Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why Angelfish?

I know many people who enjoy fishkeeping. Some have tanks filled with guppies or neon tetras. Others with shrimp or snails. Some have community tanks in which one or two from dozens of species are kept together.

So why do I keep angelfish?

I have to admit that a big reason I keep angelfish is because each one is unique. I also have a neon tetra tank and except on rare occasions, I can't differentiate between one neon and another. (Though I hope they can.) However, every angelfish has unique markings. Even those of a single color - such as a golden or platinum - have unique characteristics such as the height of their fins.

Angelfish can be taught to eat out of your hand. I love the size - several of mine are ten inches tall. (Shown in the picture here: Mick Fleetfish, the platinum angel; Christy McFish, a smoky leopard; and John McFish, a black marble.) Yes. I name my angels and my bettas because I can tell them apart.

I also enjoy watching them take care of their young. They are excellent parents.

However, angelfish can be aggressive toward other angelfish - especially when they are breeding or caring for their fry. They can be territorial and need more space than many other fish. Consider the neons or guppies, in which one fish per gallon is not overcrowding. But angelfish need a minimum of five gallons per fish and ten gallons is even better. During breeding, no matter how large your tank might be, it might not seem like enough.

Angelfish select their mate early and don't generally stray. They can live to be ten years old; far older than a lot of tropical fish.