How to Tell if Your Angelfish is Pregnant?

If you are wondering “how to tell if an Angelfish is pregnant?” the quick answer is “Pregnant angelfish will have a swollen belly” due to the growth of eggs. They may also display vertical mating behaviors, preparing a surface to lay their eggs on. Additionally, pregnant angelfish may become more aggressive, protecting their eggs.

If you have an angelfish aquarium, it’s natural to wonder if your fish is pregnant, particularly if you are attempting to breed them. Recognizing a pregnant angelfish can be challenging, and it requires close observation and attention to their behavior and physical appearance. It’s crucial to understand the key signs of pregnancy to ensure the best conditions for your angelfish and their offspring. In this article, we’ll explore how to tell if an angelfish is pregnant and the factors to consider to support the breeding process.

Angelfish are the fish that lay eggs, i.e. they are oviparous as they produce young by means of eggs. As angelfish are egg layers, they do not get pregnant. Female angelfish are full of eggs and ready to spawn, and that’s the best way to notice that your angelfish is pregnant.

How to Tell if Your Angelfish is Pregnant?

  • A pot belly
  • Laziness
  • Aggressive temperament and being territorial
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of interest in food

Prior to laying eggs, the angelfish will be pregnant for 20 to 40 days. When it comes to pregnancy and illness, people get confused due to similar signs and symptoms. It’s important to know if your fish is sick or pregnant.

There is a large sac in which the pregnant angelfish carry their babies, which is known as the egg-laying tube. The egg-laying tube is attached to the bottom of the angelfish bodies. The tube bursts at the right time, and the newborns are released into the water.

As stated earlier, you know that angelfish are not born pregnant. The process of fertilization of the eggs occurs outside the body, i.e., externally, by other angelfish. The eggs are incubated in the egg-laying tube until they hatch, which occurs after fertilization.

The mother angelfish prefers not to eat during this period, as she gets nourished by the yolk sacs of her eggs. Once the angelfish babies are born, the mother angelfish switches to its normal diet.

Signs of Pregnant Angelfish

The male and female angelfish do a happy dance.

When both male and female angelfish (if you don’t know how to find your Angelfish male or female then it will be difficult for you to understand the next things so read that article first before reading further)are kept together and if both start to dance happily, i.e., build a good bond, the chances of spawning the fertilized egg are high. But how does the dance help with this? When the pair kisses each other and touches each other via their caudal fins.

However, it’s not always the same. Sometimes, the dance can turn slightly aggressive between the two. The kisses turn into nipping, whereas the tail slap is more forceful. Nevertheless, in both cases, it’s to be indicated that they are doing the mating dance, no matter if they are slightly aggressive.

Also read: koi angelfish care

Notice the abdomen size

It’s the most common and best way to know if your angelfish is pregnant or not. You simply check their abdominal area. At the front, there will be a protrusion of the belly. The female angelfish grows large.

Not only this, but the gravid area too gets more prominent, as it seems to look like a black patch situated in the dorsal region of the abdomen, exactly below the pelvic fin. During pregnancy, the gravid spot is very noticeable, although it is typically visible in any normal condition for the female fish.

Cleaning spot frequently

Female angelfish clean a spot frequently. They do not directly go into labor and lay eggs at any place. They do look for hygiene and other cleanliness on the surface on which they spawn. Whereas prior to laying the eggs, the mother angelfish kept cleaning the spot frequently and carefully. The surface can be either a bushy area or a glass wall.

If a mother angelfish prefers a bushy area, that means she wants her eggs to be safe while laying, and she can protect her young from predators and other tankmates. If you keep the breeding couple in a separate tank, it’ll be easier for the fish in the spawning zone.

Change in temperament and protectiveness toward the territory

The female angelfish, i.e., the pregnant one, shows slight changes in its temperament by being a little aggressive, as they always try to protect itself from another tankmate to make sure that they get the highest spawning rate.

However, they also get more territorial regarding a few areas, the spot where the female angelfish has cleaned the spot earlier for laying an egg

Further, the mother angelfish tries to shield that area from other fish. And if they enter near the hygienic spawning site, the mother angelfish will get aggressive and chase away other fish.

Mood swings

The pregnant angelfish get mood swings during this period, which can be noticed by their lack of interest in food, and they may be lethargic, as it is not surprising that pregnancy comes with a few mood swings. At the time, when the female angelfish carry the eggs, they prefer not to eat.

However, this behavior is abnormal for angelfish. On the other hand, if they are not eating, it is not only a sign of pregnancy but also of stress or any pathological conditions, i.e., diseases. So you have to make sure if the angelfish is ill or pregnant.

Angelfish are usually more active. However, pregnant angelfish are lazier as they use their energy to care for the eggs. Due to it, they swim slower than usual and don’t perform more activities except for egg care. Nevertheless, you may notice them swimming near the bottom of the tank.

Spawning behavior without male

Amazing fact: Even without having mated with male[1] angelfish, female angelfish lay eggs. It can be stated that female angelfish get pregnant frequently once they reach 6 to 12 months old.

They continually lay eggs every 12 to 18 days, or you can even consider less if the male angelfish are near. If you remove the eggs from the tank, it will force them to go into spawning mode one more time.

However, because they do not interact with a male angelfish’s sperm, these eggs will not get fertilized. For a few days, the eggs were unfertilized, and they are transparent in color.

Once this duration is over, the egg’s color turns white as they catch fungus[2] or are dead. If the water filter doesn’t help, then you have to remove the eggs by yourself from the tank to avoid the spread of contaminated water with diseases, fungi, and bacteria.

What Causes Female Angelfish to Carry Eggs For Too Long?

If you suspect that your female angelfish has held her eggs for too long, then spending time evaluating the water quality, environmental factors, and compatibility of your angelfish is essential.

Over time, if the problem persists, it may be necessary to consult a veterinarian or experienced fish breeder[3] for further assistance.

What Conditions Do Angel Fish Need To Breed?

Breeding angelfish can be a rewarding and fascinating experience. However, to ensure that the breeding process goes smoothly, it’s important to create optimal conditions for your fish. Here are some key factors to consider when breeding angelfish:

Temperature: Angelfish are comfortable in water temperatures between 78-80°F, so it’s essential to maintain a consistent temperature in this range.

Water Quality: Since angelfish are susceptible to various diseases and illnesses, it’s vital to keep their water clean and well-oxygenated. An excellent filtration system is an effective way to maintain good water quality.

Tank: The tank size should be adequate for the breeding pair, with enough room to swim around and be comfortable. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is suitable for breeding two angelfish. If you plan to breed more than two, a larger tank is necessary.

How to know if angel fish is pregnant

Determining if an angelfish is pregnant, also known as “gravid,” requires close observation of their behavior and physical appearance. Here are some indicators that suggest your angelfish is pregnant:

  1. Noticeable Changes in Size: Pregnant angelfish will usually exhibit physical changes, particularly a somewhat larger or rounder abdomen. However, this may be a subtle change that could go unnoticed, particularly if the angelfish is young or has just recently started breeding.
  2. Mating Behavior: When an angelfish is pregnant, it may display specific mating behaviors, such as repeated attempts to clean and maintain a particular area or vertical surface where it can lay eggs. Angelfish may also become territorial or aggressively protect their mating area, particularly from other fish that may approach the pregnant angelfish.
  3. Changes in Diet: Angelfish may change their feeding pattern and diet when they become pregnant, particularly when there is a need to provide nutrition for the offspring. Pregnant angelfish may consume more or less food than usual, depending on the stage of pregnancy.
  4. Breeding Tubes: Male and female angelfish have a tiny tube, called the “breeding tube,” located between the slit-like anal fin and the angelfish’s genital papilla. The breeding tube of the female will swell as she becomes pregnant, while the breeding tube of the male will not.


Overall, determining whether an angelfish is pregnant requires close attention to their behavior and physical appearance. Keep an eye out for signs like a larger and rounder belly, vertical mating behaviors, and aggressive tendencies. However, breeding angelfish requires expertise and specific equipment, so it’s important to seek guidance from knowledgeable sources before proceeding. With the proper approach, angelfish can be bred carefully and responsibly.


How Long Do Angelfish Carry Their Eggs?

Angelfish carry their eggs for about three to five days before being released, with the parental duties of caring for the eggs being split between the male and female.

They will often deposit their eggs on a vertical surface, like the side of the aquarium or the breeding slate, and will guard the area for the duration of the time the larvae are developing. After the larvae have developed and hatched from the eggs, they become free-swimming and will need proper nourishment and a suitable environment to grow.

Are Angelfish Livebearers or Egg Layers?

Angelfish are egg layers that reproduce through external fertilization. The male releases his sperm to fertilize the eggs that the female lays. The fertilized eggs stick to a surface, such as a leaf or the sidewall of an aquarium. The parents will then protect the eggs and guard the area to ensure the successful hatching and growth of the fry.

Do Angelfish eat their fries?

While it is rare for angelfish to eat their fry, it can happen. As with many fish species, parents can become stressed or lack experience, which might cause them to respond aggressively to their fry or neglect their duties in caring for them. Also, angelfish fry can be delicate, making them vulnerable to predators or illness.

It’s crucial to have sufficient space and a healthy environment for optimal hatching and growth of fry. It’s also essential to provide proper nutrition, clean conditions, and adequate hiding spaces to ensure their survival.