The genus of angelfish is Pterophyllum. They are a small genus of fish that belong to the Cichlidae family, although there is some controversy about the scientific name of angelfish. There are three varieties of freshwater angelfish species. These fish are found in the Amazon, Orinoco, and Essequibo river basins of tropical South America. Angelfish are laterally compressed, have round bodies, and elongated, triangular dorsal and anal fins. It is the shape of the body that helps them to hide among roots and leaves. These fish subsist on smaller fish and macro-invertebrates. They lay eggs on a submerged log or a flattened leaf.
Facts About Freshwater Angelfish
The lifespan of angelfish is approximately 10-15 years. They are cold blooded fish, so their metabolism is controlled by the existing temperature. If the temperatures are high, the metabolism also revs up, which reduces the lifespan of these fish. Hence, the lifespan of the fish often depends on the temperature of water they live in. The appropriate temperature of water is 74° F to 84° F.
The average length of angelfish is usually 6 inches, and the length of aquarium angelfish is 4 to 6 inches. If you plan on breeding angelfish, you will have to maintain the pH level of water at 6 to 7.5. It is difficult to differentiate the sex of the angelfish except in the breeding season. Normally the female lays about 1000 eggs at a time. The parents are said to protect the eggs carefully, and it does not take longer than 24 to 36 hours for the eggs to hatch. The young fish stay on the plants they were born on for about 4 to 5 days, and then are moved to pits by the parents. When they are moved to the pits, they start to have a carnivore diet.
Many people will not believe when they are told that angelfish have more of a personality than most other species of aquarium fish. They belong to an intelligent lot of fish.
Food and Water
Since angelfish are omnivores, they can be fed with dried food, such as dried tropical flakes, worms, such as blood worms, etc., brine shrimp or daphnia, or small fish. The water in the aquarium should be medium-hard water. As mentioned before, the pH can be neutral to slightly acidic, and the temperature can range between 74 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is an interesting courtship ritual which takes place between pairs of these fish. A pair of angelfish lock their mouths together and sometimes may spin around wildly in circles. If they like each other after this courtship ritual, spawning may occur. Before spawning, the fish clean a leaf, or any other flat surface, to lay their eggs on. The female fish lays the eggs and it is the duty of the male fish to fertilize them. When the baby angelfish are swimming freely, they have to be separated from their parents, as there is a possibility that the parents will eat them.
All in all, these fish are a treat for the eyes, and you can't go wrong in having a pair in your aquarium.