We started breeding Angelfish over 30 years ago, and formed our new company, AngelfishUSA in 2007. Although, there are many new methods that are successful in the breeding of angelfish, many of them are just the same basic techniques with a little enhancement. While we have found that some of the newer type techniques work well, we seem to always revert to our original way of breeding angels. In this section we will let you know how we breed angels and what is successful for us. We still breed our angelfish with love and care. Although we are expanding and getting much larger very quickly, we will never just raise fish that we are not proud of. When we decided to get back into the breeding of angelfish, we did so because we found there were very limited quality angelfish available in the marketplace. We still consider the Angelfish as being the "King of the Aquarium", although it seems that Discus have taken that proud position. Angelfish that are healthy, and kept happy are one of the most beautiful tropical fish that you can own.
First, you need a Breeding Pair of Angelfish
Breeding pairs.... There are 2 ways to obtain a breeding pair of Angelfish. You can purchase a "proven pair" (we do sell young proven pairs occasionally). In this manner you will have an instant pair of angelfish. The preferred way is to start out with a group of young fish. They can be anywhere from small to medium sized. Feed them well, keep their water clean, keep them in a large enough tank (we use 55 gallon tanks or larger ), and wait. Usually when they are 8 to 10 months old they will start to pair off. They will become very territorial as they approach breeding age and when you see 2 fish keeping the rest of the bunch away from them, you have a pair. When the fish are 6 months of age we put slate in the tank for them to lay their eggs on. There are many different materials you can use, but we prefer the "old method" of slate.
Preparing your Pair
Once you know you have a pair, it's time to get their new home ready. The pair needs to be kept in their own tank. A minimum of 20 gallons (the tall type) per pair. The tank should not have anything in it but your pair, a piece slate, and a sponge filter; and that's it! If you would like to put a plant in the tank, you may, but be sure it is in a pot of it's own as there should be no gravel in the tank at all! Just a tank, water and filter (and of course the pair of Angelfish). We do not put any decorations in the tank because we hatch most of our eggs in a separate hatching jar and do not usually let our parents raise their own fry. If you are raising angelfish for fun, and you have a pair that will raise their own fry, it is a sight to see!
After the eggs are laid
Okay, your pair of angelfish just laid eggs.... Since we do not parent raise most of our fish we will talk about hatching the eggs artificially. We will wait a couple of hours after we are sure that they have finished spawning and then we remove the piece of slate that the eggs were deposited on and put them in the hatching container. Our hatching containers are 1 gallon wide mouth glass jars (the kind that pickles come in). We do not use the water from the breeding tank to fill the jar up, but use aged water straight from our freshwater aging tanks, which is the same temperature and water conditions as the breeding tank. We then add 5 drops of methylene blue. The methylene blue is added to the water so that the unfertilized eggs will not fungus and kill the good eggs. You can use other things like Hydrogen Peroxide, which will do the same job. Hydrogen peroxide is cleaner to use (it won't stain everything blue) but you must remember to add it every 12 hours or it will all dissipate from the water. Next, we add an air stone to the jar so that it will create a water flow passing over the eggs (this imitates what your breeders will do if you leave the eggs with them to parent raise. Basically it creates enough water movement over the eggs to keep them as clean as possible. In about 48 hours, if everything goes well, you will see that your eggs have a little tiny strings protruding from the egg and are wiggling. That's why at this point they are called wigglers. If there are any white eggs that did not hatch (these are unfertilized eggs), they should be removed with an eyedropper, as they can still fungus and kill the hatched eggs. We like to change at least 50% of the water and replace with new aged water at this point and repeat the water change every day.
Feeding and caring for the Angelfish fry
4 to 5 days after your eggs hatch the wigglers will start to swim. They do not look like angels at this point. They look more like little tiny guppy babies. This is the point that they need to be fed. They will need baby brine shrimp 3 times a day to stay strong and survive. (We will explain how to make a brine shrimp hatchery later on). We give the babies their first feeding as soon as they are free swimming in their first home, the jar. Most breeders will move their fry to larger quarters at this point and then start to feed, but this is what works for us and we continue to have great success. We do move the babies to a small tank (usually either a 5 gallon or 10 gallon tank) 24 hours after they hatch. We prefer to use a small tank so that they can easily find the food at feeding time. Each time we feed them their baby brine shrimp we will siphon off the bottom of their tank 2 hours later so that the uneaten food does not spoil the water. We still do a 50% daily water change. We can usually keep the spawn in these small tanks for about 3 weeks depending on the size of the spawn and their growth rate. After 2-3 weeks we move them again to a larger tank. Either a 20 gallon (this time the long type) or a 40 gallon breeder tank. We prefer to use the 20 gallon tank, as once again they can find their food much easier.
If we used a 20 gallon tank we will do one more move (to a 40 gallon or larger tank) at 4-5 weeks of age. Daily water changes are still a must at this point. We also start to introduce crushed flake food once they are almost 4 weeks old. Very little at first, and then more each time and less baby brine shrimp. At 6 weeks they are approaching dime size that's the size of their bodies with fins and we slow down the water changes. Now every 2 to 3 days. We do this because they will be going to their new homes shortly, and we must assume that the new owners will not change water every day. This acclimates the fish fairly quickly to water conditions that they will be getting from their new home. This makes our angelfish much easier to acclimate and adjust to their new surroundings! At dime size they are ready for us to sell. We now will hand pick the best 10% of the spawn to keep and raise for our future breeders. We choose for body shape, straight fins and color. This way we are assured to have the best breeding stock available year after year. This will usually result in about 50 to 100 babies and we will do the same thing once they hit quarter size (our medium selling size). At quarter size we are sure which ones we want to keep for our future breeders.
|Koi/Sunset Pair||Pearlscale Pair||Pair off Tank|
|Cleaning the slate||Laying (fertilizing) eggs||Guarding wigglers|
|Guarding Eggs||Tube extended||Hatching Jar|
|Few day old fry||About 3 week old babies||Pre-dime size
(about 5-6 weeks old)