Angelfish diseases and treatments

In this article, we will learn more about “Angelfish diseases and treatments”. We will also understand the possible causes of diseases and how to avoid them.

Angelfish diseases and treatments

Angelfish can be afflicted by many diseases. Some of them are Dropsy, Fin rot, Ich/White spots disease, Velvet disease, Hexamita/ Hole in the head disease, etc. Parasites, bacteria, fungus, and the virus can cause severe illness and be fatal if not treated properly.

Many factors can contribute to disease cause and propagation, among them, are:

–       Poor water quality;

–       Inadequate filtration;

–       Improper diet/feeding;

–       Contaminated organisms or materials.

Correct water parameters are important to avoid some of these diseases. Additionally, a balanced diet and a non-stressful environment also help your fish immune system to fight potential infections.

Here we will understand the causes, symptoms, and treatments for some of the most common diseases that affect Angelfish. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that if you notice anything wrong with your fish or suspect a disease, take your fish immediately to a veterinarian. 

Do not medicate your fish without a previous veterinarian appointment. 


Dropsy is a disease caused by a bacterium. These bacteria are usually present in fish tanks. However, if your Angelfish immune system is compromised, it can propagate and cause an infection. The kidney function is highly affected by dropsy. 


The causes of Dropsy are associated with water conditions and stress. They are mainly:

–       Ammonia and nitrite high levels;

–       Poor water quality;

–       Improper diet;

–       Aggression;

–       Sudden fall in water temperature.


–       Protruding eyes and bloated body;

–       Skin lesions;

–       Curved spine;

–       Missing scales;

–       Ulcers along the lateral line;

–       Pale gills;

–       Rapid breathing;

–       Loss of appetite;

–       Lethargy.


Treatments for Dropsy are related to improving water conditions, also fighting the bacteria infection with antibiotics and strengthening the Angelfish immune system. If the disease is already in advanced stages, the chances of your fish surviving are very low. However, if noticed in the early stages, following the below steps may help your Angelfish to recover.

–       Feed your fish with high-quality foods;

–       Set a hospital tank up;

–       Add Epsom salts into the hospital tank water in ideal quantity;

–       Use antibiotics – you can opt for using them in the water or the food;

–       Analyze and correct the water parameters routinely. 

Angelfish Ich or White spot disease

The White spot disease is one of the most common diseases that affect fish. It is caused by a protozoan. This protozoan needs to be carried into the tank by contaminated organisms or materials. Before introducing and adding new organisms or features to your tank, it is important to set up a quarantine tank, to avoid water contamination.


The main causes of Ich are related to water contamination and the conditions that favour protozoan propagation. Ich, as it is also called, is also associated with stress levels and sudden temperature changes.

–       Water temperature issues;

–       Poor water quality;

–       Poor tank cleanliness;

–       Parasite (protozoan) contamination.


The Ich symptoms are easy to be detected. However, immediate treatment is required. If not treated, it can be lethal. This disease is responsible for a high mortality rate. The main symptoms are:

–       White spots along the fish body and gills;

–       Fish rubbing the body in rocks;

–       Folded fins;

–       Loss of appetite;

–       Breathing difficulties;

–       Disoriented swimming.


As parasites usually grow fast, it is very important to fight them as soon as they are detected in your Angelfish. You will need to be careful when fighting against ich.

–       Use anti-parasitic remedy;

–       Control water temperature to 86 degrees Fahrenheit;

–       Add salt into the water;

–       Keep a strict tank cleaning routine.

Angelfish Fin Rot

The Angelfish Fin Rot is a disease that directly affects the fins of your Angelfish. In general, it is caused by a group of harmful bacteria (Vibrio, Aeromonas, and Pseudomonas). These bacteria are usually present in tanks that are not appropriately cleaned. 


The Fin rot disease normally appears in tanks with precarious water conditions. The main causes are:

–       Water temperature issues;

–       Tank overpopulation;

–       Poor quality food;

–       Overfeeding;

–       Poor water quality.


As the disease name suggests, it affects directly the Angelfish fins and tail. This tissue cannot be regenerated after damage. However, some signals can be detected before it is too late for your Angelfish.

–       Fins discolouration;

–       Rotten or “shredded” fins;

–       The faded colouration of the fins/Milky-white areas;

–       Loss of appetite;

–       Swimming issues;

–       Lethargy. 


The Fin Rot disease is caused by a group of different bacteria. Thus the best option to fight is to use antibiotics and improve the water quality of your Angelfish tank.

–       Proper tank cleaning routine – 20-25% of water changes;

–       Use of antibiotics – in the food or into the water;

–       Avoid fish that nip the others;

–       If overpopulated tank, consider relocating a few fish or moving to a larger tank.

Angelfish Velvet disease

The Angelfish Velvet disease is also known as Gold Dust disease. It is caused by a parasite called Oodinium. This parasite attacks the fish body by forming a cyst and gold or greenish-brown coat. This disease if not treated can also be fatal. 


The causes are:

–       Water contamination by organisms addition to the tank without quarantining; 

–       Water temperature issues;

–       Improper tank cleaning routine.


The symptoms are not clear at the beginning of the infection. However, they are very unique when the disease is in an advanced stage. They are:

–       Gold or greenish-brown coat cysts;

–       Rubbing the body in rocks and tank structures;

–       Breathing issues;

–       Loss of appetite and consequently weight loss;

–       Lethargy.

Due to the affected immune system, the Angelfish can develop secondary infections. Thus, symptoms of two different infections can occur concomitantly.


The Angelfish Velvet disease is extremely contagious. Thus, it is important to set a hospital tank up to move the sick Angelfish.

Some of the treatment actions you can take include:

–       Use of remedies based on copper sulphate and formalin;

–       Reduce tank lighting;

–       Dark hospital tank set-up with temperature around 86 degrees Fahrenheit;

–       Add salt into the water;

–       Improve tank cleaning routine.

Angelfish Hexamita/ Hole in the Head disease

Hexamita, or Hole in the Head disease, is caused by an over multiplication of a parasite that is commonly present in tanks. This disease is also related to poor water quality and a weakened immune system. 


The main causes of the Hole in the Head disease are usually associated with water conditions and immune system strength. It is possible to highlight:

–       Poor quality food;

–       Lack of vitamins and iodine;

–       Poor water quality;

–       High nitrate level.


As the disease name suggests, this disease causes holes in the Angelfish head and, if not treated with attention can cause death. The key symptoms are:

–       Lesions on the head (holes);

–       Loss of colouration;

–       Loss of appetite;

–       White feces;

–       Swimming and balance issues;

–       Lethargy.


The basic treatment of a sick Angelfish with Hole in the Head disease is suggested to happen in a hospital tank and include:

–       Hospital tank set-up with temperature around 90 degrees Fahrenheit – increase it gradually until 90 degrees;

–       Treat the tank with MetroPlex;

–       Remove any activated carbon from the tank;

–       Strict water changes routine;

–       Improve vitamins and iodine intake.

General disease prevention

Preventing diseases is the best manner to keep your Angelfish happy and healthy. Below are some tips on how to improve your Angelfish immune system and protect them from diseases.

–       Keep a nutritious diet, with fresh and varied food items;

–       Strict tank cleaning with water changes routine;

–       Keep a good heater with thermostat to avoid temperature issues;

–       Quarantine new organisms (fish, snails, shrimp, plants).


In this article, we learnt more about “Angelfish diseases and treatments”. We also understood the possible causes of diseases and how to avoid them.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Angelfish diseases and treatments 

What diseases do Angelfish get?

Angelfish are commonly affected by a variety of diseases. They can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. It is possible to highlight some diseases such as Hexamita, Ich, Dropsy, Velvet disease, and Fin Rot disease. 

How do you treat an Angelfish Hexamita?

The general treatment against Hexamita must occur in a hospital tank. Following are some steps that should be taken:

–       Hospital tank set-up with temperature around 90 degrees Fahrenheit;

–       Use MetroPlex;

–       Remove any activated carbon from the tank;

–       Strict water changes routine;

–       Improve vitamins and iodine intake.

How do I know if my Angelfish is dying? 

Some of the signals your Angelfish can give you something is wrong are:

–       Breathing issues;

–       White spots or scale loss;

–       Loss of appetite;

–       Swimming issues;

–       Loss of colouration. 

Why is my Angelfish turning brown?

The brownish colour can be associated with the Velvet disease or Gold Rus. Some other signs if observed can point to a more precise opinion. These are: 

–       Fish rubbing the body against the tank structures;

–       Breathing issues. 

What is the life expectancy of an Angelfish?

In captivity, an Angelfish can live up to 10 years in favourable and healthy conditions. 

Is fish fungus fatal?

Yes, if not treated, fungal diseases can cause Angelfish death. The Gill rot is an example of a fungal disease that can be fatal if not treated.


Angelfish Diseases, Parasites & Remedies.

The Angelfish Diseases Guide.

Diseases in Fish that Affect Angelfish.

Angelfish Diseases and Treatments. 2020.