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Old 09-14-2020, 12:36 PM   #1
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Fighting Angelfish

Hello all -

My dear Angelfish who have been side by side for the past 6 months have suddenly began fighting.

When I purchased the angels 6 months ago they were only about an inch long, and now they are 5 inches and becoming more and more aggressive each day.

The aggression is mainly from the yellow angel pictured below targeting the spotted angel. They yellow angel will spread itís lower fins and dart across the tank at the other angel and other fishes in the tank.

I have posted pictures of them in hopes of identifying their sexes and determining the cause of the fighting before having to separate them indefinitely.

Any advice is greatly appreciated! I would hate to have to take them apart.
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:44 PM   #2
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Angels are not angelic. My tank is only males, 105 gallon, and they constantly flare and challenge each other. Except during feeding time. Semi- aggressive in cichlid terminology kind of means no one will prob be dead the next day. But by tetra standards, it means they are great white sharks.... and everyone has a different personality. It's not only the males that fight, but the females do a little too.
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:48 PM   #3
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Cichlids instincts are to be the biggest, baddest dude in the area/ tank in this case. They prob won't cause any lasting damage to each other, but they'll have to work out a hierarchy now that they are sexually mature. Give them a few days to sort it out and monitor closely for someone getting picked on. If that happens remove him and treat his wounds
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:51 PM   #4
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They are hard to sex... the males will later develop a small nuchal bump on the head, and they are generally more rounded on the forehead. Females have a straighter slope from the mouth to the top of the head. When young it's almost impossible to tell most new world cichlids
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:53 PM   #5
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Is it just those 2 in there? What size tank? Just from the pics they look both male, at a guess
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Old 09-14-2020, 04:51 PM   #6
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Sadly, Today's Angelfish are not very easy to sex because gender traits of the past and in wild fish are now found on both sexes so behavior is your best bet until you can witness a spawning. Then you can tell for sure who is who.

From the behavior you described, the gold one may have spawned and is guarding eggs which is why she is lashing out at all the other fish. Look all around the area this one is spending the most time at. Look at plant leaves, rock or wood decor or even the glass wall. If you see the fish using a pectoral fin and fanning an area or picking at an area, that's usually a spawning sign.
If these do turn out to be a pair, fighting is their way of sizing up a mate so once the pair works together, things should settle down. It is possible however, that the fish damage each other physically during this time. I've had pairs where one had a missing eye or fins or multiple body injuries. That's the risk you take when you are dealing with breeding pairs.
So the bottom line is that you do run the risk of injuries if you let them stay together. If you do not intend on breeding them, I suggest putting in a divider so that the two can live peacefully alone together. Use something see through so that they can see each other. If they are still aggressive towards each other, you will need to keep them separate as they no longer like each other.
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Sager View Post
Sadly, Today's Angelfish are not very easy to sex because gender traits of the past and in wild fish are now found on both sexes so behavior is your best bet until you can witness a spawning. Then you can tell for sure who is who.

From the behavior you described, the gold one may have spawned and is guarding eggs which is why she is lashing out at all the other fish. Look all around the area this one is spending the most time at. Look at plant leaves, rock or wood decor or even the glass wall. If you see the fish using a pectoral fin and fanning an area or picking at an area, that's usually a spawning sign.
If these do turn out to be a pair, fighting is their way of sizing up a mate so once the pair works together, things should settle down. It is possible however, that the fish damage each other physically during this time. I've had pairs where one had a missing eye or fins or multiple body injuries. That's the risk you take when you are dealing with breeding pairs.
So the bottom line is that you do run the risk of injuries if you let them stay together. If you do not intend on breeding them, I suggest putting in a divider so that the two can live peacefully alone together. Use something see through so that they can see each other. If they are still aggressive towards each other, you will need to keep them separate as they no longer like each other.
It's a risk you take not only with breeding pairs, but cichlids in general, ime. Some that should get along don't, and vice-versa. It's always hit and miss. And who knows why sometimes one in the tank dislikes another one but will leave the rest alone...??? I guess that's part of the appeal
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:15 PM   #8
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In the past I had two nickle sized angels and they were best buddies until they got to be full-sized. I'm pretty sure they were two males so I ended up separating them. In my experience if they have not formed a pair by the time they reach adult size, they would prefer no other angels to be around.

Recently, I didn't know I had a female until she started laying eggs. I had her with 2 Bolivian Rams, but she hated them and now she lives alone.
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:35 PM   #9
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Haha! I have 2 females in a tank with other fish, but no angels. They alternate spawning, then after a couple of days eat the unfertilized eggs. While the brood is there tho, they act like a breeding pair and guard the eggs together and work as a 2 mom team
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by charliebankston View Post
Is it just those 2 in there? What size tank? Just from the pics they look both male, at a guess

Thank you for your responses! I have a 65 gallon tank (48 x 12.5 x 15 in) with two albino bristle-nose pleco, four Cory cats, five neon tetra, and three angels.

(Side note - The third angel is a bit smaller than the others, but somehow does not seem to be a target in the big tank. I rescued him and nursed him to health from a horrible pet store a few months ago. The tetras are masters of disguise and the angels donít chase them nearly as much as the tetras chase and nip each other).
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:16 PM   #11
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Yeah, I guess they don't see the little ones as a threat. I have lots of cichlid tanks, and they all usually just ignore the little ones. The bigger the tankmates, I guess the more perceived threat
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Sager View Post
Sadly, Today's Angelfish are not very easy to sex because gender traits of the past and in wild fish are now found on both sexes so behavior is your best bet until you can witness a spawning. Then you can tell for sure who is who.

From the behavior you described, the gold one may have spawned and is guarding eggs which is why she is lashing out at all the other fish. Look all around the area this one is spending the most time at. Look at plant leaves, rock or wood decor or even the glass wall. If you see the fish using a pectoral fin and fanning an area or picking at an area, that's usually a spawning sign.
If these do turn out to be a pair, fighting is their way of sizing up a mate so once the pair works together, things should settle down. It is possible however, that the fish damage each other physically during this time. I've had pairs where one had a missing eye or fins or multiple body injuries. That's the risk you take when you are dealing with breeding pairs.
So the bottom line is that you do run the risk of injuries if you let them stay together. If you do not intend on breeding them, I suggest putting in a divider so that the two can live peacefully alone together. Use something see through so that they can see each other. If they are still aggressive towards each other, you will need to keep them separate as they no longer like each other.
This makes me sad, but it is what I assumed. They were such a cute little pair for so long! I have been scanning the tank for eggs and fanning behaviors but havenít observed any yet.

I did notice today that the chasing seems to stop when I turn the lights off. With no lights, they begin swimming side by side again like usual. When I turn them back on, the yellow angel gets angry again!

I am going to attempt to add more plants as hideouts throughout the tank to make the targeting and darting behaviors a bit less aggressive (it seems super intense when they dart 40 inches across the tank). None of the fish have nipped fins or any visible damage at this point, so I am thankful for that!
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Laser View Post
In the past I had two nickle sized angels and they were best buddies until they got to be full-sized. I'm pretty sure they were two males so I ended up separating them. In my experience if they have not formed a pair by the time they reach adult size, they would prefer no other angels to be around.

Recently, I didn't know I had a female until she started laying eggs. I had her with 2 Bolivian Rams, but she hated them and now she lives alone.
So sad! They are such beautiful touches to a tropical aquarium. If only they could play nicely!
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:30 PM   #14
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I also just learned that there are different types of angels. I seem to have a gold angel, a clown angel, and a marble angel. Could this have anything to do with the aggression between the gold angel and clown angel? Or possibly the third angel somehow having an impact on them as a pair?
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:50 PM   #15
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I'm not sure. Doubtful tho. If anything conspecific aggression gets worse with similar colors, etc. But, I could be wrong
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:11 AM   #16
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Do a search on "angels fighting", you will have enough reading for a long time but not enough answers that work for you. Angels are...were my favorite fish, I've had tanks with 3 or 4 of them with no issues for years, yet for the most part I've had others where they fight till one of them kills or does damage to the others. Trying to sex them is difficult and I'm not even sure the fighting is a 'sex' thing. At times, being cichlids angels will do a quick mouth lock or peck at each other and even chase each other around but when you start seeing damage or a very stressed fish, I think it's time to remove one of them.
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