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Tell Me About Angel Fish

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by Deanasue, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Someday, in a galaxy far, far away, I would like to try my hand at an Angel Fish tank. I have a few questions:
    1.). Are they difficult to raise?
    2.). Should I keep pairs and how do they breed? Can you keep more than one pair together if they need pairs.
    3.). Water conditions?
    4.). Other good information.
     
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  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If you want to breed freshwater angelfish, buy 10+ young fish and grow them up together. When they mature they will pair off and you can move the prs to separate tanks or you can move the other fish out. Most people move the prs out. For best results, give prs their own tanks.

    The females lay eggs on hard flat surfaces, the side of the tank, Amazon sword plant leaves or on smooth flat rocks standing upright in the water.

    If they are wild caught they will probably be good parents from the first batch of eggs laid. However, if they are domesticated angels, they will probably eat the eggs a few times, then eat the young a few times, then start to look after them properly. This is due to domestic angels being reared artificially without their parents, vs wild caught angelfish that were reared by their parents.

    Wild caught fish need soft acid water (GH below 100ppm and pH below 7.0).
    Domestic fish are more tolerant of water and will be fine in water with a GH up to 200ppm and a pH above 7.0. However, it's preferred to keep them in soft acid water.

    Babies can be reared on infusoria or newly hatched brineshrimp and grow rapidly. You get heaps of variation in young fish and some grow rapidly and others grow slowly. Their colours can be just about anything too so don't expect all the young to look like the parents.
     
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  3. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Colin has covered it very well.

    I will just add that with respect to parameters, temperature is one of these and for wild-caught fish it must be warm (similar to discus, 80F/27C is absolute minimum but warmer (up to 86F/30C) is preferable) but commercially-raised fish are fine in the 76-80F/24-26C range.

    There are three accepted species, Pterophyllum scalare, P. altum and P. leopoldi. [On the latter, this species is very rare in the hobby; when it is imported it is sometimes under the incorrect name Pterophyllum dumerilii and this name is sometimes applied to P. acalare imports as well. This invalid species name was originally assigned to a specimen of P. scalare by Castelnau in 1855 who described the fish and called it Plataxoides dumerilii. Guenther sorted this out and decided on Pterophyllum scalare as the valid name for that species; there is to date no distinct species P. dumerilii. There is more detail in Kullander, 1998.]

    All of the varieties such as blushing, golden, lace, black, marble, etc have been derived by selective breeding from the single wild species P. scalare so these will always be commercially-raised fish since none of these occur in the wild. The true wild species P. scalare is sometimes available from importers but most will be commercially-raised fish otherwise. Any P. altum or P. leopoldi will be wild-caught fish unless you have a local breeder; TwoTankAmin has P. altum angelfish. The "Peruvian Altum" is actually a form of wild P. scalare, not P. altum, so the name is misleading.

    Colin's advice to select a pair from a tank of several is because this fish, like most (if not all) neo-tropical cichlids, must select their mates and bond if they are to be successful at rearing fry long-term. The egg/fry-eating is still valid, but down the road a bonded pair are more likely of success.
     
  4. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    @Colin, @Byron... what if I’m not really interested in breeding them? Is it still better to get pairs?
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Byron, Thanks for covering temperature, I forgot about that :)

    For Deanasue, If you want one fish as a display then just have one. If you want a group get a group of 8+ little ones and let them grow up together and live together. If you only want a pr, get a group and let them grow up then keep 1pr and get rid of the rest.
     
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  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I suspect that Colin like me thought breeding was the issue. So now for more general maintenance.

    This is a shoaling species, so ideally (i.e., keeping the fish's "expectations" foremost) it needs a group of five minimum, in a 4-foot minimum length tank. Never less than five, there is a very real risk of a bully developing, or of a subordinate fish being picked on. I am going to post a video I have posted some time back, of a group of 11 wild P. scalare fish in a fairly large tank [though in the comments the owner says he feels this tank is too restrictive and intends a larger, perhaps because he realizes pairs will form and that means more space] because this video shows better than words can describe how this beautiful fish should be kept to provide for its expectations. You will notice some interaction, a bit of head bunting and shoving, which is normal "harmless" behaviour that keeps the fish happy. Too few fish cause this normal interaction to seriously break apart, resulting often in dead fish.

    A lone angelfish can manage, but I am not an aquarist who recommends keeping fish contrary to their inherent expectations. But I suppose it can work, though what the fish may think of it, I cannot say [nor can anyone else!]. A "pair" must be a bonded pair or they will likely not get along. Colin described the method of obtaining a bonded pair previously; let the fish select each other and that is usually successful...though individual fish can later change their mind. But it is less risky than throwing a male and female fish (which is not at all easy to tell to begin with esp in juvenile fish) together and hoping it works. This is just not fair to the fish, they cannot act differently from their natural instincts no matter what we may want.

    Keep in mind though that a bonded pair will spawn. If they are on their own in the tank, this is no problem. If they have other fish, the other fish better stay well out of their space. A a male angelfish has a strong sense of his territory, which will be the entire tank in anything 4 feet in length and under.

     
    #6 Byron, Jul 11, 2019
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  7. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Thanks guys. I have a lot of reading to do. If you keep a group together and a pair of spawn, what happens? Will the male hurt the rest of the group?
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The male will guard the eggs and what he considers his territory. Different fish obviously may be more or less aggressive in this, but they will at least try. A serious-minded male could easily kill every other angelfish in the tank if the space is not that large to begin with. If other fish remain out of what the male (and female too) consider their area, it may not develop into anything. Individual fish again. If the spawning pair consider the space too crowded with their own, or other species, they will often eat the eggs or later the fry. This is not the same problem Colin mentioned with tank-raised fish, but the result is the same.
     
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  9. Back in the fold

    Back in the fold Fish Fanatic

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    Never had Angelfish? Fascinating. I thought every aquarist had them at one time or another in their careers. Even if you don't breed them, a couple of large well grown Angelfish kept as show specimens are a regal sight. Big Angelfish are absolutely stunning. Their bearing is almost majestic. Big, thick, tall silvers are probably the most beautiful fish in the hobby. Get yourself a 55 gallon and see for yourself.
     
  10. Deanasue

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    I have a 55G, a 45G, (2) 20G, and (2) 10G going right now. Then I also have a 150G garden pond. I just don’t have anymore room right now. I was always told Angels were mean and trouble so I stayed away. Recently, I’ve started really having an interest in them though. I need to downsize but every time I do I end up pulling another tank out of storage. Too many fish in the sea to want!
     
  11. Fishmanic

    Fishmanic Moderator
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    I have a single Angelfish as a centerpiece fish in my 35 gallon tall hex along with 3 black skirty tetras, 9 serpae tetra and a Bushynose pleco. They all get along fine. . I did have two angels in the tank at one time and they nipped at each other a lot. Eventually that pair died and I got this one around 4 years ago. They can live about 10 years if cared for properly.
     
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  12. Back in the fold

    Back in the fold Fish Fanatic

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    Did I mention that they are exquisitely beautiful ? No, they are not mean. I suppose a single one could become a rogue but I have never witnessed that. Set up another tank. This is one more fish in the sea you really should have. Getting me kind of itchy just thinking about it.
     
  13. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    I’d have to put it in the attic at this point! Lol
     
  14. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Get rid of the goldfish/ Koi and put the angels in the pond during warm weather, then bring them inside and put them in the 55 gallon tank.

    Get a double tier stand for the 55 gallon tank and have angels in one and the other fish in another.

    Honestly, I don't know how people get by with 1 tank on 1 stand. If you don't have double, triple or quadruple tiered stands, you ain't doing it right. :)
     
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  15. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    As much as I want to one day raise some Angel Fish, the goldies come first in this house. In my opinion, nothing is prettier, friendlier, or as smart. After my husband retires and we decide where we want to replant our roots, I’ll get my Angels.
     

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