Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Meet Alfred

Alfred is a koi angelfish. When he arrived with ten other angels, he was the smallest one of all. His body was about the size of a dime, and the other fish pushed him to the back so they could eat first. As a result, little Alfred was becoming weaker.

So I began feeding him special brine shrimp at the back of the tank while the other angels ate in the front of the tank. Sometimes when regular fish food flakes are not enticing enough, brine shrimp will serve as a terrific appetizer.

Soon Alfred began to put on weight and grow.

That's when I discovered Alfred is a female.

How can you tell if an angelfish is male or female?

(1) Behavior. As angelfish mature, the males become aggressive. They are trying to profile for the ladies so they'll know they are big and strong and capable of protecting them - and their eggs. Females, on the other hand, just kind of hang around - unless they are protecting their eggs or babies.

(2) A hump. When male angelfish become mature and especially as they continue to age (they can live to be ten years old) they will often get a hump on the top of their heads.

(3) When breeding. The female lays the eggs and the male fertilizes them, so if you're lucky enough to watch two angels breeding, you can identify the male from the female. Their organs are so tiny that you almost need a zoom lens to actually see who's who - and only during egg laying and fertilizing.