The green angelfish, scientifically known as Pterophyllum scalare, is a freshwater fish species native to the Amazon River basin in South America. It is a popular and attractive aquarium fish known for its distinctive and elegant appearance.
Green angelfish are generally peaceful but can be territorial during breeding. They are omnivorous and will eat a diet consisting of both plant matter and small aquatic creatures. Proper care and maintenance are essential for their health and well-being, including suitable tank conditions, water parameters, and appropriate tankmates.
The green angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) is native to the Amazon River basin in South America. Specifically, they are found in the slow-moving or still waters of various tributaries and rivers in countries like Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. These fish are typically encountered in areas with abundant aquatic vegetation and submerged tree roots. The warm, soft, and slightly acidic waters of the Amazon basin provide the natural habitat for these fish.
In the wild, they inhabit densely vegetated areas, using the aquatic plants and submerged branches as shelter and breeding sites. Due to their natural environment, they are accustomed to warm and slightly acidic water conditions.
appearance and size
Green angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) are known for their distinctive and elegant appearance. They have a unique body shape with elongated, triangular bodies and long, trailing fins, which contribute to their graceful and eye-catching appearance. Here are some key features of their appearance:
- Coloration: The term “green angelfish” typically refers to individuals with greenish hues on their bodies, but their coloration can vary depending on factors such as genetics, environment, and diet. In the wild, they often exhibit a silver or silver-gray base color with greenish or blueish iridescent scales. In captivity, selective breeding has led to various color variations, including shades of green, blue, and even other colors.
- Fins: They have long, flowing dorsal and anal fins, which give them an elegant and graceful appearance. These fins can have a trailing or ribbon-like appearance in some individuals.
- Stripes and Markings: Wild green angelfish often have vertical black stripes on their bodies. These stripes can vary in number and intensity, and they help with camouflage in their natural habitat. Selectively bred varieties may have different markings or color patterns.
As for size, green angelfish can grow to be around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) in length when fully mature, although there can be some variation among individuals. Males and females are generally similar in appearance, but there are some subtle differences that can help you distinguish them:
Green Angelfish Care guide
Here’s a care guide for green angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) in an aquarium setting, covering tank setup, feeding, and disease prevention:
- Tank Size: Green angelfish are relatively large fish, so it’s best to keep them in a spacious aquarium. A 30-gallon (about 114 liters) tank or larger is recommended for a small group of angelfish.
- Water Parameters: Green angelfish prefer warm, soft, and slightly acidic water conditions, similar to their natural habitat. Aim for the following parameters:
- Temperature: 78-82°F (25-28°C)
- pH: 6.5-7.0
- Hardness: Soft to slightly hard water, around 5-10 dGH
- Filtration: Use a good-quality aquarium filter to maintain water quality. Angelfish can be sensitive to poor water conditions, so regular water changes and a cycled filter are essential.
- Substrate: A fine gravel or sand substrate is suitable. Some live plants and driftwood can be added to mimic their natural habitat and provide hiding spots.
- Decor: Include plants and other decorations to create hiding places and territories. Angelfish often use broad-leaved plants or driftwood as potential breeding sites.
- Lighting: Angelfish don’t require intense lighting, so opt for moderate to low light levels.
- Diet: Green angelfish are omnivorous. Offer a balanced diet that includes high-quality flake or pellet food as the base. Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and vegetable matter such as blanched spinach or spirulina flakes.
- Feeding Frequency: Feed them 2-3 times a day, but be mindful not to overfeed. They should consume their food within a few minutes.
- Quarantine New Fish: Before adding new fish to your aquarium, quarantine them in a separate tank for a few weeks. This helps prevent the introduction of diseases to your established tank.
- Water Quality: Maintain excellent water quality through regular water changes and effective filtration. Ammonia and nitrite levels should be at zero, and nitrate levels should be kept low.
- Temperature Stability: Keep the water temperature stable, as rapid temperature fluctuations can stress the fish and make them more susceptible to diseases.
- Observation: Regularly observe your angelfish for any signs of illness, such as changes in behavior, loss of appetite, or unusual physical symptoms. If you notice any issues, take action promptly.
- Quarantine Sick Fish: If a fish becomes ill, consider isolating it in a quarantine tank to prevent the spread of disease to other fish.
- Medication: Consult with an experienced aquarist or a veterinarian specializing in fish if you suspect your angelfish are sick. Use appropriate medications as needed, but always follow dosing instructions carefully.
Breeding green angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) can be a rewarding but somewhat challenging endeavor. Here’s a guide on how to breed them successfully:
1. Pair Selection:
- Start with a group of young angelfish and let them pair naturally. You may notice some pairs forming based on their behavior and interactions.
- If you want to select a specific pair, observe their compatibility and choose a male and female that get along well. Look for signs of bonding, such as following each other closely.
- To encourage breeding behavior, provide a nutritious diet that includes high-quality live and frozen foods. Supplement their diet with vitamin-rich foods, like brine shrimp and blackworms.
- Maintain stable water conditions with the appropriate temperature and water parameters mentioned in the previous care guide.
3. Breeding Tank Setup:
- Set up a separate breeding tank with dimensions of at least 20-30 gallons (75-115 liters). Use a sponge filter for gentle water movement.
- Provide flat surfaces for egg attachment, such as broad leaves, a piece of slate, or a vertical surface like a piece of PVC pipe. These will serve as potential breeding sites.
- Add some fine-leaved plants or marbles at the tank bottom for the eggs to fall onto, providing a safe and clean area.
4. Inducing Breeding:
- Increase the temperature slightly (to the upper end of the recommended range) to mimic the warm rainy season in their natural habitat. This can stimulate breeding behavior.
- Conduct regular water changes to simulate fresh rainwater, which may also trigger breeding.
5. Spawning and Care:
- Once a pair has formed, you may notice courtship displays, such as the fish swimming together and “cleaning” potential breeding sites.
- The female will lay eggs on the chosen surface, and the male will fertilize them. They will take turns guarding the eggs.
- After a few days, the eggs will hatch into fry. At this point, the parents may move the fry to a different location.
- The parents will continue to guard and care for the fry, and they may even provide a mucus secretion that the fry can feed on initially.
6. Feeding the Fry:
- After a few days, the fry will become free-swimming and will need proper nutrition. You can feed them infusoria, powdered fry food, or newly hatched brine shrimp.
- Gradually transition them to larger foods as they grow, such as finely crushed flake food and baby brine shrimp.
- As the fry grow, they will need more space. Consider moving them to a separate grow-out tank to prevent overcrowding and potential aggression from the parents or other fish.
8. Water Quality:
- Maintain pristine water quality in the breeding and grow-out tanks to ensure the health and growth of the fry.
- Breeding angelfish can take some time and several attempts. Be patient and observe the behavior of your angelfish to ensure they are ready to breed.
Best Places to Buy and average price
The best place to buy green angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) can depend on your location and personal preferences. Here are some common options for purchasing angelfish, and I’ll provide an approximate average price for reference. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on factors like the fish’s age, coloration, and the source you choose:
- Local Fish Stores (LFS): Many local fish stores carry a variety of freshwater fish, including angelfish. Prices at LFS can vary widely based on the region and the specific angelfish strains available. On average, you might find angelfish in the range of $5 to $20 per fish, with some specialty strains or larger specimens being more expensive.
- Online Retailers: Numerous online fish retailers and aquarist communities offer a wide selection of angelfish. You can find standard strains as well as more exotic or selectively bred variations. Prices can range from $5 to $50 or more per fish, depending on factors like size, coloration, and rarity.
- Aquarist Associations and Clubs: Some local or regional aquarium clubs and associations hold fish auctions or swaps where you can purchase fish, including angelfish, from fellow hobbyists. Prices at these events can vary, but they may offer an opportunity to find unique or locally bred strains.
- Breeders: Some hobbyist breeders specialize in breeding angelfish and may offer high-quality specimens, often at competitive prices. Prices can vary significantly depending on the breeder, the strain, and the fish’s quality. You can find individual breeders through online forums, social media groups, or local aquarium events.