Angelfish Sunset (Pterophyllum scalare var.)

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Angelfish Sunset
Pterophyllum scalare var.
Angelfish Sunset (Pterophyllum scalare var.)
Name Angelfish Sunset
Name Lat. Pterophyllum scalare var.
Family Cichlids
Family lat. Cichlidae
Order Cichlids
Order lat. Cichliformes
Origin South America (breeding variety)
Habitat Rivers, lakes
Diet Omnivore
pH 6.0-7.5
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Group
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Substrate spawner
Breeding Moderately difficult
Life Span 5-10 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 15 cm
Temperature 24-30 °C
Hardness 5-15 °dH
Aquarium 200 l
US Units
Size 6"
Temperature 75-86 °F
Hardness 89-267 ppm
Aquarium 50 gal

Distribution and habitat

The angelfish Sunset is a breeding form. The Angelfish wild form is widely distributed from Peru through Colombia and Brazil to Guyana. They live in the calm sections of rivers and in lakes, where they prefer to stay in the shore zone with dense vegetation.


The aquarium should have dense planting, with plants partly flooding to the water surface (vallisnerias, sword plants, etc.), stones and roots as hiding places, and plenty of free swimming space. A dark substrate and some subdued light (floating plants) is ideal.

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


The food supply consists of live, frozen and dry food. For a balanced diet, feed once a day with a high-quality dry food (flakes, granules, pellets) as well as cyclops, daphnia, mosquito larvae and artemia (live or frozen). In addition, they need regular vegetable food, such as algae leaves, pureed leafy and wild vegetables or dry food with vegetable ingredients (e.g. spirulina, kelp)

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day. Only as much should be fed as is eaten within a few minutes. Regular and varied feeding promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms

Behaviour and compatibility

At least 5 angelfish should be kept together. They are very peaceful fish and can be socialized well with other calm, slightly larger fish. Small fish are considered food. They should not be kept together with fin twitching fish, such as Sumatran barbs or blood tetras. Basically, only compatible fish species with similar water condition and water temperature requirements should be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

Outside the spawning season the sexes are hardly distinguishable. With some experience, the sexes can be determined during mating by the shape of the genital papilla, which is pointed in the male and round in the female.

Reproduction and breeding

They are substrate spawners. The female usually spawns on hard plant leaves. The fry hatch after about 48 hours and swim freely after 3-5 days. Together, the parents caringly nurture and guard the clutch and care for their offspring for a long time.

Fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (Artemia nauplii). In community tanks breeding is hardly possible, because the fry are easy prey.


Through breeding selection, there are numerous color variants and veil forms today

Due to their body height, which can be up to 25 cm, the aquarium must be at least 50 cm high

The well-being of the fish should be checked regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even if the pollutant level has not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BMELV (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); RIEHL & BAENSCH (2006): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 1, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF