Dec 21, 2013

Breeding and Raising Angelfishes

An Informative Guide
by Ed Stansbury

This was by far one of the most interesting reads I've had about fishes so far. It's written by a man who runs an angelfish hatchery, raising them to sell. Topics include the importance of water quality and how to maintain it (stressed throughout the book), proper diet and nutrition for angelfishes, genetics and breeding practices, raising the eggs and fry, how to cull the young fishes for marketability and to improve the breeding stock, and the control of diseases. All of this stuff in much greater detail than I expected, and very informative. For example, he describes exactly how packaged fish flakes are made, why certain commercial foods have better nutritional value, all kinds of information on other types of available food and how to raise your own live food (the part on culturing whiteworms reminded me of a lot of stuff I've read about worm bins, and I believe some of the information is equally applicable to both- particularly in how the worms behave when something is out of balance in their bin, and how to remedy that). Another thing I found interesting was that the author believes filters are often misused and not really necessary if water changes are done frequently and properly- in some of his breeding tanks he doesn't use filters at all. I had never encountered this stance before. In the disease section, he not only describes how to recognize and treat certain diseases, but what the causes are, how the pathogens live and spread, and thus why preventative treatment is better than any cure.

It was quite scientific compared to the prior books, and I appreciated that when the author didn't know the answer to something, he suggested the reader conduct their own experiment and add to the body of knowledge! He describes doing so himself, experimenting with how many young fish can fit in a certain tank size before crowding or other factors inhibit growth rate, what kind of treatment works best for certain diseases, and how the frequency of water changes affects fish health (too often will cause them stress), for just a few examples.

I liked the book a lot because I used to keep a pair of angelfish myself, and even though they were in a twenty gallon tank I must have done something right, because once they attempted breeding. Of course I didn't know how to handle that and probably stressed the fish out with my intervention, but it was fascinating regardless. From reading this book I recall certain behaviors and other things about my long-ago angels, and understand them better now. They always bullied the few smaller fish in my aquarium (swordtails and cory catfish) which only makes sense- angelfish are a cichlid species, known for their aggression (even though they are so beautiful and peaceful looking!) Also, when my fish were older the eyes became red and I freaked out about this, I remember worrying that the fish was ill or infected and searching for information on a treatment. I shouldn't have been alarmed, red eyes are normal and vibrant color the sign of a healthy adult!

Rating: 4/5     142 pages, 2005

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