Blue angelfish are some of the most popular saltwater fish, and they have been one of the best additions to home aquariums. There are many different species of this type of angelfish available in stores, all offering a unique appearance in its own way. This article will explain how to properly care for them so that you can keep your fish alive and thriving.
There are many different species of freshwater angelfish available in pet shops today. They come in several different colors, from powdery blue hues to gray-brown shades with white marks and stripes. However, these fish mainly get their names from their fins; it is not unusual for an angelfish to have long flowing pectoral fins like wings. Additionally, they have similar dorsal fins and tail fins.
Blue Angelfish Characteristics:
The Blue Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) is a popular freshwater angelfish. It has an oval body shape and blue-gray scales, though these fish mainly get their colors from their fins. They have long flowing pectoral fins like wings and similar dorsal and tail fin varieties.
They are excellent community fish that can be kept with other non-aggressive species such as tetras, swordtails, kribensis, discus, and catfish. Though they should not be housed in the same tank with aggressive or large fish because their lifespan will likely be shortened due to fight injuries or stress caused by larger companions.
Most blue angels grow between 6 – 8 inches long and about 30 gallons of water for every one angel is recommended. It’s important you get the correct size tank for your angelfish. If they are cramped in a too-small environment, they will be stressed out and prone to illness, making them more vulnerable to common fish diseases such as ich or fin rot.
They enjoy sand substrate and plenty of plants for hiding places. However if you want to use live plants make sure there are no chemicals used on them in the store that would harm your fish, such as copper-based algaecides.
Blue Angelfish Origin:
The Blue Angelfish originates from South America, specifically from the Amazon River Basin. They are native to soft water with a pH level 6 – 7 that has some salt content.
Blue Angelfish Size:
The average blue angel is between 6 and 8 inches long, but larger ones have been reported to grow into the 12 inch range.
Blue Angelfish Colors and Markings:
Blue Angels are gray-blue in color with white stripes and they have a black spot near their caudal fin (tail) that gives them their name “angel”. They also come in powdery yellow hues with little black markings down their body, as well as bright white or gray-white specimens where you can hardly make out the patterns on their scales at all. These fish mainly get their colors from their fins; it is not unusual for an angelfish to have long flowing pectoral fins like wings. Additionally, they have similar dorsal fins and tail fins.
Blue Angelfish Tankmates:
Blue Angels are great for community tanks and enjoy being kept with other non-aggressive species such as tetras, swordtails, kribensis, discus, and catfish. Though they should not be housed in the same tank with aggressive or large fish because their lifespan will likely be shortened due to fight injuries or stress caused by larger companions.
Blue Angelfish Care:
The aquarium of your blue angel should have a sandy substrate of around 3 inches deep for them to explore in search of food items hidden below it on the tank floor (though some prefer planted aquascapes). Plenty of hiding places, such as live plants and bogwood should be provided for your fish.
Blue angels like water with a pH of 6 – 7 that has some salt content from the tap (though calcium can also be supplemented into the water in order to help prevent diseases). However, they are adaptable and can adjust to different conditions as long as it’s kept stable and within the ranges mentioned above.
They sleep at the bottom of tanks while resting on sand or gravel during daytime hours but will swim around more often during feeding time. They are considered “low activity” fish even though their swimming style is graceful and they like to explore every nook and cranny of their aquariums. This makes them ideal display tank specimens set up for show.
Blue Angelfish Lifespan:
The average lifespan of the blue angel is 5 to 7 years, but it can reach up to 10 years in a well cared for tank environment with proper tank mates and minimal stress from injury or disease.
Blue Angelfish Diet and Feeding:
In the wild, blue angels feed on sand crabs, worms, small crustaceans, and other invertebrates that hide beneath sandy bottoms along with plants found growing in open water areas. In an aquarium setting they enjoy bloodworms (frozen or live), mysis shrimp (live or frozen), brine shrimp (live only), krill (live only) as well as flake foods that sink to the bottom of a tank (though they may also eat flake food that floats at the top of the water too).
Blue Angelfish Gender Differences:
Differences between male and female blue angels are not easily distinguishable by sight alone, though studies have shown that males can be identified by having more white stripes than females do, as well as fleshier lips surrounding their mouths. If you choose to breed your angels it is best if you separate them so each gender has time with its own species for successful mating since they will spawn like other species of angelfish when placed together in a breeding tank.
Blue Angelfish Breeding:
Blue Angels can successfully mate when they are around 4 inches long or roughly 6 months old, and here are some guidelines to follow when caring for them as breeding specimens:
– The water temperature should be a minimum of 80°F and around 85 to 90°F for best results. (The warmer the water, the faster they will breed.)
– A protein rich diet consisting of mysis shrimp or bloodworms should be provided three times a day.
– An extra amount of calcium in their diet will help develop strong eggshells while spawning; supplement this with crushed oyster shells on the tank floor near where you want them to spawn.
Blue Angelfish Aquarium Setup:
Blue angels do well in a 75 gallon tank or larger with plenty of live plants that can provide food and hiding places for smaller fish. In fact, they are not aggressive at all toward other fish or invertebrates so it is very possible to maintain them in a community tank. However, if you plan on breeding them then you should have no other angelfish of the same species since they might scare off the blue angels when spawning.
Other good tankmates for blue angels include South American tetras like any species of Hyphessobrycon from L128 (the black neon) to L466 (the true Cardinal), Discus, and some South American cichlids like Severum, Red Devil Cichlid (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) and Green Terror Cichlid (Aequid rivulatus). They will also do well with other peaceful cichlids like Convict Cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata), Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki) and Jack Dempsey Cichlid (Cichlasoma octofasciatum).
In order to maintain good water quality, which means clean fish tanks, you need a filtration system that will take out the solid waste from your fish tank while keeping beneficial bacteria alive to help keep the nitrite levels down. The two best filters to have on any fresh or saltwater aquarium are canister filters and wet/dry trickle filters. They are both efficient at doing their job, but in different ways so it’s a matter of preference which one you choose to go with.
Canister filters are excellent for keeping your fish tank clean and the beneficial bacteria alive that remove harmful toxins from the water like ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. They range in price depending on the size of your tank from around $50 to as much as $350 but they’re worth it because of their efficiency at filtering any type of aquarium.
Wet/dry trickle filters are another great option if you want to keep a saltwater or freshwater aquarium because they also do a good job at taking out solid waste while adding oxygen back into the water since they have powerheads attached so there is constant movement of water going through them. Wet/dry trickle filters can be purchased for around $130 and up depending on the size of your tank so they’re not as expensive as canister filters, but that also means you won’t have to pay for replacement filter cartridges like you would with a canister filter.
Blue Angels are one of the hardiest species of angelfish that can successfully be kept in freshwater or brackish water aquariums, making them a great addition to almost any community tank since they require such little attention. If you plan on breeding them then it is best to have a separate tank where you place both sexes because there is no aggression between other fish when they breed like some other types of angelfish or cichlids. Other good tankmates include South American tetras from Hyphessobrycon from L128 (the black neon tetra) to L466 (truite cardinal tetra), Discus, and other South American cichlids like Severum, Red Devil Cichlid (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) and Green Terror Cichlid (Aequid rivulatus). Make sure you provide them with plenty of live plants in the substrate which will provide food and hiding places for smaller fish.
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