Angelfish have proven to be among the most popular types of fish to keep in a freshwater fish tank. There are also saltwater angelfish, but the most common angelfish that people purchase are the freshwater variety.
These fish are great to own because they’re very hardy. If you’re a bit of a beginner when it comes to taking care of fish, then you should have a pretty easy time with angelfish.
If you have a good experience with angelfish, then you might want to have even more of them for your aquarium. One good way to get more fish for your fish tanks will be to breed angelfish.
Angelfish might breed without you having to do anything to help them. However, there’s a lot that you should know if you want the process to go smoothly.
Continue reading to learn everything that you need to know about angelfish breeding. This in-depth angelfish breeding guide will put you in a position to succeed.
How Do I Know If My Angelfish Is Pregnant?
The first thing to know is that angelfish do not get pregnant. Angelfish are similar to many other fish in that they lay eggs.
A male and a female angelfish don’t have intercourse to produce offspring. The female lays eggs that will then be fertilized by the male.
After a certain period of time has passed, the eggs will hatch. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, but you’ll learn more about the mating process later.
If you have both a male and a female angelfish in your fish tank, then there’s a chance that they will form a mating pair. What you want to look out for are the signs that two fish are forming a mating pair.
How Do They Breed?
As mentioned above, angelfish breed by laying eggs. The female angelfish will lay her eggs that will then be fertilized by a male.
The female doesn’t lay the eggs and just wait for any male to come along to fertilize the eggs, though. A male and a female angelfish will form what is known as a mating pair.
Once they have formed a pair, the two will start preparing a site to lay the eggs. One of the signs that two fish have formed a pair involves observing them preparing an area for the eggs.
Eventually, the female will choose to lay the eggs somewhere. Often, the angelfish will choose to lay eggs on or near aquatic plants that you place in the aquarium.
In the wild, this is a common practice. Angelfish need to lay eggs somewhere that is hidden and will be easier to defend from potential threats.
Of course, in captivity, angelfish won’t always lay eggs in the best spots. There are sometimes unfortunate situations where angelfish will lay eggs near the filter or on the side of the glass tank.
You can’t force the angelfish to lay its eggs in a particular spot, but you can encourage it to make good choices. Placing aquatic plants that have big leaves in the fish tank will be a good place to start.
Plants such as this make your angelfish feel more at ease, and they also add to the aesthetic appeal of the aquarium. It’ll be a good idea to have many plants in the tank for the angelfish to enjoy.
It also might be beneficial to buy what are known as breeding cones. You’ll learn a bit more about this topic later in the “what you need” section.
How Do Angelfish Mate?
You still might be wondering how exactly angelfish mate. If you were expecting the fish to have intercourse, then you should know that things are much different than that.
First, the two fish will need to form a mating pair. There’s a chance that two angelfish will form a pair when placed in a fish tank together.
Generally, if you only have one male and one female angelfish in a fish tank, the two will wind up forming a pair. There could be odd exceptions where it won’t happen, but it should wind up happening under normal circumstances.
The lack of options will mean that the fish don’t get to be picky about who they choose as a mating partner. There are many signs that you can look out for that will tell you that two fish have formed a mating pair.
When two fish are forming a pair, they’ll chase each other around a lot. You’ll probably see them wagging their tails and it might even appear as if they’re fighting a bit.
The two fish aren’t actually fighting, but you might not know this if you’ve never seen two angelfish form a pair before. When you see the two angelfish lock lips and shake each other, this will show you that the mating pair has been truly formed.
At this point, the two fish should start preparing an area for the female to lay eggs. They’ll start meticulously cleaning an area that they think is a good spot for the eggs.
It’s likely that the female will choose a somewhat hidden spot for the eggs. As mentioned earlier, the fish will often lay eggs on or near aquatic plants.
Once the eggs have been laid, it’s going to be time for the male to fertilize them. The male will pass over the eggs and spray them so that they will be fertilized and viable.
Now it’s time for the angelfish to work together to protect the eggs. It will take approximately sixty hours for the angelfish eggs to hatch when the water temperature is at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The angelfish will continue to protect the eggs until they hatch. When the eggs hatch, the angelfish enter a stage of life where they will still be connected to the yolk of the egg.
You aren’t supposed to feed the newly hatched angelfish at this time. It isn’t fully formed, and it’s feeding off of the yolk of the egg during this period.
This is known as the wiggler stage. They will remain this way for around five days.
After five days have passed, the wigglers will detach from the yolk and become free swimmers. They will then be full angelfish fry that are still developing and growing.
The parent fish will keep protecting the angelfish fry for quite some time. They look out for the angelfish fry up until they have developed fins.
Angelfish are very protective and good parents overall. There is more to consider that you’ll learn about later, but this is how you should expect things to go in an ideal situation.
How Old Do Angelfish Need to Be to Breed?
If your goal is to produce as many angelfish as possible, then you might be hoping to breed the young angelfish as soon as you can. You’ll need to wait a little while for juvenile angelfish to reach breeding maturity.
It takes between six to eight months for juvenile angelfish to reach breeding maturity. So after the angelfish are eight months old, you should be able to see them form mating pairs with other angelfish.
There isn’t anything that you can do to speed up this process. It isn’t really possible to determine exactly when the fish has reached breeding maturity either.
You just need to wait the designated amount of time and then take note when two young angelfish have seemingly formed a pair. As long as you know what to look out for, it shouldn’t be that hard to do.
At What Size Do They Breed?
There isn’t really an answer to this question. Angelfish can pair up when they’re fairly young.
You’ve already learned that angelfish reach breeding maturity somewhere between six months and eight months after being born. It’d be best to expect the angelfish to start mating when they’re between eight and twelve months old.
Determining what size they will be when they start mating won’t be possible. Different angelfish are going to grow at different rates.
Just keep the breeding maturity time in mind and be ready to look out for signs that two fish have formed a pair. Eventually, you’ll see the fish form pairs when the time is right.
Of course, it might not seem convenient not having a way to determine when the fish are ready outside of waiting for signs. This is simply how things are.
How Many Babies Do Angelfish Have?
How many angelfish babies can you expect to see in your tank at once? Will there be a few dozen or will there be hundreds of little angelfish fry?
Well, the number of eggs that a female angelfish can lay in one cycle will likely impress you. It’s possible for a female angelfish to lay between 100 and 1,000 eggs in just one breeding cycle.
This doesn’t mean that all of those eggs will wind up hatching, though. Some of them might wind up getting eaten and others might not wind up being viable.
Even so, the potential is there for hundreds of angelfish fry to be born. You’ll just have to wait and see just how many eggs the angelfish will wind up laying.
It’s also interesting to note that angelfish can spawn every two weeks under the right conditions. If you choose to remove the eggs from the tank, then the mating pair can produce more eggs in just two weeks.
What to Feed Newly Hatched Angelfish
When the angelfish finally hatch from their eggs, you’re likely going to want to feed them. Remember that you need to hold off because there are different stages to consider.
Angelfish hatch from the eggs and enter what is known as the wiggler stage. During this time, you’ll notice that the babies are still attached to the eggs.
Specifically, the angelfish babies will be attached to the yolk of the eggs. They’ll be getting nutrients from the yolk, and this means that you don’t need to try to feed them.
You’re just supposed to leave the young angelfish alone at this point in time. After five days have passed, they’ll become free swimmers, and you’ll be able to start feeding them at this point.
When to Start Feeding Angelfish Fry
Feeding angelfish fry won’t be hard so long as you know when to feed them and what to feed them. You’re going to want to transfer the angelfish fry to a rearing tank after they’ve become free swimmers to make things easy.
This ensures that they won’t get eaten by other fish. Also, it makes it easier to get the food to the young angelfish fry.
Let the angelfish fry acclimate to the rearing tank for an hour or two before feeding them. Once this time has passed, you’ll be able to feed them for the first time.
You’ll be feeding angelfish fry newly hatched brine shrimp or micro worms. They won’t be able to eat anything that’s too big because it won’t fit in their tiny mouths.
When three or four weeks have passed, the angelfish fry should be able to start eating crushed fish flake food. You’ll want to feed them in small quantities, though.
You gradually increase the amount of food that you give them as time passes. Sometime between four and six weeks, you’ll be able to start feeding the angelfish fry pellets, flake foods, and freeze-dried foods.
Essentially, the angelfish fry will start eating the same things that you feed your normal angelfish. It just takes them time to work up to that food since they need to grow.
Can Angelfish Spawn in a Community Tank?
If you know a little bit about breeding fish, then you’ve probably heard about people setting up breeding tanks. This is certainly a great idea, but it is possible for angelfish to spawn in a community tank as well.
Things just aren’t going to be nearly as easy when you go this route. A community tank has other fish in it, and the angelfish will have to work a lot harder to protect the eggs from threats.
The angelfish could indeed wind up laying eggs and producing angelfish fry in a community tank, though. You just run a greater risk of losing angelfish fry due to mishaps.
If you want to ensure that as many angelfish fry survive as possible, then it’s wise to set up a breeding tank. You can place a mating pair in a breeding tank to allow them to mate and produce babies in a safe environment.
Advice for Setting up a Breeding Tank
Setting up a breeding tank isn’t going to be all that hard. You’re just going to want to get a fish tank that is at least 20 gallons.
Angelfish are less likely to spawn if they feel cramped. Thus, a 20-gallon fish tank might be cutting it a bit close.
It’s said that angelfish need to have ten gallons of space per fish at a minimum. The angelfish might be more comfortable in a 29-gallon or 30-gallon aquarium.
You should also ensure that the fish tank that you’re using is both tall and wide. Otherwise, it won’t properly accommodate the frame of the angelfish.
It isn’t good to set up a breeding tank just a few days in advance either. Ideally, you should have the breeding tank ready to go three months in advance.
This gives you time to ensure that the water parameters are perfect for the fish. If you plan to breed angelfish, then you’ll always want to have a breeding tank ready to go.
Angelfish Eating Eggs and Angelfish Fry
One of the most unfortunate things that can happen during this process involves the angelfish eating their own eggs. This happens sometimes in nature, and it might happen even more often in captivity.
Why would an angelfish choose to eat its own eggs? There are actually many reasons why this might occur.
An angelfish will choose to eat its own eggs if it feels that it needs the energy to survive. If you aren’t feeding the angelfish properly, then it might resort to eating its eggs.
More commonly, angelfish will eat some eggs to give other eggs a better chance to survive. The angelfish need to care for the eggs to keep them safe, and they’re also responsible for providing oxygen to the eggs.
Having fewer eggs to care for will make it easier for the angelfish to do what they need to do. You can think of it as a judgment call by the fish for the sake of helping as many eggs to survive as possible.
Sadly, angelfish will also sometimes panic and eat the eggs. This can happen when angelfish experience stress.
Many different things can stress the angelfish and cause them to make poor choices. Excessive noises, sudden light changes, dealing with aggressive fish, and other factors can make the fish panic.
When an angelfish panics, it might choose to eat the eggs instead of protecting them. This is why you should do what you can to reduce stress factors for the angelfish during the breeding process.
When the angelfish eggs have hatched and the angelfish fry are present, you might see the parent fish sometimes eating the angelfish fry. This happens in nature sometimes, but the parents should also protect the angelfish fry.
If you want the most angelfish babies to survive as possible, then it’s likely best to separate the parent fish from the angelfish fry. At some point, the angelfish fry will start annoying the parents, and this can make it more likely that the parent fish will start to eat some of the fry.
Placing the angelfish fry in a rearing tank is highly recommended. This should be a safe tank where you can focus on feeding the fish and helping them to grow to maturity.
Is Breeding Angelfish Hard?
Breeding angelfish can be hard depending on how you go about doing things. For example, if you choose to care for the eggs yourself, then certain aspects can be quite difficult.
It’s a lot easier for beginners to allow the parent fish to care for the eggs. The angelfish can move the eggs, keep them clean, and protect them a lot easier than you can.
Once you’ve gained some experience, you’ll see that it’s fairly easy to protect the eggs and give them oxygen by using air stones in the fish tank. Overall, breeding angelfish will be fairly simple when compared to breeding many other types of fish.
If you’re looking to breed fish for the first time, then angelfish will be a very good choice. So long as you follow the advice that is listed above, you’ll be in a good position to succeed.
What Do You Need to Breed Angelfish?
What you need to breed angelfish will depend on how you want to do things. At the very least, it’s a good idea to have a breeding tank that you can set up for the angelfish to make things easier.
You should probably get a 29-gallon fish tank to use as a breeding tank. This breeding tank should also have aquatic plants and other hiding spots for the angelfish to help them feel comfortable.
It might be wise to buy another tank to use as a rearing tank for the angelfish fry as well. Set these tanks up in advance so that the water parameters will be right when you need to use them.
If you want to remove the eggs and care for them yourself, then you should buy breeding cones. Breeding cones are special things that you place in the tank.
They’re appealing spots where angelfish might choose to lay eggs. You can easily remove them from the tank if you want to care for the eggs in a separate tank that you have set up.
You’ll need to buy angelfish food for the angelfish fry as well. Remember that the very young free swimmers will need to eat newly hatched brine shrimp or micro worms.
Of course, you’ll need the basics for fish tanks, such as filters, heaters, and chemicals to keep the pH balance in the right range. If you’re already caring for angelfish, then you’ll know exactly what you need to get for breeding tanks and rearing tanks.
As long as you have all of this good to go, then you should be ready to breed angelfish. You’ll just have to pay attention to the fish while trying to keep external factors from causing the angelfish stress.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.