Freshwater Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)
Native Location: Amazon Basin in Peru, Colombia and Brazil
Size: 15cm (6 inches)
Temperature range: 26 – 30℃ (75 – 86℉)
Preferred pH Range: 6.0 – 7.5
Minimum Aquarium Size: 75L (20 gallons)
Potential Tankmates: Discus, Dwarf Cichlids, small freshwater Catfish
Care Level: Beginner
Popular and named after the wing-like shape of their fins. Freshwater Angelfish are some of the most popular freshwater fish out there. But do not mistake them with the Marine Angelfish (Pomacanthidae.) If you have cared for other Cichlids, these Angelfish can seem easier to care for in comparison. And although are semi-aggressive, they are still not the most aggressive in the family.
A majority of the Angelfishes diet is small, live prey. In the wild, they feast on a variety of insects, larvae, crustaceans and smaller fish. They will eat your plants or algae but will need a high protein and fibre diet. They can also feed on flake or pellet food. House them with other species like Discus and Dwarf Cichlids. Freshwater Angelfish are a semi-aggressive species and will form small hierarchies between them. They are not likely to bully others outside of their school.
If you see Freshwater Angelfish locking lips, they are in fact, fighting. For a pair of this species 75L (20 gallons) tank would work, but for a small school, you will need at least 300L (80 gallons). Their native environment includes slow-moving streams and swamps. If they are not mating or in competition with one another, they keep interactions to a minimum. Vegetation like Java Fern and Java Moss are great additions to consider adding to your tank. Or try Amazon Sword plant, with its broad leaves it will provide enough foliage for them to hide. They will need 8 – 12 hours a day of sunlight. Avoid floating plants like Duckweed or Pondweed as they will block the light.
They have a wide variety of colourings; gold, silver, black and marbled, all with bands. Between male and female fish, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them. The most telling difference is the size of the tube located between the anal and ventral fin. It will be thicker on the female and is not noticeable until the fish have begun to spawn. A female will also start swelling with eggs. When introduced to a
school, Freshwater Angelfish will likely pair off on their own. And will create a territory for themselves as a pair. Once this has happened, they will prepare to mate. Consider moving them to a breeding tank. Females will lay 200 – 400 eggs where a male will then fertilize them externally. They are also one of the few species who look after their young fry and will defend their eggs for up to two months.