angelfish don’t typically need or want salt in the water, but it could help sick fish if you use it sparingly.

Just remember that you need to use legitimate aquarium salt and not salt from your table. It’s also important not to use too much since too much salt could easily be harmful to the fish.

A typical mixture will involve placing one teaspoon of salt in the tank for every gallon of water in the tank. You’d then want to raise the temperature of the water to around 85 degrees Fahrenheit to try to keep infection issues to a minimum.

If all goes well, then your fish should steadily improve. Catching things too late might mean that the fish won’t fully recover.

Fin rot is a very serious issue and it could mean the death of some of your angelfish. You’ll just have to treat the fish and see how things go.

Final Thoughts

After learning everything that you need to know about fin rot, it should be easier to understand what needs to be done. This is not something that you can ignore if you want the fish to be able to survive.

Fin rot is far easier to treat if you catch things early. If you allow fin rot to proceed to the advanced stages, then you might not be able to save the angelfish.

Luckily, there are treatment options that can work very well to get the fish looking healthy again. You can quarantine the fish to give it antibacterial or antifungal medications.

It also might be wise to use aquarium salt to help the fish get better. After some time has passed, the fish should start to show signs of improvement if all goes as planned.

If the fish was in an advanced stage of the infection, then it might not be able to fully heal. You could lose the fish despite your best efforts if you caught things too late.

Truly, the best protection against fin rot will be prevention. You want to keep the angelfish from having to deal with fin rot in the first place.

Do your best to keep a close eye on the water parameters in the aquarium. Ensure that the water in the fish tank is kept at the right temperature and that it has the right pH balance.

Keep the water clean and do water changes weekly. Watch out for the fish to ensure that it doesn’t experience significant stress issues.

If you do everything that you can as a fish tank owner, then it’ll be less likely that the fish will get fin rot. Hopefully, this information will help you to feel more confident that you can avoid situations like this in the future.

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