An adult angelfish can lay eggs roughly every two weeks. That might seem surprising to some keepers, but that time frame accounts for the time needed for free-swimming fry to be able to feed themselves after their yolk sack disappears. It is worth noting, however, that most paired angelfish parents take breaks between two successive breeding cycles.
Understanding the length between spawns explains several behavioral and biological changes you will notice in your angelfish community tank. It helps you become a better keeper, allowing you and your fish to enjoy the hobby more.
To better understand this biological process, we will touch on subjects like:
- How frequent are spawns
- What can cause angelfish to stop laying eggs
- Why angelfish lay eggs under unfavorable spawn conditions
- Answers to some of the common questions on this subject
How Often Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?
In aquarium conditions, researchers observed male and female angelfish pairs spawning two weeks after the previous spawn. Our experience, and that of other breeders and keepers, also fit within this time frame. Several things can impact the rate at which angelfish spawn, decreasing or increasing the frequency.
If you are new to the aquarium hobby or keeping freshwater angelfish, the first thing to consider is age. Angelfish do not reach sexual maturity until sometime between 6 and 12 months. If your angelfish are small, they are still in the juvenile stage and might not be ready to breed.
If you bought a group of angelfish from the local store, you might need to wait for males and females to pair off.
Our experience has been that it does not take long for pairs to establish once you introduce them to their new home. You can go further and purchase a breeding pair from the start.
Most angelfish you will purchase in today’s aquatic stores are several generations removed from living in the wild. That makes them more tolerable to water parameters, but providing ideal conditions will promote the egg-laying and fertilization process.
We recommend water temperatures between 75 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit for angelfish.
You can make things easy by keeping the tank around 80 degrees for the spawn and subsequent incubation period. That avoids the temperature extremes that might cause additional stress during breeding and egg sitting.
Freshwater angelfish do well in waters with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. The slight favoring of acidic water conditions mimics their natural water conditions in the Amazon River Basin, where decaying vegetation provides tannins that leach into the water. Most aquarium-raised angelfish will spawn eggs within this range.
Freshwater angelfish on the market can live in tanks with a water hardness between 5 and 12 dH. Staying closer to the lower end can sometimes produce better results when encouraging a spawn, but we have succeeded in water in the 10 to 12 dH range.
The water flow in the Amazon River Basin and tributaries is gentle and slow-moving.
You can mimic this by pointing filter heads toward a corner or wall to lessen the force or using a sponge filter that does not generate as much current. Avoid systems that churn the water or create water flow these high-profile fish constantly have to fight against.
One thing that can affect spawn rates is stress in a community tank.
Your angelfish will become aggressive as they defend the eggs, and fighting tank mates may cause them to eat their eggs. It drains the angelfish, and they will need lengthier rest periods between spawns in a community tank.
That is why many breeders use a separate angelfish breeding tank. It allows the angelfish to concentrate on the eggs instead of other fish. We also suggest you keep your aquarium out of high-traffic areas in the home, as too much foot traffic can stress the breeding pair into cannibalizing their eggs.
One way hobbyists decrease the time between spawns is to remove the eggs after fertilization and put them in a separate tank. Placing an artificial egg-laying site with a verticle surface makes it easier to take the eggs when ready. Removing eggs can decrease spawn rates to every 7 to 10 days.
When Do Angelfish Stop Laying Eggs?
Angelfish can stop laying eggs due to various factors, but clues to why can be gathered based on a gradual slowdown or sudden stop.
Young angelfish can reach sexual maturity as early as six months of age. We know of angelfish as old as nine years laying eggs, but there is a noticeable decline from thousands to hundreds of eggs per spawn. While there is no scientific literature on the subject, our observations indicate that older angelfish appear to slow down or stop spawning altogether.
Another observation among hobbyists that we concur with is that heavy spawners seem to run out of eggs as they get older. Several things can factor into this, so we do not want to make unsubstantiated claims here. You may notice that your consistent breeding pair may slow down spawns, or the number of eggs that turn into viable angelfish fry decreases long before the adult fish succumb to old age.
The most common reason your angelfish will stop laying eggs is due to stress. It can be due to tank mates, confined space from a small tank, or poor water conditions. Consider a separate tank of at least 20 gallons for a breeding pair and keep water parameters in ideal ranges.
Why Does My Angelfish Keep Laying Eggs?
Under ideal aquarium conditions and a pair of angelfish parents, your female will continue to spawn eggs about every 14 days. Freshwater angelfish are genetically hardwired to produce large numbers of eggs frequently to handle the high attrition rates eggs, fry, juveniles, and adults face in the Amazon River Basin.
While age, disease, environment, and stress can affect egg-laying, your angelfish will likely continue to spawn throughout its lifetime.
Will angelfish lay eggs without male
Yes, angelfish can lay eggs without a male present in the tank.
You might see the female preparing a surface, laying eggs in neat rows, and guarding them for a day or two. She may eat the eggs as she abandons the spawn when they begin turning white. These are instincts the fish is following.
Putting It All Together
Your female angelfish will lay eggs every two weeks after reaching sexual maturity. Angelfish parents will spawn, fertilize, and guard hundreds of eggs, but females can lay eggs without a male present.
You can promote spawns by providing a comfortable environment for your fish. Maintaining water temperature lowers stress and helps with incubation. Proper water quality can increase the consistency of the spawning cycle and assist with development.
Parents will guard the angelfish eggs, increasing their stress levels. That may require more rest after spawning before they are ready to start the process again. If you want to assist further, put the parents in a separate tank and remove the eggs after fertilization.
Spawning is a fascinating time for you to be a freshwater angelfish keeper. While the egg-laying process can be intimidating the first couple of times, it becomes easier to deal with over time. The nice thing is you can let the parents do all the work if you find it overwhelming.
If you have any questions, comment so we can get you and your angelfish squared away!
How many times do angelfish lay eggs a year?
Your female angelfish could lay eggs 26 times yearly at a spawn rate of two weeks. The tank environment is a key factor in this rate, so proper water conditions and privacy can help.
Even exterior movements in high-traffic areas in your home can stress fish and prevent them from laying eggs or eating them once deposited.
Do angelfish eggs turn white?
Yes, deposited angelfish eggs can turn white, indicating non-viable specimens. Changing what the eggs look like.
The most common reason for this is a male did not fertilize them. Other factors that turn eggs white in your fish tank include fungus, damage to the egg, genetic issues, and poor water quality.
Do angelfish ever stop laying eggs?
Yes, your angelfish could stop laying eggs for several reasons. Spawning slows with age, and observational data indicate that females may only be able to produce so many eggs in a lifetime. Sickness, stress, and water quality can also slow down or stop the cycle of egg-laying altogether.
How do angelfish lay eggs?
You will observe the angelfish parents cleaning a verticle surface to prepare it for deposit. The spawn begins as the female lays eggs in neat rows on the egg-laying surface. After this, the male will follow up by brushing against the rows of eggs and fertilizing them using its papilla.
When do angelfish lay eggs?
Your angelfish will begin to lay eggs once it reaches sexual maturity between six and twelve months. At this stage, a bi-weekly egg cycle begins with females depositing the next spawn once the previous eggs develop into self-sufficient fry and the fish recuperates. Health, stress, and water parameters can influence when an angelfish spawns.