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The Main Differences Between Male and Female Angelfish

The Main Differences Between Male and Female Angelfish

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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.

Keeping angelfish in your fish tank should make the aquarium look that much nicer. They’re colorful fish and many say that they admire the graceful way that angelfish move around in the water.

If you’re pretty new to taking care of angelfish then you might have trouble identifying them still. Many people have a difficult time telling male and female angelfish apart.

Is there a good way to tell males and females apart? Or is it always going to be difficult to discern the gender of the angelfish?

Continue reading to learn about the differences between male and female angelfish. This should make it much simpler to differentiate between the two.

How to Tell Angelfish Gender

Firstly, you should know that it’s very hard to tell male and female angelfish apart if you don’t have experience. If you’re new to caring for these fish, then the males and females in your aquarium might look too similar to tell apart.

However, if you take the time to truly look at each fish, there are going to be differences. You can see that males and females have distinct characteristics that help to set them apart.

The easiest way to tell the difference between a male and a female is to take a look at the breeding tube. Each angelfish is going to have a breeding tube, but it’ll look different depending on the sex of the fish.

Male angelfish have thin breeding tubes that are pointy at the end. Females have wider breeding tubes that could be described as blunt.

If you only take away one piece of information from this article, then it should be that you can sex an angelfish by examining its breeding tube. The breeding tube is located on the underside of the fish.

Other Physical Differences

Of course, there are other physical differences that help to set male and female angelfish apart. Below, you’ll see many of the characteristics of male and female angelfish so that you can have an easier time telling them apart at a glance.

It might take a bit of practice and careful observation to be able to easily determine the sex of angelfish. Regardless, you’ll be much better at doing so once you’ve read all of the information.

When it comes to male angelfish, they’re going to stand out because they have larger bodies than the female fish. Generally, male bodies are going to be circular as well.

Males should have enlarged bumps on their heads if you look closely. You’ll also see that the forehead of a male angelfish is rounded.

You’ll likely notice that males have forked ventral fins, too. They’ll grow a bit faster in the fish tank than the females will as well.

Female angelfish are generally a bit smaller, and they’re known for having angular belly lines. The frontal fins on these fish are much smoother when compared to the males.

You won’t see any bumps on the foreheads of the female fish either. Female angelfish have foreheads that more closely resemble a slope.

Behavioral Differences

Behavioral differences can help you to determine which type of fish you’re looking at. If you’re having a tough time figuring out the sex of a fish based on physical characteristics, then looking at the behavior of the fish might help.

Male and female angelfish swim a bit differently. Males like to hold their bodies horizontally from mouth to tail as they swim.

Females hold their mouths a bit above their tails as they’re swimming. If you look closely, you might be able to determine the sex of the fish just based on how the fish is swimming.

When it’s time for two fish to form a mating pair, male angelfish will fan out their fins. They’ll then shake them at the female.

In response, the female will shake her fins back at the male, but the female’s fins won’t be fanned out. This can be a good way to tell the two fish apart.

Male angelfish are often more aggressive than female angelfish. In fact, two male angelfish will fight each other incessantly.

If you keep two males in the same tank, then they’re going to feel territorial and keep fighting one another. Female angelfish can get along well enough, and this means that the two fish that are fighting are likely both males.

Female angelfish can get aggressive as well, but they will generally do so when protecting their eggs or babies. The aggression of the fish might be a good way to help determine the sex if you pair it with other information that you’ve learned about so far.

Angelfish Aggression Issues

Angelfish aggression does indeed have the potential to be an issue in your fish tank. Males, in particular, can be a real source of frustration.

You might want to keep many angelfish in your tank, but having males fight and injure each other will be problematic. For this reason, you might wish to avoid putting two males in the same tank.

If you keep two males in a small tank, then they’re just going to keep going at each other. The two fish will continue to get hurt, and it’s possible that one might kill the other.

It isn’t common for angelfish to kill each other, but it can indeed happen under the right conditions. This is why you need to put some thought into your setup.

If you’re going to keep several angelfish in the same tank, then you’ll want to give them enough space. It’s said that each angelfish needs at least ten gallons of space in a tank.

Angelfish become agitated when they feel the need to fight for territory. Male fish will continue to fight each other in small fish tanks, but these issues won’t be so bad if they’re placed in larger fish tanks.

It’d be wise to give the angelfish a larger fish tank than they actually need. This ensures that they’ll be happy with the situation and you should have fewer aggressive episodes.

You also need to place things such as aquatic plants in the aquarium. Angelfish are used to having plants to hide in when they’re out in the wild.

The presence of live plants will make your fish tank feel much more natural for the fish. It’ll also give them convenient hiding spots that they can utilize.

Popular plants such as Amazon Sword and Jungle Val should work excellently in your angelfish tank. It’ll give the fish good hiding spots so that they can get away from each other instead of just fighting all the time.

If you keep all of this advice in mind, then things shouldn’t be so bad. You’ll have a much more pleasant experience caring for the angelfish.

Can Angelfish Go in a Community Tank with Other Fish?

You know that angelfish can be mildly aggressive, but does this mean that they aren’t good candidates for community fish tanks? Not necessarily.

Angelfish are great members of community fish tanks so long as you put some thought into things. You need to ensure that you’re picking good tank mates for the angels so that they will get along with the other fish.

The angelfish will bully and eat fish that are smaller than them. They can also be bullied and beat up by larger and more aggressive fish.

Thankfully, there are good fish that will get along with the angelfish while being able to put up with their slightly aggressive ways. You just need to pick the best fish so that you can have a nice community fish tank that you can enjoy.

Dwarf gouramis are considered to be great options. Mollies will work out well as tank mates for angelfish, too.

Corydoras catfish stay at the bottom of the tank and will make great additions to the community aquarium. Swordtails should be pleasing additions, too, since they will add a lot of color to the tank.

Does the Male or Female Angelfish Guard the Eggs?

Of course, if two angelfish form a mating pair, it’ll likely be even easier to tell which is which. The female is going to lay eggs somewhere, and then the male is going to fertilize those eggs.

Many people wind up wondering what it’s going to be like once the eggs have been laid. Do the male angelfish guard the eggs or do the female angelfish do that?

Both fish actually guard the eggs against potential threats. When two angelfish form a mating bond, they’re going to start cleaning and preparing an area for the eggs.

You’ll likely see this behavior if you’re spending time observing the fish. The female will usually choose a safe and somewhat hidden place for the eggs.

Often, the angelfish will lay the eggs on or near aquatic plants in your aquarium. In the wild, it’s very common for angelfish to lay eggs directly on big leaves.

When the eggs have been laid, the male angelfish should pass over them and fertilize them. After this, the parent fish will be responsible for keeping the eggs clean, giving them oxygen, and protecting them.

Both parent fish will work together to protect the eggs from harm. If other fish in the aquarium get too close to the eggs, then they will work to chase them away.

Angelfish are very protective parents that will keep caring for the eggs together. Once the eggs hatch, the angelfish will continue to care for the angelfish fry until they have reached the stage where they grow fins.

Do Angelfish Eat Their Own Eggs?

Yes, angelfish will sometimes eat their own eggs. After reading the information above about them being protective parents, it might not make sense that angelfish would eat the eggs.

Sometimes angelfish will eat their own eggs for practical reasons. They might feel that they need the energy to survive so that they can keep caring for the other eggs.

It can also be a choice of eating some eggs so that they can devote more energy to caring for the remaining eggs. You could look at it as a pragmatic choice that angelfish might feel the need to make.

Sadly, angelfish will also choose to eat their own eggs when they experience stress. Stress can make angelfish panic and they will respond by eating all of the eggs.

Sometimes angelfish will eat angelfish fry once they have hatched, too. This is why many people choose to separate the parent fish from the angelfish fry so that as many can survive as possible.

You might even choose to separate the eggs from the parent fish to keep them from eating them. This is certainly possible, but it might be a bit of a pain in certain ways.

Caring for angelfish eggs yourself will likely be difficult if you’re a novice. If you have no experience breeding fish, then it’s likely easier to let the parent fish take care of things.

Remember that you’d be responsible for keeping the eggs safe and providing them with oxygen. This can be done with an air stone and a proper filter, but it’s up to you whether you wish to do this or not.

It’s also notable that moving angelfish eggs won’t always be easy. Angelfish eggs are very sticky, and getting them off of certain surfaces without hurting them will be practically impossible.

The angelfish can move the eggs safely, but you cannot unless you plan ahead. You can remove the leaf of the plant where the eggs have been laid to safely relocate the eggs.

Another idea is to put a breeding slate or a breeding cone in the tank. This is a good spot for the eggs that the female might wind up choosing, and you can easily move the slate or cone to another tank when the time is right.

Final Thoughts

It should be easier to figure out which angelfish is a male and which is a female now. You’ve learned about physical differences between the fish as well as behavioral differences.

Take the time to observe the fish and you should be able to tell which is which. It gets easier as you get used to taking care of angelfish in your fish tank.

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