Pet of the week: The angelfish

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The Independent Online

What is it? Pterophyllum – the noble angelfish – is one of the most popular fish ever to inhabit an aquarium.

Where does he come from? Amazon – the river, not the website, though many are bred in the Czech Republic for the UK market. That way they do not have to go through the trauma of a long-haul flight from other breeding centres such as Singapore or Malaysia.

Why a fish? They're not very cuddly. If you're short on space, there is almost always room for a fishtank, and it's not as if they need much exercise.

Is the tank a bit of a hassle? Not really. In fact, it's pretty low-maintenance. The key to a tidy tank is keeping a check on ammonia levels, and there are three ways to regulate these: mechanical (with a pump), chemical (with a carbon compound to neutralise the ammonia) or biological (get friendly bacteria to do your dirty work). And you need to keep the water oxygenated as well. Whichever way you choose, you must make sure their environment is "healthy" or fish will poison themselves.

Is it true that fish only have a 3-second memory span? According to research done at the University of Plymouth, there is reason to suggest they can remember certain daily routines, such as feeding time, and therefore have a longer memory span than you might imagine.

Is it true that fish only have a 3-second memory span? Like I said, research suggests ... oh, very funny.

Do fish sleep? They "cat nap" throughout the day, and, rather appealingly, you can tell they are asleep as they change colour slightly. Like putting on their pyjamas.

Who would own one? Anyone from Bond villains to bond traders.

Where can I get one? Reputable dealers, such as (01446 701072) are regulated by OATA, which has a code of conduct with regards to handling and quarantining tropical fish. Ask to speak to Graham Parker – the font of all piscatorial wisdom.