Angelfish and eggs

In this post, we will learn a little about the reproduction of Angelfish and the biological aspects of the species and its eggs.

Angelfish and eggs

In the wild or captivity, with artificial or natural hatching processes, Angelfish eggs go through the same stages. At first, the mating couple cleans the area where she will lay her eggs. She can spend up to 24 hours in the cleaning process. The spawning site can be leaves or even other tank structures.

Angelfish characteristics

Angelfish are characterized by their flat and elongated body, that evolved in a manner of being able to move easily through the vegetation without getting stuck in their highly vegetated natural habitat. Angelfish can survive for about 10 to 12 years. They measure around 10 inches in height and 6 inches in length. 

During swimming activities, they use the dorsal, pectoral and ventral fins as propellers. These fins are large and for this reason, they have the triangular body appearance, that gives them the Angelfish name. The size of these fins also provides support to show a wider body structure when facing other fish species. Their dorsal and anal fins are large and contribute to forming the triangular body appearance.

Female and male Angelfish look the same

It is not very easy to determine the sex of Angelfish visually unless the female is preparing to breed. Both sexes have an organ called the papilla located between the anal and ventral fins.

During pregnancy, the female carries the eggs and her papilla becomes slightly enlarged with a blunt tip. When the male feels a pregnant female, his papilla also enlarges a little but has a sharper tip. These characteristics make it possible to distinguish between sexes. However, it can still be confusing.

You can always be sure that any Angelfish that lays eggs is a female. Any other Angelfish in the pool who do not become pregnant or do not respond to a pregnant female may be more females or males who are not interested in mating and procreating or are not sexually mature yet.

Angelfish reproduction

These fish perform some complex behaviours with regard to reproduction. It is a very territorial fish species, and are extremely dedicated to the care of the fry for around 2 months, especially during the initial stage. Angelfish are considered monogamous, although males can switch partners every few breeding cycles.

The males are chosen by the females according to their aggressiveness and also to their reproduction experience. Those who are more aggressive have greater chances of reproducing, while the less aggressive are rejected. More aggressive males usually defend their offspring better. Thus, more fries will survive and have greater chances to reach adulthood.

To lay eggs, females usually place them over plants, as they have the particularity of adhering to the substrate where they were laid. Before spawning, the couple cleans the surface where they are going to lay the eggs. After the spawning, the male expels his sperm in each of the eggs to fertilize them individually. They can lay on average 600 eggs per breeding cycle.

Angelfish Egg 

Angelfish lays eggs in layers. The female prefers to lay the eggs in neat rows on a piece of submerged slate leaning against the wall of the pond. The male goes after her and uses his papilla to fertilize each egg individually.

The chicks are free to swim at some point around day 5 and start eating alone around day 7, after absorbing the egg yolk sacs.

Stages of reproduction

1.   Laying the eggs – After the couple cleaned the site, the female lay the sticky eggs in rows;

2.   Pre-hatching – eggs with 60 hours old will have a developed larvae;

3.   Wiggler – stage right after hatching, the larvae are still in development and feeding on the yolk sack;

4.   Free-swimming fry – 3 to 5  days after the hatching, the larvae consumed the entire yolk sack and they start feeding on microscopic organisms.

After 6 to 8 months, the Angelfish will become sexually mature and can start pairing off with breeding purposes.

Angelfish in the aquarium

The Angelfish are very popular among aquarium lovers due to their colours and shape. Angelfish are original from the warm waters of South America. Thus, the aquarium temperature should be kept around 74 degrees Fahrenheit. The aquarium should be a bit deep, as Angelfish can swim vertically and get tall.

Contrary to what some people believe about the territoriality of the Angelfish, they can socialize well with other species. Hence, they can share the aquarium with other warm-water tropical fish. Keep in mind that small-bodied fish should be introduced to young Angelfish. This is because the Angelfish could see the smaller ones as prey if the size difference is big.

As for food, Angelfish can be fed dried or frozen food. Live foods are better for a healthy and efficient spawning on Angelfish, so the use of live fleas, bloodworms, and small shrimp is recommended.

To breed Angelfish in a tank, some conditions should be followed to provide them with the ideal environment. To take care of the fingerlings, it is necessary to transfer them to another aquarium, but keeping the same water they were born, in which it is recommended few drops of methylene blue that avoid fungi development and spread. 


In this post, we learnt a little about the reproduction of Angelfish and the biological aspects of the species and its eggs.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Angelfish and eggs

How long does it take for Angelfish eggs to hatch?

The Angelfish eggs will hatch after 2 or 3 days. The Angelfish fingerlings will become free-living fries after 3 to 5 days after the fertilization. However, the development processes can be affected by the water temperature. 

How many times do Angelfish lay eggs?

It depends on the age of the Angelfish. They can lay eggs weekly or biweekly if the eggs are removed from the tank. If the female begin to take care of the eggs, this process can take longer.

Does the male or female Angelfish guard the eggs?

Usually, the couple will take care of the eggs. Their aggressive behaviour towards other fish species or conspecifics will increase and this protection will last for around 2 months.

Do Angelfish eat their babies?

In general, adults Angelfish do not eat their offspring. However, some aquarists prefer to separate the parents from the fries as the parenting delays the next breeding cycle.

Do Angelfish guard their eggs?

Yes, they clean and protect their eggs until they hatch. After that, they start to protect their hatchlings for around 2 months.

How long does it take for the Angelfish fry to grow?

Angelfish fries will be considered grown and sexually mature between 6 and 8 months old. 


Angelfish Egg Stages – The Complete Guide.

Moyer, J. T., & Nakazono, A. (1978). Population Structure, Reproductive Behavior and Protogynous Hermaphroditism in the Angelfish. Centropyge interruptus at Miyake-jima, Japan. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology, 25(1), 25-39.

Chien, A. K. (1973). Reproductive behaviour of the angelfish Pterophyllum scalare (Pisces: Cichlidae) II. Influence of male stimuli upon the spawning rate of females. Animal Behaviour, 21(3), 457-463.

Angelfish Complete Care Guide, Size, Life Span, Tank Mates, Breeding. 2020.