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Black Angels

Black Angels

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Black Angels Pterophyllum scalare

General information about Black Angelfish

Pterophyllum scalare was one of the first species to be kept in captivity and to this day it is still one of the most common in the market. It’s popularity led to many cross-breedings so now there are many different varieties. In the wild, these fish are silver with dark vertical stripes, however, in the market it is possible to find many varieties like Black, Gold, Marble and more.

These fish are diamond shaped, they have a round, laterally compressed body, triangular dorsal and anal fins and they can reach 6 inches in length and 8 inches or more in height. Due to their height, a tall aquarium is essential to keep these fish, a 30-gallon tank is the bare minimum, however, if there is more than one individual the tank needs to be larger. The water should have temperatures ranging from 76ºF to 86ºF and pH between 6.0 and 7.4. The tank should also have rocks, hardy plants, open area for swimming and subdued lighting. This species is peaceful and can be kept in a community aquarium with tankmates of its size. These fish school in the wild, as such, they should be kept in a group, when they are older they will pair off and may get territorial.

Black Angelfish Diet & Nutrition

This species is omnivorous. In the wild, it feeds mainly on insect larvae and small fishes. In captivity, they can be fed with pellets, flakes, live and frozen foods.

Determining Sex of Black Angelfish

There is no way to distinguish sex out of the breeding season, during breeding season male’s genital papillae is pointed while the female’s is blunt.

Breeding & Spawning Black Angelfish

After a “couple” is formed, it starts to defend a territory inside the aquarium becoming aggressive to any other fish that comes close to it. Once they choose a spawning site, which can be a leaf, a rock or even glass, they will carefully clean it. The female will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. The pair will often oxygenate the eggs to prevent them from getting fungus, if an egg does get infected with a fungus, one of the parents will separate it from the rest. Eggs hatch after 2 days and the fry will stay in the spawning site for 5 more days, during this time they will feed on the yolk sac. 7 days after hatching, the fry become free swimming and can be fed with newly hatched brine shrimp. To breed this species in captivity, water pH should be about 6.5 and water temperature should be between 80ºF and 85ºF.

Black Angelfish Origin

These fish can be found in slow moving waters in South America.

Water conditions


The ideal pH for these fish is between 6.0 and 7.0, temperature should be around 25°C (77°F), the general water hardness of 4-12°N dGH (71.43 - 214.29 ppm, 1.43 - 4.29 mEq) is the best range. Not only these values are ideal, they should be also constant – pH must not vary, changes in general water hardness shouldn’t exceed 1°N dGH (17.86 ppm, 0.36 mEq) per week, and high temperatures may result in premature death of the fish.