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How To Treat An Angelfish With Swollen Lips! (Angelfish Lip Fibroma)

The popularity of angelfish within the fish keeping hobby goes through cycles where they are one of the most popular fish species before they fade for a few years as other species become more popular before angelfish rise in popularity again with this cycle having repeated itself for decades now.

At the time of publishing this article, the popularity of angelfish is booming and we have seen a large number of people reaching out and asking questions about the various problems that they are having with their angelfish with many people currently having problems with swollen lips on their angelfish.

The three most common reasons that your angelfish will have swollen lips is due to a reaction to poor water parameters, a lip fibroma, and mouth rot setting in on the fish.

Depending on your aquarium setups, there can sometimes be a high chance of these developing and causing problems with the lips of your angelfish.

In some cases, an angelfish with swollen lips is able to live for a long period of time, potentially for as long as it would have lived without swollen lips with minimal effect on its quality of life.

Many people, especially those who are new to the fish keeping hobby often worry about their angelfish dying as soon as they notice swollen lips on their fish but the condition is usually not as bad as most people initially think.

Why Does My Angelfish Have Swollen Lips?

The majority of people who notice swollen lips in their angelfish will find that their fish either has an angelfish lip fibroma or that it has angelfish mouth rot.

Both are not usually as bad as most people initially think provided you catch the problem early and neither has to be responsible for shortening the potential life span of your fish provided you treat it as early as possible.

Although slightly rare, some tank setups can have poor water parameters that can cause the lips of some angelfish species to react to the toxins in the water and start to swell up.

You can usually confirm this as the problem by checking the water parameters of your aquarium and treating any potential problems that you find.

A partial water change in your aquarium that you keep your angelfish in at least once per week should be enough to prevent this from being a consistent problem in your aquarium though.

In some setups, aggression from the tank mates of your angelfish can result in injury or trauma to the lips of your angelfish causing them to swell up.

This is very rare and usually, the rarest potential cause of your angelfish lips swelling up but you can usually see the visible signs of injury on your angelfish to help you identify this as the problem.

How To Treat An Angelfish Lip Fibroma!

The most common reason that your angelfish will have swollen lips is a lip fibroma that is essentially just an external tumor on your fish with this rarely being cancer.

n most cases, a veterinarian will be able to remove the lip fibroma using cryotherapy but in many cases, your angelfish will be totally fine with a lip fibroma and be able to live the rest of its natural life with minimal issues.

The cost of the treatment can be much higher than you initially think and not all veterinarian offices will offer cryotherapy treatments for fish either so you may have to travel further afield to have your fish treat.

This is why we always recommend that you take your time and consider the positives and negatives of having a veterinarian treat a lip fibroma on your angelfish as it is rarely worth it in our opinion.

The majority of lip fibromas are not lethal and they will only cause a minimal inconvenience for your angelfish when it eats.

Other than that, the effect on the life of your angelfish really is small so many people within the fish keeping community will choose to just leave their angelfish with its lip fibroma and not have the tumor removed from its mouth or lips but if you notice your fish is struggling to eat then treatment may be essential.

How To Treat Angelfish Mouth Rot!

Mouth rot can be a relatively common cause of swollen lips in angelfish but it is usually easy to treat provided you start treating the problem early enough and in most cases, something like Melafix should be able to treat the condition.

In more developed cases of mouth rot, you may have to use kanamycin, phenoxyethanol or nifurpirinol to treat the condition.

An argument can be made for quarantining an angelfish that has mouth rot to protect the other fish in your main aquarium from the condition taking hold in them too.

This is not a viable option for everyone though due to many people who are just starting out in the fishkeeping hobby not having access to secondary aquarium tanks that they are able to use to quarantine their fish.

If you do use a tank wide treatment such as Melafix to treat the mouth rot causing the swollen lips in your angelfish then the Melafix should be able to limit the exposure to your other fish too.

It is a tank wide treatment that is applied to the water of your aquarium and should be able to treat the mouth rot on all fish reducing the requirement to quarantine the affected angelfish.

Will My Angelfish With Swollen Lips Recover?

It is unlikely that an angelfish with swollen lips will recover by itself unless the swelling is due to trauma on the fish.

Provided you apply the correct treatment for the cause of the swelling in your angelfish, there is a very high chance that your fish will make a full recovery without having any long term health problems though.

When it comes to the ease of treating each of the causes, mouth rot is definitely the easiest cause of swollen lips in an angelfish to treat at home.

There are a wide range of cheap treatments available that can be very effective and quickly treat the condition.

Second to that, you have the problems causing swollen lips cause by a reaction to poor water parameters or trauma cause by aggression from tank mates.

These are still easy to treat and the majority of people can fix them without issue but then you have a lip fibromas that will usually need a vet to remove the tumor but as we covered above, there is usually no need to actually treat a lip fibromas anyway.


That brings our article going over how to help an angelfish with swollen lips to an end. We hope that we have been able to help our readers better understand the more common causes of swollen lips in angelfish as well as how to treat the problem. Most importantly though, we hope that we have been able to help you understand that although swollen lips on an angelfish will often look serious, they rarely are and most fish will make a full recovery with minimal long term problems.