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Starting an angel fish hatchery

Dubbed the "kings of the aquarium", raising angel fish can bring in some extra income
Photo courtesy of Auburn University

If you want to start a fish farm but don’t have a lot of space, try raising angelfish for the aquarium market.

LaDon Swann is the director of marine programs at Auburn University. He says a huge benefit of raising angelfish is that you can do it indoors. He raised them in his basement with just a few tanks, filters, and a source of water.

"They make turnkey systems that a lot of high schools use in their aquaculture program and you can buy those," says Swann. "If you piece together the parts, you can make your own. There’s a lot of information online through your sea grant agent, or your cooperative extension service agent that could point you in the direction where you can find out what sorts of filters you need, types of tanks, how to maintain good water quality, how to feed them."

Swann recommends stocking angelfish at 20-to-50-fish-per-gallon. The temperature of the water should stay around 80-degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s best to have separate tanks for the baby fish and the adults. Swann says in the wild, angelfish spawn on broadleaf plants that are submerged in the water. You can put a removable flat surface such as a piece of slate or glass on the bottom of the aquarium to mimic the spawning area.

"The female will lay a little row of eggs and the male will follow behind her and fertilize that, and they’ll repeat that," says Swann. "They’ll have a little patch of eggs that you can see on that piece of slate. And then once those angel fish are finished laying their eggs, you just take that piece of slate out, and put it in a different tank, and then in three-or-four days the babies will hatch out."

Baby angelfish eat brine shrimp. When the angelfish are a couple months old, they can be transitioned to flake food with the rest of the adult fish. Since many aquarium stores already sell angelfish, Swann says you’ll have to find your niche market. Angels come in many colors and scale patterns, so perhaps you’ll be able to offer something unique.

Learn more about raising angel fish

Find angel fish supplies and videos to help you get started

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