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Animal Species: Fish

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      13.09.2007 19:35
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      Think carefully before buying these lovely fishes

      Since I have written quite alot about the equipment I use to keep my fish happy when I found this category I decided to write abit about the actual fish I keep.

      There are many types of Angelfish, the ones I keep are the fairly generic p Scalare, variety they are freshwater tropical fish, as are the other less common p Altum variety.

      In terms of colour and looks almost anything goes with these fish, I have had pure white ones, marbled ones (white with black marble like markings), white ones with a yellow head and black marbled ones (black with white marble like markings).

      Their body shape is in the case of p Scalare a flat round body with a long tail, long slim pelvic fins, usually slightly shorter but still long anal fin with a matching dorsal fin. The fins tend to be have the same colouration as the body though one of my black marbled fish has a white dorsal fin which is very striking compared to its black body. They have a notched profile in their faces. My younger fish have blunt tips to their dorsal fins but the older ones will be more pointed.

      Of course having the long fins means they are vulnerable to fin nipping fish, but equally they are not the friendliest of fish, small fish are food to them and they are quite territorial, so keeping them with fish like Tetras isnt the safest option since the Tetras are likely to become food, also keeping them with Tiger Barbs isnt highly recommended since they will nip at the fins on the Angels. Most fish keepers would say they are better in a species tank of only Angel varieties.

      Their tank requirements are pretty simple, good water quality, well planted since they in the wild live near river banks where there are roots to hide among, and it needs to be quite deep to allow them to grow to their full depth.

      As with any animal they all have their own personalities, the two I keep in my upstairs tank one is quite shy and spends most of its time among the plants, the other sits at the front and stares at me (I think its asking to be fed), the pair downstairs are more lively, usually chasing each other around the tank, or hanging in mid water staring at each other across it.

      Feeding them is simple, mine are all greedy little so and so's and type of flakes or pellets are soon devoured, though two have a particular fondness for peas and a total disdain for blood worms, whereas the second pair are the opposite.

      Sexing them is near impossible until they are spawning, and getting the spawning to lead to fry is also somewhat difficult, something I have never intended to do nor will be actively trying for until I have more space for raising the fry.

      I have suffered three deaths among my angels, two burned themselves on my heaters which led to the purchase of my heater guards, I think their slim profile led them to think they could slip between the back of the heater and the tank glass, and the third suffered pop eye. They are however no harder to keep than any other fish as long as you seek advice about tank companions, I have been lucky in that despite ignore most conventional advice my angels arent terrorising my neons and the Tiger Barbs are a big enough shoal that they concentrate upon each other.

      Overall Angels are an elegant fish which are easy to keep though they are a fairly long term commitment as some can live well over 5 years or longer if cared for properly, they also need deep water to accomodate their long fins, and some water movement to emulate their river homes.

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