How To Set Up A Breeding Tank For Angelfish
Once you have a breeding pair of Angelfish, you are ready to set up a spawning tank for them. You will need the following:
- A ten gallon tank.
- A nice big flat piece of slate positioned in the aforementioned tank at a 45 degree angle.
- A sponge filter.
The sponge filter is not negotiable, so don't try to save a little bit of cash and use a regular filter. Sponge filters are necessary because they provide very gentle filtration that does not disturb eggs or parents and most importantly, they don't suck baby fish into them. Established sponge filters may even harbor some good microorganisms that the baby fish will eat happily.
The slate is also essential as it provides a surface for Angelfish to breed upon. As your Angels get ready to breed you will see them meticulously cleaning the slate. In the wild, they would do this on the leaves of Amazonian Swordplants, but in captivity, a nice piece of slate more than suffices.
Ensure that the water in the breeding tank is always clean and bump the temperature up to the 27 – 28 degrees Celsius mark. Warmer water promotes the urge to breed in Angelfish. If you are having trouble getting one pair to spawn, you can add a little of the water from a tank in which Angelfish are already spawning to encourage them.
When spawning starts, the female will travel up the slate, laying her eggs and the male will follow behind her, fertilizing them. Expect to see several of these passes to occur before spawning is finished.
If left to their own devices, parents will spend a great deal of time tending their nest. They will often pick the eggs off the surface they are on and move them to another part of the tank. In the wild, this behavior would make it more difficult for predators to eat their babies, in captivity some breeders simply remove the slate with the eggs on it and place it in a tank with plenty of methylene blue and an air stone. The methylene blue prevents eggs from falling prey to fungus, and the air bubbler acts as a substitute for parental care.
If you are a first time breeder you may wish to leave the eggs with the parents to watch the full life cycle of the Angelfish play out. It is possible that a few eggs will be eaten this way, but this is the way of nature. Fish spawn in incredibly large numbers and unless you are a commercial operation with tons of tank space, you probably won't miss the few fish that fall prey to their parents.
It may help to have a few dither fish in the tank with the parents when you spawn your fish. Dither fish are fish with no purpose other than to provide movement in the tank. Angels will spend their time chasing the dither fish away from their eggs (danios make decent dither fish and are not too large) and help to ensure that the parents do not unleash their natural aggression on one another.
After laying, the eggs sit about for a few days before hatching into little fish that eat purely from the egg sacs they were born with. At first they will not be free swimming and will stick to the nest. A few more days, and they will absorb the yolk sac and be ready to eat live food.
Go on to the next article in the series: What to feed your baby Angelfish spawn.