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A Full Guide to Angelfish Egg and Baby Stages

A Full Guide to Angelfish Egg and Baby Stages

This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addtion, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Having angelfish in your aquarium has the potential to be very satisfying. These fish look fantastic and they aren’t that tough to take care of for beginners.

Caring for angelfish will be a good choice if you’re looking to gain experience. You’ll be pleased with how the fish look, and you shouldn’t have too tough of a time getting used to maintaining a fish tank.

It might even be good for you to get experience breeding fish. If you’d like to breed angelfish, then you can do so as long as you know the basics of what to expect.

Continue reading to learn about the various angelfish egg and baby stages. You’ll get all sorts of information about breeding angelfish that will help you to have a good experience.

Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?

Angelfish lay eggs to reproduce, as you would expect. Female angelfish lay the eggs that will then be fertilized by a male angelfish.

Females can lay between 100 and 1,000 eggs in just one breeding cycle. It’s also notable that a pair of angelfish can spawn every two weeks.

The phrase spawn essentially refers to two angelfish mating. Even though the angelfish don’t mate in a traditional sense, two angelfish will form a pair in order to reproduce.

So if you want to breed as many angelfish as possible, then you can have the angelfish spawn and then remove them from the eggs to care for them yourself. Then the angelfish should be able to spawn again in approximately two weeks.

Do Females Need Males to Be Able to Lay Eggs?

Male Angelfish

No, female angelfish do not need to have a male present to be able to lay eggs. The eggs aren’t fertilized before they leave the body.

Females simply lay the eggs when it is time for them to do so. When a female forms a pair with a male, that will trigger her to want to produce eggs in order to mate.

However, a female will also simply produce eggs and lay them when it’s time for it to happen. If you have two female angelfish in a tank, then you might see both of them laying eggs.

The eggs won’t be able to hatch if there is no male present in the tank. If there isn’t a male to fertilize the eggs, then they will just wind up being inert.

It’s very likely that the female will eat the eggs at some point. Other fish might also choose to eat the eggs.

How Long Do Angelfish Eggs Take to Hatch?

The angelfish eggs will take somewhere around sixty hours to hatch under the right conditions. You want to keep the water in the tank at approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hatching isn’t the end for the angelfish eggs, though. The eggs don’t hatch and create fully formed angelfish.

What hatches will actually be what is known as a wiggler. It’ll attach itself to the yolk of the egg for around five days before becoming a free swimmer.

You’ll learn more about the egg and baby stages later in this article. Just know that it takes around sixty hours for the egg to hatch and that the wiggler will be attached to the yolk after this happens for around five days.

What Do Angelfish Eggs Look Like?

Angelfish Eggs on Leaf

Angelfish eggs are going to have a translucent amber color, and they might sometimes be a bit brown. This is what healthy eggs are supposed to look like.

If the color is different than this, then it’s likely that the eggs aren’t viable. Sometimes people note that angelfish eggs will turn white inside the fish tank after some time has passed.

When this occurs, it’s a sign that the angelfish eggs have not been fertilized. An egg turning white means that it has been exposed to bacteria and that fungus is present on the egg.

This would not occur if the egg was fertilized. When angelfish eggs turn white, there is no point in keeping them in the tank any longer.

You can remove the eggs using a net or a siphon whenever you want to. Conversely, you could wait and see if the angelfish will eat the eggs so that you won’t have to bother.

When Do Angelfish Eggs Hatch?

As mentioned earlier, angelfish eggs generally hatch around sixty hours after being laid. This is assuming that the conditions are optimal, though.

If the conditions aren’t optimal, then the time will vary a bit. Should you notice that the eggs have not hatched after three days or so, then it’s likely that something is wrong.

The eggs might not be viable or they may not have been fertilized by the male at all. It isn’t always easy to tell what went wrong, but it shouldn’t take more than three days for the eggs to hatch and reach the wiggler stage.

Where Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?

Angelfish might choose to lay eggs just about anywhere in your fish tank. However, not all spots are going to be as good as others.

Generally, angelfish will look for hidden locations to lay their eggs. They have an instinct that makes them want to lay eggs in a spot that will make it easier to keep them safe.

In the wild, angelfish will often lay their eggs on the leaves of aquatic plants. If you have aquatic plants in your aquarium, then you’ll probably see angelfish utilizing those spots.

Placing live plants in the fish tank that have big leaves will be a good idea. It’ll give the angelfish a perfect spot to lay their eggs, and the males will be comfortable fertilizing the eggs in those locations.

Males can be a bit wary of fertilizing eggs if they’re laid out in the open. This might be because they don’t feel that it’s safe.

Sometimes females will lay eggs in bad spots in the fish tank. For example, there have been instances of female angelfish laying eggs directly on filters.

This is dangerous because the eggs could get sucked up or the angelfish fry could get trapped in the filter. If this happens, there isn’t much that you can do since it’s extremely tough to move angelfish eggs.

The angelfish themselves can move the eggs, though. Sometimes you might notice the angelfish moving the eggs around when they feel the need to.

How Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?

Angelfish Laying Eggs

Generally, a female angelfish will lay eggs when the time is right. If a male and a female are present, then you’ll likely see the male and the female start to clean a particular area in the fish tank.

They’re trying to prepare the site for the eggs. These cleaning sessions have the potential to last for as long as one day.

Once the site is ready, the female angelfish will begin to lay eggs in rows. After this, the male will follow behind and fertilize the eggs by brushing over them.

This is the basic process for how angelfish lay eggs. You can assist the angelfish by giving them good places to lay eggs in the tank.

How Do Angelfish Fertilize Their Eggs?

The eggs are fertilized by male angelfish after they have been laid out in rows. A male angelfish will follow behind the female and brush up against the eggs to fertilize them.

After the deed is done, the spawning location will be covered in sticky, transparent angelfish eggs. The eggs themselves are very tiny, and they can be very hard to see with the naked eye.

How Do Angelfish Form Pairs?

Of course, the angelfish eggs cannot be fertilized unless a male is present. Angelfish will form pairs and then they will work together to protect the eggs after they’re fertilized.

Recognizing angelfish pairs won’t be that hard once you know what to look for. When angelfish are forming pairs, they’ll often wag their tails at one another.

Sometimes the chasing that the fish do during this time might make it look as if they’re fighting. In fact, when a pair is truly formed, the two angelfish will lock lips and shake each other.

Now that you know that this isn’t an act of aggression, you won’t need to worry. If you see the angelfish doing this, then you’ll know that they’ve formed a pair, and you can choose to transfer the pair of fish to a breeding tank if you wish.

Do Angelfish Protect Their Eggs?

Angelfish in a Community Tank

Yes, angelfish protect their eggs. They have parental instincts that will make them want to defend the spawning site.

You should notice the parent fish guarding the area to protect the eggs from potential threats. If you have other fish in the tank with the angelfish, then they might have to protect the eggs to ensure that they don’t get eaten by the other fish.

However, it should be noted that younger angelfish are not as good at protecting eggs. Often, an angelfish that is going through its first spawning session will not be as experienced, and this might mean that it will slack off a bit.

It’s weird to say, but angelfish really do become better parents as they gain experience. Angelfish aficionados have noted that younger pairs do far worse jobs of protecting eggs than more experienced pairs.

Thus, it’s possible that the angelfish eggs might not hatch the first few times a pair makes an attempt. As time goes on, the pair will likely do a better job of protecting the eggs and actually producing babies.

Do Angelfish Eggs Need Light?

The angelfish eggs themselves don’t need light, but the parents do. If you don’t have any lights on at all, then it might cause the parents to panic.

When the angelfish parents are panicked, they might start eating the eggs as a defense mechanism. You can prevent this by providing the angelfish with adequate light to see what they’re doing.

Some fish tank owners wind up placing a light that can act as a “night light” for the fish. You can shine this light toward the spawning area so that the fish won’t enter a panicked state.

Angelfish Fry Survival Rate

Determining exact numbers for the survival rate of angelfish fry isn’t possible. It depends on various factors, and the numbers will differ depending on how you’re hatching the eggs.

If you’re artificially raising angelfish fry, then survival rates could range from 30% to 60%. The numbers will be quite different when you let the parents raise and defend the angelfish fry, too.

This means that you can’t get a convenient number to place on the angelfish fry survival rate. Just know that it’s not likely that all of the angelfish fry will survive.

You might be able to have a better survival rate if you feed the angelfish fry specific types of food. Asking for advice from an exotic veterinarian might be a good choice.

Are Angelfish Livebearers?

Angelfish are not livebearers. They lay eggs that must then be fertilized.

The Angelfish Egg and Baby Stages

Angelfish Stages

Now that you’ve learned a lot about the topic of angelfish eggs, it’s time to focus on the different egg and baby stages. This will help you to understand what to expect when you’re breeding angelfish for the first time.

The Pre-Hatching Stage

The pre-hatching stage occurs after the eggs have been laid. After sixty hours have passed, the larvae inside the eggs should be well formed.

At this point in time, it will curl itself around the yolk sac. During this time, the egg wall will be transparent, but you’ll only be able to see it under a microscope due to the tiny nature of angelfish eggs.

If you do examine the egg under a microscope, you’ll be able to see the beating heart of the larvae. You can also see that blood is now flowing through the larvae.

The Wiggler Stage

The wiggler stage occurs right after hatching. During this time, the larvae are still attached to the spawning site.

You’ll be able to see a filament protruding from the head of the wiggler. This is how the wiggler remains attached to the spawning site.

The wiggler doesn’t need to be fed because it is still feeding on the yolk sac. It’s still developing its eyes, tails, and internal organs during this time.

The Free-Swimming Fry Stage

The free-swimming fry stage is the next big development to look out for. Approximately three to five days after hatching, the wiggler will break free and become a free swimmer.

If you’ve been keeping the fish tank at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then the three-to-five-day figure given above will be very accurate. Variations might make the transition take longer.

During the free swimmer stage, the eyes will have developed properly. If you use a magnifying glass, you’ll also be able to see the free swimmer breathing.

The first few days of the free swimmer’s life will involve it feeding on microscopic organisms in your fish tank. After a few days have passed, you’re going to want to start feeding the free swimmers micro worms or freshly hatched brine shrimp.

After a few weeks, they will have grown enough that you’ll be able to give them crushed fish food. After more time has passed, you should be able to transition to feeding them only fish food.

Should You Separate the Angelfish Fry?

The question of whether or not you should separate the angelfish fry is tough to answer. There are a few factors to consider.

If you leave the angelfish fry with the parent fish, then it’s possible that the parents will protect the fry for quite some time. People have observed angelfish protecting fry all the way up until they develop fins.

However, people have also observed angelfish eating their fry. Sometimes angelfish might make the decision to eat the fry instead of protecting them.

If you want to give the fry the best chance of survival, then moving them to a separate grow-out tank might be ideal. It will take around six to eight months for these new angelfish to become sexually mature.

After they’ve reached sexual maturity, they will be able to form pairs of their own. Then you can choose to start this process over again if you’re so inclined.

Setting up a Breeding Tank Makes Sense

Angelfish on Its Own

At the very least, it makes sense to set up a breeding tank. This gives the angelfish a place where they can lay eggs and do what they need to do safely.

Keeping the angelfish away from the other fish in the main tank should help things to go smoother. Many who are serious about breeding angelfish choose to place pairs in breeding tanks as soon as they can.

It isn’t going to be hard to do this so long as you have the room for a breeding tank. This is simply a separate tank that has been prepared for the angelfish ahead of time.

You’ll want to get the water parameters right for the sake of the fish and the eggs. Ensure that you keep the water temperature at 80 degrees since that will be safe for the fish and ideal for the eggs.

Keeping an eye on the pH balance is also going to be crucial. This is true even when you’re just caring for angelfish normally.

Hopefully, everything will go well and you’ll wind up seeing the eggs hatch. If the fish have good spots to lay eggs in the tank, then it’s likely that things will go fine.

You might choose to place special spawning pads in the tank that can be removed at a later time. Simply placing aquatic plants in the tank that can help with breeding will be good enough, though.

Caring for Angelfish Eggs Yourself

What if you’ve decided to separate the eggs and care for them yourself? You might be too concerned about the fry being eaten by the parents to keep things as they are.

It’s certainly possible to do this. You could set up a breeding tank and then remove the angelfish from the tank once the eggs have been fertilized.

At this point, you’d have to do everything for the eggs that the parents would normally be doing. This means keeping the eggs clean, ensuring that the eggs are oxygenated, and preventing issues with fungus.

Protecting the eggs from fungus involves treating the water with fungicide. Methylene blue is a popular option since it gets rid of fungus well and it’s easy to use.

Oxygenating the eggs is easier when you place air stones in the tank. The bubbles from the air stones will oxygenate the eggs.

Admittedly, caring for the eggs yourself is a lot harder than simply allowing the parent fish to do it. It’ll take up more of your time, and it’s easy for things to go wrong.

If you’re a novice, then you’ll likely wish to avoid doing this. It might be too complex, and it’d be a better experience to simply allow the angelfish to care for the fry.

You might just have to deal with the possibility that some angelfish fry will be eaten by the parents. It’s annoying when this happens, but it might not be as big of an issue as you feared.

Final Thoughts

After learning more about angelfish egg and baby stages, you’ll have a far better idea of what to expect. The way that angelfish lay eggs is interesting, and it’s also great to know the different stages that the eggs will go through.

You should be able to take steps to make things as easy on the angelfish as possible. Give the fish good spots to lay eggs and try to keep them protected from other fish in the tank.

Using breeding tanks for angelfish pairs will be a very good idea. You don’t have to do this to successfully breed angelfish, but it will likely make it easier for the angelfish eggs to hatch.

If you’re breeding angelfish for the first time, then don’t get disheartened if mistakes occur. Not every breeding attempt will be successful.

After the angelfish matures and gains more experience, you might have better luck. Enjoy caring for the angelfish and do your best to give the new angelfish that are born a good home.