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What Are the Best Tips for Breeding Angelfish?

By Cindy Quarters
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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Angelfish are attractive fish that are a popular addition to many aquariums. There are both freshwater and saltwater varieties, but breeding saltwater angelfish is difficult. For the hobbyist who would like to raise them, freshwater angelfish offer the best chance for success as well as a large selection of colors to choose from. When breeding angelfish, it is important to have a good breeding pair. Provide them with optimal conditions, such as water temperature, a place to lay their eggs, plenty of plants for cover and a clean, safe tank to encourage them to begin breeding.

Begin with a good quality, healthy pair of breeding angelfish. The easiest way to get a breeding pair is to purchase them from a reputable breeder, but this can be expensive. A less costly way of getting a breeding pair is to buy several young fish, up to seven or eight individuals, then watch them for signs of mating behavior such as cleaning a spawning site and grooming each other.

Keep the fish in a deep tank so that the fish will be able to grow properly. Because of their size and the large fins they carry above and below their bodies, breeding angelfish requires that they be kept in a tank containing a minimum of 15 to 20 gallons (about 57 to 76 liters) that is at least 16 inches (about 41 cm) tall. The tank needs a cover so the fish can’t jump out, since fish of this species are very protective of their young and will try to defend them from perceived threats outside the tank by leaping to attack. In the tank, plants along with a specially made smooth stone for egg-laying fish called a breeding slate can help to make the fish feel secure, and to encourage breeding.

Temperature is very important when breeding angelfish. They can survive in a fairly wide range of temperatures, as low as 75F (24C), but do best at 80 to 85F (27 – 29C), and are most likely to breed when kept in that range. The eggs will also develop better and the fry will tend to stay healthier when they hatch in warm water.

Feed the adult pair of breeding angelfish a good-quality flaked food made specifically for angelfish. Add such foods as brine shrimp, chopped beef heart or frozen blood worms to increase vigor, though opinions are mixed as to whether this is necessary or not. Feed them as much as they will eat over the space of a few minutes, then siphon or skim off the rest, to keep the tank clean. When the babies hatch the parents will take care of them, so it is best to leave the adults in the tank with their young.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank setup for breeding angelfish?

To create an optimal environment for angelfish breeding, a 20-30 gallon tank is recommended. The water temperature should be maintained between 78-84°F with a pH level of 6.5-7.0. Provide a vertical, flat surface like a slate or broad leaf for egg laying. Soft, subdued lighting and a sponge filter can also help mimic their natural breeding conditions.

How can I tell if my angelfish are ready to breed?

Angelfish reach sexual maturity at about 6-12 months of age. Indicators of readiness include pairing off, cleaning a surface for egg laying, and exhibiting territorial behavior. The female's belly will become plumper as she fills with eggs, and the breeding tubes of both sexes will become more prominent.

What should I feed angelfish to promote successful breeding?

A varied diet is crucial for conditioning angelfish for breeding. High-quality flakes or pellets should be supplemented with live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, or blackworms. According to experts, a protein-rich diet can enhance fertility and increase the chances of successful spawning.

How do I protect angelfish fry from being eaten?

Angelfish parents often care for their fry, but if predation is a concern, remove other fish from the breeding tank. Alternatively, once the eggs hatch, you can transfer the fry to a separate rearing tank. Provide infusoria or specially formulated fry food until they are large enough to eat crushed flakes.

How often do angelfish lay eggs, and how many can they lay at a time?

Angelfish can lay eggs every 7-10 days if conditions are right. A single female may lay anywhere from 100 to 1,000 eggs per breeding session, depending on her size and health. Not all eggs will hatch, so the number of viable fry can vary significantly.

What are common problems encountered when breeding angelfish and how can I prevent them?

Common issues include poor water quality leading to fungal infections on eggs, inadequate diet resulting in low fertility, and aggression between mates. Regular water changes, a balanced diet, and careful observation of pair compatibility can mitigate these problems. Additionally, isolating the breeding pair can prevent stress from other tank inhabitants.

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