How Long do Angelfish Fry Take to Grow?

I like growing angelfish in my aquarium. I particularly like it when they spawn and reproduce. However, not once I’ve asked myself how long I should wait for the angelfish fry to grow. I primarily asked that because I wanted to know at which point they are less likely to be eaten by other fish.

It takes angelfish fry approximately twelve months to grow and reach an adult’s dimensions. At this point, they are mature enough to lay eggs and reproduce. To ensure a proper growth rate, provide them with a stress-free environment, and feed them properly. Also, keep the water temperature between 75-84 F and the pH between 6-8. 

Keep in mind that it is easy to deviate from the precise instructions required to raise angelfish fry at proper rates. For that, I will show you a few more techniques I’ve used to grow my newborn angels successfully.

How Long Will it Take For Angelfish Fry to Grow?

Angelfish can live for ten to fifteen years. During that time, they can grow to ten inches, and their average size is six inches. However, there are plenty of 10-inch angelfish in the world. Some can exceed that size, especially angelfish that were raised in the wild. 

The size your angelfish fry will ultimately achieve depends on numerous factors, one of the most prominent being stress. Most experts you encounter will encourage you to keep angelfish with their own kind. 

That is because they tend to become territorial. This, in turn, can attract aggressive tendencies. And that sort of aggression, not to mention any conflict that might arise with other species in the tank, can stunt their growth. 

But in an ideal situation, an angelfish will transition from fry to an adult in roughly 12 months. By this point, it is mature enough to lay eggs every twelve to eighteen days. 

The actual growth process typically involves the following:[1]

  • Angelfish fry comes from eggs. Male and female angelfish will spend 24 hours cleaning their breeding ground.[2] This is usually a flat, stable surface such as a leaf or a chunk of decoration.
  • The female will lay the eggs every twelve to eighteen days, and the male will fertilize them. The parents will keep the eggs clean, removing any fungus that manifests. 
  • By the second day, the eggs should have begun to hatch. If you look closely, you will see small tails wiggling out of the eggs. The fry are called wigglers at this point. They are still attached to the yolk sac.
  • During the third and fourth days, the tails will become longer as the yolk sack becomes smaller. The eyes will also form, becoming more pronounced. But the wigglers will remain attached to the sac even though you will notice that the tails are wiggling more furiously, almost as if they are trying to swim. 
  • By the 6th or 7th day, your wigglers will become free swimmers. By this point, their yolk sacs are gone. The reason the yolk sac was disappearing was that they were feeding on it. Once it is all gone and they can swim freely, you should start feeding them items like micro worms. 

When fry reach the free swimmer stage, they must be fed four times a day. They are still small, but they require more nutrients than their adult counterparts at this point. Give them both live and frozen food for the next month or so.

Also, make sure their meals are as diverse as possible. Some fish owners prefer to keep their fry in separate tanks until they grow. This is because adult angelfish tend to eat their fry. This is common in fish that are spawning for the first time.

Adult angelfish are the best option for raising their young. If your angels have spawned before and you believe that they have the temperament to care for their young, don’t place them in a separate tank.

If you have doubts about the parents, don’t hesitate to take the fry away. It takes anywhere between 36 and 48 hours for eggs to hatch. You can use that time to observe the parents. It takes newly hatched angelfish three to five days to become free swimmers. This is also a decent amount of time for you to decide whether or not your angelfish are generous parents. 

As far as size is concerned, angelfish don’t always grow at the same rate. In most cases, you will find that your young angels are 18mm within ten weeks and 20mm within 16 weeks. After that, their growth rate will hasten.

However, don’t expect your fry to follow this exact trajectory. Some angelfish will grow much faster than this. Others will grow much slower. For some angels, it is a matter of genetics. In such cases, you can’t do anything to make them grow faster or slower.

Some angels are also smaller than the others. There are fish owners who complain that their angelfish are growing too slowly when, in truth, they have already reached their full height. Don’t expect all your fry to act the same way.

How to Make Your Angelfish Fry Grow Faster?

You can’t necessarily make your angelfish fry grow faster. But you can increase their chances of maturing at the appropriate rate and to the right size:

  • Make your fish tank a peaceful place. If possible, place your angelfish parents and their fry in a separate aquarium. Community tanks are problematic because every other fish will try to eat the fry. And even if the parents can fight off all the potential predators, the frequent conflict is going to cause the sort of stress that can debilitate the growth of your fry.

Nevertheless, if you don’t own another tank at the moment, here is an article where I discussed whether or not angelfish fry may survive in community tanks. I also provided there a few tips on how to increase the survival rate without using a second aquarium.

  • If you can’t afford a separate tank for your fry, give them plenty of places to hide. Add some plants and decorations to the tank. This will provide your fry a place to which they can escape and, in turn, alleviate their stress. Such hiding places will also enable your fry to survive long enough to grow and mature.

When it comes to plants, many people prefer the fake variety because they can last forever. You also don’t have to worry about plastic plants developing diseases that ultimately corrupt the water. 

However, live plants are essential to the growth of your fry. That is because they can keep the water in your tank properly oxygenated while also preventing algae from running amok. 

Live plants will make the tank a cleaner, healthier place for your fry. The benefits they bring to the table are worth all the trouble they cause.[3] Keep in mind that not all plants are suitable for angelfish. Here is an article where I discussed which types of plants angelfish are likely to consume, and which kinds they will probably ignore eating.

  • As was mentioned above, your fry must be fed adequately. When they first hatch, they can survive on their own yolk sac. But once they consume it completely, you must start feeding them. They need more frequent meals than their adult counterparts. Give them brine shrimp and micro worms. 

After a month, add some crushed flakes to their diet. After six weeks, you can start feeding them ordinary fish food like pellets, freeze-dried worms, and the like. Because your fry are so small, you need to cut and crush their food so that it is small enough to fit in their mouths. 

If you can keep your fry property fed with nutritious meals, they will proliferate to their proper size. Some people worry about overfeeding their fry. However, this isn’t as much of an issue when angelfish are that young because they eat plenty. 

The more significant threat is underfeeding. An underfed fish fry will probably die.

  • Anyone that has ever raised fish of any kind knows that the size of the tank matters. Some people argue that an angelfish will grow to fit the size of its tank. Others say that angelfish don’t have any such ability.

Regardless of where you fall on that argument, everyone agrees that small tanks are harmful to angelfish because they exert unnecessary stress. They make fish more aggressive, convincing them that they must fight for the limited resources in the tank.

In some cases, it is merely an issue of the tank being so small that the angelfish fry don’t have enough space to swim freely and to exercise their bodies. To ensure that your fry grow as required, give them ample space. 

Some argue that the tank should be a minimum of 55 gallons.[4] Only then can they grow to their average size of six inches. However, from my experience, it also depends on the number of fish. I’ve elaborated more about it here, where I explained how big of a tank you’ll require based on the number of angelfish you grow.

It is also worth noting that it takes waste and dangerous elements like ammonia longer to accumulate in larger tanks. When they are on the lower side, your fry are more likely to survive. 

  • Speaking of waste and dangerous elements, make sure you keep the tank clean. Change the water regularly, perhaps every month. Also, make sure that every week, you take a cup of water out of the aquarium and pour in clean water instead. 

I also recommend algae cleaners. However, if your plants die, remember to remove them. Dead plants will increase the amount of ammonia in the tank. If ammonia is terrible for adult fish, you can trust that it is even worse for fry. The same goes for nitrates and nitrites. 

  • It isn’t enough to keep the water clean. You must also ensure that it has the right pH and temperature. Angelfish prefer a pH of 6-8. They also like temperatures between 75 Degree F and 84 degrees F.

Adult angels can tolerate temperatures that are higher or lower than that. But fry are smaller and more vulnerable. To maintain their health, you have to keep the water at the right temperature and pH. 

For that, I highly recommend that you take a look at my guide regarding aquarium heaters. I mentioned there the only one that made it possible for me to grow angelfish fry. It is probably due to the significantly low-temperature fluctuations it was able to provide.

  • Don’t forget about the light. Angelfish need at least 12 hours of light. This is what they get out in the wild. So you have to replicate these conditions in your tank. The lightning doesn’t just benefit the fry. Your plants also need it to thrive. Without live, healthy plants, the quality of your tank water will deteriorate. 

However, providing sufficient lighting conditions could be challenging. That is particularly true for angelfish fry, which are quite gentle. For that, I suggest you take a look at another article I’ve written regarding the lightning habits of angelfish. I mentioned there the right way to put the lights on and off so that your fish remain calm.

  • Choose your filter carefully. Some filters are so active that they will suck the fry right out of the tank, killing them. You should get yourself one with a slow flow rate that won’t tire young angels. Once the filter is in place, be sure to clean it. Otherwise, it could introduce diseases to your tank. 

Conclusions

Angelfish fry should be raised for about a year until they are considered grown-ups. At this point, they are mature enough to lay eggs and reproduce. They usually reach a size of about six inches at this point. However, some angels are smaller or bigger than average.

You may grow your fry in the community tank all that period. However, keep in mind that they will be considered as a food source for other fish. For that, I suggest that you introduce a sufficient amount of vegetation and decoration to the aquarium. That will provide the newborns hiding places and protect them from predators. 

References

  1. https://smartaquariumguide.com/angelfish-egg-stages/
  2. https://www.myaquariumclub.com/the-growth-and-development-of-freshwater-angelfish-pterophyllum-scalare-107.html
  3. https://animals.mom.me/baby-angelfish-care-5984.html
  4. https://www.wikihow.com/Care-for-an-Angelfish
  5. Featured Image: Flickr

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