The angelfish cichlid (Pterophyllum scalare) is a tropical species of cichlid native to South America. With its tall, compressed body and large, showy fins, the angelfish has an angelic appearance that makes it a prized aquarium inhabitant. Two common color varieties are silver with black vertical stripes and black with reddish markings.
Introducing the Angelfish Cichlid
- Origin: The angelfish is native to warm, slow-moving streams and ponds of the Amazon river basin in South America. Their natural habitat is heavily vegetated freshwater environments.
- Size: Angelfish typically reach 6 inches long when full grown, with bodies that are tall and compressed side-to-side.
- Lifespan: In home aquariums, angelfish normally live for 10-15 years with proper care.
- Temperament: Angelfish have a generally peaceful temperament ideal for community tanks. They can be territorial towards other angelfish when breeding.
- Appearance: Angelfish have an elegant, disc-shaped body with long dorsal and anal fins that resemble flowing robes. Coloration varies widely.
- Popular Varieties: Common angelfish varieties include silver, black, black lace, gold, albino, orange blaze, and pearlscale.
- Price: Prices range from $3 to $15 for juvenile angelfish, depending on the color variety. Show quality, adult angelfish with superior color and fins can cost from $30 to over $100.
Habitat and Tank Requirements
- Natural Habitat: Angelfish inhabit vegetated freshwater streams, oxbow lakes, and flooded ponds of the Amazon River system in South America. The water is very soft and acidic in their natural environment.
- Tank Size: A minimum 29-gallon aquarium is recommended. For a group, allow at least 20 gallons per fish.
- Water Parameters: Ideal water temperature is 76-84°F. The pH range should be 6.0 to 7.0 and water very soft.
- Tank Setup: Include plenty of plants, driftwood, rock caves and dim, ambient lighting to mimic their natural habitat. Substrate can be fine gravel.
- Diet: Omnivorous; eats insects, shrimp, plant matter. Feed a high quality flake/pellet along with freeze dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp or live foods.
- Feeding Habits: Angelfish are aggressive, eager feeders. They are noted for rising rapidly to food dropped at the tank surface. Overfeeding is common and fouls the water, so feed only what they can consume within a few minutes 1-2 small meals per day.
- Suitable Foods: premium angelfish pellets/flakes, freeze dried brine shrimp/bloodworms/mysis, live blackworms, crickets.
- Reproduction: Angelfish are egg scatterers that form monogamous breeding pairs. They reach sexual maturity from 10-24 months old.
- Breeding Requirements: Condition with high quality foods for 4-6 weeks pre-spawn. Introduce a breeding cone, vertical surface, or plants for egg deposition. Maintain soft, warm, acidic water.
- Spawning Process: The pair clears the spawn site before the female deposits up to 1000 eggs over a period of days. The male follows to fertilize. Parents guard the eggs until they hatch in 48 hours, and fry become free-swimming another 3 days later. The fry are tiny but can immediately accept powdered fry food, infusoria, and some crushed flake. They grow quickly under optimal conditions.
Common Health Issues
Angelfish are prone to parasites like gill flukes, ichthyobodo, and internal worms. Bacterial and fungal infections can also occur under poor water quality conditions or if the fish has compromised immunity. Injury is possible from aggressive tankmates. Genetic issues like dwarfism may arise from severely inbred stock. With good care, angelfish are quite hardy.
Preventative measures include quarantining new fish, changing water regularly, maintaining excellent water quality and providing a well balanced diet with occasional live foods for robust conditioning. Use appropriate medications to treat any disease issues promptly.
- Compatibility: Peaceful community fish like small tetras, cory cats, dwarf gouramis. Avoid fin-nipping species.
- Special Care: Perform regular partial water changes and test water parameters frequently. Condition broodstock for peak health and coloration. May jump – have cover on tank.
- Legal Restrictions: None.
Tetras, rasboras, small barbs, corydoras catfish, bristlenose plecos, dwarf gouramis, smaller peaceful species.
Males grow faster with pointed dorsal, anal, and ventral fins. Females mature smaller with rounded fins. Males develop a nuchal hump on the forehead at sexual maturity. Females exhibit a reddish blush on the body when ready to spawn.
How many species of Angelfish cichlid?
There is only one recognized species of angelfish, Pterophyllum scalare, with many color varieties and fin morphs.
How to feed Angelfish cichlid to make their color brighter?
Offer a mixture of high quality prepared and live foods to enhance coloration. Spirulina flakes and marine algae pellets contain pigments and nutrients that really make angelfish colors pop.
How Big do Angelfish cichlid Grow?
In home aquariums, average full grown size is about 6 inches tall. Specimens over 8 inches are uncommon. Selective breeding has yielded the giant angelfish variety which can reach 10-12 inches.
How fast do Angelfish cichlid grow?
Kept in optimal conditions, angelfish can reach full size within their first 12 months, attaining roughly 1 inch per month. Growth slows closer to maturity.
How long do Angelfish cichlid live?
The average reported lifespan is 10-15 years. Some have reportedly lived over 20 years.
How to take care of Angelfish cichlid?
Perform regular partial water changes, test water quality, maintain stable warm temperatures, give them nutritious foods, add aquatic plants for sanctuary, use proper acclimation for new fish and when changing decor.
Which food products are the best for Angelfish cichlid?
Tetra ColorBits, Hikari Bio-Pure frozen bloodworms, New Life Spectrum pellets, and live blackworms are excellent foods. Feed a rotation for balanced nutrition.
Is good to keep Angelfish cichlid as pets?
Yes, Angelfish are very popular aquarium pets. They are hardy, have beautiful colors and elegant flowing fins. Peaceful temperament makes them ideal for community tanks. Breeding pairs can be very interesting to keep.
Why my Angelfish cichlid die?
Common causes of premature angelfish deaths include inappropriate water chemistry, parasitism, diseases related to organ failure, starvation and aggression from tankmates. Maintaining excellent water quality and reducing environmental stress is key.
Are Angelfish cichlid Aggressive?
Angelfish are generally peaceful community fish. Males may skirmish over territory and dominance. Breeding pairs can become aggressive while spawning and guarding eggs or fry. New additions should be quarantined and carefully introduced.
Do Angelfish cichlid kill other fish?
Healthy angelfish living in stable conditions are unlikely to kill smaller fish. However, breeding pairs protecting eggs/fry have been known to kill tankmates that wander too close. Sick, stressed fish may also attack weaker tank mates.
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