Not once, I’ve tried to breed angelfish in a separate tank. Since it is such an exciting experience, I became really impatient when I saw their eggs laying on the slate. I kept asking myself how long is it going to take for my angelfish to hatch finally.
Angelfish eggs typically hatch in 2-3 days. During this period, the male will fertilize the eggs, and the larvae will develop. You may guarantee this duration by providing adequate temperature, pH levels, light exposure, water turbulence, and water supplements (such as methylene blue and iodine solutions).
However, maintaining ideal water conditions is a bit more complicated as it may seem. Keep on reading to ensure your angelfish’ eggs will indeed hatch in time. You will also learn what to expect if they fail to do so.
How Long Will it Take For Angelfish to Hatch?
If you have angelfish in a tank, you are probably looking forward to multiplying them. Fortunately, this doesn’t take long. An angelfish couple only requires a few days to spawn in most cases, particularly if you have placed both fish in a separate tank that is devoid of distractions and challenges from other fish.
But once your angelfish mate and the female lays the eggs, how long can you expect them to take before they hatch? Fortunately, this also doesn’t take long. You can expect results within three days.
The process usually doesn’t happen overnight since it typically involves the following:
When the eggs are laid by the female, the male will brush over them, fertilizing them in the process. If the eggs go unfertilized, they will develop fungus, becoming nonviable. At this point, you may remove them, or the angelfish will eat them.
The idea of angelfish eating their eggs is a problem that causes breeders a lot of anxiety. Sometimes, angelfish will eat all their eggs even if only a few of them went bad.
If the male successfully fertilizes the eggs, you have to wait sixty hours for changes to occur. If you have a microscope, you will see the larvae develop. At this point, the egg has technically started hatching. However, the larvae will remain curled around the yolk sack.
If you look closely enough, you will see the heart begin to beat, even as the blood starts to flow. It is a fascinating sight to behold. The larvae will maintain its connection to the yolk sack as it develops its organs, including the eyes and tail.
Once this process completes, so-called wigglers will emerge, eating the yolk sack to break away from the spawning site, becoming free swimmers.
The average angelfish egg requires about a week to reach the free swimmer stage. Hatching happens 2 to 3 days after spawning. But the larvae remain attached to the yolk sack for three or even four more days.
What Factors Affect Angelfish Hatching Rate?
Can you delay or shorten the time angelfish eggs take to hatch? That is a question that most breeders cannot answer. While angelfish are quite popular, the research, literature, and data surrounding their hatching habits is quite limited.
There are plenty of assumptions surrounding the topic, but none of them are concrete, for instance:
Artificial vs. Natural Hatching
It is generally assumed that artificial hatching and natural hatching do not make much of a difference with regards to hatching time.
In other words, whether the eggs are raised by their angelfish parents, or they are taken to a separate tank to be raised by the breeder, the time the eggs take to hatch remains the same.
This is because people who artificially hatch angelfish eggs do so using methods that mimic the exact same conditions that the eggs encounter when they are hatched naturally by their parents. Artificial hatching methods that fail to reproduce these natural hatching conditions faithfully will not necessarily delay hatching.
Instead, the eggs may not hatch, or the larvae that hatch from them will be deformed. But hatching times will remain unchanged. On a side note, some studies believe that, by taking the eggs away, you can compel the fish in question to spawn more frequently.
To ensure that you hatch the eggs yourself, give the angelfish a spawning site like a slate, plant or pot. Once the angelfish lay their eggs, it is much easier to retrieve them. Otherwise, depending on the size of your aquarium, it might take you some time to identify the eggs.
Keep in mind that the tank with the eggs does not require a substrate. This will prevent the fungus from manifesting.
It is also generally agreed that the development of an egg is dependent on precise temperatures in the water. As such, a breeder that wishes to hatch fish eggs successfully must maintain the temperature within a specific range. Failure to do so will either prevent the eggs from hatching or cause deformities.
When it comes to temperature, though, some people have suggested that a lower temperature will cause a delay in development and hatching. On the other hand, a slightly higher temperature could accelerate it. Fish eggs develop best when you maintain optimal temperatures.
Regarding angelfish, the temperature should be kept between 75 degrees F and 84 degrees F. Fluctuations in water temperature can happen, but they must be minimal for embryonic development to go unimpeded.
Water Quality & pH Levels
This same rationale applies to the pH. Fish require a specific pH range to survive. So breeders have concluded that this is also true for their eggs.
Eggs are less likely to survive in water with elevated pH levels. You need to keep the water at the optimal pH for fish eggs to thrive at the expected rate.
Excluding the temperature and pH, the overall quality of the water matters, especially in the period where the larva has emerged, but it is still attached to the yolk sack. Certain minerals, metals, and gasses can inhibit the development and hatching of eggs. This is why breeders are always encouraged to change the water regularly.
To make sure the angelfish’ eggs hatch at a proper pace, keep the pH between 6 and 7.5. Because the water should be slightly soft, aim for 5-18 dH.
Light is one aspect that breeders rarely consider. There is plenty of fish whose eggs will not hatch during the day because of their exposure to light. For this reason, their tanks have to be kept in places that are either dark or dimly lit. This gives them the best chance of surviving and hatching at an optimal rate.
However, at the moment, there is no reason to believe that light is a factor in the hatching of angelfish eggs.
Regarding water, the flow is an essential factor to consider for breeders. For one thing, the motion, which should be constant, reduces mechanical abrasion. Secondly, flowing water prevents waste from accumulating.
This doesn’t matter to eggs that are being cared for by their parents. But breeders who choose to keep their eggs in a separate tank depend on this flow of water to keep the waste away.
Regarding angelfish’s eggs, you are going to require an aerator. Any bubbler will do. Place it near the eggs. The idea is to use the stream of bubbles the aerator generates to ensure that the eggs are getting plenty of oxygen. The bubbles will also prevent the fungus from taking root.
One other use of the aerator is to create motion in the water. Constant water movement will keep your angelfish eggs alive. It will mimic the continuous attention the eggs get from their parents, keeping fungus and other impurities away.
Quite several questions have been raised about the impact hydrogen peroxide, methylene blue, and iodine solutions can have on the development of fish eggs.
Some people worry that these products can harm the eggs, possibly even impeding their growth. But there is plenty of evidence suggesting that they are not only safe but that their presence aids the development of fish eggs.
Once you acquire the tank that will hold the eggs, wash it thoroughly. Take at least 24 hours to get it ready. Once you have added water to it, eliminate potentially dangerous impurities by adding fungicides. This is where Methylene Blue, which was mentioned above, enters the picture.
You don’t need a lot. Depending on the size of the tank, a few drops should do just fine. You will know that you have added enough once the water turns medium blue. As was mentioned above, it is safe to use disinfectants like hydrogen peroxide and iodine solutions.
About Delaying Angelfish Hatching
If you wish to delay hatching, no one can give you any concrete figures regarding the temperature or pH you would require to achieve this result.
You are more likely to kill the eggs or cause deformities in the larvae than to actually create a delay. You are better off providing the optimal water conditions and waiting for the eggs to hatch at the right rate.
What Should I do After The Eggs Hatched?
As you can see from the arguments raised above, the easiest way to ensure that eggs thrive and at the right pace is to ensure that the right conditions are present. A failure to provide these conditions will either prevent the eggs from hatching, slow the hatching process, or lead to deformities.
If everything goes according to plan, your eggs will become free swimmers in a few days. At this point, you need to carry out a partial water change every single day. This will keep the water clean and free of ammonia, nitrates, and other dangerous components.
You must also feed the free swimmers. They will immediately consume the egg yolk. But after that, you should think about giving them some brine shrimp. Unlike adults, free swimmers must be fed several times each day.
But you need to keep an eye out for uneaten food. If you’re not careful, the leftovers could corrupt the water by producing toxins. This is why daily partial water change is necessary.
Hatching Angelfish Eggs in a Tank
As was mentioned above, when it comes to hatching angelfish eggs, you have two options available to you:
Leaving The Eggs With The Parents
Most breeders will encourage you to take this approach if you have no experience with fish. In an ideal situation, angelfish are great parents. Even before they lay and fertilize the eggs, you will see them cleaning the spawning site to ensure that it is free of harmful components.
They also get quite aggressive after the eggs have been laid and fertilized. They won’t hesitate to act violently towards any creatures in the tank that present any hostile behavior towards their young.
Besides these protective instincts, the angelfish also clean the eggs, keeping fungus away and even removing those eggs that have started to rot. This is on top of meeting the aeration needs of their eggs.
In a way, you couldn’t ask for better parents than angelfish. That being said, angelfish have a penchant for eating their own eggs, as was mentioned above. Various factors can elicit this behavior. Angelfish that are spawning for the first time have been known to feed on their young.
But this problem starts to fade once the fish gain experience. Stress can also drive angelfish to eat their young. You see this in angelfish that are sharing their home with aggressive species. The angelfish will go from guarding their eggs to eating them.
Sometimes, stress emerges from outside the tank. Some angelfish are sensitive to sudden movements and noises. If your angelfish keep eating their eggs, it might be time to position them in a quieter, more peaceful location.
You should know that, in some cases, angelfish will eat their young for no apparent reason. It isn’t always possible to understand the mind of angelfish. This is why you might be better off hatching the eggs yourself.
Hatching Angelfish Eggs on Your Own
Yes, it is possible to hatch angelfish eggs on your own. Yes, you have to do this if you think that your angelfish will eat the eggs. But there are plenty of other reasons that might make this the more prudent choice.
First of all, as was also mentioned above, angelfish get aggressive when they spawn. To be more specific, they get territorial, and that makes them aggressive.
If you are worried that the hostilities in your tank are growing to unacceptable levels, you might have to rear your angelfish eggs away from their parents. The same is true for situations where the parents are so consumed by the task of protecting their young that they have stopped eating.
Of course, in such situations, you can as quickly move the angelfish to a new tank or remove the fish that keep threatening their eggs. Some people think that, by caring for the eggs, they can increase the rate at which they hatch.
What if The Eggs Don’t Hatch in Time?
As mentioned earlier, angelfish eggs should hatch in approximately three days. However, that is not always the case. For instance, it could be that for some reason, the male refuses to fertilize the laid eggs. On other occasions, it could be that by accident, you are trying to breed two females.
Either way, the eggs will not hatch. If they are not fertilized, they will gradually turn pale. I’ve written all about this phenomenon in a different article, where I discuss why do angelfish eggs turn white.
Generally, bacteria tend to overgrow upon the eggs’ shell, which compromises their layers and turning them into a growing plate for fungus. However, this issue is fixable. I’ve discussed it in the linked article.
In case your angelfish’ eggs turned white, you may throw them away and try all over again. They have done their job. The first thing I suggest you do is to make sure all the mentioned conditions take place in your aquarium. If you are still having trouble, make sure the pair you are trying to breed is indeed a male and a female.
Nevertheless, sometimes you’ve done everything right, but the reason for failing remains unknown. Well, don’t worry too much about it. Angelfish tend to breed quite often.
They will probably lay eggs and reproduce in twelve-eighteen days intervals. If you are inpatient, take a look at this article I’ve written to find out a few tricks to shorten this period.
Getting angelfish hatching in time (2-3 days) is a challenging task. Typically it happens naturally, although sometimes you have to adjust your aquarium a little bit to make the environment more friendly.
You may let your angelfish take care of their eggs, or you may try to hatch them on your own. Either way, you are facing beautiful views you are unlikely to forget.
- Featured Image: Flickr