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Angelfish -- normal sparring, something worse? Update 1/7!


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I've had two angelfish in a 40 breeder for a little over a year, purchased as juveniles. They've been inseparable all this time, and even now they are always together. However, I am guessing I have two males, as I've never seen any breeding tubes, and in the past several months they've started sparring quite a bit. I captured a little skirmish on video back in July and converted it to gif (see below).

The fighting isn't constant, but does occur multiple times a day, and even still, they are rarely apart. There had not been any injuries either, until I recently discovered a small lesion at the base of a pectoral fin on the black angelfish.  He's still acting normal, eating, sparring with the other angel, and still hanging out together. 

Am I seeing normal (or rather, unconcerning) behavior here, or should I separate them? I can move one to my 90-gallon no problem, so the only reason I ask first is because they hang out all the time -- don't want to cause fish depression and such.



Edited by StephenP2003
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15 hours ago, ange said:

The mouth locking is pretty common among angelfish and oscars. I get freaked out easily and would err on the side of caution since it is possible for them to break each other's jaws. My pair did this occasionally between their first few spawns but have since stopped. They were also never quite as violent as your two.

Yeah, I have heard of pairs sparring, though this doesn't seem to be a breeding pair. The only way I know how to definitively sex angels is from their breeding tubes, which I've never seen emerge from these two. 

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  • 2 months later...

An update. For the first time this evening, I saw breeding tubes, and then this happened:


I've had these angelfish for 16+ months, and this is the first time I've seen them spawn, confirming the yellow and white one is a female. I would've thought they'd spawn long before this. 

But this tank is also full of rainbows, so I expect these eggs won't last long. 

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