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Do Angelfish Mate for Life? (And What Happens When One Dies?)

Do Angelfish Mate for Life? (And What Happens When One Dies?)

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

When keeping angelfish in your fish tank, you might sometimes notice that angelfish will form pairs. A male and a female will form a pair when it’s time for them to breed.

It’s great when you see that two angelfish have formed a pair. You’ll likely be able to see the angelfish lay eggs soon, and it should lead to you getting new fish in your tank sometime soon if all goes well.

If you don’t know much about angelfish yet, then you might not be clear about how two angelfish mate. For example, you could be wondering whether angelfish mate for life.

Read on to learn about angelfish mating. You’ll learn whether angelfish pick permanent mates as well as what to expect during the mating process.

Angelfish Do Not Mate for Life

Angelfish do not mate for life under normal circumstances. If you observe angelfish in the wild, then you’ll see that two fish will usually form a pair for one mating season.

They will stay together during that time, defend the eggs, and then help to protect the fry. After this, it’s very likely and possible that the angelfish will pair off with different fish.

However, this doesn’t always happen when you’re talking about angelfish that are being kept in a tank. Angelfish that are in captivity will usually pair up for long periods of time.

It’s very possible that captive angelfish will wind up pairing for life, but it’s not something that means that angelfish want to form permanent pairs. Generally, you can consider permanent or semi-permanent pairings in a fish tank something that occurs due to a lack of options.

The angelfish likely don’t have many other fish that they can choose from. It’s not unusual for two angelfish in a fish tank to just keep the pair going.

If you were hoping that the angelfish story was going to be a bit more romantic than that, then you’ll likely be disappointed. They truly do just pair up because of convenience while in fish tanks.

What If an Angelfish Dies?

Lone Angelfish

One of the big reasons why someone would wonder about whether angelfish mate for life has to do with what happens when one angelfish dies. If one fish dies, will its partner be able to easily move on to form a pair with another fish?

Usually, it doesn’t take too long for the surviving angelfish to move on. There are some anecdotal reports of surviving angelfish being a bit stubborn about finding a new partner, but most say that it doesn’t take too long.

The fish isn’t going to go through a long period of mourning its former partner. You’ll likely see the fish form a pair with another angelfish at some point.

This is assuming that you have another angelfish of the right sex in your tank. If you don’t have even numbers of males and females in your tank, then that can complicate things.

How Do You Know When Angelfish Have Formed a Pair?

You’ll know when angelfish have formed a pair by the way that they act. Two angelfish of the opposite sex will start chasing each other a bit.

Sometimes it might look a little bit as if they’re fighting or being aggressive toward one another. This isn’t what they’re actually doing, though.

When forming pairs, you’ll see the angelfish wagging their tails near each other. Eventually, you should see the two angelfish lock lips and shake each other.

This is the final sign that a pair has been formed. If you see two angelfish do this, then they’re going to go through the spawning process very soon.

How Can You Help Angelfish Breed?

Pair of Gold Angelfish Laying Eggs on Branch

Helping angelfish to breed just involves giving them everything that they need. You need to continue to care for the fish as normal, but you also want to ensure that they have a safe place to lay their eggs.

Angelfish will lay eggs in a community tank, but this isn’t always going to be the best situation. Community tanks have threats that the angelfish will have to counter.

They’ll need to remain vigilant to protect the eggs so that they don’t get eaten. It might be easier if you place the pair in a special breeding tank where they can simply focus on caring for the eggs.

It’s also wise to give the fish a good spot where the eggs will be hidden from view. Sometimes male angelfish won’t fertilize the eggs if they’re out in the open.

This is why it’s wise to place aquatic plants in the fish tanks. In the wild, angelfish often lay eggs on or near plants so that they can stay safe and hidden.

Another option is to use breeding pads where the angelfish can lay the eggs. These can easily be placed in the tank and removed at a later time.

Things can go wrong when angelfish are taking care of eggs even if you do everything right, though. Sometimes a young pair will make mistakes and they might even wind up eating their own eggs.

As the pair matures and gains experience, it’s more likely that they will find success. You can just keep supporting them if you want them to successfully breed so that you can have more angelfish.

Final Thoughts

Knowing that angelfish don’t mate for life should help you to know that things will be fine if one member of a pair happens to pass away. Fish that lose a partner will be able to move on and they will form a new pair with another partner.

Sometimes it can take a bit of time for this to happen. It likely won’t take too long if there are other angelfish of the right sex available.

In the wild, angelfish find new partners each season most of the time. It isn’t typical for two angelfish to stick together for long periods of time.

Captivity is simply different because the angelfish will have much more limited options. Just continue to take care of your fish even after one passes away and things should be okay.

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