Freshwater angelfish are quite popular as aquarium species owing to their distinct personality. If you intend to keep them as pets, this information on their natural habitat will help you create an ideal captive habitat for them.
Of the three species of angelfish, namely the freshwater angelfish, Orinoco angelfish, and the teardrop angelfish, the freshwater angelfish seems most popular among pet enthusiasts. In fact, if someone is talking about angelfish with reference to pet trade, it is most likely to be the freshwater angelfish. In the United States, the captive breeding of this species began in 1930. Since then, it has come a long way to become one of the most sought-after aquarium fish species in the country.
About Freshwater Angelfish
These lovable aquarium fish are extremely flat bodied, with flowing fins and a small head that ends with a terminally placed pointed mouth. They can grow on to attain a length of 10 inches and width of 3 inches, excluding their characteristic long fins, which can measure up to 6 inches. Angelfish, in general, can be distinguished from butterflyfish by the presence of spines on either sides of their body.
Where do Angelfish Live in the Wild?
The geographic range of freshwater angelfish is restricted to the Amazon basin in South America, where it spans the land area of three nations, namely Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. In their natural habitat, angelfish are known to live in mildly acidic waters of flooded regions or swamps, where there is no dearth of vegetation. They survive in waters having a pH level between 6.0 to 8.0, which is one of the most important thing that you need to take into consideration when preparing a captive habitat for your pet angelfish.
These are easy to maintain aquarium fish, which can be easily found in pet shops. They are now rarely fished from their natural habitat, as almost all breeders breed them in captivity. A captive-bred fish is anytime better suited for the artificial environment that you will provide.
Taxonomy of Angelfish
Species: Pterophyllum scalare
Its scientific name Pterophyllum scalare is the combination of Greek words Pterophyllum, meaning ‘winged leaf’, and scalare, meaning ‘like a flight of stairs’.
Captive Habitat for Freshwater Angelfish
As angelfish are known to grow fast, it’s better to buy a sufficiently large aquarium in the beginning itself, instead of waiting for them to grow and then transferring them to a new aquarium. Ideally, a 30-gallon aquarium should be enough for a single fish and 50-gallon aquarium for a pair. A large aquarium is also important because they are known to be highly territorial and thus, can become aggressive if there is space crunch. As these fish live in areas with dense vegetation, you will have to add plants and driftwood to their captive habitat.
The pH level of the water should be in the range of 6 – 8 like that of the water in their natural habitat, while its temperature can be in the range of 76 – 82 °F. Angelfish can adapt to hard water, but experts are of the opinion that keeping its hardness in the range of 5 – 15 dGH best suits them, especially if you are planning to breed them. High ammonia levels in the water can prove to be lethal for the angelfish.
If you are looking for tank mates for your pet, you can go for species like tetras and cory catfish. On the other hand, oscars and tiger barbs are best avoided as they don’t get along.
Besides their appearance, their popularity can also be attributed to the fact that they greet anyone who comes near their tank. So you can go ahead and bring home these delightful angels. They will definitely add to the grace of your aquarium.