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Angelfish Fry Nibbling
on Parents


Dear Aquaworld,

I am raising Angelfish fry in a 29 gallon tank.  Both parents have taken care of them very well.  The mother suddenly died and now the father has taken over and is very protective of the babies. The problem is that the fry keep nibbling on his fins and now he looks very bad.  Is this normal?  I can find nothing anywhere on the internet or in books that describes this behavior of the fry.  Should I not worry about it or what can I do to prevent it? Any suggestion would be appreciated.


Belton,TX USA


Dear Karen,

Angels with Fry.

When Angelfish fry reach the size in this photo, it is advisable to remove them from the parents.

I am sorry to hear about the female dieing.  You are fortunate to have Angelfish take care of the fry.  Most Angelfish breeders do not give the parents a chance to take care of the fry naturally, as they have a reputation for eating their eggs.  Often if you are patient with the parents, they will eventually raise a batch of fry.

As you have found out the hard way, if you do keep the fry with the parents for an extended period of time the fry will nibble so much on the parents that they will case damage to the parents that can be life threatening.  Yes, there is very little information anywhere about this habit of the fry picking on the parents, but it is mentioned in the article Spawning and Raising Angelfish on this web site.  The course of action I recommend is remove the fry to a grow out tank, and medicate the father with an antibiotic.  Depending in how many fry you have, you may want to consider a 50 to 150 gallon (190 to 570 l) grow out tank.  If you have a small batch of fry (less than 50) you could get away with a 30 gallon long (114 l) grow out tank.

Treat the father with an antibiotic like ampicillin, amoxicillin, or penicilin.  Most of these antibiotics can be found in your local fish store.  Before you add medication to the tank do a 50% water change, this will help reduce some organics as well as nitrate.  Treat the fish for at least 5 days, but I recommend 10 days.  As when medicating with any medication, make sure you remove any activated carbon out of the aquarium, as it will filter out medication.  These antibiotics will also prevent secondary fungal infections from occurring on any wounds.

Tony Griffitts

Published - 20070208

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