Angelfish Care: Learn How To Care For This Beautiful Fish

 The angelfish is a freshwater fish from the cichlid family. Freshwater angelfish and saltwater angelfish are the two varieties of angelfish. This guide will mainly deal with freshwater angelfish.

Angelfish Care: Learn How To Care For This Beautiful Fish
Angelfish Care: Learn How To Care For This Beautiful Fish

 Angelfish are popular among aquarists due to their unique arrowhead bodies with beautiful, flowing fins. Although angelfish are generally peaceful, the fish have been known to prey on small fish and fight among fish of their kind, especially during breeding season.

This is an informative article. Nodisk One is not permitted to make a diagnosis or recommend any form of veterinary care. If your pet is in pain or ill, we recommend that you take him to the vet.

Freshwater Angelfish Facts And Overview

- Scientific name: Pterophyllum.

- Common names: Angelfish.

- Distribution: tropical South America.

- Size: 3 to 4 inches.

- Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years.

- Color: Gold or silver, with vertical black stripes, Black.

- Diet: Omnivorous.

- Temperament: Semi-aggressive.

- Minimum tank size: 20 gallons.

- Temperature: 75–82°F (25–28°C).

- pH: 6.8–7.

- Hardness: 4-12 dGH.

- Level of maintenance: Easy.

- Breeding: Egg laying.


 Angelfish are native to tropical South America, including most of the Amazon aquatic system in French Guiana, Brazil, Guyana, Colombia, and Peru. The fish are usually found in slow-moving streams, floodplains, and swamps, in warm, acidic waters with no salinity. The fish's natural habitat is marshy with a sandy riverbed and lots of vegetation. Although this water is marshy, it is not dirty - sunlight can easily penetrate the water and reach the fish.

Adult Size And Lifespan

 Adult adult angelfish reach a body length of three or four inches and a height of six inches. Compared to male angelfish, female angelfish have smaller, more rounded bodies.

An angelfish typically lives for 10 to 12 years.


 Angelfish are commonly available for purchase online and at pet stores. But, when buying angelfish for a freshwater tank, be sure to buy freshwater angelfish (Pterophyllum) and not marine or saltwater angelfish (Pomacanthidae). Angelfish from saltwater are more prevalent than those from freshwater. 

The average cost of an angelfish is $8 to $40, depending on the brands of the fish. And Marbled angelfish are the most expensive angelfish.

Appearance And Behavior

 Angelfish have a strikingly beautiful appearance that is unique from all other aquarium fish, with dramatic long fins and arrowhead-shaped bodies. Angelfish are peaceful fish with sometimes aggressive tendencies.

Colors, Patterns, Fins And Sex Differences

 Angelfish have broad bodies, triangular snouts, fan-shaped tail fins, and long, flowing dorsal and pectoral fins. Angelfish come in many colors, and the most common angelfish color is silver with four vertical black stripes. Juvenile angelfish have seven black stripes on their bodies, but as the fish matures the number of stripes decreases.

 Angelfish can also be found in gold, black, white, orange, and yellow in addition to silver. Marbled angelfish do not have black stripes, but have a combination of marbled black, white, orange, yellow, gold, and silver on their bodies. Albino angelfish have pure white bodies with red eyes, yellow-orange heads, and red-colored tails. Platinum angelfish and gold angelfish are pure silver or pure gold without any black bands.

 Panda angelfish are a color variation of angelfish with white bodies and black spots that resemble the markings of a panda. The brightness of an angelfish's coloration depends on the fish's mood and stress level. When angelfish are stressed or sleepy, the fish have a duller color. Healthy, well-fed angelfish living in ideal water conditions have bright colors.

Male angelfish have brighter colors than usual when attracting females for breeding.

Typical Behavior

 Angelfish are active, showy fish that swim through the mid-levels of the tank, weaving in and out of aquarium plants. The fish are diurnal, which means they are more active during the day than at night. With enough space to claim their own territories, angelfish are peaceful fish, but when housed with too many of their kind, angelfish fight to defend their space or ask for a mate.

 Although angelfish form schools, the fish are not social with other angelfish and rarely interact with each other. However, angelfish are less aggressive than other cichlids and are unlikely to intimidate other species of fish in the tank.

Angelfish Care And Tank Requirements

 Angelfish are robust fish that are simple to care for. The fish need tropical fresh water with a slow current, replicating their natural habitat. Feed angelfish an omnivorous diet.

Habitat And Tank Requirements

 The angelfish's natural habitat is the slow-moving waters of the Amazon basin. Angelfish are used to warm slightly acidic water with a fine substrate, lots of plants and plenty of sunlight. Set up your angelfish aquarium to mimic the conditions the fish are accustomed to in the wild. Angelfish require a tank size of at least 20 gallons, with an additional 10 gallons per additional fish, due to the fish's large, tall body and territorial nature. 

 Use a soft substrate, such as sand or mud, in your angelfish aquarium. Angelfish like to burrow into the substrate, so don't use gravel or any hard materials that could scratch and injure the fish's body. Freshwater angelfish are accustomed to slow flowing currents, which can be achieved with a low flow aerator. Provide an aquarium light that mimics the sun, such as an LED aquarium light, and make sure the light is on for 8-12 hours a day.

 Use plants native to the Amazon River, such as Amazon swordfish and anacharis, to ensure angelfish feel at home in the tank. Other plants to consider are Java fern and Java moss, which are hardy and resilient. Avoid using floating plants, which block light and clutter the tank. Provide caves, rocks, and other hollow decorations for the angelfish to use as hiding places and territorial points in the aquarium.

Tank Conditions

The ideal aquarium conditions for angelfish are:

- Water type: slightly acidic soft water with slow flow.

- Tank size: minimum 20 gallons, plus 10 gallons for each additional fish.

- Water temperature: 75–82°F.

- Substrate: Soft sand or mud.

- Tank configuration: plants, caves, strong lighting

- Acidity: pH 6.8–7.0.

- Water hardness: 4–12 dGH.

- Filter: Yes, to provide a gentle current and maintain tank cleanliness.

- Pump: Not necessary.

- Bubbler: No, a bubbler is not necessary; the filter can provide adequate aeration on its own.

- Lighting: Yes, standard aquarium lighting to keep plants healthy and mimic the sunlight angelfish are used to in the wild.

- Water heater: Yes, to keep the water at a tropical temperature.

To avoid stress or illness in angelfish, maintain stable water conditions in the tank.

Diseases That Affect Angelfish In Captivity

In captivity, angelfish are susceptible to a number of prevalent freshwater diseases, including:


 Ich, also known as white spot disease, is brought on by stress, which frequently happens in unfavorable tank conditions. The protozoan parasite, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, causes itchy white spots on the fish's body. Ich also causes lethargy and lack of appetite.

Treat them by quarantining affected fish in a separate tank. Raise the water temperature a few degrees to speed up the protozoan's lifespan and add one teaspoon of salt per gallon of water in the tank.


 Dropsy is a symptom of an underlying bacterial infection, which can occur if the fish's immune system is compromised. This bacterial infection causes a bloated appearance, scales protruding from the body, protruding eyes, rapid breathing, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Use the antibacterial medication your veterinarian has prescribed to treat dropsy, and mix 1/8 teaspoon of Epsom salt into every five gallons of water.

Fin Rot

 Fin rot is a bacterial infection usually caused by fluctuating water parameters. Starting at the edges and moving inward, this illness targets the fins. There are several types of flavobacteria responsible for fin rot, including Columnare and Aeromonas. Fin rot causes ragged, milky fins and difficulty swimming.

Treat fin rot by cleaning the tank and doing 20-50% water changes for at least two weeks. Talk to your veterinarian about using antibiotic treatment.

Tank Mates

 In the wild, angelfish live in one of the most diverse habits, along with thousands of other fish. In a closed tank habitat, the territorial and aggressive nature of the fish is enhanced, so do not house angelfish with shy species that are intimidated by arrogant and loud fish. 

Good Tank Mates

Good tank mates for angelfish are:

  • Other angelfish (Angelfish can be housed in groups of up to six, as long as the tank is large enough to help them avoid conflicts).
  • Similar species of cichlids (Such as dwarf and discus cichlids).
  • dwarf gourami.
  • mollies.
  • Plecos.
  • Pictus Catfish.

Worst Tank Mates

 Do not house angelfish with non-fish tank mates, as angelfish are likely to harass or attack crabs, shrimp, and other invertebrates.

Diet And food

 Angelfish feed on small live prey including insects, larvae, crustaceans and small fish in the wild. Replicate this diet in captivity by providing a diet high in protein and fiber with limited plant matter. Feed angelfish live foods such as tubifex worms, which are a vital source of protein for fish. Brine shrimp and live water fleas are other good sources of protein for angelfish.

 In addition to live prey, provide nutritious, protein-rich fish flakes or pellets, and a small amount of fiber-rich plant foods, such as blanched spinach or zucchini. Angelfish need at least two meals a day. Only provide a pinch of food at a time, making sure the fish eats for two full minutes. 

To keep the tank clean, take out any leftover food.


 Angelfish are among the easiest freshwater aquarium fish to keep. Freshwater angelfish reach sexual maturity between six months and a year. To keep angelfish in your aquarium, follow these instructions:

  1. Observe your school of angelfish. Fish must mate naturally and establish territories.
  2. Create a separate 20-gallon breeding tank for a pair of fish, with slow-flowing water, a temperature of 82°F, and a suitable sloped spawning surface, such as anacharis or PVC pipes.
  3. Condition the fish by feeding them a high-protein diet of tubifex worms or bloodworms four times a day.
  4. Move the pair to the breeding tank and observe their behavior. When the female lingers near the spawning surface, she is about to lay her eggs.
  5. The male will externally fertilize up to 400 eggs that the female will lay.
  6. The eggs hatch after two or three days. For approximately a month, the parents will look after the fry. So, Remove the parents after four weeks and return the fish to their tank.
  7. Feed brine shrimp larvae until the fish are six weeks old. Then switch to a diet of flakes and dried foods.
  8. The angelfish are big enough to be transferred to a communal tank after six weeks.

Angelfish FAQs

How Do You Know If Angelfish Are Happy?

You can tell angelfish are happy if they show the following signs of happy and healthy angelfish:

  • Healthy appetite.
  • active swimming.
  • The fins are flared, not tight.
  • Bright and vibrant scale colors.
  • No abnormal growths, white spots or spots on the body.
  • normal, clear eyes that are neither swollen or cloudy.

 Meet your angelfish's basic needs to keep them happy and healthy. Give them plenty of room to swim and avoid overfilling the tank. Feed them a healthy diet of protein-rich pellets, insects, and larvae. Keep their ideal water conditions, and regularly clean their tank. Finally, be prepared to separate them if they get too aggressive and fight.

Can I Keep Just One Angelfish?

 Yes, you can keep only one angelfish. If you only have a small aquarium or if the angelfish is very territorial or aggressive, it's a good idea to keep it alone. Just be sure to provide his tank with plenty of plants and decorations to interact with to keep him from getting bored.

 Angelfish are always social animals, so most angelfish thrive best when they have friends. In a 55 gallon or larger tank, you should try to keep five to six angelfish. If your tank is smaller than this, you should keep a pair of angelfish.

 Finally, you may also consider keeping a solitary angelfish with other fish species, such as loaches and kribensis, as tank mates.

Are Angelfish Happy Alone?

 Yes, angelfish are happy alone. In the case of a small tank, this is especially true. Most angelfish are territorial, so they don't mind being alone in an aquarium as long as it has plenty of foliage and decorations to interact with. However, angelfish are naturally social animals and boredom can have a negative impact on their health. 

 Small schools of 5–6 fish are ideal for Angelfish fish thrive. Ensure that each fish receives 10 gallons or more of water. Keeping them in pairs is recommended if your tank is small. Alternatively, you can also keep a solitary angelfish with other fish species, such as platies and mollies, as tank mates.

How Do You Calm Angelfish Down?

You can calm angelfish down by:

Not overcrowding the tank.

Maintaining good tank conditions.

Not disturbing their tank too often.

Providing them with enough food.

supplying them with an abundance of greenery and ornaments for interaction.

Letting them to rest in the dark for 6 to 8 hours.

Separating those that are particularly aggressive.

Keeping breeding fish apart, as they are more prone to aggression and stress.

 In the event that your angelfish exhibits aggression, act right away. You will notice them pinching fins, locking lips, chasing other fish around the tank, or other similar erratic behavior.

Do Angelfish Mate For Life?

 No, angelfish do not mate for life. In the wild, angelfish usually only mate for one mating period. In captivity, however, they may remain with the same mate for some time. The main cause of this is a lack of options. After a while, they might break up and choose new partners. 

 If one of them dies, the surviving mate might hesitate for a moment to find a new mate. You'll know a pair of angelfish are in a pair if they often swim together in a space they've claimed. They will also defend themselves when other angelfish attack one of them or enter their territory.

In Conclusion: Should You Get An Angelfish For Your Aquarium?

 Angelfish are beautiful, sometimes aggressive fish. So, consider getting an angelfish for your aquarium if you have enough space to house this species of fish and you have experience watching other freshwater fish. Do not buy angelfish if your aquarium contains shy and nervous fish, or if your aquarium is already filled with a lot of fish.

Despite their sometimes territorial behavior, angelfish are colorful and majestic fish that will make an impact in any aquarium.

Only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, are used by Nodisk One to substantiate the information in our articles.