By Clint Norwood
© Leslie Grossheim
Species/genus: Pterophyllum scalare
Origin: South America
Temp: 72-86°F (22-30°C)
pH: 6-7.5 dH: Soft
Feeding: Easy to feed, accepts most aquarium foods
Breeding: Egglayer, attaches eggs to plant leaves, or a suitable substitute; gaurds eggs and fry
Temperament: Normally peaceful, but gets aggressive when spawning and gaurding fry
Adult Size: 6 in. (15 cm)
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallon
Comments: Angelfish are one of the most popular Aquarium fish available. They are exceptionally hardy, interesting and beautiful. They are fairly easy to spawn, usually by removing the eggs after spawning and raising the fry artificially. But occasionally you'll find a pair that will raise fry on their own, I call it the "Natural Method". This is preferable because you get to watch the pair protect and care for their fry.
A Spawning Pair. Notice the eggs on the driftwood.
This pair raised thousands of fry for me in the early 90's.
They were a pair that would raise the fry themselves,
the "Natural Method". © Clint Norwood
One note of behavior that I have personally witnessed but haven't seen mentioned is the fact that Angel fry will feed off of the body slime coating of the parents, much like Discus.
Note that the female (on the left) has more
of a curve in her lower profile, while the males
is a straight line.
This is a good way to sex Angels.
The following was taken from the message board and added here.
This information is © John Harris
Commercially raised silvers, marbleds, golds and HB angels are sold for $4.99 to $9.99 each in local pet shops around my neck of the crick. These are medium sized angels a little bigger than a quarter.
Larger angels go for about $15.00 for the same color strains. These are the size of a half dollar.
Adult angels (the size of a tea saucer or bigger) are in the $30-$40 range. More if they're mated pairs.
Buying mated pairs is no guarantee that the fish will pair off and spawn again. A lot of mated pairs from fish farms are older breeders past their prime. If you want to eventually breed these fish, there's no way to sex them until they pair off anyway. Angels have no sexual dimorphism and can only be sexed by their genital tubes when mating.
To breed them, save some money and buy a school of six to twelve small angelfish and raise them to adulthood on meaty foods for small mouthed fish. Bloodworms, daphnia, flakes, beefheart frozen foods, minced earthworms and a little spirulina raises little angelfish into adults rapidly. When they reach sexual maturity, they'll pair off all by themselves, and the pairs can be removed to empty 20 gallon tanks with established sponge filters and a piece of vertical slate rock at a 45 degree angle.
Angels can be good parents or bad parents. I've had both. After spawning, remove the male (he'll have a shorter, thinner genital tube that's tapered at the end than the female) and put him back into the tank with the school. Let the female raise the first clutch of eggs to determine her parenting skills. If she's a bad mom, she'll turn on the eggs and eat all of them or ignore them. If she's a good mom, she'll pay constant attention to them, fan them with fresh water, mouth them to clean them, eat dead or fungused eggs and help the hatchlings emerge when they're ready to hatch.
Wiggly little baby angelfish fry are larger than most FW egg layer fry, and once they hatch, will take about three days to absorb their egg sacs. The egg sac will prevent them from freely swimming around the tank, and a good mom will tend to the babies by keeping them in a tight little sqirming mass of baby fish until they're free swimming, to prevent predators from picking them off. If one strays or falls out of the pack, she'll pick it up and spit it back into the wiggling mass.
Once they're free swimming (about 3 days), you should remove the mom back to the school of angel tank. Her job is done and she's likely to start feeding on them. Baby angelfish need about eight feedings a day, and do well on BBS (baby brine shrimp, I like hikari frozen BBS cubes), powdered flake foods (Tetra Baby "E", Hikari first bites, Artificial rotifers/plankton, etc.), or Liquifry for egg layers. Egg yolk from hard boiled eggs can also be fed. Push it through some muslin cloth and mix in water until dissolved, then feed with a medicine dropper. They can also eat vinegar eels and microworms.
When the egg sac has been absorbed, the fry will be eyelash sized and not at all angefish shaped. At six weeks, they'll start to look like little baby angelfish and can be graduated to daphnia and larger flakes/foods. You can start feeding them commercially prepared finely ground beefheart foods (discus foods) at this time. Earthworm paste is also a great size booster. Feed them heavily to encourage rapid growth and change the water on the tank as often as you can manage (30-50% a day if you can). Use a smaller siphon tube by using airline instead of a gravel washer to suck off the uneaten food and mulm off the bottom without sucking out curious little baby fish. You can also put a mesh net at the end of the tubing to catch any baby fry you accidentally suck up.
Snails are always a must with these fry when they're free swimming. Keep the water pH a little above neutral for the snail's health and add trace elements, especially with RO/DI or distilled water for the proper formation of bones and organs in the baby fish, or mix 50/50 with tap water, at a PPM of around 180, pH between 7.0 and 7.4.
At sixteen weeks, they'll be nickel size or larger and ready to sell or trade to your pet shop for supplies. If you prefer to keep them, this is the time when they should be separated and moved into larger tanks, since a clutch size can be from 50-300 on average fish. Empty 55 gallon tanks, 50 gallon preformed pond liners, Big Sterlite tupperware storage tubs and/or kiddie pools make good grow out tanks. They don't have to be glass, or pretty. Save that for putting them on display.
© John Harris
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