The first word to come to anyone’s mind when they see a freshwater angelfish is likely to be ‘beautiful’. No wonder people are eager to keep them as pets. In this PetPonder article, we shed light on the optimum conditions required for rearing angelfish at home.
Freshwater angelfish are species of the Pterophyllum genus belonging to the Cichlidae family. They are found in the Amazon, Essequibo, and Orinoco rivers of South America. In fact, the South American rainforests are flooded with this species. These beautiful fish come in different colors and patterns. You have to keep certain things in mind, if you are to keep them as pets.
How to Care for Angelfish?
The basic factors that should be taken into consideration are: the size of the aquarium, oxygen supply, temperature, hygiene, and most important of all, their diet, i.e., the supply of adequate and right variety of food. We shall elaborate on each of these in the following segment.
Size of the Aquarium
The size of the fish tank, which is determined by the volume of water it holds, is dependent on the size of the fish. For instance, 1 nickel-sized fish requires 1 gallon of water. The minimum size of tank for a breeding pair, on the other hand, has to be approximately 15 gallons. If it’s a brood along with parents, then you will require a tank with a capacity of 25 gallons or more.
Temperature of the Water
You can measure the temperature of the tank water using a thermometer. The optimal temperature required for the growth of angelfish lies in the range of 74ºF – 78ºF. Pure tropical angelfish spawn well in a little higher temperature, around 80ºF. This temperature also boosts their immune system. Thus, maintaining adequate temperature is vital for the survival of freshwater angelfish. Temperature also has the tendency to influence their behavioral pattern.
Filtration System of the Tank
A high-flow filtration system is stressful for them since they don’t know how to swim efficiently. The ideal filtration system for this species would be an under-gravel filter, or a sponge filter for that matter. A small power filter would be ideal for large tanks. However, you have to regularly clean the tank and change the water.
pH of the Water
Maintaining optimum pH is vital to ensure that the species carry out their biological processes without any hindrance. A captive-bred angelfish is more adapted to neutral water, while wild and tropical species prefer a slightly higher pH. Ideally, the pH should be in the range of 6.5 – 6.9. You can purchase a cichlid buffer or regulator for adjusting the pH levels. You can also monitor the fluctuations with the help of pH test kit.
Live plants help in increasing the oxygen density of the water. Apart from other items of decoration, you should also keep a lot of fresh, live plants in the aquarium. This will improve the water quality and your pet freshwater angelfish will be able to breathe properly. The survival of plants is also an indication of water quality. The simplest way to ensure adequate circulation of oxygen is to keep algae in the aquarium.
Feeding the Fish
The staple food of angelfish is flakes of fish food. However, experts recommend feeding them a varied types of foods, including black worms, mosquito larvae, blood worms, chopped earthworms, brine shrimp, and guppy fries. They also love to eat small fish. At the same time, special forms of finely ground raw beef heart and unflavored gelatin are also good for their health. You can feed them once or twice a day.
Hygiene of the Tank
Cleaning the tank to maintain hygiene is essential for adequate breeding, growth, and survival of the fish. The debris should be removed by gravel vacuum or siphons. 50 percent of the water should be changed every day. Keeping the tank clean also prevents bacterial and fungal growth. This way you can maintain the health of your pet fish as well.
Make it a point to monitor their health and ensure that they are free from diseases. If you have a doubt that any fish is suffering from some disease, you should immediately quarantine it and subject it to proper treatment.