Breeders, general hobbyists, and researchers remove freshwater angelfish eggs from their aquariums for various reasons. From encouraging faster breeding to enjoying the rewarding experience of raising angelfish from egg to adulthood, you will likely want to learn how to remove angelfish eggs as part of your care and maintenance routine.
Over the years, we have learned successful methods for moving eggs out of the aquarium. We want to share these with you so you can avoid frustration with this aspect of the hobby. Some of the things we will cover include:
- How to remove angelfish eggs from your tank
- How to remove angelfish wigglers from glass
- What to do once you remove the eggs
- Is it recommended to remove unfertilized eggs
- Do angelfish parents move their eggs
- Answers to commonly asked questions we get about this topic
How To Remove Angelfish Eggs From the Tank
A lone angelfish female will deposit eggs in the aquarium, and a breeding pair will generate fertilized specimens (even if it takes a few spawns to get the process down). If you wish to remove angelfish eggs from your tank, the suggested method will depend on what you want to do with them.
Removing eggs you plan to dispose of
We always recommend using removable vertical surfaces in angelfish tanks, even if you plan on getting rid of the eggs. It makes removing the eggs simple, and cleaning off objects outside the aquarium is easier.
If you need to remove eggs from a smooth surface, use a razor blade or algae scrapper. Remove the detached eggs from the water column by hand or siphon after.
You can siphon eggs off rough surfaces or items you do not wish to remove. A turkey baster works well here. Dispose of the water and eggs by draining the bulb outside the aquarium.
Removing eggs you wish to keep
Removable egg-bearing surfaces are the go-to method if possible. Some breeders use plant pots turned upside down or broad-leafed plants, but we found items like plastic strips easy to place and remove from the tank. You can also find popular products like the Aqua KT Breeding Cone that offer smooth vertical surfaces that angelfish prefer and are easy to move.
If your female angelfish selects a surface that is not removable, use a turkey baster. It provides enough suction to peel the sticky eggs off the egg-bearing surface but does not damage the attaching filaments that allow the eggs to stick.
Removing angelfish wigglers from glass
The wiggler stage refers to angelfish that have hatched but are not yet free-swimming fry. Angelfish will exist in the wiggler stage from hatch (72 hours post fertilization) up to six days after hatch, where they begin to become free-swimming fry.
Angelfish lay eggs on vertical surfaces, including on the glass walls of your aquarium. If you want to remove angelfish wigglers from glass, we suggest using a turkey baster to siphon them off the surface.
You will find the suction power is adequate to detach these hatchlings from the glass and keeps them in the tank water as you transfer. It also mimics the method used by angelfish parents.
Once they are in the baster bulb, transfer them to the new enclosure and gently squeeze to empty its content. You may want to avoid compressing the bulb completely together, as you can fill it with more aquarium water and flush it out two or three times to make sure you transfer all the wigglers.
You can also use a razor blade to scrape the eggs from the glass and transfer them to a separate tank. The process is similar to cleaning algae from the tank walls, meaning you hold the blade at a 10 to 15-degree angle while moving up the wall. Once detached, you can collect the eggs in a transfer container into their new home.
We find scraping damages more angelfish in the wiggler stage than siphoning. Remember, eggs and wigglers are attached to the egg-laying surface through an adhesive apparatus consisting of three pairs of glands. Blade contact will damage these glands on many of the wigglers you remove this way.
What To Do After Removing Angelfish Eggs
You have removed your angelfish eggs from the aquarium; what do you do now? If you do not wish to raise the spawn, you can dispose of the eggs, clean any removable spawn surfaces, and replace them.
Conversely, hatching the eggs requires optimal water conditions in your separate breeding tank. That starts with maintaining a temperature on the upper end of the 75 to 84-degree Fahrenheit range. Research using water at 82.6 degrees or higher has worked efficiently.
Sponge filters can help maintain water quality while preventing eggs from being sucked into the filter. If you use other filter devices, point them toward walls or corners to reduce water flow that is too aggressive.
If you watch your breeding pair of angelfish tend eggs, they will continually pass over them, fluttering their fins. It increases oxygen levels, and you need to mimic this using something like an air stone.
Many breeders and keepers will treat the water with Methylene Blue and other compounds to prevent bacteria from generating fungal infections on the eggs.
Maintain the pH and water hardness to levels found in the original aquarium. You can also perform small water changes frequently to keep the water column clean. Perform 20% water changes every two days as you raise your babies from eggs to free-swimmers.
Should I Remove Unfertilized Eggs?
If you keep the spawn with the parents, leave the unfertilized eggs where they are. They will remove and ingest unviable specimens as they tend to the eggs. You will stress the fish out if you mess with the eggs, which could result in them abandoning or ingesting the entire spawn.
If you tend to the spawn and have not treated the water in your separate breeding tank to prevent fungal infections, consider removing the unfertilized angelfish eggs. That will prevent them from infecting nearby viable specimens with bacteria that can damage or destroy them.
You will need a pointed tool or small scraper to ply the individual eggs from the surface. It is a tedious process, and you must exercise care to prevent detaching or damaging healthy nearby eggs.
If there are only a few and you are not concerned with the maximum spawn rate, we suggest leaving them in place. Conversely, if many unfertilized angelfish eggs are present, you should attempt to remove them to salvage as many viable specimens as possible.
Do Angelfish Move Their Eggs?
Some keepers are surprised to discover the spawn missing from its original location, but angelfish parents sometimes move their eggs to new spots.
You will observe them using their mouths to siphon eggs off the original structure and moving to another spot to redeposit them. They spit them out on the new location, chasing down eggs that do not adhere and continuously repositioning floaters until they stick.
Why do angelfish move their eggs?
Over the years, we have observed breeding pairs move spawn sites that become hard to defend. What once appeared as an adequate location may provide too many opportunities for predation.
Another reason many keepers surmise but can not confirm is surface quality. If the spawn continues to come loose from the egg-bearing surface, the parents may elect to reposition the eggs to promote better adhesion.
Removing Angelfish Eggs as Part of Your Hobby
Removing angelfish eggs may be necessary for various reasons, including filial cannabilism. Removable surfaces like those on the Aqua KT Breeding Cone make egg transfer easy. If the eggs are on immobile objects, gently remove them with a turkey baster instead of scraping them with a blade.
Angelfish will move their eggs and wigglers around the aquarium, and you can mimic their actions. If you raise the eggs away from the parents, provide good water quality and treat it to prevent fungal infections. If you have any questions about moving eggs or other topics, comment below so we can help!
Your angelfish egg removal checklist:
- Use a removable egg-laying surface
- A turkey baster is ideal for removing eggs from in-place locations
- Only scrape eggs if you are not concerned about their condition
- Provide optimal water conditions in your separate tank for hatching angelfish eggs
Is it possible to move angelfish eggs?
It is possible for you to move angelfish eggs from an aquarium to a separate breeding tank.
Removable vertical surfaces make this simple, as you can transfer the eggs by removing the object post-fertilization.
You can also move angelfish eggs off unmovable objects or glass walls, but this process will damage some eggs, especially if you are less experienced at handling them.
Should I move angelfish eggs?
You should remove angelfish eggs if the parents tend to eat the eggs, they sit in a community tank that may become stressed by their presence, or you want to raise them yourself.
Raising eggs to the point of hatching can be a rewarding experience for many hobbyists, but it takes extra time, money, and patience. If you can not care for a separate tank full of eggs or want your angelfish to learn to parent, leave them with your breeding pair.
Can eggs you move survive without angelfish parents?
Yes, eggs you move can survive without angelfish parents. For the greatest success, you will want to water from the original tank for the separate tank you move them to.
You will take over the parental duties by increasing oxygen in the water near the eggs, maintaining a similar temperature range, and helping to prevent fungal infections from spreading among the specimens.
Can I remove angelfish eggs by hand?
Yes, you can remove angelfish eggs from your aquarium by hand. We suggest you add objects into your tank that provide vertical egg-laying surfaces you can remove after fertilization.
If your breeding pair spawn on something you can not remove, you can use a tool to disconnect or siphon the eggs from a surface. They are fragile, however, and these methods are bound to damage several specimens.