Friday, March 19, 2010
The scientific name for the freshwater angelfish is quite descriptive. Pterophyllum is derived from the Greek word for "winged leaf" and scalare means "like a flight of stairs" in reference to the dorsal fin. It is a Latin word that can also mean "ladder". Angelfish are laterally compressed or look like a disc on edge with long fins coming out of the top and bottom and have 2 'feelers' in front of the anal or bottom fin. The tail is vertically oriented and may be ffrom scoop shovel shape to long and relatively narrow depending on the variety.Its origin is Amazon region of South America
Up to 6" in length, the top and bottom fins spanning a greater distance in the Veil varieties.
Ideal Water Quality
Soft (0.6 to 1.2 dH), slightly acid (pH 6.5 to 6.9), successful breedings have occurred in pH 6.8.
Live plants should be included in all freshwater tanks. Water quality is monitored by live plants as they will look sickly before the fish die, they aid in keeping water clear, hinder growth of algae and add Oxygen to the water.
Broadleaf aquatic plants are favorites of Angelfish for laying their eggs on. Amazon Sword Plants (Echinodorus) are in a genus that embraces more than fifty relatively hardy and adaptable species, most of which are native to the flood plains of South America. They prefer water that is neutral or slightly acid and not too hard making them perfect plants for your Angelfish tank.
Vesicularia dubyana (Java Moss), Ceratopteris (Water Sprite) and Microsorium (Polypodium pteropus or Java Fern) are all compatible live aquatic plants.
Angelfish can survive on flake food alone, but they will thrive and be much more apt to breed on a greatly varied diet. Live foods such as Adult Brine Shrimp, Black Worms, Mosquito larvae, finely chopped earthworms and Guppy fry are accepted with enthusiasm and should be included regularly. If live food is not available, frozen packages of Blood Worms (Midge Fly larvae), Brine Shrimp and others are available from your favorite pet supply store and are acceptable substitutions for the live food. There are many dried foods available that will suffice too.
Raw beef heart, finely ground, mixed with unflavored gelatin and frozen immediately in small one serving size pieces is a good and economical addition to your Angelfish diet. Be absolutely sure there is no fat in the meat.
Angelfish fry have been successfully raised on a diet of newly hatched Brine shrimp (napulii) for the first 4 weeks of their lives and fed two to four times daily. After that, they were gradually introduced to a mixture of finely powdered Angelfish flakes and powdered dried blood worms with an occasional (twice a week) feeding of baby brine shrimp.
When their bodies are about the size of a quarter, they may be fed Guppy fry. An easy way to provide this very nutritious food is to keep pregnant guppies in the same tank as the young Angels and the rest is up to nature. Of course feedings of other varied foods are needed to round out the diet.
The author conducted an experiment and got 6 quarter sized Angelfish from a large tank of like sized Angels and put them in a 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter and Water Sprite. They were free fed guppy fry and twice a day received any combination of Angelfish flakes, frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp and dried dworms for 4 weeks. At the end of the experiment, the 6 who received a varied diet twice a day were almost the size of a half dollar while the size of the other Angelfish barely had any noticeable growth at all. You can see that the correct diet for your Angels is essential to potential and current breeder fish.
The minimum size tank for a breeding pair of Angelfish is 15 gallons, but should be 25 gallons or larger if you plan on leaving the fry with the parents. As you can imagine, a fully grown pair of Angels with 200-300 fry to herd around would be pretty cramped in anything smaller. Another plus to having a larger tank is that there is a better feeling of security in a larger tank and the parents aren't as apt to eat their eggs or young.
Choosing Breeder Angelfish
The best way of assuring yourself at least one young pair is to choose 6 perfect specimens from a large tankful of young angels. This method is less expensive than buying proven breeders that may be near the end of their breeding careers anyway.
When preparing to buy 6 Angelfish, take your time to study the fish and select only those with straight top and bottom fins and perfect 'feelers' without any bowing or bends in them. They should be strong, robust and active. Angelfish that are active feeders mean they will grow quickly, and have a high rate of egg production in the females.
Do not buy fish from a tank with either dead fish in it, with fungus or parasite infestations. Resist the urge to 'come to the rescue of the little ugly duckling' because it will only grow up to be a big ugly duckling and will be totally unsuitable for breeding purposes. Be extremely picky with your breeder selection and you will be rewarded with beautiful fry.
Once you have carefully selected your 6 potential breeders, they can be set up in a 20 gallon tank minimum to grow up in and to finally pair off. If they are fed well with a good selection of live foods, they will grow quickly and reach breeder size rapidly.
One sure way to acquire a true breeding pair of Angelfish is to purchase a proven pair from a breeder. When you purchase a pair this way there is always the possibility that they are at the end of their breeding career.