Thursday, 30 August 2012

Angelfish : Knowing Characteristics and Breeding Process

Angelfish are one of the most beautiful fish, which are broadly classified into two types namely freshwater and marine. The marine type belongs to the family Pomacanthidae and is mostly found in the western Pacific Ocean. This type is also found in the tropical Atlantic and Indian Ocean. There are approximately 86 species falling under the Pomacanthidae family. These have small mouths, large pectoral fins, streamer-like extensions of the soft dorsal and anal fins, and tail fins. They are very colourful, bold and form highly territorial.

Belonging to Cichlidae family, the angelfish of fresh water have different traits than those of marine water fish. They are native to South American river basins namely Amazon, Orinoco and Essequibo. With round bodies compressed from sideways, the freshwater fish have triangular dorsal and anal fins. Their body shape enables them to stay protected from their predators by hiding amongst plants in the aquarium. They often have red eyes and vertical stripes on their body. Highly intelligent, they are of genus Pterophyllum. This genus consists
of only three types of species – P. Scalare, P. Altum and P. Leopoldi.

In terms of behavior, these are playful and recognize their owner. Sometimes, they act aggressively and also harm others in the tank. In fact, they have been observed eating smaller fish such as Neon Tetra. Also referred to as Silver Angel, they are carnivores in nature and their favorite food list includes brine shrimp, insects and bloodworms.

It is to be noted that these fish breed for life. After the death of any one from the pair, the other never breeds again. It is difficult to identify the male and female from the pair of angelfish. They can be easily identified during the process of breeding. However, there are few characteristics that can help you identify the male as well as female fish. These characteristics are –

  • Males are more territorial than females.
  • Males sometimes develop a small lump on their forehead known as nuchal hump, unlike females.
  • The breeding organ (Papilla) of the male is more pointed, while that of the female is wider.
  • While breeding, you may see the female laying the eggs and the male’s papilla emerging out to release the sperms over the eggs to fertilize them.

In the process of breeding, it is important to know that these fish learn parenting by trial and error. So, they may eat the eggs in their first attempt and then in the second attempt, they may let the eggs hatch and eat the fry. Gradually, they learn to protect and nurture their fry letting them grow into a fish like them.

Females usually lay 100 to 1000 eggs at a time. They lay eggs on the flat horizontal surface. These eggs hatch within 7 days. However, you can see the fry moving inside the eggs within 48 hours. Many of the eggs don’t get fertile or becomes victim of fungal or bacterial infection that kills the eggs. Such eggs appear white.

The parents have the tendency to move their eggs into different location of the tanks. The eggs develop into fry after seven days, but they don’t move and remain stuck to the place where their parents have placed them for some more days. During this stage, you should start feeding the fry with the baby brine shrimp or any other commercial fry food. The parent fish many times collect fry in their mouth and spit them in a safe corner. It’s a herding method followed by the fish to keep the fry safe.

All in all, angelfish have truly astounding characteristics and great parenting ability, once they learn it

Some Beautiful Angelfish Pictures


Koran Angelfish
Koran Angelfish

Long Fin Angelfish

Queen Angelfish
Queen Angelfish

1 comment:

  1. I guys,

    Check the angelfish page at
    a comprehensive catalogue of marine species to sea lovers.