Occasionally, angelfish will lack parenting skills. They might try to eat their eggs or abandon them altogether. If you’re trying to breed angelfish or can’t bear to watch the cannibalism, then you can intervene. Angelfish eggs can be raised without their parents. If you help them survive those first 60 hours after fertilization, they will hatch into active fry.
When hatching angelfish eggs, you should remove them from the original tank or place them in a fry basket. You can dislodge the eggs from their nest with a razor blade. Once in the new area, keep the temperatures between 75-82 F degrees and monitor the water’s chemical balance. Fungus will attempt to grow on the eggs, so be sure to treat the water with fungicide. If any of the eggs die, remove them from the tank so they don’t contaminate the healthy eggs.
Angelfish eggs need steady oxygen, so the tank will need an air stone. They should be placed upside down on an object or plant within the tank. Never place them in direct sunlight. Once the eggs have hatched, you can let them grow into healthy fry.
Can Angelfish Eggs Survive Without The Parents?
Angelfish eggs can survive without the parents as long as you look after them properly. This will require you to:
- Use a fungicide to avoid fungal attacks on the eggs
- Keep the water temperatures consistent, especially if you’ve moved the eggs from one tank to another
- Use an air stone, which can boost the oxygen levels of the water
- Keep the water at the right pH level, so the eggs aren’t jarred or shocked
When in egg form, fish are more delicate than ever. Angelfish are known as hardy fish that can tolerate a few changes outside of their ideal parameters. However, this is only true once they reach adulthood.
If the embryos are kept in water with a slightly elevated pH level, their survival rate goes down to 2%. However, if embryos are kept in the right water conditions, very few eggs will die. According to Zygote, this is also true for temperature. The waters must remain slightly balmy at 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the eggs hatch in a timely manner.
Of course, the health of the parents also factors in. According to Aquaculture Research, if the angelfish parents have a rich diet, their eggs are more likely to survive and produce strong fry. Both formulated diets and raw diets are options, but the best results come from feeding angelfish squid, shrimp, fish eggs, and algae.
As such, if the parent angelfish were healthy and well-fed, their eggs will be easier to raise artificially. If they were sickly or malnourished, the eggs are far more delicate and may die off even in perfect tank conditions.
How Do You Take Care Of Angelfish Eggs?
In ideal conditions, you can let the angelfish parents handle this job themselves. However, there are cases where you absolutely must intervene to artificially raise angelfish eggs. For example:
- If the parents are young and inexperienced, they may eat the eggs
- The parents may be overly territorial and cause fights with other fish; removing the eggs will help stop this
- The parents may have died, leaving the eggs on their own
- The parents may have abandoned their eggs
- You may want to encourage the parents to reproduce again at a quick rate; they will do this if the eggs are gone
No matter the case, you can take care of the angelfish eggs by yourself. Just follow these steps.
Locate The Eggs
If you’ve decided to raise the eggs, you probably know where they are in the tank. However, angelfish may spawn in a secluded part of the tank, out of view, so the eggs’ location is better protected. Likewise, the parents may have cleaned out a nest for the eggs on a piece of glass or mirror. This will make them hard to detect. To find the eggs:
- Look For A Clean, Smooth Area. This is where angelfish like to spawn
- Check On The Side Of Decorations. Your angelfish may have laid the eggs against a surface or stuck them on the side of a plant. Be sure to look at all angles.
- Pay Attention To Where The Parents Guard. Assuming both parents are alive, they will be hovering near the eggs.
If you plan on breeding angelfish regularly, then it may be worth investing in spawning plates. These create ideal spots to lay eggs and are easy to remove. You can locate and transfer the new offspring with less hassle.
Make Sure The Eggs Are Fertilized
Female angelfish can lay eggs on their own, without the intervention of a male. If the male does not come around to fertilize them, the eggs will remain sterile and lifeless. If you can’t tell the difference between that or eggs on their way to hatching, you might end up wasting your time. Here are signs to look for:
- Fertilized Eggs: These are brownish with translucent, amber tones. They will likely hatch in the next couple of days.
- Unfertilized Eggs: These are white. Within a day or two, they will begin to rot and get covered in fungi.
If the eggs are sterile, then be sure to clear them out immediately. The resulting fungus can unbalance your tank’s pH level and make your fish sick. If the eggs are brown, then get ready for fishy adoption!
Decide Where To Move The Eggs
The new eggs should not be kept in the same tank with the rest of your fish. If the parents are not there to protect the offspring, they will quickly become a meal. The parents themselves may even eat the gooey eggs. To move the eggs, you have 2 options:
- A New Tank: This is a long-term solution, where you can let the fry grow to a safe size before getting reintroduced to the original tank.
- A Fry Basket: This is the least jarring option, since you don’t have to get a second tank, cycle the new water, or invest in a new filter.
A fry basket works as a mesh netting or small container that’s placed in your original tank. The eggs are set inside and kept away from the other tank inhabitants. They will use the same water, which eliminates some of your guesswork. However, fry baskets can’t hold them forever and can overcrowd the original tank.
A new tank gives you space, security, and allows you to quarantine the fry. They will be vulnerable in these early hours, so a minor illness spreading in your original tank will be deadly. The downside is you will need to get new water, cycle the tank, check the parameters, and, of course, invest in a whole new aquarium.
Use The Same Water
Your eggs will be the safest and healthiest when kept in water from the original tank. If you opt for a fry basket, that’s no issue. Simply keep the chemical balance properly leveled out and try to avoid any sudden changes until the eggs hatch.
If you choose to house the eggs in a new aquarium, use water from the original tank to fill it. Since fry don’t require a large tank, siphoning off a little from the parents’ aquarium won’t harm them.
Choosing Different Water
Of course, there are situations where you can’t use the same water. For example, perhaps your original tank has an infection of some kind, or something damaged the tank, making the water null and void.
No matter the case, using new water to raise angelfish eggs is risky. If you have to, you can:
- Ask For Water From A Pet Store. They already have cycled and well-maintained aquariums. It’s an unusual request, but most will oblige.
- Condition Your Water. If you need to use tap water, be sure to use a water conditioner to neutralize chlorine. The eggs’ chances of survival aren’t ideal in this case, but it’s doable.
- Treat The Water. If a fungus has made your other tank unsafe for the eggs, then any spores might follow your eggs to their new tank. Try using methylene blue to treat the new water for fungus on the eggs.
Use A Heater
No matter your choice of water or enclosure, you’ll need a heater. As mentioned, angelfish eggs are extremely vulnerable to changes in temperature. An adult won’t mind the water growing warmer or colder by a few degrees. An egg, however:
- May fail to hatch
- Will hatch far later than normal
- Might produce an unhealthy fry when it does
That means you should keep your tank exactly between 74 and 82 degrees. A heater will ensure you maintain this consistently.
Placing The Eggs
The eggs can’t be placed willy-nilly inside of the tank. In the wild (and even in your old tank), angelfish parents choose a nesting spot that will be:
- Out of direct light
- Away from fast flowing water
You should do the same. Likewise, the eggs must stick to whatever material they’re placed on. If they can’t do this, they may get dragged away by currents.
Eggs will hatch best if they’re kept upside down. This improves how much oxygen passes over them and keeps them safe. You may have to try gently nudging them against an object a few times until they stay put.
Use An Airstone
Just like with adult angelfish, eggs need oxygen. You shouldn’t place the eggs in a fishbowl where the water remains stagnant. If you choose a new tank, include an air stone to keep the water properly aerated. You should place it farther away from the eggs, so they don’t get jostled.
If you’re keeping the eggs in the original tank, then whatever equipment you have to keep oxygen levels high is good enough.
Monitor The Light
Angelfish eggs will suffer under harsh or bright lighting. That’s especially true for direct sunlight, as UV radiation is dangerous for their developing cells. The sunlight will also encourage algae to grow. You should keep the tank in a secluded area away from windows.
Some breeders keep their egg tanks covered with a blanket to create absolute darkness. Others use standard lighting. Neither method will directly harm the fish.
Watch For Filters
When you are raising the eggs artificially, be sure to use a low-powered filter or place it far away from the eggs. The strong water currents or suction may dislodge the eggs from their nest.
Once hatched, the fry may also get sucked into the machine if the intake valves are not properly covered.
According to the International Journal of Veterinary Science and Medicine, angelfish eggs are susceptible to water mold. When the parents raise their eggs, a large part of their job involves cleaning away fungus and debris. If you adopt the eggs, this is now your job.
The best way to keep fungus away from eggs is to stop it from taking root. You can accomplish that by treating your tank with methylene blue. If you need stronger results, or have just moved the eggs from an infected tank, then you can mix a combination of formalin and hydrogen peroxide. These are the ingredients used by fish hatcheries in the U.S.
How to Remove Angelfish Eggs From The Tank
Removing angelfish eggs from their original tank is a delicate process. These gooey balls of life can be easily damaged. You won’t realize they’ve died until they fail to hatch and begin to rot.
Of course, if your angelfish have laid eggs on a movable object, like a spawning plate or plant leaf, that makes things easy. You can simply pick up this object and move it to the new area. If they are attached to a fixed surface, however, like the inside of the glass, you have to be careful. To begin, you will need:
- A single-edged razor blade that has been sterilized with hydrogen peroxide
- A specimen cup (paper or plastic)
- Water from the original tank, kept in the specimen cup
Prepare the Area
Since you’ll be brandishing a razor and handling delicate eggs, be sure the area is ready for your operation.
- Turn Off The Filter Or Any Air Stones. You don’t want the current sweeping or sucking up the eggs once they’re loose.
- Consider Removing The Parents From The Tank During This. Otherwise, they might race around the aquarium, disturb the eggs, or even try to attack your hands.
- With Your Hands, Put The Cup And Razor Into The Tank. Hold the position for a few seconds. The other fish will go crazy for a few seconds, but then calm down. You want this to happen while you’re holding still, not while you’re carefully removing eggs.
Once the tank has settled down, you can proceed to the hard part.
Remove The Eggs From Their Surface
Angelfish eggs are sticky and will adhere to whatever surface their parents laid them on. Because of this, before you can place them in the cup, you need to safely dislodge them.
- Take the razor and position it next to the eggs
- Hold the razor parallel at about a 15-degree angle
- Press it down tightly to the object the eggs are on; you want this to be a smooth cut
- Slide it right underneath the angelfish eggs, until you have gently severed the bond between the surface and the eggs.
If you do this carefully, the eggs won’t break. Instead, they will accumulate upon the blade.
Place The Eggs In The Cup
The cup should already be in your hand and in the water. With the eggs on the razor, you can gently move them into the cup and press them lightly to the inside.
They may also drift off the razor and float to the bottom of the cup as you move it. As long as the water isn’t stirred by panicked fish, you don’t have to worry about them drifting out. Now you can deposit them into the fry basket or new tank.
Raising angelfish eggs without the parents isn’t easy, but it won’t be time-consuming. If the eggs are properly cared for, they will begin to hatch within 60 hours. In the following 2-3 days, they will then turn into wigglers and swim freely around the tank.