Angelfish Breeding Log 2nd Attempt

Uberhoust

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This will be a log of my 2nd serious attempt to raise some Angelfish fry to maturity. I will try to do a daily documentation of the progress from eggs to hopefully adults. This go round I have removed the angel fry consuming blue stream goby from the tank, so I will be primarily focusing on raising the angels with the parents. They have been very good parents for the most part, though a pain in the butt because when they started to breed I had to change the stocking in all my tanks because they would not get along with anything except the bottom dwelling fish.

Not much has happened today other than the parents have removed a large number of the eggs. I suspect the eggs were removed because they did not get fertilized. When the parents were laying the eggs I notice the male often did not get to the top right section of the piece of wood that the eggs are laid on. Overall this is the smallest batch of eggs laid by the female.

Day 1 Eggs
Day 1 eggs.JPG


Day 2 Eggs
Notice quite the number are missing from day 1
EggsDay2.JPG
 

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This will be a log of my 2nd serious attempt to raise some Angelfish fry to maturity. I will try to do a daily documentation of the progress from eggs to hopefully adults. This go round I have removed the angel fry consuming blue stream goby from the tank, so I will be primarily focusing on raising the angels with the parents. They have been very good parents for the most part, though a pain in the butt because when they started to breed I had to change the stocking in all my tanks because they would not get along with anything except the bottom dwelling fish.

Not much has happened today other than the parents have removed a large number of the eggs. I suspect the eggs were removed because they did not get fertilized. When the parents were laying the eggs I notice the male often did not get to the top right section of the piece of wood that the eggs are laid on. Overall this is the smallest batch of eggs laid by the female.

Day 1 Eggs
View attachment 137813

Day 2 Eggs
Notice quite the number are missing from day 1View attachment 137814
wow they are much bigger and most are fertilised
cute angel
 
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Uberhoust

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cute angel
She is. They are all from a general mix of angels I purchased at my lfs. She never grew like the others but what she lacks in size she makes up with attitude. When there are eggs or fry in the tank she will defend them aggressively, even from me.
 
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History to date:
  • June 2 1330 hours eggs laid
  • June 3 0730 hours infertile eggs or eggs with fungus removed by parents
  • June 4 1700 hours some eggs (approx 2%) starting to hatch ( 52 hours after being laid )
  • June 4 2120 hours 75% eggs starting to hatch ( 56 hours after being laid )
  • June 5 1000 hours all eggs hatched or removed by parents, male cleaning new leaves and other surfaces to move the brood, female replacing young ones that drop off wood. Bluet is now much more committed to defending the fry and will attack me if I put my hand in the tank. (Full hatch complete after approximately 70 hours from being laid)
Fry with yoke sacks (These guys are are 70 hours old) they go through a wiggling stage. I suppose the wiggling allows them to develop muscles before free swimming.
AngelFryJustHatched.jpg


Bluet looking after her fry. The coloration of Bluet makes it difficult to adjust the exposure.
BluetWithFry.jpg


Gratuitous photo of my wife's main interest, molluscs, (I used to be her main interest). This is a non-banded variety of a common grove snail Cepaea nemoralis. Added here because she took all the photos for me. They actually make pretty low maintenance pets, and their slime isn't as bad as slug slime.
Atypical.Cepaea.nemoralis.jpg
 
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Uberhoust

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Haven't been keeping up lately so here is the next instalment:

The angels have been moving the fry back and forth from a Java Fern leaf, to the wooden section, and back again. The male typically cleans the unused surfaces and the female usually moves them, though sometimes too soon and then the male seems to get a bit miffed and moves them back. I haven't seen any reduction in the population since the eggs hatched on June 5.

Whatever I did to clean the tank has only made the blue green algae spread more, there is very little organic material in the tank now. I am not treating it for fear of interrupting the angel's activities. The male is keeping the surfaces for the fry clean.

I am running a daily batch of brine shrimp so that when the fry start swimming they can have fresh small nauplii. The excess is being used to feed my other fish, the Embers truly love them.

Below is the progression, I expect the fry to start free swimming tomorrow.

Hatching Day. The yoke sacs are the largest part of the fry. Tails are narrow and the eyes have barely started to develop.
Angel 2021.06.05.Day_3.JPG


2 Days after hatching. Yoke sacs smaller and the eyes are developing you can see the back bone developing ant the tail is thickening and lengthening.
Angel 2021.06.07.Day_5.JPG


3 days after hatching. Eyes even larger yoke sac smaller.
Angel 2021.06.08.Day_6.JPG


4 days after hatching. Head, tail, and eyes are more prominent as the yoke gets used up. Some individuals are close to not having a yoke sac.
Angel 2021.06.09.Day_7a.JPG
 
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Uberhoust

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Fry are now free swimming, pictures later. Gave the fry some freshly hatch Nauplii. I may have seen one try to eat the food but for the most part the nauplii seem too large. It could be the fry still have some yoke and are not eating yet.
 
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Uberhoust

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Haven't seen any significant mortality of the fry since this morning. Some are eating the nauplii provided but some are not eating much. Most of the fry hang out with the parents but some can be found on all parts of the tank. I can see some feeding on the biofilm on the plants. In general, there is a stronger feeding response this evening by far than in the morning.

I do have a small issue in that we have a bit of a cold front and my brine shrimp are not hatching as fast as I was expecting, though I think I have enough to keep the fry fed.

So far all the fry are remaining with the parents.

I tried to take pictures of the fry but it is very difficult.

Female with fry
FemaleWithFry.jpg


Fry Hunting Nauplii
Hunting Nauplii.jpg


Male with Fry and Nauplii (some egg cases too, is there an easy way of not getting these in the mix)
Male with fry.jpg


Pair with Fry
PairWatchingOverFry.jpg
 
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Uberhoust

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The fry were feed last night and a large portion had obviously full stomachs before the lights turned out. This morning none had full stomachs, I take that as a good sign. This morning I feed the fry freshly hatched nauplii and by far the majority of the fry aggressively ate the fry causing distress to the male as they decided to follow the nauplii around the tank. After feeding there were still a few about 5% that did not have any food in their stomachs. These ones would follow the nauplii around but never eat them, I expect these ones will not make it, and even at this time there seems to be a size difference developing, ie there are definitely runts of the litter.

I could see the benefit of raising large protozoans to feed the fry, with each feeding of the nauplii careful observation of the feeding has made it apparent to me that nauplii are at the large end of the size scale in regards to feeding the fry just after they become free swimming, with large numbers of the larger nauplii ignored by the fry. That said if 10% of the fry survive I will be looking to establish another large tank to house them. I want to setup a larger tank and my wife is onboard if we make it an angel tank, :) .

One last observation is that the fry, and my one survivalist fry from a previous hatch, all seem to sleep at night. Even with the lights on in the evening all the small angels find a place to rest and become insensitive to activity in and outside the tank. Their eyes are open but no one is home. At first I thought he was ill or distressed but all the new fry have already started the same behavior.
 
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Uberhoust

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Not much to report. Tested water today, ph 6.4 (normal), NH3 0, NO2 0, NO3 < 5. Horrible algae problem, I have had the lights on more frequently and I never realized how well the goby kept the tank clean. I don't want to do anything with the algae until the young get a bit bigger. After this batch I will be switching this tank to sand substrate. We are now 9 days since the eggs were laid. This has been the time when I started getting mortalities in the past. The fry are actively feeding so I am hoping it goes better this time.
MomAndDad9DaysAfterEggsLaid.JPG
 
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40% water change today. I was going for 50% but the parents were very stressed, the male bit me a number of times, I was surprise the difference between the feeding bite, when you hand feed the fish, versus a defensive bite. I could feel the little teeth through my skin, if he bit another fish on the fins he could easily rip the fins apart. The young ones handled the water change well, in 15 minutes after filling the tank again they were all acting normal.

There are still about 10 fry that do not seem to eat, they search the tank for food but they are considerably smaller than the ones eating. The ones that are eating are becoming more aggressive when feeding, and are not as picky about the size of the nauplii, eating 90% of what floats in front of them. Only after they have had their fill do they become picky again.
 
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@itiwhetu , Good question, never got this far before with the fry before, to be honest I am flying by the seat of my pants on this one. I have no idea when to separate them from the parents. I have read various reports of people separating the fry at various different stages. I was only going to separate them when the bio load was getting too high or the fish appeared to be stressed for space, right now the parents are devoted to the fry and the fry follow them. I have the ability to setup another large tank ie. 75 gallons or larger, and was going to migrate them to that tank when the time comes. I know I will not be able to keep all of them so expecting I will select the group I want to keep then rehome the rest either by selling or giving away some of the young ones. It has been my personal experience is that you can mix juvenile angels in a new tank, but once an adult population is present you really cannot add new adults, which is why I was going to setup a tank mostly for the fry I want to keep. I don't know if you can add juveniles into a tank with adult angels, I suspect that would be an issue.

What I would really like some advice on is how to deal with the parents afterwards. When they breed they are not suitable in my main community tank additionally the process of breeding does seem to heighten the parents stress levels. Is there a way of keeping the parents together but decreasing the frequency with which they breed? I have thought about removing the eggs because the parents seem most committed after the eggs hatch. My GBRs in my community tank breed about every 3 months, there is a day or two of increased stress but then the eggs get eaten and life in the tank returns to normal, I wish I could do the same with the Angels.

In general I am open to any ideas at this time. I will state that I don't want to be breeding angels all the time, my maintenance work for the aquariums has increased significantly, but I am enjoying the experience now.
 

itiwhetu

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What I would do is set up the 75g tank. Then firstly move the parents from the fry. Leave the fry where they are. Put your parents either together in the community tank or put one in the community tank and one in the 75g. As the fry grow you can then swap them over by putting the fry in the 75g and bringing the parents back to this tank to breed again.

The big risk you face is that one morning you will get up and the parents will have eaten all the young. Angels can do this on a whim for no apparent reason. The sooner you can separate the fry from the parents the better. The other thing that may be happening now is the parents are eaten one or two a day and you just don't notice.

Fish are largely opportunists, and will eat anything that is food size, that swims pass them.
 
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Uberhoust

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@itiwhetu I can totally see your point about the angels eating their fry. When they were in the community tank and breeding they ate the fry only when it was clear that the other fish were going to eat the fry. I witnessed the event. The parents were keeping the fry in a tight group and chasing the tetras, then some tetras made a more concerted effort and all the fry were gone in less than 5 minutes, with every fish in the tank feeding on them.

That said now that they are alone with the fry they seem to dote on them constantly.

I don't think I can put the adults in the community tank again, once they paired up the stress level in the community tank went from peaceful to very stressed with the pair bullying the other two male angels in the tank. The community tank is very peaceful now and I am not very keen on changing the stocking, the only recent addition is the blue stream goby, but he hasn't caused issues.

I was thinking that if I raised 6 or 7 of the new fry in the large tank I might get them to school together. When my full grown angels were juveniles they would school together but now they have different attitudes.

What are your thoughts of re-introducing the juveniles with the parents after they have grown past the easy to eat stage?
 

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