Zebra Angelfish Care Guide: Tank Setup, Breeding, Disease prevention and more…

Zebra Angelfish

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Zebra Angelfish Care Guide: Tank Setup, Breeding, Disease prevention and more…

The Zebra Angelfish, also known as Pterophyllum scalare var. Striata, is a variant of the freshwater angelfish. It is characterized by vertical black stripes on a silver or white background, resembling the stripes on a zebra, hence the name. These fish are popular in aquariums due to their striking appearance and graceful swimming behavior. Keep in mind that maintaining a suitable environment, including proper water conditions and tank mates, is crucial for their well-being.

Key Characteristics

Appearance: Zebra Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare var. Striata) have a distinct appearance with vertical black stripes on a silver or white background, resembling the stripes of a zebra. Their fins are long and flowing, adding to their graceful and elegant look.

Size: Adult Zebra Angelfish typically grow to a size of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm), measured from the tip of the dorsal fin to the bottom of the anal fin.

Origin: These angelfish are not found in the wild but are selectively bred from the common freshwater angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare), which originates from the Amazon River basin in South America.

Lifespan: With proper care, Zebra Angelfish can live up to 10 years or more in captivity.

Water Parameters: Maintaining suitable water conditions is crucial for their well-being. They thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. The temperature should be kept between 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C). Provide a well-filtered tank and regular water changes to ensure optimal conditions.

Care Difficulty: Zebra Angelfish are generally considered moderate in terms of care difficulty. They require a spacious tank with ample hiding spots and swimming space. A well-balanced diet of high-quality flake food, pellets, and occasional live or frozen treats will contribute to their health. Regular water testing and maintenance are essential to keep the tank conditions stable.

Behavior: They are known for their social behavior but can be territorial during breeding. It’s advisable to keep them in pairs or groups in larger aquariums, ensuring that they have appropriate hiding spots to reduce aggression.

Breeding: Breeding Zebra Angelfish can be a rewarding but somewhat challenging endeavor. They are known to form monogamous pairs and may lay their eggs on a clean, flat surface. Providing a separate breeding tank with appropriate conditions, including slightly warmer water, can increase the chances of successful breeding.

Remember, successful fishkeeping involves continuous learning and monitoring, so staying informed about their specific needs is key to providing the best care for Zebra Angelfish in your aquarium.

Zebra Angelfish Care Guide

Tank Setup:

  • Tank Size: Provide a spacious tank of at least 30 gallons for a pair of Zebra Angelfish. Larger tanks are recommended for a community of angelfish.
  • Substrate: Use fine gravel or sand as the substrate, as angelfish like to sift through the substrate.
  • Decor: Include driftwood, rocks, and live or artificial plants to create hiding spots and mimic their natural environment.
  • Filtration: Ensure efficient filtration to maintain water quality. Zebra Angelfish are sensitive to changes in water parameters.

Water Conditions:

  • Temperature: Keep the water temperature between 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C).
  • pH: Maintain a slightly acidic to neutral pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Hardness: Aim for soft to moderately hard water with a dGH (general hardness) of 5 to 13.


  • Offer a varied diet that includes high-quality flake food, pellets, and frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.
  • Feed them 2-3 times a day, only providing an amount they can consume in a few minutes to prevent overfeeding and water quality issues.

Behavior and Tankmates:

  • Zebra Angelfish are generally peaceful but can become territorial during breeding.
  • Suitable tankmates include other angelfish, tetras, gouramis, and peaceful catfish.
  • Avoid aggressive or nippy species that may stress or harm the angelfish.


  • If breeding is desired, provide a flat surface for the pair to lay eggs, such as a broad leaf or a slate.
  • Increase the temperature slightly, and ensure there are hiding spots for the fry.
  • After spawning, parents may become protective; consider providing a separate tank for the fry.

Common Diseases:

  • Keep a close eye on water quality to prevent diseases. Ammonia and nitrite levels should be at zero.
  • Common diseases include ich (white spot disease), fin rot, and bacterial infections.
  • Quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main tank to prevent the spread of diseases.

Routine Maintenance:

  • Perform regular water changes of 20-30% every 2 weeks.
  • Vacuum the substrate to remove debris and waste.
  • Monitor water parameters using test kits regularly.

Zebra Angelfish Breeding Guide

Breeding Zebra Angelfish can be a rewarding but somewhat intricate process. Here’s a step-by-step breeding guide:

1. Pair Selection:

  • Select a healthy pair of mature Zebra Angelfish. They are more likely to form a strong bond and successfully breed.

2. Conditioning:

  • Feed the pair a varied and nutritious diet, including live or frozen foods, to condition them for breeding.
  • Ensure the fish are in optimal health before attempting to breed.

3. Breeding Tank Setup:

  • Set up a separate breeding tank with a flat, vertical surface for egg attachment. This can be a broad leaf, slate, or a piece of PVC pipe.
  • Provide hiding spots, such as plants or decorations, for the female to lay eggs.
  • Install a sponge or pre-filter on the intake of the filter to protect the eggs and fry from being sucked in.

4. Increased Temperature:

  • Slightly raise the water temperature to around 80-82°F (27-28°C). This simulates the warmer conditions that encourage spawning.

5. Courtship and Spawning:

  • As the pair becomes more bonded, you’ll notice courtship behaviors, such as swimming together and “kissing.”
  • The female will lay adhesive eggs on the chosen surface, and the male will fertilize them. This process can be repeated several times.

6. Parental Care:

  • Both parents typically guard and care for the eggs. They may fan the eggs with their fins to provide oxygen and protect them from fungus.
  • If the parents become aggressive towards the eggs or newly hatched fry, it might be necessary to move them to a separate tank.

7. Hatching and Fry Care:

  • The eggs usually hatch in about 48-72 hours. The fry will initially feed off their yolk sacs.
  • Once the yolk sacs are absorbed, start feeding the fry with infusoria, powdered fry food, or newly hatched brine shrimp.
  • Perform small, frequent water changes to maintain optimal water quality.

8. Gradual Transition:

  • As the fry grow, transition them to larger food, such as finely crushed flakes and baby brine shrimp.
  • Continue to monitor water parameters and maintain a clean environment.

9. Weaning Off Parents:

  • When the fry are large enough to fend for themselves, usually after a few weeks, consider moving them to their own tank or section within the main tank.
  • The parents may start preparing for another spawn, and separating the fry helps prevent aggression.

Remember, patience and careful observation are crucial during the breeding process. Not every attempt may be successful, so be prepared for multiple tries. Additionally, maintaining stable water conditions and providing proper nutrition are key factors in successful Zebra Angelfish breeding.

Zebra Angelfish

Best Places To Buy

When looking to purchase Zebra Angelfish, there are several options available, both online and in-person. Keep in mind that prices can vary based on factors such as the source, the quality of the fish, and the region. Here are some general suggestions for places to buy and average price ranges:

  1. Local Fish Stores (LFS):
    • Check with your local fish stores, as they often carry a variety of freshwater fish, including Zebra Angelfish. Prices can range from $5 to $15 per fish, depending on size and coloration.
  2. Online Retailers:
    • Reputable online fish stores and websites dedicated to aquarium enthusiasts may offer a broader selection. Prices can vary, but you might find Zebra Angelfish ranging from $5 to $20 or more, depending on factors like size, color, and rarity.
  3. Aquarium Shows and Events:
    • Attend aquarium shows, expos, or local fish club events. These gatherings often have reputable breeders and sellers offering a variety of fish. Prices may vary, but you can expect to find quality Zebra Angelfish starting from $10 and going up based on factors like size and genetics.
  4. Specialized Breeders:
    • Look for specialized breeders who focus on angelfish breeding. Prices from reputable breeders can range from $10 to $30 or more, depending on factors such as coloration, size, and lineage.
  5. Online Auctions and Forums:
    • Participate in online aquarium forums or auctions where hobbyists and breeders sell fish. Prices can vary, and you might find good deals, especially if purchasing from fellow enthusiasts. Exercise caution and ensure the credibility of the seller.

Remember to consider the reputation of the seller, the health of the fish, and any reviews or recommendations from other buyers. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to your main tank to prevent the spread of diseases. Additionally, prices can fluctuate, so it’s a good idea to check multiple sources and compare before making a purchase.

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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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