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Why Are My Angelfish’s Ventral Fins Broken?

Why Are My Angelfish’s Ventral Fins Broken?

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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.

Taking care of angelfish is something that many people are passionate about. These gorgeous fish look great in home fish tanks, and many think of them as some of the best possible pet fish.

One reason why angelfish are so great for home aquariums is that they’re hardy. Generally, angelfish are easy to care for even if you’re a beginner.

There can be issues that will pop up from time to time, though. For example, you might notice that one of the angelfish in your tank has a broken ventral fin.

What can you do in this situation? Will the fin grow back or heal on its own?

Keep reading to get more information about angelfish ventral fin injuries. You’ll have a much better idea of what to expect.

What Does the Ventral Fin Do?

Fish Diagram with Ventral Fin

If you’re wondering whether the ventral fin is important for an angelfish, then the answer is yes. An angelfish won’t die because they have a bent or broken ventral fin, but it will make it a lot harder for them to move around normally.

The ventral fin helps angelfish with steering. It allows angelfish to stop quickly, and it’s great for making sudden turns.

An angelfish will be able to turn and swim even without the ventral fin, but it won’t be nearly as mobile. It’s an essential part of helping angelfish to get around and do what they need to do to survive.

Ventral fins are located below the fish. The fin that is located on top of the fish is known as the dorsal fin.

Dorsal fins can also be injured in the same way as ventral fins. The dorsal fins give the angelfish some defense against rolling in the water.

Angelfish also have an anal fin, but this isn’t what is being discussed today. All of the fins are important, and it isn’t good for one of the fins to become injured.

Regardless, you shouldn’t panic when you notice that an angelfish has a broken or damaged fin. Things can get back to normal in most situations.

What Causes This to Happen?

Male Angelfish

The first thing that you’ll think about upon noticing that your angelfish is having problems with its ventral fin will be “why?” Why would this happen, and what could cause this to happen in the fish tank?

Honestly, there are many potential reasons why an angelfish could break its ventral fin. Ventral fins aren’t so sturdy that they will be able to stand up to punishment.

Your fish could have had its ventral fin broken or bent in an altercation of some sort. For example, if you have two male angelfish in the same tank, then it’s very likely that they will fight each other.

It’s pretty common to hear about male angelfish injuring each other while battling for territory. This is why it’s generally recommended not to keep two males in the same tank.

Even if you don’t have two males in the tank, it’s possible that your angelfish could have been fighting other fish. If you keep tankmates in the aquarium that are too big and aggressive for the angelfish to handle, then it could lead to the fish getting injured.

Likewise, if you pick fish that the angelfish will be able to pick on too easily, then those fish could wind up getting hurt. You need to pick compatible tankmates so that things such as this will be less likely to happen.

Ventral fin injuries aren’t always caused by fighting, though. It’s also possible that your fish could have injured itself by ramming into something.

You might keep rocks or other objects in the fish tank for aesthetic purposes. This is totally fine, but your fish could have been careless and rammed into a solid object.

If the fish hit the object hard enough, then it could have broken its ventral fin. Another possibility to consider is that the fish got stuck on something and injured the ventral fin in the process.

So you now know that many different things could cause a fish to injure its ventral fin. The angelfish has a broken ventral fin, but what can you do to help things get better?

Will Angelfish Fins Heal or Grow Back?

Zebra Angelfish with Ventral Fins in Focus

You should rest easy with the knowledge that angelfish ventral fins can heal. They can even grow back if something particularly gruesome happened, but this depends on the severity of the injury.

So long as the fins are partially intact, they should grow back in six weeks. This is assuming that the damage is not too severe.

When you want to support the healing process, it’ll be crucial to protect the fish from harm. This means that you want to place the fish in a safe tank where it isn’t going to be attacked by other fish.

Many people choose to transfer injured angelfish to a “hospital tank.” In this quarantined tank, you’ll be able to ensure that the fish isn’t in danger of being injured any further.

Also, the fish won’t have to fight to get food by competing with the other fish. That might be tough for the angelfish when it has a bent or broken ventral fin.

To help the fish heal as fast as possible, you’ll need to maintain ideal water conditions. This means keeping an eye on the water temperature as well as the pH balance.

You likely already know this, but angelfish need to be kept in fish tanks that have a pH balance between 6.8 and 7.8. You’ll want the temperature to stay between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

So long as you’re keeping an eye on the tank, everything will likely be fine. Continue to feed the fish normally and it should get back to normal before you know it.

Consider Raising the Temperature in the Tank

Raising the temperature in the tank might help the angelfish to have an easier time getting better. You need to try to help the fish avoid getting an infection, and water that is a bit hotter will help.

It will be harder for bacteria to survive and infect the fish if the water is somewhat hot. This doesn’t mean that you need to boil the angelfish, of course.

You’re just raising the water temperature to the higher end of what is acceptable for the fish. So do your best to keep the temperature of the water at a steady 84 degrees Fahrenheit and that should help.

It’ll be much less likely that the ventral fin will become infected this way. You’ll be able to keep the angelfish safe by being proactive.

Add Salt to the Water for a Healing Boost

Spoonful of Salt

Adding some salt to the water might be able to give the angelfish a healing boost. If you add aquarium salt to the tank, then this will make it even less likely that the angelfish will have to deal with an infection.

You can protect the fish and give it the chance that it needs to heal properly. Many angelfish enthusiasts highly recommend adding salt to the water when caring for sick angelfish.

Of course, you don’t add table salt to the fish tank when you’re doing this. You’re going to need to go to the aquarium store and buy some aquarium salt that you can utilize.

Read the instructions on the package if you’re new to adding salt to fish tanks. You don’t want to use too much or that could be bad for the fish.

Typically, you’ll be instructed to use half of a teaspoon for every gallon of water. With this done, you should feel more confident that your fish will be okay.

Issues with Deformities

If an angelfish has a fin deformity of some sort, then you might think that cutting it off might help the fish. Since the fin will grow back, it should grow back without the deformity, right?

Sadly, this is not the case. If you were to cut off a deformed angelfish’s fin, then the fin would grow back with the deformity. This deformity occurs because of the genetics of the fish.

The fish wouldn’t be able to suddenly grow a completely healthy and normal-looking fin. Annoyingly, many retail workers wind up cutting off deformed fins to try to hide the deformities.

This keeps people from realizing that the fish that they’re purchasing have deformities. They then purchase the fish expecting that the fish is just regrowing a fin, but then they realize that the fish is deformed.

Situations such as this make it important to try to seek out a reputable retailer. You shouldn’t buy angelfish from companies that lack scruples.

Final Thoughts

Having a better understanding of what happens when an angelfish gets a broken ventral fin will help to set your mind at ease. The fin can grow back and it can heal so long as you care for the fish properly.

It’s likely wise to move the fish to a hospital tank so that it won’t be attacked by other fish while in a weakened state. You should support the fish and take steps to try to keep it from getting an infection.

Eventually, the fish will heal up and things will be back to normal. You should be able to reintroduce the fish to the main tank when you’re ready.

Just bear in mind that you might wish to permanently separate the fish if it is fighting with the other fish and getting injured. You might need to do a better job of picking compatible tankmates for the angelfish.

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