How Long Does It Take For Angelfish Eggs To Hatch?

How Long Does It Take For Angelfish Eggs To Hatch?

How Long Does It Take For Angelfish Eggs To Hatch?7 mins read

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How Long Does It Take For Angelfish Eggs To Hatch?
Image from Flickr

If you are breeding angelfish, you will eventually wonder ‘how long does it take angelfish eggs to hatch?’

Angelfish are one of the most popular freshwater fish species from the cichlid family, and people have only bred them in captivity from the late 1920s. They have a unique shape and elegant appeal, as well as a few color variations that make them so appealing in the aquarium trade.

Generally easily bred, Angelfish are oviviparous (lay eggs), Unfortunately, they are volatile and temperamental creatures that may care for their eggs and fry, or prefer to eat them, especially when they are new parents. This article will look at timing during breeding, as well as answer the question ‘what do angelfish eggs look like?’, as well as ‘how often do angelfish lay eggs?’ So, read on for more.

How Long Do Angelfish Eggs Take To Hatch?

How long do angelfish eggs take to hatch?
Angelfish given proper nutrition will spawn two to three times a month, there were 825 eggs of which 95.3% hatched within two to three days. Image from Flickr

To answer the main question, ‘how long does it take angelfish eggs to hatch?’  let’s look at some info from a scientific study to give you an idea of the incubation period of Angelfish Eggs.

According to findings, Angelfish given proper nutrition will spawn two to three times a month. Here, there were 825 eggs of which 95.3% hatched within two to three days. The fry were free swimming within 2-4 days, after feeding on their yolk sac, and 75.55 survived. Much of the loss of fry and eggs originates as a result of fluctuations in water temperatures at night.

Remember though, this is just one example! The answer to ‘how long does it take angelfish eggs to hatch?’ may vary based on your tank conditions. That’s why we’ll cover more on this later in this article.

Eggs can take anything between 2 – 5 days at most, and much of the information as mentioned relies on water parameters and temperatures, which is why it is vital to keep eggs in the mid-temperatures of 78 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 29 degrees Celsius).

It also helps to know ‘what do angelfish eggs look like’ so you know you have not confused them with another species.

How Often Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?

How Often Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?
Most Fertilized Angelfish Eggs will be a translucent color that can range in colors from yellowish, to amber or brown. Unfertilized eggs are white or cloudy in color. Image from Flickr

The question of ‘how long does it take angelfish eggs to hatch?’ is also related to ‘how often do angelfish lay eggs?’ Fish do not often lay two batches within the same incubatory period. This limits how many fry they can produce.

Now, to completely answer this second question there are a few scenarios to consider:

  • If the eggs are removed eggs to a proper set-up and well-circulated breeding tank, your Angelfish should lay eggs again in two weeks or less, if this is what you desire. Familiarise yourself with ‘what do angelfish eggs look like?’ so that you are sure you have got the right eggs.
  • If the Angelfish are allowed to guard their eggs and raise their fry, they will not lay eggs again until the babies have been removed or have become dependent. Of course, this is to say if, in the rare event, they do not decide to feast on the eggs or fry.
  • Female Angelfish can lay eggs without a male around every week or two, though these eggs remain unfertilized, and will decay if not removed from the tank, or they may serve as a snack for other tank mates.
  • Usually, Angelfish will retire laying eggs and breeding from around 3 years of age. Regards ‘how often do angelfish lay eggs?’, as they get older, they may lay eggs less frequently.

What Do Angelfish Eggs Look Like?

Angelfish can lay anything between 100 and over 100 eggs at a time. When it comes to the color of your Angelfishes’ eggs, is an excellent indicator of whether the eggs are fertilized and healthy. If you are wondering ‘how long does it take angelfish eggs to hatch?’ because it is taking longer than expected, it may be that you have confused the eggs with those of another species. That’s why it helps to know  the answer to ‘what do angelfish eggs look like?’

Most Fertilized Angelfish Eggs will be a translucent color that can range in colors from yellowish, to amber or brown. Unfertilized eggs are white or cloudy in color.

It is important that your fertilized Angelfish eggs only have very subtle variations in colors such as translucent, amber, yellow, or brown, and nothing too bold, otherwise, there may be complications with the eggs.

  • White/Opaque – The eggs are either unfertilized or have fungal growth on them.
  • Darker Brown – There may be a bacterial infection.
  • Green – Algae is growing inside or on the egg.
  • Red-Brown – This may indicate blood spotting inside the egg because of damage or rough handling.

Unfortunately, eggs that are white or cloudy rarely have a chance of hatching and are usually unfertilized or have a fungal infection. Proper water circulation and parameters are essential for the health of Angelfish eggs.

Another factor is that Angelfish eggs may change color over time only, and there are a few reasons for this. If you’re unsure and wondering ‘what do angelfish eggs look like’ at each stage of the incubation period, read on.

What Causes Angelfish Eggs To Change Colors?

Causes Angelfish Eggs To Change Colors
White or opaque-colored eggs are usually unfertilized, and your male Angelfish may have not done his job properly, or there may have been an interference or interruption during his deed. Image from Flickr

Fertility Issues

White or opaque-colored eggs are usually unfertilized, and your male Angelfish may have not done his job properly, or there may have been an interference or interruption during his deed.

Fungus

Another reason your Angelfish eggs are turning white, especially if they have a fuzzy appearance, is a fungal infestation, in which case there are some steps you can follow to save the eggs and prevent fungus from spreading.

      • Clean Your tank and replace 10% of the water every three days.
      • Remove infected eggs and clear your filter for eggs or fungus that may have remained.
      • Use a Chemical treatment such as methylene Blue, Hydrogen Peroxide, potassium permanganate, iodine, acriflavine, or rosemary extract.
      • Maintain a clean tank with proper temperatures and pH levels to prevent fungus from returning.

Poor Water Conditions

Angelfish need clean water with the right conditions, and water temperatures between 78 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 29 degrees Celsius), with a pH of 7.0 being ideal. Nitrites and ammonia can cause a negative reaction to the hatching process and eggs. Likewise, the answer to ‘how often do angelfish lay eggs?’ will change based on water quality. In poor conditions, they will lay less frequently, or not at all.

Harsh Water Flow

A strong current, or heavy water flow in your tank may be the reason that your eggs remain unfertilized because sperm is being washed off the eggs. You do need good filtration, though it would be advisable to place the breeding substrate (leaf or slate) in an opposite corner to the filter to reduce harsh currents.

Handling

In some cases, you may need to move the eggs because your Angelfish may tend to eat them. In this case, handling can harm the eggs. Even, water conditions and fluctuations may cause harm to the eggs when moved, thus you should acclimatize them properly.

Breeding Angelfish

Breeding Angelfish
Parent Angelfish will protect their young and eggs, which also helps to delay another cycle of reproduction, Image from Reddit.com

When around six months old, Angelfish will choose their partner, and they partner for life, even though a partner dies, they may never choose another. For those who wonder ‘how long does it take angelfish eggs to hatch?’ remember that the pair forms a bond and this can determine breeding and mating. They may not even lay eggs if you do not give them enough time and space.

In terms of relationships, they protect and nurture each other, and their young. As a warning many times new parents Angelfish may eat their eggs and fry, though as they become more seasoned in breeding, this will stop. Remember ‘how often do angelfish lay eggs?’ may be more frequent at first if you lose a couple of batches, which means your fish may lay again shortly after.

What to Expect:

Again, it’s important to familiarise yourself with basic info such as ‘what do angelfish eggs look like?’ before attempting to breed. It’s also good to understand angelfish mating behavior.

An Angelfish pair will find a safe spot for spawning, and usually a broadleaf or slanted surface to lay their eggs, The male fertilizes the eggs and they keep on spawning until around 100 or more eggs are laid. The parents take turns circulating water around the eggs for a few days until the eggs hatch, while the fry remain on the same surface, surviving on their yolk sacs still attached to them.

When the fry become free swimming, they can be fed meat-based foods such as brine shrimp. Parent Angelfish will protect their young and eggs, which also helps to delay another cycle of reproduction, so it is your choice whether to keep them in a communal tank, or a separate breeding tank. Just be careful of other species’ tank mates that may eat the eggs or fry.

Should You Have A Breeding Tank?

There is quite some noticeable concern about whether a separate breeding tank should be created for breeding Angelfish or not. Ideally, you would not require a separate breeding tank, simply for convenience.

Yet, for those wondering ‘how long does it take angelfish eggs to hatch?’ and are concerned about them staying too long in a community tank (where other fish may eat them), this is a separate story altogether.

If you have one of the following concerns, it would be better to have a separate tank for the eggs, or your Angelfish and their eggs.

  1. If you have a communal tank with other fish species that will most likely eat the eggs or the new hatchlings, it is better to consider a separate tank for breeding or the eggs. Even with dense vegetation and plenty of hiding spaces, your fry, or eggs may still experience a lower survival rate. Common species that will eat fry are:
      • Bettas
      • Gouramis
      • Swordfish
      • Platies
      • Cichlids
  1. Should you be breeding as a hobby or profession, you may want to remove the eggs to allow the male and female to spawn again after two weeks rather than caring for the eggs and fry.
  2. With new Angelfish parents, they are quite likely to eat their eggs or fry, being inexperienced, thus the first time around if you notice this behavior you should rather separate the eggs.

Because it can be quite difficult to remove eggs from a communal tank, as well as harmful to the eggs, it is advised to set up a spawning tank. You can then remove the parents rather than doing it the other way around.

Setting Up Your Breeding Tank

Firstly you will need a large 20-gallon tank for your breeding pair and an adult breeding pair of around 6 months old that have bonded with each other.

  • Water conditions need to be clean and clear, a sponge filter that is cleaned regularly will not trap young fry. Temperatures of 78 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 29 degrees Celsius) are ideal, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • Angelfish prefer a more dimmed environment with lush vegetation and many long-rooted plants which will also come in handy for fry to hide.
  • You will need what is called a breeding substrate, anything from a slate, large leaf plant, or a terracotta pot or part of it for the female to deposit her eggs. This is the stage that you should be sure you know ‘what do angelfish eggs look like?’. Often snails and other species will also lay eggs if they are in your tank.
  • Make sure to feed your pair plenty of protein at least three times a day to encourage spawning.
  • When the eggs are laid and fertilized it is imperative to keep the water as clean as possible and to keep temperatures consistent to prevent fungus from infecting your eggs. As we mention above, ‘how often do angelfish lay eggs?’ depends on water quality. If you angelfish have positive breeding conditions, they may be more likely to lay again.

The parents can be returned to the communal tank if you are worried that they may eat the fry or eggs. However, this may encourage them to breed again in the next two weeks, and your fry in the breeding tank will still be quite small at this stage, though completely capable of hiding if needed.

Angelfish Species Review

Angelfish originate from the Amazon and Orinoco basins in South America and have round laterally compressed bodies, and elongated fins to allow them to hide among plants and roots easily. They are Freshwater fish; however, a marine version does exist. Angelfish have a lifespan of around 12 to 15 years, and adult sizes are usually around  6 inches (15 cm) in length and 8 inches (20 cm) in height. There are two major species, the P. Scalare and the P. Leopoldi which are the most common, and the P. Altum which is rarer.

Quick Care Tips For Angelfish

Angelfish require at least a 30-gallon tank, with an additional 20 gallons per fish. They prefer warm water climates around 80 °F (27 °C), and soft acidic water with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Image from Flickr.

Most Angelfish species including the Black Angelfish are also known as ambush predators and may prey on smaller fish.

Compatibility And Behaviour

Unfortunately, they are no “Angels”! Angelfish are ambush predators that prey on smaller fish, they are semi-aggressive and will easily turn on tank mates when hungry, or become quite territorial after pairing up. Similarly, fin nippers such as Tiger Barbs may nip at the fins of the slow-moving Angelfish. Some Tetra and Barb species are ideal to keep with Angelfish, alongside other peaceful larger species. As adults, they will select a mate and prefer to be in pairs that will become slightly territorial. The answer to ‘how often do angelfish lay eggs?’ also depends on territorial conflicts in the tank. If they don’t feel safe, they won’t lay.

Aquarium Preference

Angelfish requires at least a 30-gallon tank, with an additional 20 gallons per fish. They prefer warm water climates around 80 °F (27 °C), and soft acidic water with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Angelfish tend to forage at the bottom of the tank, thus a medium to fine gravel or sand is ideal. generally ‘how long does it take angelfish eggs to hatch?’ may also depend on aquarium conditions.

They similarly love a more serene and natural aquarium with plenty of hiding spaces, plants, and an open central area for swimming. Some ideal live plant options for them include.

Plant types that black angelfish are particularly fond of:

  • Anacharis
  • Amazon Sword
  • Java ferns
  • Water Sprites
  • Bolbitis
  • Anubias
  • Cryptocoryne
  • Diet – Angelfish are mostly omnivores, though they mainly eat insect larvae and other smaller fish in the wild. They forage on the bottom and feed from the surface and mid-layers of the tank, requiring a meal around twice a day. A good diet will consist of quality flakes or pellets, meat-based foods that are freeze-dried, frozen or live, and blanched vegetables.
  • Common Health Issues – Angelfish, even though they have a semi-aggressive nature are quite fragile in terms of disease and injury. They may suffer from most regular freshwater illnesses such as; ich, Fin Rot, Dropsy, and Physical damage from sharp décor or fin-nipping fish.
  • Male And Female Differentiation – The most reliable method to determine the gender of an Angelfish is to look at the genital tubes just before the anal fin. The male will have a pointy and narrow tube, whereas the female will have a rounded cylindrical tube. Wondering ‘what do angelfish eggs look like when you fish is carrying them?’ The female will have a swollen and more rounded abdomen. This is how you know she is pregnant.

Other telltale signs are:

  • Males will have upright dorsal fins, and females slightly backward-laying dorsal fins.
  • Males have ventricles that are more erect while females hold them closer to their body.
  • Females have a smooth sloped head, and males have a distinct bump on the head.

In Conclusion

Angelfish are ideally easy to breed, they pair up for life and can make good parents, especially with their second or third brood. For those wondering ‘how long does it take angelfish eggs to hatch?’ hopefully this guide should have shown you the best conditions for successful incubation.

The color of Angelfish eggs is an important characteristic to keep you informed on the health of the eggs, and whether they are essentially fertilized.

You should be able to have healthy young fry in around 2 days or more, just beware of other tank companions, and parents, should they develop cannibalistic tendencies. A well-planted tank in turn will provide plenty of hiding spaces for young fry to stay safe and relaxed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do angelfish lay eggs without males?
As mentioned, yes, one of the reasons why you may notice white, or unfertilized eggs is because there is no male or the male has not fertilized the eggs. Females will keep on laying eggs regardless of the presence of males.
How many Angelfish eggs usually survive?
According to a study egg survival rate ranges from 87.4% to 100%, though unfortunately, hatchlings have a 50% to 66.3% survival rate, in ideal conditions, maybe higher. However the information was from a single study, and results can only be averaged around these percentages.
How do I tell if Angelfish eggs are fertilized?
Fertilized Angelfish eggs will have a translucent, yellowish, amber, or light brown color. Unfertilized eggs are opaque or a cloudy white color, not to be misjudged for white eggs with a fungus, which will appear fuzzier, and the fungus will usually attack one or a few eggs at a time, spreading as it grows.
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Tal Halperin

Tal is an avid fish keeper and has been raising ornamental fish for decades. As a little boy, he drove his father crazy to buy him an aquarium with all the necessary equipment. Now, after a career in the field, he has set up Your Aquarium Place to offer the most comprehensive guide to ornamental fish keeping available and share his passion for the different species he has looked after.