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CICHLIDS



Altum Angelfish, Orinoco Angel, Deep Angel [Pictures]

Pterophyllum altum
SYN: None
PD: A disc-shaped, laterally compressed cichlid with tall, erect fins. The body shape is similar to that of P. scalare but the forehead is more steeply sloped and the body is taller. The fins are also more elongated on this species. The body is silver gray with a greenish iridescence. Four dark, transverse bands cover the body, and one or two faint bands are also present. The first dark band runs through the eye; the second runs near the mid-section of the body, while the third runs from the tip of the dorsal fin, through the body, and to the tip of the anal fin. The final band runs on the caudal peduncle.
SIZE: To 9" (23 cm) long and 15" tall (38 cm)
SS: Angelfish ( P. scalare)
HAB: South America; Venezuela, in the Orinoco and Negro Rivers (Casiquiare Canal)
S: middle
TANK: A tank measuring 48" (122 cm) with a capacity of 55 gallons (209 L) is adequate, although larger tanks are recommended. The tank should be well-planted with strong, robust plants. Provide hiding areas with rocks, roots, and wood. Leave an open swimming area. This Angel prefers peat-filtered water.
WATER: pH 4.5-7.0 (5.8), dH 0-6 (1), 81-86F (27-30C)
SB: A peaceful fish that can be kept in a community tank with other Angels, Catfish, and peaceful cichlids. Do not combine the Altum Angel with small, slender fish (Cardinals) for these may be eaten. Pairs form nuclear families.
SC: Catfish (Armored, Pimelodids, Doradids, Loricarids), characins (Headstanders, hatchetfish, larger schooling tetras), cichlids (Angelfish, Discus, Waroo, Ram). Take care when combining with Discus as Discus may not be able to compete.
FOOD: This Angels should have a varied diet. Live; bloodworms, Tubifex, Brine Shrimp, mosquito larvae; flakes; lettuce.
SEX: Not distinguishable outside of spawning, when males have a pointed genital papilla.
B: A difficult fish to breed. Successful spawns are unusual. Success has been achieved in water with a pH from 5.5-6.0, a water hardness of 2-4 dH and a warm water temperature of 84-88F (29-31C). In one case, the pair was kept in a large tank (over 100 gallons) and weekly water changes were made. The parents were fed a varied diet of live foods and color-enhancing flake foods. 400-500 eggs were laid. The parents carefully picked through the eggs, eating a great deal of them. The eggs were then removed and hatched after 3 days. The fry became free-swimming after 5 more days at which time they were fed on fine-grade flake food and Brine Shrimp nauplii. The fry are delicate but fast-growing, if fed several times a day.
BP: 9. The Altum Angel is a difficult fish to breed.
R: Virtually all fish available on the market are wild-caught. This species has been crossed with P. scalare.
DC: 7. The Altum Angel is a challenging, but rewarding fish to keep. It should be kept on a varied diet, with occasional supplements of nutritious live foods. This Angel is sensitive to changes in water chemistry, pollutants, and subject to infections.

Angelfish [Pictures]
Pterophyllum scalare
SYN: Platax scalaris, Pterophyllum eimekei, Zeus scalaris
PD: A laterally compressed cichlid with a disc-shaped cichlid with large, elongated fins. The dorsal and anal fins stand tall and erect, while the caudal fin is fan-shaped. The iris of the eye is often red in color. The coloration depends on the variety.
SIZE: To 6" (15 cm)
SS: Altum Angel ( Pterophyllum altum)
HAB: Found in grassy, shore areas along the banks of lakes and slow-moving rivers. South America; Amazon, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil
S: middle
TANK: A 36" (91 cm) tank with a capacity of 35 gallons (132 L) is adult specimen. Young fish (under 2") can be kept in 20" (51 cm) or 10 gallon (38 L) tank. The tank should be well-planted with hardy plants. Use roots, rocks, and bog wood for hiding places, but leave an open area for swimming.
WATER: pH 5-7.5 (6.5), 1-20 dH (5), 75-82F (24-28C)
SB: A peaceful cichlid that can be combined in community tanks with other calm, medium to large sized fishes. Do not combine with small slender fishes (Cardinals) for these will likely be eaten. Angels can be kept singly or in groups. For pairing, raise a group of individuals from youth, and select a pair that forms.
SC: Catfish (Armored, Pimelodids, Doradids, Loricarids), characins (Headstanders, hatchetfish, larger schooling tetras), cichlids (Angelfish, Discus, Waroo, Acaras, Ram, Eartheaters), gouramis, livebearers that can tolerate neutral water conditions.
FOOD: Live; insects, Tubifex, Brine Shrimp, insect larvae; flakes; pellets; lettuce.
SEX: No external differences are distinguishable outside of spawning season.
B: Use warmer water with a temperature from 81-86F (27-30C). The female lays about 1000 eggs on previously cleaned, vertical surfaces if they are available. Otherwise the eggs may be laid on rocks or plants. In any case, the parents carefully guard the eggs, which hatch in 24-36 hours. The fry hang from plants for another 4-5 days, before the parents move them to a shallow pit. At that time the fry should be fed on roftiers and nauplii.
BP: 7. The Angelfish is not an especially easy fish to breed. Once a pair forms breeding is possible in clean tank with soft, acidic water.
R: The Angelfish is one of the most popular cichlids. Many different morphs have been developed (Marbled, Black, Veil-tail, Golden, etc.). Nearly all Angels available to the hobby are captive-bred. During courtship, males may emit an audible grating sound. There is much debate as to how many species of angelfish there are. Currently, some ichthyologists recognize four species: P. altum, P. dumerilli, P. leopoldi, and P. scalare. The debate is whether P. dumerilli and P. leopoldi are synonyms of P. scalare.
DC: 3. The Angelfish is a hardy fish recommended for beginners. An Angelfish will quickly outgrow a ten-gallon (38 L) fish tank.

By Rhett Butler







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