Keeping angelfish in your aquarium can be great, but you do need to take the time to care for the fish properly. If you aren’t doing a good job of giving the fish what they need, then they might not be able to stay healthy.
Sometimes the mistakes that you make can lead to issues with stress. Stressed fish are more susceptible to illness, and they might even be more likely to injure themselves.
Even normal and healthy fish can get injured in a fish tank, though. Have you noticed that your angelfish has some sort of fin injury?
When an angelfish injures its fin, it’s going to be able to recover over time. What if the fin is completely broken, though?
If the fin is broken, then will it go back to normal with enough time? If the fin gets ripped off, will it be able to grow back?
Continue reading to learn about angelfish fins and whether they can grow back. This will help you to know everything that you need to know about fin injuries.
Angelfish Fins Will Grow Back
The good news is that injured angelfish fins will grow back. If you’re concerned about your angelfish being injured for life, then you should know that it’s very likely that the fin will be able to grow back just fine.
Generally, it takes six weeks for an angelfish fin to grow back. This is assuming that the fin is at least partially there, though.
A fin that has been completely cut off will also grow back, but it could take slightly longer. The exact amount of time that it will take for a fin to come back can vary, but you can expect it to take six weeks or slightly longer.
Severe damage will make the healing process more difficult. However, the fins are designed to be able to grow back, and this means that your angelfish should be okay if you continue to care for it properly.
There are concerns that you will want to address to ensure that the angelfish survives, though. When an angelfish gets part of its fin torn off or broken, it’s going to be weakened significantly.
Later, you’ll learn a bit about the risk of infection and why it’s so important to watch out for infection issues. For now, you might be wondering why these injuries occur in the first place.
Reasons Why Angelfish Fins Get Injured or Torn Off
There are all sorts of reasons why an angelfish might get an injured fin. Fins can get chewed, torn, or bent by many different things in a fish tank.
If your fish accidentally rams into a rock in the fish tank, then it could easily break its fin. Sometimes accidents such as this do occur, and you shouldn’t have to worry too much since the fin will be able to heal.
You might notice that certain fish will try to nibble on the fins of the angelfish. Even angelfish will sometimes do this to other angelfish.
This is generally harmless, but a bigger fish might sometimes take a big chunk out of an angelfish fin. It can be particularly problematic if you have a fish in the tank that is bullying the angelfish.
You need to take the time to pick out tankmates for the angelfish carefully. Never just throw angelfish in a tank with random fish because things can go very wrong.
It wouldn’t be too unusual for an angelfish to get injured in a fight. They are semi-aggressive fish, and they will do what they can to defend themselves.
They’ll also bully fish that are smaller than them sometimes. You need to pick fish for the tank that will get along with the angelfish well enough.
Two male angelfish that are kept in a very small tank might fight too much. They will sometimes injure each other.
Fights such as this don’t usually lead to one fish killing the other. However, it could happen if the fish are kept in a small enough tank.
Another thing to consider is whether the angelfish got injured by getting stuck on something. Sometimes angelfish might get stuck when swimming through a plant or some type of aquarium decoration.
If the fish isn’t careful, then it could rip its fin off. This sounds very gruesome, but it should be able to grow back.
What About Deformed Fins?
Now that you know that angelfish fins can grow back, it’s easy to start thinking about other possibilities. Some fish might be born with certain abnormalities.
Angelfish are bred to look a specific way, and sometimes the breeding process will produce fish that have problems. For example, a fish might come out with some type of fin deformity that prevents it from looking completely normal.
In this circumstance, would you be able to cut the deformed fin off so that it could grow back? This won’t work in the way that you’re hoping.
If you were to cut off a deformed fin, then it would indeed grow back, but it would grow back with the same deformity. A natural deformity that a fish has at birth is going to be its normal state.
When you cut the fin off, it’s going to regrow back to how it normally was. It doesn’t grow back as a normal fin if the fish never had a normal fin to begin with.
Some people make the mistake of thinking that the fin regrowing process can fix deformity issues. Cutting off an angelfish fin will serve no purpose, and it’s not generally recommended to do things such as this to the fish.
Sadly, there are some pet stores that will cut the fins off of these fish to hide deformities. They assume that customers will see the fish without its fins and assume that the fins will grow back as normal.
It allows them to sell the fish easier whereas customers might not have bought the fish if they knew that it was deformed. This is certainly a shady business practice, and it’s just another reason to only buy fish from reputable retailers.
The Risk of Infection
The risk of infection is something that can cause your angelfish to die. When the angelfish has a severely injured fin, it’s going to be in a weakened state.
When angelfish have been weakened, they will be much more susceptible to infections. Bacteria that are present in the fish tank could wind up getting in the wound.
If this happens, then your fish could experience many different things. The fish could get sick, but it could also experience something very problematic such as fin rot.
You want to try to keep the fish from getting infected so that it will have time to regrow its fin. To support the fish, it’s going to be wise to ensure that the temperature of the water is fairly high.
Under normal circumstances, angelfish are supposed to live in water temperatures between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people try to keep the temperature of the tank around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but you might keep the temperature lower than this if there are other fish in the tank that don’t like the water being too warm.
You could try to move the angelfish to a “hospital tank” where it can be kept in warm water. It’ll help to keep bacteria at bay so that the fish won’t get infected.
If the fish is already infected, then keeping it in warm water is still recommended. It can keep further infection issues from popping up.
Some angelfish experts recommend adding aquarium salt to the water of the hospital tank, too. Normally, you wouldn’t want to do this since freshwater angelfish do not need to have salt added to the water.
However, the aquarium salt can have healing benefits when the fish is infected and trying to regrow a fin. Just be sure to check the instructions on the aquarium salt so that you don’t add too much to the water.
Aquarium salt has the potential to be detrimental to angelfish. You won’t want to go overboard or else everything could backfire.
You can get aquarium salt from the pet store, but it can also be purchased online. Be sure that you’re using legitimate aquarium salt and not table salt or some other type of salt.
Some people also like to use stress coat products to treat the water. Products such as this use aloe vera to heal the damaged tissue near the injury site.
It’s said to be able to help prevent infections from happening. This is an inexpensive product that can be found at pet stores.
You might wish to try this in lieu of aquarium salt, but it’s up to you to decide what to do. If you’re looking for the best advice on caring for your angelfish during this time, then talking to an exotic veterinarian is recommended.
More About Angelfish Fin Rot
Fin rot is a horrible issue that can take your angelfish out if you don’t treat it properly. You might be wondering how to identify fin rot if you’ve never seen it before.
A fish that is experiencing fin rot will have a fin that looks very wrong. It’ll start to look as if it’s rotted and it’ll likely be a dark red color.
When you examine the angelfish fin, you’ll probably see that it looks jagged and uneven. There could be a white growth on the fin too.
This shows you that the fin is infected. The exact appearance should help you to determine the type of infection that you’re dealing with.
When you see a white growth on the fin, that’s going to be a sign that the fish has a fungal infection. Bacterial infections cause the fin to look dark and rough.
How Do You Treat an Infected Fin?
Treating an infected fin can be easy or it can be complicated. It all depends on the severity of the injury.
Minor infections might get better if you simply change the water regularly. If the infection looks bad, then you’ll actually have to treat it if you wish for the fish to live.
Of course, moving the fish to a hospital tank is the best course of action. That will allow you to easily raise the temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can start treating the fish using aquarium salt or you could use the stress coat products that you can find at the pet store. If the situation is really bad, then you might need to look into antibiotic treatment options to try to clear up the infection.
Continue to look after the fish and feed it a healthy diet. Hopefully, the fish will be able to get rid of the infection and start looking normal again before too long.
Just understand that angelfish can die if the fin rot gets too bad. It’s also worth knowing that the same thing can happen with the tail.
Issues with Using Antibiotic Treatments
There are sometimes issues that pop up when using antibiotic treatments. Many angelfish enthusiasts recommend avoiding using antibiotics to treat infections unless it becomes a necessity.
You see, many of the medicines that can be used to clear up infections will also eliminate helpful bacteria. When you treat a tank with antibiotics, you’re going to be putting the treatment directly in the water.
This will make it so that the entire tank is impacted by what is happening. Of course, only the hospital tank is going to be impacted if you’re approaching this the right way.
You never want to treat the main tank with antibiotics. You’d be eliminating the helpful bacteria in the tank, and this would throw off the nitrogen cycle substantially.
When you don’t know what to do, it’s always recommended to take the time to speak to an expert. Perhaps the best course of action will be to discuss your options with an exotic veterinarian.
An exotic vet will be able to examine the fish to see exactly what is wrong. Also, they can give you advice about what you should be doing to help the fish get better.
You should have a much clearer idea of how to safely treat the fish after speaking to the vet. While it’s likely that the vet will have the same advice of using a hospital tank to support the healing process, they will be able to definitively say whether the fish needs antibiotic treatments for infection issues.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local exotic veterinarian. You’ll come away from the situation much more informed, and this will give you the confidence that you need to succeed.
Sometimes the Fish Won’t Survive
There are certain situations where the fish won’t survive being infected. If you didn’t notice that the fish got injured and it wound up being infected for a long time, then it could be too far gone.
In this situation, it’s up to you to decide if you would like to attempt to save it. You could transfer the fish to a hospital tank and see if you can do anything for it.
Some might think that there isn’t any harm in trying to do what you can. However, if the fish appears to be in very rough shape, then it might be kinder to simply euthanize it.
You can talk to your veterinarian about the best options for euthanizing the fish if you’re so inclined. It might seem horrible to have to do something such as this, but sometimes you don’t have many other options.
Luckily, most fish owners are going to catch these infection issues before they get too bad. So long as you’re an observant aquarium owner, you’ll be able to see that something is wrong with the fish fairly early on.
It’s always best to try to treat the fish as soon as you can. When you notice that a fish has an injured fin, you want to do what you can to try to keep the infection from becoming an issue.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to keep a better eye on the tank now that you know this. You don’t need to be paranoid about your fish getting injured since fins can heal and grow back, but it is wise to support the fish as best you can.
After learning more about angelfish fins, it should feel like a relief to know that they can grow back. If your angelfish has its fin torn off somehow, then it will be able to get back to normal.
An average angelfish fin injury won’t take too long to heal. A fin that has been partially ripped off should grow back in around six weeks.
It can take a bit longer for a more substantial fin injury to heal and grow back. Sometimes it isn’t easy to determine how fast a fin will grow back since it can differ based on various factors.
You can try to support the fish during this time so that it stays healthy. Since the angelfish will be susceptible to getting an infection at the wound site during this time, it’ll be a good idea to do what you can to prevent infection issues from popping up.
Transfer the fish to a hospital tank if you can and ensure that the water temperature is kept at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything should be fine if all goes as planned.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.