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Old 04-15-2020, 10:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Angelfish Experiment

My Angelfish Experiment

This experiment/post was inspired from a response I received when I posed a question on this forum few days ago. I’m not very scientific but I will share my experience and update this post from time to time.

Here’s the topic: Will angelfish view small fish such as cardinal tetras and pseudomugil luminatus as prey if they are introduced into the aquarium when the angelfish are young?

My hypothesis is: If you add small prey type fish to the aquarium when the angelfish are juveniles they will not be looked upon as a food source and will be ignored by the Angelfish when they reach maturity. This will not be the case if the angelfish are mature and fish smaller than the existing cardinals or Pseudomugils are introduced.

The angelfish I have were purchased online from Lee Gordon at https://angelmania.net/ (good seller/good communication.) There are six in total and they are about 9 to 10 weeks old (nickel sized bodies.)

The Aquarium is 75 gallons and has been running for about 4 weeks. It was set up to be low tech, it’s heavily planted, and I have tried to follow the “Walstad method” to the best of my ability.

The angelfish have been living with 6 Panda Corydoras and a male. Two days ago I added 8 Red Neon Blue Eye Rainbowfish (Pseudomugil luminatus.) They are very small about ¾” and were purchased from https://www.bwaquatics.com/ (good sellers/good communication.)

When I first added the blue-eyed rainbow fish into the aquarium the angelfish were initially very curious and followed around the smallest ones. I noticed this predatory behavior so I immediately fed the angelfish flaked food. This changed their focus and they stopped chasing the new tank mates. As of today, I have not lost a Pseudomugil to predation. They are schooling nicely and the angelfish do not seem to be paying them any attention.

I have 15 Cardinal tetras on order from a local fish store and they will be going into my quarantine tank on Friday. I will update this post if I lose any small fish to predation and when I introduce new fish to the angelfish.

Last edited by Chris829; 04-15-2020 at 12:34 PM.. Reason: Added my hypothesis
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Angelfish Experiment

You might be right. An interesting thing to notice is the small fish will be used to the angels too and won't freak out at the sight of these predators.

You will likely add more little fish as they don't live as long as angels. The new little fish will freak out at the predators and they will trigger the angel's natural predator instincts. Chomp!
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good point. I would guess when the little fish die of old age that I would have to replace with adults of the same size.
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here's a picture of the angelfish and pseudimugils for reference...least one of them those little guys don't hold still 🙂
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Old 04-15-2020, 05:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Angelfish Experiment

Or the predatory instinct will kick in when anything moving fit their mouths.
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Old 04-15-2020, 06:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I understand that Angelfish are predators but I also have found conflicting information on the web. Some people say angelfish can live in harmony with little fish if introduced at a young age. Some people say that they eat neons but cardinals are too big to fit in their mouths. Some people say that the cichlid instinct kicks in and they eat anything that small enough. This is why I started this thread…to document my experience with young angelfish, cardinal tetras, and other small fish. My only experience with this type of co habitation is what I see in my brother’s tank. He has one Lace Veil Tailed Angelfish that has been living with all sorts of tetras ranging for neons to Congos. Most seem to live no worse for ware but if he adds to his neon school the new additions have to be around the size as the adults in the tank or is dinner. I love my Philippine Blue Angelfish but I also really like the color of the Cardinal Tetras. I will keep large schools of the small fish so that there is safety in numbers and will keep updating my losses or victories as time goes on.
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Old 04-16-2020, 11:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Angelfish Experiment

This will be a very good experiment.
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Old 04-27-2020, 10:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well probably not the best time to add new additions because I'm still trying to figure out this plant growth thing but 26 cardinal tetras came out of quarantine and are in with the angelfish. They are now just shy of quarter sized and they seem to ignore the cardinals which are wildcaught and about 1/2 to 3/4 inch.

I did loose 1 small pseudomugil luminatus but it was not to predation she was sickly and languishing for few days and finally gave up her ghost.
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Old 06-24-2020, 04:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Well I've gone and killed most of my cardinal tetras so I guess this experiment is over. I went and messed a good thing up by doing a 25 gallon water change yesterday (75 gallon tank.) The reason for the water change was because I noticed a patch of black beard algae on my large rock and on the ends of my Val. So I decided to brush it off of the rock and I trimmed my Val and I did a light glass cleaning (also turned down the intensity of my light.) I figured that since I have all the algae particles in the water I should do a water change; it's been a month since my last change and I noticed a dirt/soil smell in the water. I did not age the water because I only have two 5 gallon water jugs to do the change so I just added the water conditioner, filled the jugs, and added them one my one to the tank. The fish initially seemed very excited after the change but when I woke up this morning most of the cardinal tetras gave up their ghosts. Also my veil tailed angelfish has one cloudy eye. The other angelfish are thankfully okay. I checked my water perimeters and noticed that ammonia has went from zero to 0.5 or 1(shade of lime is so close to either value.) My GH went from 9 to 10 or 11, KH remained 7, PH creeped up to 7.8 or 8 (can't tell colors so close.) nitrates and nitrites are both zero.

Why do you think the ammonia spiked and why was this water change so devastating to my live stock? I'm really disappointed in myself
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Old 06-24-2020, 06:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Angelfish Experiment

Cardinals don't do well in pH that high from what I remember.

Not sure why the spike in ammonia. Is this a dirted tank? What filter are you using?
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