Angelfish have always been a very popular species of fish to keep within the fish keeping hobby and although the specific types of angelfish can vary wildly in the costs required to keep them and the maintenance requirements of the fish, they have always been a big hit.
Some types of angelfish are more sensitive to others and we have noticed some people reaching out to ask about why their pet angelfish has red gills.
The most common reasons that your pet angelfish will have red gills include issues with water parameters in the tank, especially problems with ammonia, an infection in the fish, issues with septicemia, and a direct injury to the gills of the fish.
Issues with water parameters do tend to be the more common with ammonia being the most common issue but nitrite, nitrate, and pH issues can all cause red gills in an angelfish.
Infection is another issue that can have multiple causes due to parasitic, fungal, and bacterial infections all being able to cause red gills on your angelfish too.
Any time you see your angelfish with red gills, it is always best to take a water sample to your local fish store or vet to get it checked out and ensure that you are not accidentally harming your angelfish through poor water quality but a decent water test kit can provide you with a surprising amount of information at home.
Is It Normal For An Angelfish To Have Red Gills?
In the vast majority of cases, it is not considered normal for an angelfish to have red gills and the condition is usually a sign of a potentially serious problem.
That said, angelfish blushers are angelfish that can have red spots around their gills and their gills usually get very close to being translucent in certain conditions making the gills look red.
This is totally normal for angelfish blushers and considered natural but it is usually very obvious if this is why the gills of your angelfish appear to be red.
The red marks around the gills of an angelfish blusher are a glaring sign that this could be the cause but keep in mind, angelfish blushers are just as susceptible to the other potential causes of red gills in angelfish as all other angelfish too.
Thankfully, provided you notice the red gills on your angelfish early enough, you will usually have plenty of time to treat the problem.
In many cases, a simple water change can be enough to get the angelfish back to health and in other cases, you may need to treat the fish with medication but as long as you catch it early, angelfish are relatively easy to treat.
Why Does My Angelfish Have Red Gills?
There are several potential causes of red gills in angelfish, but the most common is water quality issues.
Poor water quality can cause ammonia, nitrite, and pH problems, which can all lead to red gills. Infections can also cause angelfish to have red gills, as can injuries to the gills.
We would always recommend that you check for problems with water parameters first, as this is the most common cause of angelfish having red gills.
Ammonia is the most common issue but nitrate, nitrite, and pH issues can also cause red gills due to irritation in the fish. This does not tend to be too threatening provided you correct the problems with the water parameters fast.
Infections are a common cause of angelfish having red gills. There are a number of different types of infection that can cause this, including parasitic, fungal, and bacterial infections.
It can be difficult for a fish keeper to tell the difference but your local fish store or vet should be able to help you out.
Finally, injuries can cause angelfish to have red gills. This is usually due to the angelfish having trauma to the gills due to aggression from its tank mates or due to knocking into a decoration in its tank.
How Can I Treat Red Gills On My Angelfish?
The majority of people having issues with their angelfish having red gills will be able to just do a partial water change in their tank.
This will help to normalize any water parameter issues causing the red gills and although this is not the only cause of red gills on angelfish, it is the most common by far.
A water change is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help your angelfish recover from red gills.
A water change will help to flush out any toxins or bacteria that may be causing the angelfish to have red gills and it will also help to normalize the pH and water parameters in the tank.
In most cases a water change of between 20 percent and 50 percent will get the job done but the more water you change, the more likely you are to cause other problems.
Infections in your angelfish can be a problem due to so many infections looking similar to the untrained eye. Thankfully, both Melafix and Pimafix are excellent options for treating many types of infections in an angelfish.
Due to both treatments having different active ingredients, you can also use them together to ensure that you are treating the infection correctly. Both Pimafix and Melafix are also safe to use with other fish in the tank, which is always a bonus as there is usually no need to quarantine.
The majority of injuries to the gills of an angelfish will just need time to heal but you can help the healing process along by using a little bit of aquarium salt.
Aquarium salt is safe to use with angelfish and it will help to speed up the healing process of any cuts or abrasions on the gills causing them to look red.
Should I Be Worried If My Angelfish Has Red Gills?
The answer to this question is, unfortunately, yes – red gills can be fatal to angelfish. This is commonly due to the angelfish having infections as a result of the red gills, which can then lead to other health problems in the fish. In some cases, angelfish with red gills may not respond to treatment and will eventually die.
Although water parameters problems are the most common and often the easiest to treat, if you leave your angelfish in poor water for too long it can cause irreparable damage to their gills. This is why it is always important to keep an eye on your angelfish and to act quickly if you notice any changes in their appearance.