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Hey everyone, Happy Friday!
I could use a little advice about a situation that has developed in my 75 g community tank. Two of my sub-adult angels (bodies about half-dollar size) have paired off, claimed 1/3 of the tank as "theirs", covered the green intake tube of the Eheim 2217 with eggs, and are religiously protecting them. They share this tank with 4 large adult rainbows (Boesmani and Turquoise), 3 slightly smaller unpaired angels, and a couple of SAEs. I don't exactly aspire to be an angelfish breeder, but to my surprise after 2 days the eggs have not turned the tell-tale opaque white as I have seen happen so many times in our discus tank. It's a little hard to tell what color the eggs are at this point since they are attached to a green plastic tube, but they are definitely not the white color that would indicate they are unfertilized or duds. So, here are my questions and concerns:
1. Is it possible for angels to successfully spawn and raise their young in an active community tank? I would move the pair to another tank but I can't exactly move the eggs that are covering the canister filter intake-tube. I also don't have a spare tank that would be big enough at the moment. All 6 of our tanks are at full-capacity and I really can't imagine where I would set up a 7th.
2. Are the rainbows and other fish at risk of injury or worse from the expecting couple? Right now it's just the typical chasing away behavior to anyone who dares to venture too close, but I've heard stories from other hobbyists who claim that spawning angels can and will kill other fish to protect their offspring. The rainbows generally steer clear of this pair anyway, but the smaller angels and the SAEs haven't seemed to grasp the importance of avoiding the "red-zone" and are constantly threatened and chased away by Big Mama or Big Daddy.
3. On the other hand, if these eggs do come to fruition and actually hatch into wigglers and then free-swimmers, would they likely be eaten by the rainbows and/or others? Would it be possible to net the tiny things out of there if I did have another tank available? Would I take the parents as well or leave them in the 75?

Sorry for the length of this post...I appreciate any and all advice!!
 

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In my experience the fry/eggs will probably be eaten by the parents if they feel they are threatened. You can set up an opaque divider to keep the other tank mates away from the Angel's and their spawn.

You should let fate take its course and find a 20gal high and set it up for them as a breeding tank.

The important thing is that you have a breeding pair, and if the eggs develope you have a good pair for breeding. It took me about 4 spawns before I got success. Good luck and enjoy. Nothing more interesting than watching the breeding habits of cichlids.

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Angelfish babies are extremely stupid and as soon as they are free swimming they will gleefully swim into the mouths of tank mates. The parents try to herd them and keep the other fish at bay but they are so dumb and bad at staying alive it is futile. Of course my tanks were much more heavily populated than yours and were a bit smaller so you may have a chance for a few to survive. Depends on the parental care.

Over the long run I found it very interesting when my angelfish bred because it was fun to see the behavior but eventually it just became a nuisance because it is very disruptive to their tank mates. While the other fish may take a bit of a beating the parents probably won't kill them. Just keep them herded over on the other side of the tank. In fact that is how I always knew my fish had laid eggs. If all the fish were on the left side of the tank it meant my pair were on the right side guarding eggs. I would just keep an eye on things. Once they start breeding it will most likely be an ongoing thing now. As was said above if you actually want fry to survive a separate breeding tank makes sense.
 

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It is possible but not very likely that the babies will survive in the community tank. There are a couple options. You can put in a divider to keep the other fish away. You could remove the filter tube the eggs are on and put them in a separate tank. If you can reach the wigglers after they hatch you can siphon them out into their own tank.
The best option is to let nature take its course with this batch and set up a separate breeding tank for the next time. The will probably spawn again in about ten days or so. A 20 high tank works but a 29 gallon is better as a breeding tank.
 

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In addition to what's already been said, if the SAEs are big enough that they're omnivorous I suspect they'd eagerly hoover up a tasty caviar treat at the first opportunity whenever the parents' guard is down.

One option would be to provide a removable spawning surface like a breeding cone, piece of slate, etc that you could remove to a smaller tank and raise the babies to a size where they wouldn't be an easy mouthful for your bows & SAE when you reintroduce them to the 75g tank. If you had smaller tankmates like cardinals & otos, your chances of getting some fry to adulthood in the same tank would be a lot better.

Interested to learn how this works out for you . I'm raising up a group of angels to breed myself, but will have a second tank to which I can relocate the other angels, the BN pleco, etc, and the offspring to grow out when they're big enough. The only tankmates for the breeding pair will be some otos and guppies--whose fry make provide an excellent live food source that have always gotten my breeding angels in spawning condition.

Good luck, and keep us posted....
 
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