Black Angelfish Care | Guide to breeding, tank setup and best places to buy

Black Angelfish

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Black Angelfish Care | Guide to breeding, tank setup and best places to buy

The black angelfish is a populat tropical freshwater fish and is a color morph of the angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare), a popular freshwater aquarium fish. Black angelfish are characterized by their predominantly black coloration, which can vary in intensity from nearly completely black to having black patches or stripes on a silver or dark background.


The angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare), including black angelfish varieties, are native to the tropical and subtropical regions of South America. They are primarily found in the Amazon River basin, which encompasses parts of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and other neighboring countries. The Amazon River and its tributaries are their natural habitat, where they inhabit slow-moving and calm waters, including creeks, rivers, and flooded areas during the wet season.

Angelfish are known for their graceful appearance and distinctive body shape, which makes them well-suited for navigating through densely planted aquatic environments in the wild. Their natural habitat is characterized by warm, soft, and slightly acidic water, and replicating these water conditions in captivity is essential for their well-being when kept as aquarium fish.

Appearance and Size

Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare), including black angelfish varieties, have a distinctive and elegant appearance. Here are some of their key characteristics:

  1. Body Shape: Angelfish have a laterally compressed body, giving them a triangular shape with a tall, elongated dorsal fin and anal fin. This shape allows them to navigate through dense aquatic vegetation in their natural habitat.
  2. Size: Adult angelfish typically reach a size of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) in length, although there can be some variation. The size of an angelfish can also be influenced by factors like genetics and the conditions in which it’s raised.
  3. Coloration: The coloration of angelfish can vary widely, including the black angelfish variety you mentioned. Black angelfish are predominantly black, and the intensity of the black coloration can vary. Some may have black stripes or patches on a darker background. In contrast, wild-type angelfish have a silvery body with vertical black stripes. There are also other color variations, such as silver, gold, and marble, which have different patterns and colors.
  4. Fins: Angelfish have long, flowing fins, including the dorsal fin, anal fin, and pelvic fins. The pectoral fins are used for navigation and balance.
  5. Eye and Mouth: Their eyes are large and positioned towards the front of their head, which allows them to see prey and navigate effectively. Their mouths are small and slightly tilted upward, adapted for capturing food from the water’s surface.
  6. Behavior: Angelfish are generally peaceful but can be territorial, especially during breeding. They are known for their deliberate and graceful swimming.

Black Angelfish Care Guide

Caring for angelfish, including black angelfish, in an aquarium requires attention to various aspects such as tank setup, feeding, and disease prevention. Here’s a care guide for angelfish:

Tank Setup:

  1. Tank Size: A suitable tank size for a pair of angelfish or a small group is a minimum of 20 gallons, but larger tanks (30 gallons or more) are preferable, as they provide more swimming space and better water stability.
  2. Water Parameters:
  • Temperature: Maintain a stable temperature between 75-82°F (24-28°C).
  • pH Level: Keep the pH in the slightly acidic to neutral range (6.5-7.5).
  • Water Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water is ideal, with a dGH of 5-12.
  1. Filtration: Use a good-quality filtration system to maintain water quality. Angelfish are sensitive to ammonia and nitrite, so a cycled filter is essential.
  2. Decor and Plants: Provide plenty of live or artificial plants for cover and to simulate their natural habitat. Driftwood, rocks, and caves can also be added. Be sure to leave open swimming spaces.
  3. Lighting: Angelfish don’t have specific lighting requirements, so moderate lighting is usually sufficient.


  1. Diet: Angelfish are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods. Offer them a balanced diet, including high-quality flake or pellet food, frozen or live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. It’s a good idea to include some vegetable matter in their diet, such as blanched spinach or spirulina-based foods.
  2. Feeding Schedule: Feed them 2-3 times a day, but be cautious not to overfeed. They should consume their food within a few minutes to avoid water quality issues.

Disease Prevention:

  1. Quarantine: Always quarantine new fish for at least a few weeks before adding them to your main tank to prevent the introduction of diseases.
  2. Clean Water: Maintain high water quality by performing regular water changes and monitoring ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  3. Stress Reduction: Minimize stressors such as sudden changes in water parameters, overcrowding, and aggressive tankmates.
  4. Common Diseases: Keep an eye out for common diseases like ich (white spot disease), fin rot, and bacterial infections. If you notice any signs of illness, isolate and treat affected fish promptly.
  5. Temperature: Maintain a stable temperature within the recommended range, as temperature fluctuations can stress the fish and make them more susceptible to diseases.

Remember that while angelfish are generally hardy, good care practices are essential to keep them healthy and vibrant in your aquarium. Regular observation and attention to their needs will help ensure a successful and enjoyable angelfish-keeping experience.

Breeding Guide

Breeding angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) can be a rewarding but somewhat challenging endeavor. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to breed angelfish:

1. Selecting Breeding Pairs:

  • Choose healthy, mature angelfish for breeding. Look for fish that are at least 6-8 months old and in good condition.
  • Ideally, keep several angelfish together and let them form their pairs naturally. You can also observe their behavior to see if any pairs have formed.

2. Breeding Tank Setup:

  • Set up a separate breeding tank, typically smaller than the main tank, around 20-30 gallons in size.
  • Provide soft, slightly acidic water with a temperature between 78-82°F (25-28°C).
  • Use a sponge filter for gentle filtration to prevent the fry from being sucked into a powerful filter.
  • Place a vertical surface, such as a spawning slate or a piece of smooth glass, at a 30-45° angle in the tank for the fish to lay their eggs on.

3. Conditioning the Breeding Pair:

  • Feed the selected pair high-quality food, including live or frozen foods, to condition them for breeding.
  • Increase the frequency and variety of their meals to encourage breeding readiness.

4. Courtship and Spawning:

  • The pair will engage in courtship behaviors, which include swimming together, cleaning a spawning site, and displaying their fins.
  • Once the pair has chosen a site, they will lay eggs on the chosen surface and then fertilize them. The female deposits her eggs while the male fertilizes them.

5. Caring for Eggs:

  • After spawning, the parents will guard and fan the eggs to ensure proper oxygenation. They may also remove any fungus-covered or unfertilized eggs.
  • Eggs typically hatch within 48-72 hours.

6. Caring for Fry:

  • When the eggs hatch, the fry will initially feed on their yolk sacs. Once the yolk sacs are absorbed, start feeding them with newly hatched brine shrimp or specially formulated fry food.
  • Ensure that the fry have access to live or small food items suitable for their size.
  • Perform regular water changes to maintain water quality, and be careful not to disturb the fry too much.

7. Gradual Separation:

  • As the fry grow and become free-swimming, they can be gently separated from the parents and moved to a separate rearing tank or section of the breeding tank.
  • Continue to provide appropriate food for the growing fry.

8. Growth and Care:

  • Maintain good water quality in the rearing tank, and ensure that the fry have enough space to grow.
  • As the angelfish fry develop, their appearance will change, and they will become more like miniature adult angelfish.

9. Rearing and Selling:

  • Continue to feed and care for the fry until they are large enough to be sold or moved to a larger aquarium.

Breeding angelfish can take some patience, as not all pairs will be successful on their first attempt. It’s important to be prepared for the care of both the eggs and the fry to increase their chances of survival. With proper care, you can enjoy watching the development of angelfish fry into adult fish.

Best Places To Buy and Average Price

The availability and pricing of angelfish can vary depending on your location and the specific variety you’re interested in. Here are some common places to buy angelfish and the average prices you might expect:

  1. Local Fish Stores (LFS): Many local fish stores carry a variety of freshwater fish, including angelfish. Prices can vary, but you may find common angelfish varieties for $5 to $10 per fish, while more rare or specialty varieties may cost significantly more.
  2. Online Retailers: Numerous online fish stores and aquarium supply websites offer angelfish for sale. The cost can vary widely depending on the variety and size. Prices typically range from $5 to $15 for common angelfish varieties, with specialty or rare types potentially costing more.
  3. Aquarium Clubs and Forums: Joining a local aquarium club or online fishkeeping forums can be a great way to find hobbyists who breed and sell angelfish. Prices may vary, but you can often find reasonable deals, especially on locally bred angelfish.
  4. Aquarium Shows and Events: Attend local aquarium shows, expos, and events where fish breeders and enthusiasts often offer fish for sale. Prices can vary based on the rarity of the variety and the reputation of the breeder.
  5. Private Breeders: Some hobbyist breeders may advertise their angelfish for sale on platforms like Craigslist, Facebook groups, or through personal websites. Prices can vary widely, and you should exercise caution to ensure the health and quality of the fish.

Keep in mind that the price of angelfish can vary significantly based on factors like size, coloration, variety, and local demand. Rare or specially bred varieties may command higher prices. It’s important to do your research, verify the health of the fish, and inquire about the breeder’s reputation when purchasing angelfish from any source.

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Aquarium Enthusiast

I love sharing my knowledge about all things aquarium related. I have been keeping aquariums for over 20 years and cannot imagine a life without an aquarium. 

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