The Ultimate Guide to Breeding Freshwater Angelfish

Angelfish are one of the most beautiful fish you can keep in an aquarium. They are calm and peaceful, and their long fins move gracefully through the water. Angelfish are indeed a gem to keep in any freshwater aquarium. In this article, we’ll talk about how to breed angelfish and what you need to know about them to do so.

Table of Contents

Are Freshwater Angelfish Easy To Breed?

Angelfish can be easy to breed with the right environment and a healthy breeding pair. However, if it’s your first time breeding angelfish, you might need help with more than just the breeding process. So, if you want to breed them, you need to know about the process to prepare beforehand.

Most of the time, all you need to do to breed angelfish is have a breeding tank, ensure the water is in the correct parameters, and have a breeding pair of angelfish. Angelfish can be aggressive and attack other fish when breeding, so keeping them in a separate tank is best. It can also be hard to choose a breeding pair because it is difficult to tell which one is a male or a female. 

Keep them in your breeding tank with the correct water parameters and feed them high-quality food to ensure they breed successfully. After all that, your angelfish will be able to successfully lay eggs in the spawning site of your breeding tank. At that point, you need to keep the eggs healthy until they hatch.

What Do You Need To Breed Angelfish?

Angelfish are an excellent addition to any community aquarium. So it’s no wonder many fish keepers want to try to breed them. If you wish to attempt to breed them, here are some things you would need.

1. Breeding Tank

Angelfish are calm and peaceful fish, but when they are breeding, they can be very aggressive. This is because when angelfish are breeding, their instincts as parents kick in and make them want to protect their spawning site or eggs from other fish. So giving them their breeding tank will keep your angelfish from getting stressed out from fighting and keep other fish from eating their eggs.

2. Correct Water Parameters

Angelfish are tough fish that can get used to a wide range of water parameters. But putting them in a breeding tank with the correct water temperature, pH level, and hardness makes it easier for your angelfish to breed, which increases the chances that you will be able to breed them successfully.

3.  Clean Water

Keeping the aquarium water clean will also help your angelfish breed. Angelfish can get stressed out quickly when they are breeding, and they tend to overreact to things like a rise in ammonia and nitrate levels. Make sure to put a low-flow filter in their breeding tank and change a small amount of water daily to keep it clean.

4. High-Quality Food

You can ensure your angelfish are always healthy for breeding is to feed them at least twice daily. You can give them high-quality fish flakes, live food like daphnia and brine shrimp, or blanched vegetables. Remember that they won’t stop eating as long as there’s food, so be careful not to give them too much.

5. Breeding Pair

Angelfish are monogamous fish, meaning they form pairs that would last for a lifetime as they grow up. So to find a breeding pair, find the male and female angelfish that swim together or defend an area of the fish tank together. You can also buy mature male and female angelfish, put them in the fish tank, and wait for them to pair up.

lovely angel fish in my aquarium

How Do You Trigger Angelfish To Breed?

Angelfish are easy to breed if you give them the right water conditions, a breeding tank, and time to do what they need to do. However, they may take a long time to start breeding and need help getting them to breed. Here are some ways you can do that.

1. Increased Food Quantity

One way to get your angelfish to breed is to feed them a lot of good food, such as high-quality flakes, live food, and vegetables for a few days. Many fish will usually start to spawn when they see a lot of food. However, they may be at risk of overfeeding, so do not feed them more than they can eat.

2. Set The Correct Water Temperature

Angelfish are usually always ready to breed if you keep them stressed by keeping the water temperature right and other things. Most of the time, they can live in temperatures between 75°F and 82°F, but 78°F to 80°F is the best range. Many aquarists say they have gotten angelfish to breed around the extremes, but avoiding this is best.

3. Add Plants

Putting plants in their breeding tank can help make it look like the angelfish’s natural environment, which can help get them to spawn. Angelfish usually do best with plants that have big leaves, like the java fern, anubias, and amazon sword. These plants can also give your angelfish a place to hide, making them feel safer.

4. Pair Them With Other Angelfish

Your angelfish might not be breeding because they are incompatible with the angelfish you are trying to pair them with. Try to put them with other angelfish whose sexes are the opposite of their own. Angelfish can be hard to tell if they are male or female, so ensure you have both male and female ones.

5. Add Spawning Places

Your angelfish might not be breeding because they don’t have anywhere to lay their eggs. Angelfish can lay their eggs in almost anything, even plants, if they have a place to do so. You can add a smooth spawning slate or plants with broad leaves so that they have a place to lay their eggs.

What Does Angelfish Mating Look Like?

Angelfish mate like any other freshwater fish, except that they only mate with one partner and take care of their eggs and fry. Like other cichlids, Angelfish can be highly territorial and aggressive, especially when protecting their eggs or fry. This is why angelfish are one of the best parents among many freshwater aquarium fish.

Angelfish usually start the process of getting pregnant by getting together. The two will chase each other around the fish tank and shake their tails until they finally lock their lips and twitch. After the couple has meticulously prepared the site, the female angelfish will lay her eggs on a large leaf or the vertical tank surface.

The male angelfish will then fertilize the eggs by spraying his sperm onto the eggs. The angelfish pair will watch over the eggs to keep them safe until they hatch. The couple will occasionally clean the eggs and give them oxygen by fanning and caressing them with their fins.

How Often Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?

Angelfish usually spawn another clutch of eggs after successfully hatching and raising their fries. However, if you have taken their eggs away from their tank, they can spawn eggs as early as two weeks. Depending on their size and species type, they can lay about a hundred to a thousand eggs.  

The angelfish often lay their eggs on vertical surfaces, usually the plants’ broad leaves. The eggs will then hatch in two to three days, given that they are in the correct temperature and parameters.  After that, you can sometimes see your parent angelfish use their mouths to move the newly hatched angelfish fry around the tank.

How well an egg hatch usually depends on the water’s cleanliness and parameters. But usually, the first eggs a female angelfish lay are less likely to grow as adults. This is because first-time angelfish parents tend to eat their eggs or fry.

What Are Angelfish Breeding Habits To Look For?

Angelfish that are mating often look like they are fighting each other, so it can be hard to tell whether or not they are. However, they usually show more odd behaviors, so it can be easier to tell if they are mating. Here are some breeding habits that help indicate that they are getting ready to mate.

1. Pairing Up

You may sometimes see your angelfish swimming alongside another angelfish when they are trying to breed. This is called pairing, and it happens because angelfish usually form monogamous pairs that stay together for life. Angelfish may swim close to each other or hang out together in your fish tank from time to time.

2. Chasing Each Other

Angelfish that chase each other around the fish tank are another sign that they are trying to breed. They might wag their tails at each other or twitch their bodies while facing each other. Since this behavior can also be seen as aggressive, it’s easy to mistake it for fighting.

3. Locking Lips

Another behavior you may find in your angelfish during breeding is that they lock lips often. This behavior is sometimes termed kissing, which usually indicates the beginning of the mating process. However, it may also mean aggression, where an angelfish may be fighting over a territory or a female angelfish.

4. Increased Aggression

When they are breeding, angelfish are more likely to attack other fish or other angelfish. This is because angelfish are usually very territorial when they are trying to breed, and they are trying to keep other fish away from their territory. They will also need to protect themselves from other fish in the tank to have the best chance of producing fries.

5. Cleaning An Area In The Tank

You might notice that when two angelfish try to breed, they clean a particular area in the fish tank. This is because the angelfish have chosen where they will lay their eggs and spend a lot of time cleaning that area, which could take them a whole day. However, If you put the breeding pair in a breeding tank, they will usually be more relaxed and won’t be cleaning any areas in the tank.

betta care facebook group

How Do You Keep Angelfish Fry Alive?

If you are trying to breed angelfish for the first time, getting the eggs to hatch can be challenging because they are very fragile and need a lot of care. Even after they hatch, they are still fragile and need a stable environment to avoid dying. Here are some things you can do to keep your angelfish alive and healthy.

1. Regular Water Change

To keep your fry healthy, you should always try to make small water changes to eliminate fish waste and reduce the amount of toxins in the water. Make sure not to do huge water changes, so you don’t throw off the chemistry of the water or shock the fry. You can at least do a 15% water change twice a week for good measure.

2. Maintain A Stable Temperature

Angelfish fry depends on their environment to keep them warm, so they are sensitive to changes in the temperature of the water. The best way to keep them alive is to put them in water with a stable temperature between 80 to 84.5°F. If the temperature in your tank changes quickly by 5 degrees, your angelfish may get sick or die.

3. Maintain Stable Water Parameters

To keep angelfish fry alive, you must monitor the pH level, amount of ammonia and nitrates, and water hardness in your tank. The water hardness and pH level affect your angelfish fry’s ability to control how much sodium goes into and out of their bodies, which is vital for keeping the balance of their body fluids. More importantly, both angelfish and fries can die from ammonia and nitrates, so keep the levels as low as possible.

4. Install A Sponge Filter

A sponge filter is an aquarium equipment often needed in an aquarium used to keep the water clean and ammonia low. It uses the help of good bacteria to keep the nitrogen cycle going, which is how it cleans the water. Sponge filters are suitable for fry tanks because they don’t stir the water as much as power filters.

5. Place The Tank Somewhere Quiet

If you kept the angelfish fry with the parents, you must place the tank somewhere calm and quiet, away from human activities. During the breeding period, angelfish parents are easily startled, so you should move the tank away from loud noises and bright lights that could disturb them. These disturbances will cause stress that could make angelfish parents eat their young.

6. Add Plants To The Tank

Plants are a great addition to any fish tank because they help add oxygen to the water and give your fish places to hide. Putting plants in your fish tank can also help the angelfish feel more secure by making them feel like they are in their natural environment. Putting plants in the tank can help the angelfish and its young stay healthy and calm.

7. Provide Healthy Food

When angelfish fry first start swimming, they get their nutrition mostly from their egg yolk sac. But once they leave the yolk sac, your angelfish fry must be fed high-quality food. Make sure to give them food that is small enough for them to eat, like freshly hatched brine shrimp, vinegar eels, or even dissolved hard-boiled egg yolk.

How To Stop Your Angelfish From Breeding?

Angelfish are known to lay eggs very quickly, which makes it hard to keep them from having fries. But having too many angelfish in the fish tank can make it harder to care for them, so sometimes it’s better to have only a few. Here’s a list of what you can do to stop angelfish from breeding.

1. Put Them In Small Tanks

Most expert aquarists say that a large tank is better for breeding because the fish are more comfortable. You can prevent this by keeping your angelfish in a tank no smaller than 20 gallons. A small tank will make them feel slightly stressed, and if they don’t feel safe, they might be unable to reproduce.

2. Avoid Ideal pH Level For Breeding

You can also stop your angelfish from breeding by ensuring the water conditions and temperatures aren’t suitable for breeding. Do not adjust your aquarium’s pH to an optimal range for angelfish breeding between 6.5 and 6.9. Angelfish can live in a wide range of pH levels, but be cautious when putting them in a less-than-ideal pH level as it may upset and stress them.

3. Add Water Flow In The Aquarium

If you don’t want angelfish to have babies, add water flow to your fish tank using a HOB or power filter. So, you can wear out your angelfish and make them feel like they don’t have enough room to breed. Adding aquarium flow, on the other hand, can push your angelfish around the tank, which can cause them a lot of stress.

4. Dont Add Spawning Slate

To stop your angelfish from breeding, don’t put things in the tank that would be good places for them to lay their eggs. If you don’t give them these safe places, likely, the angelfish won’t lay eggs because they won’t see anywhere safe enough for them to do so. However, this method might work differently than planned because the angelfish might lay their eggs on the aquarium glass if they have nowhere else to go.

5. Only Keep Male Angelfish

You can also keep only male angelfish so that no two angelfish can get together and have babies. Male angelfish are usually calmer and less aggressive than females, so keeping more of them together in a tank would be less of a problem. The problem with keeping only female angelfish is that the females can still lay eggs without the male, and they will fight other fish to protect their eggs.

6. Put Them In A Community Tank

If your angelfish live in the same tank as much bigger fish, you can be sure that the bigger fish will eat either the eggs or the fry that hatch. This won’t stop your angelfish from having babies, but it may make them less likely to do so. This way, you won’t have to do much to keep the number of angelfish in your fish tank low.

7. Separate The Breeding Pair

If you want to stop your angelfish from breeding but don’t want to make it uncomfortable or cause stress, you should immediately separate your breeding pair. Angelfish are always ready to breed, and just two of them can fill up a fish tank, so the best way to keep them from doing that is not to have a pair that can breed. Angelfish are fine living alone, so separating the breeding pair won’t hurt them.

When To Separate Angelfish Fry From Their Parents?

If you want to separate angelfish fries away from their parents, it is best when the fries are about six to eight weeks old. They can be taken away from their parents as early as three weeks old when they start to look like adult angelfish, but doing so will stress out the parents. But many aquarists recommend you keep the fry with their parents, so they can survive better.

Angelfish are usually the best parents because they protect and guard their eggs and fries. The only time an angelfish fry should be taken away from its parents is when the parents start to eat the eggs. The parents usually do this when stressed or uncomfortable with the water conditions.

If you’d instead not rely on the adult angelfish to care for the young, you can care for the fries yourself. You need to remove the eggs from the main tank and put them in another tank with the same water conditions. You could also take the parents out of the breeding tank and care for the eggs they have there.

The Ultimate Guide to Breeding Freshwater Angelfish


Do Freshwater Angelfish Mate For Life?

Usually, an angelfish would only pair up for one breeding season. In captivity, on the other hand, they may remain with the same fish they have paired for a long time. If one dies, the other might wait a while before they can pair up with another new partner.

Should You Remove Angelfish Eggs?

Angelfish eggs should only be moved when they are in a community fish tank or when the parents start to eat them. Angelfish eggs can be fragile, so they must be handled with care if you want to move them. Taking the eggs from where they were laid and putting them in a different tank could hurt or kill them.

How Many Angelfish Babies Survive?

Many factors affect the angelfish fries’ survival rate, so it can be hard to tell exactly how many can survive. Usually, most angelfish eggs hatch into the wiggler stage under optimal conditions. However, only about half of the larval angelfish can survive and grow to become fries.

Can You Move Angelfish Eggs?

You can take the angelfish eggs off the spawning site by hand by scraping them off. Angelfish are usually good parents, but they sometimes eat their eggs. Just be careful when you scrape the eggs off the top, and always keep them underwater.

What Age Do Angelfish Have To Be Before They Can Breed?

Angelfish usually become sexually mature between 6 and 12 months of age. But they may start getting together as early as two months old. When your angelfish begin to breed, you’ll notice that they lock lips or kiss each other, clean a particular area of the tank, and become more territorial and aggressive.

Can Angelfish Breed With Other Fish?

Angelfish can be bred with other angelfish species but not with other fish outside the family. However, breeding different species of angelfish might not be successful and sometimes may result in fights. Some angelfish are also larger than others, which can be a factor when breeding them.

Is It Bad To Breed Angelfish From The Same Spawn?

Most of the time, breeding angelfish that are siblings doesn’t affect their offspring. However, the problem starts when you keep breeding siblings of multiple generations because the bad genes stand out more, increasing the chances of physical deformities and health problems. Angelfish should only breed with fish that are not related to them.

Will A Male Angelfish Breed With Two Females?

Angelfish usually form monogamous pairs, so they do not breed with other female angelfish. They will become more aggressive with other angelfish that come close to them or their spawning site. However, if their mate dies, the male angelfish may take a while to pair up with another female and start breeding with her.

Do Angelfish Breed In Captivity?

You can breed angelfish in captivity if you keep them healthy and away from stress. In fact, angelfish are easy to breed and often don’t need much intervention from you. Under the correct water conditions, you can have a lot of angelfish fries from a pair of angelfish.

Will Angelfish Parents Eat Their Fry?

Angelfish are natural parents who watch over and protect their eggs and young. But they usually eat their fries, especially if it’s their first time breeding. They will also eat the fries if the water condition is wrong or they are stressed.


Most of the time, you won’t have any trouble breeding Angelfish, especially if they’re in the right water conditions. You can also help them start breeding. You can even stop them from breeding if you no longer wish to breed them. Overall, Angelfish aren’t hard to care for because they don’t have a lot of complicated needs.

About the author

Hey there! I'm Antonio, the passionate owner and chief editor of Betta Care Fish Guide. With over half a decade of hands-on experience, I've become your go-to expert for all things betta and tropical fish.

Over the past 5 years, I've not only kept bettas and other tropical fish but also connected with a diverse network of hobbyists, seasoned fishkeepers, and even veterinarians.

Now, I want to help other beginner fish keepers who had the same questions as me when they were just starting out! So they can save themselves a ton of time and keep their fish happy and healthy!

Leave a Comment