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Hi everyone...sorry this is a bit long....like usual....s h i t I ramble....

I had 2 juvenile angelfish in my 40 gallon (2.5 feet long x 18x20) (first ever) planted tank. Substrate is organic dirt capped with pea gravel...Plants are all beginner simple plants...elodea, wisteria, pennywort, java fern and java moss with duckweed on surface. I believe that my 2 angels were a pair as they were staying together and had different body shapes and size. Tank was fully cycled (fishless) and also did many water changes...tank has been up and running for at least 4 months. Other fish in tank are assorted tetras - cardinals, neons (yes, I know..now....the angels kill them..) serpae, phantom and glowlight plus corydoras, 3 guppies and a lone female betta. Tank is filtered with a HMF.

The other morning I discovered that my female had died. There were no marks on fish but I had noticed that fish had not been acting like self and was hanging back rather than usual laps at front looking for food. This morning I noticed that my other angel was hovering near the surface and his head was twitching....I did not bother with doing a water test as I realised that I needed to just get a water change done pronto as it was obviously something with the water. I do weekly water changes of 30% and feed only once a day.

I suspect that I was having an ammonia spike...I think that fish who have laterally compressed bodies are far more susceptible to ammonia probs as I had similair issue with a severum and silver dollars...could be coincidence but the behaviour/reaction was same...

when I tested my water before previous water change everything was good...0 ammonia 0 nitrite 20 nitrate...I checked use by date on test kit and it does not expire till late next year...

I have researched a bit about this on google and found an article which talked about proteins being often responsible for ammonia spikes...I normally feed just a tropical flake and blood worms (every second day)...this week I gave them some spirulina flakes which all fish were eating...could change in food cause this?...I know that spirulina is high protein food....any way

I have done 40% water change and added an airstone to increase aeration...angel is no longer at surface and is now more in the middle, but still towards the rear of tank...and head twitching has stopped..seems to be breathing easier and does not look as stressed as before...hopefully it will be okay.

Is there anything else I could do or have I done all I can?

I was planning on doing another smaller water change tomorrow - good idea?

Thanks for your help guys...I am still a newbie...and this is my first planted...just really disappointed as was looking forward to watching pair grow and maybe having fry at some point....

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Might be gill flukes.

Yes ammonia comes from protein but fish need protein to like live and stuff so what ya gonna do lol?

But yea that twitching.... I dont like it.

Worth checking its not ammonia but yea..... sounds a bit.... fluke.

Iv'e just spent some time sitting and having a real good look at the angel....Is looking slightly red around the underside of neck (for want of a better word) and a bit reddish around gills too...I could not see this as well this morning because of where he was...(behind some plants)...I could only see his face and back half...the twitching was weird but I saw that on the silver dollars and severum as well...its not like when they want to scratch, more of a involuntary twitch..spasm like.

He is a lot better than he was earlier but I dont believe he is out of the woods yet....I lost 4 out of 5 of my silver dollars to ammonia...(canister problem and my stupidity)..I caught them and placed them in a bucket with a mix of fresh and tank water as well as 2 airstones..was not enough...only 1 made it...

From what I read, apart from the ammonia in the water, the gills on the fish get to a point where the damage/swelling means that they cannot expel ammonia sufficiently and so it builds up in their blood stream..so even though I have done a water change and increased aeration - his gills are working against him....I will do another water change in the morning and hopefully he will still be alive and okay.

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Can you test for ammonia?

I did after the water change and it was showing zero ammonia....I just felt getting fresh water into the tank was more important at the time...I guess because Iv'e seen this before with my other fish that died (see above)...and I know that they can die quick...but I only did a 40% water change...would think that there might still be some sort of reading...ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrates was only 10 which is where I expect it to be after a water change...is it possible that there could be a small amount, small enough for it to not show on test?...I'm confused.

I'm a bit anal and I like to not let my colour on my tests ever get into the red zone with my nitrates (API master test kit) ...pale orange is okay...but no red....if I see red its water change time...even if they only had one less than a week ago..

I will test water again in the morning and do another small water change, keep airstone going and I will not feed them for a couple of days...wondering if tank is trying to find equilibrium/balance.....or something..????? ..frustrating.

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Doesnt sound like it was ammonia to me.

Other angelfish dead this morning. Found these long stringy things hanging off the elodea. Looks like the poo that the fish was doing day before except more of it..white, thin and stringy....worms? parasites?....all other fish look fine..are looking for food and active...

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get a bottle of fluke and worm tablets, Blue planet does a bottle of 30 its not cheap at $30 a bottle but cheaper than buying new fish.

When animals ,including us,get a bad case of worms,they stop eating and become very weak and slow moving,until the worm multiply to such

a great number that the gut pops and the fish bloods out from the inside,that white stringy stuff would be worm eggs and their **** the fish ain't eating for its self its eating for its worm farm.Not having any aeration in the tank wouldn't of helped things either,they would of be stressed out not having enough air,then the worms on top of that. Poor ****ers

mate your best friend and source of info is your lfs.i you would of gone to one of the many in the know pet shops around Brissy you may of been able to save your Angel with a couple of crashed tablet. I f you had a spike big enough to kill your female all your fish would be belly up

Edited by swimmers
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