Updated: Apr 9, 2019
You have two angelfish that have paired up...now what? There's a bunch of things you need to consider to ensure your happy couple keeps giving you little #angelfishfry, including the size of the aquarium, tank mates, water temperature and more.
It's all about consitency
My wife has this incredible ability to accurately tell time without looking at a clock. My dogs know when it's time for their walk as opposed to me just going outside. My angelfish know when it's time to be fed, and they're at the edge of their tank begging for food. Angelfish, like other animals, somehow know how to tell time and like things consistent. Make sure you keep on the schedule they're comfortable with, and they'll be consistent with their #breeding as well. When a pair finds their groove, they breed every 8 days under the right conditions.
A 20 gallon high aquarium is a great size tank for a single breeding pair. It's enough water to ensure that #waterparameters won't swing. It's tall enough for full grown angelfish to have a comfortable amount of vertical swimming space, and allows enough room above breeding cones for adult angelfish to comfortably finish their egglaying pass without hitting the water's surface. I highly recommend #Seapora aquariums, and they should be around $50CAD from your local fish store. Seapora tanks are well made, and their sides are standard glass which allows you to drill them. #Temperedglass aquariums will shatter if you drill them, always ask your LFS what kind of glass your aquarium is made from.
I keep my breeders between 82-84F, and water change them with aged water of the same temperature. I find this temperature gives me the most dependable timeline for eggs. I know that every 8 days, I'm going to get a new batch of eggs without fail. When I want to slow their breeding, I'll drop the tank temperature down to about 76-78F, and my angelfish will give me eggs every 12-15 days. Get a reliable #submersibleheater (Eheim for the win) and ensure that you lay the heater on the gravel bed. You don't want to place the heater vertically in case your angelfish try to use it as a breeding spot.
Angelfish will lay eggs on just about any vertical surface. Heater guards, wood, and even the aquarium's glass in a pinch! Many people use a cheap piece of #slate rock which costs around $10CAD, but I've run into too many issues with it...most simply, when you put the slate into a fry tank that is bare bottom, it's almost impossible to keep it vertical. The slate keeps sliding. #Breedingcones are easy to use, self-standing, simple to clean, and angelfish seem to be naturally drawn to them. Get the 9" cones as you'll find angelfish like to breed mid-water and enjoy them more because of their height. You'll get larger batches of eggs if the angelfish have more surface area to lay on.
Angelfish are a bit odd, personality-wise. Different fish have different #temperments, but you'll find that when your fish are getting ready to breed, they become highy aggressive and this endangers their #tankmates. I keep large guppies in my tanks with my angels. Three to four help dispurse their attention, but also ensure that the angelfish's aggression isn't focused on their mate during their downtime between breedings. Armoured catfish like #corydoras are a good match, and help to keep the bottom of the aquarium clean. Stay away from fish like barbs, which tend to nip fins (and steal eggs), or other larger fish that won't back down from an angelfish, like gouramis.
I like using live plants in our breeding tanks as it gives some coverage to the angelfish if their mate is becoming a little territorial. In cases where I have a male bullying a female, a quick reshuffle of the plants resets their boundaries and everyone starts getting along again. Ensure that whatever you put into the aquarium doesn't provide a #breedingsurface for the angelfish. For example, #swordplants have large, flat leaves which angelfish may try to lay their eggs on, rather than focus on the breeding cone. I've had angelfish lay their eggs on #giantval leaves, which has leaves thinner than your thumb. Stick with thin leaved or bushy plants like #corkscrewval or #hornwort that your angelfish will not lay their eggs on.
Write it down, pay attention
Your angelfish will fall into a consistent breeding pattern, and you need to ensure you're paying attention to how regularly they breed. If they're breeding every 10 days, but this week it was on the 9th day, figure out what you did differently. If suddenly there's a large delay in between their regular breedings, it's an indicator that something changed that upset them, and it needs to be corrected.
Leave a comment, a question, or even a contradiction down below and we can learn together.
Andrei Vexler is an aquarist with over 20 years in the fish hobby. Having run a fish room with over 700 freshwater and saltwater aquariums, Andrei found his passion in South American cichlids, particularly altum angelfish. Growing and wholesaling angels to the GTA and surrounding area, he shares his years of experience in his blog for advanced aquarists.