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Pterophyllum scalare - AngelfishMagyarul / Hungarian
Pterophyllum scalare - AngelfishPterophyllum scalare - AngelfishPterophyllum scalare - AngelfishPterophyllum scalare - AngelfishPterophyllum scalare - Angelfish
  • Scientific name: Pterophyllum scalare
  • Common name: Angelfish
  • Group: Cichlids
  • Habitat: South America; Amazon, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil
  • Size: 10 cm.
  • Biotope: Found in grassy, shore areas along the banks of lakes and slow-moving rivers
  • Social behavior: A peaceful cichlid that can be combined in community tanks with other calm, medium to large sized fishes. Do not combine with small slender fishes (Cardinals) for these will likely be eaten. Angels can be kept singly or in groups. For pairing, raise a group of individuals from youth, and select a pair that forms.
  • Diet: Live, insects, Tubifex, Brine Shrimp, insect larvae, flakes, pellets, lettuce.
  • Breeding: Quite easy
  • Tank: Minimum 150 litres
  • Population: 5 fish for 300 litres
  • Decoration: The tank should be well-planted with hardy plants. Use roots, rocks, and bog wood for hiding places, but leave an open area for swimming.
  • Temperature: 25-26°C
  • pH: 5-7.5
  • Hardness: 1-20 NK°
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years

Description: Disk-shaped. Dorsal and Anal fins Are elongated and sail-like, the Pectoral fins are stretched into long filaments. The Caudal fin is fan shaped and broad. The outermost fin rays are prolonged. In older fish the forehead bulges. Including the fins the Angel may reach a length of six inches and a height of ten inches.

The body is Silvery with a slight Brown tinge, the snout, back and forehead are Brownish Yellow. Sides are marked with four Black transverse bars, the first running in a curve from the nape through the eye to the start of the Ventral fin, the second from the Dorsal to the anus, the third is the most prominent runs from the Dorsal to the Anal fins and the fourth crosses the start of the Caudal fin. A few fainter bars can sometimes be seen in the upper half of the body. The Dorsal fin spines are Yellow-Brown, the front of the Ventral fins Steel-Blue and the soft rayed parts of the unpaired fins are Grayish-White.

The above paragraph was a description of the original wild caught specimens and is seldom seen in its true colors anymore. Today Angels come in all color varieties and more are added almost everyday. There are Black, Gold, Ghost, Marble, Veiltail and many more available today. All are the result of color and fin mutations through selective breeding.

The best way of assuring yourself at least one young pair is to choose 6 perfect specimens from a large tankful of young angels. This method is less expensive than buying proven breeders that may be near the end of their breeding careers anyway. When preparing to buy 6 Angelfish, take your time to study the fish and select only those with straight top and bottom fins and perfect 'feelers' without any bowing or bends in them. They should be strong, robust and active. Angelfish that are active feeders mean they will grow quickly, and have a high rate of egg production in the females. Do not buy fish from a tank with either dead fish in it, with fungus or parasite infestations. Resist the urge to 'come to the rescue of the little ugly duckling' because it will only grow up to be a big ugly duckling and will be totally unsuitable for breeding purposes. Be extremely picky with your breeder selection and you will be rewarded with beautiful fry. Once you have carefully selected your 6 potential breeders, they can be set up in a 20 gallon tank minimum to grow up in and to finally pair off. If they are fed well with a good selection of live foods, they will grow quickly and reach breeder size rapidly. One sure way to acquire a true breeding pair of Angelfish is to purchase a proven pair from a breeder. When you purchase a pair this way there is always the possibility that they are at the end of their breeding career.

In mature fish, breeding can be stimulated by a partial water change and a rise in temperature to between 80 and 82 degrees F. One sure sign that spawning is about to occur is the appearance of the pair's genital papillae. These look like little nipple-like projections and are called ovipositors (oh vi poz' uh turs), a word that literally means "egg-placer(s)". The female's ovipositor is larger and more blunt than the male's which is slender and more pointed. These protuberances which appear at the vent are used respectively for depositing eggs and fertilizing them. The obvious differences in the genital papillae are the first completely reliable indication of sex determination. The pair will select a spawning site and thoroughly clean it about two or three days before actual spawning takes place. When the cleanliness of the spawning site finally meets the approval of the parent fish, the female will make a few test runs. She will pull her ventral fins or feelers close to the lower sides of her abdomen and her anal fin will be situated so that her entire lower line is relatively straight. Her ovipositor will then be able to make full contact with the slate, leaf or whatever was chosen for a spawning site. The male will then make a few practice runs too before the actual spawning takes place. When spawning actually takes place, the female will pass over the site and eggs are deposited which adhere to the surface. The male then moves in and scoots along over the string of eggs just laid and fertilizes them, his fins taking the same position as the female's so he can press closely to insure a higher fertilization rate. The male and female Angelfish will take turns making passes over the spawning site until several hundred or more eggs have been laid, depending on the size and condition of the female prior to spawning. The parents will hover closely over the spawn and fan continuously with their pectoral fins to create a circulation of water over and around the eggs. Some unfertilized eggs will turn white in a matter of hours and will be removed by the parents.

Angelfish fry have been successfully raised on a diet of newly hatched Brine shrimp (napulii) for the first 4 weeks of their lives and fed two to four times daily. After that, they were gradually introduced to a mixture of finely powdered Angelfish flakes and powdered dried blood worms with an occasional (twice a week) feeding of baby brine shrimp. When their bodies are about the size of a quarter, they may be fed Guppy fry. An easy way to provide this very nutritious food is to keep pregnant guppies in the same tank as the young Angels and the rest is up to nature. Of course feedings of other varied foods are needed to round out the diet. The author conducted an experiment and got 6 quarter sized Angelfish from a large tank of like sized Angels and put them in a 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter and Water Sprite. They were free fed guppy fry and twice a day received any combination of Angelfish flakes, frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp and dried dworms for 4 weeks. At the end of the experiment, the 6 who received a varied diet twice a day were almost the size of a half dollar while the size of the other Angelfish barely had any noticeable growth at all. You can see that the correct diet for your Angels is essential to potential and current breeder fish.

If the parents are to be left with the eggs, it is best to provide as much peace and quiet for them as possible. You may want to set up their tank in your bedroom or a spare room where they will not be unnecessarily disturbed. Other than that, they should be treated as you normally do. Some aquarists cover the tank with paper or black plastic and use peep holes to observe the fish. This can cause more disturbance than without the cover because there is no warning for the fish when the lid is going to be opened for feeding or for any other reason. The best system for filtering a fry tank is a seeded corner sponge filter. Start your new Rotifer (roe' tu fur) bacteria colony by putting the new sponge filter with aeration into an established tank. This should be done long before you have to use it so that all you have to do is pop it into the fry tank when the time comes. The sponge will begin to discolor when you have the start of your colony. The circulation of water is gentle, the fry won't be sucked into the sponge and even baby brine shrimp are safe with a sponge filter. Clean the sponge in a bucket of siphoned off aquarium water to protect the Rotifers from dying, wring it out a couple of times and it's ready to go back to work even in a completely bare aquarium. Undergravel filters also work biologically, but are not as convenient to use in this instance. A scrupulously clean aquarium is essential for proper growth and health of your Angel fish fry, but with an undergravel filter, this is almost impossible to do. The water can look crystal clear while the space under the filter can be filthy with uneaten food and fish waste. This in turn causes ammonia build-up which is dangerous or even fatal to fish. It is obviously very difficult if not impossible to keep a fry tank with an undergravel filter in it perfectly clean.

Hatching Eggs Away from Parents Should you decide to remove the eggs after spawning to raise away from the parents, a bare 15-20 gallon tank with sponge filter and a piece of slate leaned up against a side wall would be the angelfish will use the piece of slate to lay their eggs on making it easy for you to remove the entire spawn. A restaurant sized pickle or mayonnaise jar submerged into the tank and the slate with the spawn gently transferred into it is the best way to handle the delicate eggs which should be facing upward. An airstone should be placed in the jar in such a way that the somewhat vigorous stream of air bubbles does not hit the eggs directly. The jar should be floated in the tank so the temperature remains constant and that water changes can come from the parent's tank. Successful breeders have used this 'formula' for the water in which to raise the fry: Dechlorinated tap water measuring about 75-100 ppm hardness or about 5 DH and a pH of about 7.4 and kept at 80-02 degrees F. A one gallon pickle jar was used and tilted, filled 3/4 full and 3 drops of 10% Methylene Blue was added. The aeration was vigorous and each day after hatching, one-half the water was replaced with aged tap water of the same temperature. Aeration was slowed after the fry were free swimming. Hatching should occur in about 36 to 48 hours depending on the temperature. If you should see some eggs fall off the slate, you may elect to either pick them up with an eyedropper or turkey baster and squirt them back on the slate or leave them to hatch where they are. There will be a period after hatching and before free swimming when the fry will stick together. At this time increase the aeration so ALL the fry will have access to sufficient oxygen. Do not put food in the jar until they fry are free swimming. This will only serve to foul the water and they won't eat while they still have a yolk sack to live on. After about 3-5 days when they are free swimming, you may introduce newly hatched brine shrimp into the jar for the fry to eat.

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