Pterophyllum scalare, most commonly referred to as Angelfish or Freshwater Angelfish, is the most common species of Pterophyllum kept in captivity. It is native to the Amazon Basin in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. Particularly the Ucayali river in Peru, the Oyapock River in French Guiana, the Essequibo River in Guyana, the Solimões, Amapá, and the Amazon rivers in Brazil. It is found in swamps or flooded grounds where vegetation is dense and the water is either clear or silty. This is the species of Angelfish most frequently found in the aquarium trade.
As in many aquarium fishes, inbreeding is a problem. There are many strange colours due to heavy inbreeding. In the wild, this species is as strong as most other cichlids of similar weight.
The diet of Pterophyllum scalare consists of a wide food spectrum; they feed on juvenile fishes, prawns, and worms. They feed on different types of worms such as Tubifex worms, Vermicompost worms, and Bloodworms, the Tubifex diet is high in protein and nutrients for the Angelfish resulting in high significant growth and live food diet provided better reproductive performance. Furthermore, the Mosquito Larvae is also a very nutritious live feed food.
6″ (15cm) body length and as much as 8″ (20cm) or more in height.
Generally, a peaceful cichlid but may squabble with its own kind, so best kept in small groups. Good community fish but may eat small fish such as tetras.
Quite difficult to sex. Males have smaller, pointed genital papillae but this can only usually be seen when spawning. Behaviour may be a better indicator as males are likely to be more aggressive and territorial especially when in breeding condition. If you are intending breeding, it is a good idea to start with a group of six juvenile fish. From this, a pair is sure to form.
Angels spawn on vertical surfaces such as slate, broad-leaved plants or even the aquarium glass. If you have a bonded pair, little needs to be done to encourage them to breed. Ensure the fish are well-conditioned with live food such as Bloodworm and Brine Shrimp. Angels make good parents and will guard the eggs and then the fry, once hatched. Ensure the adults are kept well fed as it is not unknown for them to eat their fry. Fry can be fed with newly hatched Brine Shrimp after they have absorbed their yolk sacs (usually after two days) and then moved on to commercially available fry food.
A well known and popular aquarium fish. Angels are available in a number of colour forms including black, gold and koi strains, in addition to the standard silver. It is worth remembering that although Angels are generally peaceful, they are still cichlids so some aggression should be expected from time to time.