Our Angelfish have Spawned!!!!!

Breaking News: 31 March 2009: 8:22 PM
Well, we figured out why our Angelfish have been acting so aggressively. They spawned. There are eggs on the leaf of a plant facing away from the front of the tank. We got suspicious because two angels kept cleaning the leaf and they were chasing all fish out of the territory, including the adorable Panda Cats.

Angelfish tends to Eggs
Angelfish tends to Eggs

We managed to get a few blurry photos before the camera batteries died. It was difficult to get a good angle on the eggs. Just before noticing the eggs, we got this nice image of the couple.

Pair of Angelfish
Pair of Angelfish

This definitely explains the aggressive behavior. Guess we won’t be getting those Rams we wanted. We might need to try to pawn our injured Angelfish off on Dean at Tropical Imports. We can’t believe five days after buying our Angelfish we have had a spawning. The aggression obviously began at Pasadena Tropical Fish before we brought our four fish home. A bit more research has revealed that our Angelfish are Silver Pearlscales, we believe.

Update: 2 April 2009: 10:00 PM
We worked a long shift yesterday and returned home to find the injured Angelfish hiding in the top corner. We decided that upon returning from work today, we would take it to Tropical Imports to board for a time to see if the pectoral fins grew back and the fish could be reintroduced to our aquarium. things seemed different. The Angelfish were no longer near the leaf where the spawning occurred and the Tetras were now in that area of the tank. The Angelfish had been keeping them away. We looked at the eggs and they were all gone except for a single fungus riddled egg. We assumed the Angelfish had eaten their spawn and that was that. We talked to Dean, caught the injured Angelfish, and took him to the shop. The new Rams that had arrived Monday were gorgeous, so we bought 4. Upon getting them home, we had inverse buyer’s remorse, and returned to buy 2 more. We then went to our Land Use meeting. When we got back home, we were in for a surprise. Most of the fish were on the left side of the tank, and the Angelfish were in the lower right. We looked closer at a leaf that was getting too much attention, and low and behold, there were hatched fry clinging to the leaf wriggling in the current. The eggs had hatched during the day and the parents moved the hatchlings.

Angelfish with Hatchlings 2 April 2009
Angelfish with Hatchlings 2 April 2009

We have Fry!!!
Things were getting even more interesting. It seems as though all three Angelfish are keeping their tankmates at bay. Could our fish be having a Ménage à Trois??? It seems that it may be so. We believe we have heard of this behavior before. Had we known that the spawn was still viable, we might not have gotten the Rams, but now they are in the tank. They seem to be happy, and we wonder how even three parents are going to protect the hatchlings once they are free swimming. Dare we get another aquarium? This has gotten to be a very expensive endeavor. At least we are doing our bit for economic stimulus.

Angelfish and Hatchlings 2 April 2009
Angelfish and Hatchlings 2 April 2009

One of the Angelfish seems to be paying the most attention to the hatchlings, and the other two are playing guard duty. From what we have been reading, Angelfish are sometimes difficult to induce to spawn. Seems our fish are the exception. Even Dean was surprised when he saw the size of the Angelfish we brought in to board. He thought it looked small to be spawning size. At that point in time, we were under the erroneous assumption that the parents had eaten the eggs.

Update: 4 April 2009: 5:48 AM
It seems the fry are gone. But where is the question. We turn on the hall light in the morning so just a bit of light spills into the aquarium. We don’t turn on the aquarium light until there is daylight in the room and the tank is now on a timer from 3 PM to about 11:45 PM. The fry are not where they were yesterday, which was an excellent location for seeing them. The angelfish are now protecting the rear of the aquarium. Once there is more light in the room, we will try to figure out what is happening. When we returned home last night, the fry were noticeably larger. Here is a nice website with a good photo chronicle of spawning angelfish in a community aquarium and how the owner successfully reared young. I am going to try to borrow an aquarium from Daryl next door and then get a few cheap accessories today from Tropical Imports. I will try to do this late morning today, and if Daryl is not home, I may just buy a ten gallon aquarium from Tropical Imports because I want to include some of the water I siphon out of the original tank which is a task for today. I hope Dean buys brine shrimp eggs.

Update: 4 April 2009: 3:00 PM
We siphoned water out of the aquarium to fill the 10 Gallon JEBO R338 aquarium Daryl let us use. The filter works and the heater works and the pump works, but the hood need a new bulb and starter. After we refilled the aquarium with fresh water, we noticed that the fry had been moved again to the crown of a sucker Amazon Sword Plant. We keep accusing the Angelfish of being bad parents that may be eating the spawn, and they continue to pleasantly surprise us.

Angelfish Fry 4 April 2009

Now that we are certain we still have fish, we will try to get a few out and put them in the new aquarium before they get sucked into the filter, get eaten, or have some other tragedy befall them.

Intervention: Sunday 4 April 2009: 9:36 PM
We set up the aquarium Daryl gave us and went to Tropical Imports with a list of things to get. Sadly, we didn’t get all we wanted. We wanted brine shrimp eggs, an aeration stone, small tubing, large tubing for a siphon, a plastic box for holding fish with a clamp on the side, a new bulb for the light, a starter for the light, plants for the new aquarium, charcoal filter cartridge and filtering medium. We didn’t get the brine shrimp eggs, one of the most important items. Then we went to the fabric store and bought ivory bridal organza to cover the filter intake so the fry don’t get sucked up. We called other aquarium stores but either they didn’t have brine shrimp eggs or they were closed. We finally thought of E-Que and Wacko as places that might have Sea Monkeys, but Y-Que didn’t answer and Wacko was closing in 15 minutes, but they had Sea Monkeys. They will open tomorrow at noon and I guess I will be waiting for the door to open. Then we prepared a critter catcher plastic tank by filling it with aquarium water, adding the aeration stone and a plant and floating it in the aquarium. We tried to siphon off a few of the fry, and inadvertently caught more than we intended. We only wanted to get about 10, but we suspect we got about 30. We put them in the floating plastic tank and left the remaining fry for the parents to protect.

Fry Tank
Fry Tank

We managed to take a few photos of the fry in the fry tank.

Fry 20090404
Fry: Day 6 after spawning 20090404

Some of the fry are on the bottom of the fry tank and others are clinging to the pot with the Java Fern. Their yolk sacs are still quite large, so the Sea Monkeys will have a few days to hatch once we buy them. Once the fry have been free swimming for a few days, we will transfer the ones in the fry tank to the prepared 10 gallon JEBO tank.

Fry 20090404
Fry: Day 6 after spawning 20090404

Update: Monday 6 April 2009, 8:50 AM
We photographed our Rams yesterday, but the images are a bit blurry.

Blue Rams
Blue Rams

The fry we siphoned from the brood are still not free swimming and are still in the floating fry tank. Parents have noticed them and keep trying to retrieve them through the plastic in order to return them to the nursery they continue to move and guard. Yesterday, the nursery was moved to a difficult to see location, and we believe it is still in the same location. We covered the filter intake with organza to keep the fry from being sucked inot our filter. We are uncertain how many fry are remaining in the parent’s care since they are so difficult to see between the plants. We bought frozen baby brine shrimp in the event our brine shrimp eggs don’t hatch before they are needed. We wasted $10 on a Sea Monkey kit that included a crazy plastic tank. There were some, in our opinion, unnecessary items like water conditioner, and it seems the eggs are included in the salt package, and there only seems to be about 100 eggs. Nowhere near enough to feed our soon to be hungry brood. Luckily Pasadena Tropical Fish had the Brine Shrimp eggs and the frozen baby brine shrimp, justifying our drive yesterday afternoon to east Pasadena. We just photographed the parents trying to retrieve the fry, but we haven’t turned on the aquarium light yet.

Angelfish:  parent tries to retrieve fry
Angelfish: parent tries to retrieve fry

Update: Monday 6 April 2009, 9:30 PM
There was good news and bad news today. First we moved the plastic critter catcher tank into the nursery tank in the bathroom and floated it to stablize the temperature. The fry started swimming freely today and we fed them some newly hatched brine shrimp this afternoon. They had another healthy feeding of newly hatched brine shrimp after we returned from work. You can see their bulging pink bellies.

Free Swimming Fry 6 April 2009, 9:30 PM
Free Swimming Fry: Day 7 after spawing 6 April 2009, 9:30 PM

The bad news is that we cannot locate the fry in the community tank and the parent Angelfish are not guarding any portions of the tank. They seem to be more peaceful as well. We suspect that as the fry started free swimming, they got eaten by the Rams and Tetras. We removed the organza from the filter intake since it was clogged and the filter was not working very well. We are contemplating getting another aquarium, a 40 Regular, to raise our little Anglefish. Chances are the parents will spawn again in a week or two and we are going to try to continue to save some of the hatchlings. We don’t like the idea of trying to take eggs away from the parents, but siphoning our some of the small fry before they are free swimming worked nicely. That second aquarium would be a nice place to try keeping a Discus or two as well.

Free Swimming Fry 6 April 2009, 9:30 PM
Free Swimming Fry 6 April 2009, 9:30 PM

Update: Friday 10 April, 2009, 8:10 AM
Our Fry are growing!!!
Several things have happened since we last updated this page. Two of the Angelfish began harassing the third Angelfish. It was getting bad. Scales were flying and the poor guy that was low on the pecking order was hiding, but constantly pursued by the aggressive pair. Seems the nontraditional relationship had run its course and the dominant fish had won out. Wednesday afternoon, we took the battered Angelfish to join its former tankmate at Tropical Imports and we ordered a 50 gallon aquarium for housing the growing fry. We know the fry will not be ready for that new home for at least a month, but the tank will not be delivered until next Friday anyways. We will then have two to three weeks for the tank to cycle before we introduce the brood to a new home. We also have plans to reclaim the two Angelfish that are boarding at Tropical Imports. Hopefully, separated from the aggressive pair, they will be able to cohabitate in peace. We are not really fearful of them fighting with the sexually immature fry.

Angelfish Fry:  Day 11 after spawning
Angelfish Fry: Day 11 after spawning

Speaking of the fry, they are growing. We have been feeding them newly hatched baby brine shrimp nauplii, and we hope to wean them onto frozen baby brine (much less trouble for us) and dry food in the next few days before we resume work. The fry are still in the small fry tank, and we don’t want to move them into the 10 gallon nursery tank just yet. The fry tank is floating in the nursery tank so that the heater can keep the water at 84º-86º F.

Angelfish Fry:  Day 11 after spawning (10 April 2009)
Angelfish Fry: Day 11 after spawning (10 April 2009)

The pair seem to be preparing to spawn again, 11 days after the first spawning. The breeding tubes have been extended for a few days now, the male’s appearing first. They are cleaning various sites, including the filter return pipe near the top of the aquarium. We don’t like that location as we often feed the fish from that point. We suppose the parents know best though, and we will modify the feeding routine if necessary.

Update: 24 April 2009, 2:05 AM
We just located this account of Breeding Angelfish that is quite similar to what we did, except our pair did care for the eggs and newly hatched fry.

1 thought on “Our Angelfish have Spawned!!!!!”

  1. Wow – and people say dogs are a lot of work! What do you consider your saturation point for angel fish? Three border collies are my limit!

    I love you site and torture all of my workmates with it whenever possible.

    Thank you for all of the time you devote to edifying we masses 🙂


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