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How To Take Care Of Your Little Angels?

Aug 17, 2007
Angelfish have been popular for a long time, and new strains are still being developed. Wild-caught fish are also widely available. Angelfish are cichlids, which mean they can be aggressive, territorial, and predatory. They also have some demanding requirements for space, water conditions, and diet.

Angelfish require space to establish and hold a territory. You can keep one Angelfish in a relatively small aquarium, but they will do a lot better in a group of five or more in bigger tank. You should provide 10 gallons of water for one adult Angelfish.
If you consider keeping Angelfish, locally bred fish are a good choice. They are usually already acclimated to your tap water, and probably are available at your local fish store.

There is a growing number of "basement breeders" all over the country, who bring their fish to the store for sale. This will save you a lot of time and money if you are just starting with Angelfish.
Wild-caught fish are harder to get acclimated to different water conditions. It has to happen very slowly, and at first the conditions should be close to their natural water conditions; slightly acidic, and relatively soft. Water temperature must be maintained between 78 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit for all Angelfish regardless of their origin. They don't like to get "chilled"; they will suffer and get sick in too cool water.

There are no special requirements for filters, as long as the water stays clean. The only thing to think about is that the water is not flowing too fast. Angelfish are not happy where salmon would be. Thirty percent of the water should be changed at least every two weeks. Also vacuum the bottom to keep it clean and aerated, since Angelfish will not mix the substrate. One option is to keep some bottom dwellers with Angels.

Angelfish generally accept all kinds of food. They are omnivorous, which means they eat meat and plant food. You can offer pellets, flakes, frozen blood worms and brine shrimp, and so on. Avoid too fatty meat to protect the liver from getting cirrhosis. It is a good habit to feed Angelfish two or three times a day a with small amount instead of single large meal. This will prevent digestive problems.

Angelfish can be good community fish. They do need to have appropriate tank mates for everything to work out. Some small fish may end up on the menu, like Neon Tetras, and slower fish may have difficulty to get enough food. Avoid very small fish and choose tank mates with similar temperament, and water condition requirements. Some Angel fish strains have very long fins and tails, which some other species keep nipping.

If you are interested in breeding Angelfish, you will need a second tank to separate the breeding pair from the rest of the community, or to rear the fry. It would be best to get at least 3 to 5 Angels to be sure you get one female and one male. Sometimes you may find a pair of adults for sale, which have already spawned. Angels will form a pair after courtship display, and will aggressively guard the chosen spawning spot. This is usually some kind of vertical surface, a big leaf or tubing for example. Spawning takes about an hour. Both parents keep fanning the eggs for three days until they hatch. The fry will stay attached to the surface for about five days and then start swimming on their own. By this time the fry has used most of its yolk, and needs to be fed for the first time. You can offer newly hatched brine shrimp. It's wiggling will stimulate the fry to eat better than flake food will, which can be offered crushed.

Parents will take care of the fry, but if any wander away; they will get on the menu of the other fish. This can be prevented by moving the fry to a separate tank. If the fry is well fed and the tank is kept clean, the fry will grow very fast. Then you can start asking from your local fish stores if they would be interested in having your little Angels for sale. Happy fish keeping.
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