Angelfish Keeping – Taking Care Of Your Angelfish

Angelfish have been popular for a very long time now, and new strains are still being developed all of the time. Wild caught fish are also more generally available now too and amongst them are some which may be new to science. Despite their serene appearance, angelfish can be difficult to keep if you don’t understand some basic knowledge about them.

Angelfish are Cichlids and although they do not resemble the normal cichlid shape they do exhibit a lot of Cichlid behaviour which can catch the unwary out. We normally associate the terms aggressive, territorial, and predatory with Cichlids and adult angelfish in particular can and do show all of these characteristics from time to time, especially when two of them decide to start a family. They also have some demanding requirements for space, water conditions, and diet.

Angelfish can get to be very big, a full grown male can measure 6″ or more deep, so they require lots of space especially when they decide to breed. You can keep one Angelfish in a relatively small aquarium but it will tend to become stunted and not grow to be the beautiful specimen that it should be. Angelfish are also shoaling fish in the wild and so they will do a lot better in a group of six or more in bigger tank. A good rule of thumb is to allow 10 gallons of water for one adult Angelfish.

Angelfish Keeping – Getting Started

If you consider keeping Angelfish, locally bred fish are a good choice. They are usually already acclimated to your tap water, and probably are available at your local fish store.

There is a growing number of ‘basement breeders’ all over the country, who bring their fish to the store for sale. This will save you a lot of time and money if you are just starting with Angelfish.

Wild-caught fish are harder to get acclimated to different water conditions. It has to happen very slowly, and at first the conditions should be close to their natural water conditions; slightly acidic, and relatively soft. Water temperature must be maintained between 78 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit for all Angelfish regardless of their origin. They don’t like to get ‘chilled’; they will suffer and get sick in too cool water.

There are no special requirements for filters, as long as the water stays clean. The only thing to think about is that the water is not flowing too fast. Angelfish are not happy where salmon would be. Thirty percent of the water should be changed at least every two weeks. Also vacuum the bottom to keep it clean and aerated, since Angelfish will not mix the substrate. One option is to keep some bottom dwellers with Angels.

Angelfish generally accept all kinds of food. They are omnivorous, which means they eat meat and plant food. You can offer pellets, flakes, frozen blood worms and brine shrimp, and so on. Avoid too fatty meat to protect the liver from getting cirrhosis. It is a good habit to feed Angelfish two or three times a day a with small amount instead of single large meal. This will prevent digestive problems.

Angelfish can be good community fish. They do need to have appropriate tank mates for everything to work out. Some small fish may end up on the menu, like Neon Tetras, and slower fish may have difficulty to get enough food. Avoid very small fish and choose tank mates with similar temperament, and water condition requirements. Some Angel fish strains have very long fins and tails, which some other species keep nipping.

If you are interested in breeding Angelfish, you will need a second tank to separate the breeding pair from the rest of the community, or to rear the fry. It would be best to get at least 3 to 5 Angels to be sure you get one female and one male. Sometimes you may find a pair of adults for sale, which have already spawned. Angels will form a pair after courtship display, and will aggressively guard the chosen spawning spot. This is usually some kind of vertical surface, a big leaf or tubing for example. Spawning takes about an hour. Both parents keep fanning the eggs for three days until they hatch. The fry will stay attached to the surface for about five days and then start swimming on their own. By this time the fry has used most of its yolk, and needs to be fed for the first time. You can offer newly hatched brine shrimp. It’s wiggling will stimulate the fry to eat better than flake food will, which can be offered crushed.

Parents will take care of the fry, but if any wander away they will get on the menu of the other fish. This can be prevented by moving the fry to a separate tank. If the fry are well fed and the tank is kept clean, the fry will grow very fast. Then you can start asking from your local fish stores if they would be interested in buying your young angels from you which will help fund your hobby.


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