Alright this'll be a kinda large update. Well the story goes like this:
2 days ago I discovered something sticking out of my lemonpeel's operculum, and after hours and hours of research, I finally eliminated the possibilities down to either marine gill flukes or either parasitic copepods. Well you can understand my disappointment when I came to the realization that this issue will delay my lions even more :'( .
Well, I first tried to return the fish because I really didn't want to mess around with parasites in my lion tank... but unfortunately when I called, the informed me that they don't refund fish. Therefore, I had to go to plan 2... a FW dip.
Well, this got me mad. 1st. I destroyed my scape trying to remove the angel for the FW dip. 2nd. I've spent 3 hours trying to get the scape back to anything remotely aesthetically pleasing but have failed and since given up. 3rd. The FW dip didn't work.
Since the FW dip didn't work, I decided to go with biological welfare. Since the tank will house dwarf lions, I decided against cleaner shrimp. Therefore, I went with a cleaner wrasse. Not only was this wrasse cheaper than the shrimp, but he's got quite the appetite. He eats algae sheets, frozen mysis, pods, cyclopeeze, and just about anything that is edible.
But the real question was how well he'd work with my parasite problem. The answer? He's awesome!
At first the angel would follow him around and the wrasse was too busy exploring the tank and mowing down my pod population, but then he cleaned my angel. Not only is my angel a lot more friendly and actively swimming outside of the rock scape, but I can hardly see any of the original parasitic protrusions hanging out of his gills anymore.
Now I know that cleaner wrasses have a horrible track record in aquaria, but at least this guy is eating prepared food. I have no idea if the lions will think he's food, but I'm more than happy that he's cleaning up my angel!!!
In case you were wondering:
I'm not worried about the cleaner wrasse chasing and stressing any of my fish. Currently, it's my fish chasing him lol. I've got like 15 videos of the angel following him all over the place while the wrasse is just busy eating pods.
And long term, I'm well aware of their difficulties. Unfortunately, he's currently in my largest tank. He's much too large to fit in my 20L. I'm planning on holding onto him for at least a few months so that I know my angel is in the clear, then I'll probably end up looking for a new home for him.
As for the potential of him becoming lion food, I had to make a decision regarding the lesser of two evils. I decided that I'd rather have a healthy angelfish and risk the potential of the cleaner becoming food, compared to having a sick angel and having to worry about curing the issue and then the health of my future lions. As I said earlier, I chose the cleaner wrasse over the cleaner shrimp because (1) it was cheaper and (2) the shrimp would have become food 100%. The cleaner wrasse at least has size and speed on its side. Again, I'm well aware that dwarf lions are ambush predators, and that speed really isn't a factor when something is caught off guard, but still.