Pterophyllum scalare
Cichlids - South America - Other

Pterophyllum scalare
Freshwater angelfish

Scientific name:
Pterophyllum scalare
Former scientific name:
Platax scalaris
Pterophyllum eimekei
Common Names:
Freshwater angelfish
Natural habitat:
From Guyana to the Amazon

Photo © Christian Alfredsson
Carnivore (small invertebrates, but also small fish). Eats small live and frozen food, but also dry food in aquariums. Should not be kept with small fish such as neon tetras as these are at risk of becoming food.
The Freshwater angelfish is a pair-forming substrate breeder freely. The number of eggs can reach 1000 per spawn, but more common is 100-300 pcs. These are usually laid on hard plant leaves and then intensely guarded by both parents. As juveniles they are shoal forming and it is only as adults they form pairs.
This species does claim its own territory, yet is relatively peaceful. They are also quite slow, graceful swimmers and therefore should not be kept together with tough fish. The long fins can represent an irresistible temptation even to species that do not normally bite off fins. You should acquire a group of 5-6 individuals who are allowed to grow up together and mate in a natural way.
The aquarium must be densely planted (long-leafed plants) and at least 50 cm/20 in high (preferably higher) for the fins to grow out. It should also contain some stones and roots and have a free swimming space. Water circulation must not be too vigorous.
It is very difficult to separate the sexes which makes it even more important to start with a small group. Males that spawn develop a small hump. The Freshwater angelfish is a very popular aquarium fish and there are many specifically bred varieties of it such as “Marble”, “Gold”, “Black” and “Ghost”. There are also several natural forms in the stores.

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