Caring for your freshwater Angelfish
Pterophyllum scalare Share/Bookmark

Angelfish Description

Latin Name: Pterophyllum scalare.
Adult Size: Up to 15cm (standard length).
Average Life Span: 10 to 12 years in captivity.
Native Distribution: Amazon River basin in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, particularly the Ucayali, Solimões and Amazon rivers, as well as the rivers of Amapá in Brazil, the Oyapock River in French Guiana and the Essequibo River in Guyana.
Physical Description: Wild adults are silver with four vertical black stripes: through the eye, mid-body, dorsal/anal fin and base of tail. Captive bred Angelfish can be combinations of black, blue, green, gold, silver and platinum, and with or without stripes. A veiltail gene and a pearlscale gene can modify the finage and scales of all Angelfish color variations respectively.
Temperament: A predatory carnivore which will eat other fish, insects and worms small enough to fit into its mouth.
Status in the Wild: Abundant.

Angelfish Habitat

Native Habitat: Found in slow moving acidic tropical water.
Ambient Temperature: 25C to 30C.
Water Chemistry: Tolerates a wide variety of water parameters (pH 5.5 to 7.5, soft to medium water hardness).
Lighting: Full spectrum fluorescent.
Aquarium Size: 10 gallons per adult Angelfish.
Aquarium Decor: Stream or lake motif with aquatic plants, driftwood and rocks.
Aquarium Substrate: Gravel or sand.
Aquarium Containment: Angelfish rarely jump out of the water, however, a top cover is recommended to stabilize water temperature and reduce evaporation.

Angelfish Husbandry

Hygiene: Remove any uneaten food items 15 minutes after feeding. Substrate cleaning along with weekly 25% water changes are recommended.
Feeding: Angelfish should be fed at least twice daily with a variety of foods, including Cichlid pellets or flakes, frozen or freeze-dried insect larvae and aquatic crustaceans and live worms.
Handling: N/A.
Aquarium Compatibility: Angelfish are good community fish that may be kept with other fish that are large enough not to be eaten.

Angelfish Breeding

Maturity: Sexual maturity is reached between 5 and 8 months of age.
Sexing: Adult males are slightly larger than females and may have a hump on their head. Just prior to and during spawning, the male Angelfish has a small pointed ovipositor while the female Angelfish has a larger, more blunt ovipositor.
Conditioning: Keep adults well fed with a variety of foods.
Cycling: To induce spawning, perform a 50% water change and raise the water temperature by a few degrees.
Sex Ratio: Should be bred in M/F pairs.
Egg Laying: Angelfish pairs should be provided with a 45 degree egg-laying site, such as a strip of slate leaned against the side of the aquarium, a large flowerpot or the leaf of a large aquatic plant. Both male and female Angelfish will vigorously clean the egg-laying site prior to egg-laying.

Angelfish Care of Eggs / Young

Incubation Temperature: 28C to 30C.
Hatching Time: Angelfish eggs will hatch within 48 hours at 28C to 30C. Fry will become free-swimming in 5 days. Infertile Angelfish eggs will turn white and may grow fungus. A fungicide, such as Methlyene Blue, may be added to the hatching water to prevent fungus from infecting good Angelfish eggs.See Angelfish Breeding and Egg/Fry Development Photographs.
Size at Birth: 1mm total length.
Hatchling Sex Ratio: Not temperature dependent.
Feeding: For best results, babies should be fed newly hatched baby Brine Shrimp.
Housing: Housing young freshwater Angelfish together seems to pose no problems as long as they are of similar size.

Angelfish Ailments

Intestinal Protozoans: Raise water temperature to 35C and treat with 5mg/L Metronidazole every day for 10 days. Perform a 25% water change and re-dose every day. If no improvement is noted within 3 days discontinue treatment and look for other causes of illness.
Flukes and Intestinal Flat Worms: Raise water temperature to 35C and treat with 2mg/L Praziquantel for 21 days. Perform a 50% water change and re-dose every 7 days.
Intestinal Stomach Worms, Roundworms, Nodular worms, Hookworms and Lungworms: Raise water temperature to 35C and treat with 2mg/L Levamisole HCL for 21 days. Perform a 50% water change and re-dose every 7 days.
Skin and Tail Fungus: Dab affected area with 5% Methlyene Blue solution.
Disclaimer: Any course of treatment should be preceded by a thorough examination from a qualified professional. All remedies for ailments given above are for reference purposes only.

Angelfish References

ARCO Publishing Co, Inc., Pet Reference Series No.2, Breeding Angelfish For The Hobbyist & Professional, by Steven Dow, ISBN 0-915096-04-8.

Angelfish Links

The Angelfish Forum -- II