Best Food for Angelfish Fry – How to Feed Angelfish Babies?
Getting angelfish to breed may sometimes feel like an impossibly difficult task, but once breeding is successful, keeping the fry alive and raising angelfish babies comes with another set of challenges.
Knowing the best food for angelfish fry, and how to feed angelfish babies can go a long way in ensuring their healthy and rapid development.
Angelfish fry have different dietary and nutritional requirements compared to an adult angelfish, therefore, it’s important to feed angelfish juveniles with age-appropriate foods.
If it’s your first time caring for angelfish babies, I will get you up to speed with the most important aspects of feeding angelfish fry.
What Do Angelfish Babies Eat?
As opposed to the fry of livebearers that are large enough to eat commercial flake foods as soon as they hatch, the fry of angelfish needs some time until they can be put on regular flake foods.
As a result, angelfish babies eat different foods in different stages of their development, therefore, it’s important to know which foods you can give angelfish babies in each stage of their development.
When they hatch, angelfish babies won’t immediately swim around in the tank, but remain in a wiggler stage, still attached to the spawning site feeding on their egg yolks.
Once the egg yolks start to absorb, the wigglers detach from the spawning site and become independent swimmers.
In the first two days as swimmers, angelfish babies will still feed on some of their remaining yolk sack.
After this stage feeding baby angelfish becomes extremely important for their survival. Baby angelfish need to learn how to eat, therefore, moving foods are the best foods to get their attention.
Here’s the types of baby angelfish foods you can culture at home when feeding small angelfish fry:
Freshly hatched angelfish have tiny bodies, but their nutritional requirements are high. Therefore, even though they can’t take regular food, the still need nutrients otherwise they’ll starve to death quite easily.
Infusoria is a type of cultured fry food that can be naturally available in planted aquariums, however, their quantity may not be enough for the fry.
They’re essentially small microorganisms that the fry can feed on. To make sure there’s an adequate amount of infusoria in the tank, you can grow your own infusoria culture.
Home culturing infusoria is easy and it can help angelfish babies to subsist on it until they can take other foods like brine shrimp or micro worms.
To make infusoria at home, simply take some aquarium water since that already has some naturally occurring microorganisms in it and add some nutrients to it.
Nutrient materials suitable for jump-starting your culture include:
- Blanched or dried lettuce or spinach;
- Commercial nutrient Liquifry;
- Banana peel;
- Yeast, etc.
Some infusoria species can be toxic, so it’s important to carefully source your materials or promote the growth of healthy infusoria species.
Add the nutrient to the aquarium water and let the mix sit in the sunlight a few days until the water turns cloudy. Sometimes infusoria can be seen moving with the naked eye.
Siphon some of the cloudy water and add it to the aquarium as a tasty meal for your angelfish fry. Small fry require frequent feedings of infusoria.
2. Newly Hatched Brine Shrimp
Freshly hatched brine shrimp is a highly nutritious food option when feeding baby angelfish. In fact, brine shrimp is an extremely appealing food option for nearly all fish species.
While they’re still tiny, angelfish can only eat freshly hatched brine shrimp, because baby brine shrimps are small enough (0.08 to 0.12 millimeter) for the angelfish fry to feed on.
This is why you should order brine shrimp eggs and hatch them yourself, so you can feed them to your angelfish while they’re still fresh and new.
Some aquarium suppliers sell brine shrimp hatch and feed setups that offer a constant supply of freshly hatched brine shrimp to your angelfish.
Alternatively, if you can’t hatch brine shrimp yourself, you can use commercially prepared live brine shrimp preparation or offer your angelfish freeze-dried baby brine shrimp.
Be advised, however, that these options are inferior to newly hatched brine shrimp and frozen or commercial options can rarely rival the nutritional value of freshly hatched brine shrimp.
To set up a brine shrimp hatchery, you’ll need the following equipment and ingredients:
- 1-quart or larger jar of water;
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt per quart;
- 17 ounces of brine shrimp eggs/quart;
- Fish tank pump & airline tubing.
If you’re thinking of hatching brine shrimp at home, you can do so easily as eggs hatch in 24 to 48 hours. You can siphon them out of the hatchery and feed them to your angelfish babies.
3. Vinegar Eels
Vinegar eels are another great cultured food option when feeding small angelfish fry. They’re easy to keep and they’re ready for harvest in about two weeks.
Despite their names, vinegar eels aren’t actually eels, they’re a non-parasitic roundworm, which angelfish babies will readily eat as part of their diet until they can accept flake foods.
Besides their small dimensions (0.04 to 2 millimeters in length and 0.10 millimeter in diameter), another advantage of cultured vinegar eels is that they can live up to 24 hours in the aquarium.
This means they’ll feed angelfish fry throughout the day without fouling the water as quickly as other food sources do.
Here’s what to do to create your own culture of vinegar eels:
- Add pure apple cider vinegar (no additives) into a jar (fill it half way);
- Fill the remainder with reverse osmosis water or distilled water;
- Add a couple of pinches of sugar or some apple slices;
- Add the vinegar eel culture.
It takes about two weeks for the vinegar eels to appear. While culturing eels is a piece of cake, harvesting them can be a bit difficult.
Vinegar eels live in an acidic environment that’s toxic for your fish, so it’s important to remove the eels from the vinegar, however, since they’re so tiny, the process of harvesting them is tricky.
You can buy a small screen that will allow vinegar to pass through but not the eels, which you can then wash off into a cup and feed your angelfish fry with them.
Alternatively, you can take a bottle with a long narrow neck, fill it with vinegar from the culture until the vinegar reaches a little above halfway up the bottle’s neck.
Next, place a cotton ball down the neck of the bottle until it reaches the vinegar but doesn’t get submersed and pour some freshwater on top of the ball.
The eels will move to the freshwater migrating on top of the cotton, where you can harvest them with an eye-dropper. You can now take the vinegar eels and use them as baby angelfish food.
4. Micro Worms
micro worms are another type of live, cultured foods that make a great addition to the diet of small angelfish fry.
micro worms are 0.05 to 2.0 millimeters long, being the perfect bite-size food angelfish babies can feed on while they’re still tiny.
They’re a highly nutritional food source for that your fry will highly appreciate and once they get a taste of it, they will ravenously eat them.
To create your own micro worm culture, follow these easy steps:
- Get an empty peanut butter jar or other jar that has a lid that you can punch some holes into;
- Mix cornmeal (or rolled oats) and mix with water until it forms a paste;
- Add a quarter-teaspoon of yeast and mix;
- Place the mixture into the jar and add micro worm cultures.
In a few days, you’ll notice micro worms crawling on the inside of the jar. Scrape them off and feed them your angelfish.
Be advised that micro worm cultures smell bad, but on the flip side they do provide your fry with a good supply of nutrients they need to develop and grow.
Home Prepared Foods
There are some foods that you can prepare for your fry to add variety to their diets, especially while they’re too small to eat regular fish food.
Boiled Egg Yolk
Boiled eggs yolk is a cheap and easy fry food that you can prepare at home in a matter of minutes without having to deal with unpleasant smells caused by cultures.
Simply hard-boil and egg, remove its shell and egg white, all you’ll be needing is the yolk. Break off a small piece of the egg yolk and place it in a container with water, then shake vigorously until the egg yolk dissolves. You can also smash it into a paste.
You can place the leftover egg yolk into the refrigerator in a sealed container for later use.
You need to watch out with egg yolks and water fouling, especially if the pieces of egg yolk haven’t broken off properly, because if they won’t fit into the mouth of your fry, it will remain suspended and foul the water.
There are also some commercial food options designed for small fry:
Hikari First Bites
It’s designed both for livebearer fry and egg layer fry, and you can offer it as part of a varied diet to your angelfish babies too.
Hikari First Bites is formulated specifically for feeding baby fish in the earliest stages of their development and includes healthy nutrients that can promote healthy organ development and disease resistance.
It also promotes proper feeding habits and it’s slow to sink to the bottom, capturing the attention of your baby angelfish fish.
Egg Yolk Powder
Powdered egg yolk is another great food for angelfish fry that you can sprinkle into the tank directly or mix it with water and add it to the aquarium. I recommend both options to maximize access to the food for your angelfish fry.
The powdered version of egg yolk is usually fortified with vitamins and other nutrients and it’s much smaller than freshly boiled egg yolk, so it’s more likely to fit the mouths of your angelfish juveniles.
How Often Should You Feed Angelfish Babies?
The key to rapid and healthy angelfish development is to feed them small portions frequently, so they have food in their bellies most of the time, without overfeeding them, of course.
As with feeding adult angelfish, feeding angelfish fry must be carefully monitored and balanced. You must watch out for uneaten food and remove it from the tank by performing more frequent water changes.
I recommend you start with 3-4 small feedings a day and see how they respond and whether they leave uneaten food or not.
In the first 3-4 weeks of their development, it’s best to keep angelfish babies on a live cultured foods regiment, which can jump-start their development unlike anything else.
After the first 3-4 weeks, I already start adding crushed flake food to their diet in small portions to get them used to it. If they take to it, I gradually increase their portion and add freeze-dried brine shrimp and micro worms to their diet.
When they reach 6 weeks of age, I will have switched them completely to flake foods and freeze-dried foods and pellets.
Which is the Best Food for Angelfish Fry?
In the first weeks of their development the best food for angelfish fry is undoubtedly freshly hatched brine shrimp and micro worms.
Feeding these two cultured foods to your baby angelfish will maximize their chances of survival and ensure a healthy and rapid development.
As they become a bit stronger and you start to see them developing, you can add variety to their diet with the prepared foods and commercial food options for angelfish fry that I discussed in this article.
As your angelfish grow, you can start introducing them to crushed flakes, and then finally switch them completely on regular fish foods.
If you want to learn more about how to care for angelfish in general, please read my linked article.
Because of their small mouths, feeding angelfish fry can be more challenging than feeding livebearer fry for example.
Therefore, it’s important to size the foods according to the stages of their development and pay special attention to them in the early stages, so that they get a balanced diet that will help them grow into strong, healthy fish.
Feeding baby angelfish can seem like a daunting tank at times, but with patience, attention and the proper know-how, I am confident that anyone can rise to the task.