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Breeding Pterophyllum scalare from Rio Negro

by Peter Goebel

My name is Peter I am a fish hobbyist and breeder from Hamburg, Germany. Some days ago I sent a message to George with some photos of my Pterophyllum scalare and he asked me to send in some information about those impressive (as he called them) fish. Well, here comes a brief report on my "Rio Negro" angelfish. Two years ago, Patrick,  a friend of mine, brought these fishes to me. At that time, I was trying to breed Hyphessobrycon robertsiti and Sturisoma sp., which are fish with a completely different behaviour than the Pterophyllum scalare, so my first response was to refuse the offer. Patrick insisted and asked me just to “take a look at them”. Well, I did and I must admit that I had never seen Pterophyllum scalare like those before. There were four of them with really red shoulders, measuring 25-30cm from bottom to top ! Were they wild caught specimens ? Yes, they were actually caught in "Rio Negro" river, but it seems that they are also found in the "Manacapuru" lake. I got this information from Mr. Tobias Möser, who is a very knowledgeable person on Pterophyllum scalare and I am sure that at least some of the UK visitors of this site will know him.

Two weeks later, it seems that a pair is formed and it is going to breed anytime now. It soon became evident that there is only one female among the fish I have. Before that, they had a very peaceful behaviour, they didn’t even touch my little crayfish (measuring a mere 2-5 cm). They looked at them but they made no attempt to attack or even eat them. They are fed frozen Krill and Shrimps but not my crayfishes. After the pair was formed, their behaviour changed completely and the mildness belongs to the past. Now they have claimed more than half of the tank (1.25 meter long) as their territory and the guard it very efficiently. Whenever another fish crosses the imaginary “barrier” they approach it swimming not vertically but horizontally which looks far more aggressive. During this time, their color changes from dark red to orange and back. Actually, it is very difficult to describe their color since the red part changes all the time between red and yellow orange with all the hues in between.

Watch this space for more information, since I will inform you if their spawning was successful and I am able to raise some of their fry. At least, I found my first “customer”. George already told me that although not very keen to keep P. scalare he will be very happy to make an exception for those. For your information, I keep my P. scalare at a Temperature of 24,5oC, pH 7, 8, GH:11 and KH: 9

Update: According to Peter, this kind of Pterophyllum scalare is now referred to as Pterophyllum scalare "Manacapuru".

You can reach the author by e-mail : peterpan@napretep.de

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