Can Different Types of Angelfish Breed? (Crossbreeding Tips)

As you already know, angelfish are divided into different subtypes. For years, I was trying to determine which kinds are capable of crossbreeding. There were times when I wanted them to flourish and hoped the different types would pair. However, in some cases, I wished to narrow my population and intentionally bought angels of varying subdivisions. Ultimately, I decided to conduct in-depth research to determine whether or not different types of angelfish are capable of breeding.

Yes, different types of angelfish can breed. That typically happens between Scalare, Altum, and Leopoldi subdivisions, since they require similar water conditions (pH, temperature, etc.). Due to their mutual ancestors and genetic code, angelfish are likely to crossbreed once introduced to the same tank.

As we move forward, I will show you what to do to crossbreed your angelfish successfully. I’ll also bring up common mistakes to avoid before doing so, based on years of experience.

Will Different Types of Angelfish Reproduce?

Breeding angelfish isn’t that hard. However, some complications might arise during the mating process. Also, angelfish parents have been known to eat their young. But, for the most part, if you set the right conditions, the process will proceed smoothly.

That includes providing a decent tank of at least 55 gallons, clean, medium gravel that has been in the tank for three months, a sponge filter, the right pH and temperature, etc. This isn’t news to most people.

What might confuse fish owners, especially amateurs, is the idea of breeding different types of angelfish. Is it even possible or wise? More importantly, what purpose does it serve, if any? These questions matter if you already have different types of angelfish in your tank, and you want to know whether or not they will successfully mate.

First of all, yes, it is possible to crossbreed different types of angelfish. This can happen with or without your direct encouragement. If you have multiple angels in a tank, they are going to start pairing off. 

The fact that some of them have differently colored bodies won’t stop them from breeding because they are not aware of these differences in the first place. As such, it isn’t a question of whether or not different types of angelfish can breed. It is a question of whether or not you want them to.

If the answer is no, you should try to separate them. You may also try raising merely male or female angelfish. In fact, I elaborated on that topic in a different article where I discussed how to keep angelfish from breeding. I mentioned there seven essential steps that actually worked in my tank.

Crossbreeding Angelfish Explained

When it comes to breeding, people often confuse selective breeding with crossbreeding. They have also been known to use the terms interchangeably. Selective breeding involves selecting the best fish for breeding with the hopes of strengthening the desirable attributes of the parent fish in their offspring.[1]

Selective breeding is used to improve the value of your aquarium’s population. If you breed successfully, the next generation of angels will be more valuable than the ones that came before. On the other hand, as its name suggests, crossbreeding involves mating fish from different breeds or populations. 

Of the two approaches, selective breeding is more attractive because it gives the fish owner a measure of control. It is done with the deliberate intention of combining attributes of which you have a clear understanding. As such, the results are more comfortable to predict.

Crossbreeding is volatile. Unless you have data from previous crossbreeding programs to guide your actions, there is no way of predicting what you will get. You could produce a superior offspring. But you could also land an inferior one. The process is hit-or-miss, and it requires quite a bit of experimentation and luck.

The purpose behind the breeding of different types of angelfish will vary. Some people want to profit from the experiment. Their goal is to produce angels with distinct attributes that they can sell for a decent sum.

For others, it is just a hobby. They know that angelfish are beautiful, but they want to see whether they can make them even more aesthetically pleasing. 

This kind of breeding is responsible for the wide variety of angelfish subspecies on the market today. Freshwater angelfish are primarily silver in the wild. They also have three black stripes, one of which crosses the eye.

But in domestic situations, you can find angelfish in several colors and patterns, and they have been named accordingly. This has only proven to hobbyists that the right breeding pair can produce an incredible array of angelfish colors. 

How to Crossbreed Your Angelfish Successfully

When people discuss angelfish, they are primarily talking about freshwater angelfish. These are subdivided into three types, namely: P. Scalare, Altum, and Leopoldi. Whenever breeding between angelfish types happens, it usually occurs between these three subdivisions of fish, or between the breeds within each branch.

In order to breed different types of angels, you must first house them in the same tank. This is why people don’t mate freshwater and saltwater angels. The conditions they require in their tanks vary too drastically.

But the Scalare, Altum, and Leopoldi subdivisions of angels require roughly the same water conditions to survive (including the pH and temperature). In fact, they share several characteristics, with one of the most significant differences between them being their facial attributes. Hence, all you have to do is introducing these subtypes to the same tank. 

So breeding angels between these subdivisions shouldn’t present much of a problem. Of course, it should be noted that the P. Altum subdivision is a little challenging. These creatures require highly oxygenated water. It is also more challenging to deliver the right pH. 

But if you make an effort, you can create the conditions required to encourage breeding between Altum and the other subdivisions. Though, some people believe that reproduction between Scalare and Altum will need one to inseminate the eggs because their spawning behavior varies artificially. 

Either way, angelfish are hardy. They can survive in water whose conditions vary slightly from the appropriate range. From my experience, it is best to experiment and see what works in your particular case.

If you are entirely new to angelfish, here is an article I wrote regarding their eating habits, including how much and often you should feed them. I also wrote an article about their temperature requirements and which heater you should pick to keep the water stable.

What to Consider Before Crossbreeding Angelfish

Fish owners are encouraged to acquire a basic understanding of genetics before attempting to breed different types of angels. The purpose of breeding different angelfish is to mix and match the genetic codes of disparate angelfish parents to produce particular traits in their offspring.

Experienced angelfish breeders are aware of the physical attributes of different adult fish and the generic codes that should be mixed to produce them. 

The genetic code of an angel consists of generic code from each parent. The physical attributes an angel will manifest will depend on whether or not the genes it inherited are dominant or recessive. You can only successfully breed different types of fish if the attributes you want can become dominant.[2] 

The dominant gene will be the one that exhibits its traits. Though, you can create a desired attribute using two recessive genes. On a side note, as a breeder, you are encouraged to get your angelfish parents from different sources. This is the only way to avoid inbreeding. The breeding of siblings, intentional or not, rarely produces positive results. 

Many fish owners hate the notion of crossbreeding because they want to keep the line pure. They hate the idea of muddying the bloodlines of their fish because the process could produce some odd-looking and mostly undesirable fish that you might have to get rid of. Therefore, proper crossbreeding requires adequate planning. 

You must first determine the results you want to achieve. Identify the traits you wish to produce in your new fish. After this, you can start looking for angelfish whose characteristics can produce those results once they are crossbred. 

I suggest looking for the specific characteristics within the parents themselves. This process requires creativity. But if you have the experience, it is possible to bring about changes in the coloration, temperament, lifespan, etc. 

What to Avoid When Breeding Different Types of Angelfish

The first thing to consider is the parents’ temperament. Don’t pair aggressive angelfish.[3] It is possible to breed the aggression out of angelfish. But for the most part, you are better off breeding angels with calm attributed. Otherwise, they could cause serious harm to one another. 

Also, to produce unique offspring, it isn’t enough to simply buy and pair different types of angelfish. You have to consider the quality of the angels you have chosen to breed. First of all, local stores don’t always have the best angelfish.

More often than not, they lack all the rare varieties that would be perfect for crossbreeding. This is why you are better off using the internet. You can find a variety of angelfish types at the most affordable prices. 

You are getting angelfish when they are young presents a lot of challenges. Angelfish manifest their traits as they mature. For that reason, you have no way of knowing what a young angelfish will look like once it grows. So, the chances that you could purchase angels that don’t have the traits you need are quite high.

While there are no formal standards for judging the quality of angelfish, there are traits and attributes you can investigate (for instance, body shape). Decent angelfish should be as round as possible. The creatures should also be taller than they are wide.

This is a decent metric for measuring the quality of angelfish because you can use it even when the angels in question are young. Any angels that are not circular or properly elongated are not worth your time. 

If the shape of the body is acceptable, consider the fins. Are they straight? Do they have curves? How about twists, breaks, or blemishes? Look at the edges. Are they straight and intact, or have they began to fray? 

Angelfish are supposed to be beautiful creatures. There is nothing attractive about curved, short, ragged fins with blemishes. Angels with such weaknesses could pass them on to their offspring. You have no way of knowing whether a young angel’s ugly fins are the result of genetics or environmental factors. 

You shouldn’t put too much stock in the color of young angels. This is because factors like stress and environmental stimuli can affect coloration. Dull colors in a fish store could become richer and more attractive over time. To determine whether or not a young angel has the colors you want, you need to take it back home and care for it.

Once it has been housed in the right water conditions and fed appropriately, the colors will either improve or remained unchanged. If you have a young angelfish and you are unsure of its color, take it out of the breeding tank. Keep it away from angels of the opposite gender until its colors become more pronounced, letting you know what you’re dealing with. 

Conclusions

Angelfish share different names, mainly due to their diversified colors. However, their genetic codes are quite similar. Therefore, crossbreeding various subdivisions of angelfish is possible and even quite common. All you have to do is introducing them to the same aquarium. 

Then, if you provide them with the ideal water conditions, they will gradually mate and produce offsprings. From my experience, you are advised to pick Scalare, Altum, or Leopoldi angels. These flourish in similar conditions and probably survive during the breeding process.

I hope my article had answered your question regarding breeding different kinds of angelfish. Even if you fail in your first attempt, do not give up. Sometimes you are doing everything right, but nature says the final word. Keep moving forward until you succeed.

References

  1. http://www.fao.org/3/v8720e/V8720E01.htm
  2. https://pethelpful.com/fish-aquariums/How-to-keep-Angelfish-Tropical-Tank-Set-Up
  3. https://smartaquariumguide.com/angelfish-types/

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