Angelfish are majestic & vibrant creatures that add color to your freshwater tank. However my first experience related to Angelfish wasn’t a positive one. I remember being captivated by a pair of silver and gold angel fish and bringing them home to be put in my fish tank which was kept at my parents living room. I was 12 and just started the hobby of fishkeeping. Less than 6 months later, the pair had grown up to 4 times of their original size and were about 15 cms each. Obviously they were crammed up for space and things had gotten worse when they started mating and laying eggs. Not only they would eat their own eggs but also attack other peaceful tank mates viciously for no apparent reason. I seek advice from an older cousin of mine who has been keeping fish for several years. His answer was to return the pair to the same petshop I’d bought them as lack of space in my freshwater tank has made the usually peaceful angelfish, tense and aggressive. After giving it deep thought tearfully I returned the pair to the place I bought them from.
Angelfish is a member of the Cichlid Family. Native to Amazon River Basin freshwater angelfish should not be confused with the marine angelfish which belongs to the entirely different Pomacanthidae Family. They live up to 10 years and need plenty of space. Be sure to have at least a 30 gallon tank before bringing them home or you will have to go thru the same experience I went thru which I’ve described at the beginning of this article. The standard color forms of the angelfish are gold, silver, black and marbled. Marbled angelfish has black spots or irregular black bands. Gold angelfish are completely gold while there are 2 main types of silver angelfish, one with bodies of complete silver color and others with 4-7 black bands on them.
They prefer slightly acidic water with pH levels between 6.6 to 6.8. Water should be soft. Temperature should be around 80 °F (27 °C). Angelfish don’t like fast conditions so make sure to keep the water filter set to low to guarantee them a slow water flow to swim around.
Female angelfish are independent creatures and most of the time lay their eggs at the side of the tank, body of the filter or even on the heater cable. Once they have laid eggs in a community tank, other fish will eat their eggs. In order to protect their eggs, usually peaceful angelfish would become aggressive and start attacking their tank mates often resulting in the death of smaller tank mates. There were reported incidents where angelfish eating their tank mates who ate their eggs.
Isolating the angelfish pair in a separate smaller tank is the best solution to this problem. Also introducing portable breeding sites such as plastic plants with large leaves, plastic slates and stones to the community tank and hope the angelfish would lay at least some of their eggs on those removable breeding sites and then putting them in a separate smaller container and re-introducing this container to the community tank will be the next best solution.
You can use ordinary cookie jars for this. First pour some tank water in to the cookie jar. Then carefully take out the eggs from whatever removable breeding site they are attached to and place it inside the cookie jar / container while holding it just under the water level of the Tank. Be sure to prevent the eggs detaching from the portable breeding site they are attached to during this operation. Contrary to the popular belief, there is no any real need to add methylene blue to the container in order to prevent egg fungus. My experience is if the eggs are fertile they would hatch without a hitch whether you add methylene blue or not.
Angelfish are omnivores. They enjoy a variety of diet which includes flakes, frozen blood worms, and live food sources such as white worms and brine shrimp.
The fry will take brine shrimp naupli as their first food source. Feed them only this for the first month or so. Then start feeding them finely crushed flake foods.