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Angelfish Breeding 101: How To Breed Angelfish (2022 Guide)

Angelfish are very popular freshwater fish, they are well known because of their unique appearance but they’re also known for being easy to breed.

Having said that, the process of breeding angelfish has its own difficulties and it can be challenging especially for beginner aquarists. So I made this guide to help with the process.

Before we head on to the guide, I’ll answer two questions that are commonly asked when it comes to breeding angelfish.

Are angelfish easy to breed?

Angelfish are relatively easy to breed when in captivity. If you can provide the right conditions, breeding angelfish can be a breeze. The challenging part will be taking care of the try.

How do angelfish breed successfully?

Once two angelfish pair off, they will pick a spawning area. The female will then lay eggs on many cycles, while the male works on fertilizing those eggs. If the eggs hatch after a few days then you consider it as successful breeding.

Now that those questions are out of the way, let’s discuss the process of breeding angelfish.

Angelfish Breeding Steps

Now that those two questions are answered, let’s move on to the steps of the breeding process.

1. Getting an Angelfish Breeding Pair

Two Angelfish
Two Angelfish

When trying to breed, the first thing you’ll need is a viable pair. You can either purchase a proven pair or if you have a group of angelfish, you can just wait for them to pair off. Angelfish if kept in a school with males and females, will pair off naturally and will set up a territory to mate and spawn.

But there can be instances where none of the angelfish pairs up. This could be due to all of them being the same gender. If that happens, you can try getting help on identifying their gender or just buying a proven breeding pair at your local pet store or local breeders.

Determining the Gender of Angelfish

Sexing angelfish can be difficult even for most experienced breeders. There are a few things that you can look out for to help you determine their gender. But you must first wait for your angelfish to mature before trying to gender them. It takes around 6 to 7 months for angelfish to reach sexual maturity.

When looking at their physical appearance, males tend to have a larger circular body, forked ventral fins, and a rounded head while the females have smaller bodies, smooth ventral fins, and a more angular head.

During spawning you’ll be able to tell if you have a pair the female will have a thick breeding tube while the male will have a more pointed one. You can locate the breeding tubes under their body near their pelvic fins.

The video below can help you identify angelfish gender.

HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE ANGELFISH (updated)

What To Feed Angelfish Breeding Pair

To give them a better chance at breeding, providing them with proper nutrition is a must.

Feed the breeding pair high-protein flakes or pellets and live tubifex worms up to 4 times a day to provide them with enough energy and nutrition to improve your chances of successful spawning.

2. Stimulate Angelfish Breeding

Once you have a breeding pair, the next thing to do is stimulate them for breeding. You can stimulate the angelfish to breed by providing them with the right conditions because they will ignore their instinct to breed if they feel that the environment is unsafe.

3. Breeding Preparations

Once you’ve seen your fish pair off and select a spawning site, you can begin to make breeding preparations.

The first thing you’ll need to do is create a breeding or spawning tank using a 20-gallon aquarium with a filter that has a gentle flow. 

You’ll also need a vertical and slanted spawning surface such as tiles, Anacharis plants, and PVC pipes.

Angelfish Breeding Tank Set-Up

Woman Placing Empty Aquarium On The Table
Empty Aquarium

To prepare a breeding tank, you will need the following:

Breeding tank

The breeding tank must be at least 20 gallons high. They won’t breed if the space is cramped. A larger tank size would be even better if it’s available, some breeders even recommend using at least 40 gallons minimum. You will also need the basic necessities to keep the parameters optimal like an air stone, heater, and a filter.

Hiding Place

They will need a place where they can hide and lay eggs. Having plants or decorations can help with this.

Angelfish Breeding Water Requirements

pH: 4.7 t to 8.74.7 t to 8.7
Hardness:3° to 8° dKH
Water flow:low
Temperature:72° to 82° Fahrenheit or 22.2 to 27.8 Celsius 
Temperature

You should maintain the temperature of the breeding aquarium at 82°F.

If you spot your female angelfish hanging out near the spawning surface, then it’s almost time as she is preparing to lay her eggs. Female angelfish can lay between 200 and 400 eggs when they spawn.

Substrate

When breeding angelfish, fine substrate is better than gravel. The eggs might slip through the gravel making them hard to find or might even damage them.

Breeding or Spawning slate

It’s okay if you don’t have substrate, they just need a surface to lay their eggs. A spawning slate will do just that.

NOTE

However, some angelfish choose to spawn on the aquarium glass, but it’s good to give them plenty of options. 

4. Hatching Angelfish Eggs

Angelfish Breeding by h080
Angelfish Breeding by h080

Once the pair is done spawning, the next step is to hatch the eggs. There are a two ways to hatch angelfish eggs, one is by letting the parents take care of the eggs or second is artificially hatching the eggs on your own.

Letting Angelfish Hatch the Eggs

Once the female has laid her eggs, the male will fertilize them externally. The pair will look after the eggs and fry for around a month. During this process, make sure that the pair does not feel stressed or threatened.

They have a tendency of eating their young when they feel that the environment is unsafe. A separate breeding tank is encouraged if your community tank is not spacious enough.

Is it necessary to keep eggs together with angelfish?

More often than not, angelfish make wonderful parents and take turns fanning their eggs with their pectoral fins to maintain a high water circulation rate. They will also gently mouth their eggs to remove dirt or infertile ones.

How to Prevent Angelfish from Eating the Eggs

The best way to prevent angelfish from eating their eggs is transferring them into a peaceful environment and feeding them properly. 

Artificially Hatching the Eggs

You can artificially hatch angelfish eggs by transferring them on a separate tank. But they will need clean water and proper aeration.

Angelfish Egg Stages

Angelfish Eggs by Brandon Heyer
Angelfish Eggs by Brandon Heyer

Being familiar with the stages of growth will be helpful when trying to raise angelfish.

Larvae Stage

This is the stage where they are still inside the eggs. The eggs should be transparent with activity visible if inspected under a microscope.

Wiggler Stage

The angelfish eggs will hatch and the fry will stay affixed to the spawning surface or wherever the adults relocate them to.

The fry don’t eat during this period and survive by consuming their leftover yolk sacs.  Over the course of around 7 days, the angelfish fry will grow larger in size and will become free-swimming.

Free Swimmers

After a few days, the wiggler fry will become free swimming fry that will soon grow into juveniles. They will feed on microscopic organisms. But depending on the aquarium the microscopic organisms might not be enough so you’re gonna need to provide them with micro worms or freshly hatched brine shrimp.

5. Keeping baby angelfish alive.

Is it okay to leave fry in a community tank?

Leaving fry at the community tank is only okay if they have the right tankmates and the tank is spacious enough. But if not, transferring them to another tank gives them a better chance of survival.

If you’re unsure on what tankmates are ideal for angelfish, then this guide on choosing tankmates for angelfish can help you.

Caring for Angelfish Babies

Monitoring them and providing them with enough food is enough. But you still have to watch out for the parents eating them due to stress even if they are not on a community tank.

Their parents can get stressed due to environmental factors such as loud noises, bright lights, temperature, water quality, or even because of the fry themselves. They should be separated from their parents once they develop fins or if there are any signs of parents trying to eat them.

What do newborn angelfish eat?

Wiggler Stage

In the wiggler stage you don’t have to worry about feeding angelfish fry, they consume their leftover egg sacs, then in the free swimming stage they will consume microscopic organisms but you will need to feed them appropriate live food as well.

Free Swimming Stage

Once the fry have grown their own fins, they can be separated from their parents and be moved to another tank.

After this time, you can place the angelfish fry in a rearing tank that is around 15 or 20 gallons in size.

The angelfish fry should be offered brine shrimp larvae in addition to hard boiled eggs combined with water until they are 5 to 7 weeks old. Once they are large enough, you can feed them flakes, pellets, frozen, or live foods. Aside from feeding them properly, make sure to maintain the water quality by doing regular water changes.

When the fry have been in the rearing tank for 6 to 8 weeks, they will be old enough to be placed in an adult angelfish aquarium.

Here are tips to help you care for angelfish babies.

9 TIPS for taking care of Angelfish fry!

FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions when it comes to breeding angelfish.

Do Angelfish Pair For Life?

Angelfish don’t mate for life. Contrary to popular belief, angelfish can just pair up for one mating period then find another mate afterwards. But this doesn’t mean that they can’t stay with the same mating partner.

How long does it take for angelfish to breed?

The duration of angelfish breeding can vary. But if the angelfish already paired off and chose a spawning area. It might take a day for the female to lay the eggs and another 3 days for the eggs to get fertilized and to hatch.

Why angelfish egg color change?

An angelfish egg color can change due to the fertilization process. If its successfully fertilized, it will turn from translucent to transparent. If it remains unfertilized, the eggs that die will turn to white. 

How often do angelfish lay eggs?

Angelfish can breed and lay eggs every 12 to 18 days.

Should I remove angelfish eggs?

The removal of angelfish eggs is recommended if it’s on a community tank. They will have a higher chance of survival when transferred into a growing tank.

Will angelfish breed in a community tank?

Angelfish can breed in a community tank but it’s not the ideal setting for them to do so. The eggs will be in danger of being eaten by other fish.

How many angelfish fry survive?

Angelfish fry survival rates are 0% to 70%.

Do angelfish eat their babies?

Angelfish do eat their babies but it’s usually done as a defense mechanism.

Why are my baby angelfish dying?

The common reason why baby angelfish dying is poor water quality. But sometimes there are baby angelfish that are not capable of surviving after being born.

How many eggs do female angelfish lay at one time?

Female angelfish eggs can lay 100 up to 1000 eggs per cycle.

Why do single female angelfish lay eggs when there is no male around?

Female angelfish can produce eggs even without a male and sometimes just lay eggs even when there is no male around.

Why is my male angelfish attacking the female?

An angelfish male attacking a female could be a sign of aggression due to territory, but it can also be a sign of breeding.

Why Won’t My Angelfish Breed?

Angelfish won’t breed if they feel that the environment is not safe. Angelfish pairs should be provided with enough space and optimal water conditions for them to breed. Another factor is gender, you might not have a male and female angelfish in your tank.

Conclusion

The whole breeding process might sound too tedious and the thought that it might not work after all the effort can be scary. I hope that this article can help guide you through the process and give you the courage to try.

Thank you so much for reading! If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, Feel free to share it with your friends and other aquarists. I also have this detailed angelfish care guide if you want to know more about the species.

Good luck and Happy breeding!

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Mollie Newton
Mollie Newton
Founder of PetMeTwice. I love all types of animals from fish to fluff-balls! I also enjoy writing short stories and helping train animals 🤩