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Pterophyllum scalare

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Angelfish - Pterophyllum scalare

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angel21.jpg (21kb)
Photo Credit: Susan Ross

The Amazon Angelfish has always been an all-time favorite among many aquarists. It's almost impossible to find a hobbyist who has never had at least one. The angels' lack of bright coloration is compensated by their unique, beautiful fins and by the variety of patterns which have been achieved through many decades of selective breeding.

Contributed by Marcos Avila

When starting in the hobby (7 years ago) I tried to steer away from keeping angels, due to the many stories of them being overly aggressive to other fish and eating anything smaller than them - now I know just how false these stories are! My first pair of angels consisted of a golden one and a marble, yet I was not completely successful with this pair. The next angels I bought were four beautiful fish: two striped, one marble and a long-finned grey. Out of these, only a striped and the marble survived, and a few months later bred. They were in a 140 litre Amazon themed aquarium with discus, cories and tetras with a pH of 7.5 and tannin-stained water. The eggs were layed on a Java fern leaf and hatched a few days after. The fry were doing well, at least until they became free-swimming...they all got blown away in the current! And this is a problem I continued to have with them, and I kept knocking down the current. However, sadly, the female (striped) died after a spate of pop-eye. The marble is now about two years old, and has two new angel tank-mates: two beautiful striped angels (the wild-type striped variety is my all-time favourite). The two new additions repeatedly breed, and since having them (about 3 months) they have had at least 6 successful batches (by successful I mean they got to fry stage, now they keep swimming into other fish's mouths!). I am thinking of moving them into separate quarters for a while so I can get a batch of fry that last more than a few days! Angels are fantastic and easy fish to keep, and also easy to breed, peaceful and do not see smaller fish as a food item as much as it has been reported - this common told story is highly exaggerated. After 4 years of keeping them I highly recommend them!

Contributed by Robert King

The natural Cichlid parental behaviour has, unfortunately, been virtually bred out of Angelfish and most breeding pairs will as likely eat their eggs as hatch and raise their fry. In the wild, Angelfish make typical Cichlid parents raising and protecting the fry. They are moderately easy to spawn in an aquarium, but usually the eggs will have to be removed and raised in a separate tank or, if possible, remove the parents.

Contributed by Ken Walley

The Angelfish can be a very energetic fish. The fins are very long and can be quite enchanting if you know what I mean, but be careful because Angelfish can be very delicate and fragile and are very susceptible to fin and tail rot! A lot of the Angelfish articles I have read have said that the Angelfish can be a very peaceful and fun companion in your aquarium. But there are some other sides to the Angelfish that people should be aware about. The Angelfish belongs to the family Cichlidae. Small Angelfish may in fact be very peaceful and well behaved, but they can have a controlling and different side to them. When the Angelfish grows it can become very used to the fact that it is in a well planted aquarium with lots of fish. They also may get used to the fact that they are getting bigger and may try and nip your fish. Some Angelfish when they get older may change and start to get aggressive because of their size, backgrounds and because they can be territorial. But you can't base all of the Angelfish in the world on the fact that they are from the family Cichlidae. Remember folks, you may be able to judge the characteristics of one fish to another in general but when you get down to it a lot of fish are unique and have little differences in their characteristics. For instance, I have had some Angelfish that I have brought home be quite peaceful and enjoyable in my aquarium and then I have brought home another and they get nasty with one another. You can get a bad fish once in awile so I would be careful in selecting the fish for your aquarium. From experiance I can tell you that you can base this fish on it's background but just get an aggressive fish.

You also have to be careful where you put your Angelfish. They can be very shy creatures and if you don't give them a well planted aquarium, some room and good playmates, then you may not be able to keep Angelfish. They can sometimes be a challenge but sometimes the behavior in the tank isn't always the Angelfish's fault. Do not put your Angelfish in with tail biting fish. For example, the Tiger Barbs are known for liking to nibble on long fins of the Betta, Angelfish and any other delicate fish you may have with long stringy fins, especially the Guppiesī fins. That is why you should be careful in selecting tank mates for a community aquariums. Try reading a little bit about the fish's background before buying the fish! (One little trick is to ask the store people about the fish. You know you can count on the sales people at the store if they become interested in the fish you buy not how much or how expensive it is!).

Contributed by Kendra Robillard

I highly recommend Angelfish. I have a marble Angelfish and he doesn't pick at other fish, he eats almost everything and mine there pretty hardy I think because out of all the fish in my tank I have had my Angelfish the longest. I do recommend a 75 liter tank or bigger for an Angelfish because they need a lot of room.

Contributed by Eric

I have a breeding pair of beautiful Angels. I removed the first clutch of eggs because I thought they were eating the eggs. A week later, they had spawned again. I decided not to mess with these because I already had the last batch in the fry tank. I watched as the pair removed the eggs with their mouths and moved all of them to another place in the aquarium. A couple days later they moved them to a live plant leaf. The fry have eyes now and some are almost free swimming. The pair keeps picking up any that wiggle off the leaf. They are both very attentive and seem to be raising them without my help. I have video taped every day as the parents move and tend the fry. I have always removed the eggs and raised them myself. I am totally fascinated by their behavior.

Contributed by Kathy Wells

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