Is Your Angelfish Sick? Learn the Telltale Dying Symptoms

Last Updated on 2023-12-18

Taking care of angelfish can be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Unfortunately, your angel may not make it even with the best intentions and careful monitoring. If you’re seeing signs that your angelfish is dying, it can be heartbreaking – but understanding the symptoms and possible causes can help you to better treat or prevent these issues in the future. Read on for more information. 

What Are The Signs Your Angelfish Is Dying?

Angels are popular fish among aquarium enthusiasts due to their beautiful looks and interesting personalities. Unfortunately, even with the best care, they can still become ill and die. Here are some signs that your angelfish is dying:

1. Loss of Appetite

If your angelfish has suddenly stopped eating, it could be a sign that they are ill or dying. Check for other symptoms like unusual behavior, swimming patterns, or difficulty breathing.

2. Erratic Swimming 

If your angelfish swimming patterns have become erratic or uncoordinated, it may indicate poor health or impending death. Tiredness and lethargy can also be a sign of illness.

3. Discoloration

Angels are known for their vivid colors, so any sudden loss of color can be a sure sign that something is wrong with your fish. If its scales appear dull, discolored, or grayish-white in appearance, then this could indicate an underlying issue such as disease or parasites. 

4. Clamped Fins

When the fins on an angelfish close tightly against its body and fail to move freely, it usually shows distress. It can indicate a severe illness or infection. Check the water parameters to ensure that they are within the safe range.

5. Unusual Breathing Patterns

If an angelfish’s breathing appears labored or they are gasping for air, this could indicate a more serious issue. If you notice any bubbles coming from the gills, then this could be a sign of oxygen deprivation, which can quickly lead to death if not addressed. 

6. Sunken Eyes

If the eyes on your angelfish appear sunken or opaque, this could indicate a serious illness. This can lead to blindness or even death if not addressed promptly.

7. Loss of Balance

If your angelfish suddenly begins to swim erratically or appears to be struggling to stay upright, this could be a sign of poor health and may even indicate that your fish is close to death. If you notice this symptom, I suggest you take your fish to the veterinarian immediately. 

8.  Lying On The Bottom Of The Tank

If your angelfish is lying on the bottom of the tank and appears unresponsive or lethargic, then this could indicate that they are close to death. Notice any other symptoms, such as unusual behavior, loss of appetite, or discoloration. 

How Can You Treat An Angelfish That Is Dying?

If you’ve noticed any of the above signs and think your angelfish may be dying, it is important to act quickly to save your fish. Here are some tips on how you can treat an angelfish that is dying:

1. Check the Water Parameters

The most important thing to do when treating a sick or dying angelfish is to ensure the water parameters are within the safe range for them. Test for pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites and adjust as needed.

2. Quarantine the Fish

If you notice any signs of illness, it is important to move the affected fish into quarantine away from other tank mates. This will help prevent the spreading of bacteria or parasites throughout the aquarium. 

3. Increase Oxygen Levels

If your angelfish is gasping for air, it could be a sign that there isn’t enough oxygen in the water. Increase the oxygen levels by adding an aeration stone or pump to the tank.

4. Treat Diseases

If you notice any signs of disease, such as spots, discoloration, clamped fins, and erratic swimming, you should treat the tank for parasites or bacterial infections. Use a medication designed explicitly for angelfish to help clear up any diseases that could be causing your fish to die.

5. Feed High-Quality Food

If your angelfish is not eating, try feeding them high-quality foods such as frozen shrimp or bloodworms. This will provide them with the essential nutrients they need to survive and recover from illness. 

6. Seek Professional Help

If all else fails and you are unable to revive your dying angelfish, then it may be time to seek professional help from an aquarium vet who can diagnose the problem and provide treatment options. 

7. Monitor Progress

Once you have begun treating your angelfish, it is important to monitor the progress and adjust medications or treatments as needed.  With patience and proper care, you should be able to save your angelfish from a slow death. 

Koi Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) isolated in tank fish with blurred background. Freshwater angelfish, Pterophyllum scalare are one of the most popular aquarium fish, many different color.

Why Do Your Angelfish Keep Dying?

If you’re having trouble keeping your angelfish alive, it could be due to various factors. Here are some of the most common reasons your angelfish may die. 

1. Water Quality

Most angelfish die because of problems with the water quality. You should already know that you must keep the water at a certain pH level for the fish’s sake. If you want to take care of the most common angelfish, you’ll need to keep the pH level between 6.8 and 7.8. But take note that some angelfish might have different pH needs than others.

2. Stress

Stress can also take a toll on your angelfish and cause them to die. Stress can come from many sources, including overcrowding the tank, sudden changes in temperature, or even bullying from other fish. If you think something is causing your angelfish stress, you must address this issue quickly before it’s too late. 

3. Disease or Parasites

Disease and parasites can cause a lot of harm to your angelfish, leading to death if left untreated. Some of the most common diseases in angelfish are Ich, Velvet, and Hole-in-the-Head disease. It is essential to take proactive measures to prevent these diseases, such as isolating new fish and regularly treating the tank with medication.

4. Poor Nutrition 

Poor nutrition can also contribute to angelfish deaths. Ensure you feed your angelfish high-quality food containing plenty of vitamins and minerals. Aquarium fish foods should be rotated, as different types contain different nutrients that your angelfish need to stay healthy.

5. Aggressive Tank Mates 

If you keep angelfish with aggressive tank mates, it could lead to your angelfish’s death. Ensure you keep compatible fish together. Different species can be aggressive towards each other and injure or even kill your angelfish.

6. Lack of Oxygen 

Lack of oxygen can also be a cause of angelfish deaths. If your tank is not properly aerated, then the oxygen levels can drop and lead to the death of your angel fish. Ensure you have an aeration stone or pump in the tank to keep the oxygen levels high enough for your angelfish to survive.

7. Old Age 

Finally, some angelfish may die of old age, even if their environment optimally suits them. Angelfish typically live between 5-8 years, so if your angelfish has been living in the same tank for many years, it may be time for them to pass away. 

What To Do When Your Angelfish Is Dying From Constipation?

Constipation is a common issue in angelfish and can cause some issues, including death. If you think your angelfish may be suffering from constipation, there are several steps you can take to help them out.

1. Feed Properly 

The first step towards treating constipation in your angelfish is ensuring they are fed properly. Overfeeding or feeding the wrong food type can lead to constipation issues. You should feed your angelfish high-quality foods that provide ample nutrition without causing digestive problems.

2. Reduce Stress 

Stress is one of the leading causes of constipation in fish, so if you want to help your fish recover from this issue, you must reduce stress levels in the tank. To do this, make sure to keep the water clean and the temperature stable and avoid overcrowding or introducing new fish too soon.

3. Introduce Live Foods 

Live foods can help your angelfish pass any blockages causing constipation. Offer them a variety of live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia to help move things along. However, only offer these once every few days, so they don’t get used to eating them all the time.

4. Try Epsom Salt 

Epsom salt is known for its laxative effects on fish, which can help with constipation. Dissolve one teaspoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water and do a 25% water change with this mixture to help your angelfish pass any blockages.

5. Increase Filtration 

Increasing the amount of filtration in the tank can also help with constipation issues in angelfish. The more efficient the filter, the better it will be at removing any impurities contributing to constipation. Make sure you check and clean the filter regularly as well.

6. Offer Vegetables 

Offering angelfish vegetables such as cucumber or spinach can also help them pass any blockages. Simply peel and chop up some cucumber or spinach and feed it to your fish for a few days. This will provide fiber for them and help move things along.

7. Contact a Vet 

If you have tried all of the above steps and your angelfish is still constipated, it’s best to contact a vet right away. They can offer more specialized advice tailored specifically to your fish and may even be able to treat any underlying causes contributing to their constipation. Don’t wait too long if your angelfish seem in distress! 


Do Angelfish Float When They Die?

When an angelfish dies, the air in its air bladder makes it float for a short time. The air bladder allows the fish to swim upright and float a little.

Why Do Your Angelfish Fry Keep Dying?

Angelfish fry will die if put in too hot or too cold water. They do best in water between 26 and 29 degrees Celsius (80 to 84.5 degrees Fahrenheit).

Is Your Angelfish Sick_ Learn the Telltale Dying Symptoms


To keep your angelfish healthy and avoid untimely deaths, you must ensure they are in the right environment with compatible tank mates. Check that the water is well-oxygenated and clean, and make sure they have a balanced diet. If your angelfish look like they may be suffering from constipation, try feeding them live foods, introducing vegetables, and increasing the filtration. If all else fails, contact a vet to get specialized advice. Your angelfish can live a long and healthy life with proper care and attention!  Good luck!

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