Angelfish (Pterophyllum)
Common Name: Angelfish

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Cichlidae

Genus: Pterophyllum

Species: P. innesi

Binomial Name: Pterophyllum altum, Pterophyllum leopoldi, Pterophyllum scalare

Most angelfish available in the hobby are the result of many decades of inter- breeding between the various species of Pterophyllum, especially P. scalare and P. leopoldi. The result of this is a domestic angelfish that is a hybrid, that has a resemblance to wild Pterophyllum species. Although most domestic angelfish resemble Pterophyllum scalare and are referred to as such, This is not the case they are a hybrid variety of the Pterophyllum species.
P. scalare
The most well known species of angelfish is Pterophyllum scalare. Pterophyllum scalare's colour is silver with three brown vertical stripes. It is very peaceful although sometimes can be aggressive to smaller fish. They spawn on broad-leaved sword plants in the wild, But will also spawn almost any flat sloped surface in an aquarium, Its maximum size is around 1215 cm in length, up to 20 cm in height. Angelfish prefer water with a 6.08.0 pH, with 6.5-7.4 being ideal, a water hardness of 5.013.0 dGH, and a temperature range of 2430C (7586F). Average lifespan in an aquarium is 10 years. Freshwater angelfish are piscivores, meaning that they eat other fish. But in an aquarium, angelfish become lazy and much prefer flake food rather than having to hunt live fish. They are safe to keep with other peaceful fish that are not too small.
P. altum
Its has silver body colour but with three brownish/red vertical stripes and red striping patterns into the fins. The species may show red spotting when mature and when aroused exhibits a black operculum spot. Wild p.Altum is one of most difficult to breed in captivity, it can exceed 50 cm in height in the wild. but in aquariums, they have known to have grow to just over 40 cm. They prefer a pH range between 4.5 to 5.8. They come from very transparent blackwater with almost nil conductivity. Temperature range in these waters is between 26C and 29C. Unlike P. scalare which prefer to spawn on plants, P. altum prefers to spawn on submerged roots and tree branches. Only advanced aquarists should keep p.altum because of detailed maintenance it requires for proper health.
P. leopoldi
The Pterophyllum leopoldi is a river dwelling angelfish that originates from rivers in the Amazon River basin. P. leopoldi can be differentiated from P. scalare because of it's more horizontally elongated body and the black band which goes through the fish's eye and goes straight over the head and joins up on the other side. P. leopoldi is very rarely seen in the hobby.
breeding Angelfish
P. scalare are easy to breed in the aquarium, But because of decades of inbreeding, Angelfish have almost completely lost their rearing instincts. This results in the parents eating their young. It is very difficult to identify the gender of any Angelfish until they almost ready to breed. Angelfish pairs form long-term relationships where each individual will protect the other from threats and potential suitors. Upon the death or removal of one of the mated pair, some breeders have experienced a total refusal of the other mate to pair up with any other angelfish; others have had more success with subsequent mates. Both parents care for the young. A pair of angels are capable of spawning every seven to ten days when eggs from a previous spawn have been removed. Spawning frequency will decrease and eventually cease after they are three years old. When the pair is ready to spawn, the pair will choose a spot upon which to lay the eggs and clean the surface of any dirt or algae. The spawning area will be a broad-leaf plant or a flat surface like a piece of slate placed vertically in the aquarium. The female will deposit a line of eggs on the spawning substrate, followed by the male who will fertilize the eggs. This process will repeat itself until there are a total of 100 to up to 1200+ eggs. The pair will take turns faning water over the eggs. Within days, the eggs will hatch and the fry will remain attached to the spawning substrate. After one week, The fry will become free swimming after they consume their yolk sacs. The fry can now be fed baby brine shrimp.