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New Wild Angelfish

Posted: November 25, 2013, 9:00 a.m. EDT


By David Lass 
   
Since it is simply what they do, ichthyologists are often babbling about whether the different angelfish that they found in some out of the way stream in the Amazon is a new species. There are two very different wild angelfish that are now being bred and offered in the hobby in F1 (and maybe F2) forms. Whether anyone is claiming that these are new species or not is irrelevant – they are very beautiful, and remind us of the true beauty of the original wild silver angel.

Angelfish are my favorite fish; I actually wrote a book on them, and I have been breeding them for many years. What is now in the hobby as a silver (original wild type) angel is a very poor replica of the majestic wild fish. Silver angels today have short bodies, even shorter fins, and indistinct stripes on the body. The new F1 (F1 means the first generation of offspring from wild fish – F2 is the offspring of the F1s, etc.) angels coming into the hobby now are beautiful fish. They are called, among other names and in varying degrees of misrepresentation, "Peruvian altums” and "red-spot angels”. They are, whatever you call them, beautiful fish. Their shape is tall and elongated, with the distance from top of the dorsal fin to bottom of the anal fin being much more than the length of the fish. The three vertical black stripes are wide, distinct and jet black, and run all the way from the top of the fish to the bottom. The ventral fins are long, pure white, and gracefully flow beyond the anal fin. All unpaired fins have patterns on them. The eyes are mostly red.

Angelfish
Angelfish. David Lass

I have gotten these new angelfish from two sources. One group I brought in with some other fish from Always Quality Aquatics (AQA), an importer of fish from the Far East, whose fish I used to buy when I was wholesaling, and for whom I now sell fish. These fish have a distinct bluish cast to their bodies. The other fish I got from my good friend Scott Dowd, who is the Freshwater Aquarist at the New England Aquarium here in Boston. He brought some in for the Aquarium, and gave me some in the hope that I would be able to breed them. They should be ready to try in six months or so. The fish I got from Scott came from a domestic cichlid breeder, and they are much more delicate in shape and taller in body than the ones I got from the Far East.

These fish (body size of a half dollar) were not inexpensive – I think the Far East fish landed me at $10 each, and Scott paid $25 for the ones he bought. But they are worth every penny, and if you are ever offered them for your store I hope you will at least buy a few – if only to show yourself, and your customers the incredible beauty of true wild angelfish.

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