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Old 05-31-2014, 02:51 PM   #1
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Angelfish Breeding Setup- Decor?

Hi, I have been keeping fish for five years so far but I'm new to these forums. I have kept and bred many species of fish (mostly basic ones) and now I want to try angels. I bought a mature, wild caught breeding pair a while back and they have been in a community 55 gallon tank with 15 cardinal tetras and a stray pygmy cory for about a year now. My question is how do you set up a breeding tank in regards to the substrate and decoration? I want a visually pleasing tank, as it is in my bedroom, however I don't want to complicate the process. (I'm also willing to set up a new tank for my tetras and cory.)

ps. my intention for breeding is to get the opportunity to raise my own angelfish from start to finish and I've already contacted my LFS to make sure they'll take any Angels I cannot care for.

Thanks, and i'd be interested in looking at some of your setups too!
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Old 05-31-2014, 03:39 PM   #2
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Sand or fine gravel
Lots of plants
Hideys holes
Sponge filter
29+ gallons
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Old 05-31-2014, 05:28 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply! Do you have any ideas for plants in a tank that has the marineland led's? Not too much light at all.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:41 AM   #4
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When it comes to breeding wild fish, you want to recreate, as close as possible, their natural habitat including water chemistry, temperature fluctuations, rainy season and decor. Unfortunately, getting mature wild fish can make breeding a challenge as some will never breed in a tank. It's best to get smaller wild fish and let them grow up in the tank and hopefully pair off when that "urge" strikes them.

For breeding tanks, I prefer a bare basic tank. All my angelfish pairs, and there have been hundreds of them over the past 40+ years, have all been kept in a bare bottom tank with a heater, sponge filter, breeding slate and 1 or 2 artificial plants that are not good for breeding on ( such as sword plants.) I use small leaved types like bacopa or anacahris or hornwort, etc. The reason for this is that I remove the eggs and hatch them myself. It's easiest to do this with a slate over a plant. These tanks are also in a more private area of a room to make the fish feel more secure and willing to spawn. Privacy and security is key which is why I don't breed in a community tank scenario. ( I once even rigged up a 3 mirror contraption to watch a breeding trio of Angels, I had in my bedroom, spawn after I had left the room. lol )
Gravel/ sand can pose a problem I try to avoid. Since you are trying to keep the water a clean as possible, you don't want any food or detritus to breakdown in the gravel/sand. Also, you want the fry to be able to find the food as easily as possible and if the food can hide in the gravel/sand, they may not find it.
As for the size tank you keep the breeders in, I use anything from a rectangular 10 gal up to a 20 high tank for some of the longer veiltail varieties. For the fry, I hatch them in either a 1 gal bottle or a 2 1/2 gal tank. They then will be moved to a 10 gal after a few feedings of live newly hatched brine shrimp and then on to bigger tanks as they get older.
I have my whole process laid out in the thread "Wigglers at last!!!!" which is an ongoing thread by angelfish breeders on this site. It's a long thread but worth the read as there are pics in there as well of setups.
Hope this helps
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:50 AM   #5
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Wow Andy, thanks for all the information! The angelfish actually spawned in their previous tank according to my LFS so I hope they will again I have a 26 gallon bowfeont tank that I wanna put to use, but I'm not quite confident in establishing another stable aquarium with the bad quality of my tap water. ( no oxygen + very hard and high pH) That also means id need to get a stand for a new tank to keep it somewhere secluded. Hmm this might be a tougher process than I planned 😳
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by sherlock View Post
Wow Andy, thanks for all the information! The angelfish actually spawned in their previous tank according to my LFS so I hope they will again I have a 26 gallon bowfeont tank that I wanna put to use, but I'm not quite confident in establishing another stable aquarium with the bad quality of my tap water. ( no oxygen + very hard and high pH) That also means id need to get a stand for a new tank to keep it somewhere secluded. Hmm this might be a tougher process than I planned 😳
My best suggestion would be to get as much info as you can on the water chemistry of the tank they came from and try to duplicate that.

Breeding Angels is a dream a lot of aquarists have but the truth is to successfully raise a number of fry, it takes a number of tanks. For the system I have been using for the past 4 decades, it takes 4 tanks for each pair of fish. As described in the "wigglers" thread, Angels can spawn as frequently as every 7-10 days so you can see why it take 4 tanks. (1 for the pair and 3 for the fry to grow out in.) If you are not prepared or willing to have so many tanks, you may want to just enjoy them in their current tank and not encourage them to spawn. Nothing wrong in doing that in my eyes One downfall in breeding Angels is that as cichlids, they can get a bit rough in their courtship and many older breeder Angelfish are not the most beautiful of fish anymore. Ripped lips, torn fins and body marks are all possible. If you want to keep your fish looking as they do now, not breeding them is a better option for this (IMO )

Hope this helps
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:44 AM   #7
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Angelfish Breeding Setup- Decor?

Again, my intentions are not to make a profit. I do not want to mass produce these Angels and the only reason I want to breed them is to be able to watch the nature of a fishes life and maybe get to raise a few to full size. I don't plan to sell the fry or keep many of them, in fact, I don't even plan to hatch the eggs manually even if it takes a few tries for the angels to get it right. I really enjoy studying fish and watching behavior and interactions so naturally I decided to give angel breeding a try. Since my LFS will take any extra fry and I have a few tanks to keep some, Ill probably set up my 26 gallon and take my time to get it cycled and do my research before starting anything. I sure don't want to get into anything I'm not prepared for too fast Thanks for all the info and ill let you know as soon as I set up my (hopefully) breeding tank.

I also really appreciate the help and time you put into your replies on this topic.
Thanks!! 😄
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sherlock View Post
Again, my intentions are not to make a profit. I do not want to mass produce these Angels and the only reason I want to breed them is to be able to watch the nature of a fishes life and maybe get to raise a few to full size. I don't plan to sell the fry or keep many of them, in fact, I don't even plan to hatch the eggs manually even if it takes a few tries for the angels to get it right. I really enjoy studying fish and watching behavior and interactions so naturally I decided to give angel breeding a try. Since my LFS will take any extra fry and I have a few tanks to keep some, Ill probably set up my 26 gallon and take my time to get it cycled and do my research before starting anything. I sure don't want to get into anything I'm not prepared for too fast Thanks for all the info and ill let you know as soon as I set up my (hopefully) breeding tank.

I also really appreciate the help and time you put into your replies on this topic.
Thanks!! 😄
I understand, glad to help
One other thing that sometimes does happen with Angels and you should be aware of if you are going to let the parents raise the fry is when the pair is ready to spawn again, they will eat the fry from the previous spawn to make it safe for the new eggs. I saw this countless times when we were dealing more with wild fish than with the domesticated ones. In nature, once the fry are big enough, the parents will "encourage" them to move on down the river so they can get back to business. If the fry can't leave because they are in a tank, well, you can imagine the rest

Good luck with your venture and hopefully you will get them to spawn. Keep us posted.
Just drop me a PM if you have any other questions
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:00 AM   #9
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Angelfish Breeding Setup- Decor?

Hey Andy not sure if my DM went through but anyway, I got everything to set up the 26 gallon tank and I'm just looking for a good location. I was also wondering how the bow front shape will impact the results. Will I need to find a spot where nobody ever walks by or is my bedside secure enough for them?

I'm gonna try to see if I can find a spot for the tank tomorrow and set it up. Then I gotta cycle the tank which I've never done using a sponge filter so I may have a few questions. And then how do you get slate? I have a few 3"by6" sheets of it but I had trouble trying to attach 2 together to make a 3x12. Home Depot only sells sheets if 12x12 and I don't have tools to cut it & they said they wouldn't be able to cut any for me.

Also, I think ill use my 55gallon to grow out the fry once they get big enough to not get eaten by tetras but we'll see how my angels react to the fry( hoping they have some eventually)
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:42 PM   #10
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I got and answered your PM
As for slate, I got some from Ebay ( just search breeding slate). You may find some there or there is an acrylic breeding slate that might also work for you. You can also go to a flooring store and see if they have slate tile remnants or if they will cut the tile if you buy it there.
You can also go to your local pet shop and see if they have any other type of flat rock. I also use red shale rock which is flat and/or easy to split. I don;t worry so much about the actual length of the piece, I just make sure it fits in a bottle or tank. Other things that have been used for spawning are terra cotta pots ( cheap at home depot) and 2" to 3" PVC piping cut to length. You just want it high enough off the bottom so the fish can easily go up and down the item to lay eggs or fertilize the eggs. As long as it's upright, the fish should use it. Last resort would be a single branch piece of driftwood.

Hope this helps
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