July 2, 2010
Lefty and Digitalis have always been very aggressive when it comes to defending their brood. They have consistently splashed water at me while I am feeding the youngsters eyedroppers full of newly hatched baby brine shrimp. Yesterday, while feeding the hatchlings that have only been free swimming for a few days, I was surprised by a large splash and an adult angelfish atop the aquarium glass. It had escaped the aquarium through an inch and a half gap between the glass and the rear edge of the aquarium where the filter pipes enter and leave the aquarium. I have never thought I needed to block the gap as I did not think an angelfish would jump. Apparently parental protection instincts allow they not terribly aerodynamic looking angelfish to go airborne. It all happened so quickly, but I scooped up the fish and tossed it back into the aquarium. It was Digitalis’s behavior that seemed noticeably changed after the incident, so I suspected she had leapt out. About an hour later, I noticed a small wound on Lefty that looks like a scrape. Perhaps it was caused by the glass, or perhaps my hasty handling of the leaper with dry hands. I added 10 milliliters of Stress Coat to the water to help Lefty generate a protective slime coating on the wound. Despite the leap, Lefty’s behavior continued to be very aggressive in defending the youngsters when I approached the aquarium.
The other pair of Angelfish, Boris and Medea Luna, who have not had a viable spawning since late last summer, have always defended the eggs against the tank mates by propelling themselves sideways through the water so that they look like manta rays. I can’t help but wonder if there are other reports of Angelfish leaping out of aquaria. I have a photo taken of the family the day before the jump. Lefty appears to be recovering nicely, and both parents eagerly eat mosquito larvae I catch in the yard, but Digitalis stays close to the small fry.
Update: July 6, 2010
Lefty has recovered and is doing nicely. The young fry are growing, but I am concerned what will happen if the adults spawn again. In preparation, I took the twenty largest youngsters from the grow out aquarium and traded them for frozen and live food today. I contemplated getting a Plecostomus to put in the community aquarium, but I don’t want it to eat the eggs that are laid there.