Pterphyllum scalare are the most popular strain of freshwater Angelfish found in the hobby today. They are part of the family of cichlidae, and feature a flat disk-shaped body with elongated dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins. These fish have been in the hobby for a long time and can be found in many different color patterns. The Silver Angelfish is the natural color in the wild and is very popular with aquarists. Some of the other popular varieties are the Black Angelfish, the Koi Angelfish, and the Marble Angelfish.
Angelfish are generally peaceful an mix well with most peaceful community fish but may eat smaller fish that will fit in their mouth. They will show increased levels of aggression when courting and spawning. They are very protective of their chosen surface for laying their eggs. Once a spot has been chosen, they will aggressively chase any intruders away. Some ideal fish to keep with Angelfish include peaceful dwarf cichlids like German Blue Rams and Bolivian Rams. Kribensis and other peaceful schooling fish like Rasboras, are also compatible with Angelfish.
Tank Requirements and Feeding:
Pterphyllum scalare are native to the Amazon Basin in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil and prefer similar water conditions. The tank should have several plants, and open swimming space and some flat surfaces (if you want to breed them). The water should be soft with a temperature between 76-82°F and a pH between 6.0 and 8.0.
Angelfish are omnivores and will readily accept a wide range of foods. A good diet should include commercially prepared flake or sinking pellets and frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp and blood worms. They are aggressive eaters and will come right up to the surface of the water looking for food.
A pair of Silver Angelfish caring for their eggs. The oviduct is still visible on the female. Several young Angelfish are also in the tank.
Pterphyllum scalare are a seually monomophic species, where males and females look practically identical. The only way to tell a male from a female is when they are ready to spawn. When a female is ready to spawn, her oviduct will be visible.
The best way to get a pair of Angelfish for breeding is to buy a group of six or more young fish and let them naturally pair up as they mature. Once they are paired, the remaining fish should be moved to another tank. Spawning can be encouraged with a partial water change and by raising the temperature to close to 82°F. The pair will clean a chosen flat surface in the aquarium and the female will make several passes, sticking her eggs to the surface. The male follows closely fertilizing the eggs and both Angelfish will protect the eggs and fry. First time parents may eat their eggs, but they will eventually learn and become good parents.