I love angelfish, and I can't imagine being without them. I never have enough room for all the varieties I'd like to keep, and to set up a big tank with anything else as the centerpiece is a real struggle for me. I have a new 120 gallon in the works and I'm fighting it, but I'm not there yet.

Today's angels, most of which have been tankbred for generations, are not difficult to keep as far as ph and hardness is concerned--they will generally adapt to whatever you have and be perfectly content. What they DO require to reach their maximum growth potential and be as beautiful as they can be is plenty of space, stable water conditions and lots of water changes so that nitrate levels stay low--always below 20, and 10 or below is better. They like it warm, but will do just fine in a community tank at 79 or so; if you're keeping a pair separately or raising fry, 82 is probably a better temperature. At higher temperatures, they will grow faster and be more resistant to disease; they won't live as long as they might if kept at cooler temps, but they'll be happier, healthier and bigger.

The guy at left is Samson, the result of a cross between F1 Peruvian wilds (leopoldii, which is no longer thought of as a separate species but rather a scalare variety) and domestic koi, when he was 7-1/2 months old and just beginning to think about the womens.

Max and Erma are from the same cross, and were the first to pair. You can see more of them on the 20 High page. I bought seven of these fish from Steve Rybicki at Angels Plus at the end of June, 2001, and received them when they were barely dime sized. It's been fascinating keeping and raising these fish; so many different looks from the same cross! One of the reasons I wanted them was because fish that are the result of outcrosses are much closer to the wild, and aside from their beauty and robust nature, their parenting instincts are supposed to be better, and they don't display as much aggression as angels that have been tankbred for generations. This batch is proving these things to be true, so far. Max and Erma get along extremely well, no conflicts at all--which makes watching a pair a lot less stressful! Here they are at right raising their first batch of fry, and doing a great job so far even though they're still young, about 10-1/2 months old. The pairs that have formed from this group defend their territory and spawns aggressively, but so far, aside from chasing, no damage or injury has resulted. There's a huge difference in the intraspecies level of aggression between these fish and my domestic dark marble pair, George and Gracie. Raising these fish has not been without its challenges, however; for more information about that, see Spot, The Wonder Angel.

Below are more baby pictures. Erma's not as small she looks, by the way--Max is huge for his age, for one thing, and her fins are so long it makes her look like a kid herself. At three weeks since they became free swimming, the babies are beginning to color up, and many have quite long fins for their age; I'm hoping some of them will have fins like Mom's. Not that there's anything wrong with Dad's fins, I've always preferred standard finnage, in fact--but Erma's are something special, I have to admit.

Max and Erma

Max, Erma and the kids, now three weeks old.

Proud Dad with babies

Proud Dad with babies, their twelfth day as free swimmers. All those speckles are newly hatched brine shrimp.

Beautiful Mom

Beautiful Mom with some of her 3 week old babies. I hope the babies' fins turn out to be even half as pretty as hers. Look, they're angelfish!!!

Samson & Delilah Young Samson got his woman; here he is with the lovely Delilah, the only blue blusher in the group. By the way, in case you're wondering how I knew to name the boys and girls, I of course did not. There's always someone who will tell you that he or she can sex angels just by looking at them, but I have yet to discover that there is ANY way to sex angels reliably until you actually see their breeding tubes. To be perfectly honest, I thought Delilah was a male and Samson a female until they paired and spawned. The fact is they didn't get their names until AFTER they made it clear who was who! I was a little unlucky with this group--out of seven, it appears I only have two females--although since I barely have enough room to raise ONE good batch of angel fry, maybe it's not all THAT unlucky. The remaining three act like males and have absolutely no interest in each other, but they have a heck of a lot of interest in Delilah. As you can imagine, Samson stays pretty busy. The wonderful finnage and beautiful red eyes many of these fish show are a result of their 50% wild blood; only two of the seven don't show the wild influence to a marked degree, Delilah the blue blusher and Peewee, who's a gold marble. If you're interested in knowing more about these fish and their genetics, I am NOT the expert. Go visit Steve Rybicki's Angels Plus website, a treat for any angel enthusiast. Just click here if you'd like to go visit Steve. Below are a few more pictures of Samson and Delilah.
Samson guarding his spawn

Samson guarding his spawn. They're on the anubias leaf to his left (the fuzzy gold stuff), unfortunately the eggs were not quite in focus. I'm feeling guilty about these two, the eggs don't have a chance in the community tank; I'm trying to free up a 20 high so they can have their own space. While these guys are not as aggressive as my dark marbles, Samson's still managed to split his anal fin and bend over the tip of his dorsal. As you can see in the first picture above, in spite of their length his fins are perfectly straight.

Delilah encircled by a crinum calamistratum leaf

Delilah encircled by a crinum calamistratum leaf. And I didn't even ask her to pose!


This is Peewee, a gold marble. He has amazing irridescence, in the right light he sparkles. He's the only one who has the distinctive scalare notch; his eyes are as yellow as his nose, and he has black lips! Somehow all that gives him the look of a very young fish--he just doesn't look grown up even though he's as big as the others.

Spot, the Wonder Angel

This is Spot, the Wonder Angel, and so far he's defied my attempts to take a picture that really does him justice, but I'll keep working at it. His dorsal fin, which you can't see well in this picture, is spangled with blue irridescence, it's pretty amazing. For Spot's story, click Here.





George & Gracie

And Last But Not Least--DOOFUS

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