Angelfish are popular pet fish for a reason. Not only do they look stunning in home fish tanks, but they’re also easy to care for.
If you buy some angelfish for your tank, then you’re going to be happy with how fun they are to look after. You might wind up liking them so much that you’ll want to breed them so that you can have more.
Breeding angelfish isn’t that tough once you know what you’re doing, but many people do encounter problems. You might have been able to get the female angelfish to lay eggs, but then the eggs just never hatched.
What can you do about angelfish eggs not hatching? Is there something that you failed to do that is preventing the eggs from hatching properly?
Continue reading to get more information about angelfish and hatching eggs. You’ll be able to troubleshoot so that you can figure out what is wrong in your situation.
How Long Should It Take Angelfish Eggs to Hatch?
Under normal conditions, angelfish eggs should hatch within two or three days. The female angelfish lays the eggs, and then the male fertilizes them.
Before the eggs hatch, the two angelfish will do their jobs as parents. This means that they will protect the eggs and keep them clean.
Once the eggs hatch, larvae develop and attach themselves to the yolk of the eggs. The larvae stay attached for around three or four days before they become free swimmers.
You can use a microscope to examine the eggs and see if the larvae have formed or not. This is an easy way to tell if the eggs have been fertilized.
If the eggs have been in the tank without hatching for longer than this, then something is likely amiss. There could be a number of things happening that are preventing the eggs from hatching.
Keep reading to learn about some of the reasons why the eggs won’t hatch. It might give you an idea of what is happening in your situation.
The Eggs Might Not Be Fertilized
There is a chance that the eggs aren’t fertilized if they never wind up hatching. If the eggs have been fertilized, then they should appear to be translucent amber or somewhat brown.
When the eggs have a different color, that’s an indication that they aren’t fertilized. It could also indicate that the eggs aren’t healthy.
If you notice that the eggs turned white, then that’s a clear sign that they were never fertilized. Angelfish eggs only turn white when they are exposed to bacteria.
When the egg turns white, it’s telling you that there is fungus present on the eggs. The eggs are not viable, and they need to be removed from the tank.
Sometimes angelfish will eat these unfertilized eggs, and it won’t harm them if they do. However, there’s no reason to leave the eggs in the tank since it just clutters things up.
Unnecessary organic matter in the tank can throw off the pH balance of the water as well. Scoop out white angelfish eggs and discard them.
Why Didn’t the Eggs Get Fertilized?
Now you’re likely wondering why the angelfish eggs didn’t get fertilized. Was there something wrong with the eggs that caused the angelfish to shy away from fertilizing them?
Generally, male angelfish will avoid fertilizing eggs when they don’t feel safe. Males can be oddly shy when it comes to fertilizing eggs.
If the eggs are just out in the open, then the male fish might choose to ignore them. This might seem weird, but it’s essentially the fish not wanting to fertilize the eggs in an unsafe environment.
In the wild, angelfish will try to hide their eggs and fertilize them somewhere that seems relatively safe. If the eggs are in the middle of the tank, then the fish might feel too exposed.
This is why many tank owners place aquatic plants in the aquarium along with the angelfish. It gives the females a good spot to lay eggs, and the males will be more comfortable fertilizing the eggs when they’re hidden in the plants.
Often, females will choose to stick the eggs right to the large leaves of aquatic plants. This is why you should have live plants in your aquarium if you plan to breed angelfish.
Of course, there could be other reasons why males aren’t fertilizing the eggs. Sometimes, stress will keep males from doing what they’re supposed to do.
Fish can experience stress for a number of different reasons. There could be other fish in the tank that are threatening to the angelfish.
You could even have the fish tank in a bad spot. If the fish tank is placed in a loud part of your home, then all of the noises could be bothering the fish.
Also, children tapping on the aquarium’s glass can cause the fish stress. Living in a cramped space will stress the fish out substantially, too.
When a fish is overly stressed, it simply won’t bother to fertilize the eggs. It might be too distracted to fertilize eggs or it could be worried about survival.
If you can solve stress issues in the tank, then you might have better luck getting the eggs fertilized. Try to do what you can to provide the angelfish with a clean, safe, and happy environment so that they can breed.
You Might Have Two Females
Another consideration is whether you have the right angelfish or not. You might have assumed that you purchased a male and a female angelfish, but you actually didn’t.
Many new angelfish owners have a hard time identifying the gender of individual fish. You might think that males and females look pretty similar.
To an untrained eye, it can be tough to tell the difference between a male angelfish and a female angelfish. Thankfully, you can learn how to detect the difference easily enough.
The easiest way to spot the difference is to look at the body shapes of the fish. Male angelfish have large bodies that are sort of circular in nature.
Female angelfish appear a bit different because they have angular bodies that are slightly smaller. Once you’ve gained some experience as an angelfish owner, telling male angelfish from female angelfish will be second nature.
There are other differences as well. For instance, males have a small nuchal hump on their heads whereas females don’t.
The fin shapes are a little bit different as well. Male angelfish have forked front fins whereas females have smooth front fins.
Note that having two females won’t prevent eggs from being laid. A female will sometimes lay eggs when it’s time even if a male isn’t present.
Don’t assume that the presence of eggs in the tank means that you have a male fish. Do your best to identify whether you truly have a male and a female angelfish.
Breeding Tanks Might Help
It might be beneficial to have a breeding tank instead of just breeding angelfish in the main tank with other fish. You could keep one male and one female in a breeding tank so that they can do what needs to be done.
You should wait until a male and a female have formed a pair before placing them in a breeding tank, though. The fish won’t breed properly until they have formed this bond.
When angelfish are looking for mates, they will start wagging their fins near other angelfish. You might notice the angelfish chasing each other around a bit, and some might think that this looks like the fish are fighting.
Eventually, the two angelfish will lock lips and shake each other. This is a sign that the two have formed a bond and are now a pair.
Place the pair of angelfish in the breeding tank where they can make babies. The female will lay eggs in the breeding tank, and the male should feel comfortable enough to fertilize the eggs.
Of course, it’s wise to have plants in the breeding tank. This gives the female a good spot to lay the eggs, and it’ll ensure that the male will feel comfortable enough to fertilize the eggs.
It’s possible to breed angelfish without having a dedicated breeding tank, but it’s just easier to have one. You can separate the angelfish from the rest of the tank, and this will give the eggs the best chance of hatching.
If you have angelfish eggs in a tank with other fish, then some of the other fish might attempt to eat the eggs. It’s also true that the baby angelfish might not have an easy time surviving.
When you put the angelfish in a breeding tank, the parental instincts of the parent fish should kick in. You will be able to have the best experience if you go about things this way.
Water Quality Issues
Sometimes, water quality issues can keep the angelfish eggs from hatching, too. Ideally, you want the water temperature in the breeding tank to be 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re keeping the temperature too low, then the eggs might have trouble hatching. Since you’ve been caring for angelfish, you should already know that it’s recommended to keep the temperature between 76 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
You also need to keep the pH balance of the water in a specific range. The water should have a pH balance that is between 6.8 and 7.8.
If you aren’t giving the fish the right environment, then the eggs might not be able to survive. It might be prudent to check your heater and to test the pH balance of the tank.
Water Flow Problems
Water flow problems can negatively impact angelfish eggs. Sometimes, the water flow will be too high and this will make it so that the eggs won’t be fertilized properly.
Essentially, the male will go to fertilize the eggs, but the water will be flowing too fast for the eggs to truly be fertilized. This is something to keep in mind when you’re setting up a breeding tank for the angelfish.
Do your best to keep the water flow in the tank from being too high. This will give the eggs the best chance of being fertilized.
Light Exposure Issues
Light exposure might not be something that you knew you’d need to consider. Some angelfish owners have said that keeping tanks in bright rooms will keep the eggs from hatching normally.
You might need to move the tank to a darker spot or dim the lights in some way. There hasn’t been any research that has shown that light negatively impacts angelfish eggs, but there could be some anecdotal evidence that dim rooms are best.
Knowing this, it might be worth keeping the breeding tank away from bright lights. Perhaps this will help you to get the angelfish eggs to hatch.
Angelfish Eating Their Eggs
Sadly, sometimes angelfish will choose to eat their own eggs. This usually happens when angelfish are stressed.
If your angelfish are in a tank with other fish, then they might feel too concerned to do what they’re supposed to do as parents. They might start eating the eggs or their young when they’re in a stressed state.
It’s possible that the eggs aren’t hatching because the angelfish are eating the eggs before they get a chance to. If you eliminate sources of stress, then it’ll be more likely that the eggs will survive.
Also, younger angelfish are more likely to eat their young than older angelfish. As angelfish gain more experience, they do a better job protecting their young.
You could choose to hatch the eggs on your own without the parent fish. Some breeders choose to remove the eggs from the tank after they have been fertilized.
It would be a lot more work, though, since you’d need to keep the eggs clean and safe. This isn’t something that novices should do since it can be complicated.
If you place the angelfish in a breeding tank away from other fish, then that should be enough to get things to go fine. Be mindful of stressors such as loud noises that will cause the fish to start panicking and eating their eggs.
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.