How to tell the gender of angelfish?

In this article we will discuss the ways to differentiate between male and female angelfish.We will also discuss what to look for when trying to breed them.

Overview

In this blog

  • How to tell the gender of angelfish?
  • What is the definition of sexual differentiation?
  • Male angelfish
  • General behavior of male angelfish
  • Female angelfish
  • General behavior of female angelfish
  • How to distinguish angelfish genders during breeding season?
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference

How to tell the gender of angelfish?

Freshwater angelfish are considered protogynous hermaphrodites, and it is known that a female angelfish turns into a male angelfish at a certain stage of her life.

This only happens when the dominant male disappears from the groups and the larger angle female replaces them by switching to a male angelfish.

It will be a little difficult to differentiate their genders when they are juveniles.Only when they get matured,you can actually differentiate their genders.

A well-maintained angelfish generally lays eggs very easily, but it is up to the fish owner to accurately determine the sex of the fish in the tank. Determining the gender of an angelfish is not always easy, but there are some obvious signs.

Four prominent signs to differentiate their genders:

  • Bumped head
  • Body shape and size
  • Breeding tube
  • Ventral,dorsal and front fins
Male angelfishFemale angelfish
Large circular bodyThick bumped foreheadForked front finThin pointed tubeCloaca much narrowerSmaller eyesRidge on their nose More aggressiveReach sexual maturity faster  Small angular bodyNo bump on foreheadSmooth front finBlunt shallow tubeCloaca much widerRounded eyes Flat noseOccasionally aggressiveReach sexual maturity later.

What is the definition of sexual differentiation?

Sexual differentiation or sexual dimorphism, is a condition in which the sexes of similar species display different traits in addition to sexual characteristics. 

The various secondary sexual characteristics are:

  •  Size of the body
  •  Weight of the body
  •  Color of the body
  •  Marks on the body
  •  Behavioral traits of species
  •  Cognitive traits of species.

Male angelfish

Male body size

  • Male angelfish can reach upto 5 or 6 inches in length when fully grown.
  • Male angelfish are larger than female angelfish.
  • Growth- Male angelfish will grow faster than female angelfish.

Male body shape

  • Male angelfish have larger,circular,fatty and robust bodies than female angels.
  • Male and female angelfish have very similar body shapes. In fact, if you don’t have trained eyes, it can be difficult to notice the differences between them.

Male forehead

  • Male angelfish have a more rounded forehead than female angelfish.
  • Pronounced nuchal hump on their forehead,and it is more prominent only in the presence of other male angelfish to display their aggression.

Male front,ventral fin and dorsal fins

  • Male angelfish will have a forked front fin.
  • Males have bifurcated ventral fins.
  • Dorsal fins are fully erected

Male breeding tube

The only way to sex angelfish is through breeding tube.

  • The most obvious difference between male and female angelfish is the size of the tube that sits between the anus and pelvic fins.
  • Males will have a pointy and narrow tube like the tip of a pencil.
  • The tubes of males will be longer and less thicker than those of females, but the difference is usually not easy to see until the fish start spawning. 

Male mating behavior

  • Male angelfish attracts females angelfish by flapping their pectoral fins.
  • Male angelfish show aggression towards each other during breeding time.

General behavior of male angelfish

  • The main reason for aggression in male angelfish is the seizure of territory and the establishment of dominance. 
  • Regardless of gender, if there are too many of the same sex, aggressive behavior becomes equivalent. 
  • Especially if there are too many males, they will try to kill each other for the right to mate and be the dominant one in the harem.
  • Males are okay together as juveniles, not social fish, but when they are sexually mature, they usually only fight each other unless they form a bond when they are young.
  • They are naturally territorial,so aggression is their way of communicating in the water. Sometimes it’s not because of any particular issue, it’s just that they need to establish themselves at the top.
  • Male angelfish are aggressive and will potentially fight with their own kinds and other tank mates for space and other resources.

Female angelfish

Female body size

  • Female angelfish are smaller in size than male angelfish.
  • Adult queen angelfish are 17.6 inches long.
  • Female angelfish has slower growth compared to male angelfish.

Female body shape

  • Female angelfish have sleek,triangular bodies.
  • Male and female angelfish have very similar body shapes. In fact, if you don’t have trained eyes, it can be difficult to notice the differences between them.

Female forehead

  • Females don’t have nuchal hump and forehead bump. 
  • Ski slope like shape

Female front ,ventral fin and dorsal fins

  • Females have a smooth front fin.
  • Ventral fins are smooth without forked appearance.
  • Dorsal fins are tilted backward

Female breeding tube

The only way to sex angelfish is through breeding tube.

  • The most obvious difference between male and female angelfish is the size of the tube that sits between the anus and pelvic fins.
  • Females will have a round and cylindrical breeding tube.
  • The tubes of females will be much thicker than those of males, but the difference is usually not easy to see until the fish start spawning. 

Female mating behavior

  • Female angelfish will have bulging bellies.
  • Females become aggressive towards other tank mates during spawning time to protect her eggs.
  • Apparent swelling -When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will begin to swell up with the eggs, and by the time laying begins, the swelling will be very noticeable.
  • A single female angelfish can lay between 100 and 1,000 eggs in a single reproductive cycle.

General behavior of female angelfish

  • Female angelfish become territorial/aggressive when protecting their young.
  • During mating they get aggressive to protect their eggs.
  • Sometimes to show their dominance they show aggression.
  • Female angelfish are less aggressive than male angelfish and can easily live with tank mates.

How to distinguish angelfish genders during breeding season?

Mature angelfish are selected with straight upper and lower fins without bends or curvature. They must be healthy, strong, strong and active.

Unfortunately, outwardly it is very difficult to distinguish between male and female angelfish. First, 6-8 potential breeders are selected, which can be set in a 100-liter aquarium and well fed with live food. The fish soon form pairs and begin to breed and court.

The female will place an ovulation on the spawning substrate, and the male will fertilize the egg. This process is repeated until there are 100-600 eggs in total.

The pair will take turns maintaining high-speed water circulation around the eggs by swimming very close to the eggs and fanning the eggs with their side fins. 

After a few days, the eggs will hatch and the fry are still attached to the spawning substrate. During this time, the fry do not eat, but survive by eating the remaining yolk sacs. After a week, the fry will shed and swim freely. 

Angelfish breeding conditions::

  • Water pH of 6.0-8.0, ideally 6.5-7.4
  • Degree of water hardness of 50-130 ppm 
  • Water temperature range of 24-30°C.

During mating season it will be easier to differentiate between a male and female angelfish by observing their activities.Fishkeepers can make out the differences especially during this period.

Summary

  • Determining the gender of an angelfish is not as simple as looking at its fins. In fact, it is almost impossible to tell the gender of an angelfish without experience and careful observation. It is more difficult to tell the sex of angelfish until they are mature.
  • Adult male angelfish are more aggressive than female angelfish and juveniles. Most often, male angels will chase away other males of the same species.
  • A closer look reveals that male and female angelfish have slightly different head shapes.As a result, male angelfish have a prominent, pronounced crown or nuchal hump on their head. 
  • The female angelfish, however, has a smooth, smaller, rounder head.This difference is most pronounced on the marbled angelfish.
  • Male and female angelfish look almost similar so it can be difficult for even seasoned fishkeepers to tell them apart.
  • Angelfish lock their lips even before mating season for finding a spawning site.Experienced fishkeepers can easily notice this behavior to differentiate their sexes.
  • Parental care is seen in angelfish and they are considered as doting parents and protect their young ones from enemies.

Frequently asked questions

Can swimming behavior differentiate angelfish genders?

Yes,there are also differences in how these fish swim,males generally keep their bodies horizontal from mouth to tail, while females generally keep their mouths slightly above the center of the tail.

Which angelfish is sexually dichromatic?

Flame angelfish are sexually dichromatic, with no visual differences between the sexes.

When do angelfish reach sexual maturity?

Angelfish reaches sexual maturity between 6-12 months of age.

Reference

https://www.cuteness.com/article/differences-male-female-angel-fish
https://urbanfishkeeping.com/how-to-know-male-and-female-angelfish/
https://agritech.tnau.ac.in/fishery/fish_cul_ornamental.html

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?