Breeding Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare)
Although I had previously kept Angelfish in a community tank, and witnessed some spawnings,
I had not made any specific attempt to breed and rear them. With this in mind, I purchased
four young wild-type silver Angelfish which were about 1" long. They were placed in a 48x12x15"
tank containing bogwood and a few plants (pH 7.0, GH 7, KH 3, nitrate 25mg/l or less). Three
of the four grew to about 2" in approx. 3 months, the fourth always remained small at about
11/4 inches. They were fed on a staple diet of Aquarian flake food and Tetra Prima granular
food, with frozen brine shrimp and bloodworm 1-2 times per week. A variety of other foods
were offered on odd occasions and included: live Brine shrimp, chopped earthworms,
chopped mussel and shrimp, cichlid pellets/granules, small pieces of cucumber, frozen red
|After about 4 months, two of the larger fish seemed to be forming a pair - swimming together
and driving the other two away. On one occasion they appeared to be more aggressive than usual
and I noticed that they had spawned on the leaf of an Amazon sword. On this first occasion,
I decided to leave the eggs with the parents to see what would happen. By lights-out later
that evening, all the eggs were gone, no doubt eaten by the parents. This did not come as a
surprise, as it is widely written that aquarium-bred angels have had their brood-care instincts
bred out of them.
|The second spawning was exactly two weeks later. This time the eggs were deposited on the tubing
for the external filter. About half the eggs were gently brushed into a 1 litre plastic jar
held under the water (the rest were subsequently eaten by the parents again). The jar was
removed about half-full with tank water and topped up slowly with some room-temperature
rainwater. The jar was placed in a 8.3 imperial gallon tank (10 US gallons/38 litres),
freshly set up with 5 gallons of 50/50 tapwater/rainwater plus water conditioner (pH 7.0,
GH 7, KH 3). The main tank contained a 50W heater keeping the temp at 25oC. An airstone was
placed in the jar, adjusted to a gentle bubble stream to circulate water past the eggs. A
few drops of methylene blue were added to the jar to prevent fungal attack. After 3-4 days,
the eggs were hatching and minute fry with egg sacs could be observed.
|The fry were kept in the jar for 6 days, changing 10-15% of the water every day with water
from the tank. During this time, any dead fry or other debris were carefully siphoned from
the jar twice a day, using a small plastic pipette.
|On day 7 the fry were free swimming, and were released into the main tank. This was done
gradually by tipping the jar to allow water to run into the jar until full, and then simply
tipping the jar on it's side in the tank to allow the fry to swim out of their own accord.
The jar was removed the following day.
|The fry were fed on either infusoria or commercial liquid fry food for the first 2-3 days,
after which live baby brine shrimp were introduced.