How Often Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?

Angelfish are among the most preferred fish breeds for the aquarium. Their beauty and different shades appeal to the eyes, and as they swim around, they make a fascinating view. If you choose to rear the angelfish, the top of your concerns should be how you multiply them and how often they lay eggs.

The female angelfish lays between 100 and 1,000 eggs every 2 weeks if removed from them after laying. Angelfish eggs are translucent when laid but change color to brown and amber after fertilization. If they turn into any other color such as white, they’ll not be fertile and will need to be removed.

Angelfish with Eggs

How often do angelfish lay eggs?

Angelfish are heavy layers; in a single breeding cycle, they can lay between 200 to 1000 eggs. The number of eggs they lay is influenced by several factors including the breed type, size, and age.

The prevailing breeding conditions also influence the number of eggs the angelfish lay.

What do angelfish eggs look like?

They are tiny, and you could easily dismiss them as they are not bigger than needle holes. The eggs are translucent before fertilization, but they lose the shade to appear transparent after fertilization. They are like pearls lined together. 

When well-fertilized, the eggs will turn brown and amber. A different coloration would mean there is a problem with the eggs. For instance, if the eggs turn white, it means they are not fertilized, which calls for you to get rid of them, so they don’t affect the fertilized ones.

Angelfish egg fertilization (steps)

The process starts by cleaning up the point where the fish intends to lay eggs. The male and female fish will seem to be cleaning up the spawning area, after which the female will lay the eggs on that very spot. The cleaning process is about 24 hours long.

If you have a breeding cone, the fish will lay the eggs on this point or a breeding slate. The female lays the egg lined up closely as the male angelfish follows her closely, brushing off the eggs to kickstart the fertilization process.

Other potential spawning areas include the heater, glass walls, plants, and other objects in the tank. If the angelfish have other tank mates such as guppies, they may naturally try to hide the eggs as other tank mates might eat them if laid in the open.

How to set up an angelfish breeding tank

You need to set the angelfish breeding tank properly to succeed in breeding them. Below are the parameters to observe when setting it up:

Tank SizeEnsure it’s above 16 inches, given that angelfish are tall species. 
The tank should have no less than 20 gallons of water capacity.
Allow enough space based on the number of fish you want to have on the tank.
WaterThe water in the tank should be clean since angelfish love their water clean. Make sure to get a 40% water change to maintain the quality.
Keep the water temperatures at 80 degrees Fahrenheit so that you encourage egg-laying with the right temperatures.
Maintain the water PH between 6 and 7.
Vacuum the tank to remove the solid waste.
DecorationsAvoid gravel at the bottom of the tank to avoid losing eggs between the gravels.
Have some plants on the tank.
Include a spawning slate or the cone.

The angelfish’s tank size is a major factor in their breeding success.

Do angelfish lay eggs without a male?

Yes, angelfish can lay eggs even in the absence of males. The females will lay the eggs on anything they deem fit, from wood pieces to the tank’s decorations.

After laying the eggs, the fish will hold guard looking after the eggs, and if a male doesn’t brush and fertilize them, she will eat them up.

For a few days, the fish will fan the eggs before giving up on them. If she doesn’t feast on them, the eggs grow into fungus. After a fortnight, the female angelfish repeats the exercise.

What causes angelfish eggs to change color?

Some of the reasons why the angelfish eggs may change color include:


Fungi is the major cause of the eggs turning white from the healthy translucent color. Your tank could harbor the fungi they access during the transfer from the breeding tank. Alternatively, the fungi could grow from unfertilized eggs.

For this reason, after spawning, you should get proactive in removing the unfertilized eggs.

The presence of bacteria in your tank could also spell doom for your angelfish eggs, making them harden and turn color.

To treat the fungus bacteria or any external threat to your tank, you can use any of the following remedies:

  • Potassium permanganate
  • Iodine
  • Rosemary extracts
  • Methylene blue

Use these remedial measures in moderation so you don’t affect the health and hatching rate of the angelfish eggs.

Lack of males to fertilize the eggs

At times, you may erroneously think there is a male angelfish in the tank when there isn’t. In such a case, the females will lay eggs that won’t be fertilized. The eggs then die and grow fungi to turn white.

Male angelfish have a larger papilla than the females, have forky fins (females’ are smooth), a larger bump on the forehead, and generally larger and more circular than females.

Poor water conditions

If the water is dirty, at the wrong temperature or pH, the eggs won’t have the right conditions to grow. Even when fertilized, they will still die and change color to white.

Male infertility

Infertility in male angelfish means that the eggs laid by the females won’t be fertilized. In such a case, the eggs will eventually die and turn white due to the growth of fungi.

Poor egg-transfer

If you’re transferring the eggs to another tank, you should do it fast and within a constant temperature range to avoid their death and color change.

How long do angelfish eggs take to hatch?

It takes the angelfish eggs approximately 60 hours at 80 degrees to hatch, after which they will stay in the wiggler level for 5 days.

The stages involved till hatching are complex and sequential. The stages of angelfish eggs are spawning, larval phase, and hatching, where the fertilized eggs hatch into fry.

Avoid feeding the fry immediately after hatching as this will lower their chances of survival. 

Care for angelfish eggs

To have an optimal transition from spawning to hatching, you need to care for the eggs by ensuring you monitor these conditions:

1. Clean Water

Ensure the tank has clean water by constantly removing solid dirt and unfertilized eggs. Failure to remove the unfertilized eggs leads to a fertile ground for fungi and bacteria, which affects the health of the angelfish eggs.

Have a filter in the tank to sieve off the dirt, which could affect the eggs. Constantly monitor the water quality and get 40% of the water so that the tank has clean water throughout.

2. Temperatures

Maintain the eggs at 80 degrees Fahrenheit to boost their chances of hatching. Maintain the temperatures at this range as high temperatures will hurt the eggs. Low temperatures may also lower the chances of the eggs hatching. 

Ideally, let the temperatures for the eggs range between 80-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above or below this can negatively affect the hatching process. Maintain this temperature range even when transferring the eggs to a new tank by acclimating them.

3. Monitor the Water Flow

Ensure the water filter is not too close to the eggs so they don’t get washed away as this would affect the hatching rate. Also, get the right size of the water filter so that the water doesn’t wash away the eggs.

4. Maintain Healthy Oxygen Levels

The angelfish eggs require enough energy to hatch properly. Oxygen remains one of the main prerequisites for the eggs to hatch. Lack of oxygen will lower the chances of the eggs hatching.

5. Keep Off Predators

You need to be proactive in warding off the predators that could feast on the eggs. Monitor the bigger angelfish and other reptiles that could feast on the eggs. While angelfish and Bolivian rams can live together, the latter might be tempted to eat the angelfish’s eggs if left unguarded.

6. Fight Infections

Ensure you keep off bacterial and fungal infections away from the eggs to allow them to hatch properly.

Infections will kill the eggs instantly, so you need to treat the water for fungus regularly. Go for natural remedies to keep off the fungus as using chemicals could lower the oxygen levels, which could, in turn, affect the hatching rate.

Care for newly-hatched angelfish

Despite the angelfish being a hardy breed, the newly-hatched angelfish require tender care to thrive and move through the different phases to maturity.

Some ways you can care for the newly-hatched angelfish include:

1. Housing

You can leave the newly-hatched angelfish with their parents for a while. This will, however, lead to skipping a whole egg-laying cycle as the parents focus all their attention on the young angelfish.

During this period, the mature angelfish concentrate and protect the young until such a time when they tire looking after them. Once they get tired of looking after them, you will be prompted to remove some of the fish to make room and ensure there is enough space for all the fish.

Avoid having the baby angelfish in a community tank to prevent them from being eaten by the bigger fish and other predators.

2. Decorations

Have some tall plants and decorations in the tank to allow the young angelfish to hide in between. The decorations provide a haven for them as predators may not be able to swim through.

Ensure whatever you plant is not toxic for the fish, so you don’t harm and kill the newly-hatched ones.

To prevent the larger fish from feeding on the young ones, ensure the decorations are closely placed in a way the larger ones can’t swim through.

3. Feeding

The first week after hatching, avoid feeding the young angelfish. During this time, the fry doesn’t move as they only feed on their yolk.

You can start feeding the fry on minute worms or brine shrimp a week later. Only do it when the newly-hatched angelfish can swim freely. Be cautious though not to overfeed the fish as this can be counterproductive. 

Overfeeding will create other complicated issues such as constipation, bloating, and the inability to swim which can be catastrophic.

Once they start feeding, make it a routine to feed them thrice per day maximum as anything beyond that will be overfeeding.

If the young ones share the tank with the bigger fish, keep the bigger fish full to prevent them from feeding on the young ones.

4. Have Live Plants

Having live plants in your tank will improve the condition of your tank in different ways. First, it improves the tank’s oxygen levels, which is critical for the newly hatched angelfish’s survival.

Secondly, the live plants help keep water clear, which is also critical in ensuring the young fish don’t feed on dirt or get affected by it. The live plants also help keep algae from growing and spreading in the tank.

Live plants help lower the ammonia levels in the tank, which helps boost the survival rate of the angelfish fry. Having well-balanced air in the tank is critical as it ensures the young fish thrive and don’t suffocate.

5. Water

For your newly-hatched angelfish fry to thrive, water is a key component. It needs to be enough, have the right PH, and be within the right temperatures.

Avoid changing a big percentage of the water for the newly-hatched fish. It should not be beyond 40% of your water as this will affect the temperatures and the PH, consequently affecting the fry.

How to remove unfertilized angelfish eggs

You need to remove the unfertilized angelfish eggs as soon as you spot them because they could affect the fertilized ones. The unfertilized eggs also attract fungus to grow in the neighboring environment, which could affect the healthy fertilized eggs.

The unfertilized eggs will not have the amber brown coloration but will feature a white color which should guide you on the ones you need to remove.

Given their size and the delicate eggs, you need to be cautious as you set them apart from the fertilized ones. You’ll need the right conditions on the tank where you intend to have the fertilized eggs hatch properly.

To eliminate the unfertilized eggs, use a pair of tweezers to selectively pick the eggs from the slate leaving behind the fertilized ones. Alternatively, remove the fertilized eggs from the slate using the tweezers and move them to the tank you set up to continue the hatching process.

Another way to remove the unfertilized eggs will be to identify their location, and if they are all set out together, get a hardy card or a tipped metal clip to remove the eggs and dip it to the point where the white eggs are located.

Something worth noting, however, is that if the unfertilized eggs are sporadically distributed, then this method would not be the best for removing the eggs. You are better off ignoring the entire exercise since you could potentially damage more fertilized eggs as you attempt to remove them with tweezers or sharp objects.

Methylene blue or hydrogen peroxide are some of the alternatives available for removing the white eggs entirely. The problem with these is that they would leave a blue coloration on your tank, which is hard to remove and may limit its usage in the future. Angelfish fry like their water clean and devoid of any color.


Angelfish are heavy layers, and their cycle is short, especially if you have a compatible and experienced breeding couple. 

Their bold stripes and triangular body shapes intrigue and appeal to the eye. Angelfish are most aquarium hobbyists’ fish breeds. They are easy to hatch and rear, and you could have a whole breed a few months later with proper care.


Illinois – Indiana Sea Grant Program. Reproduction of Angelfish (Pterphyllum scalare).

The University of Maine. Assessment of the Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus) as a Model Species in Studies on Egg and Larval Quality in Marine Fishes.

University of Florida. Artificial Incubation of Fish Eggs.

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