angel fish totals - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-15-2010, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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angel fish totals

I have a 50 gallon tank 18x12x36 and the water has cycled and levels are normal except for water hardness (high)
I currently have 13 beautiful angel fish and one pleco. I perform a 20% water change each week. I do have several large flat leafed plants accoss the back and a tiki hut (open) so there are hiding places.

How many angel fish can I have and still maintain good water conditions?

Thank you,
Jeff
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-15-2010, 05:22 PM
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In my view you are overstocked now, by quite a lot. Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) grow to 6-inches in length and 13 of them in a 50g will only work if they are small juveniles and you intend to move them to larger tanks soon. Fish grow continuously and need adequate space/water conditions to do so healthily.

But another problem, with the dimensions you give for the tank it seems to be a 33g, not a 50g. I have a tank that size, and I would not even attempt to put an angelfish in it, except in an emergency. Angels are social fish that should be in groups, but there is not sufficient room in a 33g.

I would also do larger water changes with this many fish in a 33g. At least 50% weekly, and probably daily if these fish are anything other than fry.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-16-2010, 04:30 AM
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Are your angelfish staying small by any chance? Small, but with big guts?
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-16-2010, 09:04 AM
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Angelfish when young say, quarter size,, can be kept together for some time. As they grow however, they will consume more food and produce more waste. Same for the pleco. As these fish mature, they will become interested in breeding and once a pair ,(male female) begins to spawn,, they will become intolerant of other Angelfish as well as other fishes.
As mentioned,these fish if properly taken care of can become quite large and a larger tank than 30 gal which if you figure displacement for grravel and decorations is probably closer to 25 gal will be needed.
I kept nine Angelfish approx dime sized in a thirty gal for approx three months. They were growing too large for the tank and bickering was taking place to the point where fins were being damaged and water quality was not where I wished it to be despite twice weekly water changes. I then moved them to an established 75 gal which seemed to work best with regards to territorial and aggression issues. I kept them all until they were approx , four inches from nose to tip of tail. Once they began showing interest in spawning and pairs began to form,, I traded all but one to local fish store for store credit. I could have kept a pair of these fish but had no interest in rearing young angelfish.
They are in my view a beautiful fish but do keep in mind that they are cichlids and as such they will behave accordingly. They will actively hunt smaller fish and fry and as mentioned, are intolerant of each other during spawning as many cichlids are.The larger the tank,, The better in my opinion.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #5 of 15 Old 02-16-2010, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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I thank you for your advice but I do not yet have another tank. I was a bit over zealous in stocking them but they are so cute. Some of them are growing, fast. One in particular though has been in there 6 weeks and is still a dime. Last night I noticed all but one of them huddling together in a front corner with fins back. I had never seen this before so I quickly did a 20% water change. With nitrates and nitrites reading normal, what could it be? I think the addition of the pleco last Friday may have put me over the top with 14 fish. I was wrong on the measurements though they are 36x18x18
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-16-2010, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffysfish View Post
I thank you for your advice but I do not yet have another tank. I was a bit over zealous in stocking them but they are so cute. Some of them are growing, fast. One in particular though has been in there 6 weeks and is still a dime. Last night I noticed all but one of them huddling together in a front corner with fins back. I had never seen this before so I quickly did a 20% water change. With nitrates and nitrites reading normal, what could it be? I think the addition of the pleco last Friday may have put me over the top with 14 fish. I was wrong on the measurements though they are 36x18x18

The small fish could be a runt. Ammonia,and nitrites must read zero and nitrAtes are best kept no higher than 20 ppm. (opinions on this vary but IME lower is better)Water change is always a good idea when fish display abnormal behaivors. Were it me, I might try twice weekly water changes with dechlorinator such as Prime or Amquel + Keep temp around 78 degrees F. Feed a variety of foods as opposed to one type.
A good quality flake food such as Ocean nutrition's Omnivore formula or cichlid formula,frozen or freezedried shrimp and blood worms,Mysis shrimp,Bits of krill either frozen or freezedried,and perhaps some pellet food as well . Don't forget to provide occasional vegetable matter for the pleco along with algae wafers.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-16-2010, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much. I do try to change 20% twice a week. I keep the water at 78-80 degrees.
i use a specialty angel fish flake I bought from Angelsplus off of the internet. One is meat lover and the other is a veggie-fish combo and i alternate every other day.
I do not have an amonia test strip as I am using a 5 in 1 test strip. It includes nitrites which were clear and nitrates which were low, hardness which was high, total alkalinity which was low and PH which was right smack in the middle.
I will keep my eye out for another tank so I can move some of them out of there. Right now, I have at least three approaching silver dollar size and they are a taste aggressive with each other.
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-16-2010, 11:49 AM
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My question was an honest one btw.
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post #9 of 15 Old 02-16-2010, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffysfish View Post
I do not have an amonia test strip as I am using a 5 in 1 test strip. It includes nitrites which were clear and nitrates which were low, hardness which was high, total alkalinity which was low and PH which was right smack in the middle.
I see red flags in this. Hardness was high but total alkalinity was low. Byron, care to chime in on this? This is freshwater, so some of these buffering ions at play here are different that what I discuss every day.

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My question was an honest one btw.
I have no doubt you were asking an honest question. If they are small with big guts then this is a sign of stunted growth. However, some of this thread appears to have been edited or removed. For the sake of helping the member with this tank, I think this question needs to be answered, however. Are the guts larger than expected for the body size?
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post #10 of 15 Old 02-16-2010, 04:58 PM
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Jeffysfish, I would suggest taking a water sample to your local fish store for tests. Most stores will do these free, some may charge or require a purchase of something... but that is one option, a second is to purchase a reliable test kit. The API combo is probably the best deal, it includes ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH I believe. The hardness test is usually individual, but there I would suggest using the store rather than buying a kit because once you know the hardness (both GH and KH) of your tap water it is unlikely to alter. Some water boards will tell you the water hardness; again you want to know both the KH and GH.

With respect to your original questing (first post), I think there are two possible--and both serious in my opinion--issues. One is the overcrowding, second is the hardness.

1077 has given solid advice on the former. I will only add that it is one thing to have 13 angelfish in a 50g knowing it is temporary and planning for the next phase, but quite another to expect those fish to be healthy long-term. Fish grow their whole lives, unlike humans. They develop internally (their organs) and their external housing grows to accommodate this. Keeping potentially large fish in small quarters is almost always detrimental; it stresses the fish which causes problems with the immune system and other physical development, and many believe there is internal damage done that may only be obvious down the road when the fish suddenly dies or develops other problems. Pasfur mentioned "stunting" and this is it.

There are two main reasons for this. One is the physical size of the space the fish is forced to live in, and the second is the quality of the water that results from overcrowding. Fish interact in various ways and from species to species. Pasfur made a good post in a related thread, it is post #33 in this thread: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...d-dying-37083/ As he points out cogently, it is more than just the "cleanliness" of the water.

The other issue looming is the hardness. We (that is, you) need to know for certain how hard your water is. Angelfish are largely commercially raised now, and many hold that this makes them more adaptable to differing water parameters. I don't want to get into this argument at this juncture, but because I firmly believe it I must say that I do not share this view totally. I believe there is a limit to which most fish can "manage" with parameters that are vastly different from what nature built the fish to live in. I have elsewhere often written of calcium hardness causing blockages of the kidney tubes in cardinals and similar soft water fish; angels come from those same waters.

Depending upon the actual hardness, your angels may be suffering due to the hardness being greater than they can adapt. I'm not saying it is, but it is a possibility that should not be overlooked. At the very least, this adapting may put additional stress on the fish--as one writer put it, the fish has to work harder to maintain it physiological processes, and that means stress. The fish has a blood pH that it must regulate to match the water it lives in; an abnormal pH is bound to have consequences on the internal biological actions of the fish. Couple this stress with that from the closeness of the physical area and related factors, and you can see that it is compounding.

Please post the test results once you have them. In the interim, I believe you should consider the options to remove some of the fish from the aquarium in the near future. If they are healthy, the store may accept them in exchange. Or other hobbyists in the area. I don't think anyone can argue that this is not going to be necessary down the road if the fish are to enjoy healthy and full lives.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 02-16-2010 at 06:20 PM.
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