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Angelfish Care
~Pooja Chakrabarty

Learning the Basics of Angelfish Care

The Angelfish is one of the most popular aquarium species. These fish have an almost ethereal quality about them. No wonder they are named 'angels'. Care for them well and they will look beautiful for you in their aquarium.

The first and foremost aspect of Angelfish Care is setting up the aquarium, and providing (and maintaining the appropriate water quality). Angelfish care is not rocket science, but it will require some effort on your part.

Angelfish seem delicate when young, but they grow fast and they breed easily. They come in many color variations, and are a lovely fish to have in an aquarium. These fish occur in large numbers in the Amazon River.

Angelfish care also involves giving it the proper food

Living as they do in the soft and acidic waters of the Amazon, a pH range of 6.0 to 7.2 suits them fine. However, a pH between 6.5 and 6.8 (slightly acidic) would assist in spawning. When looking after angelfish care should be taken to see to it that the ammonia levels are kept at the minimum as water high in ammonia can be fatal for your fish. A good filter therefore is vital. They can live in temperatures ranging from 70oF to 85 oF, but the ideal range would be between 76 oF and 80 oF.

Angelfish care also involves giving it the proper food. Most angelfish will accept flakes and pellets, but a more varied diet which also includes bloodworms, and brine shrimp, among other things, is recommended.  When you are feeding worms to your angelfish, carefully clean the worms. Do not buy worms that are not in the best condition.

Angelfish require a 30 gallon tank with a good filter and a heater to maintain the temperature. A gravel substrate may be used, but it should not be more than a quarter inch thick. Placing plants in the aquarium will go a long way in making your angelfish feel secure.

Like with other cichlids, buy either a single angelfish, or buy 4 or more. The rationale behind this is that the aggressions of the dominant fish will not be confined to only one other fish. Buying the correct number of angelfish will go a long way in reducing fish stress later on.

Do not keep angels with neon tetras or guppies for an adult angelfish will likely eat them up. Angelfish can be kept with fish like Silver Dollars, bigger Tetras, and Gouramis.

Hole-in-the-head disease is one disease that often affects angelfish. Care should be taken to maintain the water quality as Hole-in-the-head disease is believed to be caused due to poor water quality over an extended time period. A well cared for angelfish can live for as many as 10 years, and grow to heights of 10".

The breeding of angelfish is rather difficult. The best way is to keep about 6 in an aquarium and give them the freedom to form pairs on their own. The pair should be kept in a separate tank for spawning. Angelfish like to lay on clean, inclined surfaces. Once the eggs have been laid , they should be separated from their parents, and raised in a different tank as angel parents may consume the fry.

This strikingly attractive fish is quite a favorite among fish enthusiasts. Moreover, these fish have personalities. Sometimes they become so attached to one of their tankmates that if it dies, they too stop eating and may perish as well. At this point changing the water conditions slightly, or giving them a different diet might help them snap out such self-destructive behavior patterns. An occasional angelfish even learns to recognize its owner, and may even take food from his fingers.

These hardy fish are quite disease-resistant, but are not recommended for beginners. Angelfish care is not as easy as one might think, but they are by far one of the most popular aquarium fish going.

[The picture used in this article has been taken from the photo library of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce.]

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