Freshwater angelfish, scientifically known as Pterophyllum scalare, are popular and elegant aquarium fish that belong to the cichlid family. They are native to the freshwater rivers and streams of South America, particularly the Amazon River basin. Known for their unique shape, graceful movements, and striking patterns, angelfish are a favorite among fishkeepers.
Appearance: Freshwater angelfish have a distinct triangular body shape with elongated fins. They have a laterally compressed body that is usually silver or silver-gray in color. One of their most striking features is their long, flowing fins, which add to their graceful appearance. They come in a variety of color variations, including black, silver, marbled, and various shades of gold, orange, and white.
Size: When fully grown, angelfish can reach an average size of about 6 inches (15 cm) in height and 8 inches (20 cm) in length, including their fins. However, the size can vary depending on factors such as genetics and environmental conditions.
Behavior: Angelfish are generally peaceful, but they can become territorial during breeding or if they feel threatened. It is recommended to keep them in larger tanks or as part of a community with peaceful tank mates. They are known for their slow and deliberate swimming style, which adds to their graceful charm.
Aquarium Requirements: To provide a suitable environment for angelfish, a tank with a minimum capacity of 20 gallons (75 liters) is recommended for a pair. However, larger tanks are preferable, especially for keeping a group or community. They require plenty of swimming space, as well as hiding places in the form of plants, driftwood, and rocks. Dense vegetation and floating plants can also help recreate their natural habitat and provide shade.
Water Conditions: Angelfish prefer slightly acidic to neutral water conditions. The ideal water temperature for angelfish ranges between 75-82°F (24-28°C), and the pH should be around 6.0-7.5. Regular water changes are important to maintain good water quality.
Feeding: Angelfish are omnivorous and have a diverse diet in the wild. In captivity, they accept a variety of foods, including high-quality flake or pellet food formulated for cichlids. It is recommended to supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia to provide essential nutrients.
Breeding: Angelfish are known to be prolific breeders in captivity. Breeding pairs will choose a flat surface, such as a broad leaf or a piece of slate, to lay their eggs. They are attentive parents and will guard and fan the eggs until they hatch. It is advisable to provide a separate breeding tank for successful breeding and to protect the eggs from other tank inhabitants.
Compatibility: Angelfish can coexist with a variety of peaceful community fish, but care should be taken when choosing tank mates. Avoid keeping them with aggressive or fin-nipping species. Good tank mates include peaceful tetras, rasboras, gouramis, and other similarly sized cichlid species.
Freshwater angelfish are admired for their beauty and elegance, making them a popular choice for aquarists of all levels of experience. With proper care, a suitable environment, and compatible tank mates, angelfish can thrive and become stunning focal points in any aquarium.