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What Causes an Angelfish to Have Hole in the Head Disease?

What Causes an Angelfish to Have Hole in the Head Disease?

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

You care about your pet fish, and this means that you want to try to give them the best life possible. Taking care of your fish well should allow you to enjoy having them in your tank for many years.

There are many issues that can arise when you’re caring for angelfish, though. Although these fish are considered to be very hardy, they are going to be susceptible to certain diseases.

Once such bothersome disease is known as “hole-in-the-head.” As you might expect by the name, it’s not something that bodes well for your angelfish.

Read on to learn more about hole-in-the-head and what you can do to try to protect your angelfish. This should give you the right information so that you can make informed decisions.

Understanding Hole-in-the-Head Disease

Hole-in-the-head disease is also referred to as Hexamita by those in the know. This is actually a type of parasitic disease that is caused when a parasite multiplies rapidly.

You’ll be able to tell that your angelfish is experiencing issues with this disease by examining it. Eventually, you’ll be able to see pitting and erosion in the fish’s head.

Researchers are still learning about hole-in-the-head disease, but you should know that it can be very problematic. Under normal conditions, Hexamita infect the intestinal tract before spreading to areas of the body such as the abdominal cavity, gallbladder, and spleen.

When the disease continues to progress, it causes lesions to appear on the fish. These lesions may discharge white threads that will contain parasitic larvae.

It’s a very nasty disease that has the potential to kill your angelfish. The fish typically wind up dying due to secondary infections from the lesions that appear on the body.

This all sounds very grim for the poor angelfish, but there are treatment options. A fish can survive this disease if the right actions are taken.

Signs of Hole-in-the-Head Disease

There are quite a few signs of hole-in-the-head disease that you should keep in mind. If you’re curious whether your fish has the disease, then you might want to try to notice the signs before you start seeing erosion in the head.

Fish that have this disease will often stop eating as much as they usually do. A loss of appetite could be a sign that a fish has been infected.

When the fish defecate, the feces are going to be white and stringy. It should be quite easy to see that the feces in the water will be much different than normal.

Also, the fish is going to lose color. Your angelfish won’t appear to be as vibrant as usual when they’re sick this way.

The lesions on the head will be the final sign that will tell you that it is time to take action. When you notice that your fish is sick, it’s imperative to start treating it as soon as you can.

Waiting too long is going to make it harder to nurse the fish back to health. Ideally, you want to try to catch this disease before things get too bad.

How to Treat This Disease

Treating this disease typically involves quarantining fish that are infected. You’ll want to move infected angelfish to a “hospital tank.”

In this special tank, you’ll be able to treat the infected fish as necessary. Generally, you’ll want to add antibiotic treatments to the water in an attempt to clear up the infection.

Aside from this, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the water quality in the hospital tank. You’ll need to keep the water temperature and the pH balance in the right range to protect your fish.

While the fish are attempting to recover, it’ll be wise to feed them the best-quality food that you can. You might want to spring for frozen shrimp to give the angelfish the energy that they need to keep fighting.

Experts also say that you should keep the tank warm. Normally, you want to keep angelfish in a fish tank that has the water temperature set between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the fish are dealing with a parasitic infection such as this, it’d be prudent to gradually raise the temperature of the water to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It should help you to get rid of the parasites.

Once the fish are healthy again, you’ll be able to lower the temperature back to a normal range. Just remember to do so gradually rather than dropping the temperature by ten degrees rapidly.

Preventing Hole-in-the-Head Disease

Preventing hole-in-the-head disease is really about taking care of your fish the right way. You want to take measures to ensure that the fish are being cared for very well.

The angelfish should be less likely to have issues with parasites if they aren’t experiencing stress. Sources of stress include aggressive tankmates, excessive noise, and living in too small of a fish tank.

Ensure that you do what you can to keep the fish in a good environment where they won’t be stressed. You might need to move the tank to a quieter location depending on the situation in your home.

It’ll also be necessary to feed the fish properly. Fish that aren’t getting the proper nutrition will be more susceptible to various diseases.

The same thing can happen when you don’t keep an eye on the water quality in the tank. You need to keep the tank clean, and this means changing out the water a bit at a time on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

You should be testing the water regularly to ensure that the pH balance is in the right range, too. It’s necessary to keep the temperature in the right range so that the fish don’t experience health issues.

If you keep an eye on all of this, then your fish will have the best shot at staying healthy. When you care for fish to the best of your ability, it’s unlikely that hole-in-the-head disease will become an issue.