Scalaria (lat. Pterophyllum scalare) fish is large, voracious, eager for fry and shrimp, but beautiful and with interesting behavior.
High body compressed from sides, various colors, rather large sizes, accessibility, all this made it one of the most common and popular fish that almost every aquarist contained.
Angelfish are very beautiful and unusual, popular among experienced aquarists, and among beginners. In nature, they are camouflaged, with black streaks along the silvery body. Although there are changes there, fish without bands, completely black and other options.
But, it is precisely this tendency to change that aquarists use to bring out new, brighter views. Now many different types are displayed: black, marble, blue, koi, green angel, red devil, marble, diamond and others.
Despite the unusual shape of the body, they belong to the same species as the discus, to cichlids. It can be very high, and can be as long as 15 cm. Medium in complexity, but the scalar needs a spacious aquarium so that it can swim without problems.
The minimum volume is 150 liters, but if you contain a couple or groups, then already from 200 liters. How many live scalaries?
They live in an aquarium for a long time, 5 years or more.
Angelfish can be kept in the general aquarium, but do not forget that they are cichlids, and it is not desirable to keep very small fish with them.
The first description of the scalar explorer Schulze made back in 1823. The fish got to the territory of Europe in 1920, and already in 1930 it was successfully bred in the USA.
Although modern fishes of this family are called ordinary, and it is easy to find them on sale, they are significantly different from their natural relatives.
In nature, scalars live in South American waters with a slow current. Their homeland is considered to be the central Amazon and its tributaries in Peru, Brazil, and Eastern Ecuador.
Under natural conditions, the scalars need a body of water with a small number of plants, their food is fry, insects, invertebrates, vegetation.
Subspecies of South American cichlids have many popular names. Below is a description of some of them.
The size of one of the most common fish in pet stores is an average of 22 cm. Due to the shape of the fins and the silver color, it is often called the fish-month.
Adult individuals have a dark accent on the forehead and back. Despite the wide distribution in specialized stores, breeding forms of angelfish forced this view into the background.
It has a relatively small body length – no more than 15 cm. Due to the length of the front part of the body, it has been called the “long-nosed”. Pterophyllum leopoldi does not stand out in bright colors, even dark stripes are difficult to see on a dull brown canvas.
This species has more proportional fins than ordinary scalar, so it looks more harmonious. During breeding, the school of 6-7 fish is divided into pairs, and after hatching the fry reunites again.
This species is related to the golden angelfish. It has a fascinating bright silver color. Some individuals have dark stripes.
Its name Pterophyllum scalare diamond has earned it the color of scales, beautifully playing by the light, as well as almost transparent fins. It is very popular among breeders who are actively trying to bring new breeds with it.
A distinctive feature – the color of the body. It is dominated by two colors – silver and black. There are no bands, instead of them there is a clear border between light and dark tones.
If it happened that Scalare bicolor suddenly showed stripes, it immediately noticeably loses in price compared to its traditional counterparts.
In the wild, for some individuals, the profile reached 45 cm in height. The appearance of Pterophyllum altum is very similar to the scalar ordinary, except for a clearer pattern.
This breed with graceful fins loves free space; small overpopulated aquariums can irritate it.
She is obliged to her nickname of a light-silver shining color.
The Blue Angelfish, loved by many, is valued more expensively if it has a more saturated shade. Scalare blue puffers prefer individuals without dark streaks.
The cost of one fish with translucent blue fins reaches almost a thousand rubles.
Despite the precious name, the ancestors of this species are the most common scalar ordinary. Golden breed is distinguished by unpretentiousness and is painted in a pale silver color with golden areas.
A yellow shade can be quite a bit, or vice versa, it can occupy a significant part of the body, which is framed by large fins.
This type of scalar is painted in black and silver shades in the ratio of 50 to 50. It is thanks to the bizarre shape of black spots that the fish received such an elaborate name.
The breed is not fit for life in dense places, it needs free space for a comfortable life.
The white canvas of their body is decorated with black strokes, and the head (and sometimes other parts of the body) has a shade from orange to bright red. The smaller the bright spot, the more expensive the angelfish.
Due to the coloring, similar to koi carps, this breed also acquired the name Koi angelfish. Interestingly, it is difficult to find two individuals, painted the same way.
The red spots present in the scalp koi gave rise to a new breed. The fish received an ominous name, but it is very peaceful and absolutely not dangerous.
Spots of a different color on the body of individuals are practically not observed, and the most expensive specimens with the complete absence of all colors except red.
Appeared from the type of scalar vulgaris. Unlike its parent, the marble look is of a smaller size.
In addition, to keep these unpretentious angels easier than individuals of other breeds. In color there are silver and black colors, stripes, spots of different shapes.
The fish got its nickname for the combination of specks resembling the rock of the same name. An aquarium of more than 60 liters will become a suitable home environment for it.
As in the wild horse breed, its color is replete with black stripes. It may seem that it is very similar to the most common form.
This is true, the difference is that the stripes on the body of “zebra” are more clearly expressed. On the body of these individuals there are more than four of them.
Widespread because it was bred by breeders many years ago. To bring out the fish of pure black color, selected individuals with extensive black spots. It took a lot of work to get perfect black cichlid.
Sometimes, however, there is “black velvet” with areas of silver and gray shades. Usually these spots are located on the abdomen and fins.
Breeders have nothing to do with it, the species appeared thanks to genetic engineering. Glofish was able to create a glowing pink fish in the dark.
Due to the high cost, few people acquire a radiant beauty, so she did not receive much distribution in Russia. There are unverified rumors that the pink scalar lives very little and cannot have offspring.
Graceful and smoothly moving descendants of Rio Nanai. It has long sailing fins, thanks to which the height of the fish can reach 27 cm.
This white angelfish is distinguished by photophobia and does not see very well. She will like aquariums with a lot of grottoes, stones and areas darkened with plants.
Albines do not differ in sociability, few individuals of the same species will become the best neighbors.
This breed is famous for curved translucent fins. They have an elongated shape and can be painted in different colors and have different patterns.
Since the fins attract the attention of aggressive fish, the scalar should be isolated from Sumatran barbs, macropods and large cichlids. However, the inhibited veil specimens irritate even neons and minor.
Bottom species will be ideal satellites (since the angelfish love to be on the surface of the water and almost never sink to the bottom), as well as goldfish.
Freshwater angels owe their genuineness to genetics. The fact is that pearl is not a distinctive feature of a selective species, but a recessive gene that has appeared.
Dark-eyed scalarias, unlike light ones, rarely boast of such quality, since the iridescent highlights are invisible on their scales.
So called fishes with double asexual gene. Sometimes this unusual nickname is called the blue-colored pearl scalar.
Their feature is a more elongated body shape, coupled with wide fins.
It is distinguished by clearly visible vertical stripes, painted in silver color.
Rather, it is not a form, and sometimes mini-fishes. Perhaps their growth is affected by improper feeding or insufficiently thought-out conditions of detention.
Angelfish are rather large fish, so for their maintenance it is worthwhile to choose containers of at least 60 liters, the height of the aquarium should exceed 45 centimeters, the width does not play a big role, since the scalars are adapted to live in narrow channels. The water should be clean and slightly soft, the level of acidity should be between 6.5 and 7.4 pH, and the constant hardness should not exceed 18.
Angelfish are quite sensitive to the environment, so it is desirable to keep the water parameters at the same level.
It is better to keep cichlids in small groups, it is advisable to choose for them a large aquarium, densely planted with plants. It is worth remembering that these fish are shy, a sudden lit light or knocking may scare them.
Angelfish are peace-loving, but during spawning they jealously guard their territory from congeners.
Feeding is not particularly difficult. Mostly cichlids feed on live food. Young angelfish eat live daphnia, tadpoles, various insects.
They are happy to absorb granulated and flaky feeds, pick algae or leaves of tender aquatic plants. It should be borne in mind that due to the specific shape of the body the scalars find it difficult to pick up food from the bottom, so you have to come up with special feeders. It happens that the fish for no apparent reason for a week refuse to feed, but then again begin to eat, as if nothing had happened.
You can give the fish chopped seafood – meat mussels, octopus or shrimp.
The content of the representatives of the family of cichlids should be guided by simple rules. If several pairs live in your aquarium, plant a large bush with wide leaves in different corners. This technique will reduce the level of conflict.
Never give low-quality food to fish, scalar are very sensitive to its quality. Be sure to create shelters – caves, dark areas, snags, stones. Plants floating on the surface that will dim bright lighting are also welcome.
There should be a minimum of scenery in the center and near the surface so that cichlids can swim freely.
The sexual dimorphism of the scalar is not pronounced, that is, the males and females are almost the same in appearance. Before the onset of puberty, sex cannot be determined, and even then it is rather difficult.
Aquarists joke about this: “Swam – it means the male, swam – the female.” However, in adults, it is possible to establish the scalar sex in most cases, although only those who are well aware of the anatomy of fish can usually do this. Let’s try to figure out the grounds for determining the gender of this type of fish:
- Mature males have a fat tubercle-hump on their foreheads;
- Males have a more prominent chest carina;
- If you look at the fish from the front, the lower part of her body resembles a wedge, and this wedge is sharp in the male, and blunt in the female;
- The diagnostic sign is the genital papilla (in females, it is called the ovipositor) – an outgrowth with a hole located between the anus and the anal fin, through which the genital products come out. In females, it is larger and thicker, and in the male, respectively, thinner, sharper and directed backwards. These differences are particularly clearly seen during spawning, as well as before and immediately after it;
- The distance from the genital papilla to the anal fin in males is much less than in females. In fact, in males the fin fin grows directly from the genital papilla, and since the striped scalar usually has the papilla located at the base of the central band, it can be said that in the male the anal fin starts from the base of the central band and in the female behind it;
The male scalar differs from the females in a more elongated long dorsal fin. In its back there are dark transverse stripes alternating with gaps. The number of these strips in females is not more than 6, and in males there are at least 7.
However, sometimes it is impossible to reliably establish the sex of the fish by these attributes, especially in artificially bred forms with marble, golden, albino color. In such cases, the sex of the fish is attempted to be determined by their behavior, when they form pairs and start spawning in the general aquarium.
But this does not always work: in some cases, in the absence of males, females play their role in mating games and spawning, and same-sex couples even lay eggs (which naturally remains unfertilized).
Here you can advise the following: if you want to purchase an adult fish-producer, choose an individual with characteristic signs and behavior, or a fish that has already given offspring. Even better, it will immediately be a formed pair.
If you are going to grow the producers yourself, get 8–10 fry with wide and long fins, among them there will definitely be individuals of both sexes, and in the future they will break up into pairs, and you will be able to decide which one to use for further breeding.
To form a pair of scalar prefer independently, choosing a partner of several individuals of the opposite sex. But an aquarist may well pick up a pair of available young individuals.
Caught alone in the aquarium, the male and female scalaries of close age and size, as a rule, begin to “build love”. It is not recommended to separate already prepared pairs and pick up other partners – for fish this is the strongest stress, and they do not always form new alliances.
It is easy to determine a formed pair: the fish stick together, swim in a single file, the male begins to drive the female into the corners of the aquarium.
Angelfish form a stable, monogamous couple, and they actively spawn in the general aquarium, but it is rather difficult to save caviar. As a rule, caviar is deposited on vertical surfaces: a piece of snag, a flat sheet, even on the glass in an aquarium.
For reproduction often put special tools or cones, or a piece of plastic pipe, or a ceramic pipe.
Like all cichlids, the scalar developed progeny care. Breeding is not easy to spawn, the parents take care of the roe, and when the fry hatch, they continue to care for them until they swim.
Since the angelfish themselves choose a pair, the best way to get such a pair is to buy six or more fish and grow them until they are determined. Very often the aquarist learns about the beginning of spawning only when he sees caviar in one corner, in the other all the inhabitants of the aquarium.
But, if you are careful, you can see a pair that is preparing for breeding. They stick together, drive away other fishes, and protect a secluded corner in an aquarium.
Angelfish usually reach the adult age of 8-12 months, and can spawn every 7-10 days if taken from them. Spawning begins with the fact that the couple chooses a place and begins to methodically clean it. Then the female lays a chain of eggs, and the male immediately fertilizes them.
This continues until the whole caviar (sometimes a few hundred), will not be postponed, the scalar caviar is rather large, of a light color.
Parents care for caviar, fan it with fins, eat dead or unfertilized eggs (they turn white). A few days later, the eggs peck up, but the larvae remain attached to the surface. At this time, the larva does not eat yet, it consumes the contents of the yolk sac.
After about a week, she becomes a fry and begins to swim freely. You can feed the scalar fry with the nautilia of Artemia or other fry feeds.
Millions of scalar fry were raised precisely on the nautilia of Artemia, so this is the best choice. You need to feed them three or four times a day, in portions which they can eat in two or three minutes.
In an aquarium with fry, it is better to use an internal filter with a washcloth and without a lid, as it provides sufficient filtration, but does not suck the fry inside. Clean water is just as important as regular feeding, because of the accumulated harmful substances the fry often die.
Often aquarists ask why the angelfish eat their eggs? This may be due to stress, when they spawn in a common aquarium and are distracted by other fish, or in young couples who are still inexperienced.
What to feed? Angelfish are omnivores, in the aquarium they eat all kinds of food: live, frozen and artificial.
The basis of feeding can be high-quality flakes, and additionally provide live and frozen food: a pipe maker, bloodworm, artemia, and a coretica. It is important to know two things, they are gluttons and cannot be overfeed, no matter how much they ask. And very carefully give the bloodworm, but it is better to give it up altogether.
A little overfeed with bloodworms, and the scalar begins intestinal distention, and such bubbles come out of the anal bladder. It is much safer to feed branded feed, the benefit they are now of high quality.
Angelfish can tear off delicate plants, though not often. In my case, they regularly tear off the tops of Eleocharis and tear off the moss from the snag.
In this case, you can add in the diet with spriulina.
These fish can live in common aquariums, but we should not forget about their voracity and some aggressiveness. These fish will not allow small fish, fry, shrimp to live in peace, constantly hunting them.
The juvenile angelfish keeps a flock, but the adults are divided into pairs, showing pronounced territoriality. These inhabitants are characterized by fearfulness, so sudden movements, sounds, turning on the light make them hide. It is undesirable to settle cichlids with the following relatives:
- small fish – cardinals, neons, micro-collections of galaxies, etc.
- barbs (exceptions are cherry barbs);
All these fish are rather dirty and often eat longer, but slower, luxurious individuals, long fins. The scalar get along well with the viviparous representatives of the fish world: swordtails, pecillia, mollies, guppies.
But then expect that there will be young in the aquarium, it is not necessary, the cichlids will take care of this. It is desirable that the scalar neighbors have a large or medium size.
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