Angelfish, also known as pterophyllum scalare, are disc-shaped freshwater cichlids initially found in the tropical parts of South America.
They are territorial and aggressive during feeding and breeding. Nonetheless, they are a delight among hobby aquariums because of their elegant swimming.
Keep reading this article to learn about your angelfish; care, feeding, breeding, lifespan, and temperament.
The angelfish stats comprises scientific classifications, tank and water parameters, and life span.
|Angelfish size (max)||Up to 6 inches (15 cm)|
|Tank size ( min)||48 inches|
|Water Hardness||Soft to medium|
|Temperature||(73-84)°F or (23-29)°C|
|Angelfish lifespan||Up to 10 years|
Angelfish care primarily involves everything related to keeping the fish healthy and happy, like its habitat. Since the angelfish is a freshwater species, the cichlid living conditions should simulate slow-moving tropical water.
We have analyzed its care plan based on the aquarium and water.
It is crucial to mimic the angelfish wildlife environment to the best of your ability because it makes or mars your pet fish. The cichlid has significant tendencies to grow large, so the tank size for angelfish should be a minimum of 48 inches or a 15-25 gallon capacity. The volume should give room for more than one angelfish or other species to create territories. It needs ample space, or it gets aggressive with other tank mates.
The aquarium arrangement should have enough space for the Angelfish to swim gracefully around the tank. The angelfish get an average of 8-12 hours of sunlight in its natural abode. You can mimic it by placing the aquarium close to a sunny part of the room.
– Aquarium Cleaning
The aquarium needs regular cleaning because the angelfish creates a large quantity of waste during feeding. If you don’t remove or filter off leftover, they decay and cause health challenges to the aquarium fishes. An ideal filter suggestion is the canister filtration system, as it is more functional for a freshwater aquarium setting.
Decorate the aquarium with dense plants that you can clean easily. You can try the plastic ones because they cover the tank and don’t require a rigorous routine. However, a live plant would assist in purifying the water and improve its quality. They also hinder algae growth and infuses oxygen into the aquarium.
– The Aquarium Fixture
Aquarium fixtures or accessories are also crucial because they give comfort and reduce aggression outbreaks in the aquarium. For example, you can add tank lighting but mask them with the greenery if they are too bright. They give light to the fishes in the aquarium and make it glow, particularly in the dark. Although some angelfish species glow naturally like the platinum angelfish, other fixtures are the substrate and plants.
- Substrate: The wild angelfish habitat usually has sand for substrate. It looks like a swamp but with dense vegetation, yet the water remains clear for easy light penetration. These freshwater angelfish enjoy digging and entering the sand or mud in their wild habitat. Ideally, you simulate a smooth substrate alternative.
Nonetheless, the sandy bottom may be expensive or inconvenient to clean in an aquarium. So you can opt for a gravel bottom alternative because the angelfish can adapt to it quickly.
- Plants: The angelfish like to hide in-between the aquarium plants. You can add in vertical positioned large-leaved vegetation because they mimic the tropical freshwater greenery. Broadleaf vegetation, echinodorus, wood bits, and cave-like rocks give the angelfish ample hiding locations. Select plants that are predominantly from the tropical Amazon river or can survive the angelfish water parameters.
Excellent plant suggestions are Java moss, Java fern, Brazilian waterweed, and Water sprite.
The angelfish water parameters should be a neutral, semi-hard, and slightly acidic environment, or your pet can get sick.
– Water Parameters
An aquarium-raised angelfish flourish in tepid waters with slight salinity, but they can adapt in other situations. The ideal water temperature for angelfish is (73-84)°F or (23-29)°C. You have to maintain a PH range of 5.0-7.5 and a DH range of 1-20.
The angelfish cichlid thrives in slow-moving water; you can mimic the flow using the below gravel filtration system. Fast-flowing water negatively affects the angelfish because they waste their strength struggling. The flow can cause stunted growth, weakness, make them preys in a community aquarium.
– Clean water
Ensure there are no contaminants in the tank water; check the source as it is responsible for this criterion. To create a direct inflow of aquarium water, use the reverse osmosis filtration technique. Frequent water changes and filtrations of 10% -25 % weekly are crucial. Remember, if you must use tap water in your fish tank, you must employ a purification system to eliminate the chlorine.
To prevent fish fatality, use a testing kit to check the PH and other chemical compositions like nitrates, ammonia, and nitrites. The angelfish thrives in water with stable chemistry and artificially produced bacteria colonies. A nitrogen cycle helps the bacteria formation process.
Angelfish Tank Mates
Angelfish tank mates should be fishes that can survive in fresh water and same water parameters as the angelfish. These laterally compressed fishes can only be part of a community aquarium if cohabiters have similar sizes and temperaments. The angelfish aggression towards minor-sized fishes can get intense if they enter its territory.
The angelfish like to be part of a co-specific school and join other species if need be. As aggressive as this cichlid is, it scares easily. It would hide between the vegetation in its home or the sandy substrates.
Apart from considering the size and temperaments, here are a few tankmate suggestions;
- Viviparous fish such as Mollies, platy, and swordfishes. However, the angelfish tend to eat their juveniles.
- The gourami species; pearl, Blue, dwarf, and opaline.
- The tetras; large tetras, neon, condo, and glowlight
- Cichlids like Discus, other angelfishes, dwarf cichlid, banded cichlids, Bolivian Ram, Oscars, and in some cases, the pushy Jack Dempseys.
- Other fish, like mighty Arapaima, peaceful barbs, kuhli loach, freshwater catfish, Plecos, rainbow fish, pictus, Bala shark, silver Arowana, corydoras, characin, and other catfishes.
The angelfish are timid and peaceful only until they pair, feed, or breed, after which they begin to portray their cichlid traits.
- Small-sized fishes like a cherry barb, betta fish, cardinal tetra and rasbora, goldfish
- Fin nippers like the barbs species such as the Odessa, tiger, Buenos Aires tetra, Denison are not appropriate tank mates. In most cases, the barbs are not ideal because they prey, harass, and bite the long angelfish fins.
- They are territorial and do not thrive well with non-fish invertebrates and macroinvertebrates such as crustaceans.
- Although the angelfish is a cichlid from the south America river, it cannot inhabit the same tank as an African breed cichlid. It is because both thrive in different water conditions and parameters.
- Finally, the territorial angelfish cannot survive with so many co-specific fishes because they tend to fight over everything, from food to territory. You should keep at most six angelfish in a school or community aquarium because they predominantly function domineering and mini hierarchies.
It is crucial to remember that the wild angelfish habitat contains a diverse species of fishes. It means they can survive with a large variant of the tank if there are territories and as long as the other fishes do not come too close for the angelfish to feel threatened.
The angelfish breeding happens so quickly among mature female and male pairs.
1. Tank parameter
To initiate a breeding process, make sure the environment is conducive and large leaves and surfaces for spawning. Also, check that the water temperature and flow are perfect before introducing the angelfish into the breeding tank. Put about 4-6 individual male and female angelfish and allow them to choose their mates.
2. Before Breeding
Once they pair up, feed mature breed with flakes rich in protein and live worms as often as four times daily. Put flat vertical surfaces in the tank such as tiles because they are great spawning grounds. When the female is ready, she will move closer to the surface she has chosen and stay there for a while to prepare.
Breeding is easy with the angelfish but what is confusing is identifying the male and female. The female develops a protruding abdomen when she is ready to spawn. Furthermore, the male and female develop the ovipositor; it’s a nipple-looking growth on the genital papillae of the two mature angelfish. However, the female’s own is more prominent and looks blunt while it is pointy and slim in the male.
During breeding, the angelfish can produce 200-400 eggs before the male fertilizes them. The couple would watch after the fry for about 30 days before you can transfer them out. A female angelfish lay her eggs in rows on a pre-cleaned surface. Then male or female select out the rotten eggs to prevent infections of other fertilized eggs.
The eggs are incubated for two days, then they hatch, but the fry cannot immediately detach from the spawning surface.
4. After Breeding
After a while, they begin to swim and scout for food together. The couple would only leave the fry when they can fend for themselves, but if the tank conditions are wrong, they will eat the eggs or fry. If your angelfishes seem stressed, take out the spawning site and insert it onto another tank. The parents fan, clean, and select the eggs; you can mimic that with an air stone to create similar bubbles.
Because this method is artificially stimulated, the eggs are liable to fungal attacks. Add fungicide into the breeding tank to prevent it. However, the natural method remains one with the highest success rate. Most aquarium breeds tend to eat their eggs and juvenile, but It takes them 19-21 days to be ready for another spawning session.
Common angelfish diseases entail chlorine poisoning and angelfish anxiety syndrome. The poisoning is caused by using tap water in your pet aquarium. The angelfish get a burning sensation in its gills and dies in some cases. You should dechlorinate the water if you insist on using the tap water source.
The anxiety syndrome results from stress!! Incorrect water conditions and parameters can give your pet constant anxiety. After purchasing your pet, you should allow them to acclimatize or quarantine in a different tank before introducing them to a community tank. During this period, observe to see if anything seems off in its daily activities.
The angelfish diet encompasses:
- Adult angelfish: You can feed your pet with freeze-dried flakes, pellets, and blood worms.
- Juvenile or fry: For the first four weeks following birth, feed them at most four times daily with brine shrimp. From 5-7 weeks, introduce them to powdered blood worms, hard-boiled eggs mixed in water, and flakes twice daily.
- A mature breeding angelfish: A high protein content meal like brine shrimps.
- Angelfish are mild-aggressive cichlids, particularly during breeding and mealtimes.
- They are territorial and ambush predators, especially when they feel threatened.
- They breed quickly as long as the water parameters and conditions are correct.
The angelfish are a pleasure to watch in their aquarium, from their long graceful fins to their attractive look. Even with no prior experience, you can breed this species on your tan but be sure to pair them with the right breed of tank mates.