Breeding and Culture of Angelfish

SCIENTIFIC NAME : Pterophyllum scalare

Angelfish are one of the most beautiful tropical fish that is relatively easy to care for. They belong to the family Cichlidae. These species are endemic to the Amazon River basin in tropical South America. Naturally, they can be found in soft, acid warm water (around 28° C) most of the year and are sensitive to poor water quality. They are voracious feeders and should always act that way. Several variety of these species are attributed to genetic enhancement and environmental influences.


  • Angelfish are Piscivores (fish— eating); are small ambush predators and prey on small fish and macroinvertebrates.
  • They are egg- depositors; attaches eggs to aquatic leaves and other slanted or vertical mate-rials.
  • The maximum size is 12— 15cm (up to 16 in.) length, up to 20cm (8 in.) height.
  • About 500-1000 eggs per spawning.
  • They breed throughout the year.
  • The breeders can be bred in every three weeks.
  • The average lifespan in aquarium is 10 years.
  • Sexual maturity is 6-12 months.
  • The spawning frequency decreases after three years of age.
  • They prefer water with a pH of 6.0— 8.0 and 24-30°C temperature.

Sexual Differences

a) Female

  • ovipositor (angelfish vent) is rounded in shape
  • head remains straightly inclined even it gets older

b) Male

  • ovipositor is pointed— shaped
  • humped head is developed (particularly in older fish)


a. Materials needed

  1. 10-15 gal Aquarium (paired Angelfish per aquarium)
  2. 20 gal or larger aquarium for egg development & rearing of fry
  3. Slanted brick tile as breeding medium

b. Breeding Procedure

  1. Select healthy sexually matured breeders.
  2. Place the paired Angelfish in the breeding aquarium with slanted brick tile. The pair should be compatible & should not be aggressive to one another. Aeration may not be required.
  3. Monitor their mating behavior. The female deposit the eggs while male fertilizes the eggs with milt in the brick tile.
  4. Transfer brick tile with fertilized eggs to another aquarium for egg rearing after spawning.

Rearing of Fry

  1. Put methylene blue/tetracycline in rearing water when transferring the fertilized eggs to another aquarium, and provide mild aeration underneath the eggs.
  2. Eggs hatched after 3 days. The newly hatched fry still have yolk sac for their own nourishment.
  3. Feed the fry with artemia at least three times a day for two to three weeks.
  4. After about three weeks, Angelfish looks identical to its parents. Transfer them to grow-out tanks or hapa in ponds at 30-50/sq m.
  5. Feed them with artificial feeds (fry mash or crumble feeds) at least three times a day.
  6. After 3-4 months they are ready to market.


  • 2.0 inches = P5.00
  • 3.0 inches = P8.00
  • 4.0 inches = P15.00


  1. Weigh amount of artemia for culture (1 gm artemia per 1,000 fry per day)
  2. Put artemia in a beaker or in a small glass jar
  3. Add 100 ml water then add 1 ml zonrox
  4. Leave for at least 15 minutes
  5. Wash thoroughly with water using plankton net to avoid escape of cyst
  6. Put the washed artemia in conical-shaped container (ex. Coke bottle) with salt water and with aeration
  7. Harvest after 18-24 hours


  1. Remove aeration to make the cyst settle down at the bottom for 5 minutes
  2. Harvest brine shrimp by siphoning out to plankton net (using plastic hose). Avoid siphoning shells of artemia
  3. Wash brine shrimp with clean water
  4. Transfer brine shrimp to container with water
  5. Feed artemia to fry of fish.


Use commercially available treatment chemicals

1. For white spot disease/”ich”:

  • 5 drops anti-ich (malachite green)/gal.
  • Permanent (24 hrs) bath
  • Everyday, change water
  • For 5-7 consecutive days.

2. For Anchorworm:

  • 5 drops anti-anchorworm (neguvon)/gal.
  • Permanent (24 hrs) bath
  • Everyday, change water
  • For 5-7 consecutive days

3. For Tail Rot or Fungus:

  • Methylene Blue or Oxytetracycline
  • HCl/Tetracycline HCI – Permanent (24 hrs) bath
  • Everyday, change water
  • For 5-7 consecutive days


  • During treatment, provide vigorous aeration.
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt/gal water.
  • No feeding during treatment

For more information please contact:

Center Chief National Fisheries Biological Center
Butong, Taal, Batangas
Telefax. (043) 421-14-65


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