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Pterophyllum scalare - Angelfish


  • Pterophyllum scalare - Angelfish

    Photo thanks to Matt_95
    Platinum Blue Angelfish

    Scientific name: Pterophyllum scalare
    Common name: Angelfish
    AKA: Freshwater Angelfish

    Country of origin:
    South America

    pH: 6.0 - 8.0
    Temperature: 24 - 30c
    Hardness: 5 - 13 dH
    Water flow: low
    Oxygenation: medium

    Maximum size: 15cm (not including the tail)

    Diet: Primarily carnivourous, but with some supplemental vegetables. Frozen, live & dry food - both pellets & flake food, including spirulina.

    Breeding: The femal lays eggs, then the male does a run over the eggs to fertilise them. This is the easiest chance to sex the fish, The female has a short, fatter tube, the male has a longer, thinner tube.

    Gold male veiltail, striped female veiltail
    Pairs breed eaisly in community tanks if required, as they become extremely aggressive & territorial, however the fry cannot be raised in this environment. The parents will only protect the fry for a short time, and some will eat eggs or fry (although this is unusual, and may cease as they mature). Fry can be raised in a seperate tank - a 4ft tank is ideal. Very clean water is required, as the fry require very frequent feeding, initially on infusoria. Crushed boiled egg yolk will suffice if there is no live food available. Baby brine shrimp (BBS) can be fed when the fry are large enough to take them, with a mix of other live, frozen and dry food.

    Tank companions: Anything small enough to fit in the Angelfish's mouth will be eaten. They will hunt at night in packs, so even if they appear to get along during the day, count your fish, as they may be disappearing when the smaller ones are less active overnight. Avoid fish that are likely to pick at the Angelfish's tail. Do not put them together with Discus - this is for 3 reasons - the discus are more passive than the angels at feeding time, and likely to miss out, the angels are more aggressive, and likely to bully the discus, whose health will suffer as a result, possibly fatally and there has been a belief in the discus keeping community for decades that angelfish harbour diseases that discus have no immunity to, which can lead to their deaths.

    It originally comes from the Amazon river in Peru, Columbia & Brazil.

    It was named after the Marine Angelfish, although it is a completely different family, and bears no genetic resemblence.

    This is the most common Angelfish sold in the trade, and the one that most people think of when they refer to an angelfish.

    There are many different genetic varients now, achieved through careful breeding. These are valued by hobbyists and new strains are continuing to arise.
    Some examples are:

    Photo thanks to Dullbird
    Male Koi Angelfish

    Photo thanks to KristinC
    Blue Smokey Leopard

    All Pterophyllum spp. are legal imports to Australia as of 20/10/2013:

    The IUCN Red List reports Pterophyllum spp. as a species which has not yet been assessed at 20/10/2013:

    It is very important not to release any aquarium specimens into our waterways. Any that are not sold or re-homed/ given away, can often be re-sold to aquarium stores. If they are homed in ponds, care should be taken that they cannot escape in run-off into our waterways. Even if fish are native & local they should not be moved from one waterway to another, as this can transfer disease. If they are not local fish, they can both spread disease and either out-compete or eat local fish, shrimp & plants, causing their demise.

    They are a good fish for beginners.
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