Monday, September 30, 2013

Introducing a New Angelfish

Last week I mentioned that Emmie Lou was quickly outgrowing the betta tank, where I placed her when she became the sole survivor of a batch of angelfish fry.

I decided I'd like to keep her, unlike others that have been placed for sale at my local pet shop. So the dilemma was where to place her. I have five angelfish in a community tank and four angelfish in a separate community tank. Though it seemed a no-brainer to place her with the four angels, they have actually become quite territorial. I was concerned they would bully or even kill the much smaller and younger Emmie Lou.

So I made the decision to place her in the 70-gallon tank with five angels. Of the five, I know for certain that two - the silver angel and the blue marble angel - are males. I know two of the koi angels are female. The third koi angel I believe is a male but I am not completely certain. I also don't know if Emmie Lou is actually a female, as she's too young to tell.

The video below shows Emmie Lou as she's added to the community tank.

When introducing fish to an angelfish tank, it seems that the existing angels ignore fish of other species. Introduce a new angelfish, however, and competition begins for the heirarchy, which can result in disaster. So there are several factors to consider:

(1) If the existing angels have established certain areas of the tank as theirs, it's best to redo the decorations. When decorations or plants are moved around, it results in everybody having to figure out which area is their territory.

(2) Females are much more easily accepted than males, who are more aggressive and territorial.

(3) Make certain there are no courting angelfish, no eggs laid and no angelfish babies in the tank. Parents are at their most aggressive during any of these situations.

(4) Make sure the new fish is disease-free by quarantining the new fish for several weeks. Since Emmie Lou was born in the Honeymoon Suite in my home (occupied permanently by Lindsay Buckingfish and Stevie Fishnick) I have been observing her closely throughout her young life.

(5) If possible, introduce new angelfish in groups of three. It prevents bullying by the more established fish.

(6) With small angels, make sure there are no fish of other species that can be bullies or fin nippers. Older angels can protect themselves more easily than small angels.

(7) Observe, observe, observe. Make sure there is no bullying going on and the new fish have places they can go to escape aggression.

(8) Feed the fish just prior to adding the new fish, or feed within 1-2 minutes of adding the new fish.

I introduced Emmie Lou to the community tank in the evening, immediately feeding the fish as she was added. The females showed more interest in her while the males immediately tolerated her. This could mean she is definitely a female... Or just such a young male that the older, established males don't see it as a threat. Only time will tell.


Misaki @ misadventuresofMisaki said...

That's really great advice. Hope She settles in well

Anonymous said...

So I added a new angel to my tank I have 1 that I believe is a female now. There was a bit of chasing at the start but today the strangest thing happened the new one turned, face to face with my current one and appeared to be standing up to her. Then gently touched her side with its mouth. And this behavior went on for about 2 minutes. The new addition is a bit smaller than my current one. first time I've seen that behavior. Any thoughts?

p.m.terrell said...

The new angelfish go through a period of confusion in a new tank as they try to figure out where they are and who is in that tank with them. During that period of time, they are more likely to be chased or bullied, especially if others work together as a group. At the same time, the older angels are waiting to see if this new interloper is going to flee their territory, as they would do in the wild. It sounds to me that your new angel decided there was no place to escape to and it was time to defend herself as a member of the group. The older angel may have tolerated this because (a) she was surprised by the different behavior, and/or (b) she decided this angel was staying after all. Angelfish have a definite hierarchy within their group, and once it is established where the new one fits in, they generally live peacefully - except when breeding. A female is far more likely to be accepted by the group than a male. Hope this helps. Let me know how things turn out!

Angelgirl said...

I have quite a large marble angel. I have no idea of the sex
I bought a bule angle with stripes can't remember the actual name I don't know its sex either. When I first put the new one in there was lots of chasing etc by the bigger angel. I got scared and took the new angel out and put it in with a goldfish I had in a smaller tank. The angel has grown and now picking on the gold fish. I had placed the striped angel in the other tank with the bigger angel. But the bullying started right away. I then placed the striped angel in a separation netted area. The bigger one just ignores the other now. Is there any hope to have them respect each other eventually? I don't want to have to take the other angel back. Please help

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. You have two male angels. Here are some of your options: (1) get a tank divider from your local pet shop. This way you can keep both of them in the same tank but they won't be able to injure one another. (2) movie the goldfish to the larger tank, especially if there is a hiding place for it there. (3) I don't know how large your tank is, but a third option I've used is to introduce several angels at once. Angels should have ten gallons apiece, though some experts say five is enough. Pick up a couple of additional angels and move them all to the same tank at one time. Before you do, redecorate your tank. The less familiar the angel is with their own tank, the less aggressive they will be with newly added ones. Please stop back by, let me know which option you chose, and how it worked out!

Angelgirl said...

Hi Vicki
Thank you for your relpy 😀
I kept the smaller angel in the containment tank. I turned out light. Released the small angel and also released 3 neon tetras for the big angel to be distracted by( he actually ate them... No big deal). Then I added and moved large plants for hiding and coverage. Left light out for 2 days. I'm happy to say it worked! They are getting alone now. The bigger even tolerates close by swims
I would love to send you a video I took if you tell me where to send or if you are on Instagram

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks for dropping back by and letting us know how things worked out. I'm glad you were able to keep both angels. Can you upload the video to YouTube and leave a link on this blog to it? I'd love to see your angels!

Angelgirl said...

I was able to load a video now ;o)

p.m.terrell said...

That's a gorgeous tank and beautiful angels! Thanks so much for sharing!

Angelgirl said...

awe thanks so much . I'm still a beginner but really enjoying it. So wonderful to have a little living world to watch and maintain. also found a great new air pump for anyone needing one for to check out

jrost978 said...

I'm worried,I have a 36 bow front with quite a few fish in it. 3 platty's, two female betas, two Cory's, a pictus catfish, to pink gouramis,a few ghost shrimp, two frogs and an Angel fish. I have a canister filter and my water levels are all great! But I wanted to add an Angel so mine wasn't alone and now the first is bullying the newcomer, I'm afraid to add more, what do you recommend?

p.m.terrell said...

Hi, Jrost978. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm sorry to hear about your angelfish bullying. It sounds like your original angel is a male; they can be quite territorial, especially when introducing just one new angel. Your tank also sounds like it's heavily stocked, especially for two fully grown angels. If possible, I would suggest returning the second angel for its own safety. If that is not possible, try moving plants or decorations so there is not a direct line of sight between the angels, or to create hiding places for the new angel. A third option is to purchase a divider (sold at pet shops) that can separate the angels while they are getting accustomed to one another. If they both turn out to be males, however, bullying might continue for some time. Best of luck to you!