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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Systems

Related Articles: Freshwater Angels, Discus, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Angels 1, Angels 2, Angelfish Identification, Angelfish Behavior, Angelfish Compatibility, Angelfish Selection, Angelfish Feeding, Angelfish Disease, Angelfish Reproduction, Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

Powerheads and angelfish     12/7/17
Just wondering if any type of current is bad for freshwater angels? I have a powerhead here from a while ago and I heard they are good for cutting down on algae, but I assume that one would have to turn it up too high for
algae and it seems that not many fish appreciate much current outside Plecos. Thank you
<Angels don't like current, no. Nor do they like bright light, and they certainly don't need live plants. So a tank optimised for Angels need not to be hard to keep algae free, with or without a Plec for company. Decorate
with rocks and bogwood, plus a few floating plants up top, and physically remove any algae from the glass as/when required. So far as current goes, something like a turnover rate of 4-6 times per hour is ample, preferably with the flow of water dispersed around the tank (e.g., with a spray bar) as opposed to a single jet (i.e., the default filter outlet). Whereas Angels come from deep, sluggish backwater pools and streams within the
rainforest, Plecs mostly come from a completely different environment, shallow water rapids and riffles. There are exceptions of course, but the popular L-numbers tend to prefer, and often demand, cooler, brighter tanks
with a lot more water current and oxygen. Your standard issue farmed Angels and Plecs are not so picky, and there is overlap if you're careful, but L-numbers haven't been bred across the generations for hardiness, and many are wild-caught, and simply must have conditions close to their natural default. Cheers, Neale.>

How large is too large? FW Angel stkg./sel., sys.      12/12/16
I saw a freshwater angelfish in the LFS today. It was about 6-7 inches each way and about an inch thick. This was a really large angel. I was wondering if it would be too big of a fish for a 29 gallon tank, if it was kept alone? Thank you
<In all seriousness, you wouldn't keep any other 6-7 inch cichlid on its own in 29 US gallons, so while in theory an Angelfish singleton should be fine in anything upwards of a 'deep' 20 gallon tank, that really only applies to the smallish farmed varieties (which commonly get to about 10 cm/4 inches in diameter). The bigger Angels, like Altum Angels, do need more space, and I'd suggest being cautious here. For sure, if the tank was otherwise empty (even minimal substrate) and well-filtered, it should be okay for a fish this size. But long term I suspect you'd be fighting an uphill battle keeping nitrate tolerably low, and if you didn't, Hexamita and HITH are both on the radar as possible problems. Make sense? Cheers, Neale.>

20 gallon long or tall        9/8/15
If a person were to keep one angelfish with a Bristlenose Pleco and they had a choice of a 20 gallon tall or 20 gallon long. Which would be the better choice.
<The tall.... both will work functionally, but I'd rather see Pterophyllum in a more upright setting
The long would be a bare bottom and the angel would be about 6-7 inches.
Or do angels just prefer tall tanks?? Thank you
<W. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish; ID...    3/7/14
I have kept a marine aquarium in the past and i have now gone back to keeping fresh water fish, could you please tell me what type of Pterophyllum this is, please see attached picture, as i want to set up a biotope with them as the centre piece to my aquarium? Aquarium is the Jewel
Rio 300, ph 6.8 , NH3/NH4 0ppm, NO2 0ppm, NO3 10ppm. The tank is planted with drift wood, there are 5 Angels and 3 Ancistrus... Thank you.
<Well, this is a wild-type Angelfish of some sort, or at least, a Pterophyllum species with colours similar to those seen in wild fish (as opposed to the tank-bred varieties like Golden Angels, Marble Angels, Koi Angels and so on). It's clearly neither an Altum Angel (Pterophyllum altum) which has a much different body shape, nor the Dwarf Angel (Pterophyllum leopoldi) which has a distinctive spot at the base of the dorsal fin between the two vertical bands on its flanks. There are a bunch of other regional varieties sold under names such as "Peru Angels" and "Peru Altums" and so on, usually at a premium price, and these may or may not be true Pterophyllum scalare, the species upon which the tank-bred Angel was largely derived from (the farmed Angel being a hybrid rather than a true species). So, to cut a long story short, your fish seems to be some sort of "Pterophyllum scalare" though it doesn't seem to have the red eyes typically seen on true wild-type Pterophyllum scalare (whether wild-caught or carefully tank bred). In terms of biotope, the fish we call Pterophyllum scalare actually comes from quite a range of habitats, though invariably ones with slow water flow. Swamps, sluggish streams, vegetated riverbanks, that sort of thing. Water chemistry is fairly variable, rather than the typical extremely soft and acidic water favoured by, say, Altum Angels and of course Discus. A deep (at least 40 cm/16 inches) aquarium with lots of vertical objects (which Angels use for setting territorial boundaries as well as spawning) is recommended. Lighting should be subdued if possible (floating plants are ideal) but to be honest unless your Angels are wild caught they'll be extremely tame and much like goldfish in their readiness to settle down and even beg for food! The classic Angel aquarium has a sandy or gravel substrate (sand is more authentic for South America) some vertical bogwood roots and some tall plants like Amazon Swords (not actually that common in the Amazon!) from the same part of the world. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Angelfish   3/7/14
Thank you very much for your quick response. Just wanted to make sure on which type of angelfish so that i can get it as near as possible to correct biotope. There are five angelfish and three Ancistrus species, no more fish are being added. Thank you again.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

ANGELFISH EMERGENCY...was told bob might be able to help????     6/7/13
I have a 29 gallon Marineland night/day aquarium with a penguin bio-wheel filter, a bubble curtain, and fake plants/decorations. I have 4 baby angelfish that I LOVE in this tank. (Am upgrading to 55 gallon in a month. 
I used stability and prime to successfully cycle the tank 3 months ago. My tap water ph is 8,
<High for Angels>
 and so was my tank. i started using RO water (mixed 50/50 with tap water) and lowered it to 7.9. My current readings are: ammonia (under .25....but there),

 nitrites (0), nitrates (5). the ammonia is due to a mini-cycle caused by medicating. Unfortunately, one angel either got Columnaris or Hexamita. He jerked, shimmied, clamped dorsal and tail fins,  and looked like someone drew a red line outlining his body underneath the dorsal fin. He hung at the top for 2 days (while i tried heat and salt, because i hate throwing more chemicals in the tank). I didn't know what was wrong, he was getting worse, so i mistakenly used Maracyn and Maracyn 2 to try to heal him, which messed up my cycle. My bf (trying to help) decided the whole problem stemmed from me messing with the ph, and did a 50% water change with tap water and prime only...which threw the ph up to 8.4.
<Yikes... very toxic w/ any ammonia present>
We keep trying to be good "parents", but seem to keep making things worse!
the fish then developed a white patch on his head, in the middle of his yellow stripe (which is what made me think Columnaris. but i later read that it may have been caused by Hexamita...hole-in-the-head...and actually be lack of slime). so, i next treated the fish with parasite guard and triple sulpha.
<... please; no more medications. They're doing more harm than good>

 I've also put stability in the BioWheel every other day to try to keep ammonia and nitrites out. He seems almost cured (except the red line remains). Unfortunately, I leave for a 7 day vacation tomorrow, and the tank is showing .25 ammonia.
<Hide all food and med.s and enjoy your trip. Yes; don't feed, nor treat this system further>

A second angel is slightly clamping his dorsal fin, which i think is irritated by ammonia (using prime....they've never been exposed to any). i won't be there to change the water if it spikes, and prime only protects for 48 hours. I am desperate to find a product to keep my babies safe for the week. I bought an aqua clear ammonia remover filter insert, and also AmQuel plus and NovAqua plus because i was told it would keep them safe for 7 days. i put fungus guard

 in the tank yesterday (per the instructions the tetra rep i called today gave me), to hopefully clear the red line and white spot (or lack of yellow spot) on his head, which she claimed was a secondary fungal or bacterial problem. i am putting the carbon back in tomorrow, but am scared about the mini-cycle while I'm gone! Could someone PLEASE advise me how to proceed?
<See the above>
 I leave tomorrow. I am a new forum member under kelly5978. I created an album with pictures, to help show you what's going on. I know it's short notice, but I'm begging for help! Also, if the pictures help you know what's really wrong with him, please tell. I plan to work on the ph with regulator or peat when I return!
Thank you, Kelly
<Bon voyage. Bob Fenner>
Re: ANGELFISH EMERGENCY...was told bob might be able to help????     6/10/13

Thanks for responding! I knew all the meds were bad!
<Mmm, they do have their place... but are way too often mis-used>
They've had nothing for 3 days, and everyone seems okay.
<Ah good>

Sparkle has nothing besides a little cloudiness on his tail where he was nipped while sick. I took everything out (meds i mean) with a water change, prime, carbon filter and leaving them alone.
<Very good>

The ph is 7.9. I SLOWLY (.1 every 24 hours) brought it back down with 25% RO AND 75% tap and prime. Has been for 5 days every time I check. Since I put the carbon in, ammonia and nitrites are zero. Nitrates 5. I understand they may still go through mini-cycle. My 3 questions:
1. I set up an automatic feeder (set to lowest setting). Did you say DON'T feed them?
<Yes; or just barely>

I will take it down if that's what's best. I know I'm doing too much and harming them with good Intentions.
2. Do I stop using the RO WATER? I've got such mixed feelings. 8.4 is just sooo high for angels, but I've heard horror stories about RO water crashes.
<I would do as you've been; mixing the RO w/ just "some" tapwater; the latter for a bit of mineral content (necessary)>
I promise of they're alive when I return...no more medicine. I really was trying to help. Just listened to too many people!
<Ah, my friend. In the final synthesis, each of us must decide for ourselves. Listen to others for input; but do require that they have the ability, present the rationale, science backing their opinions>
I do have an er tank now that I will use in the future if needed.
3. Do you advocate aquarium salt on a regular basis in an angelfish tank, or only when sick, or not at all?
<Not at all in the majority of systems, circumstances. Do search, read Neale's article on WWM re>
Thanks so much!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Bob f....what to do now?    6/15/13

Bob responded to my desperate plea about how to handle my sick angelfish on vacation. I cannot find the email, and really need follow up help. My profile is under kelly5978. Bob advised me (very wisely) to put my medications and food away and go on vacation! I did as advised, and all my fish are alive and well...except sparkle. If you read my previous questions, my angelfish was clamping and twisting his fins, shimmying, had a red line under his dorsal fin, etc. Parasite guard and triple sulpha seemed to cure him. Upon my return from vacation, however, he was hiding in the tree stump. I finally coaxed him out and he ate. He has a definite indent or hole on his head (in-between and above his eyes) that is a darker yellow than the rest of his head. I hate to medicate them again, but I can't just watch him die! His tail is also jagged and he stayed the same size, while the others grew while i was gone. The rest of the fish have NO symptoms. I can only think Hexamita (was incorrectly treating for Columnaris). My Lfs does not carry metro or hex. If bob (or anyone on staff) could please advise me one more time, I would be so grateful! Do I just hope water changes help?
<Yes; this is all I'd do>
 Or start parasite guard (which has Prazi and metro as ingredients) again?
<Not a good idea to expose fishes more than once to Metronidazole. Hard on their kidneys>
Or order metro online? I just want to do whatever I can to help him, but know that I go overboard when left to my own devices. I'm sorry to bother you again, but truly hope for help!
Ammonia -.25 before water change. 0 now
<I would lower this over time to the "mid 7's"... with mixing in more RO, perhaps using a commercial (Phosphoric acid-based) pH adjuster... ahead of using change out water. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Re Water change confusion, angelfish troubles.    6/21/13

Hello, and thank you in advance for helping me again. I wrote a few weeks ago, asking what to do about a sick angelfish while I was on vacation. The advise I received was good, so I'm hoping for a little more advise. I have a 30 gallon Marineland tank with a bio-wheel 150 filter, 5 juvenile angelfish, a Pleco baby, fake plants, a little driftwood (recently added to hopefully lower ph), a sponge filter, and bubble curtain. I cycled the tank months ago, but recently used Maracyn (above mentioned sick fish), and other meds, and now get ammonia readings. I have been told Water changes are the answer, but the angels act funny every time i do so! They clamp fins (especially tail fins), don't swim around as much, and seem more than just a little stressed.
<Are you saving the change (new) water up between use? I'd store it/this for a week...>
 I make sure the temp is the same, and use prime. However, i am worried maybe I'm trying too hard to create a perfect tank, and ending up hurting the fish I'm trying to make happy! I'm hoping if you hear my story, you might be able to point out where I am going wrong....and help me get my tank back on track. I love these fish, and feel like all my problems stem from some little thing Im overlooking, or doing incorrectly! Here are the things I am currently doing, that may be to my own detriment.....
1. My ph out of tap is 8-8.2 (way higher than the 7.0 /straight RO water at the lfs). I began mixing 75% tap/25% drinking water (store bought, label states RO, ozonation). It brought my ph to approx 7.8 and I use neutral regulator to keep it there. I recently added driftwood also. I understand a stable ph is more important than a low one, but everything I read about angels indicates they are more affected by ph than other breeds.
<Not so much the cultured (vs. wild-collected ones). You have the former>
 I also bought peat moss, but haven't used it because it doesn't say "aquarium" on the bag, so I am afraid it's not the correct kind, and I don't know if my messing around with the ph isn't worse than just leaving them at a high one! My kH/gH are very high, so i have to use RO water to make any changes. My questions: what is the safest way to lower (and maintain) ph?
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/pHAlkAdjF.htm
Also, is it really that important to angels, or should I just leave it high?
<... I'd keep under 8.0>

 Final ph question: if you advise me to just leave it alone, how do I stop doing the RO water mix without creating a swing?
<... measure the new water to make sure it's about the right pH>
2. As stated above, I treated a sick fish with many different medicines (so stupid!!!!) and Am now going through a mini-cycle, which is even more dangerous because of my high ph. I tested the water just now: ammonia-.25, nitrites-0, nitrates-5, ph-7.8. My questions are: should I keep changing the water daily to get rid of the ammonia, or is it just going to keep coming back until I let it work itself through?
<Stop feeding or feed very sparingly... and hold off on the water changes unless the free ammonia exceeds 0.5 ppm>
I'm just confused as to how "spikes work" (i was once told I leave the ammonia until it reaches 2 ppm, then change water, but got conflicting advise from someone else). My bf gets really upset that I spend so much time changing out water, and believes that if I just leave it alone, the fish will be better off. I just need a professional opinion, which I will follow. I have tried to figure this out through research, but everyone seems to disagree on what works! So, do I keep changing water? Or leave them alone? Again, they seem more stressed by the water changes, and/or the new water, then the ammonia!
3. I believe my sick fish had Hexamita or hole-in-the head. I tried many different medicines (which I know know was very bad), and parasite clear/triple sulpha seemed to finally work. However, a couple of the angelfish still have white poop. Should I worry?
<Not at this point no... the feces could be due to the ammonia presence... THIS needs to be addressed first and foremost. All else is secondary>

4. Final question, specific to angelfish....is there any point to a bubble curtain?
<Not really, no. Mostly for looks>

 I always though it was making the water better (aeration), but I forgot to turn it back on a few days ago, and noticed the angelfish seem much calmer!
I've never seen them so still, just kind of floating around (....and now I will worry that they're too calm...geez I'm a worry wart)! I have battled tank problems and diseases since I started this tank, so I guess I'm not sure what happy fish look like! If they're not gasping, the temp is the same, they are all upright, and they all eat....I'm going to assume they are happy without the bubbles. Please correct me if I'm wrong!
<I'd leave out/off>
Sorry for the long email. I didn't want to bother you folks with 5 different emails about specific subjects, and hope it was ok to just ask them all here. Thank you for your help! I just want the best for my fish!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Water change confusion, angelfish troubles.    6/21/13

You are so wonderful for responding so quickly. The link was invaluable information, but I want to ensure I have this right. First, the white poop could be ammonia related, and i shouldn't worry.
 as for the ammonia, the fish are ok in it under .5ppm, so don't change water until then.
<Not "Ok", but better than suffering the stress of too much, too often water changes>

 Do i need to redose prime every 48 hours?
<No; not a solution and can/does forestall establishment of nitrification>
Or is that low level not lethal?
<... please search, read on WWM rather than writing what is gone over and over... ANY NH3, NH4OH present is debilitating>
 I'd never heard of holding the new replacement water a week before using.
<.... read on WWM>

I'd be afraid of bacteria, but will choose your knowledge over my intuition any day! When do I add the prime? Right before adding to tank? Here's my understanding and questions based on what I read about ph... the RO water is only lowering the  kH/gH, NOT the ph? And the lower ph is actually just unstable ph, that fluctuates, unless I add the buffer? If I am correct on that point, then am I using the correct product -neutral regulator- in my effort to lower ph and soften water?  One of your comments on a different post made me think the "buffer" is to keep a ph from falling, which is the opposite of my problem.  I know the cichlid salts raise ph, and discus buffer lowers. All i want is neutral and stable. So, should i stop using the neutral regulator until i lower the kH and ph to the correct level, and then add it to keep it steady? And, what's the best way to accomplish lowering kH?
<See WWM...>

I know the ph up and down products are no good, but isn't there just an easy way? All these calculations leave way too much room for an error on my part! Are pillows any good? I use an API master kit for the reg readings (Ammon, nitrites, ph), but I use the strips for kH/gH. My results are darker than the darkest level. I probably have no hope at lowering this ph (or kH) but  My fish ARE nervous and shimmy sometimes as if uncomfortable.
And after reading your links regarding how ph works in the wild, and how hard it is to try to manipulate a little aquarium, I'm just wondering if I'm fighting a losing battle.
 I love angelfish, and don't want a different type of fish, but I sure don't want to keep my fish in water they hate! The link helped me, but led to more questions. I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm truly trying to understand and do this right. Im sure my confusion is apparent and irritating. sorry. Are there any links that walk you through safely lowering stable ph? With which products to use? Also, would live plants help lower kH/ ph, or give me even more problems?
<Will definitely help>
After reading more, I see that I could possibly just use ALL RO water, and a buffer to create a neutral kH/gH (and ph won't matter). How slowly would I have to do this? And if I achieved it, would it remain stable? If so, would I add buffer only for the amount of replacement water? Or the equivalent of the entire tank again?
I think I understand now that kH is what really matters, and softens the water. Then, a buffer is added to keep ph stable. Is this right? What's the best way to accomplish this?
Again, sorry if I made your head spin with all my questions. My angels are gorgeous, and I truly appreciate your help!
<Take your time... read. B>
Re: Water change confusion, angelfish troubles.    6/21/13

Sorry, forgot a question....does the API master drop kit measure free ammonia? Or all ammonia? How do you know the difference?
<... use your search tool w/ the string: "API ammonia test kits, total ammonia?"... Read re Salicylate tests... IF you're using Prime, you'll want to get/use SeaChem's test for both free and total... >

Freshwater Angelfish and hard water 12/4/12
<Hi Judy>
My husband and I just moved from Georgia to upstate NY, We transported one large angelfish in a five gallon bucket. We arrived at his parents house where I put the angelfish in a ten gallon tank that we set up, as we were there for a week. My husband's parents live in Utica, NY and have a ph of 8.8 and a really low gH/kh. The gH/kH would suit Discus. The angel did great. We transported him down to our apartment in Schenectady, NY in the bucket again. I tested the water there and the ph was 7.2 but the gH/kH was off the charts. It was tested with one of those API test kits and it took about 12 drops to get the gH tester to change color and 10 drops to get the kH to change color. Obviously the apartment does not even have a water softener.  We were so exhausted we ended up just putting the fish into the heated 46 gallon. This was two days ago and he is acting normally and eating with gusto.  I am wondering if a gH/kH that is really high will lessen the life span of angelfish or lead to disease? Should I rehome him or just leave things as they are if he happens to be fine with it?? He is alone in the tank. Would that cause stress? Would he be better off with a few Glowlight tetras?? Thank you for your time with my questions. I am shocked at the difference in water readings between places that are close together geographically
<As it happens, I have water that might actually be even harder and more alkaline than yours. I know a lot of people, myself included, who keep angelfish in local tap water. Most of the angelfish you can get are not wild caught, so they tend to be a lot more forgiving than they would be if brought in from the wild.  The important thing here is stability, both in hardness and in pH.  Yeah, the very hard water might make them a little more susceptible to illness with everything else equal, but as long as the tank is well maintained and stresses are kept to a minimum, this fish should have a full life.  I would actually be a lot more worried about Utica water because those conditions would indicate a lack of buffering that could give you wild pH swings.  The Schenectady water looks like it should be stable.  If the fish has not been in the tank long, you might be able to get away with putting a few more similar-sized angels in there (after quarantine of course), or removing the current fish and reintroducing it with the imports after rearranging the tank. This tank should be large enough to allow more than one territory assuming you have it arranged with that in mind.  You could try the Glowlight tetras, but there is a chance the angel will be aggressive toward them.  Angels can be very nasty when they put their mind to it. On the other hand, in general, tetras are very fast and if you move a school of maybe eight in, the group might do just fine.  The angel should be okay on its own, too.  You have a lot of options here, but I don't really think your fish is in any danger.
- Rick>

Re Some questions regarding Angels... Sys., repro.     10/21/12
I spoke with the person who keeps/runs Angels plus. He told me that his Manacapurus are kept in hard water/wild caught fish and have spawned for him. ( though he wont tell me the ph he says my water would be much better then what he has,) Should I be wary of this. You told me my water was fine so I assume it is.
<... likely so>
The photos on his website look great but could the spawns have reproductive/health issues from hard ph, ect.
<No such word... etc. is a contraction for et cetera res>
Another thing If I do get the 2 Manacapurus I plan on getting to pair up and breed. What do i do with the Synodontis catfish/ Rummynose tetras?
 will they harm the spawn/fry?.
<The Mochokid may well consume them... I'd remove all, or the parents/spawners to elsewhere... This is gone over and over...>
What filters are good for breeding tanks?,
<... see WWM re>
I know power filters would suck up free swimming fry, maybe its best to just start with as juveniles the same filters I'd use in the tank in case they breed as adults. Steve did tell me he has seeded sponge filters to cycle tanks much sooner then the 6 to 8 weeks you said would cycle the tank. Although I think to be wise I'll take my time cycling.
Another thing he said in his site that black worms live are not a good idea to feed angels as they might contract a disease, is that true.
<See WWM re this as well... the search tool on every page, the indices. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish Tank    10/7/12
I am redoing my 72 Gallon bow front and want to set it up primarily as an angelfish tank.
<Should be a nice setup.>
My questions are -
How many angelfish could I fit as adults? I was thinking somewhere between
6-8 and can rehome extra males if needed for compatibility purposes.
<I'd be conservative here and go with 6, but if you have good options for rehoming you might start with eight or ten and pick the six that develop the nicest colors. You probably won't be able to sex them early anyway.>
Could I also accommodate a large shoal of Corydoras and larger tetras?
<The Corys probably, as long as you have places for them to get away from the angelfish. I think other species depend on how densely planted the tank is. Angelfish get territorial, especially when breeding, so anything that can't hold its own is at risk, and anything that can hold its own could injure the angelfish. I've had an angelfish take out a Bristlenose Pleco.>
Are there any other species who could work well?
<Bristlenose Plecos work pretty well provided you give them places to hide where the angelfish can't go. I'm using an inverted terra cotta pot with a door cut into the side. That works well because the angelfish is way too big to fit.>
I have read numerous conflicting reports of compatibility and am wondering what my tank could comfortably hold. I was especially interested in a Gourami or two but am unsure based on what I have read.
<A big enough tank that is densely planted gives you a lot more options than an open tank. Best would be to introduce everything you want at a young age and at the same time after a fishless cycle so that nobody is a newcomer aka intruder. - Rick>

Keeping manacapuru Angels./how long    9/16/12
I was thinking of setting up a 55 gallon tank next year sometime and buying 2 sliver dollar size Manacapuru Angels to stock it with after cycling/etc.
I've asked various source's including the dealer, Angels plus. and A World of fish and they both told me the angels will not outgrow the system. I do have some questions however.
Sense these are the offspring of wild caught Manacapuru Angels is my PH of 7 okay?- because of my PH being 7 do you think I'd be better off getting their Koi angels instead. Ro water I could get at my LFS but its expensive.
It has a pH of 5.
<Let's ask the question again, this time focusing on hardness (pH itself isn't that important). If you have soft to moderately hard water that has a pH in the range 6.0 to 8.0, you should be fine keeping any mass produced or farmed Angelfish variety. Wild-caught Angels are substantially more demanding and need soft water (10 degrees dH or less) but again the pH isn't that important. "Rio Manacapuru" or "Red Shoulder" Angels may or may not be wild-caught (F0 are wild-caught, F1 fish are descendants of wild-caught fish, F2 descendants of those, and so on). Use your common sense here. F0 or F1 specimens should be kept in soft water with a pH around 6.5 to 7.5. But F2 specimens may be somewhat less fussy, so you could get away with slightly harder water. But whatever else these "Rio Manacapuru" Angels might be, they do seem to be Pterophyllum scalare, and that species is fairly adaptable so don't fret too much. You shouldn't need to go with very soft, very acidic water in the same was as you would wild-caught Pterophyllum altum or wild-caught Discus. Of course, "Rio Manacapuru" Angels aren't bullet-proof fish and you wouldn't want to keep them unless you'd had some experience of keeping cichlids generally and Angels or Discus generally. If this is your fish time keeping Angels, then plain vanilla Silver Angels look very similar and would be much easier to keep. Some of the fancy Angels are also quite robust (Marble Angels for example) but for the most part if they look flimsy (Koi, Albino, etc.) chances are they *are* flimsy, so shop accordingly.>
The filtration I was told to get for this system are canister, they as follows. Rena xp3 and HOB Ac70 the heater should be a hydro in line 200 watt heater. What temp should I keep the young at?.
<Not too cold; 26-28 C should be fine.>
Finely if I do a fish less cycle how long would that take before I could add the Angels.
<Angelfish shouldn't be kept in any aquarium less than 2 months old.
Install the filter, get the tank cycled (which takes 4-6 weeks) and then add some suitable companion fish (Corydoras sterbai is a classic "warm water" Corydoras ideal for use with Angels, but Brochis splendens is cheap and widely sold and works well) and wait and see everything is okay. After a couple weeks, add some dither fish (Rummynose Tetras are perfect) and then again, leave for a few weeks. You can then add the Angels. If you're keeping the wild-caught fish, you may want to be even more cautious about stocking the tank. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Keeping manacapuru Angels./how long    9/16/12

Thanks. I'll get the true hardness tested at a later date.. I will see what Vanilla sliver angels look like too.
<"Vanilla" isn't a breed. It's an idiom. What I mean is ordinary Silver Angelfish. 3-4 black stripes, red eyes, silver body.>
In a 55 gallon stocked with 2 Angels plus other fish how often and how much do I change the water.
<20-25% every week is ideal.>
Also what type of Syphon do I use to help keep water messes to a Min.
<I use a regular hosepipe. But you can buy special gravel cleaner siphons at aquarium shops. Cheers, Neale.>

Question about ph and angelfish      8/14/12
I have a tank with two light colored angelfish, 46 gallon. The ph in the tank reads 7.8. In the past I tried to keep black angelfish.
<Notoriously delicate;
something about the inbreeding required to "fix" the black colour. Oddly enough, they also have a reputation for being overly aggressive! At least, they did back in the 70s/80s when they were at the height of their popularity.>
I had six, but not all at once, and everyone of them died within a few days.
<A lesson there… First question though: How big were they? Angelfish with body lengths less than, say, 5 cm/2 inches are markedly more delicate than bigger specimens. The coin-sized specimens widely sold can be worth buying, but are often much more difficult to acclimatise to your aquarium than expected. So, with delicate strains, there's much to be said for buying half-grown specimens.>
Any other type of fish I had lived and thrived even a black lace which is not completely black. The LFS guy that ordered in these black fish tested our water and said that our ph was too high for any angelfish.
<Some truth to this, but not much. Wild Angelfish certainly come from somewhat soft, acidic waters, though not necessarily the same very soft, mineral-free, blackwater favoured by Discus (at least, this is true for Pterophyllum scalare, the majority ancestor of the Pterophyllum hybrid sold in pet stores). Anyway, the hybrid sort we see in pet stores doesn't come from anywhere because it's a man-made fish, and like many hybrids, it's much hardier than any of its ancestors. Provided the water isn't crazy-hard, it can do well; here in England, Angels are often kept successfully in "liquid rock" around the 20 degrees dH mark, pH 8-8.2.>
I did read that the people at angelfish plus in Florida who have a huge hatchery breed angelfish at a ph of 8.5.
<Quite possibly. It is important to realise (and many people don't) that pH isn't the critical issue; hardness is. Fish don't like sudden changes in pH to be sure, but most of the Amazonian fish we keep in community tanks are just fine between pH 6 and pH 8. For the most part, if you moderate the hardness you can ignore the pH -- I have rock-hard water in my tanks, so mix it 50/50 with rainwater, and don't really worry what the pH is.>
They said that it is all about what the fish has evolved in. I do know that the wild caught live in 6.8-7ph.
<And the rest… for some of the species like Pt. altum, we're talking pH 5-6!>
My thoughts are that the black angelfish are just too delicate and need the low ph to survive.
<Unlikely the pH is an issue, but do check your hardness and act accordingly. If you do something like change the pH directly (with commercial pH-down products) you will make things even worse because an unstable pH is even worse than the wrong pH.>
Is this true?? Thank you
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Question about ph and angelfish (RMF, anything to add?)<<Nope>>     8/14/12

The black angelfish were almost adults and I need to check water hardness.
Thank you!!
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question about ph and angelfish (Bob, would you check my theory here re: alkalinity?)<<Yes, comments added>> - 8/17/12

<Hello again Judy,>
I am the one with the two angelfish in the 46 gallon with the high ph. I can't find a kH/gH kit around here, so I took a water sample to the guy that sold me the black angelfish that died. He tested the water hardness with a test strip, one of those 6 in 1 deals.
<Okay. These are trustworthy enough for "ball-park" figures like whether there's detectable nitrite or if the pH is above or below 7, but you should be aware they're somewhat difficult to read accurately and consequently not good tools for accurate measurements.>
He said that our water is very soft, (we do have a water softener),
<You are using water from a domestic water softener in an aquarium?! You really shouldn't be, for the same reason you shouldn't drink that softened water either -- domestic water softeners don't really soften water, they replace temporary hardness (= carbonate hardness in aquarium terms) with sodium salts. That's fine for washing, but not good for fish. Use the non-softened tap, usually the one over the kitchen sink, that your installation engineer probably set aside specifically for drinking water.>
alkalinity is high and ph is 8.4.
<Well, this doesn't make sense at all. Alkalinity is temporary hardness (I believe) and precisely what your water softener is meant to be removing!><<Unless the alkalinity is coming from elsewhere? Very soluble natural gravel? Shells, coral skeletons as decor in this tank?>>
He told me that my only choice was to lower ph with ph Down or ph correct,
<You shouldn't actually change pH directly, EVER, but instead ensure you have the right hardness for your fish, and only if the carbonate hardness is low, then use an acidic pH buffer to steady the water chemistry at 6.5 or 7. Normally hard water (at least, water with high carbonate hardness) maintains its own pH at around 8 without much effort from the aquarist, assuming regular water changes. Let's remind ourselves that (freshwater) fish aren't overly fussed about the precise pH, but they do need a steady pH; your Angels are fine between pH 6 and 8, so long as its steady. That your pH is 8.4 suggests a very high level of carbonate hardness, so my guess is you ARE using the "un-softened" tap/faucet without realising it.
Mail order a (liquid/drops) carbonate hardness test kit -- it's probably the most useful single water chemistry test kit for the freshwater aquarist. What you're after for Angels is a carbonate hardness between 2-10 degrees KH. As I've stated already, the precise value doesn't matter much.
Now, once you have a carbonate hardness reading, you can decide what to do.
If it's high, say, 12 degrees KH, then a 50/50 mix with rainwater or RO (not domestic water softener) water will give you a carbonate hardness of 6, and likely a pH around 7.5. That's PERFECT for farmed Angels, and will be nice a steady between water changes, so there's no need to add any potions. Easy! Collecting rainwater obviously costs nothing once you have the water butt and have cleaned up your guttering (this is how I get zero hardness water, England being a great place for rain if nothing else!) but RO water doesn't cost much if you buy it from a good aquarium shop in bulk.
Under-stocking tanks and avoiding overfeeding ensures best value from each water change (i.e., you keep nitrate below ~20 mg/l and pH doesn't drop too much). Unless I was keeping a lot of tanks or doing a lot of water changes, I wouldn't buy my own RO filter -- they're expensive to buy and expensive to run.><<Not compared w/ other technologies here in the U.S.>>
but that is not a great idea due to the fact that you have to do water changes. I have Malaysian wood in the tank and it turns out that the tannins make little dent in ph. I think that the only thing to do is accept the high ph. My question is are those test strips any good?? Is high alkalinity bad for angelfish or is it like the ph issue??
<<Both can be an issue; particularly w/ black angels, small, challenged specimens. As Neale states, best to have neutral to slightly acidic pH, moderate GH/KH>>
Thank you
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

4 Angelfish, FW, comp., sys.       6/15/12
Hi Neale, how are you? mid term already?
<Been and gone.>
so regarding the below situation I had told you about, now that the eggs disappeared (died), the two black Angelfish have turned against the marbled one, (the father of the eggs) and they continuously attack and harass him. He is always cornered or hiding behind the plants, I feel sorry for him.
Is this normal?
<Yes. Angelfish are cichlids. That's something we often forget. Like all cichlids, territorial pairs can be venomous in their aggression towards other fish, including their own species. As a very general rule, single Angels are easy to keep, and mated pairs are usually stable and well behaved. But if you have 3, 4 or 5, you're playing a lottery. You need at least 6 before you can trust groups to school together most of the time.>
Now, our new aquarium arrives next week, its going to be a 47" x 19.5" x 15", 52.83 gallons; will this ease the fights?
<More space will surely help.>
Question on the new aquarium, at the bottom corners, left and right, I will have two "sand-boxes"  (2" tall glass divisions 4" x 8") built within the aquarium, one for each of my Striped Raphaels, I intend to put some sand in them so they can bury and do their thing.
Which kind of sand you recommend? which you don´t, and any kind of tip will be welcome,
<Avoid any sand that's sharp or abrasive. Also avoid calcareous sand as that'll harden the water and raise the pH. Smooth silica sand is good, chemically inert and cheap. In the US, it's often sold as pool filter sand.>
as always, thanks a lot Neale!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Freshwater angelfish and black lights UVA 438nm f15t8     5/18/12
Hi gang. Just wondering if anyone knows pros vs. cons with freshwater angelfish and using black lights at night. I have read many articles and have seen many mixed reviews. My angels are beginning to pair off and some are starting to spawn and I didn't want to disturb their breeding process or be detrimental to their health at all. Please help with any suggestions or knowledge available. Thank you!
<Not sure there's any compelling arguments either way. Fish can see slightly into the UV range, so what seems invisible to us might not be to them. Personally, I wouldn't use them. On the other hand, there are plenty of "moonlight" tubes and LEDs available that don't disturb nocturnal fish but provide enough light for us to see what's going on. Dim red tubes and
LEDs work great, too. Cheers, Neale.>

Hex tanks and angelfish 4/15/12
I was wondering if anyone keeps angelfish in hex tanks??
<Have seen this, with juvenile specimens especially.>
I have seen hex tanks as big as 65 gallons, but I think that would be too small for the usual six angelfish.
<Correct. A pair might work though, if you could be sure it was a pair.>
Are the hex tanks just worthless for all fish??
<Almost worthless, yes. If you treated them as "nano" tanks and stocked with nano fish and shrimps, somewhat scaled upwards for a 65-gallon system, an expert fishkeeper could have some fun. Cherry Shrimps, Badis and Dario spp., Kuhli Loaches and Dwarf Rasboras could be used to create a fun system, perhaps planted with bogwood roots and Java ferns to create a vertical display in the centre.>
Someone told me that they are more likely to leak.
<The better sort are made from Acrylic in one piece, and these shouldn't leak at all under normal circumstances. Glass ones, yes, because they have more silicone joins -- and these are weak points on any aquarium -- would be proportionally more risky than a rectangular glass tank with fewer joins.>
Thank you!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Six freshwater angelfish and tank size    2/6/12 Hello:
I was just wondering what is a good size for six freshwater angelfish? I am assuming a 90 gallon, but I heard of someone keeping them in a 75 gallon. 
Thank you!!
<Either of these tanks should work. Angelfish form territorial pairs when breeding, but other times can be quite social in largish groups. Pairs hold patches about 30 cm/12 inches radius around their spawning site. No guarantees that they'll tolerate other Angels though, and many fishkeepers will have a story about a psychotic Angel. Whatever else they are, they're cichlids in good standing. Cheers, Neale.>
Six freshwater angelfish in a smaller tank   2/7/12

I was wondering if six angelfish could go in a 46 gallon, with HUGE filtration,
<Fine until they become sexually mature; of a size to be sexually mature.
With cichlids, territoriality is an issue, but so is their acute sensitivity to nitrate (anything above 20 mg/l).>
like an Aquaclear 110 and a sponge filter for a 40 gallon inside, or is it also a space issue?
I am thinking it is an issue of space due to aggression. Thank you!!
<You'll have six youngsters, but once they pair off, the tank will adequate for that pair, and the remaining will need to be re-homed. Cheers, Neale.>

New Angelfish, hlth./env.  ï¿½ï¿½ 10/12/11
Hello Crew,
<Hello Rose and Peter, Sugam with you today>
I started a 45g tall tank in Feb, and have used your site as a reference whenever I needed help.
Normally I can find the answer I need no problem, however today I am in search of some help and have been unable to find a similar situation amongst your archives to help.
<Happy to assist as best I can>
We have a 45 gallon tall tank (24" H x 12" W x36" L), a steady 78 degree, planted, with a Rena XP2 Canister filter (carbon changed monthly), Flora Sun Light, Whisper 60 air pump, with a 24" wand and action air decoration.
My pH is 7.0, Ammonia is 0 ppm, Nitrite is .25 ppm
<this is toxic! Since your tank has been up and running since Feb, the Nitrites should be down to zero. How did you cycle this tank and what are you using to test your water>,
and Nitrate is 10 ppm. We do a single 10 gallon water change a week.
<what water are you using for your water changes? Do check it for nitrites>
Our school up until yesterday consisted of 1 panda Cory, 3 skunk Cory, and 2 bandit Corys (all about 6 months old and no bigger then 1.5") and probably about half a dozen snails that must have been eggs that hitch hiked on my last addition of plants.
They have been a great yet unexpected addition, as I do have some algae growth<.> <How long have you had the snails and have you identified the species?> Yesterday my boyfriend added 4 small (quarter size) veil angelfish ( 2 each of marble and gold, they came from same tank in store), 3 upside down cat fish (about 1" in length each) and 8 neon tetras about .5" in length each, as a surprise for me Everyone ate dinner when they were fed earlier, a mixture of crisps, pellets and brine here and there.
<That is a lot of life to add in a single day. Please be vigilant of you water parameters and rectify your nitrites at the earliest. Any amount is toxic and the new additions are only going to accentuate the problem. The angels alone, at adult size are going to be a handful in this tank and as such, I do believe you are quite heavily stocked. Do keep in mind that they are cichlids. While not as aggressive as some other cichlids, I wouldn't place them with small fish such as neon tetras. Too much of a risk in my opinion.>
The angels are swimming around at the surface, with their lips kissing the surface ever since I took them from their bag and released in the tank. I have had 2 angels in the past one <so>I know it normally takes a day or two to come out from hiding in a corner. The tetras, also seem to be coming up and gulping air here and there, but nothing like the angels who are staying at the surface. The upside down cats are hanging out behind the filter output tube/wand.
Are they acting this way because there is not enough O2 in the water, <could well be the case but oxygen levels are easily tested. I would imagine the nitrites are a major contributor here> cause I introduced too many new fish at once <also likely to add to the problem as stated above>,
or is there something possibly wrong with my water.<as mentioned above>
Thank you for taking the time to read my question, any advice is greatly appreciated.
<Please do read here regarding caring for the angelfish.
Please also use the search feature to research the other species you have in your tank. Do work towards rectifying the nitrites at the earliest and manage the levels through dilution. As for your query on oxygen levels, do secure a test kit or take a water sample to your store for testing. A rather simple guide for oxygen levels is surface agitation. Typically, if there is sufficient movement on the surface of the water, oxygen levels tend to be higher. This, however, is just a basic indicator and I do recommend testing.>
Rose & Peter
<Good luck! Sugam>
Re: New Angelfish, hlth./env. - remedial action 14/10/11

<Hello again, Rose>
The Nitrites have been 0 from Feb-until this week- we test weekly and that was the first time they ever registered.
<Aha good! Likely because of the bioload added>We use a API Master kit to test all the levels. We use our tap water, we fill 2 water jugs, let them sit for 5-7 days before adding to tank. <Good practice, letting it sit. I assume you continue to use some water conditioner to neutralize other pollutants as well?>I called the location I got my plants from... and the snails are offspring from whatever they have in their tank... all they could tell me was they were "plant safe" <Okay, just watch keep an eye on them. The reason I asked is I have had hitchhiker snails multiply like crazy in my tanks in the past. You can read about freshwater snails here - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwsnailfaqs.htm>I just measured the tap(city) water tonight to see if there is nitrite in it, and it reads as 0ppm, we did a 15 gallon water change (what we had already set out for this weekends water change, and we filled the jugs back up so they are ready to go if we need to do it sooner) <Sounds good, how did the nitrites read after?> When we started the tank in February (weekend of Valentines Day), we filled it with 40 gallons of tap water that had sat, plus 5 gallons straight from the faucet. We added half the amount of salt that the API carton called for (4.5 tablespoons instead of 9), and 45ml of API Stress Coat+, we then let the tank run/cycle for 3 weeks, at 1 week I added a 12" x 6" x 3" wood that I had soaked for a week, changing the water out everyday to get rid of some of the tannins. I choose to add the wood not only for aesthetics, and a hiding place for the fish but because or<our> pH was high, for the first 2 months or so, despite treatments, & using reverse osmosis water for the water changes it wouldn't come down. <That's interesting, likely the source water has high pH.> At three weeks we added 3 Corys and some tetras, the pH was too much for the tetras and they didn't last more then a month but we still have the Cory's and the pH has also leveled out to a 7. Since doing the water a couple of hours ago, all the fish have stopped bobbing at the surface, except for one who periodically goes up for a minute then goes back down to mid tank. The nitrite reads less then .25 ppm. <Excellent! They should read 0 so keep testing over the next few days and ensure they get back down. Glad your problem seems to be sorting itself out. Do keep in mind that the water change has likely helped in two ways - for starters, it has diluted the nitrites which, I suspect, were the cause for the behavior you observed. The process of pouring in new water has also likely improved the oxygen levels in the tank. I would be checking both the parameters over the next few days as the water starts to stabilize and age. You do sound like you are on the right track and I am certain your fish appreciate the efforts you are making to keep them health and happy!>
Thank you <Anytime!>
Have a wonderful evening! <And you>
Rose & Peter <Sugam>
Re: New Angelfish, hlth./env. - remedial action 14/10/11

<Hi Rose>This morning I woke to the fish back at the surface with a .25ppm reading on the nitrates. <Did you mean nitrates of nitrites? I assume the latter. As I mentioned in my previous email, this isn't entirely unexpected. Since a significant bioload has been added to the tank recently, a mini-cycle may well have been triggered. Are you reading any ammonia? While there are commercial products in the market that will help you bring nitrites under control and you may well consider them, I prefer to strike the balance through dilution. Have had a decent experience with some of the Sera bacteria starter products if you are inclined to go that route.> Peter was getting ready to do another water change as I left. <Try not to change too much water at once. I find it is better to do smaller quantities more often.> Besides the water changes is there anything we can do to help remedy the situation? <As mentioned above, I would suggest staying on top of the testing and water changes until this mini-cycle runs its course. Please also look at cutting down and even stopping feeding completely for a few days until you have things back under control. Don't worry, fish can typically go a few days without feeding. Whether the food is consumed or wasted, it is still adding to the problem.>Thanks Sugam!
<You are welcome! You do seem to be vigilant about the conditions and I hope things come back under control shortly. Please consider how you are going to address the potential issue of the angels getting to a size to harm the tetras.>
Re: New Angelfish, hlth./env. - remedial action 14/10/11

Everyone seems to be doing better, we did have one loss.<Sorry for the loss Rose but keep at it and as conditions improve, the fish will get better. As long as the exposure is not long term, the chances of them making it through are pretty decent.> Nitrites, and all other levels are holding. <Glad to hear it. Please stay on top of it till things stabilize.> Thank you for all your help and support. <Glad to have been able to help!>

New tank Set up, FW Angels     7/5/11
Hello Everyone,
<Hi Dori>
I��ve been researching for a while and your site has been most useful (thank you) however, I still don��t feel I have the answers I would like. So your advice to my particular situation would be great!
My son-in-law gave me a 50-55 gal. tank. (48�� X 12�� X 21��). I want to set it up for freshwater angel fish. I��ve had a freshwater tank before and always had an algae problem. I��ve set up the tank on a solid wall away from windows and direct sunlight.
After reading posts on your website for two days I have a good understanding what��s required and which fish are compatible. I��ve purchased a new bio-filter which hangs on the tank, filled the tank and let it run for a couple of days. I thought we were ready to purchase fish.
<Mmm, no... better to cycle the tank w/o livestock...>
I took a tank water sample with me to the pet store. They tested it and pH was nearly 0.
<Mmm, no... perhaps 7.0... "neutral"... i.e., neither acidic nor alkaline>
I live in a valley in the middle of a forest in NW PA, USA. We have a community gravity fed spring water system. No treatment center, no chlorine, the water I receive in my house is the same as the water coming off the hill. I do not have a filtration system on the house.
Readings from my faucet
GH is 0 ppm,
KH is 0 ppm,
pH is below the lowest reading on the test strip which is 6.0, <Mmm, a good idea to add a source of alkalinity here. Please read:
and as much of the linked files above as you need to understand>
NO2 is 0 ppm,
NO3 is 0 ppm.
On the advice of the pet store, I purchased 20lbs of crushed coral, rinsed well and added it to the midsize gravel.
<Mmm... I wouldn't do this, use this as a pH adjustment technique in general>
24 hours later; water is nearly clear,
Temperature is 80°F,
GH is 0-30 ppm,
KH is 0 �� 40 ppm,
pH is 7.0-7.5,
NO2 is 0 ppm,
NO3 is 20 ppm.
<This last is puzzling. Where did the nitrate come from?>
I��m using API 5in1 test strips. I know all of these levels will adjust some once fish and plants are introduced and they create their own little bio-world.
1. How long should I wait to introduce the fish and plants? What is the recommended progression of introduction or can I add all at the same time?
<Please read here re cycling: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and the linked files above... Livestock are best added in "batches"... some hardier organisms first... the Angels likely last>
2. I read the crushed coral will breakdown after time and need replaced. What is the time frame for breakdown?
<Likely several months, a year or more. You'll be able to tell in time... via testing... let's say weekly, during regular maintenance (e.g. water changes)>
3. Based on the before and after readings; are there other water treatment options I should consider before adding freshwater angelfish and compatible companions?
<Mmm... well... not really>
4. There are so many beautiful angelfish. I��ve read you recommend 4-6 angelfish because they are schooling fish, do they have to be the same variety?
<They do not have to be the same; though most all commercially available Angels are the same species (actually di-hybrid cross). This is somewhat similar to domestic dogs, or cats... Though different "breeds" they are potentially inter-breeding>
5. Any other recommendations or suggestions you have?
<To enjoy the process; keep an open/inquisitive mind... Keep asking questions, reading, sharing>
There are a lot of advice sites on the www, but I like yours. Your answers and advice are thorough and you��re not afraid to tell it like it is. I have enjoyed reading some of your posts. I will be anxiously awaiting your reply.
<Thank you for your earnest input. After a lifetime in the trade, hobby and some related sciences to the interest (ornamental aquatics), it was and is my desire to share w/ others, have friends do the same... to aid their successes>
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, and best regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

angelfish torture or not  1/24/11
I am sorry Neale I have one more question on a completely different subject. I have one small angelfish (along with other angelfish and tetras) in a 20 gallon aquarium and I was wondering if it would be cruel to trim his side fins. They have been getting long and droopy and slowly been effecting his swimming. I have no reason at all to hurt my fish but I just don't want him to have a struggle moving around my tank. Would clove oil hurt him because I heard that it can be used to sedate fish. By the way, I really appreciate the helpful answers you have given me !
thank you once more,
<Yes, this would be extremely cruel Tavian. Not only cruel, but very likely to result in a secondary infection such as Finrot. Don't do it! Angelfish should be kept in tanks with at least 25 cm/10 inches of water simply because of their shape. A "long" 20 gallon tank may not be deep enough, but a "deep" 20 gallon should be fine. Long-fin Angelfish invariably have problems swimming and I do not recommend them. The standard Angelfish with normal length fins usually manage to swim about very well, provided the
water current is not too strong. Cheers, Neale.>

Angels and New Tank   12/15/10
Hey Guys,
<Hello Davina,>
I have used your site before and had great results. I'm hoping you can help again. I have set up a new tank (28g, sand substrate, 30g Fluval filter, heater, and a silk plant) . It cycled for about 4 weeks. during the cycle stage I had an issue with a white fungus on my suction cups and air tubing which has been dealt with and is no longer a problem.
<How did you cycle the tank? Simply running it empty *isn't* cycling. To cycle the tank there *must* be a source of ammonia. Some folks use ammonia solution from the hardware store to raise the concentration in the tank to 2-5 mg/l once per day. Others use small punches of flake food. Either way, there does need to be something the bacteria can "eat".>
I tested the water and everything was normal. I put in one of my Neons for a day to make sure the water was fine.
<An odd choice. Neons are Angelfish food, and they also require cooler water than Angelfish. Neons need 22-24 C/72-75 F, whereas Angels are kept between 25-28 C/77-82 F. In any case, when adding one batch of fish after a second batch of fish, you should leave a gap of at least two weeks between each batch of fish. It will take several days for any problems to be apparent, and two weeks or more to be sure everything is stable in terms of pH and nitrate levels between water changes.>
After 24 hrs I put him back in his original tank and transferred the 2 angels, yesterday morning, that the tank was intended for. I woke up this morning and they were both dead.
<Sorry to hear this.>
water levels are reading nitrite and nitrate at 0 and ammonia at .25
<Dangerous; indicates inadequate filtration, perhaps because the filter wasn't mature yet. The fact you have zero nitrite and nitrate further supports this idea, because the bacteria that produce nitrite and nitrate
aren't yet present in sufficient numbers.>
and the pH is reading 7.6 and the temp is sitting at 70.
<Much too cold.>
I don't know what I have done wrong. I have had these angels for about a year now. They were both female and about 2" in body diameter (not including fins). They have bred together on multiple occasions (although not successful obviously). Can you tell me what may have led to they death?
<See above.>
There was no strange behaviour from them either. Thank You soo Much :)
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.> 

Angel fish in a 20 gallon long  06/09/10
I was wondering if it is possible for a 6 inch freshwater angelfish to be happy in a 20 gallon long tank,
<In terms of water quality, then yes, it's do-able, but if the Angelfish is so "tall" its fins are dragged along the bottom of the aquarium, then it won't be terribly happy. Most of the common Angels sold only get to about 10 cm/4 inches long, and maybe 12 cm/5 inches tall. But if you have a deep gravel bed for plants, you may not have much more than 20 cm/8 inches of water depth, which would really be too little for Angelfish. So you'll have to use some common sense here.>
with four fancy male guppies??
<Potentially Angelfish food, either whole or one bite at a time.>
Wouldn't the guppies be attacked?
<Yes, Angelfish will nip at the fins of Fancy Guppies. Large Angelfish can, do eat small Guppies whole.>
I also have 12 Neons in there, but I would move them to the ten gallon as I know they would become a snack.
Would a 20 gallon tall tank be much better for an angel???
<Breeding pairs of Angels are usually kept in tall 20 gallon tanks, but in community settings, Angels are best kept in systems 30 gallons upwards.
Apart from extra space, this allows you to keep sensibly-sized tankmates alongside the Angels, such as Gouramis, Bleeding Heart Tetras, Dwarf Rainbowfish, and so on.>
I noticed some places sell the angelfish and say they may grow to eight inches tall,
<These will be non-hybrid Angels, and tend to be quite expensive. Things like Pterophyllum altum, true Pterophyllum scalare, and Pterophyllum "Peru". The standard sort sold in ordinary pet stores, including all the
ones with non-wild-type colouration, are hybrids that rarely get this tall.
Veil-tail Angels are the exceptions of course, but I don't recommend keeping them in community settings because they're so commonly nipped by otherwise "nice" fish.>
Thank you!!
<You're welcome, Neale.>

Re: clown loach with parasites, Now Angel sys.   04/03/10
Looks like I will Have to invest in a bigger tank at some point, My fishies get on fine at the moment I have 5 tetras (2 bleeding heart, 2 rosy and 1 black phantom), the angel and a peppered Corydoras. My tank is only 60liters, I didn't think the Angel would last but I now use him as an oxygen saturation indicator (His visible gill gets a little pale just before I do my weekly water change)
<Not oxygen... metabolite concentration/build-up>
he is very handy and if I am keeping him for a while longer I might get him some friends (once I've got the bigger tank of course). How big would you recommend for say 3 Angels??
<At least a "29 gallon", 30" long world>
He is grey so I might get a black one and a white one. All my fish are rescues and I don't normally add new ones till I lose the old ones, But if I upgrade then I might get a few 'pets' rather than just pity fish.
Thanks again
I'll try to stop bugging you with my rambling now
<Be chatting, BobF>

Angelfish in Strong Currents 8/26/2009
Hello Crew, Hope all is going well for you. I need some information please. I try to do as much research as I can before I add a certain type of fish so it can feel at home and it can be enjoyed more.
<Very good.>
However; when it comes to angelfish I must have missed some things. I have purchased about 10 angelfish over a period of time and now I only have 4 left.
<How big were these Angels when you bought them? The small ones, with bodies the size of US quarters, really don't travel well, and a lot of people have trouble settling them in. Mass production also means that these sensitive fish are exposed to parasites and bacterial infections. So while Angels should be hardy, it's a good idea to get fairly large specimens with a body diameter 2-3 inches, and to quarantine new livestock for a few weeks.>
I checked my water and there is nothing wrong. I am feeding them the right foods. The only other tank mates are cories. I thought since all but 2 of the 10 were bought through the mail that that was the problem. Today I went to a LFS and saw a couple of angels that I wanted. I told her the problems I had been having with keeping them. She asked what kind of filter I had and when I told her I was using 2 Marineland emperor 400's on a 75 gallon tank she said that was probably what caused the deaths because angels do not like strong currents.
<Angels live in rivers, and they're adapted to steady but not turbulent water flow. You're aiming for a water flow rates some 4-6 times the size of the tank in turnover per hour, but without turbulence. Careful use of vertically arranged rocks and bogwood, tall plants, and spray bars rather than nozzles should all spread out the flow producing a steady but not tiring flow of water. The Marineland Emperor filters are "hang on the back" filters, and the water sluicing over the sides into the aquarium shouldn't really create too much turbulence, but they're rated at 400 gallons per hour. Two of those will be 800 gallons per hour, and that's almost 11 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. In other words, way too much for Angels. The Corydoras will be in seventh heaven to be sure, as will other fast-water fish such as loaches and minnows, but Angels won't be happy.>
I never read this doing my research but when I got home from the store I found an article stating the same thing about currents. The filters I have do not have a flow control like the older ones I used to have.
<Remove one filter and see how you go. Provided water quality remains good, you may find that works as a long-term solution.>
My question is this. So far the 4 I have all seem OK and are eating well.
Should I take all of them out of the tank and take to a LFS even though they seem OK? I truly wanted a tank with angels only (and the cories).
<A fine combination, though water warmer than 25 C can be a strain on some Corydoras species; Corydoras sterbai is the "species of choice" for tanks where the water is maintained at 26-28 C, for example with Discus.>
Should I take one of the emperor filters off and only use 1 or would that still be too strong?
<One should be fine.>
I am at a loss here as to what to do. Please give me your thoughts.
Thanks, James
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Angelfish in Strong Currents 8/26/2009
Thank you Neale, but if I remove one of the filters I am worried about the remaining bio filter being strong enough initially until it can build up more.
<There's no real risk of problems developing. You can remove 50% of the biological media from a mature filter without any noticeable drop in water quality, hence the recommendation made my filter manufacturers that you replace that much media every X months.>
I guess I could add a product that helps strengthen the bio filter?
<No need.>
Also, the cories I have are panda and another type I just bought today called speckled.
<Well, Corydoras panda is absolutely typical of the genus in its wants.
There's a nice review of this species on the excellent Scot Cat web site, here:
Numerous species of Corydoras are speckled, and that name by itself doesn't mean much. Corydoras paleatus is one possibility, it's common name being Peppered Corydoras, but you might also consider Corydoras julii and Corydoras trilineatus, the two species being both nicely speckled but widely confused, the latter being often given the former species' name. Any old how, with the notable exception of Corydoras sterbai, virtually all Corydoras prefer cooler to warmer conditions.>
The room the aquarium is in does not get sunlight but was a room added on after our central air was installed so during the summer months even with the heater unplugged the temperature is usually 27C. I assume that will put too much strain on the cories?
<As a summertime high that's fine. But certainly allow the tank to cool down to 25 C or even slightly lower in the winter. Your Corydoras will be happier and healthier for it. In fact, you'd be surprised how many fish prefer water that's a little cool: Danios, Neons, Platies, Swordtails to name just a few. We often overheat our tanks, on the assumption "the tropics" are hot and muggy. While air temperature may be high, the water is often quite cool.>
So even though I love those little guys I guess I will take them back to the fish store for credit. I am so discouraged now I may just get rid of all my fish and aquarium as well.
<Which little guys? The catfish or the Angels? Don't be disheartened!
Getting a fish tank "right" is like gardening -- it takes time. But once you have everything set up just right, it's a thing of beauty that requires little by way of effort or expense.>
Thanks again Neale.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Angelfish in Strong Currents 8/26/2009
Neale, if I let the temp go down to 25C or lower in the winter won't that be too cool for the angels?
<No, this is just fine for farmed Angels. If you look at the Fishbase page for Pterophyllum scalare, the species from which the farmed hybrid we usually keep is mostly derived, you'll see it's tolerance is between 24-30 C, so you have plenty of scope to tweak the temperature as required.
In fact for most middling tropicals, things like Angels, gouramis, most tetras and barbs, etc., 25 C is just about ideal.>
And lastly, my tank has a brace that runs from front to back. If I go to one emperor filter I will not be able to center it because of that. Will that make a difference with the water intake being different from different
side of the tank?
<Wouldn't matter in the least, and in fact your fish will choose the end of the tank they prefer. So your Angels may well gather at the end away from the filter, perhaps hovering around underneath a nice clump of floating Indian Ferns or similar. Cheers, Neale.>

Angel Fish Habitat 6/24/09
Hello Crew, hope you are having a great day. I have a question about angel fish please. I have a 75 gallon fw aquarium with some cories and a bristle nose Pleco. I am going to add some small angels to my tank soon but wanted to know if it was OK to continue using a bubble wand I have attached to the back of the tank.
I do not have the air pump turned up high, just enough for the effect of bubbles rising up against the back glass. I didn't know if this would be too much turbulence for the angels or not because of their slow movements.
Please let me know. I appreciate your help.
<Should be fine. BobF>

Angelfish, FW, sys., reading   4/19/09
I currently have a 55 gallon tank that has been circulating for quite some time now and I want to put Angelfish In It. I also have a 20 gallon tank (yes I know Its a tad small) with 3 angelfish In It right
now, and I love them!
So all an all I know most of the Information I need and those facts I don't I learn from the closest pet store or online. One thing I'm not finding Is a matter of life or death (for the fish not me ha ha) but yes, What needs to be the water circulation from the pump (strong or soft?)
and the air circulation from the air stones (vigorous?)
<This too>
also would It be suggested to use an underground filter?
<Could be>
Amanda Larson
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish. FW, sys.   6/3/08 Hello, and thank you for considering my question. <Hallo indeed, and you're certainly welcome!> I am very interested in purchasing a single angelfish, to live on it's own in a 5 gallon tank. Would it be alright in a tank that size? <no> The tank is well filtered and heated. Also, is there anything important that I need to know before purchasing one? <Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelfishes.htm re angelfish requirements> I have owned a variety of fish before, but this is my first angel. I have done some research, so I know they like their temp. between 76 and 84, they grow to 6 inches max. and that they eat tropical fish food. <Good basic info. Do read into 'tropical fish food'> I continue to believe that WetWebMedia is the most reliable source for aquatic life information. <Thank you. I don't want to undersell you, but here is a link on some basic aquarium principles we hold: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm ...also dealing with aquarium sizes. Also, common sense can prevail. If your fish has a maximum size of 6", it won't hardly be able to turn around in a 5 gallon tank, much less live a healthy life.> Thank you again for all of your previous help, and for the advice that you will now give me. <Always happy to be of service.> Lena. <Benjamin>

Fixing Up My Grandparents Tank... FW Angel sys., hlth.  12/25/07 Hello WWM, <Joe> Recently, on Christmas day, I visited my Grandparents and it was sad to find out that the Angelfish I had bought them 6 years ago passed away. I set the tank up for them when I was in 7th grade, about the time when I was getting into the hobby. I didn't know a lot, and I set up a 6 gallon eclipse tank with some tetras, the angelfish, and an anubis (sp?) <Anubias> plant. The tetras never made it, but the plant and angelfish did. <Needs more room...> The anubis plant is still around, and has grown well and green. The angel grew very large in the small tank, reaching about 4 inches in length, not having a lot of room to swim. It was until a year or two ago I realized the tank was too small, and was surprised how he was still alive and well. <Might have lived much longer, better in a bigger volume> Getting them a larger tank would be hard, since they don't know a lot on how to keep the tank. <What other possibilities are there Joe? Patterns... consequences> I considered taking him and placing him in my larger freshwater tank, but it would have caused problems in my tank, and yet the angel provided my grandparents with company. They loved the fish, <... not by my def.. If/when something is "loved" the folks involved do their best to provide what is "positive to the nature" of the other/s...>  and were pretty sad to see him go. I couldn't tell what was wrong with him, couldn't see any markings, but I did notice his eye was a little red in one spot for a while, and when he died that his mouth was a little chopped up looking. My cousin said it was fungus, but I am not sure. It looked like he had "chin hairs' or something. Now we need to decide what to do with the tank. Its been established for 6 years, and I don't know if it is a good idea to dump it, do some serious cleaning, take out the rocks, etc. I figured I would clean half the tank water out and wait a few weeks in case there were diseases. <Environmental only likely> Here are the parameters. Temp 79, Ph. 6.8, Nitrate 35. I need your advice on what to do. Should I get a new tank, do some cleaning, dump it. Also, a suggestion on what fish would do well in the tank and some plants that can also cope with the low lighting the tank has. Thank you Joe <All posted on our site, "waiting" for your perusal... Including FW Angelfish Systems if you'll look. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater angel fish... sys., hlth.    9/25/07 hello crew, <Hello.> greetings and thank you in advance, I will describe the problems I have been having with freshwater angels. I have only been trying plain Jane pet store angels, not wild types etc. I have had success with convict cichlids, breeding and rearing the young no problem, and my nano reef tank is doing just fine, right now still just "easy" animals, Zoanthids and parazos and a three stripe damsel, and "utility" species, so I have a decent amount of experience keeping fish, my Malawian tank is doing fine, not breeding yet but giving it time, so enough back-story. <OK.> I have recently purchased a few angel fish, one whose body was roughly the size of a half dollar, and 5 the size of a nickle, I watched the tank as best I could. The large fish is still alive and swimming, but the small guys have all perished. <Very small angels do not travel well. Also, angels are bullies, and big ones pick on small ones. Contrary to popular myth, they aren't really schooling fish. Juveniles congregate in groups, it is true, but adults form territorial pairs. So, the classic way to start with angels is buy a group of 6 identically sized angels, rear them together, and then remove the excess fish once a stable pair has formed.> There are not detectable levels of ammonia or nitrite, the nitrates are a bit higher than i realized, the tank had previously been the home of my breeding pair of convicts, as well as some tiger barbs and a guppy, the guppy being the only one still in there. <Angels, like all cichlids, are intolerant of nitrate. The goal is less than 50 mg/l, and ideally less than 20 mg.l.> I had tried angles before, prior to the convicts, and failed then, i then tried the convicts and right away, in the same tank they did just fine. <Convicts and angels are very different fish in terms of hardiness. This is especially true with "fancy" angels, which are the ones most commonly sold. These have been selected for looks, not hardiness or behaviour, with the net result that many fancy angels are very unpredictable in terms of maximum size, disease resistance, hardiness, and aggression.> ok on to the questions, I apologize for the long story before the question. Just how sensitive to hardness, nitrates, and PH are domesticated angels? <Varies, but as a baseline, tank-bred angels are indifferent to pH and hardness within a range of around 5-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8. Nitrates as mentioned can be more of an issue.> Am I likely to have better luck starting with slightly larger angels? <Quite possibly. But the main thing is to ensure your water chemistry is similar to that of the breeder. As with any fish, changes in water chemistry are more of a deal than what precisely the water chemistry values are. Also, try and avoid the very fancy varieties, things like veil-tails and koi angles. Ideally, pick wild-type angels, as these have been messed about with the least. They will have three or four vertical bands on the flanks and red eyes. Marble angels seem to be reasonably robust, too. Gold angels are less so, and black angels significantly less so.> oh sorry, the tank is a 55. <Should be fine for 6 angels while they're young, but a breeding pair could easily dominate it.> I did massive water changes, using a API tap water filter prior to angel fish introduction, like 13 gallons changed out, current filtration is the H.O.B. filter I had in with the convicts, as well as new Zeolite, (fear of overwhelming the system) and a recently added Fluval 303 which I had not been using, but has carbon in it as well. <OK. Here's some comments on your filtration system. For angelfish (and cichlids in general) you need a filtration system that provides at least 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. The Fluval 303 has a turnover of about 220 gallons per hour, to which you should add the turnover of your second filter. You're looking for a total of at least 6 x 55, i.e., 330 gallons per hour. But this also depends on how well the filter is maintained, and also on what media you use. Zeolite and carbon are both redundant in a well maintained aquarium. Zeolite isn't very useful. It needs frequent replacing (weekly, really) and isn't as effective or economical as a biological filter. Zeolite is really only for hospital tanks and very acidic tanks where filter bacteria will not grow. Carbon is even less useful. It serves no useful purpose at all in a properly maintained freshwater aquarium. Doing 50% weekly water changes will dilute dissolved organics in the water much more effectively than adsorption by the carbon. Moreover, carbon removes medication from the water, making it impossible to treat your fish. So remove both the carbon and the zeolite. Instead, invest in biological filtration. Pack both filters with a bit of mechanical filter media (perhaps 1/3rd) and the rest biological filter media (the remaining (2/3rd). the water I have is very hard, i don't have to add anything for the Malawis. <Shouldn't be a problem. People routinely keep and breed angels here in England where the water is harder than Lake Malawi.> I am at a loss, and i need to know what I am doing wrong. please help, I desperately wan to have success with angels, and eventually Discus. <Whoa... get the angels right, and then move to discus. If you can't keep angels, you have no chance at all with discus.> I am at the point of all but giving up on any soft water species and sticking to the African rift lakes, central America and salt water creatures. <That's certainly a viable approach to take. Fishkeeping is a whole lot easier when you choose fish that like your local water conditions. But in this instance, I'm not sure water chemistry is the critical factor.> Also at some point, after moving to my own house rather than apt. I wish to try native fish, so albeit yes I have "Great Expectations" I am trying to progress in a logical sort of manner. again Thank you for your help, Forrest P.S. have tried to eliminate any typos, spelling errors or grammatical errors. <Well, I hope this helps! Neale>

Re: freshwater angel fish �� 09/25/07 thanks again. will add up on the biological filtration more, and get the nitrates down ASAP, and yeah the Discus are quite a ways off, figure it's always good to have a goal though, I am not thinking of discus in less than 3 years. Thanks again, Forrest <Very good. I'm not sure it takes 3 years to get up to speed for keeping discus, but definitely keeping and breeding angels for a year or so will teach you all the basics. Modern discus are really not all that difficult to keep, especially compared to wild discus. But they ARE less forgiving of mistakes than angels. Once you're happy you can handle angels and get them to breed successfully, there's no reason to feel nervous about discus. As ever read, learn, and be patient while your skills improve. Cheers, Neale>

Re: FW Angelfish, Stocking plan, planted tank start up. �� 09/25/07 Hey Andrea, <Hi Terri!> Its me again! Thank you very much for your wise ways, I am now completely obsessed with organizing this new tank...its sort of funny and very neurotic;) <It gets that way ;-). Beware of MTS (Multiple Tank Syndrome.)> Anyway, due to various reasons, things have really changed and we've decided that we should go with a smaller 20 gallon tank. <Bummer. I usually try to get the biggest I can. I never hear anyone say "I wish I went smaller."> Now we have to learn about new compatibility setups. I have some questions; please advise.. <I'll do my best.> Planned setup is now 20 gallon planted tank: 2 Apistogramma <Ok.> 5 neon dwarf rainbows <Ok.> 3 zebra loaches <Ok. Sounds good!> 1) Could I fit another small school of tetras in here? If so, which compatible species do you recommend? <Hmm...I'd say really that this is pretty stocked the way it is. I suggest you start with what you have picked out, the least aggressive (rainbows, then loaches) to most aggressive (Apistos) and do more learning and research. This is a hobby of patience. Get these, and enjoy them over time (start slowly, stock this over about 3-4 months) and do some extra learning. Subscribe to one of the many aquarium forums out there, and start making some friends. It will help TONS, and you will learn a lot of tricks of the trade, that will help you decide if or whether to stock anything else, and what to add.> 2) I read that dwarf or chain loaches are very inbred and tends towards aggression. Is this true? I think they would be a better match for my setup since they are smaller, but not sure if I can get them here where I live. <I think that Botia Striata (zebra loaches) are a fantastic choice. I have not heard the same inbreeding information as you, but that does not mean it does not exist. I suggest doing a search for chain loach on the WetWebMedia site and online for more information.> 3) Would the zebras loaches be ok with the Apistos? <Yes, I believe so, but again, search on WetWebMedia is your friend here ;-).> 4) Would yo yo loaches really be unsuitable for a 20 gallon setup? <My feelings are yes. They can get pretty large. Also, they really like to dig, so they might really disrupt your plans for a planted tank.> 5) Is there a personality difference in general between Apisto. bitaeniata and Apisto. agassazi? I'm having trouble finding information on the former. <As far as I am aware, there is not much of a difference personality-wise, no. You might try searching on Google.com proper for Apistogramma dedicated sites, which might have more species specific information. Breeders, and breeding registries for specific cichlids generally keep up on a lot of species specifics. You might also try the local library, for books on South American Cichlidae.> 6) Would the loaches be ok in a heavily planted aquarium? I know they have a tendency to move stuff around, but was wondering if you ever heard of it being a major issue with this species. <Some are ok, others can be a real pain. Kuhli loaches like to bury themselves in the substrate. Clown loaches get very large and can knock over rocks and driftwood. However, I have kept skunk Botia and zebra loaches and even clowns in planted aquaria. Much of it depends on a few factors: Your determination and tolerance of their tendency to move things/dig and whether or not you want to keep substrate stirring snails. Snails are a natural part of loach diets. Many planted tank keepers are huge advocates of Malaysian Trumpet Snails and other decorative snails and shrimp. The two do not mix. Loaches will eat them. So, it is one of those compromise things, where you will have to research and decide for yourself.> 7) I live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Canada and the pet store here really doesn't have a good selection of fishes. I sort of have to wait for whatever to come in and then get it then. Are you aware of any good online stores that ship to Canada? Do you think online purchasing and shipping of fish is safe? <I think it is safe, as I have done it many times. I have both sold and purchased fish online. The key is to do so from reputable sellers and buyers. Try checking out some of the sponsor sites on wetwebmedia.com. They are ALL reputable online fish retailers, and I am sure many service Canada. Also, there is a site specifically for fish that is similar to eBay called Aquabid.Com that you could look into; many Canadian sellers on there.> 8) Do you think Apistos are a better choice compared to (German Blue) rams? <I think both fish are fantastic fish. It is personal preference.> Thanks so much for your time, it is so greatly appreciated as I am starting to feel slightly overwhelmed by all the options. You guys are a life saver! <You are most welcome. Anytime. Get yourself an account on an aquarium message board, they are a huge help. I really love the one here on wetwebmedia.com and aquariumadvice.com.> Cheers, Terri

Angel Fish question, beh., hlth.  4/18/07 Could you please tell me what the average life expectancy is for a freshwater angel fish in a 7 gallon tank?  I have had one for 6 years and he is suddenly very sick and I was just wondering if this is the expected end of his life cycle.  Thank you! <Hello Cindy. In a 7 gallon tank, a baby angelfish will reach the size to be moved out about 3-4 months after hatching. Anything beyond that is, to be honest, cruel. So it is definitely time to move him out to new quarters. At minimum, you should be looking at a "tall" 20 gallon tank for your angelfish, and I'd heartily recommend something much larger if you want your fish to look its best. Like most other medium-sized cichlids, angelfish should live around 10 years in captivity, potentially quite a bit longer. Be sure and read the article on angels here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelfishes.htm and then peruse some of the related articles as well. There's no shortage of information on angels out there, including some quite nice books.> Sincerely, Cindy <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Angel Fish question, hlth.  4/19/07 Thanks so much - from the article, it looks like my fish probably has hemorrhagic septicemia in one of his fins. <Haemorrhagic septicemia is very uncommon, and I have no idea how you diagnosed this. Far, far more likely that it is sick from being kept in a 7 gallon tank. Please trust me on this: the aquarium is too small and likely the nitrite and ammonia levels are too high because of an undersized filter. Unless you're changing 100% of the water every day, the nitrates are probably too high too. These will cause serious health problems in the long term, as seems to be happening here.> I had been treating him for fin rot with tetracycline, but perhaps I missed the mark. It may be too late to switch to Flagyl as he is in serious distress. <Haemorrhagic septicemia is a symptom not a disease. It may be caused by many things including a virus. So shotgun treatment with an antibiotic is pointless. If you seriously think this is the problem, consult with a vet. Your fish isn't going to get better by itself.> I will do what I can and see if it works.  He is fighting the good fight to survive, but odds may be stacked against him at this point.   <Please understand this: the odds are stacked against him because you made it so. The conditions you are keeping this fish in are unhealthy and wrong, and hence your actions are causing this animal to be sick and likely in pain. He isn't sick because of some random disease that stole into your home during the night. It's because you aren't caring for him properly. Your move.> He lives alone in the 7 gallon tank, and until he got sick a week ago, seemed to be a very happy camper - responding to my voice, dancing for me, etc.  He truly is a pet just like a puppy and I am devastated he is so sick. <Just goes to show. Your fish gave you so much back. Yes, he was a pet, and yes he depends on you. All he wants in return is a larger aquarium that will cost you very little to obtain.> Thanks again for the info - I have bookmarked it for future reference.... Cindy <No problems. Cheers, Neale>

Plants for Discus and Angel Fish  ï¿½ï¿½ 4/10/07 I have a 60gal freshwater aquarium with 2 Discus and 2 Angel fish in it I would like to know if I should use artificial plants or real plants... <Aquatic plants aren't part of the normal discus (or angelfish) habitat: these fish live in the "flooded forest" where nutrient poor waters wash around sunken wood and the trunks of huge trees. The fish live hidden among the wood, and when pairing off, guard bits of wood on which they lay their eggs. So by all means use real or plastic plants if you wish, but the fish don't care. They'd sooner have nice tall bits of real/artificial wood that they can explore, guard, or school around. Also bear in mind not all common aquarium plants enjoy soft/acid water. Vallisneria spiralis and the common Amazon sword Echinodorus bleheri for example both like neutral to basic, moderately hard water.> ...also if it is a good idea to  use volcanic rock in it as decor. <Volcanic rock -- if you mean artificial lava rock rather than actual pumice -- does acidify the water. This is the porous, reddish-brown "rock", right? While harmless enough in a tank with a basic pH and lots of hardness, in a soft water discus tank I'd personally be vary wary of using it. At least, not without trying a little first, and monitoring the pH for a few weeks before buying any more.> I do not want the fish to get hurt on the rock. <They shouldn't.> I would also like to know how many of these fish I can put in it if I was to add other fish and what kind of fish I can add with them and how many. <Discus, and to a slightly lesser degree angels, need good water quality. Understocking is the easiest way to get this. Also, once they mature, angels especially become very territorial, and will hold an area about 60-90 cm in diameter, vigorously pushing away any conspecifics. So while you can probably house half a dozen of either fish in a 60 gallon tank, the question is whether you want to and whether the fish will put up with that once mature. As for tankmates, both angels and discus appreciate slightly higher than average temperatures. Lace gouramis and moonlight gouramis can work well though both are a bit large. Clown loaches also work well, but again, rather large. Small tetras (e.g. Neons) become angelfish food so not recommended. Bleeding heart tetras, silver Hatchetfish, African Glowlight tetras, and other non-nippy characins of this size would work well. Warm-water catfish include Brochis spp., Bristlenose Plecs, and non-subtropical Corydoras (i.e., not bronze or peppered Corys). Very small Suckermouth cats, like Otocinclus spp., can attack the sides of these slow moving fish to eat the mucus, so avoid. Likewise aggressive loaches and cichlids will often terrorize them. All this said, discus are perhaps best kept alone, simply because it makes maintaining water quality good so much easier.> George <Cheers, Neale>

Setting Up A FW Angelfish Tank  - 10/14/06 Hi my little brother told me about your site when I told him I wanted to set a freshwater angelfish tank like his. My question is could I put 4 adult angelfish in a B45 gallon Odyssey bow front aquarium. Also what plants do you suggest to use with these fish. Also what kind of tetras do you suggest to house with angels. Thanks -- Sbatiste < Four angelfish will fit quite nicely in that aquarium. I would recommend medium to low light plants like Anubias, java fern, and come Cryptocorynes. Small tetras like Neons may get picked on by the angels. I would recommend larger bodied tetras like rosy, bleeding heart or emperor tetras.-Chuck>

Fresh Water Angel Fish   7/24/06 I have had a 20 Gallon tank for over a year with two Angel fish and two Silver dollars. <Mmm... going to be crowded...> I was offered a complete 46 gallon bow front tank and will be moving them to a new home. <Ah, good> I recently have been getting concerned for one of the Angels because its fins have been getting torn. <The crowding...> I'm sure this is aggression from one of its tank mates and Im hoping that the upgraded tank size will help avoid that. <Very likely so> Do you think I'm on track with this? <Yes> Also I would consider adding some smaller fish to the new aquarium to but am not sure what could survive with my big guys, any suggestions of a fish that would stay pretty small and would be able to hold its own?   Thanks, <Mmm, well this new 46 will be crowded with the growth of the four present fishes... but some mid to larger sized Danio species, perhaps a minnow-shark to add interest... Of course there are many catfish possibilities... maybe a trio of Corydoras species... Bob Fenner> Closely related: Freshwater Stocking   7/24/06 I currently have 2 Angel Fish and 2 Silver Dollars in a 20 Gallon tank.  This week I will be upgrading the tank and would like to get one that is big enough to add a couple Rams to.  I was thinking of a forty gallon, do you think that would work? Thank you for your help, <Eventually bigger... BobF>

Angels, Rams, and Maybe Ich - 05/10/2006 Good Morning~ <Good afternoon.> I recently purchased 4 small angelfish and also a Microgeophagus ramirezi  (because it was the only one in the tank/store-and very cute) to put in a long 20gal.   <Uhh, this is a quarantine system, I hope?  A single angelfish will outgrow a 20 gallon tank, let alone four of them....  They're rather territorial, too.> Did tests this morning: ph: 7.2-0-0-10. Did a water change. Temp is 80.  I noticed a small whitish spot on top of the head (the ram) <Possibly ich?  I do hope this is a quarantine tank.> I noticed that some of the other posts say these fish stay mostly near the bottom, but this little guy is more mid-tank-especially after the water change.   <Probably not a problem, but I would advise that you watch him closely.> Should I do a smaller water change with RO water... 1 gal with 1 gal tap?... <Perhaps.> or add salt... or medicate... <Only if you're confident of disease.> or just wait and see.   Any suggestions/ideas on what to do about this would be greatly appreciated. <I'd go with the "wait and see" for the moment, and be watching him very closely for now.> Thanks Again,  Judy <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Angels, tankmates and tank size?  - 04/05/2006 Hi there <Hello.> I have an established 40gallon freshwater tank which was given to me 8 months ago by my stepfather. It has gone really well so far, no losses (touch wood) and everything seems hunky dory. I'd like to set up an additional tank, using your guides on how to set up - as it completely new to me, but I'm not too sure on which fish to buy. I'd like angel fish and a Plec for definite, if possible, but can you offer some advice on the best tankmates and those to avoid... also how big a tank would I need to keep 2 or 3 angels plus a couple of others? <Mm, can get by with a pair of angels in say a 30 or 40g tank, but do keep in mind that 3 angels will lead to having only 2 angels.  These are cichlids, after all, and therefore VERY aggressive during breeding.  You could start with a half dozen small ones, and as they pair off, get rid of all but your favorite pair.  A Bushynose Ancistrus Plec or any of the smaller, meat-eating Hypancistrus Plecs would do well in a 30 or 40 with the pair of angels.  In fact, you could probably do a pair of either the Bushynoses or Hypancistrus (L260 "Queen Arabesque" Plecs are my personal favorite) and breed both the Plecs and the angels in the same system, perhaps.  I've seen others do the same.  If you do a large enough tank for other tankmates, some of my favorites to suggest are smaller Botia (I like B. striata), Pantodon buchholzi / African butterflies (may need live insects as food), larger livebearers like platies or swordtails, moderately sized, placid tetras like emperors or Congo tetras....  Lots and lots of options for you.  I would stay away from other cichlids (except perhaps some of the smaller Apistogrammas if the tank is big enough) and definitely steer clear of any of the "nippy" tetras and the like.  I'm sure you'll have fun with this endeavor!  All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

New angelfish sudden sickness... systems... nutrition...  2/8/06 My 8 year old brother recently received a second-hand 25 gallon tank from a family friend a few weeks ago. It came with 3 red tetras, 2 Corys, 1 blue Gourami, and 1 Plecostomus. Four days ago, he bought two angelfish from the pet store. They are all fed flakes. <Need more than this> The tank is vertical, so most of fish stay close to the bottom during the day and swim up at night, but the angel fish are mostly seen at the top of the tank all the time. One of them liked to stay close to the heater, the other swam around. Today, one of the angelfish (I'm not sure if it is the heater one) started to lay on his side and is just breathing and moving his fins around a bit. <... likely water quality related> My mom called her friend who has fish and was advised to put the sick fish in a separate tank with some sea salt, which is what she did. So, it is now in a large jar with the water from the old tank and added salt.( I was confused by this because these are freshwater fish ) It has no water pump or heater, and it is laying on its side the same way. <Will die there> The other angelfish is in the original tank and is doing fine. I haven't seen any bullying, but there is a curious cat in the house which likes to watch them closely, but it doesn't seem likely he would only stress one fish. I want to research more, so I could know what else to tell you (I don't know anything about fish) but it looks like the little one doesn't have much time. Could you please give me some idea of what happened, and what we can do? Thank you for your help. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelfishes.htm and the related/linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Water Parameters for freshwater Angel Fish Hi, <Hello> I have a 20 gallon aquarium and am new at this hobby.  I bought the aquarium as a kit from my LFS.  They gave me everything I needed including a heater and all the necessary water conditioning agents for my new tank.  I let it run for 24 hours as they said and then bought a small angel fish for it.  I had my water tested a while back and they said it was at the stage where I could add another fish if I wanted too.  Well a couple months have passed and I have done 10-20 percent water changes weekly adding stress coat with water conditioning in it to the water when I change it. <Nice record keeping.  Stress coat may not be necessary, as long as you are adding something to dechlorinate the water.> I looked all over your sight and could not find a part where it told me what my values needed to be in my aquarium for angel fish. <The best site for this info is http://www. fishbase.org - search for freshwater angelfish.  Best pH range: 6.0 - 8.0> I want to test my own aquarium so that I don't have to drive to the store every time I want it tested. <Right on> What are the pH ranges for angel fish? <As above.> What should my nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia levels be at? <Ammonia and Nitrite should be at zero, Nitrate should be as close to zero as you can get.  Your regular water changes will keep the Nitrate in check.> When reading what I could find it said that my ammonia should be very close to 0 if not 0.  And my nitrates should be around the same. but I'm getting confused with all the information and sometimes get confused what is supposed to be 0 and what is supposed to be 5.0 and the like.  If you could tell me what I the values need to be at for angel fish I'd much appreciate it. thanks for reading this lengthy question, Sam <Thanks for asking.  Sounds like you are on the right track, keep it up. -Gage>

Achin' for Angels - 06/23/2004 Hi there, <Hello.> I just want to say thanks first to you all being there to help us all out!  It really is invaluable.   <Many thanks for your kind words, Maggie!> I have been reading all the Angel sites I can find including your FAQ's and I'm starting to think that unfortunately I won't be able to keep Angels in my tank. <Well, let's hear it.> It is a 25G tall, <What dimensions?  I, personally, wouldn't keep angels in anything less than a 29/30g tank; they just get too big, ultimately, to have much space in anything smaller than that.  It is possible, however, to keep and breed a single pair in a tank as small as 20 gallons - I just wouldn't do it.> and I would like to keep a pair of angels and my 4 Panda Cory's.  Would there be a problem with aggression with only 2 angels? <When (not if) they breed, it is quite possible.> I would like to start with 6 and try to get a breeding pair and then return the other 4.   <That's generally the best way to get a pair.> I don't think I could have more than 2 Angels in only a 25G, could I? <Certainly not.  One pair would become more dominant, decide to breed, and likely kill the other pair - or at least harm them significantly.> My Panda's currently have a hard enough time with my 6 Danios trying to get to the sinking pellets I try to feed them.  Will the Angels also give them a hard time and be a threat to them if they do breed?   <Indeed, it is possible.  I would think that the Corys would likely steer clear of the angels, but yeah, there is the possibility of aggression, here.> (I would be putting the Danios in another tank if I get the Angels)  I really want to keep Angelfish but not if it means all my tank inhabitants end up stressed and unhappy. <Very, very noble/kind of you to be thinking of the fish, here!  Always glad to see that.  It may be worth a try, but would be even easier to ensure the safety of the Corys in a larger tank, where the angels can establish a territory, and the Corys can actually get *out* of the territory.  In a small space, it is likely that the angels will claim the entire tank.> Your advice is greatly appreciated!  Oh p.s. will the Angels eat my Amano shrimp? <Yes, almost certainly.  I lost almost an entire breeding colony of Caridina japonica/"Amano" shrimp to a single wild Pterophyllum altum.  I don't doubt that domestic P. scalares would look at 'em any differently.  I guess shrimp are yummy!> Maggie Masters <It might be worthwhile to examine just what it is about angels that you like so much.  Shape?  Color?  Personality?  And then determine what other fish look the way you like, or act the way you like, or whatever it is that intrigues you about the angels.  I know it can be tough to find a replacement; I'm quite smitten with the P. altums, and there just is no substitute for them, to me - but perhaps you can find something that will fit the bill, in a smaller package :)  There are some small dwarf cichlids that share similar personality traits (I like Apistogramma cacatuoides and Biotodoma cupido).  Black skirt tetras are a near-mimic if you like the color pattern of angels, but don't care for cichlid behaviour.  Hopefully, if you look hard enough, you'll find something perfect!   Wishing you and all your critters well,  -Sabrina>

FW Angelfish Info Hello first I love the site just thought I would like to say that. And I would like to know more about the angelfish. How difficult are these fish? What do they eat? How big of a tank do they need? And can they exist with other fish? Thanks and please write back. < Go to fishbase.org for general info on angelfish. These are pretty good aquarium fish that prefer slow moving, warm, acidic, clean water. Pairs can be housed in a 20 gallon but groups should be in 50 gallon well planted tanks with medium sized tetras. Keep them with fish that are not too aggressive and not too small to be eaten. They are not too picky about food and are easy to take care of.-Chuck> 

Too Hot for Angelfish? I'm a new fishkeeper's mom - my son, the fishkeeper, is 8 so I'm the responsible party.  He wants an Angelfish so we bought a 20 gal tank, cycled it, got 3 platys to establish the tank.  It's been about a 6 weeks now.  The problem is our tank temperature is consistently 82 to 84 F during the day without the heater on.  I placed the heater at 79 F as the minimum for overnight.  I would like to stock the tank with another fish or two - but one that prefers the really warm temperatures.  We'd purchased a Black skirted Tetra but she died within a few days - I'm concerned that it was too warm for her.  I feel bad when the little fella's die so please give me the names of several hardy fish that prefer really warm temperatures.  (I know Angelfish are delicate - I'd like to operate the tank around the needs of the Angelfish if possible.)  Thanks.   Cathy for Malcolm < Temps around 82 to 84 are fine for angelfish. At those temps the water isn't able to carry too much oxygen so make sure that you have plenty of aeration.-Chuck>   

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