Altum Angelfish | Pterophyllum scalare
Cichlids / South America / Altum Angelfish
Pterophyllum scalare Synonyms: Platax scalaris, Pterophyllum eimekei, Zeus scalaris
Physical description: 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/Length: To 6" (15 cm)
Similar species: Altum Angel ( Pterophyllum altum)
Habitat: Found in grassy, shore areas along the banks of lakes and slow-moving rivers. South America; Amazon, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil
Water chemistry: pH 5-7.5 (6.5), 1-20 dH (5), 75-82°F (24-28°C)
Social behavior: 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.
Suggested companions: 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.
Breeding techniques: Use warmer water with a temperature from 81-86°F (27-30°C). 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.
Breeding potential: 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.
Remarks: The Angelfish is one of the most popular cichlids. Many different morphs have been developed (Marbled, Black, Veil-tail, Golden, ect.). 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.
Difficulty of care: 3. The Angelfish is a hardy fish recommended for beginners. An Angelfish will quickly outgrow a ten-gallon (38 L) fish tank.